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Solid State Drives - 3 questions...

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Anonymous
a b G Storage
October 10, 2004 2:38:04 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

I have a 512 MB solid state disk made by Winstation, it is in 2.5" IDE
format.
Before anyone goes dismissing this at not enough space, this is only a
system
drive and I have it in a small laptop, running a simple install of
Windows 98,
which is less than 200 MB, and is perfect for this disk. Overall, a
great way to
make a machine dead quiet (no moving parts whatsoever) and shock
resistant.
No wonder the military like these things ;-)

However I have some questions which the manufacturer has not yet
answered for me,
and I though I would ask here just in case someone knows.

1. Physical dimension tolerance - the two SSDs have seen are not
perfectly sized -
in fact while I was able to fit the thing into an IBM Thinkpad with some
effort, placing
it in a Toshiba Libretto misaligned the pins, which made it necesary to
remove and
install only the circuit board and dump the casing. I have told the
manufacturer this
but they did not even respond. Has anyone seen flash disks made by
others (M-Systems
for example) and are they physically compliant with the 2.5/3.5 etc
dimensions?

2. For some obscure reason pin #20 which is non-existent on all normal
laptop IDE
disks is present on the flash disks, making it impossible to install it
in a receptacle such
as that of the Toshiba Libretto, which has the pin blocked, unless you
cut it off - which
is what I did to get it in. The manufacturer did not address this issue
either. Any specific
reason why this dead pin is there?

3. Once the drive was running in the laptop, I tried to write a hard
disk password on it
from the Thinkpad's BIOS utility, and the write failed. Does anyone know
why, and has
anyone successfully written a hard disk password to a solid state
(flash) disk?

Thanks to anyone who can answer any of these.
Anonymous
a b G Storage
October 10, 2004 11:31:16 AM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

vlds8 wrote:

> I have a 512 MB solid state disk made by Winstation, it is in 2.5" IDE
> format.
> Before anyone goes dismissing this at not enough space, this is only a
> system
> drive and I have it in a small laptop, running a simple install of
> Windows 98,
> which is less than 200 MB, and is perfect for this disk. Overall, a
> great way to
> make a machine dead quiet (no moving parts whatsoever) and shock
> resistant.
> No wonder the military like these things ;-)
>
> However I have some questions which the manufacturer has not yet
> answered for me,
> and I though I would ask here just in case someone knows.
>
> 1. Physical dimension tolerance - the two SSDs have seen are not
> perfectly sized -
> in fact while I was able to fit the thing into an IBM Thinkpad with some
> effort, placing
> it in a Toshiba Libretto misaligned the pins, which made it necesary to
> remove and
> install only the circuit board and dump the casing. I have told the
> manufacturer this
> but they did not even respond. Has anyone seen flash disks made by
> others (M-Systems
> for example) and are they physically compliant with the 2.5/3.5 etc
> dimensions?

The question is whether laptops are "physically compliant" with any standard
set of drive mounting dimensions. At one time there was significant
variation, meaning that you could generally only count on using drives from
the laptop manufacturer on that manufacturer's laptops, but with laptops
becoming semi-commodity items that may be changing.

> 2. For some obscure reason pin #20 which is non-existent on all normal
> laptop IDE
> disks is present on the flash disks, making it impossible to install it
> in a receptacle such
> as that of the Toshiba Libretto, which has the pin blocked, unless you
> cut it off - which
> is what I did to get it in. The manufacturer did not address this issue
> either. Any specific
> reason why this dead pin is there?

Since laptop disks can generally only be installed one way it seems odd that
they would be keyed, but that pin is missing just to allow the use of
"keyed" cables that are difficult to plug in backwards. Whether it's
present or not generally is a reflection of the age of the drive more than
anything else.

> 3. Once the drive was running in the laptop, I tried to write a hard
> disk password on it
> from the Thinkpad's BIOS utility, and the write failed. Does anyone know
> why, and has
> anyone successfully written a hard disk password to a solid state
> (flash) disk?
>
> Thanks to anyone who can answer any of these.

Does the device support passwords?

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
(was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
Anonymous
a b G Storage
October 10, 2004 11:34:41 PM

Archived from groups: comp.sys.ibm.pc.hardware.storage (More info?)

"J. Clarke" wrote:

> Since laptop disks can generally only be installed one way it seems odd that
> they would be keyed, but that pin is missing just to allow the use of
> "keyed" cables that are difficult to plug in backwards. Whether it's
> present or not generally is a reflection of the age of the drive more than
> anything else.

Yes indeed, it's just that all 2.5" drives I have ever seen (going back some 5-6
years) all have that pin missing, that includes Toshibas, IBMs and Fujitsus.
It is also specifically listed in the IDE spec as "not used" so it would make sense
to follow the general industry standard when making IDE flash disks, especially
when the manufacturers advertise them as "drop in replacements" for regular
platter drives.

>
> > 3. Once the drive was running in the laptop, I tried to write a hard
> > disk password on it
> > from the Thinkpad's BIOS utility, and the write failed. Does anyone know
> > why, and has
> > anyone successfully written a hard disk password to a solid state
> > (flash) disk?
> >
> > Thanks to anyone who can answer any of these.
>
> Does the device support passwords?

IBM's Thinkpads can write a password to any hard disk, that is any regular
spinning platter disk. I have tried it with many different drives, regardless of
manufacturer. Unless you enter that password at boot-up, the drive cannot
be accessed, not even in another system. Since the flash drive is, to the system,
just a storage device like a platter drive, I thought the same would be true, but
so far it has not worked. I just wish Winstation would answer my question, and
indeed if they don't, I will not buy any more drives from them. There is another
manufacturer out there called M-Systems that I will probably try. The device
itself isn't too different from a regular hard disk - a Lexar or SST interface chip
to "talk" to IDE, and a bunch of Toshiba flash memory chips for storage instead
of platters.
!