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Thread: Laptops / Portables with ATA Interface - how can I know?

  1. #1

    Default Laptops / Portables with ATA Interface - how can I know?


    I am / will be looking to get my hands on something in the 386/486/early Pentium range of laptop/portables. I think my biggest concern is ensuring that the disk controller is ATA compatible, so I can run CF and not worry about the old mechanical drives breaking down on me.

    Is there documented anywhere, or does anyone have insight on, what I can expect to find? I assume all Pentium-era units would be ATA compatible, but is it safe to say all 486s are? I would imagine it gets fuzzier in the 386 laptop range, but is there maybe a list of units that are known to work well with what I want to do?

    My easiest route would be to buy a Pentium laptop (Compaq Armada series comes to mind, I had a beautiful 7710 once), but for some reason I'm looking to get something a little more...interesting, albeit not wanting to spend a ton (more than, say, $150).

    Thanks for any advice, and I apologize for my rambling is the product of an uninformed mind.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Outer Mongolia


    You're probably fine with most laptops made after 1990 or so, outside of a few really proprietary/ultra compact machines, at least from an electrical/plug compatibility standpoint. Earlier than that, and particularly anything with an 8088/286 processor might be another story. (I recall some early Compaq LTEs used a Conner drive with a weird plug, and then there were those PrairieTek drives that I don't think were full according-to-Hoyle IDE...)

    486 laptops are almost certainly safe, again, unless it's something ultra-compact or otherwise strange. (Apple made some 68040 laptops that has 2.5" SCSI drives in them, I don't *know* if any PC manufacturer used them but I suppose it's a remote possibility.) I'm sure if you Google the name/model of any reasonably popular laptop that you might be considering you'll be able to unearth its specs.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Fairfield, Ohio


    The Compaq Portable 386 uses an ATA controller.


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