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Hard Drive Interface Identification

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    Hard Drive Interface Identification

    I have an older 286 I've been restoring and decided not to fool around with trying to find and keep running, an MFM drive. I have an interface card that has both FD and HD interfaces, but I can't, even from the manual, determine what kind of interface it has for the HD. All I know is it is 40 pin and the manual says not to use and ST412/506 drive and only use an "AT bus" hard disk. I thought it would be and IDE, but why wouldn't they call it that. Also, the pinout in the manual doesn't match IDE. So my question is, was there another drive interface before IDE that used a single 40 pin cable?
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    #2
    The early days didn’t have nice consistent names for IDE drive.

    I had an acer 386 that called it an “embedded” drive in the manual.

    ide, ata, at bus they are all the same thing. Some early BIOS might not have a table that matches a modern drive, so if your 286 is in that category it might take some trial and error to get things working.

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      #3
      I have an older IDE drive sitting around. I know the drive parameters and it is only 212MB. The 286 came with a dual floppy MFM HD controller, so I don't think the machine knows, and I hope doesn't care. However, if the adapter doesn't mention having a BIOS for HDs, just the interface, I wonder how I'm supposed to enter them.

      Well, after Thanksgiving I will toss it all together and see what happens.

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        #4
        Should be able to set it up in the “cmos” setup, either something built in, or with a setup floppy spending on how fancy it is. AT style controller, whether mfm or ide usually have all of the setup stuff in the main bios, not one of the controller.

        My IBM 5170 has an IDE/floppy card in it at the moment and I just set it up with the normal IBM diagnostic floppy. The drive table is so limited that I lose a lot of space, but it work. Eventually I’ll probably go back to an MFM drive because I’ve got a few kicking around.

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          #5
          This board has Phonix BIOS and it uses ATSETUP. I tried the one some use that was meant for the AT, but it didn't control the turbo function on the board and it ran at the slower speed even when I tried the key combination for turbo. So we shall see if the setup program I have will do the same.

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            #6
            I thought it would be and IDE, but why wouldn't they call it that
            Because IDE was a name made up mainly by the press at that time. It was always called "ATA" (AT-Attachment) officially.

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              #7
              And later called PATA, Parallel-ATA, because we got SATA, Serial-ATA.
              With kind regards / met vriendelijke groet, Ruud Baltissen

              www.baltissen.org

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                #8
                I never heard of ATA until ATAPI (ATA Peripheral Interface) CD-ROM drives came along. Even then, most people just kept calling it IDE, and later EIDE (Enhanced IDE).

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                  #9
                  According to [here]:

                  The first version of what is now called the ATA/ATAPI interface was developed by Western Digital under the name Integrated Drive Electronics (IDE). Together with Control Data Corporation (the hard drive manufacturer) and Compaq Computer (the initial customer), they developed the connector, the signaling protocols and so on, with the goal of remaining software compatible with the existing ST-506 hard drive interface.[14] The first such drives appeared internally in Compaq PCs in 1986.

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                    #10
                    I believe that my old 5.25" CDC Wren manual uses the term "ATA" and not "IDE". I think that "IDE" was a Conner-ism originally.
                    Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

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                      #11
                      Originally posted by Chuck(G) View Post
                      I think that "IDE" was a Conner-ism originally.
                      Based on what I see at [here], in 1985, Western Digital were using 'IDE' as a concept name, i.e. in 1985, there was a Western Digital document named 'Western Digital IDE Business Plan'.

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                        #12
                        I was just speaking from personal experience with real drives. I do recall that initially, it was a bit of a mess. Some early Maxtor ATA drives had the word order wrong in words 57 and 58 of the IDENTIFY response. When I was writing for ATA, I had to make a sanity check on those words and swap them if they didn't make sense.

                        Then you had drives from different manufacturers that couldn't function together as master and slave on the same cable.

                        So we now have a serial standard (SATA) that's based on a parallel interface spec designed for an obsolete bus. Makes one's head spin, it does.

                        SCSI in its many physical embodiments seems like the sane interface here.
                        Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by jafir View Post
                          The early days didn’t have nice consistent names for IDE drive.
                          I had an acer 386 that called it an “embedded” drive in the manual.
                          Another example is in the WDXT-140/WDXT-150 guide at [here], where "intelligent drive" is used.

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