Hard disk driver update plan

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Petari
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Hard disk driver update plan

Post by Petari » Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:44 am

TOS/DOS compatible partitioning is pretty much useful and makes data transfer with some modern computer + OS very easy - of course mostly in case of Flash cards.
There is only 1 downside with it, as I know: in case of IDE, so CF cards too, there is need for byte swapping to be DOS compatible. And that makes transfer speed on Ataris much slower. On Falcon it is about 1/2, on ST(E) about 1/3 (slower shifts in CPU) . So, idea is to make mixed type partitioning and of course support for it in driver. On card will be pure TOS (GEMDOS) type partition(s), where no need for byte-swap, so it will be as fast as possible, and will be TOS/DOS compatible partition(s), what can access in Windows, Linux ...
And here comes one more catch: Windows normally can access only first partition on removable mass storage, so Flash cards. There are some drivers to override it, but not so easy to install. So, I guess that best way is that on Atari it boot not from first partition on card, but second one - that will be of course C on Atari, and first one will be D - by default, since it will give best speed. But there are some things to consider, and that may depend from users, their habits ... :
Who wants max speed should go on only one DOS/TOS compatible partition - that will be used to copy there files from PC, and then on Atari can copy/move them on faster partitions. In this case, I guess that that partition should be last on Atari - not physically, just as drive letter.
Those who don't want to bother with extra moving from slower to faster partitions on Atari should create more TOS/DOS compatible partitions, and still having C as fast one. In this case Windows driver extension for access all partitions on removable is almost a must.
So, I will work on this in next weeks. Would be good to hear some things from interested people - what SW they use, some habits, maybe some ideas - but things are that we can not do exactly what we want in many cases - there are TOS, Windows limitations what can not override with hard disk driver SW.

I made some tests in Windows and Linux. Marking TOS partition(s) as hidden will result in not mounting, so not seeing them in them - and that's the goal, because they can not handle it. Unfortunately, Ubuntu Linux, later versions handle only small FAT16 TOS partitions, max 32MB (which are actually same as DOS partitions), so no real TOS partition support there.
First partition must be TOS/DOS compatible if want to access card under Windows - since it sees normally only first one. After it, order is actually irrelevant. But default will be that first TOS type, so non-swapped, normally second one physically will be C on Atari - and first physical will be D .

BlankVector
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Re: Hard disk driver update plan

Post by BlankVector » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:24 pm

Petari wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 11:44 am
Windows normally can access only first partition on removable mass storage, so Flash cards.
This is no longer true since Windows 10 1703 Creators Update.

Petari
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Re: Hard disk driver update plan

Post by Petari » Mon Dec 18, 2017 12:48 pm

Thanx for this correction. Still, most of people using older versions, so I guess that I was at least partially correct.
And there are driver tools for overriding this limitation in all Win. versions since XP, up to 10 - although in latest it has some smaller issues when removing media.
And, when Win 10 is mentioned - I don't use it anymore. All those updates made it just pain in ... But let's talk rather about topic.

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Re: Hard disk driver update plan

Post by exxos » Mon Dec 18, 2017 1:24 pm

I think it is hard for general solution as everyone uses drives to their own use. I think the question should be, why do people need PC compatibility in the first place..

I am all for faster drives of course. It does not matter for me much personally about PC compatibility as mostly my programs are on floppy, and I just copy direct to hard drive. Not really a problem for me.

Users who need to transfer a lot of files to drive, question is, what for ? Most "bulk" files might be for games only. In which case, I think you did hard drive image of games already ? If people could use any PC software to copy a image to a fast hard drive, then most people would likely be happy and can make use of faster Atari drive.

So my vote, PC compatibility isn't needed. I would think a lot would disagree.. but a lot have gotec, or cosmos, or some other way to get files onto Atari system. People playing games would likely use gotec for floppy images anyway. Or use as method to copy to hard drive on Atari.
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

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Petari
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Re: Hard disk driver update plan

Post by Petari » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:17 pm

Well, problems appear with SW what fits not on 1 floppy. Then way via images is hard way - split, copy parts, then join on Atari.
Then, it is much more comfortable to play some 6 floppy game in for hard disk adapted form - you don't need to swap floppy images at all.
And it stays not only for games. Some programmer may need 10 MB at once available - transferring via images - again slow ...
I guess that some network, PARCP connection with PC is better way than Gotek too. I did not use it.
Compatibility with PC, MAC is something what costs not extra HW, file exchange is simple and fast. I just follow that way since 1998. When we had no Flash cards. Things can always be solved in different way.

Considering transfer of images to Atari Flash card or hard disk: I made SW for it some 10 years ago: Floppy Image Runner. But that just can not run more than 50% of games. Needs min 2MB of RAM.

I'm thinking about some new expansion of images on hard drive system for some time. We can have much bigger floppy images than 800KB - up to 32 MB. So, good for multi floppy SW - but only if there are regular files. Then images for SW without regular files - no size limit. At boot you can select will you go in that Image Mode, or normal TOS start. That would open some new ways of usage. More about it in separated thread, one day ...

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IngoQ
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Re: Hard disk driver update plan

Post by IngoQ » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:22 pm

UltraSatan has two slots for a reason: You can have one card running native at full speed, and use the other for data transfer. So for those of us, who have this device, having native partitions is not an issue. I simply did not know, that compatible partitions were slower, that's why I didn't do it in the first place.

I would vote for having PC-compatibility as an option, and having native support the default. And maybe a hint, that compatibility means less speed would be helpful.

In addition I have a HxC, it is nice for gaming but more or less crap for app use, especially for files or folders that are bigger than one disk.
Ingo :geek:

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Petari
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Re: Hard disk driver update plan

Post by Petari » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:30 pm

IngoQ wrote:
Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:22 pm
UltraSatan has two slots for a reason: You can have one card running native at full speed, and use the other for data transfer. So for those of us, who have this device, having native partitions is not an issue. I simply did not know, that compatible partitions were slower, that's why I didn't do it in the first place.
Speed of DOS compatible is lower only with IDE adapters.

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IngoQ
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Re: Hard disk driver update plan

Post by IngoQ » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:34 pm

Ah okay. Then forget everything I said ;)
Ingo :geek:

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Re: Hard disk driver update plan

Post by exxos » Mon Dec 18, 2017 2:36 pm

2 CF cards may well be a easy option as mentioned ? One for Atari maximum speed, and the second slot for PC for compatibility.
4MB STFM 1.44 FD- VELOCE+ 020 STE - 4MB STE 32MHz - STFM 16MHz - STM - MEGA ST - Falcon 030 CT60 - Atari 2600 - Atari 7800 - Gigafile - SD Floppy Emulator - PeST - HxC - CosmosEx - Ultrasatan - various clutter

https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/ All my hardware guides - mods - games - STOS
https://www.exxoshost.co.uk/atari/last/storenew/ - All my hardware mods for sale - Please help support by making a purchase.

Bikerbob
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Re: Hard disk driver update plan

Post by Bikerbob » Wed Apr 18, 2018 2:27 pm

Petari, was just on your site atari.8bitchip.info and read your updates on the driver there. About the new 1gb size and how you are adapting TOS to work with this.

Thanks so much. this sounds great. I just wanted to post somewhere that I appreciate all your efforts in the ST world. I am going to do a Quad TOS for my system that I can change the images used with switches. SO I think now I will have a new TOS to put in rather than SuperTOS. From the way I understand what you explained this will take advantage of the drivers to use smaller sector reads, but will also work just fine if I put a STD TOS 2.06 formated drive in there as well, so no need to switch back to older TOSs to use them.. and they take advantage of newer formats that you will eventually have with the driver.

Anyway.. looking forward to it all, and thanks.

James

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