I used to get this error on a FreeBSD while using a perfectly stable harddrive. That
harddrive is managed via Solaris now, but, I determined the issue during its FreeBSD
usage was DMA. If you are running two disks on the same ATA channel with
different DMA capabilities, the capabilities may be causing scrambles in the
negotiation of I/O on the line. The solution is to put ATA drives that use _only_ the
same DMA caps on the same ATA channel. If you only have two drives, simply
put ATA0.1 on ATA1.0. This stopped my "falling back to PIO" messages and
probably saved the disk from hard failure caused by misuse.

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