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Thread: Software-only XT/IDE Controller

  1. #1

    Default Software-only XT/IDE Controller

    As an experiment, I've configured a BIOS that I think might make a compact flash card attached to a standard 16-bit IDE controller work in an XT class machine (i.e. an 8-bit ISA slot).

    The BIOS image is 8K. To make this work, you'll need a 16-bit IDE controller card, somewhere to put the BIOS such as a EPROM on a NIC or a universal ROM board, and be able to disable the ROM BIOS on the IDE controller either through jumpers or by pulling the chip. The IDE controller must be using ports 1F0h and 3F0h.

    Anyone interested in trying this?

  2. #2


    I'm game, i have a spare CF Card and adapter on order, should arrive tomorrow, Is there a limit to the size of CF card ?


  3. #3


    Slightly depressingly, the BIOS seems to work. More info here - so another storage option for XT class machines.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    minneapolis, MN


    so you could theoretically buy a fairly cheap, 16 bit multi-IO card (I've seen them on ebay for about 8 dollars), replace the BIOS with yours, attach a CF device, and not only get cheap big storage, but also high density floppy support too, not to mention serial+LPT ports.
    Well, the BIOS would then need to have 1.2 and 1.44mb floppy support put in it, but don't we have that available somewhere?

    that's crazy simple. I love it.
    yes, kind of depressing in that we went to all that work with our own designs and this was right under our noses the whole time!

  5. #5


    Yes I think so. It needs a CF to IDE adapter, FDD type molex power adapter, ROM chip and programmer or a universal flash BIOS board - so it's not going to be an $8 solution for everyone.

    Also this is limited to 8-bit port IO - the slowest option for 8088 machines - but that's not the point; it seems to work.

    This is also why I was wondering about the SB-Pro cards; if we can bring 'up' the IDE interface ports with some BIOS code....
    Last edited by pearce_jj; October 11th, 2012 at 02:54 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pacific Northwest, USA
    Blog Entries


    I think I posted something about this awhile back--the issue was where to put the BIOS ROM for me. Most 16-bit IDE/floppy controllers don't have BIOS ROMs.

  7. #7


    Quote Originally Posted by pearce_jj View Post
    This is also why I was wondering about the SB-Pro cards; if we can bring 'up' the IDE interface ports with some BIOS code....
    Don't, they don't have IDE interfaces. However, there is some hope :
    My Retro Computing and Vintage Gaming Blog :


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