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PC Chips M811LU V3.1 and Syntax SV266AD

 
 
tcsenter
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      05-15-2005, 08:27 AM
Calling anyone and everyone who may have one or more systems built
using the PC Chips M811LU V3.1 or Syntax SV266AD.

I've used several of these boards for budget systems, but a few days
ago I discovered a potential bug, flaw, defect, or whatever you want to
call it, affecting both the PC Chips branded and Syntax branded
motherboards (they are the same board). This board is also sold as
Shuttle AK32VN, and I found a discussion on VIA Arena Forums from
January detailing the exact same problem affecting the Shuttle AK32VN.

The VIA VT8235 South Bridge supports up to ATA/133 (Ultra DMA Mode 6).
In every one of my systems, the IDE/ATA transfer mode is limited to
Ultra DMA Mode 4 (ATA/66) when an ATA/100 or ATA/133 hard drive is
attached to the system. When an ATAPI optical drive supporting ATA/33
or higher is attached, whether CD or DVD drive, the IDE/ATA transfer
mode is limited to Ultra DMA Mode 1 (ATA/25). The transfer mode is
reported in Device Properties through Device Manager > IDE ATA/ATAPI
Controllers > Primary or Secondary IDE Channel > Advanced Settings >
Current Transfer Mode.

This is with Windows XP Home, either with SP1 or SP2 integrated, using
the latest BIOS from PC Chips and Syntax, and all the latest device
drivers including the latest Hyperion. The hard drive and optical
drives are on different channels, each being the master with no other
drive as slave.

I have tested multiple hard drives; Seagate and WDC 80GB ATA/100, WDC
120GB ATA/100, Maxtor 80GB ATA/133. I have tested different optical
drives; Optorite 52x CDRW, BTC 8x DVD writer, and BenQ CDRW + DVD-ROM
combo drive. I have tested different Ultra ATA compliant IDE cables,
all of which are not longer than 18". I have tried shielded round
ATA/100 IDE cables. All hardware including the cables work A-OK with
other make and model motherboards at the highest supported modes.

All drives are reporting the correct mode and capacity at POST. PIO
and Ultra DMA is set to "Auto" for all drives in BIOS. HDTach 3 tests
confirm the HDDs are operating in ATA/66 instead of ATA/100 or ATA/133.
I've even swapped-in a couple brand new ATX12V power supplies with
output specs far exceeding total system demands, just to leave no stone
unturned.

Installing the latest VIA IDE BM Accelerator Drivers results in all
drives operating in the correct modes, but using this driver I
experience numerous "Delayed Write Fail" errors and "error detected on
device \Device\Harddisk0 during a paging operation" related to the hard
drive (in all systems with all hard drives). What's more, effective
hard disk performance actually DECREASES when the drives are operating
at the higher modes, which is consistent with the numerous IDE and disk
errors I'm getting.

If you have one of these boards, I would appreciate if you could take a
peak at what transfer mode the system is reporting through Device
Manager > IDE ATA/ATAPI Controllers > Primary or Secondary IDE Channel
> Advanced Settings > Current Transfer Mode.


I have opened a support ticket with PC Chips and Syntax detailing this
but have not received a reply. Its only been two days, I'll give them
until Wednesday or Thursday before I start making angry phone calls.
:P

 
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chaos2ndz
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      08-28-2005, 02:33 AM
Update your bios with the Elitegroup...ECS K7VTA3 (6) bios and
drivers...they appear to be an identical motherboard but have updates
as well as a quicker fsb and processor upgrade (Semptron) ability. I
did this as well with my sv266ad and it's running rather well under
this new setting and the dma mode has changed from 4 to 5.

 
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tcsenter
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      08-28-2005, 09:31 AM
>>Update your bios with the Elitegroup...ECS K7VTA3 (6) bios and
drivers...they appear to be an identical motherboard but have updates
as well as a quicker fsb and processor upgrade (Semptron) ability.<<


In fact, ECS K7VTA3 6.0 and 8.0 PCB are functionally identical, and
probably use the same BIOS. ECS K7VTA2 Pro 3.1, K7VTA3 6.0/8.0, and
L7VTA2, PC Chips M811 3.1 and M852, Shuttle AK32VN 3.1, and Syntax
SV266AD all use identical PCB layouts.

I have a K7VTA3 6.0 here and it has different SMC resistors (more of
them and different values) along the IDE port traces than M811 3.1,
which I suspect were to correct the very problem in question. I'm not
sure a BIOS update could adequately solve a problem that is most likely
a PCB design flaw, but after all the time I've spent on this, I'm not
going to put another dozen hours into testing to make sure the IDE
subsystem is 100% stable with a different BIOS. Thanks, anyway, for
your post.

BTW, the latest BIOS for M811 3.1, which also works on SV266AD and
AK32VN, adds support for Sempron, albiet @ 266MHz FSB. Probably even
the same BIOS as K7VTA3 6.0 and 8.0.

Regards,

Tim

 
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