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Thread: do IDE to MFM adapters exist? can one be made?

  1. #1

    Default do IDE to MFM adapters exist? can one be made?

    i was wondering... do any IDE to MFM controller adapters exist? if not, could it be made?

    i would think there has to be SOME way to do it, since IDE technically is compatible with the original seagate ST-506 controller standard for MFM/RLL drives. i believe the only difference is the connector, but i could be mistaken.
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  2. #2
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    The MFM interface (ST506/412 interface) and ATA interfaces are very different animals. Take a look at the pinouts on the Internet. An adaptor/converter is possible but would require electronics.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by modem7 View Post
    The MFM interface (ST506/412 interface) and ATA interfaces are very different animals. Take a look at the pinouts on the Internet. An adaptor/converter is possible but would require electronics.
    yeah you're right i just looked at pinouts... totally different.
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  4. #4

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    In an MFM setup the controller does a lot of the work. In an IDE setup the work of picking the data out of the analog signal is done on the drive.

    However, the software interfaces are nearly exactly the same. At the BIOS level a machine like an AT can't tell the difference between the two. For example, I replaced a dead MFM drive in an AT with a simple new IDE controller and IDE drive, and the poor machine thought it had a new 30MB drive. (I had not changed the CMOS drive type.) The same software in the BIOS of the machine was driving the new controller, which did not have a BIOS of its own.

    (In reality it was a bad deal .. that drive was well over 500MB. I wound up installing drive overlay software to get access to the rest of it, as the built in BIOS on the AT wasn't sufficient.)

  5. #5

    Default CompactFlash via MFM

    Makes me wonder if it wouldn't be cheaper and easier to do something using a CompactFlash card. Give it an interface accessible via MFM and plug it in.

    Any thoughts on this?
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  6. #6

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    Find an 8 bit IDE controller and get a Compact Flash IDE adapter for it. Theoretically, it's possible.

  7. #7
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    Would a CF card work? It sounds like an interesting idea, but I am wondering about how an XT would handle it.

  8. #8

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    Maybe finding something with SCSI might even be easier.

  9. #9

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    CF to IDE adapters are readily available. An 8 bit IDE adapter for the XT is hard to come by.

    8 bit SCSI adapters are not hard to come by, but they don't grow on trees either. I've pointed out in many other threads that this is a better solution than trying to find 8 bit IDE adapters, or continuing to run ancient hard drives on an ST506 card.

  10. #10
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    I was under the impression that IDE drives came in XT/AT formats - therefore you could not use an XT type drive in an AT type machine. I also heard that some early IDE drives where switchable XT/AT. Any truth in that?

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