formatting MFM drives on a IBM PC

Paul Koning paulkoning at
Fri Sep 29 11:12:38 CDT 2017

> On Sep 29, 2017, at 11:29 AM, Chuck Guzis <cclist at> wrote:
> On 09/29/2017 06:07 AM, Paul Koning wrote:
>> There are chips that convert between serial and parallel ATA; one of
>> those could perhaps be used.  I'm more used to applying them for
>> attaching a serial ATA controller to a parallel ATA drive, but
>> possibly they might work in the other direction as well.  Not clear
>> if they are still common products, given that parallel ATA is pretty
>> old, but they may still be available.
> Oh, I've got a pile of such converters--workability is variable.
> What I was saying is that I've never seen an ISA interface card to a
> SATA drive.  Have you?

No, but my exposure is pretty limited.  I ran into these devices in the first generation of SAN product I worked on around 2002.  We adopted SATA because it allows connecting lots of drives (14, in our case) over a backplane, without running out of space.  But at the time, only "PATA" drives were available, so we used converters.  Also, those converters supplied dual channel operation (one from each of a pair of redundant controllers).

Storage protocols are asymmetric, so it isn't necessarily the case that a P-S ATA converter that works for SATA adapter to PATA drive will also work for the other case.  But it might well, you'd have to look at the specs (and then verify that they are true).  It's not a case I have had to worry about so I don't have any additional information.


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