October 01, 2004

Quirky Motherboard Strikes Again

I've related before how I've struggled with a quirky Asus A7V motherboard. I resolved USB problems awhile back, and recently I had to deal with gaining access to a new Lite-on DVD+-R/RW drive.

I was having problems burning DVDs, even though I upgraded to the latest version of Nero 6 Ultra Edition. Nero often locked up my Windows 2000 box when trying to burn a DVD, and I'd have to do a hard boot to get it going again.

I then tried Terabyte's Image for DOS program that is supposed to create and burn complete hard drive images onto DVD+-R discs. The program complained that it couldn't even find a CD or DVD writer!

I could read data *from* CD and DVD discs, so what was going on?

I took a look at the BIOS, and strangely there was no entry for a DVD writer in the boot sequence. That got the grey cells stirring as I began remembering that there were issues with the Promise UltraDMA/100 controller and this particular motherboard. The board has four IDE channels -- a primary and secondary UltraDMA/100, and a primary and secondary UltraDMA/66/33. The 100s appear to Windows as SCSI devices, not IDE devices, so perhaps that was preventing the buring programs from seeing the DVD writer as an ATAPI device.

Sure enough, as soon as I moved the DVD writer to an UltraDMA/66/33 channel, Image for DOS happily churned out and burned a complete image of my hard disk spanned onto five DVD+R discs.

Maybe it's time to get a new computer and quit tearing my hair out over this ancient VIA-based system! I've also discovered that the AMD Thunderbird 800 cpu simply hasn't got the juice to handle some of the latest audio/video programs that came with the latest Nero. Honey? Can I buy a new computer?

Posted by Paul at October 1, 2004 03:53 PM