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CardBus <==> CF adapter - PIO only, CF supports UDMA 5 RRS feed

  • Question

  • This is a proof of concept thing.  The following facts are known and do not require comment:

    • I already know the laptop is OLD (c. 2005).
    • CardBus (PCMCIA) technology is nearly dead and "UDMA ready" adapters are no longer being manufactured.

    The object of the experiment has been to get Win7 running on a 1.6GHz x 32bit laptop (Compaq M2105) with max. 1GB of shared memory (128Mb to integrated GPU).

    Everything has worked so far.  I'm curently using the machine to enter this request.  I assumed that if a tiny netbook with only a 1.6GHz Atom processor and max. 1GB RAM could run Windows 7 Starter without issue, then I could probably shoe-horn it on to this rig.  It's working fine with the addition of a 4GB ReadyBoost compatible Lexar USB stick dedicated to Ready Boost.  Heat is high, but not a major problem. 

    The ultimate goal has been to move the ReadyBoost device inside the chassis so that I didn't have to keep plugging it in all of the time.  To that end I purchased a UDMA capable 8GB CF card (Transcend TS8GCF400) and a 32-bit Cardbus to CF adapter.  I've disected the adapter and have studied the electrcal configuration.  Essentially it's just a copper re-mapping of the 50 pins of CF to the Cardbus' 68.  Pins 44 & 45 on the CF correspond to the matching pins (61 & 62) on the Cardbus) 

    Windows 7 detects the device as an ATA drive using ATAPI.SYS and ATAPORT.SYS.  However the driver defaults to PIO Mode 4 and I cannot manually tell it to enable DMA via the usual checkbox in Device Manager.

    Now, what I need to know is if this is because the PCMCIA IDE/ATAPI Controller configuration does not have the facilities to enable and manage DMA transactions, or if there is something that Windows needs to determine that the CF Card is indeed DMA Mode 5 capable - for example an additional I/O controller in the adapter to independantly manage the DMA transactions?

    Thanks.

    Thursday, November 25, 2010 4:24 AM

Answers

  • Seems kind-of weird to be answering myself, but seeing as nobody else has even attempted a response, I will share what I have learned:

    The Compact Flash card, while UDMA ready, lacks the logic for Bus Mastering. Without a bus mastering controller, the UDMA modes are not possible. What is needed is a 68-pin to 50-pin adapter with the bus mastering controller built in. Delkin used to produce one of these, as did Kodak and a select few others.

    These adapter cards with the built-in controllers are RARE now, and if you have one, you can stand to make some money selling it if it is no longer needed. The manufacturer of the controller chips used in the adapters is no longer in business, so companies like Kodak and Delkin couldn't manufacture more adapters even if you promised them your first-born-child.

    With that in mind, my whole experiment has become somewhat academic.

    What has surprised me is that some of the more savvy Windows folks around didn't pick-up on a very crucial flaw in my plan: ReadyBoost seems to only have an affinity for USB. So, had I eventually managed to find a DMA-capable card solution, it is unlikely that ReadyBoost would have been able to even use the device. In short; it would have been akin to telling ReadyBoost to use a local drive for its caching, because the PC Card bus is a direct PCI-to-PCI bridge and not part of the USB subsystem like the more modern ExpressCard systems are.

    It all makes sense once thoroughly thought through.

    To that end, I'm marking this topic as closed/answered, and commit this flight of fancy to the deep.

     

     

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011 7:34 PM

All replies

  • Seems kind-of weird to be answering myself, but seeing as nobody else has even attempted a response, I will share what I have learned:

    The Compact Flash card, while UDMA ready, lacks the logic for Bus Mastering. Without a bus mastering controller, the UDMA modes are not possible. What is needed is a 68-pin to 50-pin adapter with the bus mastering controller built in. Delkin used to produce one of these, as did Kodak and a select few others.

    These adapter cards with the built-in controllers are RARE now, and if you have one, you can stand to make some money selling it if it is no longer needed. The manufacturer of the controller chips used in the adapters is no longer in business, so companies like Kodak and Delkin couldn't manufacture more adapters even if you promised them your first-born-child.

    With that in mind, my whole experiment has become somewhat academic.

    What has surprised me is that some of the more savvy Windows folks around didn't pick-up on a very crucial flaw in my plan: ReadyBoost seems to only have an affinity for USB. So, had I eventually managed to find a DMA-capable card solution, it is unlikely that ReadyBoost would have been able to even use the device. In short; it would have been akin to telling ReadyBoost to use a local drive for its caching, because the PC Card bus is a direct PCI-to-PCI bridge and not part of the USB subsystem like the more modern ExpressCard systems are.

    It all makes sense once thoroughly thought through.

    To that end, I'm marking this topic as closed/answered, and commit this flight of fancy to the deep.

     

     

    Wednesday, March 16, 2011 7:34 PM
  • Thanks for your pioneering work!

    I am on a Fujitsu T2020 with the same intent as yours, and failed just as you did. Maybe I need a BusMaster capable CF-to-PCMCIA adapter.

    BTW, the card although being an ATA device advertise itself as a "Removable Disk" in Windows 7, so ReadyBoost can be enabled on it if DMA transferation is achieved. However, I was told that through a BusMaster enabled adapter a CF card would be indentified as a "Local Disk". Sad.

    • Edited by cjrcl Thursday, July 16, 2015 5:29 PM
    Saturday, July 11, 2015 6:00 AM
  • It is tested! ReadyBoost can be enabled on a "Local Disk" which is USB connected.

    So to be identified as a "Removable Disk" is not a prerequisite of ReadyBoost.

    Meanwhile, maybe USB is a must as you stated.

    Thursday, July 16, 2015 5:26 PM