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CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/9/2003 10:47:23 PM   
parabolic

 

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Folks,

First a quick thanks for hosting one of the most informative CD-R forums on the web. Great job! Tried to search to find my answers, but couldnít find what I was looking for.

I've got an older Sony Vaio laptop (PCG-F360: 400MHz/128MB/6.5GB/Win98SE) that works fine for most of my applications, albeit a little slowly. I decided to join the CD-R Generation since my 100MB Zip disk just couldn't hold the goods. Thought it would be a simple switch, but alas, Iím finding that thereís a bit to it. I've spent hours with Yamaha Tech Support and also with Sony and have not found a way to make this work. Here goes:

I decided to go with the Yamaha CRW-F1 and picked the CRW-F1ZDX external model (dual USB/Firewire, firmware 1.0c) to take full advantage of the 44X write speed because my laptop has an Ilink port (Sonyís IEEE1394). I found out that the port is only S200, i.e. speed is only 200 Mbps, vs. current standard of 400 Mbps. I was told by the store (J&R in NYC) that it should still be plenty fast enough to work with this drive. After all, 44X writing is only at 6.5 Mbps so certainly 200 Mbps should be plenty fast to make this drive scream. Right? Well, it turns out that that Sony port may only be able to handle digital video in and not CD-RWs.

Hooked up the CRW-F1 to the Ilink port using a 4-pin to 6-in Firewire connector. The OS seemed to recognize it fine. I could read disks no problem. Then I installed all the software that came bundled with the drive. I figured I had the room so why not?

Then I tried to do some on-the-fly 44X data writing. I had Nero 5.5.9.? burning to TDK 48X media. Got errors: (SCSI timeout, SCSI/ATAPI timeout error, SCSI/IDE error, Could not perform end of Disc-At-Once, Burn process failed at 44x (6,600 KB/s.) Also got freezes where the drive would keep spinning but I couldn't stop it. Had to completely power down.

Called up Yamaha and they said at first that the drive was bad, so I exchanged for a new one. Same problems. They also suggested I uninstall all the programs (including the Nero that came with the drive) and then upgrade to the latest Nero. I downloaded 5.5.10.7 from the Ahead site and put in a Yamaha-supplied serial number to get a full version with working DiscT@2. One helpful guy there suggested I try to hook up to my laptop using the USB connection to see what happens. I tried that, and everything worked fine, but very slow since Iíve only got USB 1.1 built-in. Thatís really slow (4X writing, max). Also, I couldnít use my USB mouse which Iíve really grown to love since the laptop has only 1 USB port and Yamaha doesnít suggest connecting their drive to a hub. I also tried uninstalling my Zip drive, associated Iomega programs and its Parallel Port Interface. But to no avail.

So, has anybody had any experience with this problem? Is there any way to make my Firewire port work happily with the drive? (USB 1.1 is such a drag.) Or do I have to go out and buy a USB 2.0 or Firewire Cardbus to plug in (Yamaha suggested I get an externally powered one)? If so, which is better, USB or Firewire? Remember that Iíd like to be able to use my Sony USB mouse if I can, since itís small and the wheel works properly to scroll windows (wheel has not worked properly when I plug in a standard PS/2 mouse). Would upgrading the firmware fix the problem? Also, ripping audio CDs is sooo slow, as well.

Hope this isnít too much info, but I wanted to see if anyone could help me before I get rid of the drive. Iíve started to learn about all kinds of neat things making compilation disks, learning about mp3 vs. wav and other things. But the speed issue has made using my CD-R a very frustrating proposition. I don't want to have to give up on CD-R's!!!

Right now, I've installed it via USB 1.1 (slow!) but my Winamp player won't play any audio CD's. I've done all kinds of things to help fix the audio, but nothing has helped.


Thanks!
Post #: 1
RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/10/2003 12:52:22 AM   
MP3Mogul


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Seems the system is just a little out of date for the drive that you are trying to utilize. The 1394 should be able to handle this though. Have you upgraded the BIOS on your laptop to the latest one from sony's webpage? This could fix the problem. Also check for any 1394 updates while you're there. I had a similar problem on a compaq that was eliminated after upgrading the 1394 drivers.


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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/10/2003 2:25:55 AM   
parabolic

 

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Wow! You guys are really fast!

Yes, my system is kind of old. Hopefully, I can upgrade it sometime. But it still works.

Sounds like you think it's theoretically possible to fix the problems by upgrading the BIOS and 1394 drivers. At least that's optimistic -- better than saying "Forget it, can't be done."

Unfortunately, since my system is so old, I don't think updates are available. I talked to the Sony folks and I believe I "re-set" my BIOS while I was on the phone with them. Not sure exactly what I did, but I don't think I got a new BIOS. And I inquired about upgrades to the 1394 and I think the response was "There are none."

I will research the above and check with Sony and let you know what I find. When I last looked on their site for my model, there were no updates available. Maybe I'll find them somewhere else? There's a site called Vaio Village that I will check http://pub173.ezboard.com/bunofficialsony

If there are no updates, am I SOL or do you have any other suggestions? Should I get either a USB2.0 or a Firewire card or is my system just not worth the expense?

Thanks!


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Parabolic

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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/10/2003 11:59:21 PM   
parabolic

 

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Here's an update:

No updates available for the BIOS or 1394 drivers.

I think the problem is that the IEEE 1394 controller in my older Vaio is non-OHCI compliant (Sony CXD1947A iLINK(1394) PCI Host Controller). Therefore, no software driver upgrades are going to change this, it's a hardware issue. Got this info from a "second tier" tech at Sony.

So, my only option to get full high-speed capability is to get either a USB 2.0 or Firewire cardbus for the laptop. Since USB 2.0 is a tad faster, I'm leaning towards that over Firewire. Is there a consensus on which is better? There are now USB2.0/Firewire duo cards out there, but I'm a little suspicious as to reliability vs. getting one or the other.

I'm leaning toward the Adaptec USB2connect (AUA-1420) card since it seems to be the #1 seller. Anybody have any feelings on this? Or is Orange Micro or SIIG a better bet?

I also found out that I can still use my USB 1.1 mouse even if I get a USB 2.0 card if I plug it into the USB port on the back of the laptop. It should not affect operation of the USB 2.0 card for the CD-RW. If I plug in the 1.1 mouse along with the drive into the card supposedly the drive will only operate at 1.1 speeds.


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Parabolic

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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/11/2003 2:44:14 AM   
Graffitti

 

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I'd have to say, stick with Firewire. USB2.0 is sort of a nightmare to deal with in some aspects

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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/11/2003 4:05:04 AM   
parabolic

 

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Indeed Firewire was the reason why I got this drive. However, I haven't been able to get it to work right (without errors) with my Ilink (Firewire) port. I don't think it's fixable, it's the hardware limitation of an older Firewire controller. If you have another way to get it to work without a plug-in card, I'd be glad to try!

Thanks for the input. I'm certainly undecided as far as the choice of which card. All I know is that I want to be able to burn things FAST, if I want to. My current USB 1.1 choice is REALLY SSSSLLLLOOOWWW...

Care to say why a USB 2.0 card could cause me more problems than a Firewire card? I've heard claims that it's "unstable" but never any info to back up that claim.

I've been hearing a lot of Yeas and also some Nays about USB. One Yea has been that it's becoming a more and more common option on new gear: computers (PC's at least), printers, etc. Another Yea is that USB 2.0 (at 480 Mbps) is a tad faster than current Firewire (400 Mbps). I haven't researched each so much so I could certainly be wrong.

How about one of the new dual cards (USB 2.0 & Firewire) in one card? I know Adaptec makes one. That would keep both options available for the future. Plus, since my drive can connect in both ways, I've got two options in case one gets soured. It also will allow me to connect to more devices.


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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/11/2003 10:12:20 AM   
Graffitti

 

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Well.. currently I have a CRW-F1UX, originally I was using it with a SIIG USB2.0 PCI interface card which was based on an NEC chipset. about 7 out of 10 times, I'd get a SCSI/IDE command error, and bye bye blank cd.

absolute terror. I reinstalled windows, exchanged the drive and still no good.

Right now.. I'm using a VIA 6202 based USB2.0 PCI card which is working out quite well. but 1 out 10 times I still get the SCSI/IDE command error. I have to be able to fully track down where the problem is except that it's probably something that's got to do with the USB 2.0 interface card.

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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/11/2003 2:59:43 PM   
parabolic

 

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Yep, I can see that you've had USB problems, no doubt. Glad that your current solution is working better. Guess you can't really go to Firewire with your unit; you don't have a choice.

Just wondering, are you running Win2K? I think I've heard that there are more problems with that. I am running Win98SE.

I'm going to J&R here in NYC today and I'm still not sure which card I'll get, but I'm getting something. Anyway, if I have any problems, they're very good about taking it back, no questions asked.

Might get a dual USB/Firewire cardbus for laptops to keep both paths open for the future. It's kind of amazing that I'm still keeping my outdated laptop current, as best as I can. It's about 5-6 yrs. old.

Thanks for your input!!


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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/11/2003 3:04:52 PM   
Graffitti

 

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I'm on WinXP. Another reason why you might want to consider Firewire is that well.. Firewire has been around longer then USB2.0 so it might have a more matured driver set for win98.

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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/11/2003 4:32:03 PM   
parabolic

 

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True. Firewire definitely has the longevity factor. Also I hear that a faster version may be coming out this year (800 Mbps).


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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/11/2003 8:50:08 PM   
MP3Mogul


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Yes, a new and faster firewire is in fact due out this year. I have chosen to stay with firewire. I never upgraded my old USB to the new 2.0 because of all the problems I read everywhere I've been. All the new USB Hardware with 2.0 is also backwards compatible with the old USB. I have however, never seen a problem with any firewire hardware that I've ran.


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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/15/2003 1:47:15 AM   
Clint


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Hi there, please search the Microsoft Knowledge Base for "Q242975" (without quotes) update. I have tried it on my 98SE system and I did find it improved speed and conectivity significantly. I was running an Audigy with IEEE-1394 port, now I run an Audigy 2 (again, with FireWire port) and XP on this system and haven't had any probs concerning speed of data transfers from the SB Audigy 2 --> CRW-F1DX. Maybe an option is to buy a high quality SB Audigy/2 if possible instead of just a USB 2.0 and/or IEEE-1394 only card.






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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/18/2003 7:53:52 PM   
parabolic

 

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Thanks for the suggestion! Glad that someone is reading these threads. I am starting to lose hope -- and unfortunately -- interest in my new Yamaha CRW-F1... Have spent much time researching various forums as well as hours of tech support with Yamaha, Adaptec and Sony.

BTW, the Audigy looks nice, but I'm just learning to crawl. Not ready to run just yet and funds won't support.

I believe that I have done the 1394 Win98SE update before. I checked some of the version dates of the files and most all were after the 12/14/99 date mentioned in the article, so I think they're OK. Then again, I'm not really very knowledgeable about drivers, etc. and may have done it incorrectly, gotten duplicates, etc. I may try the update again, but the article says I need to have the original Win98SE CD, which I don't have. So I'm hesitant.

Here's a quick update on where my situation stands:

1. Re: Firewire option with internal iLINK port. Have been told by Sony that my Vaio's 1394 controller is an old one -- pre OHCI-compliance. (Sony CXD1947A i.LINK(1394)PCI Host Controller). It's also only at 200 Mbps rather than current 400 Mbps. So, what everyone seems to be telling me is that I have a hardware issue that cannot be fixed with software, it's a hardware limitation. The controller is just too old. But maybe I could try the above update again? Could it hurt? Remember I don't have original CD. It could be a compliance problem I'm having because the errors have to do with communications between the computer and the drive.

2. For whatever reason, I went out and bought an Adaptec AUA-1420A USB 2.0 CardBus card for my laptop to see if that would work. It works fine with my USB 1.0 mouse, but unfortunately, I still get errors when doing CD burning -- even at 4X. SCSI/ATAPI command timeout error. It will soon be too late to return the card to try a Firewire one... I'm losing interest. The weird thing is that my drive works fine using the USB 1.0 port on the computer. But that is so slow. Maybe it's a driver, setup problem? Don't know. I updated the ASPI layer but that didn't help. Someone at Yamaha also said that I should apply external power to the USB card, but I checked with Adaptec and they said that it is unlikely that that will help. The CD-RW has its own power supply. Also, Adaptec does not sell a 5V power supply for its card, and it seems very hard to find. Checked at Radio Slack. Plenty of 4.5v and 6v, but no 5v.

3. Limitation of my computer. Seems that I'm really at the limits of my computer. It's only 400 MHz (I think 66 MHz bus speed), but it does have 128 MB of memory. I could upgrade the memory to 192 MB to see if that works, but it's a real pain because the memory is under the keyboard. Not sure if it's worth the effort.

4. I was just going to compose a long detailed email to Ahead Software (Nero makers) and enclose some error log files, and pray that they can maybe figure something that will work. I also updated to latest Nero but that didn't help either.

5. I have become a one-man coaster factory and just don't have much more time to devote to this challenge. Maybe I'll just have to wait until I get my next computer when I can.

Thanks for your help!


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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/18/2003 9:03:04 PM   
Graffitti

 

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I'd suggest that you return the adaptec USB 2.0 card, and get yourself a new firewire pccard. They're usually fairly cheap nowadays and can be had for around 20 or so USD.

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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/18/2003 9:22:12 PM   
parabolic

 

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Does this serve me right for getting USB?

I will consider returning the USB card if it's not too late and getting a Firewire card. Do you know if the Adaptec one is OK?

I'm willing to give the Firewire card a try since USB 2.0 has bombed, but I have been getting info from various sources that the problem could be my outdated computer. But I can't explain why the built-in USB 1.0 works fine, albeit very slow.

Do you think all my problems should be solved with the Firewire card? I'll even buy a new one if I can't return the USB.

I just can't stand the 4X speed of USB 1.0.

Thanks for keeping tabs on my problem.

If I can't make this work, I may give up for now on CD burning.


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RE: CRW-F1 Rocks With Old Sony Vaio: Firewire Card! - 3/19/2003 12:33:15 AM   
MP3Mogul


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There are alot of issues with USB 2.0. Particularly I've read that on slower systems, even though you install a USB 2.0 card, you cannot get the speed of USB 2.0, because the system cannot support it. I'm not sure if Firewire will resolve your issue or not. The problem is, that your Burner is SUPER FAST, and you have it installed in a slower system. Is there a chance that you could purchase the Firewire card, test it, and if it doesn't resolve the issue return it? If I remember right you are using Windows 98?


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