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XTIDE Universal BIOS v2.0.0 beta testing thread

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    #16
    It really depends what you're trying to do with it; what advantage does it present over the built-in BIOS? Regardless, the coding speedup is pretty impressive

    I will be doing some testing of the CHS stuff at some point - as ever, time is always the problem!

    BTW I wanted to raise the idea of a 'silent' mode. Say I replaced an old ISA hard card with an XT/IDE board, it would be nice if the system could remain 'authentic', i.e. with no BIOS mention of anything to do with storage. Just a thought

    Comment


      #17
      I'm still using the modified Hargle BIOS on mine. I can't say that I've ever used the startup menu.

      Just a simple report of what was found and an attempt to boot from A:, followed by an attempt to boot from C: would probably be fine. No menu.
      Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

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        #18
        To be fair the menu itself can be silenced in the v2, but IIRC it still has various keyboard options at the bottom of the screen and displays drive info. I'm probably being picky

        Comment


          #19
          Originally posted by pearce_jj View Post
          what advantage does it present over the built-in BIOS? Regardless, the coding speedup is pretty impressive
          Motherboard BIOSes do not support VLB IDE Controller chips (unless it is integrated to the motherboard). There are many different VLB IDE controllers made from the beginning to the end of VLB lifetime. Without support, the 32-bit VLB multi I/O cards do not offer any advantage over 16-bit ISA multi I/O card (except that few VLB multi I/O cards have jumpers for setting timings, usually up to PIO-2). For example the QDI Vision QD6580 that I have defaults to slowest possible timings with read buffering disabled.

          Since there is no BIOS supports, drivers must be used to get the controller to work with all features enabled. How many of you ever used drivers for VLB multi I/O cards? I never did.

          Drivers need to be installed and they require memory. Native support in XTIDE Universal BIOS autodetects the controller, sets fastest possible timings supported by the drives and enables 32-bit I/O. This is what later BIOSes do for the intergrated IDE controller.


          BTW I wanted to raise the idea of a 'silent' mode. Say I replaced an old ISA hard card with an XT/IDE board, it would be nice if the system could remain 'authentic', i.e. with no BIOS mention of anything to do with storage. Just a thought
          I'm not going to add any option to disable all output. At least the BIOS title and version should be displayed, like display adapters do. It would be very easy to disable all character output since eventually one function gets called that places the character on screen or calls BIOS to handle special characters. If you really need the silent mode, you'll have to build XTIDE Universal BIOS by yourself.

          Comment


            #20
            I'm using the version 2 beta BIOS (burned the latest copy 3 weeks ago) on an 80386SX, using the ROM in a network card, no problems to report. I'm getting 1.4MB/s reads.
            Using a 20Gb Seagate Medalist, Pheonix ROM BIOS PLUS 1.10.20, and a Goldstar Prime 2 - DOS 622 + WIN 311. Only thing I noticed was checkitpro describes the drive as being -137Mb but thinking that could be just an overflow error in the program.

            I too would like a simpler startup (maybe hold CTRL for boot detection details and menu?). Product name and copyright is all good, even a "Auto-detecting drives...." just looks odd scanning 4 channels and referencing their hex addresses and 99% of the time I just want to boot off the first primary. I'm using the AT BIOS standalone not the full XTIDE card though.

            But I do wish to give my HUGE thanks, the BIOS is a huge help and I got a bit of a rush when I watched "XTIDE" appear on my 386 at boot!
            Twitter / YouTube

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              #21
              I'm sorry for being "late to the party" and sounding like a noob here but.... is this some kind of generic system bios that will work on.. any 486/386 system?

              I do notice that my 486 (which has VLB Ports) does not run any faster with a VLB controller than it does with a 16-bit ISA controller, and seems to only support 1 IDE channel in bios, regardless of what the controller supports.

              I do have the VLB software / drivers for my VLB IDE controller for my 486, but when ever I load them in ms-dos 6.22, it causes the system to hang and freeze, so I can't even use em even if I wanted to.

              Does this XTIDE replace my system bios in my 486 with better support?
              Can I flash it into my 486 system even though I haven't the faintest idea who made the motherboard?
              What is the risk of "bricking" my 486 and causing it to be unusable?

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                #22
                The best thing to start with is to compare your motherboard with the pictures on TH99. If you can identify it that way, it might be a great help.

                A photo can't hurt, either.
                Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

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                  #23
                  Originally posted by kithylin View Post
                  is this some kind of generic system bios that will work on.. any 486/386 system?
                  No, XTIDE Universal BIOS is not system BIOS. It is extension to the system BIOS. BIOS on the motherboard will detect any additional BIOSes that expansion cards might have. XTIDE Universal BIOS will work on any ISA/VLB/PCI system. You must disable IDE support from motherboard BIOS to avoid conflicts or configure XTIDE Universal BIOS so that it uses other controllers than the main BIOS.

                  I do notice that my 486 (which has VLB Ports) does not run any faster with a VLB controller than it does with a 16-bit ISA controller, and seems to only support 1 IDE channel in bios, regardless of what the controller supports. Does this XTIDE replace my system bios in my 486 with better support?
                  Yes, but the v2.0.0 beta 1 does not include the support for QDI Vision VLB controllers if you have one (you'll have to wait beta 2). You might not get any better transfer rates at the moment but you will get support for up to 4 IDE controllers and support for large drives (MS-DOS 7/Win9x or FreeDOS is required to access more than 8.4 GB).

                  Can I flash it into my 486 system even though I haven't the faintest idea who made the motherboard?
                  What is the risk of "bricking" my 486 and causing it to be unusable?
                  You cannot flash it that easily. You'll need an expansion card where to place the ROM. The most easiest way would be to get one of the XTIDE cards (don't connect a drive to it unless you use it on XT) since you can flash the EEPROM easily.

                  Another way is to place the ROM on a network controller card (I recommend 3Com). There are also some VLB multi I/O cards with ROM socket. I have one but it requires two additional support chips so network cards are easier. Note that you cannot flash the BIOS when using NIC or I/O card (you can flash it on the XTIDE and then move the EEPROM to the NIC or you need to use external EPROM writer).

                  Comment


                    #24
                    Originally posted by SpidersWeb View Post
                    I too would like a simpler startup (maybe hold CTRL for boot detection details and menu?).
                    I have considered showing the boot menu only when some key is pressed. The problem is that there is not enough bytes left in the 8k ROM to implement it. Some helpful string with the key to press would alone require many bytes. Then some code is required to capture the keypress during drive detection. We have decided to remove standard IDE-support from XT builds so that might free enough bytes for the XT build but I don't like to remove XTIDE support from AT build (and it would save less bytes anyway). I'll see what can be done.

                    Product name and copyright is all good, even a "Auto-detecting drives...." just looks odd scanning 4 channels and referencing their hex addresses and 99% of the time I just want to boot off the first primary.
                    You can use XTIDECFG.COM to disable the controllers you don't need. I think I'll change the default settings so that only Primary and Secondary IDE ports are enabled by default.

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                      #25
                      Hi aitotat, not that it's the core market as it were, but I have 32k available for ROM in my compact-flash card

                      If having somewhere to put the BIOS as a plugin card is something of value, we could easily produce some 8-bit ISA cards with just an SST flash on them, DIP if you like, would be very small and cheap if no ISA bracket was required. Just a ROM, comparitor, DIP switch and a couple of caps.

                      Comment


                        #26
                        Hi
                        I think we already have such a card. Just build the XT-IDE V2 and leave everything other than the ROM BIOS circuit as Do-Not-Populate. No bracket necessary.

                        Thanks and have a nice day!

                        Andrew Lynch

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                          #27
                          I went digging through some of my old EPROMs and discovered a 32Kb (4Kx8 bits) Western Digital BIOS ROM (probably for the WD-XTGEN) that includes the LLF routine (the chip has G=C800:5 printed on the chip, not on a paper label). A peek into the ROM shows room left over.

                          I guess I'm wondering why a 2864 (8Kx8 bit) EEPROM is barely adequate to the task on an XTIDE. I'm not trying to make trouble; I'm just curious as to why so much space is used.
                          Reach me: vcfblackhole _at_ protonmail dot com.

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                            #28
                            Originally posted by Chuck(G) View Post
                            I'm just curious as to why so much space is used.
                            Serial port support takes over 800 bytes and EBIOS functions (to access more than 8.4 GB) take over 300 bytes. I'd estimate that boot menu requires maybe 2000 bytes (menu libraries alone require more than 1400 bytes). Display libraries (to print formatted strings) require nearly 1200 bytes. That leaves about 4k for drive detection and initialization + INT 13h functions.

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                              #29
                              Interesting. For my purposes I'd prefer to have auto-v20 detection, longer loop unrolling and so on, but I guess the serial-line stuff necessitates the menu/display stuff. In my case my ROM is big enough to do the lot I would hope.

                              Re the little ROM board, yes the XT-IDEv2 does that of course; I was thinking of something smaller and (much) cheaper though, either as a home-brew or a short run perhaps if it were SMT. I guess there probably isn't much call for it though.

                              But anyway, the 8-bit controller "fast" writes code works perfectly it seems, if it's at all possible to include that in the general availability releases?

                              Comment


                                #30
                                Originally posted by pearce_jj View Post
                                But anyway, the 8-bit controller "fast" writes code works perfectly it seems, if it's at all possible to include that in the general availability releases?
                                Nice that these 8-bit controllers get faster. The "Fast XTIDE" will certainly be supported in future public releases.

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