ATA-100 CD/DVD-Rom that reads usb sticks instead?

Discussion in 'Computers & Gadgets' started by cyklondx, May 19, 2019.

  1. cyklondx

    cyklondx Limp Gawd

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    Hi,
    I was wondering if anyone came up with a device that acts like a cd-rom and you can plug it onto ATA-100 cable; but instead of CD's it would read usb sticks or sd cards you name it.

    Background:
    I'm playing with retro hardware, and it makes really painful to prep iso's and burn them on cd's (where my main pc doesn't even have a cd/dvd/bd rom drive at all.)

    I know that there are drives that act like a floppy disk, but read data from sd cards/usb etc, but what about cd ;)

    Regards
     
  2. pendragon1

    pendragon1 [H]ardForum Junkie

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  3. cyklondx

    cyklondx Limp Gawd

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    It can't be on usb, it has to sit on ATA-100 cable at the most. USB is too slow.
     
  4. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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  5. Absalom

    Absalom Gawd

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    I doubt such a thing exists. Even if it did, it would represent something extremely niche and exotic.

    Another reason it doesn't exist is because the only system that would benefit from such a thing would be pre-PCI era. If you had something that old, generally you'd get an add-in card.

    So if you've got a free PCI slot from some Pentium era platform, then it's much more sane to just get a PCI to USB 3.0 add-in card. But I doubt even this would help solve your issue given a boot requirement. The system in question is probably old enough that boot from USB wasn't supported via the BIOS. So, YMMV.
     
  6. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Gawd

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    Well, a quick Google search brings up a few options to start:
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079GSGCJY
    https://www.newegg.com/p/pl?d=ide+to+sd+adapter&Submit=ENE

    These don't really emulate an optical drive, but more like a HDD, though I'm guessing that won't matter. Also, you should be able to dump a bunch of ISOs onto a single SD card and configure SYSLINUX + MEMDISK to select from them at boot. There are also utilities designed to create multi-boot USB flash drives (get the SYSLINUX version, not the GRUB2 one), but I see no reason it wouldn't also work with a SD card.
     
  7. cyklondx

    cyklondx Limp Gawd

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  8. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Yeah.. but they are not made it the IDE / optical emulator type.

    For IDE, it would be a huge undertaking as the converter would have to be able to be set to use whatever size you want to format to and then be able to work with the IDE settings in the BIOS.

    The other option would be for it to be an ISA or PCI card for the controller part with it's own BIOS so it would be seen as a SCSI controller to the motherboard and then that would take out any limitation that the motherboard BIOS has in regards to drive parameters.

    For ATA (CD/DVD), the controller would have to be able to format to CD/DVD size or make a special sized partition for whatever usb stick or card is being used... much like the floppy emulators do.. which require a special software to prep the USB sticks and write to them on the computer that does not have one of those emulators in it.

    The easiest, cheapest, and really only existing solution is to use a CF or SD to IDE adapter and then a DOS based ISO loader if you want to not burn CDs.

    CF is IDE so the conversion is really simple. Getting good CF cards is key though. I have run into some that older computer just do not like as well as even CF cards from the same manufacturer and of the same model have different parameters.. and figuring out exactly what parameters to use pretty much requires a system that will auto-detect those parameters correctly so you can then use those CF cards on a computer that you have to enter the values manually. And you have to partition and format the cards on the old computer and then hope your reader on your newer computer will work with the partitioning and formatting of the card.

    I'm guessing the same would be true of SD cards.

    USB sticks would probably not help that much unless you get the super high end ones because the access times and transfer rates for small files pretty much sucks on any of the cheaper USB sticks.

    What are the specs of the retro computer(s) you want to use something like this on? Do they have any PCI slots or only ISA and maybe VLB?
     
  9. cyklondx

    cyklondx Limp Gawd

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    its ibm xseries 225 (its usb 2.0, but not under posts, it only works as 2.0 when drivers are installed - from post its like floppy.), it does have 4 PCI-X slots, and 1 mini-PCI.
    // Though one needs to think there will be another one but dual Pentium 3 where i'd definitely would also want to use it for.

    Keep in mind, i will need to be able to post from it.
     
    Last edited: May 20, 2019
  10. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Ok.. that is easy enough then.

    For the first system, see here for USB 2.0 storage support in MS-DOS:
    https://www.classic-computers.org.nz/blog/2018-02-05-USB-in-MS-DOS-and-Win98.htm

    And for the dual Pentium III system, just get a PCI USB 2.0 card and then use the same method.

    Then for ISO support, just follow the directions in my earlier post which I am posting again so everything is in one place:
    http://www.notanon.com/retro/how-to-use-an-iso-as-a-virtual-cd-under-ms-dos/2010/09/15/

    For something faster, I would just get a SATA dock for your main computer and then get a SATA PCI card with eSata for both older systems. The Promise SATA 1 - 150 cards are a good bet although I am not sure if any of them have external ports... you can always run a cable through a slot cover and then have a power brick with a SATA connector or a MOLEX to SATA adapter running through the slot cover as well.

    For that matter, you could always use an IDE to SATA adapter if you don't want to add an extra card since both of your systems should be able to auto detect higher capacity drives as is... I would guess the dual Pentium III should be good up to 80GB or higher... maybe.
     
  11. cyklondx

    cyklondx Limp Gawd

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    I have no issues making my usb bootable from Easy2Boot, WinSetupFromUSB, to Rufus. The problem is the performance of those usb ports. (openning up windows 2003 install to partitioning took 15min - no joke, and usb stick has decent performance 180MB/s R/W.) My interests are solely for installation/utility CD's that need to be booted from. I'll check if USB PCI card will work for posting (I have doubts).

    // Now that i saw the specs throughput of those PCI-X 64bit 100MHz ports i'm more keen of putting it there.
     
  12. jrweis

    jrweis Gawd

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    Don't know if it would work in your application, but I have an old High-Point PCI AIC that is ATA 66/133 and is capable of using with an IDE CD-Rom.
    Free if you pay the shipping!
     
  13. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    What is the BIOS setting for the USB ports set to?

    I don't think a PCI USB card will be bootable.

    A regular 32-bit 33Mhz PCI card should be able to give you around 120MB/s throughput. Theoretical limit is 133MB/s, but that will never really happen. Some 32-bit cards should also work at 66Mhz though, it just depends on the card.

    To get the full throughput of a PCI-X slot, you will need a PCI-X card. Good luck getting a PCI-X USB card.
     
  14. cyklondx

    cyklondx Limp Gawd

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    There's very little usb options enable keyboard mouse compatibility, and some ibm usb boot on/off style. Whats nice ibm last bios update was 2008, while box is from around '03. even normal throughput of 40mb would be enough. Looks like a rarity (pci-x)
     
  15. BlueLineSwinger

    BlueLineSwinger Gawd

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    It appears you're using a bog-standard PC, no special hardware. An adapter like the one linked from Amazon should work fine. Worst case, you have to do one ISO per SD card, but I don't think such a limit will exist if you set up SYSLINUX properly.

    Not sure what you mean by "representative". The FDD emulator you link is, at heart, essentially the same idea as the SD card adapter I linked, just with some specialized embedded circuitry to select a specific partition (imagine pressing those buttons hundreds of times to get to the one you want). SYSLINUX on a SD card would give you much the same, only better.
     
  16. Blue Fox

    Blue Fox [H]ardForum Junkie

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  17. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Nothing that says high-speed/full-speed?

    You can use PCI cards in PCI-X slots. The PCI-X slots will also support 66Mhz for PCI cards that support it.

    Soooo.. you could use an IDE to SD adapter and then use Rufus to "burn" the ISO to the SD card and make it bootable.
    https://rufus.ie/

    Edit: I am not sure how this would work when hooked up to the IDE interface. Not sure if it would just auto detect as a HDD and boot from it or what. Pretty much all of the SD card readers on newer computers hook up through USB.

    Unetbootin is supposed to be able to make a bootable partition from an ISO on an IDE device so it should work with a CF card:
    https://unetbootin.github.io/

    It seems that Memkor used to make a CF to IDE adapter that allowed the emulation of removable drives.
    https://web.archive.org/web/20091004214134/http://www.memkor.com/en/products/cfdrives/142atapi.html

    Hagiwara looks to have made one as well:
    http://www.hsc-us.com/Embedded/CFadapters/ATG_index.htm
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  18. Absalom

    Absalom Gawd

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    Yes and no. There are two three kinds of keying for a PCI card, one for 3.3V, another for 5V, and yet another for both 3.3V/5V (called 'universal'). Technically, PCI-X is backwards compatible with the PCI 3.3V variant only. And even then, that's not always guaranteed.

    The USB 3.0 add-in card I linked earlier works in both PCI and PCI-X slots, but also has a SATA power connector for USB 3.0 devices drawing more power than either slot can provide. USB 2.0 should be even more trivial.

    Edit: Even if the add-in card works, and in the most general case it should, there's still the challenge of finding and setting up a DOS USB driver that will unleash greater than USB 1.x speeds.

    And given that the USB stack resides in the BIOS, there's yet an even greater challenge of having proper BIOS support for bootable USB anything. Neither a special driver or special hardware will help there.
     
    Last edited: May 21, 2019
  19. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    Oh yeah.. forgot about the specific keying.

    Booting form the add-in card is pretty much not going to work. I have never seen a BIOS that supports booting from an add in USB card.

    I did link above to a DOS driver that supports USB 2.0 but cyclondx needs to boot directly to the USB device so drivers are not going to help.
     
  20. Absalom

    Absalom Gawd

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    Never is a very strong word.

    While I have zero experience with booting from USB on legacy hardware as well as 3rd party add-ins, my research turned up Plop as an alternative to boot-from-USB lacking BIOS support. Plop is basically a linux-based boot manager with USB support. While it's not stated clearly in the docs, I get the impression Plop only works if there's a MBR present, thus an already partitioned hard drive.

    As far as a DOS-based USB driver goes, there's a commercial one called DOSUSB that supports USB 3.0 of all things.
     
  21. cyclone3d

    cyclone3d [H]ardForum Junkie

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    I haven't tried Plop.. but that would be an interesting workaround.

    The never was referring to me never seeing a BIOS that has support for booting from an add-in USB card.

    Sweet about the USB 3.0 support.
     
  22. SteveSi

    SteveSi n00b

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    Easy2Boot has its own fast USB 2 driver - did you try it?
    Just hold down the SHIFT key as E2B starts to boot - you should see some sort of message about USB device 0x80 if it works.
    The other alternative is to use Plop! burned to a CD - you boot from the CD and then it boots from the USB drive. The only problem is that Plop! uses a read-only USB driver, so you can't write to the USB drive using the BIOS unless whatever you boot to loads its own USB rd/wr driver.
     
  23. cyklondx

    cyklondx Limp Gawd

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    Thanks for everyones input, ill test some of the solutions in 2-3 days once im back home.