Laptop DVD Drive Not Spinning Up Correctly Leading to Poor Performance

Hi, my laptop was struggling to read some DVD ROM disks so I replaced the CD/DVD combo drive with a second-hand one from ebay. I researched the drive I had to make sure the model I purchased was very similar to the old one. They are the slimline IDE ATAPI types drives that just slot in and fortunately the new one fitted fine. It is a TSSTcorp TS-L632D.

Unfortunately I have noticed that the new drive often does not seem to spin up to anything like full speed when reading CD's and DVD ROM's. So while it's fast enough to watch a DVD, copying files takes much longer than it should. I ran a DVD drive diagnostic program called Opti Drive Control and it indicated that read speed was about 1.5 - 3x depending on the position being read. I've noticed that the drive momentarily spins up after the disk is inserted, but then slows down. I get the same problem with most CD ripping programs. But strangely, Exact Audio Copy (EAC) seems to be able to get the drive to spin up properly and the speed is perfectly acceptable. I have found that I do not get this problem with DVD-R disks, which is making me wonder if it could be a problem with the laser - as I understand it a different laser is used to read recordable disks.

The controller is set to use DMA and I have tried disabling the option and it just makes things worse. I have tried removing then adding the drive in the device manager and it made no difference. I looked in the event log for indications of controller errors but none are reported. I have both Windows Vista and Ubuntu installed on the machine and both seem to have the same problem.

I have checked in the BIOS and there is an option for Ultra DMA for both the DVD drive and the hard drive (also IDE) but I cannot enable it - it just says something about contacting 'your supervisor' even if I am logged in with the supervisor password. Whether or not this option would make a difference I do not know. I even tried using a lens cleaner CD as suggested by some posts on the internet but it had no effect.

It's a Zoostorm laptop, but about three years old so I'm not sure I would get much in the way of support from them. Does anyone have an idea what the problem could be? Or do you know of a way of diagnosing the problem: how can I be sure if the drive itself is faulty? If possible I'd rather not have to spend more money buying yet another drive. Thanks in advance.

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More about laptop drive spinning correctly leading poor performance
  1. Have you got the latest drivers and firmware? As it is a second hand drive, it may be quite old and have old firmware...
  2. I had a look at upgrading the firmware but unfortunately it is a bit of a minefield. There are a few dozen variations of that model which are used by different laptop manufacturers and if you use the wrong firmware I think you can brick the drive. Also there doesn't seem to be any indication that the stock firmware is problematic.
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