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First post, by stuartmcivor

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Hello,

I have a Packard Bell 486sx. The motherboard is marked PCB4100 rev B.0.

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When I got the computer the barrel battery had leaked. I removed the battery and replaced it with a CR2032 using the external battery connector. I also cleaned the board and replaced a nearby chip (F151A) that had succumbed to corrosion.

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The computer POSTs and seems fine. I mention all this just to provide some history.

I am attempting to use a Compact Flash to IDE adapter in place of a typical hard drive but am running into an issue. It seems that when reading/writing from/to the card everything is really slow. The CF card(s) I have tried, all under 512MB, have been set up in the BIOS (Phoenix V1.00) with their correct CYL/HDS/SEC as detected by WHATIDE.COM and are recognized. I can delete/create partitions using FDISK.EXE and format using FORMAT.COM from DOS 6.22 without issue.

When I run a surface scan using SCANDISK.EXE I get a visual representation of the slow behavior. Scandisk will scan for a second or so, hang for a couple seconds, scan another 100+/- clusters, hang again, scan some more and so on.

Loading WFW 3.11 takes about 5 minutes but eventually will load. There is also a delay starting any additonal programs while in Windows. Even EDIT.COM takes a 10 count to load from the C:\ prompt.

I have tried 3 different CF adapters with multiple cards and all behave the same.

However, When I use an actual hard drive (Quantum ELS127A) the computer runs fine and there is no delay issues. Can anybody give me a clue as to why the compact flash adapters are not working in this computer? I have used these adapters in other computers (PII's) without issue.

Reply 2 of 17, by Jo22

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I'm using HDTune (Freeware) on a Windows PC with USB 3 card reader.
Important is the access speed. It should be below 10ms, say 2ms, if memory serves.
Transfer speed of a few MBs (5 to 10) is okay.

If you wish, you can also try SD Formatter v4 (not v5+).
It has an option to fix capacity and can format flash disks properly.

Edit: Boot time of a few minutes is definitely too long.
My 286 PCs need a few seconds only.
Maybe your BIOS has issues with the modern CF cards?
Maybe it waits for registers to be set in a specific time frame, but the CF card does not use correct timings, because it uses ATA-2 or later..
If you have doubts, give XTIDE Universal BIOS (XUB) a try.

Edit: Another idea, a wild guess. Maybe your BIOS has issues with real-mode stuff, interrupt handling, A20 Gate etc.
In that case, try using QEMM 7.x or later. It not only handles memory, but also virtualizes PC components (timers, interrupts, A20 etc).

"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 3 of 17, by stuartmcivor

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Warlord wrote on 2020-08-02, 08:36:

try using smartdrive or some other disk cache, real hard drive might be faster since it has it's own disk cache chips.

If you are refrering to SMARTDRV.EXE, Autoexec.bat already has it loading with the follow ...

LH /L:0;145456 /S C:\WINDOWS\SMARTDRV.EXE /X

Disk access is still slow.

Reply 4 of 17, by stuartmcivor

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Jo22 wrote on 2020-08-02, 08:42:
I'm using HDTune (Freeware) on a Windows PC with USB 3 card reader. Important is the access speed. It should be below 10ms, say […]
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I'm using HDTune (Freeware) on a Windows PC with USB 3 card reader.
Important is the access speed. It should be below 10ms, say 2ms, if memory serves.
Transfer speed of a few MBs (5 to 10) is okay.

If you wish, you can also try SD Formatter v4 (not v5+).
It has an option to fix capacity and can format flash disks properly.

I'm not sure how to apply this information to my situation. The motherboard has no USB awareness. The CF card is the correct size and runs fine in other computer with and ide adapter.

Jo22 wrote on 2020-08-02, 08:42:
Edit: Boot time of a few minutes is definitely too long. My 286 PCs need a few seconds only. Maybe your BIOS has issues with the […]
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Edit: Boot time of a few minutes is definitely too long.
My 286 PCs need a few seconds only.
Maybe your BIOS has issues with the modern CF cards?
Maybe it waits for registers to be set in a specific time frame, but the CF card does not use correct timings, because it uses ATA-2 or later..
If you have doubts, give XTIDE Universal BIOS (XUB) a try.

Edit: Another idea, a wild guess. Maybe your BIOS has issues with real-mode stuff, interrupt handling, A20 Gate etc.
In that case, try using QEMM 7.x or later. It not only handles memory, but also virtualizes PC components (timers, interrupts, A20 etc).

I briefly looked at XTIDE. I don't want to risk messing up the current BIOS. I don't have the skills or technology to get it back to what it currently is.

I'll give QEMM more of a look.

Reply 5 of 17, by mrau

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please try with smartdrv disabled
and please provide results of a bench - access times and transfer speeds at least so we know where the politician is

edit: and shadowing is enabled?

Last edited by mrau on 2020-08-03, 04:07. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 6 of 17, by SodaSuccubus

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XT-IDE won't overwrite your motherboard's bios. It simply works next to it and loads it's own stuff in place of your stock bios IDE. Remove the XT-IDE card, and your back to your motherboard's stock bios.

Do you have the riser card for your board? Maybe try an ISA IO card if you do. Perhaps the onboard IDE just isn't having it with CF cards. Happens.

Reply 7 of 17, by stuartmcivor

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mrau wrote on 2020-08-03, 03:07:

please try with smartdrv disabled
and please provide results of a bench - access times and transfer speeds at least so we know where the politician is

edit: and shadowing is enabled?

I tried with SMARTDRV.EXE disabled. Things got worse.

A test of the CF card in Windows 7 using HD Tune 2.55 produced these results...
Transfer Rate Minimum : 21.5 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Maximum : 24.5 MB/sec
Transfer Rate Average : 23.1 MB/sec
Access Time : 0.6 ms
Burst Rate : 18.1 MB/sec
CPU Usage : -1.0%

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A test of the CF card in the 486 using SpeedSys...
Tested in FULL mode
Random access time : 0.45 ms
Linear verify speed : 15353 KB/s
Min/Max verify speed : 15286 KB/s / 15383 KB/s
Linear read speed : 2286 KB/s
Min/Max read speed : 2286 KB/s / 2287 KB/s
Buffered read speed : 2324 KB/s
Hard Drive speed index : 1128.63

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Not sure how to enable/disable shadowing. Is this in the BIOS? I see no mention of it. There are not a lot of options to choose from.

Reply 8 of 17, by stuartmcivor

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SodaSuccubus wrote on 2020-08-03, 03:17:

XT-IDE won't overwrite your motherboard's bios. It simply works next to it and loads it's own stuff in place of your stock bios IDE. Remove the XT-IDE card, and your back to your motherboard's stock bios.

Do you have the riser card for your board? Maybe try an ISA IO card if you do. Perhaps the onboard IDE just isn't having it with CF cards. Happens.

Still looking into how to use XT-IDE.

There is a riser card from the the board. It has 4 ISA slots. One is occupied by a Lava Computers 2 serial port card.

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Another has an Aztez sound card, FCC # I38-MMSN811.

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The sound card works fine. I haven't tried the serial port card and considered removing it but since this is the way the computer came to me I haven't yet done so.

I don't have an ISA IO card to try??? (as I google what one is)

Reply 9 of 17, by digistorm

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I actually never get higher speeds on my 486 even with a more modern hard drive (32 GB IBM). What speed do you get with your hard drive in that benchmark?

Reply 11 of 17, by Jo22

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I think the same.
But the loading times are much too long.
Maybe something else is getting into the way?
Since it is WfW 3.11 - maybe it is related to network drivers?
WfW needs quite some time to find a DNS/WINS server (esp. if disconnected from network).
Also, Creative sound drivers for Windows (SB16) need quite a long time to load if MPU-401 is disabled.
Last, but not least, ethernet cards and sound cards and ACPI often have IRQ conflicts (they use IRQ 2/9)..

"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 17, by stuartmcivor

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Jo22 wrote on 2020-08-03, 11:07:
I think the same. But the loading times are much too long. Maybe something else is getting into the way? Since it is WfW 3.11 - […]
Show full quote

I think the same.
But the loading times are much too long.
Maybe something else is getting into the way?
Since it is WfW 3.11 - maybe it is related to network drivers?
WfW needs quite some time to find a DNS/WINS server (esp. if disconnected from network).
Also, Creative sound drivers for Windows (SB16) need quite a long time to load if MPU-401 is disabled.
Last, but not least, ethernet cards and sound cards and ACPI often have IRQ conflicts (they use IRQ 2/9)..

There are no NIC in the computer and no network setup was done during the WFW3.11 install. That is not to say Windows is not trying. The slow performance issue is noticed even in DOS before sound card drivers were installed. I will remove all the cards and try without.

Reply 13 of 17, by Jo22

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stuartmcivor wrote on 2020-08-03, 17:24:
Jo22 wrote on 2020-08-03, 11:07:
I think the same. But the loading times are much too long. Maybe something else is getting into the way? Since it is WfW 3.11 - […]
Show full quote

I think the same.
But the loading times are much too long.
Maybe something else is getting into the way?
Since it is WfW 3.11 - maybe it is related to network drivers?
WfW needs quite some time to find a DNS/WINS server (esp. if disconnected from network).
Also, Creative sound drivers for Windows (SB16) need quite a long time to load if MPU-401 is disabled.
Last, but not least, ethernet cards and sound cards and ACPI often have IRQ conflicts (they use IRQ 2/9)..

There are no NIC in the computer and no network setup was done during the WFW3.11 install. That is not to say Windows is not trying. The slow performance issue is noticed even in DOS before sound card drivers were installed. I will remove all the cards and try without.

I see. Maybe it's something else then.
Anyway, there's something else to try:
FastDisk, the native HDD mechanism of Windows 3.1x.
If it doesn't support your HDD, you can also try a replacement driver for WDCTRL.
The Micro House driver works with HDDs up to 8GB..
http://win31.de/edrivers.htm

"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 17, by BushLin

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Have you run the computer with a regular IDE drive? (Same OS, config and drivers)

Screw period correct; I wanted a faster system back then. I choose no dropped frames, super fast loading, fully compatible and quiet operation.

Reply 15 of 17, by stuartmcivor

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BushLin wrote on 2020-08-03, 20:55:

Have you run the computer with a regular IDE drive? (Same OS, config and drivers)

Yes. When I use a regular IDE drive it is faster.

Here is the output from SPEEDSYS.EXE running on the 486 with a regular HDD as IDE0 Master and the CF as IDEo Slave...

ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ
System Speed Test Ver 4.78 Report file - created on 03-08-2020 00:25:46
ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ

CPU is in V86 mode: No
Processor : ï=(r) 80486SX 25 MHz
CPU speed index : 9.14

Total memory size : 12 MB
Memory Bandwidth : 55.78 MB/s
VESA video memory : Unknown

Hard drive 0 : 918C 16H 17S 121 MB
Tested in FULL mode
Average/Max seek time : 18.46 ms / 28.30 ms
Random seek time : 16.86 ms
Track-to-track seek : 4.38 ms
Random access time : 28.86 ms
Linear verify speed : 360 KB/s
Min/Max verify speed : 188 KB/s / 413 KB/s
Linear read speed : 359 KB/s
Min/Max read speed : 249 KB/s / 411 KB/s
Buffered read speed : 2144 KB/s
Hard Drive speed index : 4.32
Hard drive 1 : 979C 16H 32S 244 MB
ÀÄÄÄÄÄ Model (PS): SMART CF
Tested in FULL mode
Random access time : 0.44 ms
Linear verify speed : 15414 KB/s
Min/Max verify speed : 15374 KB/s / 15442 KB/s
Linear read speed : 2296 KB/s
Min/Max read speed : 2296 KB/s / 2297 KB/s
Buffered read speed : 2333 KB/s
Hard Drive speed index : 1245.53

BIOS vendor : Phoenix Technologies, Ltd. (04/19/90)
Year2000 Bug : 31-12-1999 01-01-1900
OS version : MS-DOS 6.20
ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ

ATA/ATAPI Device Information

IDE0ÄÂÄMasterÄ<ATA>Ä QUANTUM ELS127A
³ Cylinders: 919, Heads: 16, Sectors: 17 (122 MB)
³ Serial Number : 262302614595
³ Firmware Revision : 4.40
³ Maximum Transfer Mode : PIO 3
³ Cache Buffer Size : 32 KB
³ Spindle Speed : 3687 RPM
³
ÀÄSlaveÄÄ<ATA-5>Ä SMART CF
Cylinders: 980, Heads: 16, Sectors: 32 (245 MB)
Serial Number : 20100208079B8A9E8A9E
Firmware Revision : 20091007
Maximum Transfer Mode : PIO 4, DMA 2, UDMA 4 (UltraDMA/66)
Cache Buffer Size : 1 KB

IDE1ÄÂÄMasterÄ<Empty>
³
ÀÄSlaveÄÄ<Empty>

IDE2ÄÂÄMasterÄ<Empty>
³
ÀÄSlaveÄÄ<Empty>

IDE3ÄÂÄMasterÄ<Empty>
³
ÀÄSlaveÄÄ<Empty>
ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ

Cache/Memory Benchmark
ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÂÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÂÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÂÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ¿
³ Read ³ Write ³ Move ³ Average ³
ÚÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÅÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÅÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÅÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÅÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ´
³ Cache Level 1 ³ 23.65 MB/s³ 23.97 MB/s³ 29.77 MB/s³ 25.80 MB/s³
³ Memory ³ 14.23 MB/s³ 24.02 MB/s³ 13.21 MB/s³ 17.15 MB/s³
ÀÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÁÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÁÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÁÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÁÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÙ
ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ

Memory Modules Information

SMBus/i2c Host Controller : Not Present
ÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄÄ

End of report.

and a pretty graph for the HDD...

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and for the CF...

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Reply 16 of 17, by BushLin

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I don't see a benchmark metric where the compact flash card isn't many times faster (although they're all read tests)

Screw period correct; I wanted a faster system back then. I choose no dropped frames, super fast loading, fully compatible and quiet operation.

Reply 17 of 17, by stuartmcivor

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I have been working on this a little bit more. It turns out that in my collection of CF cards the smaller ones (up to 128MB) that don't support DMA work fine. Larger cards that support both LBA and DMA hang the system. Is there a way to disable DMA on the larger CF cards?