On Thu, 23 Apr 2020 14:57:11 +0200, Wolfgang Lenerz via Ql-Users wrote:

> > I can vouch for this fact that, sadly and while implementing a "full IDE"
> > compatibility mode, the Compact Flash cards (their "reader" is actually
> > just a controller-less CF connector to PATA IDE connector adapter) are
> > totally unreliable when used on an IDE bus, be it from SMSQ/E or Linux:
> > they *might* seem to work, at first (at least some brands might look like
> > they do), and as long as you copy files in a raw on a blank medium, but
> > as soon as you start deleting files and writing others (i.e. for random
> > access, and with fragmentation), you get immediate medium corruption !
> Yes.
> BUT:
> I have noticed more than once that, strangely enough, if you use the CF
> Cards with a DOS partition scheme, and FAT32 formatted partitions with
> QXL.WIN container files, then this works much better (normally
> flawlessly) - on the same machine, with the same CF card, in the same
> adapter and position.
> For example, copying the content of my main QXL.WIN file (formatted to
> 200MB) from the SD card to the FAT32 formatted CF card, under SMSQE,
> worked like a charm. drvchk and drvlink revealed no problems...
> With a direct QLWA disk, it is really hit and miss (I managed, once, to
> compile SMSQE - but that is only a 25 MB file) and mostly miss rather
> than hit... Atari partitions were always unreliable...

Well, my experience would prove you wrong: I always used the CF cards
with FAT32 partitioning, never in QLWA... and yet, they did get corrupted
after a *first* flawless (file to file, using my good old TGBack_exe
utility) backup from my HD to the CF card. After the first full HD backup
succeeded with all three SMSQ/E partitions (it was with the Transcend 32GB
CF card), I was happy, and replaced the HD with the CF card reader, and
then proceeded to compile a SMSQ/E binary from sources on the CF card.
Full medium corruption (the CF card could not even be re-read from a
card reader on a Linux PC: I had to repartition it and reformat it).

I did several attempts, with or without a slave drive (a CD-ROM drive
or the HD) on the same IDE port as the CF card, each time with the same
result: first write on blank QLX.WIN (on a FAT32 CF card partition) is
fine, then corruption as soon as I delete/rewrite files.

With Q60 Linux, it was even worst and I could not even successfully
partition a CF card under it.

I later searched on the Web for similar experiences with CF cards and
old computers, and found a few references on ATARI forums, some of them
reporting better results with a SanDisk CF card... I bought one and tried
it, and it's even worst than the Transcend (not working *at all* on the
IDE port, while working 100% fine in a CF card reader in a PC).

I suppose the issue is with how fast (or rather slow) the CF cards
answer to the IDE controller. The timings are likely very relaxed
in CF cards (and probably not very constant, when the NAND must be
erased/rewritten, which are slow operations), and it might clash with
the faster/tighter timings of the genuine IDE controllers.

My conclusion is: do not loose your time with CF cards ! :-/

> > I might have found a solution, and I recently ordered a PATA IDE to
> > SATA adapter (with master/slave jumper) and a SD card to SATA adapter.
> > I should receive them by mid-June (COVID allowing), and will then
> > report my luck (or lack thereof) with this setting...
> I'll be most interested to hear about that.

You can count on it. ;-)

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