Need another HD

I have a Micron 486dx2 66, Vesa LB, EISA, Ultra Stor SCSI 34f controller, Conner 540 MB HD, BIOS version Pheonix 80486/EISA ROM BIOS PLUS VERSION 1.01, BIOS DATE 01/15/88. Need second or bigger HD. What are my options? BIOS upgrade, new motherboard-cpu, new PC, etc.?
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If you have a SCSI hard disk in your system you could probably solve your problem best by getting a motherboard with an onboard SCSI controller, and connecting a new drive alongside your current one. Failing that one with onboard IDE will do the job (as long as your SCSI card isn't EISA you can plug it into a spare socket).

That way you can use your existing keyboard, mouse, monitor and drives (if your RAM is 72 pin you can use that as well given the right board!).

Your cheapest option is to go for a bog standard Socket 7 board and AMD K6-233 processor, with 72 pin EDO RAM sockets, add your SCSI card (if it's ISA), a new SCSI hard disk, GFX card and some more RAM. This way you'll pay $200 at the most for a system which is more or less the current spec.
mickhAuthor Commented:
Its all a matter of money as to how fast you want to compute.

In relation to you query about a HD upgrade.

You can probably buy a New UltraDma IDE drive that you could use on your current system until you want to upgrade to something quicker. In most cases these are backward compatible with the IDE controller you have on your system.
 You may have problems working out what size you have to place in cmos.
If the cmos doesn't support LBA you might not even be able to add a large HD.

You will probably find that the "connor" hd and a new hd will not be able to work on the same IDE lead so you might have to buy another ide interface unless you have a dual ide controller.

There's a start for you.
Goodluck with the parts hunt

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IF you buy ide hard drive then you will need software drive for your hard disk (easy to get free with hard drives ) also you could card that has  bios that will autodetect your hard disk and
overdrive bios. You can also go with big scsi hard disk but this has to be supported by bios on scsi card.
mickhAuthor Commented:
Since all I have is a scsi card, I was unaware that I have an IDE controlloer. Do I? The Conner is scsi 2. What is LBA? By "could card that has BIOS", do you mean buy new IDE or scsi card? Thanks for such a speedy response.
I gather you have a Connor 540 meg SCSI drive?

If so there won't be to much of a problem adding a new drive although scsi drive cost alot more than ide drive for the same capacity.
You may not have a IDE controller, IDE controllers were'nt always installed on 486 machines.
LBA stands for Logical Block Addressing. Before this due to the history of computers in which the idea that 540meg drives were a dream. The 540 meg limit was as big as you could go.

You might like to either accept to close this question and give the points to Jburghardt or reject the answer to allow further comment on your question.

Regards Netmage

> ... to allow further comment on your question.

Comments can be added even while the question is "locked".

A ten-year-old BIOS will need updating, or replacing,
especially if you want to use a "larger-than-0.5GB" IDE disk,
although having the 'E' in 'EISA' means that you may be OK,
since it was the original 'ISA' which was limited to 540MB.

Trace the ribbon-cable from your current hard-drive
to your motherboard -- is there an "empty" connector
on the motherboard which is identical to the connector
where the ribbon-cable is connected?
If so, an additional EIDE disk can be connected to
this "secondary" IDE port.

Does your ribbon-cable have a third connector in the "middle",
or just the two "end" connectors?  If so, then an additional
EIDE disk can be connected.  If not, buy a ribbon-cable which
does have a connector in the middle.

If you have a SCSI controller, it can control many SCSI devices;
so, you can add another SCSI hard-drive, and it will work.

It's your choice -- a new motherboard, with 2 IDE ports,
and a Pentium 200/233/266 processor, will cost about $150 US.
Or, you can keep your current DX2/66 for a year, i.e.,
until the (probable) lack of 'Y2K-compatibility' means that
you will have to upgrade your motherboard, CPU, & BIOS.

mickhAuthor Commented:
OK, I get the point that I could upgrade, however I am finding that a compatable drive for my BIOS is no longer available. Nobody has adressed this issue in this coorespondence. So should I upgrade the motherboard/cpu and bios or fork out the big bucks for a new PC (my original question)!
mickhAuthor Commented:
Thanks, getting somewhere now.
If you do alot with your PC and have the money buy another one.

Most new software will take an eternity to run on your old machine and you probably have better things to do with your life than stare at the loading windows prompt.

You can fiddle arround with your current pc but in the long run, its a waste of money when you look at what is available for not much money.

If you don't want to spend alot and don't have huge game requirements, you can buy a motherboard with a video and sound card built in. Just match it to a cpu (p233 or thereabouts) buy some memory(32 meg min i'd suggest 64meg sdram) and a hd. You can can use parts off your old machine. Monitor, floppydrive,case,mouse,keyboard and even your old scsi controller (if not built in)and scsi drive. I'd suggest replacing these but if money is tight it will work. This will make an ok work machine.

If you have the money to burn, A pII450,lots of ram,big monitor,pci sound,agp and 3dfx video cards.

Is what i said, what you were looking for in an answer?

You should buy ide card that has bios on it it will let you install upto four drivers say new hard drive and new cd-rom. Rember when you buy hard disk that in larger than 2.1 gb you will need to partition it in smaller chunks say few 1GB hard disk, because fat16 can handle only upto 2.hard drive.
A new motherboard will solve many problems
 - it should have 4 slots for DIMM memory,
   up to 128MB to 512MB,
 - it will support "large" IDE disks,
 - it will be "year-2000" compatible,
 - it will have high-speed PCI slots (for modern video & network cards)
 - it will support 586 and Pentium processors.

A good computer-shop will replace your motherboard,
although you'll probably need a new video-card
(but it will be nice to have).

Its really not nice to see someone post an Answer with what everyone has already been posting as comments.
I offered the cheapest solution, not the best. I take on board what you say, and I apologise if you thought I was plagiarizing, but I was looking at it from a different angle completely.

If our friend wanted to splash out on a PII-400 he'd buy one, and he's got by for years without a major upgrade so I assume it's purely disk space which is an immediate concern. With that in mind I tried to think along those lines and keep it in perspective.

Even the Millenium isn't going to kill off a 486. Otherwise we'll all be up sh*t creek when out 80386-powered ABS systems on our cars kick in next winter!!! Face it- he needs a new disk, the rest is trimmings.

I just upgraded from a similar spec DX-4 100 to Mick H's- to (surprise surprise) an AMD K6-2 300MHz and didn't even have to replace my graphics card. The cost was less than an external ZIP drive.

Tell you what- reject my answer. Because I really should have said:-

1) Buy a "sold as seen" SCSI hard disk for $10 at a computer fair. If it works you got a bargain- and if not, but it's under 3 years old you can get an RMA and get it replaced under manufacturer warranty (thanks to jburghardt for helping me with that one!). All you have to do is check the manufacturer date.

2) Cheap 486-Pentium upgrades are 2 a penny on the second user market, so beef your system up that way for $50.

3) RAM is stupidly cheap, so splash out on some 2nd hand SIMMS compatible with your current board. Visit a broker and you can get them 1/2 the trade price. Aim for 64MB, it'll set you back only $40 if you shop around. (That's 72 pin SIMMS, non-EDO).

4) Pick up a cheap SCSI MO drive in the bargain skip at a fair, and for $50 you can have removable backup storage as well.

What's more- my system was built this way and I guarantee you can't do it cheaper. Better, yes, but cheaper- no.
Incidentally, if you don't rely on the system date as part of an automated process, your PC won't be affected by the millenium.

Just set the clock back 10 years this New Year's Eve, move any pre-Jan 1, 1999 documents into a "pre-1999" folder and rely on your own brain to tell you how old the documents in your active directories are. (or archive them on a cheap MO drive!).
> RAM is stupidly cheap, so splash out on some 2nd hand SIMMS compatible
> with your current board. Visit a broker and you can get
> them 1/2 the trade price.
> Aim for 64MB, it'll set you back only $40
> if you shop around. (That's 72 pin SIMMS, non-EDO).

Around here, RAM prices (SIMMs and DIMMs) have *DOUBLED*
in the last few months, from a previous low of about $1/MB.

Given that the BIOS in MICKH's computer is *TEN* years old,
I'll bet that the motherboard only accepts 30-pin SIMMs;
this would restrict him to using eight 4MB SIMMs, i.e., 32MB.
Another reason to replace the motherboard,
namely to be able to use more-than-32MB of RAM.

mickhAuthor Commented:
Thanks everybody. I think I have enough info now to make a decision. Thanks tstaddon for putting it in perspective.
> Its really not nice to see someone post an Answer
> with what everyone has already been posting as comments.

It's even more a "slap-in-the-face" when that person's
comments are "accepted" by the author of the question;
it makes me want to always mark the 'answer' box,
rather than marking the 'comment' box.

Beg pardon, all, but I did actually suggest that the questioner NOT accept my answer.

Furthermore, 10 year old PCs have 30 pin SIMMS? Not necessarily, I know lots of 386s from 1988 onwards had 72 pin SIMMS- Dell, Compaq and Fujitsu for instance. Even so, brokers are still willing to shift them just to get them out of the way, so although the asking price may have gone up you can haggle the price down.

Maybe I shouldn't have posted it as an answer, but you hit the nail on the head Otta. Maybe YOU should have put it as an answer... but then again, everyone was saying the same thing so you would have been just as guilty of "plagiarism". Netmage got in first so he should have some of the points.

Whatever happened to the idea that experts were not here to argue amongst each other, but to offer advice (sometimes in agreement, sometimes with differing opinions). I will notify the elves here and get the points reallocated so everyone gets a share.

It does beg the question: who is entitled to the points when everyone agrees on an answer but nobody wants to post it as an "answer" for fear of upsetting the other experts?
to tstaddon.

It would be nice if the questions could be designed that we could all answer and not comment without locking the question.

It would be a matter of the person who left the question just picking the best answer.

I think in alot of cases of people reading comments to thier questions, they don't bother to comeback after a few possible answers have been posted in comments. They get ideas and think it was them that fixed it.
Once the problem has gone away they don't come back, just look at the questions waiting to be answer checked.

As far as experts go i think if someone has mostly got the question right all you can do is add. This software that only allows the last 4 comments causes problems to which makes the experts copy each others work but then again haveing to read the detail in sometimes lengthy rubbish is hard to do.

Its really nice when someone leaves a question saying they want comments first so they can decide and its even better when a team effort solved it and  forces them to work out how to split the points.

Maybe an idea of questions being divided into blocks of points to be allocated would be good.


I've sent a message to the ops team to allocate 100 points to each of you for your input. Merry Christmas.


Thanks to everyone for their help on this question.  It is often difficult to know when to post a comment as opposed to an answer.  On more difficult questions, it is often several experts working together who come up with the answer.  

tstaddon posted the following question in customer service:

To foster the cooperation I like to see at the site, I'm going to post questions to those tstaddon felt deserved points on this questions.

Thanks for helping mickh make his decision.

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