VOGONS


First post, by Wild-E

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Hi dear forum readers,

I've put together a nice retro PC (AMD-K6II+, DOS/Win98, Audacian32... ). It has a nice silent CPU cooler, a nice silent PSU, passive GPU (for the time being, at least).

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.... Oh but the hard drives, the hard drives are noisy as **** and they are making me ears bleed and meh brain go CRAZY!!!!

Ok. Well, now that's out of my chest (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit), but seriously, these old IDE drives are really loud (compared to modern standards and for a silent computing fanatic) and might fail at any moment, being 10+ years old.

I'd presume retro builders have used all kinds of PATA -> SSD solutions. So, what are your recommendations on replacing these? Would a PATA->SATA adapter with an off-the-shelf (small/cheap) SATA SSD work fine? Or, are these usable?

Another thing that comes into mind, is that (depending on the age of the retro build) even the smallest SSDs might be larger than the size limit that the computer can handle; but usually there are ways around that.

Any other options I might have missed / now be aware of? Or something else that shuld be taken into consideration?

Reply 1 of 24, by Kubik

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I'm using 44pin IDE to mSATA convertor in one of older thin client machines, that's probably the cheapest solution (8GB totalled to under 15 bucks or so).
https://de.aliexpress.com/item/HIPERDEAL-Adva … 2311.0.0.fqhBCu
https://de.aliexpress.com/item/Mini-PCIE-mSAT … 2311.0.0.m2VfDA

Reply 2 of 24, by dionb

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Depends on how much storage you want and what your BIOS can handle. Compactflash is great for older IDE-based systems. It's basically the same interface as IDE so a passive adapter is all you need.

Reply 3 of 24, by looking4awayout

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I use this SATA to IDE adapter, by Delock:

54218d72a7b8d3.01328553.jpg

It has a Marvell chipset so it assures full compatibility with the SATA drives I've tried, and supports Ultra DMA so you can run it at the fastest speed your computer can support. I don't recommend using Compact Flash or SD cards as replacement for hard drives, since they wear out the more you keep writing to them and often CF cards only support PIO mode.

Last edited by looking4awayout on 2018-02-16, 14:27. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 4 of 24, by derSammler

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Kubik wrote:

I'm using 44pin IDE to mSATA convertor in one of older thin client machines, that's probably the cheapest solution (8GB totalled to under 15 bucks or so).

Not very compatible, though. Tried that and could not get any pre-Pentium machine to work with these.

Reply 5 of 24, by Nvm1

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I use Disk-on-Modules for the old systems using IDE.
They are essential SSD's for IDE interface, and I use them in sized between 64mb and 32GB which covers a great range of systems.
So far I haven't had any issues with them, they Always get recognised well and some already operate for 5+ years non stop in old systems without an issue. And since the price for DOM's is gradually lowering it's a good alternative.

Reply 6 of 24, by Ampera

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Funny thing, I actually have in my Pentium Pro a 147GB 15,000 RPM SCA-80 Ultra320 hard drive. They can be found somewhat easily, even though they need a bit of stuff to get working. The crazy thing is the drive is REALLY quiet, like the machine is right on the foot of my bed and I have no problem sleeping with it on. It just makes a slight whining when spinning up, but then stays whisper quiet when on.

I'm always partial to SCSI, but most late IDE drives (that were just IDE versions of their SATA equivalents) are rather quiet. I've only really ever had one hard drive that was excessively loud, and that was this stupid WD400 drive that must have had something wrong with the bearing, as most WD drives, even older than that one, aren't anywhere near as loud. That thing was seriously a pain until I replaced it with a Seagate Barracuda I had, which is probably the only time a computer was improved by using a Seagate drive.

Reply 7 of 24, by cyclone3d

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I've been using the cheap Chinese 44-pin IDE to SATA adapters, but have not set up any pre-pentium machines yet.

I've also got some regular cheap Chinese IDE to SATA adpaters and they work fine as well.

I'm also going to be purchasing some msata to 44-pin IDE adapters for use with some 16GB msata SSDs.

The IDE DOMs just seem a bit too expensive for what they are, but if I can't get a cheap IDE to SATA adapter to work on really old machines, I will probably end up going that way since I absolutely hate the slowness and noise of HDDs for anything except data storage (OS and program/games must be on SSD).

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Reply 9 of 24, by DosFreak

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Used this on my XBOX a couple of weeks ago to attach a 2TB SSD

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00JVUXMRI/ … 0?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Shitty quality but the 3rd one worked. Think I had to use CS otherwise there was a delay on boot.

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Reply 10 of 24, by bjwil1991

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Your Xbox original? I'm thinking about replacing the HDD that I currently have in my Xbox Original (80GB Maxtor HDD) to a 120GB SSD, while copying the saved data and ripped music onto the SSD (basically like cloning). How fast is it compared to the IDE HDD? Still the same since it's only ATA-133?

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Reply 11 of 24, by DosFreak

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To be honest I can't really offer a good comparison since the only time I played the XBOX was when I visited my brother and played a bit and this isn't even that XBOX it's my old roomates that he didn't want anymore.

I can say that loading a game loads without issues and of course you don't need to wait for a DVD to spin up or hear it.

From an ease of use standpoint it's alot nicer having the games on the HD than messing around with DVDs

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Reply 12 of 24, by timb.us

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looking4awayout wrote:

I don't recommend using Compact Flash or SD cards as replacement for hard drives, since they wear out the more you keep writing to them and often CF cards only support PIO mode.

You can pickup 8GB Industrial Compact Flash cards in bulk lots on eBay fairly cheap these days. They use the much more reliable SLC NAND flash and generally include extra memory cells, in order to remap bad ones as the dive ages and wears out.

Essentially, they’re just as (if not more) reliable than a contemporary IDE Disk on Module or SSD. I’ve got thousands of hours over a couple of systems and they work perfectly. If you’re concerned about Windows 9x swap access destroying them, you could always park said swap file on a small PATA IDE 2.5” Drive, though again, it’s not strictly necessary.

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Reply 13 of 24, by Ozzuneoj

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Can anyone explain exactly what the difference is between the average DOM purchased on eBay and a decent quality CF card used on a passive adapter? I know people say that CF cards aren't intended to run operating systems so they aren't ideal replacements for hard drives, but what is the actual difference between, for example, a 512MB CF card and a 512MB DOM under DOS or Windows 9x? I've been trying to find a simple and universal IDE device to use for testing older systems. I have two 8GB CF cards (one running UBCD and one with 98SE) set as Master and Slave on an IDE cable and I find that a lot of mid to late 90s systems have trouble understanding this setup. Some times swapping the cards from master to slave or changing the drive settings from LBA to Auto works, other times my basic Windows98 CF card (booting to command line only) simply won't boot on a given system and I have to use a floppy drive for diagnostics. Going further back in time to the pre-UDMA33 motherboards means the FAT32 formatted Windows card basically never works (Disk I/O error usually).

What would I gain from using a $20 512MB DOM versus a $7 512MB "Industrial Grade" CF card?

I see that DOMs are often marked as having SLC NAND, which is good (faster and longer life), but what do CF cards generally use and does it even matter on systems that were originally using incredibly slow hard drives? Consumer grade SSDs haven't used SLC NAND for years. They're almost all MLC or some variant (TLC, 3D-something-or-other, etc.) and it hasn't stopped them from being faster than most people really need.

EDIT: Heh, post right before mine covered some of this. But more input would still be appreciated. 😊

BTW, the 8GB CF cards I have are 50MB/Sec (333x I think) Sandisk Ultra cards, and I have some other 8GB 400x Maxel cards. Both advertise UDMA support I believe.

Now for some blitting from the back buffer.

Reply 14 of 24, by BLockOUT

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there are many ways

- Sata to IDE adapter (but some of them dont work, there is one with a jumper for master-slave that works) + a seagate HDD
- IDE To CF card (mostly used but CF cards are not that common)
- IDE to SD card, costs very cheap and sd cards are available everywhere

i like the adapter + HDD because at least you have a noise, old PCs were NOISY as hell with their hard drives.

Reply 15 of 24, by bjwil1991

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The old MFM drives did run very loud, especially SCSI HDDs as well. My Packard Bell Pack-Mate 28 Plus and Compaq Presario C700 notebook are the only ones that have solid state (CF-IDE for the Packard Bell, SSD for the laptop). I have a 480GB SSD in my Windows 10 desktop + a 1TB HDD (quiet, I might add, and still works), and the other systems have a standard HDD.

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Reply 16 of 24, by Srandista

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Well yes, old PCs were noisy, but if OP wants to eliminate that noise, recommending HDD is kind of... counterproductive... I have old and somewhat noisy IDE disk in my build, but at least I used silent case and CPU fans, even tho they are not period correct. But I set some standards with current rig, and for obvious reasons I don't want to be next to circular saw during my retro gaming sessions...

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Reply 17 of 24, by bjwil1991

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I have 2 Maxtor HDDs that are louder than the rusty exhaust system that's on my car.

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Reply 18 of 24, by Jo22

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Can anyone explain exactly what the difference is between the average DOM purchased on eBay and a decent quality CF card
used on a passive adapter?

DOMs behave more like traditional hard disks. IDE is their primary mode, which they fully support. CF card have three modes, IDE beeing one of them.
In addition, DOMs have the media bit always set to "fixed". CF cards may or may not (industrial types often have it set to "fixed").
Anyway, that bit is a bit overrated. It has no effect on the DOM/CF card. All it does is to make Windows NT/Linux/etc happy.

I see that DOMs are often marked as having SLC NAND, which is good (faster and longer life), but what do CF cards generally use
and does it even matter on systems that were originally using incredibly slow hard drives?

SLC devices may also have a higher access time (response time), because reading a cell is much simpler (LOW/HIGH).
On MLC/TLC things are more complex, I suppose. A good flash device has 1ms, while one of the worser has 10ms and higher.
Stuttering/jerkyness is also a thing. Some CF/SD cards are not used to handle a lot of read/write requests at about the same time.
Rather, they were made to quickly store one file after another (think of cameras). In DOS/Win16 you propably won't notice, but if you're in Win 9x..

BTW, the 8GB CF cards I have are 50MB/Sec (333x I think) Sandisk Ultra cards, and I have some other 8GB 400x Maxel cards.
Both advertise UDMA support I believe

UDMA requires an 80pin cable. Also make sure the CF-IDE adapter has traces for DMA.
If you're in Windows, you can use HD Tune to measure access time and to check for performance drops.
In DOS, there's CheckIt and Speedsys.

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