VOGONS


First post, by Snayperskaya

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Hiya! I've just booted up one of my old machines (233MHz Pentium MMX, Asus TX97-LE, Diamond Stealth 2500, 64MB SDRAM, SB32 AWE, 20GB HDD) after a long time to find out that its HDD has gone poof. 🙁

Although I have some old HDDs (I used a 40GB capped to 32GB from another old PC that I just found out that needs caps replacement), I'm looking for a more modern and reliable storage solution. I intend to use DOS 6.22 + Win 3.11 on it.

1. I've seen some CF -> IDE and SD -> IDE converters on Aliexpress. Is there a trusty model that I should go after? Also, is there any model with a front loading mechanism for ease of use (using my main PC to write to a secondary drive to add stuff, etc) ? How does those old systems handle such hot swapping?

For this, I'd prefer to have stuff that can be ordered at Aliexpress or other chinese sites. Shipping fees from the US/EU to my country are very expensive.

2. IIRC, DOS 6.22 could use only FAT16, so partitions would be limited to 2GB. What should I look for if I want to have bigger OS drive using such devices?

Sorry if this has been already discussed. Feel free to point out relevant topic(s).

Thanks!

Last edited by Snayperskaya on 2021-05-02, 01:33. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 1 of 5, by canthearu

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

CF to IDE should be relatively problem free as long as you choose a good CF card. CF uses the IDE interface so it the CF-> IDE converters are only passive converters.

A good 4-8gb CF industrial card would be best, with multiple 2gb partitions.

Reply 2 of 5, by chinny22

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

For Dos/Win3x machines I like CF Cards. SD cards add a level of complexity (as they aren't native IDE) but doubt this matters in real life.
I'd look for an adapter that has a jumper to allow Master/Slave selection that seems to be a good indicator of quality ones.

I don't know of any front mounted options. You can get ones that mount on a I/O card bracket on the back or some people have put the adapter in a standard IDE HDD caddy.

You cant hotswap. You would need to turn the PC off each time removing the card. What you can do however is have 2 of the same cards and switch between them from different setups.
BIOS sees the same HDD with same geometry when powered up, it doesn't care about the contents.

Indeed DOS 6.22 is limited to 2GB but that's plenty for a dos/3x install, you can then create more 2GB partitions for games, data, etc
If you want to break the 2GB limit you can use the dos that comes with Win9x aka Dos7. This'll give you FAT32 and you can still install Win3x with a slight tweak.
You also have a few alternatives to MS Dos like PC Dos that also support Fat32 but Haven't played with these myself.

Reply 3 of 5, by megatron-uk

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
chinny22 wrote on 2021-05-05, 09:35:

I don't know of any front mounted options. You can get ones that mount on a I/O card bracket on the back or some people have put the adapter in a standard IDE HDD caddy.

You could make one yourself easy enough, but, Startech do sell one:

35baycf2ide.main.jpg
Filename
35baycf2ide.main.jpg
File size
18.72 KiB
Views
146 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0

I use them in all of my older systems - it's far more convenient that the rear panel mount. Just give the metal frame a quick respray in your chosen colour (I've looked - there used to be a beige version years ago, but the only part now stocked/sold is the black one linked above).

My collection database and technical wiki:
https://www.target-earth.net

Reply 5 of 5, by douglar

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
megatron-uk wrote on 2021-05-05, 10:53:

You could make one yourself easy enough, but, Startech do sell one:

That's a pretty nice looking adapter and it supports 3.3V which can be a plus if you run into the rare CF device that requires that, like the "Extreme CF Adapter" for SD cards.

Why does it have the second PATA 40 block connector? Slave devices?

p.s. I used this-- https://www.tinkercad.com/things/gssA8iCuv6M-35-bay-cf