NEXTSTEP 3.3 install on a 4 GB Compact Flash Card

Started by Nitro, August 27, 2008, 07:20:34 pm

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Nitro

I got a chance yesterday to install NEXTSTEP on a 4 GB Compact Flash card with a SCSI-to-IDE-to-CF adapter like the one that pitz used.  I wanted to see if NEXTSTEP would recognize a larger card.  I used the same ACARD 7720U SCSI-to-IDE bridge adapter with firmware version 3.75.  I found an inexpensive CF > IDE adapter from Ebay, and a SanDisk Ultra II 4 GB CF card from Amazon.  I also borrowed a ready-to-use Y power cable left over from a modular PC power supply.  I plugged everything in and it just worked.  I booted a turbo color Slab from the NEXTSTEP 3.3 CD, and proceeded to install User, Developer, and EOF without a hitch.  Tonight I'll try to get the Y2K patches installed and run some benchmarks with DrivePerformance to see how it performs.  Once I figure out which CF cards are faster, I'll get a few 1 GB cards to dd the NEXTSTEP and OPENSTEP cd's to for quicker installs.  8)   I'll post some quick pictures of the setup when I get everything finished.
Nitro

Nitro

The SanDisk CF card benchmarked dead even with an IBM 4.3 GB hard drive I had in the slab.  It's not as fast as I thought it might be, but it's reasonable.  Here's a picture of the adapter and the benchmark results.


Nitro

kb7sqi

Yeah, but I bet it sure is a lot more quiet/cooler than having a scsi drive in there.  ;-)  Still pretty impressive.  I'm going to have to give it a go when I get more free time.

helf

huh. I need to go buy some other converters and do some testing. So far, yours and pitz benchmarks have been slower than my current SCSI drive. Other than access times >1ms vs ~12, my SCSI is faster :P

I'm guessing the converter is slowing things down a little bit. I really want to try out Addonics adapter soon. It might be quicker than these other ones tested.

Oh well, running just 5v instead of 12v/5v and less heat/noise will be nice :)
*INACTIVE*

Nitro

Quote from: "kb7sqi"Yeah, but I bet it sure is a lot more quiet/cooler than having a scsi drive in there.  ;-)  Still pretty impressive.  I'm going to have to give it a go when I get more free time.


It's nice not having to listen to the high-pitched whine of an old SCSI hard drive. :)


Quote from: "helf"huh. I need to go buy some other converters and do some testing. So far, yours and pitz benchmarks have been slower than my current SCSI drive. Other than access times >1ms vs ~12, my SCSI is faster :P

I'm guessing the converter is slowing things down a little bit. I really want to try out Addonics adapter soon. It might be quicker than these other ones tested.

Oh well, running just 5v instead of 12v/5v and less heat/noise will be nice :)


There's still some additional performance to be squeezed out of it I think.  Addonics has a good FAQ on booting operating systems off a Compact Flash card, and they recommend CF media that supports UDMA Fixed Disk Mode.  So I ordered three Transcend CF cards of different speeds that support this mode, we'll see how they benchmark.

BTW, what is your SCSI disk benchmarking in DrivePerformance?
Nitro

fchixon

Do you think this would work on an 040 Cube?  I love the idea of quieter.  Running things in a VM on a modern laptop is quiet, but not nearly as much fun.
25 mHz 040 Cube 64mb
NeXT Dimension 32mb
NeXTStep 3.3 and OpenStep 4.2
CF and SCSI

Noth

This'll work on all black hardware, as well as on the other three platforms if it takes your fancy.
NeXT Cube 040 (NeXTSTEP 3.3), SUN SparcStation5 (NeXTSTEP 3.3), SGI Indigo2 R10000 (IRIX 6.5.22), SGI VSW320 (Windows 2000/Slakware 9.1)

pl212

The trick, I think, is finding the SCSI/IDE/CF adaptors at a good price.  These are a lot more expensive than they were a few years ago, due to the small market.

There's one promising solution which is still available easily, which is sold by a retro Amiga guy (I believe they're leftover new stock from some offshore manufacturer):

http://a4000t.com/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=65_79

By coincidence, I've been using his 5-in-1 device this weekend to work on my 030 cube, and I'll try and write up my experiences soon. In general, it's a great thing to have, especially since you get five slots for different cards -- a terrific way of working around the disk size limitations in NS3.x. The two things you have to look out for are:

- Logical Unit Numbers, you have to do bsd(0,3,0) - rootdev=sd3 for example to boot from the SD slot, which has a LUN of 3.

- Flash-specific issues, such as speed (not all your old cards that you have lying around are fast enough, many are slower than 1989 winchester drives)

- fstab and build disk not quite understanding most flash memory -- especially NextStep 3.x (I'm sure OpenStep is more competent). I've been able to get around this, interestingly enough, by dd'ing a copy of a working DF card onto much larger ones, and then erasing those cards again, at which point the underlying structure seems to hold.  My knowledge of next formatting tools is pretty bad, however, so I'd be interested in what others know about this.

gtnicol

I saw a project for a SCSI RAM disk that used a couple of AVR microprocessors, and I believe there was a follow-on for a PCMCIA version. That might be the basis for emulating SCSI devices...

wizard1969

That amiga solution link is currently down, anyone know of any other hardware that would work?

alex.s

hello, the bigger size CF will provide better performance, and the industrial grade cards are more durable solution. I am trying to get a 32GB CF from Renice by attending their activity in this month. They are now giving away some of that CF and SD cards plus one SSD. More info here http://goo.gl/o9we1A