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Using a 500mb ATA flash-drive on a 386 DX-25?

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September 18, 2011 3:05:52 PM

Hey guys,

I bought a Dell 386 DX-25 desktop. It's one of those old-school slimline ones, the 325P. In any case, I don't have a hard drive to put into it. The smallest drive is a 1.3gig drive. This breaks the 504mb limitation for both the bios, and the OS that I've selected (which is DOS 5.0). The BIOS cannot be flashed, and the highest lz / cyls I can put is 1023. I just bought a 1.8/2.5" to 3.5" IDE form factor adaptor kit. I have a 512mb (or whatever) flash-card that came out of a thin-client. I'm wondering if I can take this, hook it up to the adaptor, and then plug it into the normal IDE drive and use it as a regular hard drive? I assume I would use the defaults: 1023 / 16 / 63.

Will this work?


Thanks!!!

I think it would be cool to have an SSD (basically) drive in the 386.

I know I'd still be limited to 504mb, but don't really care about that extra 30mb or whatever I'd be losing. Any thoughts???


Thanks!!!
a b G Storage
September 20, 2011 9:57:22 PM

Yes, that should work fine.
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a c 311 G Storage
September 28, 2011 8:22:50 AM

You can circumvent the BIOS limitation using a DDO (Disk Drive Overlay). IIRC, Seagate supplied EZ-Drive, and Maxtor had MaxBlast. The DDO adds BIOS INT13 extensions to enable support for larger drives.

EZ-Drive's Most Frequently Asked Questions:
ftp://ftp.seagate.com/techsuppt/misc/ez-faq.txt

BTW, I don't know what kind of flash card you have, but I know that Compact Flash cards have miniature IDE interfaces. I suspect that your adapter is just a passive device that converts the CF pinout to standard IDE.

http://pinouts.ru/DiskCables/ide2cf_cable_pinout.shtml
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October 5, 2011 12:17:42 AM

Thanks guys! I appreciate the response. I ended up getting the wrong device... regular IDE to 1.8" ide. I meant to go to the one in between so I could use the flash card from the thin client (not to be confused with a compact flash). I'm still planning on doing it, but I ended up just sticking a 130 meg Seagate I had in there for the time being.

Thanks!

(By the way, just got a notification of a reply today... which is a week late, so if you get this later, thanks for responding).
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October 5, 2011 2:10:41 AM

I am VERY impressed that you are resurrecting this old piece of history.

I have a home built 386 in my basement that I have no idea what to do with. I built it for running AutoCAD some time ago and it has run it's course. It has a "monstrous 300mb" hard drive.

What do you plan to use your machine for?

-Mike
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October 12, 2011 12:15:52 AM

mbahr said:
I am VERY impressed that you are resurrecting this old piece of history.

I have a home built 386 in my basement that I have no idea what to do with. I built it for running AutoCAD some time ago and it has run it's course. It has a "monstrous 300mb" hard drive.

What do you plan to use your machine for?

-Mike



Hah, thanks Mike. I don't want anyone to think I am a hoarder, because I consider myself a minimalist. But with respect to computers, I have three computers at my desk at home. I have a 386 DX-25, and a Pentium II 266 which I use for older games. I grew up in the 80s and 90s, and the games I prefer most are the ones that run in DOS. A lot of the really cool games which came out in the late 90s and early 00s ran under Windows 98. So I have a 386 running DOS 5.0 with Windows 3.1, and a Pentium II running Windows 98 SE. I've got a Sound Blaster Pro with a Roland Sound Canvas for General Midi in the 386, and in the Pentium II, I have a Diamond Monster Pro sound card with SB-16 DOS support and a Roland SCD-15 daughter board for General Midi. They're both the perfect mix of computers for running the older games. Even though, to be honest, I don't really ever play games. I have a newer computer (a remanufactured Dell with an i7), but the newest game I JUST played was BioShock. Before that, System Shock II which I think was from 2000.

Anyway, I get a kick out of seeing the stuff run with it's original OSes... I'm not a big fan of emulators or DOSBOX. With the right combination of parts, you simply cannot emulate a system as good as it might be in reality.
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