Slow SATA performance on Mac Pro in XP/Bootcamp

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by tobyg, Aug 10, 2006.

  1. tobyg macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    Anyone with a Mac Pro and XP installed native (bootcamp, or in my case, to a second drive) have very slow disk access in XP? It takes quite a while to boot up and seems pretty slow overall.

    I did install the following chipset drivers.
    Note: When you go download the actual chipset files, it doesn't mention the 5000x chipset as it does on the main page, but when I installed it, it did install quite a few new drivers. It updated a lot of things, including SATA related drivers.

    Without instaling the chipset drivers I couldn't get the nVidia video card to do anything more than 640x480.

    I tried testing disk speed in SiSoft Sandra but I gave up, it was taking way too long. I installed 3dMark2006 and it took a long time to install, and its taking a long time inbetween tests. Much longer than my Athlon 64 3400+.
  2. JNaut macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Yep, disk access is very slow for me too. I haven't run any formal tests, but it just *feels* slow. Copying a 4GB file was going to take 20 minutes... ouch.
  3. kevin.rivers macrumors 6502a


    Dec 4, 2005
  4. tobyg thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    Yes thank you, of course... but they aren't available yet.

    And also, I did find this: Operating Systems&lang=eng

    Those seem to be newer and chipset drivers for the 5000 chipset. However, it still didn't help with the SATA speed. I am going to try a PATA HD and see if the speeds increase.
  5. CyberDoberman macrumors member

    Oct 5, 2005

    Nope. I think it's a severe driver issue...

    I'm getting the same thing. Anything accessing the disk is slooooooooooooow... but the same thing in cache is fast.

    For instance... boot... then launch IE7... FORFREAKINGEVER...

    Close IE7, open it again... *BAM* fast.

    I did a DVDSHRINK rip of a dvd...

    On the Mac Pro I'm getting 3400/k a second ripping FROM THE HARD DISK!


    For comparison, with the right drivers, my Macbook Pro in BootCamp rips the same DVD off the Hard Disk at over 45000/k a second.

    Over a 10X increase on the LAPTOP :)

    It's all in the drivers, I'm sure.

    Probably not ready yet, which is also probably why they don't have a new BootCamp release.

  6. tobyg thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    PATA drive is MUCH faster

    I ghosted my XP SATA drive to a PATA drive (ghosted using a different PC, not on the mac pro... haven't figured out how to boot off of a dos based usb flash drive on the mac) and plugged it in. Worked fine, booted right up. Speeds are much faster than running on the SATA channel. So this is fine for now, but of course in the future I will ghost my drive back to a SATA drive and use that, when real drivers are out.

    So if anyone NEEDS to run native Windows on a Mac Pro right now, I recommend a PATA drive. Looks like i'll be just putting this in where the 2nd optical drive is supposed to go.
  7. tobyg thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    More information...

    I will tell you this... it's related to the SATA drives transfer mode being in PIO instead of UDMA. If you go into device manager and take a look at the properties of your "Primary IDE" channels, click on "Advanced Settings", you'll see the "Current Transfer Mode" will say PIO for your SATA HD's.

    To me it looks like a driver issue, but also a problem with the EFI/bios hooks detecting the proper transfer modes of the HD.

    It gets even more interesting if you try to use the PATA channel. My PATA HD will show up as UDMA mode 5 if I hook it up as a Master on the PATA channel. If I hook it up as a slave with the DVD drive on Master, the DVD drive shows up as UDMA 5 and the HD as UDMA 0. If I hook up the HD as a master and the DVD drive as slave, my HD shows up as UDMA 5 and the DVD drive is UDMA 2. However, when the DVD drive is on slave, I can't eject properly from OSX. F12 and also the eject menu option don't do anything (even tried option-eject, doesn't do anything). The only way to eject the DVD drive in OSX, that i've found, is from a shell by typing 'drutil eject'.

    So, fun stuff.

    SO, for now, i'm running with my PATA HD as a master, dvd drive as slave, and sata drive. PATA drive has XP, SATA has OSX. And that means from OSX I have to go to a shell to eject the dvd.

    I have a feeling that the 'fix' will probably come via new bootcamp/drivers... and possibly a new firmware. I believe the system isn't detecting the proper transfer rate from the HD, and that could only be fixed in firmware/bios.
  8. JNaut macrumors member

    Aug 8, 2006
    Thanks for the update. I don't have access to a PC right now so I don't really have a way to clone my SATA drive to IDE. However, if this is really an issue that only new Apple drivers can fix, I may just go ahead and reinstall Windows from scratch on the IDE drive.
  9. faketom macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2006
    Okay, I just took apart this POS external drive I bought from ebay and the drive inside is a Maxtor Diamondmax 10 250GB PATA133
    Model #: 6L250R0

    So can I hook it directly to the ribbon in the optical drive bay of my new Mac Pro or do I need adaptors and that sort of thing?
    It is currently formatted for Mac as I used it with my powerbook. Will I be able to access it as a drive in OSX?
  10. tobyg thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    Yes but make sure you set the jumpers right. And you may still not get great performance from that drive.

    You should be able to read the data off of the drive.

    If it's external, why not keep it external?

    You wouldn't need an adapter to hook it up, but you would need an adapter to mount it. And be careful with the adapter you get to mount it. The adapter needs to make sure the back of the drive lines up flush with the back of the DVD drive, and even then the cable connecting between the dvd drive and hard drive will be tight. The cable is very short and the connector on the HD when mounted will be quite a bit offset (from side to side) and not in line with the connector on the dvd drive. That's why it's also critical to make sure the backs of the hd and dvd drive line up as flush as possible, because you're already going to be fighting the fact that the connectors on the drives won't lign up. For instance, the HD connector will basically be centered and the DVD drive will be skewed to one side. The cable they provide assumes you'd be putting two optical drives in there. If that were the case, you'd have plenty of play in the cable. With a HD in there, my cable is pretty tight. Not tight where it's pulling away from anything, but its a tight fit.

    Good luck! Oh and the only way I could make it fit properly, even with everything I said about aligning the drive, is to put the HD on top and the dvd drive on bottom. Same reason, the HD ends up being too far to the side and the cable just doesn't have enough length.

    Sorry, I definitely didn't explain this very well.... but maybe someone else can rephrase what I've said in a way that makes more sense.
  11. Mr. Mister macrumors 6502

    Feb 15, 2006
  12. tobyg thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    When Apple decides to fix the problem, either with drivers, a firmware update, or both.
  13. faketom macrumors newbie

    Aug 9, 2006
    As I mentioned the external case is really crappy. It is USB 2.0 (I used to be an idiot) and when transferring data there is always a loud click and i get the multicolored wheel of death and have to diconnect the drive without ejecting it.

    I am hoping this is just the hardware built around the drive in the case and not the drive itelf.

    Thanks a lot for the info though, any ideas on what type of mounting hardware to get and where it can be found?
  14. macenforcer macrumors 65816


    Jun 9, 2004

    There are a multitude of usb 2.0 cases that are NOT mac compatible. Yeah, believe it. I went round and round with a company over the 3 cases I purchased. The same thing happened, beach ball, no eject. Its your case, the HD is fine.
  15. egeis macrumors newbie

    Aug 15, 2006
    well, ive got the same problem with the speed of my SATA drive. Cant believe I was getting 28-35 FPS in Quenos Harbor on EQ2. Second I pressed forward to move it went down to 1 fps as my HD was being accessed. Load times are pretty bad to.

    Ive found several responses to generic posts about slow SATA drives. Install the drivers with you Motherboard CD, Download drivers, and even installing a SATA controller board**.

    **Not a solution for a Mac Pro.

    Going to keep looking for SATA drivers right after i figure out what make the HD drive is. If not there is always the next Boot Camp Update.

    (oh: I call the wheel of death, the spinning Beach Ball of Death)
  16. tobyg thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    I'm getting pretty frustrated at the SATA speed. I'm worried about trusting that apple will fix this problem. My intention is to use the Mac Pro as my only PC, for Windows and OSX. If I can't use it for Windows, if they don't fix this problem, I can't use it this way.

    Last night I reinstalled OSX from the 'superdrive' being a slave on the PATA channel. If anyone saw my other messages, the superdrive being a slave on the PATA channel drops it down to UDMA2.. UDMA2 is still quite slow, it took forever to reinstall OSX. This is not a good option. The HD has to be 'master' for it to get the full speed, so the superdrive being slave is the only option.

    We need the SATA speeds fixed, ASAP.

    I've tried all the drivers I could find so far. Even went to tyan and supermicro and tried installing drivers they have posted for their workstation boards, but none of them helped. I followed many articles I found on the 'net regarding trying to fix DMA/enable DMA under Windows. No matter what I do, the SATA drives remain in PIO mode. Quite frustrating. It is the ONLY obsticle I have left in making this my main do-everything machine.
  17. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    The 4 SATA drives may be non-standard since it is using backplane for the carriers.

    Have you tried using one of the 2 regular SATA ports (#5 & 6) for Windows.
  18. tobyg thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    Haven't tried them yet, but they are going to be the same from what I can see in how Windows is detecting everything. I'll probably try it, but I'm not holding my breath.

    I also need to try reinstalling OSX with the optical back on the master. If OSX installs fast, then I know the optical was probably at UDMA2 when set to slave even in OSX, which is bad. That tells me it is probably a firmware update we're looking at to fix this problem. But I'm worried apple will just say "Screw Windows, use Parallels if you want Windows". That's not an option for gaming, of course. Not only that, but Parallels only communicates with 1 CPU.
  19. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Probably is something in how Apple set up the machines, they tend to do stuff "different" from standard -- even when using standard PC parts.

    Should be interesting to see if the PCIe slot manager causes problems for those that decide to change to one of the alternate settings.

    Edit: something is up this the SATA bus, since the Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 drives have problems -- even in OS X, according to barefeats.
  20. omfgninja macrumors member

    Aug 9, 2006
    Hey everyone.
    I too am hoping the driver thing gets fixed ASAP (since my Mac Pro will be here soon, and I wanna do some gaming danmit!)

    But I thought of a possible temporary solution.

    How about putting in a PCIe SATA card, and then trying to install Windows onto a drive hooked up through that?
    That way you can use drivers for that card, rather than waiting for apple...

    I know that buying hardware isnt aways a good option, but I figure... If you really need it now, you might wanna buy it... hang onto it, and maybe.. .*cough*returnit*cough* when the drivers come out....

  21. tobyg thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    I've thought of it too, but i'm pretty sure the Mac Boot Loader (hold down option) won't see a PCIe sata controller. EFI wouldn't know what it is or how to boot from it. I may still try it, but I'm fairly sure it wouldn't work. Even if you could load the driver into XP and install to it after booting from your XP CD, I'm pretty sure EFI wouldn't see it and booting from holding down option wouldn't see it.
  22. tobyg thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    I've changed my PCIe config via the utility in OSX... everything still works just the same in Windows.
  23. tobyg thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Aug 31, 2004
    Two things...

    1. Moved my SATA drive to one of the motherboard sata ports (not easy to get to either, mind you...) and when I hold down option it can see the HD and I can attempt to boot from it, but it won't boot. Very strange. Put it back on one of the other 4 SATA channels, boots up fine.

    2. I went out and bought a SIIG eSATA II PCIe i/e card. Hold down option, won't see the HD at all. Put my Windows XP CD in, hold down option and select that. I DO see the SIIG bios actually show up... don't see any sign of the HD or anything but I'm not sure it is supposed to show them. Anyway, I've given up at this point. If I can't select the HD from holding down option, whats the point?

    Still playing with things... got some other ideas. I probably should just give up and wait for Apple to fix it... but I'm too damn impatient.
  24. aiongiant macrumors 6502a

    Aug 8, 2006

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