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SSD For Old Computer


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#1 tb75252

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Posted 30 June 2010 - 11:50 PM

I have this 11-year old PC and I am thinking about upgrading it by installing an SSD (SATA).
The motherboard is a TYAN S1854 Trinity 400 Rev. 1.07. The BIOS is Award Modular v4.51PG. The operating system is Windows XP Professional SP3.

Since this is an old PC, the motherboard does not have SATA ports, so I was thinking about installing a PCI host controller card (SATA).

I fear that my old BIOS will not recognize the solid state drive, so I was wondering if this upgrade is even possible. Maybe the host controller card helps the BIOS in seeing the SSD?

The BIOS I have is very old and TYAN has not posted any newer versions since the year 2000. Also, Award is no longer in business so I don’t know if a newer BIOS version exists.

What do the experts think/suggest?

PS: I am fully aware that from the practical point of view it is not worth spending money in upgrading an 11-year old PC. Nevertheless, I would like to do it as a personal challenge. I have already installed more memory, a faster microprocessor, and upgraded the graphics card too. Now I would like to tackle the hard drive issue, but I do not want to spend money in new parts only to find out that they won’t work at all because of the BIOS issue…
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#2 Platypus

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Posted 01 July 2010 - 03:30 AM

Maybe the host controller card helps the BIOS in seeing the SSD?

You are correct, the PCI SATA controller has its own BIOS, the computer's own BIOS will not be used or needed to recognise the SATA drive. The difficulty you'll have is that Windows XP cannot be expected to directly recognise a SATA drive. Make sure that the SATA controller you get includes in its specification either the ability to operate in IDE emulation mode (makes the SATA drive look like an IDE drive, which will limit the performance gain from an SSD) or provides a Windows XP driver that can be loaded from a floppy drive during the XP installation.

As far as I know, an affordable SSD is going to be 2.5" form factor, if so allow for an adaptor cable & mounting kit if the SATA adaptor and case don't already have provision for this. Also remember an SSD should not be defragmented, so when using Windows XP, never defrag the SSD. Windows 7 turns off defragmentation if it detects an SSD.

I can understand your interest in the project as a challenge, but considering that SSDs and Windows XP aren't particularly optimised for each other, and current SATA drives can be very fast, so overall you might get nearly comparable results at less cost using a good SATA HDD (but less interesting I agree).

Edited by Platypus, 01 July 2010 - 03:35 AM.

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