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80386 Custom Build Questions

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Hello all. I hope I'm not OT here but I'm finding it difficult to find a place devoted to early PC (8088 - 80486) hardware and games.

 

So, I'm slowly building a vintage 386. I have a motherboard that has 16 bit ISA slots only. My CPU is an AMD 386 @ 40Mhz.

 

I also have a standard 3.5" (1.44MB) floppy as well as a 5 1/2" floppy drive.

 

Now I'm at the point where I'm looking for some type of ISA (8bit? 16bit?) disk controller. It's been a LONG time since I've built a computer this old. I remember there are IDE cards, EIDE cards, etc.

 

I'd like a real hard drive and not use a SD or CF. But I may go that route because it's hard to find small drives that aren't used and with problems. I would also hate to buy a 1TB drive and only use 512MB. lol

 

So, in summary:

 

Hard drive (preferred) in the 512MB to 2GB size. But I may use CF.

3.5" floppy

5 1/2" floppy

IDE CD-ROM (optional)

 

Oh, didn't they make controller cards that had I/O ports too? I'm going to need those, obviously. Especially serial.

 

Any suggestions on what card(s) I should get? Brand names? Types? Etc.

 

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Although it is mainly intended for 8-bit ISA slots, I would get an XT-IDE which is a modern homebrew card that you may find on Tindie, possibly also eBay and other places. I'm not sure it would support ATAPI CD-ROM but then again most other IDE interfaces you can find probably will not as well.

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Hello all. I hope I'm not OT here but I'm finding it difficult to find a place devoted to early PC (8088 - 80486) hardware and games.

 

So, I'm slowly building a vintage 386. I have a motherboard that has 16 bit ISA slots only. My CPU is an AMD 386 @ 40Mhz.

 

I also have a standard 3.5" (1.44MB) floppy as well as a 5 1/2" floppy drive.

 

Now I'm at the point where I'm looking for some type of ISA (8bit? 16bit?) disk controller. It's been a LONG time since I've built a computer this old. I remember there are IDE cards, EIDE cards, etc.

 

I'd like a real hard drive and not use a SD or CF. But I may go that route because it's hard to find small drives that aren't used and with problems. I would also hate to buy a 1TB drive and only use 512MB. lol

 

So, in summary:

 

Hard drive (preferred) in the 512MB to 2GB size. But I may use CF.

3.5" floppy

5 1/2" floppy

IDE CD-ROM (optional)

 

Oh, didn't they make controller cards that had I/O ports too? I'm going to need those, obviously. Especially serial.

 

Any suggestions on what card(s) I should get? Brand names? Types? Etc.

 

Thanks for any suggestions!

 

Real simple. If your motherboard does not ALREADY HAVE the 40pin IDE connector on it, then you need to get yourself a 16-bit ISA IDE controller. It will look like this:

 

tans_ts5188_ide_multi_io_controller_card

 

 

 

They typically come with COMM ports, PARALLEL PORTS, and maybe even a Joystick port. It'll also usually come with a FLOPPY controller. If you already have one, then scratch that. But make sure you look on your motherboard and see if you already have one of those IDE ports on the motherboard. It would look like the one in the upper-right corner (note, one next to it is FDD)

 

If you know that you don't want more comm ports and already have a floppy port, then you can just get a simple IDE controller.

 

And it would look very simply, just like this:

 

 

s-l1000.jpg

 

 

 

Honestly, just searched eBay... this is what you want. It really doesn't get much more simple than this. Card, software, etc... it's all you need:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-16-bit-ISA-IDE-HD-Hard-Drive-Controller-Card-Promise-w-cable-VINTAGE/232619625994

 

Here's a picture of it:

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

 

 

 

Now, as far as storage, you CAN get an SSD drive. They have things called "Disk On Modules" and they sell them for dirt cheap. Here's one for $14 bucks. It's 512mb, really all that you could possibly want (it's what I use). It's a tiny little DOM, has a power connector, and plugs right into the IDE port.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/512MB-HyperDisk-DOM-Disk-On-Module-Industrial-IDE-Flash-Memory-40-Pins-SLC/221178581875

 

You CANNOT go wrong with this. There is nothing nostalgic about drives crashing and slow loading. This will go as fast as your motherboard's 16bit bus can handle.

 

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

 

Anyway, I really love this stuff. I may not check back this thread that often, but if you need / want any help, please feel free to reach out to me in PM and I'll come back and post in here. I was born in the late 70s, and grew up through the 80s and 90s... so everything from 8088 to 80486 was what I grew up with.

Edited by 82-T/A
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On 2/2/2018 at 6:11 PM, 82-T/A said:

 

Real simple. If your motherboard does not ALREADY HAVE the 40pin IDE connector on it, then you need to get yourself a 16-bit ISA IDE controller. It will look like this:

 

tans_ts5188_ide_multi_io_controller_card

 

 

 

They typically come with COMM ports, PARALLEL PORTS, and maybe even a Joystick port. It'll also usually come with a FLOPPY controller. If you already have one, then scratch that. But make sure you look on your motherboard and see if you already have one of those IDE ports on the motherboard. It would look like the one in the upper-right corner (note, one next to it is FDD)

 

If you know that you don't want more comm ports and already have a floppy port, then you can just get a simple IDE controller.

 

And it would look very simply, just like this:

 

 

s-l1000.jpg

 

 

 

Honestly, just searched eBay... this is what you want. It really doesn't get much more simple than this. Card, software, etc... it's all you need:

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/NEW-16-bit-ISA-IDE-HD-Hard-Drive-Controller-Card-Promise-w-cable-VINTAGE/232619625994

 

Here's a picture of it:

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

 

 

 

Now, as far as storage, you CAN get an SSD drive. They have things called "Disk On Modules" and they sell them for dirt cheap. Here's one for $14 bucks. It's 512mb, really all that you could possibly want (it's what I use). It's a tiny little DOM, has a power connector, and plugs right into the IDE port.

 

https://www.ebay.com/itm/512MB-HyperDisk-DOM-Disk-On-Module-Industrial-IDE-Flash-Memory-40-Pins-SLC/221178581875

 

You CANNOT go wrong with this. There is nothing nostalgic about drives crashing and slow loading. This will go as fast as your motherboard's 16bit bus can handle.

 

 

s-l1600.jpg

 

 

Anyway, I really love this stuff. I may not check back this thread that often, but if you need / want any help, please feel free to reach out to me in PM and I'll come back and post in here. I was born in the late 70s, and grew up through the 80s and 90s... so everything from 8088 to 80486 was what I grew up with.

So I realize it's been over a year since this was posted, but I have a question about these DOMs. I used one in my pentium class machine and it worked with no configuration required. I also have a 386SX class PC and would like to replace the HDD with one of these. However, for the 386 machine I would normally need to set the heads/sectors/landing zone to get an IDE drive to work. How do I setup a DOM so that it works, since it has no head/landing zone etc?

 

Any words of wisdom from the group? Thanks in advance for any assistance.

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Some older motherboards may have issues with a 2GB HDD. So you may have to partition it or only format less space. My old Gateway 2000 had a Socket 5 board and a Pentium 90 CPU and 2GB was supported. Now I use a Socket 7 board with a 200MHz K6 which plays most games from the 386 era just fine. Except Stargunner runs too fast, but that's a Pentium era game, despite that it still ran too fast on my Pentium 90 system even though that was the recommend CPU. Dos games can be weird like that.

 

Also... a 512MB DOM would be too small for my needs. I actually had to delete some games off of my 2GB HDD to install a new game.

Edited by DragonGrafx-16

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Wouldn't the disk on module emulate cylinders heads sectors to be ide compatible.  The numbers should be provided in it's specs.  You can also find out by plugging it into a computer that can autodetect.  Older computers at one time had a 528MB drive limit.

Edited by mr_me

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Auto-detection works for most of them. I use DOMs on my Amigas with both straight IDE and SCSI-to-IDE adapters. I expect that should work on PC, as well.

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Oh, and FWIW, I know some guys who upgrade old 386- and 486-based phone systems with DOMs.

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PM me I got a couple IDE / Floppy / RS232 / parallel combo cards collecting dust, I can hook a neighbor up for the price of postage 

 

just noticed this post is several months old but whatever offer stands 

Edited by Osgeld

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On 6/22/2019 at 3:35 AM, DragonGrafx-16 said:

Some older motherboards may have issues with a 2GB HDD. So you may have to partition it or only format less space. My old Gateway 2000 had a Socket 5 board and a Pentium 90 CPU and 2GB was supported. Now I use a Socket 7 board with a 200MHz K6 which plays most games from the 386 era just fine. Except Stargunner runs too fast, but that's a Pentium era game, despite that it still ran too fast on my Pentium 90 system even though that was the recommend CPU. Dos games can be weird like that.

 

Also... a 512MB DOM would be too small for my needs. I actually had to delete some games off of my 2GB HDD to install a new game.

The 512 is a limitation of the BIOS. I can send you the cyl/head/sectors but I'm at a wedding and kind of drunk.

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24 minutes ago, 82-T/A said:

The 512 is a limitation of the BIOS. I can send you the cyl/head/sectors but I'm at a wedding and kind of drunk.

I know. I'm even considering sticking in another 2GB drive (DOM or otherwise) in my DOS PC for some more space. It would be the E: drive.

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5 hours ago, DragonGrafx-16 said:

I know. I'm even considering sticking in another 2GB drive (DOM or otherwise) in my DOS PC for some more space. It would be the E: drive.

Ah, ok. If you still need it, it's 993 cyls, 16 heads, 63 sectors per track... for 512mb DOM configuration in the BIOS.

 

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Just now, 82-T/A said:

Ah, ok. If you still need it, it's 993 cyls, 16 heads, 63 sectors per track... for 512mb DOM configuration in the BIOS.

 

I never needed it. My BIOS supports more than 2GB... I could easily stick in a 30GB drive but MS-DOS 6.22 itself can only see up to 2GB per partition.

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Can I ask what you're doing on a 386 that you need more than 512? I could install almost all my DOS games from that era and still be fine.

 

You may be better off with a low-end 486 if you're playing the newer / mid 90s games. You'd have less drive restrictions too.

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3 minutes ago, 82-T/A said:

Can I ask what you're doing on a 386 that you need more than 512? I could install almost all my DOS games from that era and still be fine.

 

You may be better off with a low-end 486 if you're playing the newer / mid 90s games. You'd have less drive restrictions too.

I'm not using a 386 LOL

 

I'm using an AMD K6 200MHz... it handles 386 games just fine. It's just that I have multiple late 90s games installed like TESII: Daggerfall, where it alone takes up a third of the hard drive.

Edited by DragonGrafx-16

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1 minute ago, DragonGrafx-16 said:

I'm not using a 386 LOL

Shoot... I'm on my phone and realized I responded to the wrong person all along. Sigh... hey. Oh well...

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On 6/29/2019 at 11:23 PM, DragonGrafx-16 said:

I never needed it. My BIOS supports more than 2GB... I could easily stick in a 30GB drive but MS-DOS 6.22 itself can only see up to 2GB per partition.

not so easily there's a bios limitation on machines that limit the hard disk to 8 gig along with a shit ton of others depending on make and bios

 

http://www.tldp.org/HOWTO/Large-Disk-HOWTO-4.html

 

I have run into 

 

BIOS Int 13 - the 8.5 GB limit

 

many times with high end 486's to socket 7 machines (and 40 gig limits on many super socket 7 + machines, which annoyed me endlessly during the early 00's)

 

heck I just sold a machine that was an ATX form factor pentium MMX 266 Mhz that capped out at 8.47GB in bios ... slapped in a 8 gig drive added a disclaimer to the listing and off she went to a new home, cause even an 8 gig disk with network and USB is unlimited for the era

Edited by Osgeld

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