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NP9262 + Firewire 800

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  • NP9262 + Firewire 800


    I've been having performance problems trying to add Firewire 800 support to a Sager NP9262 laptop. I am now on my second Firewire 800 ExpressCard, completely different brand, but am still running with severe performance problems. The first card was a Sonnet, the current card an Apiotek.

    Both cards appear to have exactly the same problem, though I have tested the current card more thoroughly. Although read performance is increased by using Firewire 800, write performance drops so low that the card is not really usable.

    I have done some basic read and write tests using built in Firewire 400 and the ExpressCard Firewire 800 to illustate this. These tests read 1Gb of data into memory, then write 1Gb of data to disc. The tests were repeated 8 times with each test using different data to avoid any caching issues. I've posted the range of results from these tests.

    Build it Firewire 400, read 1Gb between 28 and 29 seconds, write 1Gb between 33 and 34 seconds.

    ExpressCard Firewire 800, read 1Gb between 16 and 18 seconds, write 1Gb between 7 minutes 15 seconds and 7 minutes 32 seconds.

    The performance problems aren't just within a synthetic test though, as generally write operations on the drive are unusably slow under Firewire 800. The laptop is dual boot XP Pro SP2 and Vista Ultimate 64 SP1, both of which have the same problems. However XP is where I really need the extra performance of Firewire 800 and is where I ran the above benchmarks.

    The external drive I am using is a Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition 1.5 Tb. I actually have two of these drives at identical spec, so can eliminate an issue with the drive or Firewire cable. I do not have access to a different model of Firewire 800 drive, nor to another ExpressCard compatible laptop though.

    Write caching is enabled on the drives for both Firewire 400 and Firewire 800.

    In addition, the laptop hangs during the POST if the card is installed. While this is annoying, I can live with it but thought it might give a clue to the problem.

    Does anybody have any ideas how I might be able to fix this?