Inexpensive - $16 - SSD option for CF-29

Discussion in 'Panasonic' started by FX-Tech, Oct 1, 2019.

  1. FX-Tech

    FX-Tech Notebook Enthusiast

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    Hi Guys,

    I've been playing around with a CF-29 MK2 and MK5 lately. I originally bought the MK2 because I needed a machine with an LPT for an old EPROM burner, but then as things usually go with me, I started thinking how cool it would be to get Linux working on it, what kind of upgrade options there are etc. One thing that came to mind was a SSD instead of the mechanical drive. I tested a bunch of options, and this is by far the best performance vs. cost solution for anyone wanting to give their CF-29 a breath of fresh air and some speed.

    So the first and obvious issue is that of the PATA interface. That was solved by this drive adapter:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/mSATA-to-2...r-Converter-Card-44PIN-with-Case/263855160333

    And this Samsung 32GB mSATA SSD Drive:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Samsung-So...P7-MZMPC032HBCD-000D1-MZ-MPC032D/123642583495

    The above drives are sold out - I bought 3 of them, but you can find these drives on ebay for about $10 all the time. Plus there are other options like this 120 GB drive from Dogfish in China for $28.00:

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dogfish-Ms...d-State-Drive-Mini-Sata-SSD-Disk/232954669491

    - I bought one - as I was curious how it performed and it also works great, but my main goal with the drives was to have several small drives (32 GB) in several caddies that I could swap out for trying out different Linux distributions and also one with Windows XP with all of the CF-29 drivers loaded. So that's what I did.

    So, for about $16 you can get a SSD installed into your drive caddy - and it works great! That drive adapter was one of the least expensive ones on ebay, and it worked better in the CF-29 than the expensive ones I purchased. Some of the adapters costing 4x what this one did wouldn't even boot. As far as the speed goes, it was a major improvement over the mechanical drive on the MK2, but the MK2 does not have the latest IDE Interface, so was NOT as fast as the MK5. The MK5 IDE interface was about 3 times faster than the MK2, and my guess is because the CF-29 went through some pretty major hardware changes between MK3 and MK4. I expected to see no more than 133 MB/second transfer rate on the MK5 as I think IIRC that Ultra DMA 133 was pretty much the pinnacle of IDE/PATA drive technology. So here's what I saw on the MK5:

    Code:
    root@antix1:/home/tjacobs# hdparm -Tt /dev/sda
    
    /dev/sda:
     Timing cached reads:   1438 MB in  2.00 seconds = 720.11 MB/sec
     Timing buffered disk reads: 280 MB in  3.02 seconds =  92.81 MB/sec
    root@antix1:/home/tjacobs# hdparm -Tt /dev/sda
    
    /dev/sda:
     Timing cached reads:   1428 MB in  2.00 seconds = 714.70 MB/sec
     Timing buffered disk reads: 280 MB in  3.02 seconds =  92.75 MB/sec
    root@antix1:/home/tjacobs# hdparm -Tt /dev/sda
    
    /dev/sda:
     Timing cached reads:   1420 MB in  2.00 seconds = 710.53 MB/sec
     Timing buffered disk reads: 280 MB in  3.02 seconds =  92.73 MB/sec
    root@antix1:/home/tjacobs# hdparm -Tt /dev/sda
    
    /dev/sda:
     Timing cached reads:   1398 MB in  2.00 seconds = 699.47 MB/sec
     Timing buffered disk reads: 280 MB in  3.02 seconds =  92.67 MB/sec
    root@antix1:/home/tjacobs# hdparm -Tt /dev/sda
    
    /dev/sda:
     Timing cached reads:   1386 MB in  2.00 seconds = 693.90 MB/sec
     Timing buffered disk reads: 278 MB in  3.00 seconds =  92.53 MB/sec
    
    So the drive is doing about 90MB/second reads which is pretty fast for an older machine like this. Now, I don't have my Win XP drive with me, but I did a comparison using Crystal Disk Marks with this drive and also with a PATA drive. The SSD smokes the PATA - especially in random writes and reads. If anyone is interested I'll run those tests again and post the data here.

    Bottom line is that the CF-29 is MUCH faster now. Boots from cold to log in screen in 27 seconds. Firefox opens in about 4 seconds - and we all know how long Firefox can take to open. I can play Youtube videos with full resolution and no jitter using SMTube. It really made a huge difference and gave some new life to the machine.

    I settled on Antix Linux for the CF-29 - it's a very light weight distribution that a Pentium M can easily power. Very snappy response - not sluggish at all.

    Hope this was useful! :D
     
    UNCNDL1, theoak2, safn1949 and 6 others like this.
  2. jrbauerjr

    jrbauerjr Notebook Enthusiast

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    Wow, I'm going to try this on my reliable old CF-27, sounds like new life for the old workhorse. What did you do about the "trim function"

    Jimj
     
  3. Michael AU

    Michael AU Notebook Guru

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    Trim is available in most, if not all, currently supported Linux releases.
    Windows XP is the only version of Windows since 2001, that I know of, that doesn't support it. I have heard/read that there are some 3rd party programs that enable Windows XP to be used on SSDs and have trim. I am still looking for them as I do need 1 CF-29 to have Windows XP so I can run a flowbench. If I can't find anything I'll use Windows 7 instead and that has trim built in.
     
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  4. Springfield

    Springfield Notebook Deity

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    I've tried Piriform's CCleaner tool, which has a function to wipe the free space on the hard drive. Don't know if it does the same thing as W7 trim, and probably not using my old 29 enough to know if it does much good, but it's a free download and does a great job of cleaning the cobwebs out of old registry files.

    I've used FX-Tech's approach on many old models after Paul explained it a few years ago on this forum: 28, 29, M34, and even an old CF-07 brick, which still ran dog-slow with WinXP For Legacy PCs (FLP).
     
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  5. jrbauerjr

    jrbauerjr Notebook Enthusiast

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  6. Spartan

    Spartan Notebook Nobel Laureate

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    Nice!
     
  7. UNCNDL1

    UNCNDL1 Notebook Deity

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    Will try this out on the CF-28 and let you know. The other problem with older model units is that it's getting harder to find a Linux distribution that will work OOB (out of the box) with out a lot of tweaking. For instance, antiX 17.4.1 works just fine on a CF-28 however it will NOT with antiX 19. As time goes by the operating system might work well, but the browser gets outdated.
     
    Shawn and theoak2 like this.
  8. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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    That's the exact issue I had with Pear OS. No way to get a current or semi current browser to function.
    Without a semi current browser lots of web sites are broken.
     
  9. mklym

    mklym Notebook Evangelist

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    The seller of the adapter does not ship to Canada. WTF??

    Guess I will have to see if I can find another supplier that does ship to Canada.
     
  10. Shawn

    Shawn Crackpot Search Ninja and Options Whore

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