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Thread: P54C Era Bios Limitations

  1. #1

    Default P54C Era Bios Limitations

    I am playing around with my recently acquired IBM Aptiva A12, and I tried to pop in a 4.3gb HDD, but it wouldn't recognize it. It was tested good on another machine. I tried Master, Slave, and CS, all in different cable positions, on both primary and secondary channels.

    I updated the BIOS to the last revision IBM released for the machine, and still no luck. The IBM BIOS in that machine sucks, very few configurable options, it's extremely 'basic' compared to other BIOSes of that era.

    Was it common for the BIOS to have a size limitation? I know I have another Socket 7 board that handled a 20gb drive no problem, and it was only 2-ish years newer.
    Current Vintage Equipment - M571-based Socket 7 PC, IBM Aptiva A12, Commodore VIC20.
    Looking for: Dirt Cheap XT, AT, 386, 486, and a C64, parts or whole systems.

    I'm willing to solder for you. 9 years professional through-hole and surface mount experience. I can do any through-hole work with my current bench. Cash or interesting parts accepted!

  2. #2

    Default

    What BIOS is it.

    There's a 2.11 GB, 2.15 GB, 3.26 GB, 3.28 GB (Phoenix), and a 4.22 GB limit.

    Take your pick.
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Yes, it was common and varied between BIOSes. There were two sets of BIOS extensions over the original 512MB limit--that of 1989, which extended the BIOS support to a bit less than 8GB and another, in 1995, which extended it to a 48 bit LBA value (128 PB). The absolute limit to the addressability is 64 bit, which, at this point, seems unlikely to be exceeded in our lifetime (65K greater).

    Not everyone climbed onto the Phoenix 1995 bandwagon at once, however--particularly not IBM.

    Original Phoenix INT 13H extension document

  4. #4
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    I even would not install an IDE HDD. Take an IDE to CF or SD adapter, plugin a 2 GB CF or SD and you are fine. Some adapters also allow to use zu flash cards in master/slave config.

  5. #5
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    Some IDE HDs are very reliable. Unfortunately. much of the IDE heyday was a race to the bottom price-wise. On a couple of my older systems, I compromise. Instead of a CF or SD card (which are also enjoying a race to the bottom), I use a Microdrive. There are still a fair number of new ones available on eBay in the 2-8GB range. I've got one that's been running 24x7 for 7 years now. There's also DOM and SATA-PATA adapters, if you have a need for speed.

  6. #6

    Default

    The BIOS seems to be proprietary IBM-made. I'll have to check the chip next time I have it open to see if they just laid their UI on top of someone else's. The interface doesn't look like any other bios I've ever used (AMI, Phoenix, etc). I'll post a video on Youtube shortly. It came with a Quantum Fireball 1.2gb, which I had several of in working order only a year ago until the incident in my basement. They're rock solid performers.

    I was just wanting to extend the space a bit. I probably will go with a CF solution in the near future, to have different "setups" ready to swap and run.

    There is something pleasant about that old IDE clicking though.
    Current Vintage Equipment - M571-based Socket 7 PC, IBM Aptiva A12, Commodore VIC20.
    Looking for: Dirt Cheap XT, AT, 386, 486, and a C64, parts or whole systems.

    I'm willing to solder for you. 9 years professional through-hole and surface mount experience. I can do any through-hole work with my current bench. Cash or interesting parts accepted!

  7. #7

    Default Youtube vid

    Current Vintage Equipment - M571-based Socket 7 PC, IBM Aptiva A12, Commodore VIC20.
    Looking for: Dirt Cheap XT, AT, 386, 486, and a C64, parts or whole systems.

    I'm willing to solder for you. 9 years professional through-hole and surface mount experience. I can do any through-hole work with my current bench. Cash or interesting parts accepted!

  8. #8

    Default

    Just sprung for a expansion card bracket IDE to CF adapter, and 3 2gb CF cards with the proper bit set. Will be nice to be able to switch 'hard drives' at each boot if I like without opening up the case
    Current Vintage Equipment - M571-based Socket 7 PC, IBM Aptiva A12, Commodore VIC20.
    Looking for: Dirt Cheap XT, AT, 386, 486, and a C64, parts or whole systems.

    I'm willing to solder for you. 9 years professional through-hole and surface mount experience. I can do any through-hole work with my current bench. Cash or interesting parts accepted!

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