VOGONS


First post, by Camtheman

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So I have a PC/XT that works pretty well, except for the hard disk controller card. It's the original IBM one and apparently the error it gives during the PC test means its dead (I forget exactly which error)

What's the best HDD controller? There's a hard disk in this PC XT that looks original, and I have never found out whats on it due to the controller being cactus. Big mystery. I've been using an XT IDE and CF card adapter, which works great but I want to know whats on the disk. Maybe I'll use it once in a while for that nostalgic drive spinning sound.

Early 90s: IBM PS/2 Server 95/A, Pentium 66, 16MB RAM, XGA-2, IBM SCSI Corvette, SCSI2SD, 3 Com EtherLink III MCA, Resound 2 AdLib MCA
Late 90s: Micron Millenia MXE, ABIT VH6-II, Coppermine 1ghz, 1024MB, GeForce 4 MX 440, GUS Max 2.1, 128GB SATA PNY SSD.

Reply 1 of 11, by Robin4

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MFM, RLL, SCSI, IDE

It really doesnt matter what you want to use.. Only XT IDE isnt very realiable to work with.. These drivers have a tendency to go bad.

For mfm, rll you need a matching 8bit controller card. Scsi can be go expensive like in the old days.. Controllers are harder to find.

AT IDE for XT is a rarety. 8bit AT IDE controllers are very hard to find nowdays.

Easiest way to go is with XT-IDE solution what is used now days. DIY solder boards.

~ At least it can do black and white~

Reply 2 of 11, by Camtheman

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Yeah I was looking for MFM, which one though? I heard WD ones were good but I could use some model numbers =P

Early 90s: IBM PS/2 Server 95/A, Pentium 66, 16MB RAM, XGA-2, IBM SCSI Corvette, SCSI2SD, 3 Com EtherLink III MCA, Resound 2 AdLib MCA
Late 90s: Micron Millenia MXE, ABIT VH6-II, Coppermine 1ghz, 1024MB, GeForce 4 MX 440, GUS Max 2.1, 128GB SATA PNY SSD.

Reply 3 of 11, by Robin4

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For me it doesnt matter which brand to take.. I always checks what available to use.

If you can store a lot of data elswhere (on floppy or USB stick) then 20MB drive should be enough.
If you want to store almost everything on the hard drive. I would recommend a minium space of 40MB
There is also a different in technique from earlier drives and later ones.
The older generation 5MB till 30MB needs to be PARKED manually (with a software park command tool) the head after you are done with using the computer.
Later drives have a option to automatic park the drives heads. So manual parking is not needed.

~ At least it can do black and white~

Reply 4 of 11, by PTherapist

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Camtheman wrote on 2020-11-27, 03:42:

So I have a PC/XT that works pretty well, except for the hard disk controller card. It's the original IBM one and apparently the error it gives during the PC test means its dead (I forget exactly which error)

What's the best HDD controller? There's a hard disk in this PC XT that looks original, and I have never found out whats on it due to the controller being cactus. Big mystery. I've been using an XT IDE and CF card adapter, which works great but I want to know whats on the disk. Maybe I'll use it once in a while for that nostalgic drive spinning sound.

To find out what's on the original drive, you're going to need a working example of the exact same controller card you have now. A different type of controller card will probably be unlikely to read the contents of the drive, as they generally all formatted drives differently.

With regards to the current controller, if you are able to then check its EPROM chip is good. If this has gone bad, you might be able to program a replacement.

Reply 5 of 11, by Camtheman

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PTherapist wrote on 2020-11-27, 15:09:
Camtheman wrote on 2020-11-27, 03:42:

So I have a PC/XT that works pretty well, except for the hard disk controller card. It's the original IBM one and apparently the error it gives during the PC test means its dead (I forget exactly which error)

What's the best HDD controller? There's a hard disk in this PC XT that looks original, and I have never found out whats on it due to the controller being cactus. Big mystery. I've been using an XT IDE and CF card adapter, which works great but I want to know whats on the disk. Maybe I'll use it once in a while for that nostalgic drive spinning sound.

To find out what's on the original drive, you're going to need a working example of the exact same controller card you have now. A different type of controller card will probably be unlikely to read the contents of the drive, as they generally all formatted drives differently.

With regards to the current controller, if you are able to then check its EPROM chip is good. If this has gone bad, you might be able to program a replacement.

Oof, guess ill have to get another IBM one then.

This PC/XT actually had a SCSI CD drive installed, with a date of 1988 on it. Wth was someone doing with an 8088 machine and a CD drive? I want to find out so bad lmao

Early 90s: IBM PS/2 Server 95/A, Pentium 66, 16MB RAM, XGA-2, IBM SCSI Corvette, SCSI2SD, 3 Com EtherLink III MCA, Resound 2 AdLib MCA
Late 90s: Micron Millenia MXE, ABIT VH6-II, Coppermine 1ghz, 1024MB, GeForce 4 MX 440, GUS Max 2.1, 128GB SATA PNY SSD.

Reply 6 of 11, by douglar

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Robin4 wrote on 2020-11-27, 03:49:

It really doesnt matter what you want to use.. Only XT IDE isnt very realiable to work with.. These drivers have a tendency to go bad.

Any idea how or why the drivers go bad?

Reply 7 of 11, by matze79

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Robin4 wrote on 2020-11-27, 03:49:

AT IDE for XT is a rarety. 8bit AT IDE controllers are very hard to find nowdays.

Some 16bit Controllers will work with XTIDE BIOS and CF Card inside XTs.
If you have some spare Rom Sockets on your Mainboard you could consider adding it.

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Reply 8 of 11, by Robin4

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douglar wrote on 2020-11-28, 22:11:
Robin4 wrote on 2020-11-27, 03:49:

It really doesnt matter what you want to use.. Only XT IDE isnt very realiable to work with.. These drivers have a tendency to go bad.

Any idea how or why the drivers go bad?

Which drivers? Maybe you ment drives?

~ At least it can do black and white~

Reply 9 of 11, by Caluser2000

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matze79 wrote on 2020-11-28, 22:14:
Robin4 wrote on 2020-11-27, 03:49:

AT IDE for XT is a rarety. 8bit AT IDE controllers are very hard to find nowdays.

Some 16bit Controllers will work with XTIDE BIOS and CF Card inside XTs.
If you have some spare Rom Sockets on your Mainboard you could consider adding it.

Not true at all. I can get locally and have it delivered in a few days...

There's a glitch in the matrix.

Reply 10 of 11, by douglar

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Robin4 wrote on 2020-11-28, 23:30:
douglar wrote on 2020-11-28, 22:11:
Robin4 wrote on 2020-11-27, 03:49:

It really doesnt matter what you want to use.. Only XT IDE isnt very realiable to work with.. These drivers have a tendency to go bad.

Any idea how or why the drivers go bad?

Which drivers? Maybe you ment drives?

I was just quoting what you wrote. You wrote "XT IDE isnt very realiable to work with.. These drivers have a tendency to go bad."

No idea what you were talking about.

Reply 11 of 11, by Anonymous Coward

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I believe the WD MFM controller I liked best was the WD 1002A-WX1. The (A) designation is important, because it supports a much wider array of drive types.
https://slomkowski.eu/retrocomputing/reading- … WD1002A-WX1.pdf

With older drives however, it may not be possible to swap them to different controllers without wiping them first. If you really want to read the contents of your drive, you should find a controller identical to the one you already use.

Have you also considered that your MFM HDD may be all seized up by now? It could be a wasted effort.

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V'Ger XT|Upgraded AT|Ultimate 386|Super VL/EISA 486|SMP VL/EISA Pentium