HOME HYPERLINKFORUM HYPERLINKCDR HYPERLINKSUB-SYTEM HYPERLINKHARDWARE HYPERLINKHOW_TO'S HYPERLINKLINKS HYPERLINK

Tricks and Secrets for Successful CD Burning CDR  Burning CDRW Burning, Burning Issues, CDR, CDRW, CD Burning forum, burningissues for Burning & copying copy protected CD's, CD burners, CD writing, CD CDR CDRW Burning

MSI 694D-Pro A [aka 6321] - follow-up & tweaks 4 :


 

RAID-MOD Stage 2: & Why Bother?

Stage 2 unlocks the full functionality of the PDC 20265 controller fitted to the MSI 694D-Pro models A/AI/AR/AIR. It allows optimization of stripe-size & full 4-disk support.

The "lite" BIOS rather meanly supplied with the models AR/AIR has a fixed default stripe-size of 64Kb when used in RAID0 arrays, it also lacks full 4-disk support. Stage 2 of the RAID-mod employs a modified version of the full PCI controller-card RAID-BIOS to extract maximum performance from this onboard controller, & requires one extra resistor over Stage 1.

The basic procedure is as in follow-up 2: please note the use of a cannibalized IDE-connector as in follow-up 3 works well & is both secure & reversible. The attractive reversible 4-disk technique published at www.hardocp.com where resistors are inserted across the cable itself is impractical using ATA66/100 cable - unless you are unusually skilled. Anyone wanting to use 4 disks will probably have to solder underneath the mobo.

What you'll need:

Hardware: 2 x 100-250 Ohm resistors - we used one 100 Ohm & one 150 to see what would happen - worked fine.

Software: An experimental BIOS for the 694D-ProA & an edited RAID driver-set [instructions for both below].

Procedure:

H/W: Use the two resistors to bridge between pin36 > ground & pin37 > ground anywhere along the primary IDE channel controlled by the PDC20265 [#3]. Grounds are: pins 2,19,22,24,26,30, & 40 - we bridged pin36 > 22 & pin37 > 2. It is worthwhile taking care to fit shrink-tube over any exposed parts of the resistors &/or tape them down, or mound silicone sealant over them to protect from electrical contact or physical damage.

S/W: Follow procedure as in follow-up 2: Flash with the experimental BIOS - do not use Awardflash 783M - use 770 with switches: /SN /PY, shut down/switch off, carry out the simple h/w mod, boot up & enter the full RAID BIOS-screen with Ctrl-F to set up your array [we advise using the "Define Array" option - this allows setting stripe-size], FDISK & define a partition, then when W9x/NT/2000 require use a floppy to which you have copied your edited driver-set.

Why Bother?

The hardware we use, like many folk, is a pair of IBM 30Gb GXP UDMA5 HD's - these are quiet, fast, & quite cheap. After first carrying out the Stage 1 RAID-mod, using the "lite" BIOS' default stripe-size of 64K and Build42 drivers, we saw the following whole-array read-performance:

After carrying out the Stage 2 Mod, setting the stripe-size to 16K, & using edited Build33 drivers we saw this:

Now OK - HDTach is a synthetic benchmark & is only measuring read-speed; but this is still a very noticable difference from exactly the same hardware & platform.

We chose this stripe-size of 16K after analyzing a series of tests using ATTO DiskBench on different partition-sizes & cluster-sizes - our requirement from this array is maximum read/write performance for the small files you typically use all the time in bootable partitions containing OS' together with as good read-performance of large image-files as possible [this is a burning-oriented site, after all . . . . ]

 

64K stripe - 10Gb FAT32 partition default cluster-size:

16K stripe - 10Gb FAT32 partition 16K cluster-size:

16K stripe - 10Gb FAT32 partition 8K cluster-size:

16K stripe - 2.5Gb FAT32 active partition 8K cluster-size:

Certainly it appears to us, so far, that 16K/8K is a good stripe-size/cluster-size combination both for running OS' off this RAID0 array & for transferring image-files across partitions. It also seems very worth while to expend the extra 10c & carry out the full Stage 2 RAID-MOD - this is a great deal of extra performance for no extra effort.

Anyone considering the: "AR/AIR" models of the 694D-Pro could in the alternative choose: "A/AI" models & carry out this modification - money saved & extra functionality & oomph besides.

Congratulations are due to both MSI & Promise for providing hardware with such potentiality; albeit crippled as bought. Note the low CPU utilization figures whilst providing this remarkable performance.

Editing a driver-set:

Download a driver-set from Promise [Build33]  or  MSI [Build42]:  this has the usual layout when expanded to a floppy: folders for the main MS OS' [W9x/NT/W2000] and an: "TXTSETUP.OEM" in the root.

You need to edit the *.INF in the OS-folder of each & all OS' you intend to use & also the above: "TXTSETUP.OEM"

This edit is very simple: you right-click each file & change its properties to: "Archive" - then replace every string: "43D0" [all numbers except "D"] with:"0D30"

After editing each of the above files save & reset its properties to: "Read-only" & "Archive" - a typical series of edited entries [coloured red - from the uninstall part of the W2000-folder *.inf file] looks like this:

;HKLM,Enum\PCI\VEN_105A&DEV_0D30&SUBSYS_4D39105A ;HKLM,Enum\PCI\VEN_105A&DEV_0D30

Inserting a .bin into a BIOS:

Tools: CBROM.EXE ; a recent 694D BIOS; FULLHACK.BIN

Put copies of the 694D BIOS [we'll use the W6321vms.300 RAID "lite" as an example], CBROM & FULLHACK into the same folder. Open a command prompt there: Type:

CBROM.EXE W6321VMS.300 /d [this lists the components of the mobo's BIOS] - you'll see:

Then type:

CBROM.EXE W6321VMS.300 /PCI RELEASE [this removes add-in drivers], in this case you'll be given the option of removing: "A" or "B" - choose one, then t'other - thus:

Then, to insert the FULLHACK.BIN, type:

Check you haven't made a hash of the process:

If your result is identical to the above in contents & code-size, you have a 694D BIOS with full RAID functionality - ready to be flashed [remember to use Awardflash 770]

Obviously, the above modifications are likely to be discouraged by MSI or Promise, will void your warranty etc etc & should not be carried out by anyone unsure of their ability to do any part of this or unwilling to accept all responsibility for their actions & all consequences therefrom. We publish this public-domain information without any endorsement or encouragement of its private or public application. We also strongly advise using a hardware BIOS-backup device - & will be testing one soon.

 

<<<< 694D-ProA report

<<< 694D-ProA Tweaks 1

<< 694D-ProA Tweaks 2

< 694D-ProA Tweaks 3

copyright shoarthing November 2000 for www.burningissues.net - all rights reserved - with thanks to "Blustone"

for permission to publish the RAID-mod, CrazyApe for the modified FULLHACK BIOS, Demo for resistors, & "B" for Atto.

Burning Issues burning issues CDR cdr cdrw CDRW CD copying forum burningissues copying copy protected burning CD burners CD-burners CD writing CD-writing
Home Forum CDR Sub-System Hardware How-To's Links

Burning Issues cdr cdrw CDRW forum burningissues copying copy protected burners CD writing CDR hardware CDR software applications utilities CloneCD Clone CDRWin WinOnCD Nero App Nero EasyCD DiskJuggler PrimoCD BlindRead BlindWrite how-to's speed tests cooling methods walk-throughs work-arounds step by step security Internet net discussion forum questions golden orb Molex 840 cooler coolers winoncd 3.7 golden orb 840 molex 800 molex840 molex800 cd-burners cd-writing cd-readers clonecd clone cdrwin Winoncd winoncd-pe nero burning app easycd ezcd Diskjuggler diskjuggler Primocd primocd blindread Blindwrite how tos How-tos walk throughs work arounds Security internet Net Discussion forum Burning problems Golden orb c/w C/W forums Hardware reviews hardware reviews software reviews Software Burning Issues cdr cdrw CDRW forum burningissues copying copy protected burners CD writing CDR hardware CDR software applications utilities CloneCD Clone CDRWin WinOnCD Nero App Nero EasyCD DiskJuggler PrimoCD BlindRead BlindWrite how-to's speed tests cooling methods walk-throughs work-arounds step by step security Internet net discussion forum questions golden orb Molex 840 cooler coolers winoncd 3.7 golden orb 840 molex 800 molex840 molex800 cd-burners cd-writing cd-readers clonecd clone cdrwin Winoncd winoncd-pe nero burning app easycd ezcd Diskjuggler diskjuggler Primocd primocd blindread Blindwrite how tos How-tos walk throughs work arounds Security internet Net Discussion forum Burning problems Golden orb c/w C/W forums Hardware reviews hardware reviews software reviews Software