New life for a 503?

Discussion in 'FIC' started by Boon, May 28, 2007.

  1. Boon

    Boon Guest

    Does anyone know if you can run an 80 gig drive off a 503+ motherboard?
    I'm running the JE4333 BIOS, which has "added support for HDD up to 65
    Gig" according to the BIOS document.

    The 80 gig drive runs Win 2000 and is now hooked to a Promise Ultra 100 TX2
    controller. It's had problems with Windows updates for a couple years.
    I've just let it go because I haven't been using the computer seriously.
    But now I'm thinking about using it to support a USB disk farm, so I'd like
    to solve the problem. I suspect the update problem has to do with the
    operating system running off the controller. I see two options:

    1) Attach the 80 gig drive to the motherboard, but this might give new
    problems.
    2) Replace the 80 gig drive with a 40, reinstall Win 2000, and attach that
    directly to the motherboard. This, of course, is a hassle.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts.
     
    Boon, May 28, 2007
    #1
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  2. The VA503+ with JE4333 BIOS should see and use a 120gb HDD with no
    problems. I have done it for some time using Seagate 120gb drives.

    Regards, Jerry
     
    Gerald Abrahamson, May 29, 2007
    #2
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  3. Boon

    Guest Guest

    It's had problems with Windows updates for a couple years.

    What kind of problems?

    I suspect the update problem has to do with the
    Which version of the Ultra100 driver is Windows using?

    I see two options:
    I have Win98se, Win2000, and Debian 'etch' installed on a 120GB WD
    that is connected (along with 2 other, smaller WD drives) to an Ultra100
    (PDC20267).

    AFAIK, neither Win2000 nor Win98se is having any problems with this
    setup.

    Linux seems to get a little confused about the Ultra100 during bootup
    but, after a bit of dithering, eventually boots up successfully and runs
    fine AFAICT. (I think this "feature" is a function of the fact that the
    Ultra100 uses the old Linux pdc driver, and I expect it to go away when
    I upgrade to a more recent PDC controller.)

    PS. It's amazing how often a good housecleaning will make an apparent
    problem disappear. FWIW, I have my Ultra100 plugged into the middle PCI
    slot.

    billh
     
    Guest, May 29, 2007
    #3
  4. Boon

    Boon Guest

    Thanks to Jerry and billh for replies. It's good news to me that I can use
    my 80 gig drive off the motherboard. I moved it, and got the BIOS to auto-
    recognize the drive by setting Type = Auto and Mode = LBA. The bad news is
    that Windows update still tells me that "Updates were unable to be
    successfully installed." I messed around a bit, but I just can't get the
    update to work. I was wrong in blaming the Promise controller.

    The Win 2000 I'm running is 5 years old. By now it probably needs that
    "good housecleaning" that billh recommends, so I think I'll just go ahead
    and reinstall Win 2000.

    Couple tech details:
    I'm using 2.20.0.15 Promise BIOS
    2.0.0.29 driver version, 2.00.0.42 file version
    My TX2 is in the third and last PCI slot counting away from the video slot.
    Does it make a difference?

    Thanks again, guys, for your info. You've given me the benefit of using my
    80 gig drive instead of a 40.

    - Dave
     
    Boon, May 30, 2007
    #4
  5. Boon

    Kyle Guest

    Set your internet security settings back to default levels and then
    try Windows Update. Also, there are some services that cannot be
    disabled (Automatic Updates and BITS for example, Background
    Intelligent Transfer Service) as Windows Update relies upon them to
    work properly.

    --
    Best regards,
    Kyle
    | Thanks to Jerry and billh for replies. It's good news to me that I
    can use
    | my 80 gig drive off the motherboard. I moved it, and got the BIOS
    to auto-
    | recognize the drive by setting Type = Auto and Mode = LBA. The bad
    news is
    | that Windows update still tells me that "Updates were unable to be
    | successfully installed." I messed around a bit, but I just can't
    get the
    | update to work. I was wrong in blaming the Promise controller.
    |
    | The Win 2000 I'm running is 5 years old. By now it probably needs
    that
    | "good housecleaning" that billh recommends, so I think I'll just go
    ahead
    | and reinstall Win 2000.
    |
    | Couple tech details:
    | I'm using 2.20.0.15 Promise BIOS
    | 2.0.0.29 driver version, 2.00.0.42 file version
    | My TX2 is in the third and last PCI slot counting away from the
    video slot.
    | Does it make a difference?
    |
    | Thanks again, guys, for your info. You've given me the benefit of
    using my
    | 80 gig drive instead of a 40.
    |
    | - Dave
     
    Kyle, May 30, 2007
    #5
  6. Boon

    Guest Guest

    I really don't know.
    You're welcome!

    But why not put the 80GB on IDE1 and the 40GB on IDE2?

    120GB beats hell out of 80GB.

    3 cheers for the VA503+ !!!

    <B
     
    Guest, May 31, 2007
    #6
  7. Boon

    Boon Guest

    Thought you guys might like hear of my further VA 503+ adventures. I
    first tried installing Win 2000 on 5 gigs of a new 320 gig drive attached
    to the TX2. I hit F6 so I could feed in the TX2 driver. This
    installation hung up on the "Installing Devices" screen. Next I tried
    the installation on an 80, then a 40 gig drive, with variations on
    attachments to the TX2 or to the motherboard. After many hours I
    concluded that both drives were bad. The 80 had bad blocks, which
    probably caused the original windows update problem. I think the 40 has
    a bad boot sector, I hope just bad data that I can fix, but for this job
    I gave up on it. I then tried a 4 gig WD Caviar. By this time I was fed
    up with screwing and unscrewing drives into the case, so I just ran the
    Caviar from on top. This time the installation was a breeze. And after
    a couple hours this sweet little drive felt just barely warm.

    Windows Update worked fine. I installed a few simple apps to help with
    my disk farm. Then I installed the free McAfee that I get with Comcast.
    Thereafter the system re-booted sporadically and without notice. I did
    some diagnostics and concluded that McAfee was the problem. I replaced
    it with Zone Alarm 3.7. No more surprise boots. I have another similar
    503+ that runs the McAfee with no problem. Go figure.

    Anyhow, this 503+ is back in business. The OS is on the Caviar, a 320
    gig drive is on the TX2, and I plan to hang 7 more big drives off the
    USB. This has taken me two full days. As usual I am sometimes amazed at
    my brilliant insight into the situation, and at other times amazed at my
    abject stupidity. I'm glad I don't do this for a living. Or, for that
    matter, anything - I'm retired.
     
    Boon, Jun 2, 2007
    #7
  8. Not bad, Boon. Not bad at all. :)

    But 7 big hard drives off the USB? On a USB 1.1 motherboard? Save
    yourself some sanity. Shell out the $10 for a USB 2.0 PCI card, if you
    do not already have one. This should make a huge difference in
    performance for those drives.
     
    Alex Zorrilla, Jun 5, 2007
    #8
  9. Boon

    Boon Guest

    Alex,

    You’re right, USB 1.1 is terribly slow. I think I still have that little
    2-port 1.1 USB riser that came with the 503+, but I never used it. I’m
    using a Belkin USB 4-port PCI card and a 4-port hub to give me 7
    connections to support about 2 terabytes of disk storage. The USB card,
    the TX2, and a 10/100 ethernet card use up all the PCI slots. Also, I’m
    using an ancient ISA Sound Blaster card that works quite well.

    - Boon
     
    Boon, Jun 5, 2007
    #9
  10. Hey, Boon.

    It's amazing how these things can keep running forever if you want them
    to, isn't it?

    Cheers.

    --Alex
     
    Alex Zorrilla, Jun 5, 2007
    #10
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