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View Full Version : Need some advice: Latest Mobo with floppy and PATA onboard.



Chuck(G)
October 9th, 2014, 08:03 PM
I occasionally need to handle floppies (if you know me, you know that's true). I'd like to find a late Mobo with a genuine legacy floppy controller--and a PATA/IDE port wouldn't hurt either.

It seems that AM3+ may be the last line of boards to support that old cruft. Is that true? I'm looking at a couple of old boards right now--a ASRock M3A770DE and a Biostar A880GZ. Does anyone know of something better? I'll probably use a CPU I already have--an AMD Athlon II 640.

Advice solicited!

(Please don't suggest that I use a USB floppy--I've had it with them :( )

Unknown_K
October 9th, 2014, 08:33 PM
I am shocked an AM3+ still has floppy support. Any reason you can't just keep using what you have?

Chuck(G)
October 9th, 2014, 08:46 PM
Yup. Running under 64 bit Linux. Mostly convenience--I've got lots of 32-bit capable machines, but only a couple of 64-bit ones. I've got an old Athlon 64 board with floppy but I'd like a backup.

Great Hierophant
October 9th, 2014, 09:16 PM
Try either of these :
http://www.anandtech.com/show/5842/asrock-fatal1ty-z77-professional-review-ide-and-floppy-on-z77/2
http://www.anandtech.com/show/6089/asrock-z77-extreme6-review-legacy-bites-back

Chuck(G)
October 9th, 2014, 09:42 PM
Yup, looks like it'll be an AsRock board, no matter what I choose.

Agent Orange
October 10th, 2014, 05:43 AM
Yup, looks like it'll be an AsRock board, no matter what I choose.

Before you commit you may want to take a look at this one: GIGABYTE 790FXTA-UD5

I've had this board for several years as backup system. Never had a problem with it. Gets better than average reviews.

http://www.hardwareheaven.com/2010/02/gigabyte-ga-790fxta-ud5-motherboard-review/

Rick Ethridge
October 10th, 2014, 08:13 AM
These boards are OLD. I have newer AMD 970 boards and the floppy ports are gone. BTW All AMD boards are 2 years behind Intel's. (I prefer AMD!).

Chuck(G)
October 10th, 2014, 08:36 AM
I've been a bit leery of later ASUS boards, as I've had a couple of failures with them right out of the box. But I'll add that one to my watch list. Thanks!

I need to find a couple of good candidates that aren't selling for nearly-new prices now.

As far as old, what do expect when you want a real floppy interface? As far as being lower on the performance ladder, with a max connection speed of 1.5Mbps, why bother with anything faster?

Chuck(G)
October 15th, 2014, 01:34 PM
What I finally ended up with is an ASRock 980DE3/U3S3, which pretty much has the what I'm looking for, which is the floppy connector. It also has USB3 and SATA3 and a bunch of other goodies. Very reasonably priced (about $65 from Newegg). I haven't installed it yet; I post later on the success or failure if anyone's interested.

And there's a sticker on it that says "Windows 8 ready". Be still, my beating heart!

JDallas
October 15th, 2014, 02:22 PM
And there's a sticker on it that says "Windows 8 ready".
If it could:
(1) run a Pentium processor,
(2) run Windows 2000 Professional and
(3) have a parallel printer port or bus for such a card (for a "dongle")...
Then I'd buy several as a legacy CAD platform with benefits.

Chuck(G)
October 15th, 2014, 02:26 PM
As I go through my old stuff, stay tuned.

Generally, if an older board doesn't have at least one ISA slot, it doesn't interest me.

Unknown_K
October 15th, 2014, 03:22 PM
As far as being lower on the performance ladder, with a max connection speed of 1.5Mbps, why bother with anything faster?

Internet speed is only important for tasks on the internet. There are people who do need faster systems for content creation (or single person gaming). Still with chips mostly just slapping on cores newer probably doesn't really mean better real world performance on most common tasks anymore.

SomeGuy
October 15th, 2014, 03:44 PM
What I finally ended up with is an ASRock 980DE3/U3S3, which pretty much has the what I'm looking for, which is the floppy connector. It also has USB3 and SATA3 and a bunch of other goodies. Very reasonably priced (about $65 from Newegg). I haven't installed it yet; I post later on the success or failure if anyone's interested.
I'm interested! If you recall, last year I looked at some motherboards that were current-ish then:http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?39615-Recent-motherboard-FDC-and-quot-legacy-quot-tests

I compared the Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3, ASRock 880GM-LE FX, BIOSTAR A770E3, and ASRock 990FX Extreme 4.

Does the 980DE3/U3S3 have Award or AMI BIOS? Is it UEFI or traditional?
Does that also use the controller chip that supports FM encoding?
Does it let you select anything other than 1.44mb in the BIOS?


And there's a sticker on it that says "Windows 8 ready".
BAAAARRRRRFFF!!!

Chuck(G)
October 15th, 2014, 10:06 PM
Well, good news and bad.

As you might expect from other tests, FM read/write works fine as does MFM, but the funny 128 byte MFM still appears to be the property of the 8473 FDC in the PC domain--no surprises here. As far as what the BIOS supports, it's the gamut--360K-2.88M are all in the selection list. Single floppy only.

I haven't tested the IDE interface yet, but I don't expect problems.

lowen
October 16th, 2014, 05:15 AM
...Still with chips mostly just slapping on cores newer probably doesn't really mean better real world performance on most common tasks anymore.

If you want to run MESS emulation of a moderately complex system such as a TRS-80 Model II, let me tell your right now that more cores matters big time. MESS is one compute-intensive beast. Running MESS in single-core mode (the default), my Core 2 Duo (Penryn T9300 2.5GHz) won't run the trs80m2 driver at full speed. Enabling the MESS option for multithreading allows almost realtime speed, with both cores hitting 60%-plus utilization.

A less accurate emulator of a less complex system, such as the TRS-80 M4P emulation of sdltrs, is much less intensive, but sdltrs is not emulating the hardware to the degree that MESS is.

And for this group here, running emulation might actually qualify as a 'common' task...... :-)

Chuck, please keep us informed on your testing of this motherboard. I have a slightly older ASRock socket AM2+ board, but I haven't tried TESTFDC on it as yet.

Unknown_K
October 16th, 2014, 06:23 AM
Sure a couple cores can be great, but how often do we use anything over 4 cores? Would an 8 core CPU help us much with current use over 4?

Agent Orange
October 16th, 2014, 06:46 AM
Well, good news and bad.

As you might expect from other tests, FM read/write works fine as does MFM, but the funny 128 byte MFM still appears to be the property of the 8473 FDC in the PC domain--no surprises here. As far as what the BIOS supports, it's the gamut--360K-2.88M are all in the selection list. Single floppy only.


I haven't tested the IDE interface yet, but I don't expect problems.

Nice pick on your new board. I'm wondering if the BIOS supports 2 floppys or is it an either/or choice?

njroadfan
October 16th, 2014, 07:26 AM
I'm interested! If you recall, last year I looked at some motherboards that were current-ish then:http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?39615-Recent-motherboard-FDC-and-quot-legacy-quot-tests

I compared the Gigabyte GA-870A-UD3, ASRock 880GM-LE FX, BIOSTAR A770E3, and ASRock 990FX Extreme 4.

Does the 980DE3/U3S3 have Award or AMI BIOS? Is it UEFI or traditional?


The ASRock has a AMIBIOS, no UEFI. For those looking for parallel and serial ports, it seems that plenty of boards are still being made with them with the latest Intel and AMD chipsets. Whats odd is that the ports are usually omitted from the standard ATX boards, but are present on the MicroATX versions.

One legacy issue people are running into is the lack of native PCI on newer Intel chipsets. Many folks are running into problems running PCI soundcards on boards with PCI-to-PCIe bridge chips.

lowen
October 16th, 2014, 07:27 AM
Sure a couple cores can be great, but how often do we use anything over 4 cores? Would an 8 core CPU help us much with current use over 4?

With the number of things I have open all the time, I would dearly love to have no less than 8 cores; this being a laptop, though, the best I can do for reasonable money is 4 cores. My desktop (Intel 5000X chipset dual socket LGA771 with two quad core Xeon E5410 CPU's) has 8 cores, and I use them. Of course, that includes a couple of virtual machines running, along with four Firefox windows with 15-45 tabs in each window, and thunderbird for e-mail, four terminal sessions (I'm using CentOS 6 Linux.....), and sundry other things, including two or three LibreOffice documents open at any given time. But I guess in that I'm a bit, uh, unusual.

But it sounds like Chuck has his motherboard sorted, other than the MFM 128 byte sector issue.

Hmmm, Chuck, does the test also test for FM 128 byte sector reads? To image TRS-80 Model II boot disks this would be required.

njroadfan
October 16th, 2014, 07:36 AM
Sure a couple cores can be great, but how often do we use anything over 4 cores? Would an 8 core CPU help us much with current use over 4?

If you have a highly threaded process.... like video editing, compression, and filtering, its a big boost. I have a few AviSynth scripts that will bring a 8 core Haswell-E to its knees. Also a properly written emulator can take advantage of it. In theory more cores would be great in all situations, but multi-threaded programming is difficult.

Chuck(G)
October 16th, 2014, 07:58 AM
Nice pick on your new board. I'm wondering if the BIOS supports 2 floppys or is it an either/or choice?

Just a single floppy as far as I can tell.

Chuck(G)
October 16th, 2014, 08:02 AM
But it sounds like Chuck has his motherboard sorted, other than the MFM 128 byte sector issue.

Hmmm, Chuck, does the test also test for FM 128 byte sector reads? To image TRS-80 Model II boot disks this would be required.

I tested that myself with Anadisk--it's fine.

I do use multiple cores for some single tasks. For example, when you're archiving using the tar-gzip combination, rather than gzip, I use pigz, which is a multithreaded adaptation. It speeds the process quite a bit.

JDallas
October 16th, 2014, 09:12 AM
Just a single floppy as far as I can tell.
If so, just use an external toggle switch to select which drive it talks to.

I installed a toggle switch and LED on my NorthStar MDS in the late '70s just to avoid messing with write protect tabs.
Better than Mr. Miyagi's advice, "Tab on... Tab off..."

Chuck(G)
October 16th, 2014, 10:06 AM
If so, just use an external toggle switch to select which drive it talks to.

I installed a toggle switch and LED on my NorthStar MDS in the late '70s just to avoid messing with write protect tabs.
Better than Mr. Miyagi's advice, "Tab on... Tab off..."

If I glance over to the desk to my right, it's an Athlon 64 system with an FD505 fully supported. If I want to get serious, I go down to my office floor where the rackmount dual P3 system sits and the stack of external drive boxes sitting on it--if I need a specific drive, I just plug it in. I can pretty much do anything from 8" down to 3.0" just by changing plugs. I still don't have a 2.0" drive, however--one of these days, perhaps.

Chromedome45
November 8th, 2014, 04:26 PM
ASUS P6T X58 chipset for socket 1366 core I7 has floppy and PATA. Have a look: http://www.ebay.com/itm/ASUS-P6T-motherboard-and-Intel-Core-i7-Processor-/191400504184?pt=US_Motherboard_CPU_Combos&hash=item2c905beb78