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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Don't Buy Acer Laboratory Products

What has Q been doing for the last 5 days? Well, let's take a look at the e-mail he just sent to Acer Laboratories (ALi) customer service, and find out!
I've been having horrible problems with M1535D+ drivers since I started using my IDE drives on the motherboard IDE channels (previously several were on my Promise IDE controller, and my new Windows volume is brand new). I installed Windows XP SP1 fresh onto the new 250 GB drive. After installation, Windows could not use the drives in anything but PIO mode, despite all of them being set to "DMA if available".

I downloaded the beta ALi IDE controller drivers (the version I'm now using) from the Asus site. After that, the ALi IDE utility reported that the drive was running at UDMA100/133, but it was obvious from the slow performance and KERNRATE (from the Windows 2003 Resource Kit) data that it was still using PIO (when reading large amounts from the drive - I used a checksumming program on a 5 gig file to ensure that the drive would be read from, but no other drives would be accessed - more than 90% of the kernel time was spent servicing interrupts, and 83% of the time READ_PORT_BUFFER_USHORT was being used; both of these indicate PIO transfer is being used, and neither being the case when I used the same procedure on a drive connected to my Promise IDE controller).

Also, since installing the beta ALi drivers, my CD-ROM and DVD-ROM on the motherboard channels have not been working properly (reporting bad sectors on the CD/DVD when this can readily be proven false in another computer; both drives worked fine using the Windows XP default motherboard drivers).

Lastly, I am unable to uninstall the beta drivers. The ALI5INST utility that runs when I select the drivers in Add/Remove Programs simply opens a console window and remains there indefinitely (and it appears that this is a 16-bit program, as it runs in NTVDM). Any attempts to uninstall the drivers through device manager have resulted in the need to roll back the system state with system restore.

Oh, and did you know that the drivers page on your ALi site is a broken link?

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