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Test Setup

Drivers Improve WindowsXP Service Pack 2 FireWire
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Two Pentium 4 PCs were used for the test, each equipped with an IEEE 1394b card from the FireWire DV PCI Kit from Trust . The following table shows the setup of both systems in detail:

Test PC 1
Mainboard/barebone MSI MEGA-PC-645
Chipset SIS 645
Processor Intel Pentium 4 2.53 GHz
Graphics card SIS 645 (Savage 4)
Test PC 2
Mainboard/barebone MSI 845PE-Neo 2
Chipset Intel 845PE
Processor Intel Pentium 4 2.6 GHz
Graphics card ATI Radeon 9800
Shared hardware
Memory 512 MByte DDR400 from Memory-Solutions
Mass storage 120 GB Hitachi hard drive
Optical drive LG GSA-4082B DVD burner
Operating system MS Windows XP with SP1
Input devices Logitech MX-700 and Cordless Desktop Pro keyboard
Loudspeaker Logitech Z-680 THX certified sound system
Monitor 2x LG Flatron L2010P, 20.1" TFT

To connect the two test PCs a 4.5 m long FireWire cable (6-pin on both sides) and an equally long IEEE 1394b cable from Hama were used for each. We measured throughput with SiSoft Sandra 2004 and NetIO. As these are synthetic benchmarks, we first of all carried out a manual test to determine a value close to reality. To do this we copied a 7.65 GB DVD image from one computer to the other and timed the operation. In order to obtain error-free measurements we deactivated the benchmarks and all other network connections and pulled the cables during the operation.

Windows XP And 1394 Networks

In general Windows has trouble with networks based on FireWire: because of the small number of users, the software giant appears to receive little in the way of feedback. In fact, a connection between the 1394 communication partners is often lacking entirely. This could be because of low-grade cables, incompatibility between the hardware used (seldom) or driver problems. Many IEEE1394 drivers do not support all functions of certain cards or chipsets - or at least not correctly.

During the test, the Texas Instruments driver that Windows had automatically allocated to the 1394 adapter had to be replaced by an OHCI driver from VIA to enable setup of a stable network connection via IEEE 1394a (!) at 400 MBit/s. It frequently pays off to disconnect other network connections - Ethernet, for example - as conflicts may otherwise arise in the allocation of IP addresses. In the test, it was enough to disconnect the computer from the local network.

During the test all other network connections were deactivated and unplugged
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