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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    HD activity slows mouse pointer

    Hello all-

    I built a new system over the weekend, and the only thing I'm having trouble with is the fact that when Drive C: is heavily accessed, the speed of the mouse pointer is affected.

    When Drive C is *really* busy (such as when Norton Speed Disk is working on it) the pointer will freeze for a couple of seconds at a time.

    I have two other hard drives in the system, and the mouse pointer doesn't slow down/freeze when those drives are accessed.

    Here are the specs on the system:

    Athlon XP 2000+
    512MB RAM
    Asus A7V266 motherboard
    Maxtor 80GB hard drive (Primary IDE Master)
    HP CD-Writer (F) (Primary IDE Slave)
    WD 18G hard drive (D) (Secondary IDE Master)
    WD 18G hard drive (E) (Secondary IDE Slave)
    MS Optical Wheel mouse (tried USB and PS/2 connection, no difference)
    Running Windows 98 original, patched via Windows Update.

    I have a feeling there is some arcane BIOS setting somewhere that I don't know to set, or the PCI controller and mouse are on the same---something.

    Has anyone out there experienced this problem or know how to resolve it?

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: HD activity slows mouse pointer

    Because of the design of Windows 98, this will continue to be a problem, but you can reduce it somewhat. Have you enabled DMA for your hard drives, both in the BIOS and in Windows itself? IDE is a busy technology, no matter how fast your system, so if the disk is being accessed continually it will spike your system's resources. Since Windows is likely installed on C:, any calls to the OS that require a read-write operation on the hard drive will have to get in line and wait for SpeedDisk to let them have a crack at it.
    -Mark

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Re: HD activity slows mouse pointer

    Thanks, Mark, I will check this out.

    One of my co-workers also recommended that the "Master" device on a controller be attached at the END of the cable. He also suggested that it might not be a good idea to put the CD-Writer on the same controller as the master HD.

    I'm going to try temporarily unplugging the CD-Writer, and making sure the HD is at the end of the cable (in addition to what you suggested) and see if the situation improves. If it doesn't, I'm going to try replacing the cable (one never knows).

    Thanks for your help!

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: HD activity slows mouse pointer

    I need to add my <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15> before you trundle off and open the box... <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

    Shorter is better with cabling. In all cases, period. Electrical resistance increases with distance, which is why you don't see IDE cables that are longer than 18 inches. Put the master as close to the socket on the board as you can - the connector in the middle. The same is true of SCSI and parallel cables....a long printer cable can turn out pages of rubbish.

    My experience with CD-writers is to place them as the secondary master to avoid problems with burning CDs. You increase your chances of error with them as a secondary drive on the primary cable. Unless you want a matching set of coasters or nice shiny frisbees, that's sound advice. <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

    Replace the cable anyway, just to rule out the possibility of it being a source of frustration. IDE cables are cheap. If your motherboard supports the ATA-100 spec, as does your hard drive, make sure you get an ATA-100 cable or you lose any performance benefit. Good luck!
    -Mark

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Re: HD activity slows mouse pointer

    No worries there; I haven't put the cover back on the box yet! (Does that make me a pessimist? <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> )

    Thanks for the advice; I think what I'll do is see what the performance is like without the CD-Writer. If this resolves the issue, I'll let the master HD have the primary controller all to itself, I'll move the CD-Writer to the other controller, and I'll find a new home for one of my 18G hard drives.

    (Won't putting the ATA-66 18G hard drive on the same controller as the ATA-100 80G hard drive slow the 80G down?)

    Thanks again for your help!

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger
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    Re: HD activity slows mouse pointer

    <hr>Won't putting the ATA-66 18G hard drive on the same controller as the ATA-100 80G hard drive slow the 80G down?<hr>
    Yes, it will slow to the speed of the fastest device in the chain. Whether or not the difference is perceptible to you is another story. You can try and see how it behaves.

    If you have two hard drives and the one CD-writer, make the second hard drive a slave under the CD writer. It shouldn't introduce any problems in the system (there's that magic "S" word, "shouldn't").

    You could also pick up an add-in IDE controller for the system and plug it into a PCI slot; that would five you some additional flexibility with your IDE configuration.
    -Mark

  7. #7
    New Lounger
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    Re: HD activity slows mouse pointer

    When I got home last night, I discovered that DMA was disabled in Windows on all my drives. I enabled DMA, and that resolved the problem. Those drives are moving like lightning now!

    Thanks for that suggestion and for all the other information you provided, Mark, I appreciate it!

  8. #8
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    Re: HD activity slows mouse pointer

    <hr>Yes, it will slow to the speed of the fastest device in the chain<hr>

    ...if only....

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