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Thread: A Computer Finally Working, Now to Expand Its Capabilities... (XTIDE BIOS)

  1. #1
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    Lightbulb A Computer Finally Working, Now to Expand Its Capabilities... (XTIDE BIOS)

    Whew. I finally did it. I got a working motherboard (Chaintech 6BTM) that I was able to upgrade first time. I burnt out 3 Flash chips total (and burned my left-hand finger in the process) because I didn't know if the orientation notch on the BIOS socket was correct or not. (Two of them 3 weeks ago, and one today when I received my new/old stock from China.)

    Plus, upgrading the normal BIOS to its latest revision gave me a nice bonus. I now have full control over the speed of my CPU (All 866 MHz of it, and then some; an option that seems to allow 900+Mhz overclocking, but I'm not touching that.)

    I was also able to install my cards after a bit of messing about.

    Now there's one minor problem that I expected; my hard drives are too new and too big (Year 2004-120GB and up) and a patched version to allow >64GB drives from wimsbios does not exist.

    I want to use the XTIDE BIOS in my system. I burned a copy of the 12KiB XT_ATL binary to a 128KiB chip that I had from an old printer. The ROM burning is the easy part. Knowing if it will work under Windows 98SE's protected mode/be able to be recognized at all is the difficult part. I did do a bit of cursory research, but this project is so open-source that it's difficult to know if it's correct, and this isn't easy for the casual nerd. This is basically the ROM analogy of compiling Linux. :P I'm a computer experimenter/extremely computer literate, but I'm not a programmer.

    What do I, the casual retro nerd, do to get my XTIDE BIOS to work either in normal DOS or Windows 98SE?
    Last edited by T-Squared; May 22nd, 2019 at 05:34 PM.

  2. #2
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    The far easier solution would be to use drive overlay software. All of the common manufacturers at the time offered a free version (Seagate, WD, Samsung, IBM, etc) of their drive setup utility with DDO. It's a bit difficult to find it now, but it is still available on the internet.

    You really don't want to use drive larger than 100 GB with Windows 98SE anyway, in fact Windows 98 can't work with drives larger than 137 GB because of the 28 bit LBA limit. There are patches and workarounds to go above this, but you'll run into problems with FDISK not being able to format drives above 64 GB, and the FAT32 implementation in Windows 98 chokes on really large drives.

    If you do decide to use a large drive, I'd recommend copying the disk utilities from Windows Millennium. WinME defragger is orders of magnitude faster and so is the disk checker. You may consider installing one of the unofficial service packs from MSFN.org forums, they fix a lot of stability and usability issues on 98.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Squared View Post
    I now have full control over the speed of my CPU (All 866 MHz of it
    Just curiosity: what Pentium first generation can run this speed? IMHO you are talking about a P3
    With kind regards / met vriendelijke groet, Ruud Baltissen

    www.baltissen.org

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by T-Squared View Post
    Now there's one minor problem that I expected; my hard drives are too new and too big (Year 2004-120GB and up) and a patched version to allow >64GB drives from wimsbios does not exist.
    Most drives of that era have a jumper to limit them to 32GB capacity. I know you're wasting a lot of the drive's capacity but 32GB should be perfectly adequate for Windows 98SE and it will solve all compatibility problems. Back in the day I think the largest drive I ever ran it on was 40GB and I never came close to filling it up. That was also very late in the day for 98SE (circa 2004ish) and I had previously got by with much less. You're not going to be working with any huge media files as the system won't have the horsepower to use them and even if you use virtual drive software to run things from ISOs rather than physical CDs all software from that era is CD-ROM based and 700MB max. 32GB is still a lot of space in that context and much more than many people would have had.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ruud View Post
    Just curiosity: what Pentium first generation can run this speed? IMHO you are talking about a P3
    Yes, it's a Slot 1 P3/440BX board

  6. #6
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    You don't need to jumper anything unless the computer's BIOS is barfing on the drive.

    To get LBA (>127GB) drive support in Windows 95 OSR 2.x and Windows 98 you need two things:
    1: LBA BIOS support
    2: An updated protected mode IDE driver.

    The IDE drivers that come with Windows 9x are limited to LBA28 and seeing only 127GB, but motherboard and I/O card vendors often provided device specific IDE drivers that fully supported LBA48.

    Adding BIOS support like the XTIDE BIOS is only one half of the problem. Without the protected mode driver you can format the drive in 9x's DOS but Windows 9x will crap itself, possibly limping along in BIOS compatiblity mode.

    Check to see if any BIOS updates for this board added LBA48 and check if updated 9x drivers were provided.

    If you have a free PCI slot, I strongly recommend adding a PCI IDE/SATA card. That will solve all LBA problems in one blow. Most seem to support at least 98SE. The Via 6421 based SATA cards even work in Windows 95 OSR 2 and 98FE.

    Do keep individual partitions 127GB or less in size. But you can have multiple partitions. Windows 9x's tools can get confused with larger partitions. There is also a nasty bug that no one seems to ever talk about - Under 9x's real-mode DOS, filling up a partition over 127GB regardless of where it is on the disk, can cause the write to wrap around and overwrite the partition's boot sector and FAT. (This problem does not occur inside Windows' protected environment)

  7. #7
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    I decided to skip out on the whole XTIDE thing, since trying to figure out where the address of the network card's IC socket is is too-far-advanced for my knowledge. I'll consider using the knowledge for my Compaq Portable, or my T3200SXC instead.

    The extra space to be made available by the XTIDE BIOS was intended for me to properly digitize some family videos without much worry about hard disk space.

    I just went on eBay and purchased some 80GB hard drives, which the upgraded Chaintech BIOS DOES support, without fuss.

    And good news, I finally have a working system! Complete with Win98SE, MS-DOS, an ATI Radeon AIW 7200, Sound Blaster Audigy, Sound Blaster 16, and D-Link Network card!

  8. #8

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    Would you consider using a CF card to IDE adapter and run a Compact Flash instead?

    Another place to look for older drives is computer recycling places. Some will set aside vintage hardware they cannot process or resell.

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