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First post, by kodt

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I am attempting to get a Pentium II machine up and running. But I am having difficulty with the hard drives and I am trying to rule out an issue with the motherboard.

Motherboard is a MSI MS-6119 v1.1 BX2 (non cpu plug in play version). Latest BIOS is flashed (v2.10).
Pentium II 350 MHZ
384 MB Ram (3 x 128 MB sticks)

I have tried with 3 different hard drives:

6.4 GB Quantum Fireball - (Unknown condition)
60GB Maxtor - (Was brand new in packaging)
30GB Maxtor - (Known working, pulled from another system)

The issue is the auto detect in BIOS does not seem to work. The only way to get the system to recognize the drives is manually entering the information using the old CHS method. The BIOS will allow me to configure sizes up to 32GB. If I leave the settings on Auto, it will report a "Primary Master Hard Disk Fail" message.

If I manually enter the cylinders etc.. the system will continue to boot but FDISK freezes on the "Verifying Drive Integrity 0%" step. Other tools such as Maxtor MaxBlast will detect the drive but give an error when attempting to partition. Windows Setup will also fail when attempting to create a partition. SeaTools does not detect any drives. Free FDISK is able to create a primary DOS partition, but will occasionally give a "Error Reading hard Disk: Time Out" error message. Super FDISK strangely reports 4 identical partitions on the drive, but Free FDISK will show no partitions.

I have tried swapping out the IDE cable with no change.

When I manually configure the hard drive in BIOS, I am unsure which mode is correct however (Normal, Large, LBA, Auto).

So I am wondering what my next steps should be.

Reply 1 of 10, by flupke11

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Can you jumper the one large hdd to 32 GB? Does that make a difference?

I suppose you reset the bios, but it can't hurt to put it on bios default settings.

Does the board detect an optical or ide zip drive corectly?

Edit: only one drive above 32GB

Reply 2 of 10, by kodt

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I have tried jumpering the 60GB drive to limit it to 32GB, but it didn't seem to make a difference. The auto detect seems to detect the cylinders, but you have to manually enter the heads and sectors or it will report the drive size as 0MB.

Yes, the board detects two optical drives fine .

Also tried resetting the BIOS. No change.

Reply 4 of 10, by kodt

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Ok I tried plugging the 60GB hard drive (Jumpered to 32) into the Secondary IDE channel to which the optical drives were connected. The Auto detect actually reports the correct size now, however it freezes before allowing me to confirm.

If I manually configure the drive using the same settings that auto-detect discovered, it works. FDISK is able to create a partition and the dive is formatting. (of course I have no optical drive connected now to install Windows).

Reply 5 of 10, by kodt

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I have determined that the Primary IDE channel isn't working on this motherboard. Tried 3 different IDE cables with the same result. The CD Rom drives are both not detected when plugged into the primary IDE channel.

Currently able to use 1 hard drive and 1 cdrom drive connected to the secondary IDE. I suppose I can get an IDE PCI card for this machine.

Thanks to everyone for their suggestions.

Reply 7 of 10, by thepirategamerboy12

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If it's an Award BIOS it's at least worth trying to patch it and see if that helps. Just dump your BIOS, run it through this DOS-based utility, and then flash the patched BIOS and see if it helps.

https://mega.nz/file/r5kVSYQD#AiKt0-IV3B7JzEq … 7qKmGNbrDapD0Cs

Reply 8 of 10, by weedeewee

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flupke11 wrote on 2021-05-04, 19:00:

It might be a physical issue on the mainboard, perhaps a broken trace or pins causing a short.

yep, like the old fully populated 40 pin headers, and the connectors that have 39 holes
and then someone just pushed and wiggled on it till the id pin bent over, shorting the nearby pins out.

Reply 9 of 10, by kodt

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flupke11 wrote on 2021-05-04, 19:00:

It might be a physical issue on the mainboard, perhaps a broken trace or pins causing a short.

This will be the next thing I check. I'll make sure nothing is possibly coming in contact with the back of the motherboard causing a short. Inspect the pins / traces.

Reply 10 of 10, by kodt

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I removed the motherboard from the case and inspected it. No signs of any physical damage that I can see. Pins / traces / caps all look good. No signs of any shorts or metal coming into contact with the motherboard when installed in the case.

Ran the machine with minimal hardware and nothing on the Primary IDE channel is detected. Also tried disabling IDE channels in BIOS and re-enabling them, with no change. The Secondary IDE channel detects large drives (over 32GB) just fine, as well as optical drives. So it doesn't seem to be a BIOS issue.

I decided to just order a Promise IDE controller card.