VOGONS


First post, by VioletGiraffe

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

As the title says, I'm using an IDE-SD adapter with a 2 GB SD card, but I can't get it formatted to full capacity.

The PC is an AMD 386 DX-40 with a generic Asian mobo (Ali something). I used HDD auto-detect feature in the BIOS and it shows the correct capacity (1875 MB). Then I installed MS-DOS 6.22 and let it format the HDD, which gave me 512 MB, but I'm reading that DOS supports up to 8 GB so I'm not sure what the problem is.

Then I go to BIOS setup again and format the HDD from there directly. Wait for the process to complete, exit BIOS, and... boot MS-DOS from my SD card no problem, it was not formatted!
What's up with that?

Any advice on how to format to full capacity, and why it doesn't just work?

Reply 1 of 16, by Pierre32

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

You'll get better answers from smarter people than me. But the short version is, your mileage may vary. I had a 2GB card seemingly being recognised by my 386, but it wouldn't take a DOS install. In the end I muddled my way through using EZ-Drive, set it up with 4x ~500MB partitions, and everything was solved.

https://www.philscomputerlab.com/western-digital.html

EZ-Drive Dynamic Drive Overlay

Reply 2 of 16, by konc

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Reporting the correct C/H/S is one thing, supporting them is another. There is 99.9% chance that your BIOS can't work with anything larger than 512MB, or 1024/16/63
Also I suspect that this BIOS format you ran is the low level format. Just use some DDO software like EZ-drive that was mentioned above and you'll be done in 5'

Reply 3 of 16, by VioletGiraffe

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
konc wrote on 2020-11-07, 13:45:

Reporting the correct C/H/S is one thing, supporting them is another. There is 99.9% chance that your BIOS can't work with anything larger than 512MB, or 1024/16/63

Thank you, that explains it.

konc wrote on 2020-11-07, 13:45:

Also I suspect that this BIOS format you ran is the low level format. Just use some DDO software like EZ-drive that was mentioned above and you'll be done in 5'

Probably. But why did it have no effect at all? Why wasn't my data erased, including the boot sector / MBR?

Reply 4 of 16, by jakethompson1

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
VioletGiraffe wrote on 2020-11-07, 14:45:
Thank you, that explains it. […]
Show full quote
konc wrote on 2020-11-07, 13:45:

Reporting the correct C/H/S is one thing, supporting them is another. There is 99.9% chance that your BIOS can't work with anything larger than 512MB, or 1024/16/63

Thank you, that explains it.

konc wrote on 2020-11-07, 13:45:

Also I suspect that this BIOS format you ran is the low level format. Just use some DDO software like EZ-drive that was mentioned above and you'll be done in 5'

Probably. But why did it have no effect at all? Why wasn't my data erased, including the boot sector / MBR?

I wouldn't be surprised if a CF card just ignores the commands to do a low level format. A LLF like this is even lower level than wiping the drive, it's designed for ancient ST-506 drives where the drive itself has no intelligence and takes literal commands like "advance the head one track" from the controller.

As others mention you could try software-only solutions like Ontrack Disk Manager, or EZ-Drive, or another solution is to put an expansion card in the system that supports an option ROM (eg an ISA network card) and put a chip on it that has XT-IDE BIOS inside. All these gobble up some conventional memory unfortunately, XT-IDE the least. The only exception would be if you can find a newer BIOS to program onto a chip and put on your board. Or you could just live with the 528MB limit, after all, that's ginormous for a 386.

Reply 6 of 16, by darry

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

If your IDE to SD adapter uses an FC1307 chip and the first primary partition you are creating is FAT12 or FAT16, it will never work . See Re: Using a vintage multi-track recorder as a mixer, namely the Roland VS-880EX - might apply to other Roland VS- units

A workaround would be to create a small FAT32 or NTFS primary partition as the first partition and then create the primary FAT16 partition you intend to you use and set it as active .

Reply 7 of 16, by jakethompson1

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
darry wrote on 2020-11-08, 01:41:

If your IDE to SD adapter uses an FC1307 chip and the first primary partition you are creating is FAT12 or FAT16, it will never work . See Re: Using a vintage multi-track recorder as a mixer, namely the Roland VS-880EX - might apply to other Roland VS- units

A workaround would be to create a small FAT32 or NTFS primary partition as the first partition and then create the primary FAT16 partition you intend to you use and set it as active .

Wow, what a mess. Why does the adapter care what partition type you're using? What if it's Linux? I've always wondered why more people don't use an IDE-to-SATA converter and a SATA SSD. Wouldn't they be faster than SD anyway? I get that you might run into capacity issues like bioses that freeze above the 32GB limit, but I think these old 386/486 BIOSes that let you manually specify CHS settings and disable LBA if need be, would let you get around that.

Reply 8 of 16, by darry

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-11-08, 01:56:
darry wrote on 2020-11-08, 01:41:

If your IDE to SD adapter uses an FC1307 chip and the first primary partition you are creating is FAT12 or FAT16, it will never work . See Re: Using a vintage multi-track recorder as a mixer, namely the Roland VS-880EX - might apply to other Roland VS- units

A workaround would be to create a small FAT32 or NTFS primary partition as the first partition and then create the primary FAT16 partition you intend to you use and set it as active .

Wow, what a mess. Why does the adapter care what partition type you're using? What if it's Linux? I've always wondered why more people don't use an IDE-to-SATA converter and a SATA SSD. Wouldn't they be faster than SD anyway? I get that you might run into capacity issues like bioses that freeze above the 32GB limit, but I think these old 386/486 BIOSes that let you manually specify CHS settings and disable LBA if need be, would let you get around that.

I asked myself the same questions about the FC1307 . I don't think that the FC1307 FAT12/FAT16 issue is OS dependent . The issue occurs in Windows 10 and with VS-880EX's custom OS, so it's likely related only to the partition table . The FC1306 adapters do not have that issue, but are essentially unavailable nowadays.

I am a fan of IDE to SATA adapters myself .

Reply 9 of 16, by Jo22

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-11-08, 01:56:
darry wrote on 2020-11-08, 01:41:

If your IDE to SD adapter uses an FC1307 chip and the first primary partition you are creating is FAT12 or FAT16, it will never work . See Re: Using a vintage multi-track recorder as a mixer, namely the Roland VS-880EX - might apply to other Roland VS- units

A workaround would be to create a small FAT32 or NTFS primary partition as the first partition and then create the primary FAT16 partition you intend to you use and set it as active .

Wow, what a mess. Why does the adapter care what partition type you're using? What if it's Linux? I've always wondered why more people don't use an IDE-to-SATA converter and a SATA SSD. Wouldn't they be faster than SD anyway? I get that you might run into capacity issues like bioses that freeze above the 32GB limit, but I think these old 386/486 BIOSes that let you manually specify CHS settings and disable LBA if need be, would let you get around that.

I suspect it's because SSDs use technology that's somewhat distant by its roots by now.
It's a miracle that things work at all still!
We're in 2020, but this old hardware is ca. 1986 era technology.
- old PCs have no concept of 'IDE' at all, not even ESDI. Not to say EIDE/ATA.
They think they talk to a WD1003 controller card, as used by ancient MFM/RLL fixed disks of the ST506/ST412 Shugart interface era.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ST506/ST412

- a 286/386 uses PIO modes (mainly PIO 0) and CHS/ECHS addressing modes which SATA devices nolonger truely support (it's all LBA now).

- SSDs always use 4K chunks internally, whereas CF/SD cards use 512Bytes/sector or 1K, 2K, 4K depending on the model/generation. Using FAT is somewhat of an exceptional use case for an SSD.
But SD/CF cards were made with a FAT32 use in mind.

- SD / IDE or SATA / IDE converters do mot have powerful microcontrollers inside. They are cheap. They are often slower than native stuff (CF cards, PATA SSDs).

That being said, I speak under correction here.
I can only share my experience in this regards and tell what I read online.

For example, when I tried to install a CF card in my Schneider Tower AT 220 (286 CPU), that Phoenix BIOS didn't want to let me boot. It just made the PC hang aftet POST when it should boot normally from floppy/HDD.

I had to set HDD type to none and let XTIDE Universal BIOS take over. It was no hardware issue, purely a software one.

The most significant changes came with ATA-2,IMHO. It repurposed registers and changed subtle details in HDD-PC communications.
http://www.os2museum.com/wp/how-to-please-wdctrl/

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 10 of 16, by jmarsh

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-11-08, 01:56:

I've always wondered why more people don't use an IDE-to-SATA converter and a SATA SSD.

Because it's not as convenient.
You then need a molex->sata power adaptor as well, and a mounting plate to fit a 2.5" SSD in a 3.5" bay.
Then if you want to copy files onto it from another machine you need either an external sata port, a USB sata adaptor or access to internal sata ports (as well as some way to power the SSD). This is much more trouble than just using a card reader, especially if you're using a laptop.
Most people also already have lots of old, smaller capacity SD cards sitting around doing nothing that can be repurposed.

Reply 11 of 16, by Jo22

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
jmarsh wrote on 2020-11-08, 02:54:
Because it's not as convenient. You then need a molex->sata power adaptor as well, and a mounting plate to fit a 2.5" SSD in a 3 […]
Show full quote
jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-11-08, 01:56:

I've always wondered why more people don't use an IDE-to-SATA converter and a SATA SSD.

Because it's not as convenient.
You then need a molex->sata power adaptor as well, and a mounting plate to fit a 2.5" SSD in a 3.5" bay.
Then if you want to copy files onto it from another machine you need either an external sata port, a USB sata adaptor or access to internal sata ports (as well as some way to power the SSD). This is much more trouble than just using a card reader, especially if you're using a laptop.
Most people also already have lots of old, smaller capacity SD cards sitting around doing nothing that can be repurposed.

I think the same. What pure DOS games/programs need the most is a low access time, rather than a high transfer speed.
A low access time makes things smooth, snappy.
I often use an older copy of HDTune and an USB 3.0 cardreader for testing/benchmarking these.

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 12 of 16, by VioletGiraffe

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie
jmarsh wrote on 2020-11-08, 02:54:
Because it's not as convenient. You then need a molex->sata power adaptor as well, and a mounting plate to fit a 2.5" SSD in a 3 […]
Show full quote

Because it's not as convenient.
You then need a molex->sata power adaptor as well, and a mounting plate to fit a 2.5" SSD in a 3.5" bay.
Then if you want to copy files onto it from another machine you need either an external sata port, a USB sata adaptor or access to internal sata ports (as well as some way to power the SSD). This is much more trouble than just using a card reader, especially if you're using a laptop.
Most people also already have lots of old, smaller capacity SD cards sitting around doing nothing that can be repurposed.

This. Also, SSDs are way more expensive, and you might have a better use for an old SSD, even for a smaller one, than burying it in a 386-based system. And there are no 512 MB - 4 GB SSDs.

Thank you very much for the informative replies! I've spent some time reading the links you guys have posted for me above and it was educational.
As for the IDE-to-SD controller I use, it doesn't seem to say FC1307, it's marked "Sintechi 1309 AK".

Is there a simple way to check whether or not my BIOS is supposed to support drives over 500 MBs in size?

Oh, and by the way, I don't disagree that 500 MB is a lot for these PCs, but it's a not a whole lot, that is why I would prefer to have full 2 GB capacity if possible. Once you start filling it with games, the free space shrinks very quickly.

Last edited by VioletGiraffe on 2020-11-08, 13:59. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 13 of 16, by Jo22

User metadata
Rank l33t++
Rank
l33t++
VioletGiraffe wrote on 2020-11-08, 13:33:
This. Also, SSDs are way more expensive, and you might have a better use for an old SSD, even for a smaller one, than burying it […]
Show full quote
jmarsh wrote on 2020-11-08, 02:54:
Because it's not as convenient. You then need a molex->sata power adaptor as well, and a mounting plate to fit a 2.5" SSD in a 3 […]
Show full quote

Because it's not as convenient.
You then need a molex->sata power adaptor as well, and a mounting plate to fit a 2.5" SSD in a 3.5" bay.
Then if you want to copy files onto it from another machine you need either an external sata port, a USB sata adaptor or access to internal sata ports (as well as some way to power the SSD). This is much more trouble than just using a card reader, especially if you're using a laptop.
Most people also already have lots of old, smaller capacity SD cards sitting around doing nothing that can be repurposed.

This. Also, SSDs are way more expensive, and you might have a better use for an old SSD, even for a smaller one, than burying it in a 386-based system. And there are no 512 MB - 4 GB SSDs.

Thank you very much for the informative replies! I've spent some time reading the links you guys have posted for me above and it was educational.
As for the IDE-to-SD controller I use, it doesn't seem to say FC1307, it's marked "Sintechi 1309 AK".

Is there a simple way to check whether or not my BIOS is supposed to support drives over 500 MBs in size?

Oh, and by the way, I don't disagree that 500 MB is a lot for these PCs, but it's a not a whole lot, that is why I would prefer to have full 2 GB capacity if possible. Once you start filling it with games, the free space shrinks very quickly.

I agree with both of you.
In the CAD and programming "scene", HDD space was always scarce, though.
A lot of these "developer's PCs" back in the days had huge storage capacity that likely is not considered "period correct" by many vintage enthusiasts. 😁

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 14 of 16, by darry

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t
VioletGiraffe wrote on 2020-11-08, 13:33:
This. Also, SSDs are way more expensive, and you might have a better use for an old SSD, even for a smaller one, than burying it […]
Show full quote
jmarsh wrote on 2020-11-08, 02:54:
Because it's not as convenient. You then need a molex->sata power adaptor as well, and a mounting plate to fit a 2.5" SSD in a 3 […]
Show full quote

Because it's not as convenient.
You then need a molex->sata power adaptor as well, and a mounting plate to fit a 2.5" SSD in a 3.5" bay.
Then if you want to copy files onto it from another machine you need either an external sata port, a USB sata adaptor or access to internal sata ports (as well as some way to power the SSD). This is much more trouble than just using a card reader, especially if you're using a laptop.
Most people also already have lots of old, smaller capacity SD cards sitting around doing nothing that can be repurposed.

This. Also, SSDs are way more expensive, and you might have a better use for an old SSD, even for a smaller one, than burying it in a 386-based system. And there are no 512 MB - 4 GB SSDs.

Thank you very much for the informative replies! I've spent some time reading the links you guys have posted for me above and it was educational.
As for the IDE-to-SD controller I use, it doesn't seem to say FC1307, it's marked "Sintechi 1309 AK".

Is there a simple way to check whether or not my BIOS is supposed to support drives over 500 MBs in size?

Oh, and by the way, I don't disagree that 500 MB is a lot for these PCs, but it's a not a whole lot, that is why I would prefer to have full 2 GB capacity if possible. Once you start filling it with games, the free space shrinks very quickly.

The Sintechi 1309 AK seems to be a rebranded FC1307 ( http://eab.abime.net/showthread.php?p=1299130 ) I suggest you test the partition creation on a modern PC to see if the partition deletion issue still exists .

Reply 15 of 16, by VioletGiraffe

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

Oh! Thank you! I was going to google the "1309 AK" marking, but it slipped my mind while I was reading other things. I'll see if creating a dummy FAT32 partition solves anything, although it sounds like when this problem occurs the card is wiped or becomes inaccessible, which I never experienced. I only cannot get it formatted to more than 500-something MBs.

Reply 16 of 16, by debs3759

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

The 504MB limit is built in to the BIOS plus DOS. I forget which has which limitations, but it is 1024x16x63 sectors. A later adapter or XT-IDE BIOS should overcome the limitations.

See my graphics card database at www.gpuzoo.com
Constantly being worked on. Feel free to message me with any corrections or details of cards you would like me to research and add.