VOGONS


First post, by Leety McLeet

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Hey guys. I need some help with one of my retro rigs. I'm hoping someone has some experience with this particular motherboard and perhaps the use of larger drives.

Basically the problem is IDE controller and/or HDD performance - or lack of it. The hard drive is shown as running in UDMA mode during start-up as well as in device manager, but everything seems to be super sluggish and the CPU maxes-out whenever the disk is being accessed.

Anyway, lets get to the specs:

  • Aopen AX5T (Intel 430TX)
  • Pentium 200 @ 200 MHz
  • 32 MB 60 ns EDO memory
  • S3 Virge 4 MB
  • 3dfx Voodoo (Orchid Righteous 3D)
  • ESS AudioDrive ES1869 (ISA)
  • D-Link 530 TX
  • 10 GB FUJITSU MPC-3102AT (primary IDE channel)
  • Generic LG CD-ROM (secondary IDE channel)
  • Windows 95 C (FAT 32)

So first of all I tried swapping the IDE cable out with an 80-conductor cable followed by 2 or 3 different versions of the Intel Bus Master drivers. No change.

Anyway, what with the hard drive being pretty old and obnoxiously noisy, I figured I'd try a newer, much larger drive. I updated the BIOS (from here: https://www.bios-mods.com/forum/Thread-AOpen- … X5T-R1-92-128GB), which claims to enable the use of up to 128 GB HDDs (with a few caveats). Despite trying a couple of known working 80 GB drives, the system fails to POST, hanging on HDD detection. I can still enter the BIOS, but altering the HDD options or running auto detection causes the system to freeze. The latter wasn't too surprising, as the readme does advise not to run the auto detection on drives larger than x GB). Using a larger drive isn't the end of the world since 10 GB is more than enough for this system, but it does mean that I can't eliminate the drive as the cause of the problem.

If anyone has any advice regarding this issue or how to get the larger drives working, I would be extremely grateful.

Retro Computer Enthusiast!

Reply 2 of 13, by Woody72

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I'd be curious to know, too. I have a P200 MMX in a 430HX board and have the same issue. Now that I've installed USP 2.1a, I can enable DMA mode on the HDD without the system freezing all the time but it makes no difference to the speed. I still get a benchmark of 6-8 MB/s regardless of whether DMA is enabled or not.

It certainly puts technological progress into perspective when modern machines with NVME SSDs can do upwards of 2,500 MB/s 😃.

Modern PC: i7-9700KF, 16GB memory, RTX 3060. Proper PC: Pentium 200 MMX, 128MB EDO memory, GeForce2 MX(200).

Reply 3 of 13, by Leety McLeet

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Doornkaat wrote on 2021-04-17, 13:22:

Did you enable DMA for your HDD in Windows?

Edit: And did you clear CMOS after flashing the BIOS?

DMA is checked and enabled in the device manager.

I haven't, however, tried clearing the CMOS after flashing the BIOS. I'll try that now and let you know if it made any difference. Thanks.

Retro Computer Enthusiast!

Reply 5 of 13, by Leety McLeet

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Tried clearing the CMOS, but still hangs on HDD detection with the larger HDD connected (tried 2 different drives).

Rep Man11, I believe that is the exact same BIOS, yes. The readme's are even identical.

Retro Computer Enthusiast!

Reply 6 of 13, by Repo Man11

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On my Asus TXP4 I avoided these sorts of issue by using a Sil 3114 PCI to SATA card. System specs: K6-3+ 450 @ 500, 256 megabytes of SDRAM, Team Group 120 gig SSD, Win98 SE.

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Reply 9 of 13, by Leety McLeet

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Quick update in case anyone else runs into this 'issue'.

I re-ran a drive diagnostic. No problems. Tried different IDE cables, no difference. Tried different memory (and memory timings), still no difference - and the drive was definitely running in UDMA2 (at least, according to the BIOS AND Win 95). I also tried an updated (3rd party) BIOS in the hope of at least being able to test-out a 'modern' 80 GB drive, but that didn't work, so I was left with no other choice but to buy another drive. I ended up nabbing a 20 GB Seagate ST320423A from eBay for a £10 including shipping - not bad. Not exactly period correct, but close enough, and lo and behold problem gone. This thing is seriously FAST now! I'm really happy with it. The whole setup makes an awesome DOS and Windows 95 system with excellent compatibility.

Moral of the story. The MPC-3102AT DOES NOT run at the advertised UDMA2 speed 😀

Thanks for the suggestions all 😀

Retro Computer Enthusiast!

Reply 10 of 13, by pentiumspeed

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Fujitsu hard drive is slowest, so common over the years that I refused to keep any or buy one.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 12 of 13, by Leety McLeet

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Woody72 wrote on 2021-04-23, 09:06:

What speeds are you actually getting now Leety? Would be very interested to know.

I'm getting consistent max read speeds of 10.58 MB/s.
The Fuji drive was giving me about 3.5-4 MB/s, if I remember correctly.

Day and night difference 😀

Retro Computer Enthusiast!

Reply 13 of 13, by megatron-uk

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Those speeds (of the Fujitsu drive) are absolutely dire. That would not even be approaching what is possible with old-style multi-word DMA modes 1 or 2, never mind UDMA/33. Heck, even programmed IO mode 4 can do 16MB/sec, just you can't do anything else while it's doing it 😁

One thing I always did back when I had bought my new 430HX board was to install the Triones busmaster IDE DMA drivers - I swear that the performance of the system was markedly improved once they were installed.

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