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CD ripping suddenly takes forever 
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Post CD ripping suddenly takes forever

I'm wondering if there are people around here who know their way around computer issues a bit. As the thread title indicates, my CD ripping (done via Audiograbber) has suddenly become extremely slow. I haven't changed any settings, and my hardware configuration is exactly the same too. The CD reading speed mostly starts at about 4x and then goes down to as low as 1x, which makes ripping extremely inefficient. The drive seems to be capable of a maximum reading speed of at least 40x, and it has always worked flawlessly until today. Playing around with the settings in Audiograbber doesn't help. I've tried various CDs and it's always the same, thus it's not a matter of surface scratches or something like that. I've searched the net for quite a while now but couldn't find a proper solution.

The reason that seems most likely according to my research would be that Windows (I'm using Win 7 Home Premium) has disabled DMA because of repeated reading errors, but to find out if this is true, I'd have to check whether DMA is enabled or not. According to posts in specialised forums* this can be done in the device manager by checking the advanced options of all IDE channels. Only, the funny thing is: It's neither listing any IDE channels, nor does it have advanced options for the only IDE-related device that is being listed (very similar to what is described here). I'm totally at a loss here since I'm anything but an expert in this field, and it seems like I could do this research for hours and hours on end without finding a solution - time which I neither have, nor would like to spend.

*Of course I could just register at such a forum and ask my question there, but I wanted to try this one first since most of you will be familiar with CD ripping. I don't want to register to new sites unnecessarily. Also, people at computer-related forums tend to bombard you with so much technical jargon that I'm even more confused than before.

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Tue Jun 05, 2012 6:36 pm
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Post Re: CD ripping suddenly takes forever

Check Device Manager for other storage controllers (including any unidentified PCI devices). You may have a RAID-capable mainboard with SCSI controller, or a bad chipset driver installation, in which case the appropriate storage channels will be found under SCSI or 'Unknown Devices' respectively.

If it's just the one IDE/ATA/SATA storage controller and you haven't got some sort of storage management program (like Intel Application Accelerator) installed, check your PC vendor site for a chipset or storage controller driver update and apply that. With luck, that will reveal the IDE storage channels.

Alternatively, try the bit here http://techlogon.com/2011/03/28/how-to- ... -pio-mode/ after the pink-shaded boxout. Note that there will be a lot of entries starting with the {4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} key - you're looking for one where the (Default) value is 'IDE/ATA ATAPI controllers' before moving on to look at any of the subfolders. It's best to only reset settings for the channel with the CD/DVD attached so in Device Manager, go to your CD/DVD drive, right-click for Properties, go to Details page and select Parent from the drop-down. It should look something like 'PCIIDE\IDEChannel\4&31b708e1&0&0'. If it doesn't say PCIIDE or IDEChannel, don't bother continuing with this - otherwise, if the last digit is 0 you need to select subfolder 0001 back in regedit, if it's a 1 select subfolder 0002.

These are only generic solutions - to do any cleverer troubleshooting would need some information about the PC (make/model/approximate age/serial no/any modifications made/what the identified storage controller is)...

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Thu Jun 07, 2012 8:49 pm
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Post Re: CD ripping suddenly takes forever

Thanks a lot for your detailed reply! :) Let's try to go through it step by step...

Quote:
Check Device Manager for other storage controllers (including any unidentified PCI devices). You may have a RAID-capable mainboard with SCSI controller, or a bad chipset driver installation, in which case the appropriate storage channels will be found under SCSI or 'Unknown Devices' respectively.

There's no other such device listed. Here's a screenshot of my device manager with my CD/DVD drive and the IDE controller visible (which also shows you "what the identified storage controller is"): Image

Quote:
If it's just the one IDE/ATA/SATA storage controller and you haven't got some sort of storage management program (like Intel Application Accelerator) installed, check your PC vendor site for a chipset or storage controller driver update and apply that. With luck, that will reveal the IDE storage channels.

As you can see in the screenshot, it's just the one controller. I don't know about any such storage management program, the Intel Application Accelerator isn't listed among my installed software at any rate. I'll see whether I can find any drivers... The weird thing is really that this change seems to have appeared totally haphazardly without any hardware/driver change on my side.

Quote:
It's best to only reset settings for the channel with the CD/DVD attached so in Device Manager, go to your CD/DVD drive, right-click for Properties, go to Details page and select Parent from the drop-down. It should look something like 'PCIIDE\IDEChannel\4&31b708e1&0&0'. If it doesn't say PCIIDE or IDEChannel, don't bother continuing with this - otherwise, if the last digit is 0 you need to select subfolder 0001 back in regedit, if it's a 1 select subfolder 0002.

The problem about this is that my Windows is in German, so I can't always tell what to select exactly. In particular, I don't know what "Parent" would be, but I checked everything that might have been the correct option and there was no trace of 'PCIIDE\IDEChannel\4&31b708e1&0&0' (or anything similar) anywhere. While I wouldn't have any issues with changing the system language, I have no clue whether that's possible at all... :shrug: Anyway, I could still try browsing the registry and might do just that now.

Quote:
These are only generic solutions - to do any cleverer troubleshooting would need some information about the PC (make/model/approximate age/serial no/any modifications made/what the identified storage controller is)...

I bought this PC as a complete system about one year ago and haven't made any hardware modifications, I just installed the regular NVIDIA drivers and this kind of stuff. You can see the system specifications by clicking this link; the site is in German, but just choose "Ausstattung" from the menu above and you'll find a list of system components - the categories should be self-explanatory in combination with the devices listed.

Edit:
Checked the registry now, and I only have one entry labelled {4D36E96A-E325-11CE-BFC1-08002BE10318} with only one "numbered" folder named "0000" which has the following DriverDesc data: "Intel(R) Desktop/Workstation/Server Express Chipset SATA AHCI Controller". So no trace of any IDE channels here, either. :( I guess it's got to do with the watered-down Windows configuration that comes with such a discounter PC...

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Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:31 pm
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Post Re: CD ripping suddenly takes forever

OK - well, that's pretty comprehensive!

Narrows it down some, though - you have an Intel P67 Express chipset handling the I/O, and on a PC that new it's probably being managed through Intel's own Rapid Storage Technology interface. Have to be honest and say I've not had any experience of that particular product, so I don't know if it has configurable or just informational options for channel control.

Somewhere in your installed programs there should be an 'Intel' folder with the 'RST' program inside it. Worth running that and taking a look at the results. If there's no convenient folder/icon it might mean that you've just got the Intel drivers installed without the full program suite: downloads are here http://www.medion.com/ch/de/service/_lightbox/treiber.php?msn=10014997&prod=MEDION%20AKOYA%20E2020D%20CH. You might need both the Rapid Storage Technology and the Intel Management Engine.

If that doesn't help, then it's probably worth uninstalling RST (if it's there) and setting the storage controller to a Windows native driver. In Device Manager, navigate to the controller, right-click and select "Update Driver Software", then the lower option "Browse my computer...". Pick the lower option again ("Let me pick from a list..." and you should get a window with one or more options. One of those will be something like "Standard AHCI 1.0 Serial ATA Controller", and there might be a proprietary Intel one as well. Select the standard one and follow the instructions. After rebooting, Windows should have control of the storage channels under Device Manager. (Sorry - I only have UK settings descriptions available. You can change language on the PC, btw, in Control Panel, under Region and Language, on the Keyboards and Languages page and selecting the Display Language that you want, or folowing the installation help options. It applies to pretty much everything on the computer, though, so it can be a disadvantage in certain circumstances).

It is a bit of a pain, to be fair, as it's a lot of messing about just to get a visible diagnosis of the problem. I suspect you're right, though - it's a well known issue that six consecutive read-fails can drop CD drives into legacy PIO mode and there's no guarantee they will always successfully reset after that. Seems the most likely cause here, especially as you haven't changed anything yourself, it's just typical of Intel-based machines that there isn't a simple 5-second way to check.

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Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:34 pm
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Post Re: CD ripping suddenly takes forever

Thanks again for your detailed description and advice! I haven't found the time yet to try out any of the above mentioned steps, though I do have that RST program installed. Opening it won't help, though - there's hardly any information there, let alone settings that can be changed. I might try installing the whole program suite and see if that makes any difference. Just a short question as to the PIO mode theory as such: Is there any 'practical' way to check whether it is likely to be the cause? I mean, if the drive is in PIO mode, does this have any other noticeable consequences? I read somewhere that DVDs might not play smoothly or something like that, I don't have such a problem for instance. Just to narrow down the chances until I try anything more complicated...

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Wed Jun 20, 2012 2:29 pm
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Post Re: CD ripping suddenly takes forever

PIO slows the transfer rate as it requires all data to be passed by the CPU rather than just via the interface in question, so you'd expect to see slowdown on all such read/write operations from the drive. Choppy DVD playback is usually a reliable indicator of the problem.

You can download Nero DiscSpeed (http://nero-discspeed.softpedia.com/) and run a test with any CD in the drive. If it's in PIO mode it will be unable to achieve more than 22x speed or 16MB/s transfer/burst rate - over that, and it's using some flavour of (U)DMA.

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Wed Jun 20, 2012 6:54 pm
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Post Re: CD ripping suddenly takes forever

Sounds like a good starting point, thanks, I'll try that!

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Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:15 pm
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Post Re: CD ripping suddenly takes forever

Okay, I made a benchmark test with Nero DiscSpeed now. The average speed is 29.47x, burst rate 51 MB/s - I guess this rules out the PIO issue as a cause! Which is probably good as such, but makes the whole thing all the more weird...

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Sun Jun 24, 2012 2:34 pm
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Post Re: CD ripping suddenly takes forever

Grab with EAC

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Sun Jun 24, 2012 9:44 pm
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Post Re: CD ripping suddenly takes forever

So, it's probably not a pure hardware issue, then. That's good, in some ways.

Is it definitely the rip that's the problem, rather than the encoding? You should see broadly similar disk access speeds in Audiograbber. In fact, you should be able to hear what the CD drive is doing: it will normally spin up to max in about 5 - 10 seconds, so you see a low (~4x) read speed for the first track initially, that should steadily climb to somewhere ~12x. From the second track onwards, it should have sorted itself out to something like peak speed, usually anywhere between ~20 and ~40 and drop off only very slightly from there. The drive should be spinning at a constant, audible high speed - any 'chunking' sounds or drop back to really slow rotation implies read errors and retries - normally a problem with the disk in question. You shouldn't hear the disk slowdown until partway through the encoding process, when it should gracefully drop to inactivity.

I usually use Audiograbber on an XP machine, but I loaded it up on my Win 7 laptop and tried it - couldn't set it to match the XP settings exactly, it insisted on using Win/NT calls rather than ASPI management. Using (under General Settings) ASPI Access Method, IDE-ATAPI, Buffered Burst Transfer, Default DAE Speed and Rip as much as possible to RAM (limited to 2GB), it was slower by about a third than under XP but still an acceptable ~3 minutes to rip a 45 minute CD. (Best double-check it hasn't somehow been set to Analog rather than ASPI as the input source, btw).

On the encoding front, I found a huge difference between using LAME as an External encoder (under MP3 settings). That took over 4x as long to encode than using the Internal Fraunhofer, comparing both at CBR of 320Kbit/s and 44.1 KHz, with high quality enabled. (They both sounded exactly the same after ripping). If it's encoding that's taking the time, you might want to consider changing the codec.

As per the suggestion below, you might also want to consider a different ripper (and EAC is a pretty good one), but I've got to say I do rate Audiograbber - have used it for years without any issues at all. If you want to carry on trying to fix it, can I suggest ripping a couple of CDs and timing a) start of rip to start of encoding b) start of encoding to end of rip plus c) listening to what the drive is doing and d) making a note of the rough average read speed multiplier for each track. From that it should be possible to get an idea where the bottleneck is and if it's a fairly consistent one.

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Sun Jun 24, 2012 10:17 pm
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Post Re: CD ripping suddenly takes forever

dBpoweramp is the one and only good ripper.

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