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Thread: Music lag, slow HDD?

  1. #1
    Newbie SanRemoRex's Avatar
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    Question Music lag, slow HDD?

    So I've recently installed my second carputer, swapping the Mac Mini out for an AOpen Pandora (Intel 915 model). I'm liking it so far, except for problems with music. Seems like no matter what software I use (iTunes, Winamp, WMP10, etc), I get a regular skip in the music. Oddly enough, the skip corresponds to the HDD activity LED, which leads me to believe maybe I just have a poor (albeit functional) HDD. I figured the Toshiba I put in would have been ok, maybe not? I have yet to try playing from a CD or DVD, but playing from my iPod through USB also had the skip, so maybe I have a bigger problem? Also, it occurs with both the onboard souncard and my USB external (Edirol). Anyone else experience this?

    Thanks,
    JD
    MY04 Subaru WRX, San Remo Red,
    Mac Mini carputer (Macindash) nearly complete. Current capabilities: Media playback, touchscreen interface, dual OS via VPC, iGuidance navigation. Future plans: Video capture, OBD-II interface, more racing stuff.

  2. #2
    DIGItonium
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    -Check CPU usage graph in Task Manager.
    -Is Ultra DMA mode enabled for the drives? (Reduces CPU Utilization)
    -Does the mouse freeze while music skips?
    -Try testing it at home with a desktop PSU. What PSU are you using?

  3. #3
    Newbie SanRemoRex's Avatar
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    -I've watched the CPU graph, haven't seen any spikes. It stays pretty normal.
    -Haven't looked at ultra dma mode, where would I find seetings for that? BIOS?
    -Mouse stays free as well, as far as I can tell.
    -The PSU is a P1900. It also did this during desktop testing, with its original power brick.
    MY04 Subaru WRX, San Remo Red,
    Mac Mini carputer (Macindash) nearly complete. Current capabilities: Media playback, touchscreen interface, dual OS via VPC, iGuidance navigation. Future plans: Video capture, OBD-II interface, more racing stuff.

  4. #4
    DIGItonium
    Guest
    -Do you have DirectX 9.0c installed?
    -Check/Update audio drivers.
    -Check/Update mobo drivers.
    -Press Window Key + Pause/Break Key to bring up Systems Properties.
    -Click Hardware tab, then Device Manager.
    -Expand IDE ATA/ATAPI conrollers
    -Open up Pri and/or Sec IDE Channel
    -View Advanced Settings to check DMA status. (It is usually already enabled, but you'll never know.)
    -Monitor CPU temperature.

    Also, below is my favorite tool to use to check for memory stability:
    http://hcidesign.com/memtest/download.html

    Do not specify the amount of RAM so that it can allocate as much as possible. You should get absolutely ZERO errors after 100% coverage. Run it for as long as you like.

  5. #5
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    could be a buffer problem in the hard drive, i've had alot of drives just slow down on me to the point where windows and everything would run but I couldnt play music or videos.

    Do you have another drive that you could ghost to? that would give you a quick indication of if it was the drive or not.

  6. #6
    Newbie SanRemoRex's Avatar
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    Thanks for the suggestions guys, I will try them out this weekend when I have some time to play around with it. All my drivers and software were up to date as of last month (last time it was connected to the internet). I'm thinking it may just be the drive, it was pretty cheap. Don't have another drive to try at the moment, unless I yank the one from my laptop. I'm hesitant to bump up to a 7200rpm drive, though, aren't they pretty infamous for heat issues in car installs? Thoughts?
    MY04 Subaru WRX, San Remo Red,
    Mac Mini carputer (Macindash) nearly complete. Current capabilities: Media playback, touchscreen interface, dual OS via VPC, iGuidance navigation. Future plans: Video capture, OBD-II interface, more racing stuff.

  7. #7
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    for a car I would only use a 7200, but thats just me. I've never had heat issues with them.

  8. #8
    Constant Bitrate Vineet Singh's Avatar
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    2.5 mobile drives

    LARGE 5400's are quite quick. For 7200 2.5 drives, I have a seagate 100gb, hitachi 100gb EK (higher duty cycle), and an 80gb hitachi 5400 laying around. I was wondering which one to use in the car, and which to upgrade the wife's laptop with.

    The 5400 was enough for the carpc, boots very fast, very responsive. For fun I installed a ghosted image onto a 4200 IBM 30gb, as well as the 7200 seagate 100gb... almost no difference in operation between the two larger ones, but the 30gb 4200 couldn't keep up, and slowed boot times by 25-30 seconds!

    Heat should not be an issue, I believe the 7200's have better power management, and spin down more often than 4200/5400 drives, to have comparable battery life. It's really the cache that might be doing it all, since the 5400 and 7200's I have, both have 8mb, vs the 2 and 4mb on some of the other drives.

    And no, I'm not rich, I just run a computer business, and this stuff is either pulled from an upgrade, or spare stock. After all these posts, I started to realize how much computer junk I actually have lol... I should sell some of it.

    91 Stealth RT/TT
    CarPuter: Inspiron 5150 P4 3.0ghz; Built-in WiFi; Deluo GPS; Radio Shark; OBD1; Nostromo Speedpad
    Audio: Audigy 2 NX; Clarion 500.5 amp; 100.2 center channel amp; Kicker Solo-baric L7 10" Sub
    Display: Lilliput 7" Touchscreen

  9. #9
    Newbie SanRemoRex's Avatar
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    Specs on the drive:

    Interface ATA-6
    Capacity 80GB
    Buffer DRAM Size2 8 Mbyte
    Bytes per Sector 512

    Read Seek Time(typical)
    Track to Track 2 ms
    Average 12 ms
    Full Stroke 22 ms
    Average Latency 5.6 ms
    Rotational Speed 5,400 rpm

    Data Transfer Rate
    Media to/from Buffer (max.) 431Mb/s
    Buffer to/from Host(max.) 100MB/s
    Drive Ready Time(typical)4 sec

    Looking at these I don't see any glaring issues. Maybe I have a bigger problem? Hoping not.

    Other relevant components include
    Intel Celeron M 1.5 GHz
    Corsair 1GB PC4200 533MHz

    Can't see any good reason it should be glitching like this? Software maybe?
    MY04 Subaru WRX, San Remo Red,
    Mac Mini carputer (Macindash) nearly complete. Current capabilities: Media playback, touchscreen interface, dual OS via VPC, iGuidance navigation. Future plans: Video capture, OBD-II interface, more racing stuff.

  10. #10
    Constant Bitrate Vineet Singh's Avatar
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    Does it boot slowly? Is it severly fragmented? My bedroom media center that runs off a 40gb 4200rpm drive (silent pc), will stutter or outright fail upon video playback when it's coming off the drive... unless I defragment it from time to time. This issue doesn't exist when I playback from the media server over the gigabit network.

    You could try to playback some stuff off a network drive, thumbdrive, or mp3's burned to a CD (in mp3 form, not audio CD). Check the DMA settings for sure, they can change to PIO mode when windows notices too many successive errors.

    If you always have issues with sound, no matter what the media source, you need to check the hardware, and it's drivers. Try a linux bootable CD like kubuntu (google it). It has a lot of drivers, and chances are, it will work on your setup, and let you play some music via kaffine player or some other linux winamp style thing.

    I used to have an 02 WRX... nice car, but bad memories!

    91 Stealth RT/TT
    CarPuter: Inspiron 5150 P4 3.0ghz; Built-in WiFi; Deluo GPS; Radio Shark; OBD1; Nostromo Speedpad
    Audio: Audigy 2 NX; Clarion 500.5 amp; 100.2 center channel amp; Kicker Solo-baric L7 10" Sub
    Display: Lilliput 7" Touchscreen

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