VOGONS


First post, by emosun

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do old full height hard drives have any value these days? I know modern flash replacements basically made these things useless as far as actual ease of use goes. but do they otherwise have any value outside of just being neat to look at/take apart? I have a about 8 full height hard drives and like two half height hard drives that i've never powered on

a second question..... if i wanted to power them on just to recuse any long lost data/programs from the 80s that may be of interest , whats a good way to do that?

can i just throw an old school drive controller in like a windows 95 era build and windows will set it all up?

Reply 1 of 10, by TrashPanda

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are we talking about full height 5.25 drives ? or full height 3.5 drives ?

Cause it matters which you are referring to.

If its 5.25 then sure they have value if they are still operational, possibly quite a bit of value to the right collectors and even ones that are dead are still wanted for repair purposes. if its 3.5 drives then they also have value to the right people but only certain drive sizes are really worth anything. (10 - 500mb drives if they still work can be worth a nice amount, 500 - 5gb also sell well for people wanting period correct builds)

But generally most collectors will go with SSD, CF or SD>CF setups as they will be faster and more reliable.

Powering them on? I wouldn't bother with anything more than a basic DOS on floppy disk setup with a few basic tools to copy the drive contents .. like Laplink or other serial setup, best to keep it as simple as you can for quick dirty HDD backups as you may not have a lot of time with old HDDs that have not been used in a number of years.

Also make 100% sure that the PSU you use provides stable voltages to the PC before you use it just to give yourself the best possible setup.

Edit - If its old MFM/RLL drives then they may be best left unpowered unless you have good knowledge of how they function as they can require a little help to get the actuators moving again if they have been sitting for some time.

Last edited by TrashPanda on 2022-06-12, 08:26. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 2 of 10, by emosun

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TrashPanda wrote on 2022-06-12, 08:21:

are we talking about full height 5.25 drives ? or full height 3.5 drives ?

there are about 8 5.25 full height drives , 2 or 3 5.25 half height drives. and just one full height 3.5 drive.

one thing thats weird is I think one of the 5.25 full height drives is like 3000mb (3gb) in size. I know they aren;t supposed to be that large and they should be like 20-100mb but one of them was massive for some reason. I have to dig it out and see if that one is anything interesting

Reply 3 of 10, by TrashPanda

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emosun wrote on 2022-06-12, 08:25:
TrashPanda wrote on 2022-06-12, 08:21:

are we talking about full height 5.25 drives ? or full height 3.5 drives ?

there are about 8 5.25 full height drives , 2 or 3 5.25 half height drives. and just one full height 3.5 drive.

one thing thats weird is I think one of the 5.25 full height drives is like 3000mb (3gb) in size. I know they aren;t supposed to be that large and they should be like 20-100mb but one of them was massive for some reason. I have to dig it out and see if that one is anything interesting

Honestly that would be a damn interesting drive to see, would certainly be a very odd drive, I can just imagine the cost of the thing back in the day! I suspect that a 5.25 drive of that size may have had its own controller card with a special BIOS on it to allow such a drive size.

If you dig it out and its working dont forget to let us know what you find !

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 4 of 10, by emosun

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TrashPanda wrote on 2022-06-12, 08:27:

If you dig it out and its working dont forget to let us know what you find !

i actually googled around a bit and it seems like full height drives of that size were possible/somewhat normal. I even see a full height drive that was 23gb!

I'm remembering the drive was scsi so might be a real simple upgrade drive for an older machine

Reply 5 of 10, by TrashPanda

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emosun wrote on 2022-06-12, 08:44:
TrashPanda wrote on 2022-06-12, 08:27:

If you dig it out and its working dont forget to let us know what you find !

i actually googled around a bit and it seems like full height drives of that size were possible/somewhat normal. I even see a full height drive that was 23gb!

I'm remembering the drive was scsi so might be a real simple upgrade drive for an older machine

SCSI would explain how it can be 3gb, IIRC MFM/RLL/IDE never got that big till later as the BIOS had to support the drive parameters.

As a side .. I LOVE the sound of RLL HDDs, its a totally unique sound compared to MFM and IDE.

Oh noes, the cap let the shmooo out 😁

Reply 7 of 10, by maxtherabbit

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I don't own a single retro machine without a mechanical hard drive, and I have almost 15 at this point

There are those of us who still value original storage

Reply 8 of 10, by Tetrium

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2022-06-12, 17:45:

I don't own a single retro machine without a mechanical hard drive, and I have almost 15 at this point

There are those of us who still value original storage

I don't mind mechanical harddrives at all tbh.
Even now that I've finally moved to SSD myself, I'll not change using mechanical harddrives for any of my non-primary rigs and I'm perfectly fine with their inherent slowness compared to SSDs.

I don't mind the read/write sounds either. I actually kinda like hearing those sounds, similarly to how a real floppy drive can make a retro rig sound just a bit more alive.
I can however not stand the constant wining some drives make. If a HDD is constantly whining it will drive me mad! MAD I tell ya!!11 :'(

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My retro rigs (old topic)
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Reply 9 of 10, by liqmat

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I regret giving up my 5¼" full height 600MB Seagate Wren SCSI HDD. Had it installed in its own external single drive SCSI chassis. That thing would not die. Ran it all the way into the late 90s/possibly early 00s. It only averaged a 600KB/sec transfer rate, but it had character damnit and it never skipped a beat. The last system I ran it on was an Athlon 800MHz (maybe 1GHz) system before I retired it and gave it away? Not sure what I did with it, but this was long before I started my computer preservation efforts.

Last edited by liqmat on 2022-06-13, 10:03. Edited 2 times in total.

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Reply 10 of 10, by jakethompson1

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maxtherabbit wrote on 2022-06-12, 17:45:

I don't own a single retro machine without a mechanical hard drive, and I have almost 15 at this point

There are those of us who still value original storage

I haven't been able to wrap it up yet, but also in looking at 486 PCI chipsets, mechanical drives support multi-sector transfers (block mode) while flash storage doesn't, and this seems to be as big of a factor affecting the transfer rate as ISA vs. VLB/PCI IDE. This matters because these old chipsets don't support IDE DMA/UltraDMA bus mastering, which is inherently multi-sector per interrupt by design.