What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Stiletto » 2018-1-15 @ 21:19

PixelLogix wrote:or it's impossible to run games off any 3.5 inch drive?


It's not impossible, you just need to reset your target era. Not games like Doom, you're looking for games like Alley Cat.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby jheronimus » 2018-1-15 @ 22:00

The thing is, even standard 1.44MB floppies are a horrible medium:

- It's hard to write them on a modern system. Your everyday computer probably doesn't have a regular floppy connector, so you'll have to use USB drives. Those are slow and unreliable.
- The disks fail all the time and for all kind of reasons. You can still find sealed floppy disks but ironically they are worse than the disks that were made in the 90s. So you can get yourself a pack of fresh TDK or Sony only to find out that a lot of these disks don't work right out of the box.

So really, unless you are collecting actual games on their original disks or you're playing games from CGA/EGA era, I don't see why you'd want to deal with floppy disks.

My preferred way of installing games to retro rigs is actually via network:

1) I use my modern PC and DOSBox (Mac and Boxer, actually) to install the game. I also apply all the patches and fixes I need;
2) I put all my game "distributions" (i.e. the files produced by the installation) on my home FTP server (you can use Windows' built-in FTP functionality for that);
3) I equip all my retro PCs with a 3COM network card;
4) I then use Total Commander on my retro PC to retrieve the files from my FTP. TC is even available for Windows 3.11.

This way I save a lot of time (because the installation obviously goes faster on a new PC) and everything works without issues.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-1-15 @ 23:08

jheronimus wrote:The thing is, even standard 1.44MB floppies are a horrible medium:

- It's hard to write them on a modern system. Your everyday computer probably doesn't have a regular floppy connector, so you'll have to use USB drives. Those are slow and unreliable.


I'm not disagreeing that floppies are generally a horrible medium when you can use other medium.

However, there are 2x speed USB floppy drives that work great.

The old Dell laptop floppy drives that also have a USB port of them are pretty reliable as well.

I don't know where you are getting that USB floppy drives are slow... unless you are comparing to newer medium such as USB flash drives.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Deksor » 2018-1-15 @ 23:29

Back in the days, game developpers liked to use CD even though their game used only few megabytes. And I'm not talking about 2000's compilations, I'm talking about real releases of games. Doom 2 was actually sold on CD in 1994.

As for what you want to do, unless you really want to run them from the disk, just find the floppy images on the internet and write them onto floppy disks. If you want to save space like people did, just copy your game saves, and delete all the game files.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-16 @ 01:33

So, I now have an idea for what I could do on my PC:

3.5" 1.44MB Drives: These are for the really old DOS PC Games, or just basic file storage, like .txt files.
IOMega 100MB: Compilation games, if I REALLY want or need it, and if read speed isn't terrible.
IOMega 250MB: Games that exceed 100 MB (Windows Applications, most likely) if the read speed isn't awful.
CDs: Cheapest Game Storage, Games that exceed 250 MB.

Side Question: What are the read speeds of 3.5 inch and ZIP Drives, anyway? I mean drives like internal 34-pin floppy drives, not USB or parallel.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Deksor » 2018-1-16 @ 05:42

They don't use the floppy disk drive connector, they work completely differently. They're IDE ATAPI devices. Can't remember the speed though, but it wasn't super fast
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-1-16 @ 05:50

Deksor wrote:They don't use the floppy disk drive connector, they work completely differently. They're IDE ATAPI devices. Can't remember the speed though, but it wasn't super fast


For 3.5" 1.44MB disks, the transfer rate is supposedly 62.5KB/s. You are only going to get anywhere near that IF you are reading one single large file.

For ZIP disks, the transfer rate is closer to 1MB/s for a single large file.

So if you really, really want to torture yourself by trying to play games from a floppy or ZIP disk, go right ahead.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-16 @ 07:48

What doesn't use the floppy disk drive connector?
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby xjas » 2018-1-16 @ 08:17

Using a Zip drive instead of a hard drive is painful, I've tried it. The drive spins down after a minute of inactivity and spins back up constantly, shortening its life and bringing your whole system to a crawl. They're pretty quick for bulk file transfers but not made for random access use. Yes, they're worse than CD-ROMs in this regard.

Just stick a cheap HDD or CF card in and use it, like everybody else in this thread has been saying. HDDs became standard on x86 in, what, 1986? for a reason.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby jheronimus » 2018-1-16 @ 08:36

cyclone3d wrote:
jheronimus wrote:The thing is, even standard 1.44MB floppies are a horrible medium:

- It's hard to write them on a modern system. Your everyday computer probably doesn't have a regular floppy connector, so you'll have to use USB drives. Those are slow and unreliable.


I'm not disagreeing that floppies are generally a horrible medium when you can use other medium.

However, there are 2x speed USB floppy drives that work great.

The old Dell laptop floppy drives that also have a USB port of them are pretty reliable as well.

I don't know where you are getting that USB floppy drives are slow... unless you are comparing to newer medium such as USB flash drives.


I heard about older USB drives being better than the devices you can still find for sale new. I have two nearly no-name drives by Gembird and TEAC, so that might be the reason for my issues. However, I do find these devices to be noticeably slower and more prone to errors than the drive even on my 486 — to the point that when I needed to format a bunch of my disks, I actually used a retro rig, not a USB drive.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Jo22 » 2018-1-16 @ 08:41

jheronimus wrote:I heard about older USB drives being better than the devices you can still find for sale new.
I have two nearly no-name drives by Gembird and TEAC [..]

Is that a TEAC model FD-05PUB, by any chance ?
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby jarreboum » 2018-1-16 @ 12:50

So you want to treat your PC like a console, with each media holding one piece of software, inserting a different one every time you want to play a different game.

A solution you haven't considered, is CF cards with a front reader. CF are physically the biggest flash media, they still feel like something in your hands (unlike SD which are so small and lightweight). You can put a game and an OS on each one of them and boot off them. Insert CF, boot computer, play game, shutdown computer, remove CF.

Another benefit is that you can access your data on a modern computer very easily. With a script you can backup your saves in a cloud and never worry about data corruption any more.

Addonics makes CF readers that use IDE and SATA, if you can't do internal USB.
or https://www.ebay.com/itm/Startech-3-5in ... 1624620652
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Stiletto » 2018-1-16 @ 16:16

jarreboum wrote:A solution you haven't considered, is CF cards with a front reader. CF are physically the biggest flash media, they still feel like something in your hands (unlike SD which are so small and lightweight). You can put a game and an OS on each one of them and boot off them. Insert CF, boot computer, play game, shutdown computer, remove CF.


Ah, yes, that would give them the feel they want. Or you could have a single OS, and when a CF card is inserted, auto-play the game on the CF somehow.

There's people in Marvin who have done CF-based loading before. There's even someone who modified a CF front reader to give it a floppy drive bezel.

Even so, it's still a use case that users never experienced. Commercial games were never distributed on CompactFlash cards.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-16 @ 21:14

I have considered CF as an option, considering the card reader on my PC has a CF slot. If I ever do get an older PC (thinking about a Thinkpad), I might get one of those IDE to CF adapters for ease of file access. Do they make PC card to CF adapters?
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-1-16 @ 21:31

PixelLogix wrote:What doesn't use the floppy disk drive connector?


A Zip drive, an LS120 drive.. any "floppy" style drive that holds more than 2.88MB.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby lolo799 » 2018-1-16 @ 21:34

PixelLogix wrote:I have considered CF as an option, considering the card reader on my PC has a CF slot. If I ever do get an older PC (thinking about a Thinkpad), I might get one of those IDE to CF adapters for ease of file access. Do they make PC card to CF adapters?

Yes you can find a variety of PCMCIA adapters for other media devices, including CF cards.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Deksor » 2018-1-16 @ 23:02

Why do you want to torture yourself with old floppy disks that aren't even designed that to get the "original feeling" that never existed that way if it's next to go to CF card regarding to HDDs ?
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby Auzner » 2018-1-16 @ 23:38

Because Guardians of the Galaxy had a cassette tape in the intro. The old media brought back today is the gateway to driving around in a Duesenberg instead of a Honda.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby chinny22 » 2018-1-16 @ 23:40

As Deksor said companies liked to use CD's even if all was used was a couple of MB. In fact Doom did exactly that.
Final Doom came on a CD, you can clearly tell by the files and the installer is was just using the 3? 4? disk images that ID had copied over to the CD.
so what that's a max of just under 6MB used.

Doom 2 was worse, that's definitely only 3 disks, but they rigged it so you could play the game direct from CD as well but NO ONE ever did that. Floppy, CD's etc are all slower then the HDD and speed was a premium back then.

So If you wanted you could do something similar, Install all the games to the HDD, then burn those folders to a CD, you could have like a 3d shooter CD with Doom's Duke3d, etc.
You wont be able to save games as CD's are read only, and you would want to configure any game settings as your locked in once you burn that CD.
And as already said NO ONE did this back in the day, I had a very limited space for quite awhile so could only have 2-3 games installed, the rest would be zipped up on a 420MB HDD with DoubleSpace compression (Would never do that now but it worked well back then). felt like playing a different game?
Backup saved games, uninstall, install game copy those savegames from backup.

But yeh as soon as HDD's became standard (386 era) all these disks/discs are like usb sticks today, yes you could play games off it, but you wouldn't, its just a method to get files from 1 place to another.
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Re: What 3.5 inch floppy drive is works with all 3.5 inch disks?

Postby PixelLogix » 2018-1-17 @ 02:49

So it's just ridiculous, what I'm trying to do?
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