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Slow Firewire Drives


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#1
Kyle Gilman

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I'm running Kalyway 10.5.2 (vanilla kernel) on an Asus P5K-E motherboard with a Q6600 processor. I have a Koutech 3+1 Port FireWire/1394b & 1394a PCI Host Controller Model 1314 for Firewire I/O. I'm editing HD video in ProRes HQ, which requires about 23 MB/s. Unfortunately, when I have external drives plugged in to the Firewire 800 or 400 ports on the PCI card, I only get about 20 MB/s when reading from the disk, which causes dropped frames. The write speed is about 30 MB/s. When the drive is plugged in using an eSATA port I get around 40 MB/s for read and write. I also get around 40 MB/s when the drive is plugged in to the same Firewire 800 port in Windows XP on the same computer, and the Firewire 800 port on my MacBook Pro which is also running 10.5.2. So I only get this problem when plugged in via firewire in OS X on the hackintosh. I tried a different PCI firewire (400 only) card that also gave me 20 MB/s in OS X. I'm doing these tests without any other Firewire devices attached.

I've been searching the forums a lot and I don't see anyone mentioning speed problems with their firewire drives. I know the simple answer to my problem is to just use eSATA, which is fine for now on this project, but not all external drives have eSATA, and I work with a LOT of different external drives. I'd like to be able to count on my firewire connections. Does anyone have any ideas?

#2
pylonman

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How do you measure the speed of your eSATA? I've got a Vantex USB2/Firewire/eSATA external running off the Gigabyte PCI card. Runs pretty good. Would like to bench test it though

#3
Kyle Gilman

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How do you measure the speed of your eSATA? I've got a Vantex USB2/Firewire/eSATA external running off the Gigabyte PCI card. Runs pretty good. Would like to bench test it though


For OS X I use Kona System Test 2. It's designed to determine if your drives are fast enough to play back various types of video, but it's also useful as a simple benchmark.

Nobody has any ideas about this speed problem though? Is this an unusual problem?

#4
00diabolic

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For OS X I use Kona System Test 2. It's designed to determine if your drives are fast enough to play back various types of video, but it's also useful as a simple benchmark.

Nobody has any ideas about this speed problem though? Is this an unusual problem?


I dont have firewire 800 but I would bet your problem is that the mac hack is not loading the firewire port as 800. It probably sees it as a 400. I would check to see if there is another kext that could be causing that issue. If there are different kext for 800 vs 400 then that is the issue. If its one kext not seeing that its 800 then that might be a little tricky. I would also check the device you are using and see if it has any special drivers for a mac using firewire 800. There are a lot of people on hacks here but still not enough for your problem to be coming up i guess. Ive never heard of it.

Also you really should not relie to heavily on the hack because after all its not designed to run OSX in the first place. This kinda thing is for educational purposes so to speak. Using OSX on a hack in production will only lead to problems down the road.

#5
Kyle Gilman

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I dont have firewire 800 but I would bet your problem is that the mac hack is not loading the firewire port as 800. It probably sees it as a 400. I would check to see if there is another kext that could be causing that issue. If there are different kext for 800 vs 400 then that is the issue. If its one kext not seeing that its 800 then that might be a little tricky. I would also check the device you are using and see if it has any special drivers for a mac using firewire 800. There are a lot of people on hacks here but still not enough for your problem to be coming up i guess. Ive never heard of it.

Also you really should not relie to heavily on the hack because after all its not designed to run OSX in the first place. This kinda thing is for educational purposes so to speak. Using OSX on a hack in production will only lead to problems down the road.


Yeah, that seems like it's on the right track. It's basically reading at 400 speeds. The strange thing is that it writes at a higher speed. And in system profiler it correctly recognizes devices plugged into the 800 ports as connected at "up to 800 mbps" and devices plugged into the 400 ports as "up to 400 mbps." As far as I know there are no specialized Mac drivers for firewire. My PCI card doesn't have any. And also as far as I can tell there are not separate kexts for FW 400 and 800.

#6
Quackit

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I'm having issues with speed on my firewire drives as well. The odd thing, is that with my situation the drives were working perfectly fine up until recently. I reinstalled using the 10.5.2 Kalyway distro after a bad 10.5.3 update accident.

My FW400 drives now only read/write at 10MB/s max. The average is 5MB/s. They pause for 3-5 seconds after about 3-5 seconds or so of transfer.

Any ideas would be appreciated. I've tried installing the FW kexts from almost all flavors of OS X... even tried 10.4.9 ones. No luck so far. Seems it may be related to the main IO kext.

#7
jackcklam

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I also have similar problem. I have a SIIG FW800 PCIe card. While System Profiler says its max speed is 800Mb/sec (meaning FW800 connection is happening), it reads at 16MB/s.


The funny thing is, my onboard (Asus P5B deluxe) FW400 port reads the same hard drive at 29MB/s......

I'm running Kalyway 10.5.3, but 10.4.10 was just as slow. I end up sticking with the FW400 port, and the $100 spent on the FW800 card is wasted.

#8
Quackit

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Ouch. That's a bit of a disappointment on that card. I read about a really cheap FW card that does much better on speed, but since mine was working previously I haven't bothered researching it or looked at buying it. It's on the forum in several threads if anyone is interested.

I'm going to really screw around with the main IO kexts after I do a backup. I'll post back any positive results after. It may take me a week or so though, since I have projects that have to get done.

#9
blase

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I'm running into the same problem. I have the ADS pyro PCI fw800 card (cheap), which I'm getting similar speeds on (40 write, 24 read).
I bought the Sonnet Tango 800 Express to replace it. $100, PCI-e. It only got 24 write, 24 read. I called the tech support team and they told me all the companies are using the same TI chipset, and that there's a bottleneck that happens in the PCI-e itself.

That explains why I get good write speeds with the PCI card instead.

#10
Quackit

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Okay. I'm seriously thinking of switching to USB instead of FW... and just thinking about doing that is enough to make me squeeze my last last brain cell out of the center of my eyeball.

Here's the low-down:
  • on-board FW (VIA chipset) - 5-10MB/s
  • 3rd party FW PCI card (VIA chipset) - 10-12MB/s
  • 3rd party FW PCI card (Aegee or whatnot) - 10-12MB/s
I understand that you're having issues with your FW800 card, but I think that it's all related to the same problem. Everything shows up and recognizes everything fine.

I've tried using all kexts from 10.4.9-10.5.3 for FW and clean OS installs for some, 3rd party cards (even ones recommended on the site that others say work fine), calling it names.. the usual.

Any ideas would be more than welcome, as I'm out of'm.

Reason I say I might start using USB, is that it transfers at 20MB/s or so. I'd much rather user FW... so help if ya can kind sir. Even thoughts are welcome.

~cheers

#11
phi

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I have the same issue with my LACIE BigDisc Extreme.... Just a few days ago I swapped my Gigabyte P965-DS4 with an Intel Bad Axe 2 975X board...

I have an older installation of 10.5.4.... Sorry I can't remember exactly which patches I used but I think I began with brazilmac 10.5.1 and updated with mysticus 10.5.3 to vanilla and then 10.5.4 apple update..

So on the hack with the Gigabyte I had 38 stable MB/s on firewire400 onboard. I know that this drive is capable of 45-60 MB/s on fw800 connected to a quad G5.

I added a PCI-fw800 card, don't know exact manufacturer but chipset is NEC and its OHCI compliant. Now tests show, that the maximum transfer rate on firewire, doesn't matter if its on fw400 or 800 connected to extension card or to onboard fw400, is only crappy 18 MB/s!!

I don't have any ideas where to start tracing this error...

The strange thing is, that I'm using exactly the same installation from the Gigabyte board except IONetworking and AppleHDA kexts...

Cheers,
phi

Edit: In addition I noticed issues during file transfer when copying files from fw to internal HD.. The finder seems to be in not responding state and the file transfers abort after some time.

System.log shows:

Jul 23 23:01:40 Blackmac kernel[0]: disk3s1: I/O error.
Jul 23 23:01:40 Blackmac kernel[0]:

I'll try another kernel the next days, but not now, I have to finish some work on this machine until weekend and don't what to mess up with it now..


Users with similar transfer rate problems, please give some more info on your hardware, especially your motherboards and the kernel versions you are using...

Edit 2:

I've installed the modbin 9.4.0 kernel and System.kext... transfer-rate still bad on firewire :(

As next test I'll unmount the PCI FW card and test agin..

#12
phi

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My problem is solved by choosing the boot-132 method and a full VANILLA installation... :)

Cheers,
phi

#13
Kyle Gilman

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Just thought I'd check back in. I'm getting great speeds now that I've replaced my old firewire card with a StarTech 2 Port FireWire 800 + 1 Port FireWire 400 PCI Express Card Model PEX1394B3. Still running a vanilla kernel, 10.5.4.

#14
680i-osx

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I know this topic is old now, but has anyone come up with a solution for the "slow firewire" problem?

I have an Asus P5N32-E SLI (non plus, 680i chip) with Core2Duo E6600 2.4 @ 3.37GHz.
Everything except the soundcard (Creative X-Fi XtremeGamer), which have a real X-Fi chip on it and has no support at all in OS X, is working.

I bought PCI firewire with a TI chip, since the onboard one is VIA, but both suffer from slow transfer speeds...

Please let me know of any fix to that problem.

Oh, and I'm running my first ever hackintosh "distro", the iDeneb v1.4 10.5.6 with the apropriate patches (actually I did try all of them).

#15
680i-osx

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At least I didn't get any dropouts while capturing HDV through firewire, but the read/write from the external drive could be faster.

Anyone having this problem?
Are the Intel based boards having this issue too?

#16
savestheday

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I came here to post the exact same problem with my Drobo....I have the SIIG card and the Star Tech card - both slow over FW800

#17
680i-osx

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Even with Intel chipset??
So there is no chance for us to get high speed firewire transfers, for now at least... :)
The new 0.9.6 kernel can be a bit better, but I can't screw my system now. Maybe in the end of month, I'll give it a try.

#18
tantan

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i also have very poor speed with a TI chip on a pcie card that is recognized as a fw800 device.
TI developed a improved driver for windows only it seems : http://www.unibrain....ad/download.asp

#19
phi

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Since my last post some time has passed, it means only that I don't have any problems with the hakintosh for a long period of time :()))


Anyways, what I can say from my experience with this firewire issue is, that in my case it's not hardware. The same computer is running the same FW800 card with 6 TB of different firewire storage attached. The trasfer rates are reliable and max out at about 70 MB/s.

But finally, I forgot which kext has caused the slow drives problem. A fresh installation, with step-by-step adding the kext needed by your system has helped me.

1. Install (near to Vanilla)
2. Benchmark your fastest FW800/400 drive (XBench, HDD Test)
3. Add ONE kext (e.g. AplleHDA, SMBios...)
4. Restart
5. Benchmark
6. If speed has not changed --> 3.
Else delete the previously installed kext and find another version of it

#20
hascosx

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try install with osx86 10.5.7 iatkos
pci card firewire texas intrument no problem with this distro

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