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Firewire is unreliable on HP 5 Port Firewire/USB 2.0 (P8319AA) PCI Host Card

Steve Kirsch
Occasional Visitor

Firewire is unreliable on HP 5 Port Firewire/USB 2.0 (P8319AA) PCI Host Card

I just bought a Compaq-branded combo Firewire USB 2.0 card for my Vectra VL600 and discovered that the firewire ports all drop packets occasionally causing errors in data transfer.

In my case, on a 10G disk backup using Dantz Express, I got 9 errors resulting in a unusuable backup (because Dantz is so stupid as to not retry on errors). However, the USB 2.0 ports on the same card were reliable and generated no errors.

Here's what I did to determine this...

I have an external Maxtor "one touch" USB/Firewire drive.

Tried to backup my HP 10G disk using the firewire cable and Dantz backup included with the Maxtor and got lots of compare errors during the compare phase.

Tried the same firewire cable/disk on my laptop with the same operating system and same backup software: no errors.

Tried it again on the PC with Firewire cable: even more errors.

Switched to the USB 2.0 interface (on the same card and the same drive with my desktop): no errors.

The inevitable conclusion: there is a bug in the Compaq firewire card which is causing it to "drop" packets (the compare errors were 2048 missing "chunks").

I'm in Palo Alto, CA if anyone from HP wants to see this firsthand.