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These are UDMA interfaces on PCI cards that can be used to add UDMA support to an existing computer without replacing the motherboard, or for adding support for an additional four drives to a machine which has had its onboard interfaces filled. They can also be found preinstalled in some computers, especially Gateway 2000 and Dell machines.
Most of them are not supported by the old stable kernels (2.0.x), but many should work with a 2.2.x kernel - the Red Hat 6.0 and SuSE 6.1 distributions are based on 2.2.x kernels, as are the most recent versions of most other distros. However some of the latest cards (the Promise Ultra66 for instance) won't work even with the current 2.2.x kernels, if you have this or can't get a newer distribution then you must apply a kernel patch or upgrade to a newer kernel version. If you need to install Linux onto a hard drive on one of these interfaces in this case, you will need to use a few odd tricks.
This is a PCI card that has two UDMA channels on it, supporting up to four drives total. You can look up specifications & pricing at http://www.promise.com. This card shipped in early model Gateway 2000 Pentium II systems.
Kernels 2.0.35 and later and all 2.2.x kernels support the Ultra33 and you should have no trouble installing a distribution that uses these kernels. However, the older stable kernels (2.0.34 and below) do not, and since most older Linux distributions include these older kernels it can be a little difficult to get Linux installed if you can't or don't want to use a newer version (for instance if you are standardized on a particular version of a distribution throughout your organization).
Installing Linux with the Ultra33
Although there is a patch for the Ultra33 interface, it is not very easy to apply a patch and recompile your kernel if you have not installed Linux yet! So, here is a workaround which allows you to install. Thanks to Gadi Oxman for the following information on getting the interface settings:
Note that the numbers probably are not the same as what you will have.
Just as an example, the parameters to use for the above set of numbers
would be ``
Red Hat 5.1: Boot with the boot diskette and press enter when prompted.
The kernel will load, and then you will be asked for a language, keyboard
type, and installation method. You may be prompted for additional information
about the source media; it doesn't matter right now what you tell it as long
as you can get to the next step. Next you should see a screen titled
``Select Installation Path''; press Alt-F2 now to get to a command prompt.
Red Hat 5.0 and Slackware 3.4: These are similar, but with the wrinkle
that the setup programs ignore
With another Linux distribution you will have to improvise a bit, but the process should be about the same as the above.
IMPORTANT: Without the patch (discussed in the
Unified IDE), the
kernel needs these boot parameters in order to access your hard
disk! Therefore it is very important that when you configure LILO, either on
the hard disk or on a boot floppy, that you give it the exact same
parameters that you gave when installing. Otherwise your system won't
boot! It should be possible to give them to LILO when you boot (ie, press
Shift, type in ``
However, unpatched kernels and installation programs often have a difficult time actually using ide2 and ide3, even if the drives are detected properly. So if you can't get Linux to install using the above technique, try specifying ide0 or ide1 instead of ide2 or ide3 (thanks to Martin Gaitan for this technique). This essentially replaces the on-board interface with the Promise Ultra33 as far as the kernel is concerned, and you can follow the directions in the next section as if you had physically moved it. Note that if you're using an IDE CD-ROM drive connected to your on-board interface to install from, you will want to make sure that you do not take over the interface that the CD is on or you will not be able to install! If the CD is hda or hdb, use ide1 for your hard drive, and if it is hdc or hdd, then use ide0.
Installing Linux Around the Ultra33
If you cannot get the software workaround to work, you will have to try a more brute force approach. Here's an alternative method that is virtually guaranteed to work, but will require you to open up your computer and mess about in it. NOTE: If you are not familiar with the process of connecting and disconnecting IDE drives, read the manuals that came with your computer, your hard drive, and/or the Promise Ultra33 before attempting this! If you screw something up and don't know how to put it back, you could end up being sorry!
That being said, it's all really quite simple. Most motherboards these days have built-in EIDE interfaces. Disconnect your hard drive from the Ultra33 and connect it to the onboard interface. If you have other IDE devices, such as a CD-ROM, tape, or ZIP drive, on your oboard interface, it is easiest if you either add the hard drive on an unused channel (the secondary instead of the primary) or temporarily displace a device that you don not need immediately (such as ZIP or tape). Install Linux. Download and apply the Promise UDMA patch (see next section).
Now you are ready to move the drive back onto the Promise... almost. To be
safe, make a kernel-image boot floppy (
Okay, now it is time
to think a little... if you have just one hard drive and it is going to be on
the Promise, then it will most likely be
If you are using LILO, reconfigure LILO to use the new location of the drive
(LILO configuration is beyond the scope of this document, if you do not know
how, read the
or else it probably will not be able to boot unless you use that boot floppy
I had you make, which you will also want to configure to boot off the new
partition. This is done using the
Reboot. Your system should now work fine.
Patching for the Ultra33
Kernels 2.0.35 and later support the Promise Ultra33 natively; download an upgrade from your Linux distribution or from http://www.kernel.org.
For instructions on how to compile the kernel, read the Kernel HOWTO.
Using two Ultra33 cards in one machine
This is currently not working correctly... don't do it right now unless you're willing to fiddle with the kernel to try to get things to work.
This is essentially the same as the Ultra33 with support for the new UDMA mode 4 66 MB/sec transfer speed. Unfortunately it is not yet supported by 2.2.x kernels.
There is a patch for 2.0.x and 2.2.x kernels availabe at http://www.kernel.org/pub/linux/kernel/people/hedrick, and support is included in the 2.3.x development kernel series at least as of 2.3.3.
However to get far enough to patch or upgrade the kernel you'll have to pull the same dirty tricks as for the Ultra33 as in the section above, or else use a boot disk image provided by Promise
This card is supported by the unified IDE code. Installation of Linux onto a system with one of these as the interface for the target disk may be similar to the workarounds for the Promise Ultra33.
The tertiary and quaternary IDE interfaces (ide2 and ide3) use device files of
This can be done easily if you have a current copy of the Linux kernel source
installed; simply run
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