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<  Firmwares, enhancements and upgrades  ~  Minimizing boot delay with Samsung HDDs (patch proposal)

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DeadBeef
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:27 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 09 Jan 2006 Posts: 264
For whatever reason, Topfield initializes the standby timeout period of the harddisk with the WIN_STANDBY (0xE2) ATA command followed by WIN_IDLE (0xE1). My 80GB Samsung HDD reacts to this command sequence with an audible spin down / spin up which delays the availability of the HDD by a couple of seconds.
So I patched the TF5000 FW with respect to the harddisk initialization. That is, I just replaced the WIN_STANDBY (0xE2) with WIN_SETIDLE1 (0xE3) which sets the standby timeout without putting the HDD to standby immediately. This decreased the boot time by 4 seconds. Many users from the German board confirmed the improvement. However, this value depends on the HDD model. Newer/bigger Samsung HDDs handle the commands faster so that the patch benefit is not that significant. Seagate HDDs seem not to care about the initialization sequence (almost no difference measured).

Since I don't have enough Web space/traffic capacity to host lots of different firmware versions I can just offer to share the knowledge. There is only one byte to be replaced in the firmware binary. That byte is part of the instruction 0x240e00e2. This instruction seems to be unique in all firwares (except for the TF6000 FW).

Cheers,
DeadBeef
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chunkywizard
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:34 pm Reply with quote
MyStuff Team Joined: 13 May 2005 Posts: 9319 Location: Sindlesham, Berkshire Tx: Hannington
Hi Deadbeef,

this sounds *very* interesting. Nigel, can you host the patched firmware? I am sure people will be interested if we really save 4 seconds on boot....

Cheers

Chunkywizard

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nwhitfield
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 7:45 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 20 Mar 2005 Posts: 9579
Yes, I daresay we could do that. No problem, if someone wants to send me a copy over. Mind you, we don't actually have a category in the download lists for firmwares. I'll have to think where to put it.. maybe we should have a new 'Unoffical firmwares' category in the TAPs library.

Nigel.

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vroomfondle
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:00 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 09 Jun 2005 Posts: 1338 Location: TX: Hannington
0x240E00E2 seems to occur twice in the Sys_456-2005-12-25P firmware, so I don't know which one to change Sad
locations are on lines (in xvi32) 95952 and 4BDF5C

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nwhitfield
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:50 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 20 Mar 2005 Posts: 9579
I have the firmware files, and I'll figure out where to upload them shortly; perhaps actually I should just link them to this thread, then casual browsers through the site won't come across them without being aware of exactly what they're for.

Nigel.

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Andy K
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:15 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 14 Jun 2005 Posts: 3520
Excellent. Very Happy Very Happy

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Autostart TAPs: Jags 3, Bookmark 2uk, Quickjump 1.71, Power Manager 1.1, Description Extender 1.5/2.1, MEI2Archive 3.8l6, Tap Launcher 3.5a, Tap Commander, AccurateBMExtend 0.3, RemoteExt 1.5, TunerRecAR.2
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Sebby
Posted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:23 pm Reply with quote
Site helper Joined: 16 Jul 2005 Posts: 1199 Location: London
Are we talking about reducing the time when the Toppy is switched out of standby? If so, this is interesting!

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DeadBeef
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:27 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 09 Jan 2006 Posts: 264
vroomfondle wrote:
0x240E00E2 seems to occur twice in the Sys_456-2005-12-25P firmware, so I don't know which one to change Sad
locations are on lines (in xvi32) 95952 and 4BDF5C

Interesting, I haven't noticed that. My guess would be 0x95952 because it's approximately the address area in the other firmwares.

Sebby wrote:
Are we talking about reducing the time when the Toppy is switched out of standby? If so, this is interesting!

Yes, we are talking about the boot time out of standby (my statement above is a bit ambiguous).

I have to add that two German users reported increased boot delay when booting with TAPs in Autostart (ca. +15 seconds including TAP start). Without TAPs in Autostart there was no difference between patched and non-patched firmware versions.

Cheers,
DeadBeef
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jonstatt
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:40 am Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 17 Jan 2006 Posts: 32
Interesting.

I have noticed on my 250Gb Samsung Toppy, that I hear a loud click as it spins up, followed by what sounds like its just starting to spin down, spin up again followed by another click. The gap between the two clicks is about 4 seconds.

I was a bit concerned at one point that my drive was dodgy.

Jonathan
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DeadBeef
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:46 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 09 Jan 2006 Posts: 264
jonstatt wrote:
Interesting.

I have noticed on my 250Gb Samsung Toppy, that I hear a loud click as it spins up, followed by what sounds like its just starting to spin down, spin up again followed by another click. The gap between the two clicks is about 4 seconds.

I was a bit concerned at one point that my drive was dodgy.

Jonathan

That's exactly the behavior the patch attempts to eliminate.
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simonc
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:59 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 12 Apr 2005 Posts: 5640 Location: Cheltenham
Perhaps Firebird would consider adding this patch to his Power Outage firmware fix.
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nwhitfield
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:06 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 20 Mar 2005 Posts: 9579
One of the patched files that I'll be uploading later combined both - I'm just waiting for Deadbeef to confirm something to me about version numbers.

Nigel.

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Sebby
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:15 pm Reply with quote
Site helper Joined: 16 Jul 2005 Posts: 1199 Location: London
I have the Seagate drive, and I think I'm a bit mistaken but what this patch does. I've always wondered why the C4.56 stays on the display for so long and why the machine doesn't boot straight away, but I don't think this is what this patch is intended to change. If I understand correctly, this patch attempts to correct a 'problem' with boxes with the Samsung drive, whereby the drive spins up, then down slightly, then up again. Am I correct?

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DeadBeef
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:30 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 09 Jan 2006 Posts: 264
Sebby wrote:
I have the Seagate drive, and I think I'm a bit mistaken but what this patch does. I've always wondered why the C4.56 stays on the display for so long and why the machine doesn't boot straight away, but I don't think this is what this patch is intended to change. If I understand correctly, this patch attempts to correct a 'problem' with boxes with the Samsung drive, whereby the drive spins up, then down slightly, then up again. Am I correct?

Your assumption is correct.

The regular boot phase during which C4.56 is shown includes hardware initialization, decompressing and copying of the firmware to RAM. This part is done by the boot loader which is not supposed to (but can) be replaced. However, I am afraid that the optimization potential of the boot loader is not that high.
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Andy K
Posted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 10:42 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 14 Jun 2005 Posts: 3520
simonc wrote:
Perhaps Firebird would consider adding this patch to his Power Outage firmware fix.


An excellent idea. I was worrying about having lots of different ad on firmware. (which you can't run at the same time).

Would be good to get it all into one if it's reliable.

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Launched during EPG scan: Crid, SeriesLink 0.35
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