Interface to the IDE port


I would like to interface some relatively high-speed components to a couple of different computers. The datarate would be in the range of 2-5Mbyte/sec, sustained. I would like to use the same interface with a variaty of form-factors (PC-104, Mini-ITX, ATX, etc.) I thought that the IDE port on the motherboard would be an ideal connection point. I don't want to implement a complete ATA or ATAPI compatible device, just interface directly to the address/data lines on the IDE port. I will implement my own communication protocol over my register-set.

So, my question is, has anybody done this? Any comments, recommendations? How different todays highly integrated chipsets are from the original IDE interface (in HW and SW interfaces)? How hard would it be to get direct access to the IDE port registers under an OS, like WinXP, Linux, etc?

Thanks for all the help, Andras Tantos

Reply to
Andras Tantos
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Why don't you start with Ralf Browns Interrupt list, which will show you the fundamental communications available on all those x86 based systems. Then hunt up the various ATA standards. I found draft versions for ATA-2, 4, 6, and 7.

Chuck F ( (
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I've done those circles already. I know what the HW interface is capable of, but I don't know how specialized the chipset electronics on the other side. I know how the original IDE interface worked but I don't know how much that changed for the modern chipsets (a lot I guess). For example, how much HW acceleration is there for sending ATA/ATAPI commands to the hard-drive. How much trouble do I ask for if I don't implement the standard ATA/ATAPI command set but use the available address space in my own way. I also don't know how much the OS drivers lock the address space and if I can get around them and access the device through my own way. I just hoped someone did something like this and have some experience to share.

Regards, Andras Tantos

Reply to
Andras Tantos







There's good electronics info on the IDE port at

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[no, it's not mine!].


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Norm Dresner

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