VOGONS


Rare storage media aficionado build

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Reply 20 of 38, by Tetrium

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ODwilly wrote on 2020-10-18, 01:44:

So it looks like anything newer than Core2 and AM2 socket has an issue with 5.25 floppy drives not being supported. And am2 boards with the AMD chipset being in issue while boards with Nvidia chipsets supporting the 5.25. That Gigabyte board you mentioned looks super promising, supporting the C2Q chips, having 3 pci slots and extra pcie x1 slots. A Q6600 or even the Extreme Edition is dirt cheap anymore and makes for even a great Windows 10 experience, so dual booting XP and 10 would be a fun experience. Not to mention 2gb sticks of DDR2 800 can be had for peanuts now 😀

Years ago I had been looking for a new board specifically with a floppy drive connector and it did at least have the option of mounting a 2.88MB floppy drive, though I ended up never trying before the board died.

It's a bit of a disappointment to know that support for 2 floppy drives was (apparently silently) dropped BUT perhaps it also gives us something to do now? 😜

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Reply 21 of 38, by Tetrium

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Spiffles wrote on 2020-10-17, 03:01:
So I came up with this idea - build a relatively modern computer capable of performing most of today's tasks like - accepting mo […]
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So I came up with this idea - build a relatively modern computer capable of performing most of today's tasks like
- accepting modern LTE internet connection for browsing the web, watching YouTube etc
- era-appropriate gaming
- an HDD of at least around 80 GB capacity
- access to at least USB 1.1 for ease of moving data onto newer devices
- an overall "relatively modern" experience, so preferably WinXP compatible. Even better if later!
- primary role: reading and recording data storage media: both rather obscure and popular but obsolete ones: so CD/DVD, 5.25 floppy, 3.5 floppy, 750MB Zip, 2.3GB MO, multi card.

- Traditional 3,5'' floppy
- a 750MB IDE 3,5'' ZIP drive
- A DVD-RW drive - a single one for all purposes. IDE or SATA - doesn't matter. Doesn't need to be era-appropriate, just needs to work
- A 5,25'' floppy drive
- A HDD caddy
- An internal multi-card reader (so the mobo will probably need a USB socket on it)
- A 2.3 GB internal magneto-optical diskette drive, 3,5''

My main question here though is: is there even a way to have all of these things work on a somewhat modern system? Is there a mobo that supports 5,25x floppy but also has USB on it to plug in the multicard reader? What sorts of extensions would I need to accomodate all those IDE cables for the extra drives? Are there even post-486 era motherboards with enough connectors for all that stuff? Also, if such a system is possible, what era would be the latest feasible? Something like Pentium 4, maybe? I would imagine the motherboard should primarily feature PCI slots for all those expansion cards this build would probably need, like SATA/IDE controllers etc.

Could you advise what sort of hardware is the latest that could accomodate all of this stuff, what sorts of extensions/adapters would be needed and help me plan outall the hardware I'd have to get? Thanks in advance!

I'd first make a list of what exact formats you will want to support. Iirc ZIP 750 drives do not support ZIP 100 disks and 5¼in FFDs have some incompatibility issues between formats to some degree. 3½in FDD have a similar incompatibility, as (afaik) 2.88MB floppy drives are incapable of reading/writing 740KB floppies.

I reckon it should be easy to get a relatively modern mobo featuring internal USB.

In the end it will come down to saving as many internal connections as possible by using as many external ones as you can (and if you want, then somehow shoehorn them into a case making them seem as if they are internal drives?). ZIP and LS-120(/240?) came in USB, as do 1.44MB floppy drives. Afaicr most USB 1.44MB drives do not support other formats out of the box.

Ow man, there's so many different roads that you can walk to try and get what you want 🤣, but it may end up being a build made of compromises 😜
I don't have an external USB drive which is basically a FDD2USB adapter, but I do have a parallel one and it is able to mount at least a 2.88MB floppy drive, BUT iirc this drive only has drivers for Win9x and didn't appear to have any drivers for XP and newer at the least.
It could work if you're willing to dual boot though, but not sure if that is what you want.

sec, cat is distracting me I'll write more later xD

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Reply 22 of 38, by Tetrium

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Anyway, I'd also advice you to also just start with the build. There will always be things unforeseen and specific to your requirements and situations.

Btw, which of the media drives do you have anyway?

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Reply 23 of 38, by Spiffles

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Tetrium wrote on 2020-10-18, 13:12:

Anyway, I'd also advice you to also just start with the build. There will always be things unforeseen and specific to your requirements and situations.

Btw, which of the media drives do you have anyway?

None so far, this is so far only hypothetical, a random idea I got. I tend to do that a lot... anyway, I wanna purchase a few of these exotic drives and media and troll people by putting data on them with them having no way to read it 😁 I'll probably treat this as a long-term hobby project, all the components are quite costly (especially the rare drives) and not widely available. I just wanted to get my bearings around the technical aspects, and whether it's even possible. Seems like it is.

A SuperFloppy drive is definitely a good idea! Since it's IDE and compatible with regular floppies it could probably entirely circumvent the need for dual floppy support. Then again, there is also the HIFD, and having both would kinda feel redundant, especially since the media are practically non-existent and functionally overlapping with the ZIP (which in its final incarnation is superior to both), so I'll probably be sticking to a traditional 3,5'' 1,44MB drive after all. I don't think I need a JAZ drive or all those other super-obscure drives either - was just thinking to get as far as the returns aren't diminishing. With SuperFloppy, DVD-RW, ZIP, MO and perhaps a streamer, I would be able to read like 99,9% of all media existing on the market at the time anyway.

Reply 24 of 38, by Dhigan

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As the wise Tetrium wrote :

Tetrium wrote on 2020-10-18, 12:24:

I'd first make a list of what exact formats you will want to support.
In the end it will come down to saving as many internal connections as possible by using as many external ones as you can
Ow man, there's so many different roads that you can walk to try and get what you want 🤣, but it may end up being a build made of compromises 😜

I could not resist posting my version (P3 + W2k)
mini_201018100203761612.jpg

Win 3.1 : HP Omnibook 425 + Toshiba T2130CT
Win 9x : Dell Latitude Cpx H500GT + Dell GX1
Win XP64 : Asus P5B Xeon

Reply 25 of 38, by Spiffles

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Dhigan wrote on 2020-10-18, 20:02:
As the wise Tetrium wrote : […]
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As the wise Tetrium wrote :

Tetrium wrote on 2020-10-18, 12:24:

I'd first make a list of what exact formats you will want to support.
In the end it will come down to saving as many internal connections as possible by using as many external ones as you can
Ow man, there's so many different roads that you can walk to try and get what you want 🤣, but it may end up being a build made of compromises 😜

I could not resist posting my version (P3 + W2k)
mini_201018100203761612.jpg

Holy shit bro, now that's pretty much what I would like to have 😁 haha

I do realize it's pretty much pointless money expenditure at this point, but aren't all hobbies really?

Reply 26 of 38, by Tetrium

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Spiffles wrote on 2020-10-18, 14:49:
Tetrium wrote on 2020-10-18, 13:12:

Anyway, I'd also advice you to also just start with the build. There will always be things unforeseen and specific to your requirements and situations.

Btw, which of the media drives do you have anyway?

None so far, this is so far only hypothetical, a random idea I got. I tend to do that a lot... anyway, I wanna purchase a few of these exotic drives and media and troll people by putting data on them with them having no way to read it 😁 I'll probably treat this as a long-term hobby project, all the components are quite costly (especially the rare drives) and not widely available. I just wanted to get my bearings around the technical aspects, and whether it's even possible. Seems like it is.

A SuperFloppy drive is definitely a good idea! Since it's IDE and compatible with regular floppies it could probably entirely circumvent the need for dual floppy support. Then again, there is also the HIFD, and having both would kinda feel redundant, especially since the media are practically non-existent and functionally overlapping with the ZIP (which in its final incarnation is superior to both), so I'll probably be sticking to a traditional 3,5'' 1,44MB drive after all. I don't think I need a JAZ drive or all those other super-obscure drives either - was just thinking to get as far as the returns aren't diminishing. With SuperFloppy, DVD-RW, ZIP, MO and perhaps a streamer, I would be able to read like 99,9% of all media existing on the market at the time anyway.

Heh, I ended up doing that with my 2.88MB floppy disks as I literally met only 1 person who had such a drive (and it was in a laptop and he didn't have any of the disks).
Most people wouldn't even notice something was off with those disks.
But tbh I'd reckon that a ZIP 750 would be more practical (and perhaps also more reliable?) since those are also not common and at least hold a much more practical amount of storage room.

BUT I would definitely make sure that you got one or two spare drives in case some unfortunate hardware failure might lock you out of your own data. Then the joke would be on you 😜
LS-120 looks nice, I really like the design of those disks. I never had the HiFD and I definitely never had a Caleb drive.

But hey, why not go Seaquest or IBM MO disk while you're at it? 😜
Or Floptical! 😁 And I mean the somewhat original one holding around 21MB of data 😜

By all means, make it as elusively exquisite as you'd like! 😜
But how practical it would be? And how costly? Well, I can say that I definitely like using my USB 250MB ZIP drives to transfer files across my retro rigs, even though it may not be the fastest or most efficient way to do it.

But really, just try it! And go from there! If you really end up getting serious about it, you will probably end up preferring several rigs for this purpose anyway 😜

Whats missing in your collections?
My retro rigs (old topic)
Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
Report spammers here!

Reply 27 of 38, by Tetrium

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Dhigan wrote on 2020-10-18, 20:02:
As the wise Tetrium wrote : […]
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As the wise Tetrium wrote :

Tetrium wrote on 2020-10-18, 12:24:

I'd first make a list of what exact formats you will want to support.
In the end it will come down to saving as many internal connections as possible by using as many external ones as you can
Ow man, there's so many different roads that you can walk to try and get what you want 🤣, but it may end up being a build made of compromises 😜

I could not resist posting my version (P3 + W2k)
mini_201018100203761612.jpg

Now that looks neat! 😁

I think I had 3*3¼in 'FDD's at the most (one 1.44MB, one 2.88MB or 740KB and one internal LS-120 drive, my friends thought it was pretty nuts already xD 😜 ).

Whats missing in your collections?
My retro rigs (old topic)
Interesting Vogons threads (links to Vogonswiki)
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Reply 29 of 38, by Tetrium

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Spiffles wrote on 2020-10-19, 21:25:

What are the practical differences between LS-120 and LS-240? If 240 is backwards compatible, maybe I could get that?

The little bit of LS-240 that I know about is from reading from the net, but I reckon it was never common at all.

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Reply 30 of 38, by Xfing

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Take a case like this:
fullcase.jpg

Filling out the bays, top to bottom:

Big ones:
1. DVD-RW
2. HDD caddy for moving your hdd to other retro systems (hopefully SATA compatible, if there are any like that)
3. Maybe something exotic like a drive-bay speaker if I can find one?
4. Multi-card reader
5. USB front panel
6. 5,25'' floppy

Small ones:
1. 2,3 GB IDE Magneto-optical drive
2. 750 MB ZIP drive
3. 3,5'' floppy

Whaddya think, possible? It should be with one of these early 64-bit motherboards. Oh, also there is apparently a mobo that supports 2 floppies: BIOSTAR P4M900.

Good video btw, guy runs a 5.25'' floppy on Windows 11. People in the comments sharing a lot of interesting information that's germane to this thread:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W5KaPGHeAk

Reply 31 of 38, by Spiffles

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That Biostar mobo looks amazing. It's got literally everything you could humanly need:
b20070612.jpg

- Chipset that can take some of the top tier LGA775 CPUs
- Dual floppy support, including 5.25'' - everything completely plug and play just like in the old PC's
- 2 IDE tape sockets - for a DVD-RW, a ZIP and a MO drive, all should work like a charm
- SATA support for modern HDDs and possibly also SSD's. I've got a 60GB I could use for a system partition. Then again, that might be too small for Win 11, but picking up a bigger one for peanuts is a non-issue.
- Should be capable of running Win 10 or 11 without too much trouble, so you can do web stuff and watch youtube and whatnot.
- PCI-E for a modern graphics card, and PCI for a nice bespoke PCI soundcard

I think it would indeed be somewhat difficult to fill out all 6 5.25'' panels in front of a full-tower PC. I believe those were made mostly with multiple HDD-caddies in mind, for server builds. I do like the idea of caddies or hot-swap bays, but I don't have any need for them, as my new PC has no bays whatsoever in the first place, so it would just be for decoration, pretty much.
I'm thinking:
- IDE or SATA DVD-RW
- 5.25'' and 3,5'' floppies connected natively using a traditional floppy tape
- Would be nice to have 750 MB Zip and 2,3GB MO, but both would definitely need to be IDE, as SCSI is out of the question for obvious reasons. Going to be very expensive and hard to hunt for internal drives of this variety that also don't happen to have a black front panel.
- White extra USB panel connected to the internal USB would be nice, or perhaps one that combines extra USB slots with a multi-card reader.

So this comes up to three 5.25'' bays and three 3.5'' ones. A rather peculiar config, gotta say - would be great to find something like this for sure. But I suppose it would be much easier to find a 4x 5.25'' and 2x 3.5'' case, then one of the smaller drives could be placed in a holder rail with a front plate. But I think it'd be much cooler to make this in retro beige, so that's the type of case I'd start looking for. With modern ones there is no way in hell colors could be matched successfully with no modifications. Of course spray-painting everything black is always a solution, and there are 5.25'' floppy drives in black in the first place, but those are rare and expensive.

Reply 32 of 38, by bestemor

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Xfing wrote on 2022-09-28, 11:42:
Take a case like this: https://i.postimg.cc/q7tkJktG/fullcase.jpg […]
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Take a case like this:
fullcase.jpg

Filling out the bays, top to bottom:

Big ones:
1. DVD-RW
2. HDD caddy for moving your hdd to other retro systems (hopefully SATA compatible, if there are any like that)
3. Maybe something exotic like a drive-bay speaker if I can find one?
4. Multi-card reader
5. USB front panel
6. 5,25'' floppy

Small ones:
1. 2,3 GB IDE Magneto-optical drive
2. 750 MB ZIP drive
3. 3,5'' floppy

Whaddya think, possible? It should be with one of these early 64-bit motherboards. Oh, also there is apparently a mobo that supports 2 floppies: BIOSTAR P4M900.

Good video btw, guy runs a 5.25'' floppy on Windows 11. People in the comments sharing a lot of interesting information that's germane to this thread:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W5KaPGHeAk

Regarding number 3 of the 'big' ones..... you might find something totally awesome hiding behind door number 265877869025... (xxxx.COM only)

With 360(!) watts of ompf, this should blow the socks of any... motherboard.... at a measly $99 - if it actually works, that is .
("..For parts or not working.." )

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PS: or a slightly😆 cheaper, but quieter(?) black version residing at number 224238584873 .

And if you want other options:
https://www.aliexpress.com/i/32717994733.html

Reply 33 of 38, by Spiffles

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A HDD cooling caddy! Just found out these are a thing, and somewhat period-correct too. scratch that, these things are literally impossible to find anymore 🙁

Last edited by Spiffles on 2022-09-29, 19:27. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 34 of 38, by Spiffles

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Ok, I looked all over the net for accessories and lemme tell ya, it's reaaal hard to get white accessories these days. I ordered a brand new case, which is perfect for mid 90s-mid 00s builds, and has the one advantage, that both black and white colored drives will look good with it:
obudowa.png

The problem though is that while either will look good, mix and matching won't. I was able to get ahold of a relatively whitish 5.25'' floppy drive (might get even whiter if treated with some peroxide), and black ones are extremely expensive. I wasn't able to find a black 2.3 GB MO drive anywhere either. While there's a 750 ZIP drive in black, white ones seem to be more common still. So I'm going with white. Ordered everything except the ZIP, the MO and the front panel for now. Amazingly hard to find white front panels in this day and age, all such peripherals seem to come in black, which is bit of a shame. Luckily I was able to find a seller in the UK who sells 5.25'' to 3,5'' brackets on Ebay, so I'll at least have a place to mount one of the small drives when I buy it:
s-l1600.jpg

The prices are quite extortionate though, so I'm thinking no one will swipe the thing before I can get to it.

So if any of you happens to find a 5.25 white front multicard/USB panel (no SATA though, ideally, as my motherboard will only have 2 SATA ports, both of which will go towards storage) - please point me in the right direction!

Reply 36 of 38, by bestemor

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Spiffles wrote on 2022-09-29, 19:25:

...So if any of you happens to find a 5.25 white front multicard/USB panel (no SATA though, ideally, as my motherboard will only have 2 SATA ports, both of which will go towards storage) - please point me in the right direction!

Color may not be quite there, but... at least they are not black! 😅
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/134248470075
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/201172249847
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/195301761418

Reply 37 of 38, by Spiffles

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bestemor wrote on 2022-09-29, 20:39:
Color may not be quite there, but... at least they are not black! 😅 https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/134248470075 https://www.ebay.co. […]
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Color may not be quite there, but... at least they are not black! 😅
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/134248470075
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/201172249847
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/195301761418

Good recs, thanks! I'll try getting one of these, I think.

Reply 38 of 38, by Spiffles

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Ok, but some more pressing matters now. Does anyone know where to find an IO shield for Biostar p4m900? Here's what it looks like. I've been able to find close matches, but still no exact one, unfortunately.

biostar.jpg

I've noticed it's pretty much the same as some ASUS I/O setups, except for the lack of an LPT printer port above the two serial ports - so perhaps any of those can be used if I can find one. Would be nice to cover up the hole for the missing port with something though.

EDIT: Nvm, found one! https://www.ebay.com/itm/142852595389?hash=it … hAAAOSwTJtbsJDL