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CF Card Through IDE - SLOW!

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First post, by NooNaN

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Hey guys,

While looking for a way to boot both Dos 6.22 and Win 98SE I stumbled across the StarTech CF Reader that connects to IDE. It fits the bill as I have an internal IDE drive set as the Primary Slave, running DOS, then have an 8GB CF card with Win98 installed, set as the Primary Master. When the card is inserted at boot, it loads 98 and if the card is removed, it loads DOS.....PERFECT!!!

Except, the card is CRAWLING slow. I don't get it as there were a couple of reviews talking about how great the speed was with a Windows OS installed. The read speeds (I would think) should be very comparable to an old IDE drive, so I don't get what's wrong. It installed very slow (expecting write speeds to be slower), seems to boot in a reasonable amt of time, but any game or software runs VERY slow and is completely unusable. This is the card I got:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?It … N82E16820139484

Here's a high level of the system:

K6-III+ running at 66Mhz, so 400Mhz
ASUS P5A-B Mboard with latest BIOS
Voodoo 3 3500 AGP
SB AWE 64 Gold

Has anyone done this successfully? Any ideas? Settings? Maybe I should have bought a faster card? Faster interface? I was so happy when this plan worked as I had my solution. I buttoned up my case as final and everything. Now, so bummed that seemingly, I've got to still do more. Maybe I should have gotten the equivalent SD card reader instead? Just thought the CF cards felt more like "drives" and inserting/removing was easier.

Thanks!

Reply 1 of 62, by PhilsComputerLab

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What computer are you using it in?

CF cards get usually recommend for DOS, not so much for Windows 98. They still work fine with Windows 98.

Can you run ATTO benchmark and post the result?

Download from here: http://www.philscomputerlab.com/hdd-benchmarks.html

Have you enabled DMA in Windows? If not: How to enable DMA mode in Windows 95 or 98

The other issue is expectations. A K6 will never be a race horse in regards to Windows 98. How long does it take to boot to desktop? How much RAM does the machine have?

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Reply 2 of 62, by darksheer

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Win98SE may have forced DMA without notice and it cause the slowdowns you are experiencing (some CF will allow it and some won't).
Try to disable it from devices manager if you could (I don't remenber if you can while in safe mode), if not just find a way to do it with regedit and restart the computer.
It should solve your issue.

Reply 3 of 62, by NooNaN

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I'll run that benchmark shortly...

I did think of DMA and tried it prior to writing this. The default was no DMA. I then tried to enable it and it wouldn't take the setting, so seems like not supported. There seems to be conflicting opinion on DMA...what's the impact based on this type of storage?

Phil - when you ask about the computer, what other info are you looking for? I did fail to mention the RAM...there's currently 256MB in (2) 128MB sticks. I do still have my Win install that I did prior on another IDE drive, which I will try to put back in and see if I get the same results. From memory, there wasn't an issue, but I hadn't run any era appropriate games yet. Boot to desktop (off the top of my head) is roughly 20-30 secs or so including the BIOS posting, but I'll confirm.

I could always flip the installs, so DOS on the CF card and Win on the internal HDD. I thought the CF might even be faster and I happen to already have a bit of work on my Dos install completed, so went this route. I could also try a 400x or 800x card, but I'll try that bench first and put the other HDD in to confirm it's drive speed related.

Reply 4 of 62, by PhilsComputerLab

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I think when I replied the specifications weren't there yet, but I can see them now. That's plenty of RAM.

DMA not enabling is disappointing, I've also got a few SS7 boards that don't allow it.

Hands down the fastest storage solution is using modern SATA drives from Seagate, limit capacity with SeaTools to 120GB or lower, and use SATA to IDE adapters.

On a fast Pentium III, it will install Windows 98 in around 8 minutes 😀

Yes I would do what you suggested, try Windows on the platter drive.

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Reply 5 of 62, by darksheer

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Then maybe a conflict between the IDE HDD and the CF because they are on the same IDE ribbon cable ?
Is using the CF alone in the primary IDE channel set as primary Master and disable IDE HDD Block Mode into BIOS resolve the issue ?

Edit :
I'm using MicroSD cards in a mSD to CF adapter and with a CF to IDE adapter and even without DMA it top at +- 10 MB/s max read speed with Disk Speed and something like 21 MB/s in Cached Speed.
Even at 10MB/s, the fact that there is no latency make the computer really fast for both applications and exploring files, not a single problem to play and install games using that so far...

Reply 6 of 62, by ibm5155

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From my fast test, the boot time on Windows 98 compared with a Pentium mmx233 and a K6-III+ 400 changed nothing on a the boot time.
The onboard ide is an Ultra DMA/33, the hdd supports Ultra DMA/100, maybe with an external controller I would be able to see the speed gain from that upgrade

Reply 7 of 62, by jwt27

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What voltage are you supplying to the card? Some (many?) CF cards require 3.3V for DMA mode, and default to slow IDE/PIO mode on 5V.

The DRQ/DACK signal lines must also be present on the CF->IDE adapter in order to support DMA mode. On older/cheap adapters these were often omitted.

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Reply 8 of 62, by NooNaN

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ATTO won't run - says that it's expecting a newer version of Windows. Does that make sense?

The manual to my mboard says that it supports UltraDMA/33, PIO Modes 3 and 4 and Bus Master IDE DMA Mode 2. Also notes that it supports enhanced IDE devices. It uses the Aladdin V chipset. Not sure if that gives any indication of DMA being supported...

What BIOS settings could impact this? Darksheer mentioned Block Mode...I'll check that. Any others?

Re: voltages, that's where I tap out. Not sure, but I believe it's 5V. How can I check? Is it just a matter of what the PSU is outputting? A particular lead off of it?

Thanks again...

Reply 9 of 62, by boxpressed

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I have that same StarTech adapter, and I've had a good experience with it and 98SE. I haven't booted up that system for a while, however. I use it with an OEM box (Celeron 466). I also use a Hitachi Microdrive instead of a CF card.

Reply 10 of 62, by jwt27

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Does your CF adapter have jumpers to switch between 3.3 and 5V? There should be a voltage regulator chip too (or two diodes, on cheap adapters). If not, it's most likely running at 5V.

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Reply 11 of 62, by NooNaN

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The Adapter doesn't have that option, no. How else can I verify what voltage is being sent?

Anyway, I did hook back up the IDE drive....same result! I don't get it. Guess it's not necessarily the CF card. The two games I tried were Black & White and Desperados (I know...it was sitting there). They both ran at a CRAWLING speed. They should run fast on this system. Something else must be going on.

Is there any other benchmark I can use? Phil, is the one you mentioned supposed to work on Win98SE? Both of my caches are enabled, CPU is posting the right speed, memory is there...

Reply 12 of 62, by 8086-ProGamer

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what speeds do you get?

My system gets this results: (Pentium 166MMX Startech adapter with 2GB Transcend 300x CF Card)
Windows 95

left: DMA Disabled
right: DMA Enabled

20150920_234007_zpsagaouat4.jpg

Reply 13 of 62, by NooNaN

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Which benchmark is that? I'll grab it and run the same test.
EDIT - Nevermind, looks like CrystalMark. I'll test now and post....

EDIT - Should crystalmark work on 98? Think I may be missing some kind of runtime. Any ideas?

Reply 15 of 62, by NooNaN

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Yup, Phill's bench didn't run either and should.

Phill - what runtime am I missing? Initial error is invalid or missing link to kernel32.dll. Maybe there's a bigger problem here?

I was able to run the individual graphical benchmark .exe's within CrystalMark. The 2D one ran as expected, but the 3D one was SLOW! I do have the latest 3DFX drivers (amigamerlin version) installed and no issues with the hardware. Maybe there's a 3D problem here? Desperado is not 3D accelerated though and it was slow as well. I ran Doom Collectors edition and all versions run fine in the same environment. Also, the opening movie for Black & White was like 10fps also, so not just 3D.

EDIT - just tried Quake. 2D Quake runs like sh&t, like unplayable at a decent res. I did run glQuake and the 3DFX worked. It ran fine at 640x480 but hung up trying to change to 800x600. Something is def going on. This build should be running all of this much better.

Reply 16 of 62, by PhilsComputerLab

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Try dskspeed, that should work.

You might also want to run these DOS benchmarks so we can get an idea of the performance if your machine:

http://www.philscomputerlab.com/486-benchmark-suite.html

It seems the downloads aren't for Windows 98 on my site. Sorry about that.

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Reply 17 of 62, by NooNaN

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Ok, that one did run.

The IDE drive (8GB partition) was a total score of 158.2 and roughly 10MB/s on the higher block sizes.
The CF drive (8GB partition) was a total score of 2854(?) and roughly 13-14MB/s on the higher block sizes.

So, def not the CF drive, which I guess is good.

Here are the DOS bench results:

1 - said MTRR setting failed: -8, MTRRs are not supported
2 - 1092
3 - 45.2 (320x200 8bpp)
4 - timed 2134 gametics in 1087 realtics
5 - 969 frames, 39.8 secs, 24.3 FPS (seemed much faster than that)
6 - looks like just informational, but I noted this:
clock mult: available only in real mode
current cpu mode: virtual
int cache: enabled in write-back mode

how does that stack up?

Reply 18 of 62, by Imperious

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Assuming Your AWE64 Gold in PNP, make sure it has no IRQ or DMA conflicts with anything else You have installed.

Make sure Your hdd settings are either set to the max for PIO and UDMA, or set to Auto. Also 32bit mode should be on.
I don't have this mobo so don't know what options are available to be set?

Maybe post pics of Your bios screens could help here.

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Reply 19 of 62, by PhilsComputerLab

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NooNaN wrote:

how does that stack up?

Ok, that helped a lot. Attached a screenshot of similar machines in their results.

There is something seriously holding back your machine. It should perform ~ twice as fast.

Try booting into DOS-mode, then run that DOS benchmark again and choose option 6 or 7 to show the CPU clocks.

FSB should be 66 and multiplier 6x for a frequency of 400 MHz.

Check if there is a turbo header on the motherboard.

I would remove any cards not in use, and figure out what's going on.

Check out my 4 in 1 Retro PC project: Too many Retro PCs? Let's build a 4 in 1 Retro Gaming PC! 386, 486, Pentium...

I'm sure I have some benchmarks in that video towards the end.

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