Enabling DMA Mode in Windows® XP
Benefits of enabling the DMA mode in Windows® XP.
The to and fro transfer of data from the memory to other devices, like CD, DVD, etc is done by Direct Memory Access mode or the DMA mode. This is called as the Direct Memory Access mode because the data is passed to the memory directly and not through a micro processor. Both PIO mode and DMA mode can be used by the disc burning devices to function. The PIO mode is slow and utilizes the CPU to a larger extent, for high-speed disc burning devices. In DMA mode, discs run at their maximum efficiency. Since the data does not pass through the microprocessor in the DMA mode, any problem with this mode might cause loss of data. So, it is better that you keep a backup of the data. The faster mode of DMA is called as Ultra DMA or UDMA. In multi-core processors, the DMA technique can be used for data transfer between chips.
More information on the DMA mode in Windows® XP:
- Benefits of enabling DMA in Windows® XP
- Data transfer method in the DMA mode
- Issues that can occur while enabling the DMA mode
Benefits of enabling DMA in Windows® XP
Enabling the DMA mode for all drives in the Windows® XP operating system enhances system performance. It increases the speed of the system by reducing the load on the CPU. Using this high-performance mode, large amounts of data can be sent very fast to the disc burning devices even when other programs are running. If you enable the DMA mode for your drives, you can enhance the performance of the hard disk or the optical disc devices. If the DMA mode is not enabled, the CPU will have to take part in read and write operations, thus delaying other CPU tasks.
Data transfer method in the DMA mode
Data transfer through the DMA mode in the Windows® XP operating system makes use of a method called Cycle Stealing. Data is not passed through the CPU, but is transferred by a DMA controller. While the DMA controller accesses the memory, the CPU memory access gets delayed for a short period of time. But, this does not affect the performance of the system. In this mode, the speed of reading data from the disc and writing to a disc is increased by several times.
If you fail to install the DMA mode in Windows® XP, the system might return back to the PIO mode. In order to manually set the access mode to DMA, you have to uninstall and reboot the drive. The disc burning devices with old firmware might have problems when working in the DMA mode. Such devices don’t function properly in the DMA mode and sometimes don’t get detected. In such cases you should disable the DMA mode.