The Burning Issue - End Game?

PaulO wrote on 1/2/2003, 7:06 AM
Holiday developments - I've checked CDA5 on clean installations of W98SE & WinXP Pro., and I can report that both systems suffer from mysterious lock-ups during burns (on my Plextor 2410A) when DMA is enabled. According to Sonic Foundry tech support, they claim that the Plextor 2410A problem is known to them and that Plextor deny any problem. I have emphasized to SF tech support that no other CD writing app. appears to suffer from this problem that they say is inherent within that type of drive. No answer as yet.

I have also spoken to Plextor tech support who have never heard of CD Architect. But their guy did say to me, somewhat sardonically, that the 2410A has been around for quite a while and that is was likely that any generic problem with the unit would be well & widely known by now. He sighed and said, "it's just so easy for software writers to blame us..."


Rednroll wrote on 1/2/2003, 10:49 AM
On my laptop setup, I have a Plextor 24/10/40U. I'm assuming it's probably the same drive as your 2410A. I burned 1 CD from CD Architect 5.0 with no problems, then my trial period expired and I decided I had no need to purchase the program. What I can say about this drive, is that I've burned many CD's with it using Vegas Video, with no problems under Win2k. Maybe you need to ask Sonic Foundry then, if the problem is with the drive, then why can they write 1 program that has no issues burning to this drive, but can't do the same with another? Or maybe this may not be the case since my Plextor drive is a USB connected drive, therefore I don't have the ability to enable DMA, and that may be where the problem least I don't think I can? If there's a way to enable DMA on a USB drive, can someone tell me how's it's done in Win2k?

Did you say that you didn't have this problem when you disabled DMA?
PaulO wrote on 1/4/2003, 7:34 AM
Using a USB drive you will not experience the same problem as I have been dealing with, which is clearly interface related. The DMA thing relates only to the ATAPI interface, not USB.

While the problem does not occur if DMA is disabled, the CPU overhead then rises sufficiently to get me into the "buffer under-run --> burn-proof" cycle that has been discussed here quite a lot.
PaulO wrote on 1/4/2003, 7:46 AM
I have been in touch with SF support and here is their take on the problem, slightly edited for simplicity.


What you are describing is a known issue with this drive. We have tried countless times to get in contact with Plextor and assist them in creating a fix for the drive (possible firmware upgrade) that would allow the drive to work with standard MMC commands. Until this fix becomes available, there is nothing our software would be able to do to get around this.


I wrote back, emphasizing that that their claim of a problem in the 2410A was not supported by the fact that no other writing software appears to have any difficulties! Their reply:


The other software manufacturers will create their software to work around any difficulties on a per-drive basis. This method of software updates was the death of the older CD-Architect 4.0. Sonic Foundry is simply trying to use standard MMC compatible commands to control the drive and the drive would not be supporting these requests.


So, SF are claiming that the root of the problem lies in a incorrect or incomplete implementation of the MMC 'standard' unique, apparently, to the 2410A. I shall now pass these comments on to Plextor to see what they have to say. This could be interesting :-)
Rednroll wrote on 1/6/2003, 10:15 AM
Thanks, for the USB info. I kinda figured that was the case. Do you own Vegas Video? It would be an interesting test to see if Vegas has the same problem with this drive since it uses MMC compatible drivers also. Download a Demo copy of VV3 if you don't already own it, and try it out. I have to agree with Sonic Foundry on the MMC driver issue. I remember back in the CDA 4.0 days, when everyone was screaming for a driver to support their latest CDR drive.....I was one of them. It is virtually impossible for SF to keep up with individual driver support for every CD burner developed and thus was why the end of CDA came about. MMC was developed to be a default driver case, and if Plextor isn't complying with the MMC driver spec, then their isn't much SF can do about it. It makes more since to spend more time developing features and addressing bugs then just spending time to try and keep up with the CD burner developers.
PaulO wrote on 1/8/2003, 5:26 PM
>if Plextor isn't complying with the MMC driver spec.

Were this the case, the problem would not occur at random. As things stand, an attempt to burn a given CDA project can fail anywhere between 2% & 20% into the job. I'd have thought that multiple attempts to write the same project to the same (re-writable) disc would have produced identical failure points if there was a particular issue regarding the MMC spec. In my view, the random nature of the problem simply doesn't support this hypothesis.

I may try the Vegas demo if I have the time but frankly, life's too short :-)
Rednroll wrote on 1/8/2003, 6:01 PM
"In my view, the random nature of the problem simply doesn't support this hypothesis."

In contrary I would expect a random behavior like this, since it most likely has to do with the transfer of data in and out of the buffer. I imagine the buffer will not likely fill and empty at the same rate everytime you do a burn, since this will depend on the work load your PC is under and what may be happening on the IDE buss at any given time and also what maybe running in the background at any particular point of the burn operation. Although, you may be doing the same project and same burn process during your testing, doesn't mean Windows is doing exactly the same thing also.

Geoff_Wood wrote on 1/9/2003, 6:16 AM
>Posted by: PaulO
>I may try the Vegas demo if I have the time but frankly, life's too short :-)

No. Attention-span is too short( ;-) - I know this has been going on a while ). Stick at it, it works just fine for most of us, and probably (99.5%) it can for you too. I'm sure I''ve seen something else here (or there) relating to issues with the plex 2410

PaulO wrote on 1/9/2003, 6:58 AM
> I'm sure I''ve seen something else here (or there) relating to issues with
> the plex 2410

Any references would be useful.
Geoff_Wood wrote on 1/9/2003, 3:40 PM

Doesn't actually get you any further though....