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Fast Hard Drive for an old 8088?

Posted on 1998-04-09
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Ok, here's a historical challenge.  I have saved for hysterical reasons my still working original IBM PC from 1982.  Recently installed with an old 8 bit vga card and color VGA, screen output is now fast and smooth.  Now I'd like to replace the old MFM hard drive with something much faster, just to show how snappy an old 8088 can really be!  

So what are my options for hard drive replacement and controller cards (remember, only an 8 bit bus)?  

Best useable response gets an "A".  Who's up for a trip down memory lane!
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Question by:cymbolic
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by:mikecr
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You'll be choking the performance of the hard drive by sticking it in an 8088. Is it worth the money?

Mike
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by:rmarotta
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My guess:
For the (best?) hard drive would be an 8-bit SCSI controller w/BIOS to make use of one of the newer/faster drives.
The fastest possibility would be to get a memory card and stuff it full of  todays cheap RAM for a RAMDRIVE!
regards,
Ralph

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alexo earned 250 total points
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by:cymbolic
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Thanks, guys! I'm checking these out & will get back.  For your info, I have anumber of old (but faster) ide drives laying around that I could put in the box if I could somehow run an IDE in the old 8088.
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by:jrhelgeson
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You can run a 16 bit IDE controller in an 8 bit slot.

You can even run a VLB controller in an 8 bit slot.

It just won't use the full throughput of the controller, it would just use the 8 bit's available to it.

I have an old 8 bit Trantor T130b (adaptec) SCSI card (with drivers & doc's) sitting here on my desk that I will give to you for $5 as long as you pay for shipping.

I think I even might have a couple old SCSI hard drives.  I'll look into it.

jr

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by:alexo
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Problem is, now your interface will limit the performance of the drive (instead of the other way around) so I suggest you don't spend too much on fast drives.  Shop by seek time (not affected by interface speed) instead of transfer rate.
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by:cymbolic
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jr,
 do you recall how much memory the driver software requires for the scsi drivers?  I'm still wating for feedback on a number of inquiries I've made tracking down the web links - don' t throw the old card out yet, please!
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by:jrhelgeson
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alexo,
If you are referring to the use of a 16 bit card in an 8 bit slot, you are incorrect.
If anything, it would be faster due to the higher speed chipsets used.

Cymbolic,
It only takes 20k memory.
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by:alexo
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>> If you are referring to the use of a 16 bit card in an 8 bit slot, you are incorrect.
I'm not.  How can you use a 16-bit card in an 8-bit slot anyway?
I was referring to the bandwidth of the PC bus which is less than the ~10MB/s modern drives can sustain.

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by:rmarotta
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With that screaming 4MHz CPU, I don't think it'll matter much anyway!
Ralph

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by:alexo
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4.77 IIRC.  The DMA modes may be faster (correct me if I'm wrong).
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by:rmarotta
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cymbolic,
Tried the ramdisk yet?
Ralph

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by:cymbolic
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rmarotta,
 No, not yet. I would first like to see if I can get an IDE drive to work, since I have some old ones around that I can use with the right I/F card.  So far I've researched the net addresses, and emailed some likely sources for product availability & pricing, but have heard nothing yet.  Since a lot of these guys deal in old stuff, they may not really be very active in picking up & responding to mail.
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by:pfarkas
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It sounds as though you have more than one computer that are reasonably close to each other.

I found that data transfer was faster through an Ethernet connection to the IBM PC than from any drive I bothered to install locally.

(as an aside, VGA in a PC is cool, but not as cool as Windows 3.0 on a Hercules or CGA display)
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by:rmarotta
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cymbolic,
Any progress yet?
Ralph

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by:cymbolic
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Yep. Got one response from a reseller of old PC parts on an XT/IDE card he'll sell me for $40 with no docs and no advise on what IDE drives supported.  Still trying to dig up some specs on the card to see if it's useable with a pre-XT machine.  Will get back to you.  Thx!
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by:rmarotta
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As I recall, the IDE interface that I used with my old XT used a different address than the one used for later AT models.  I can't remember what it was, but maybe this might jog someone elses memory.
Regards,
Ralph

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