Retro Friday. Upgrading The Storage In A 386 With A MFM/RLL Hard Drive

Source: Hardware Asylum Retro Friday.  Upgrading The Storage In A 386 With A MFM/RLL Hard Drive

Raise Your Hand If You Remember Doing Any Of This

There was a time before NVMe, SATA and even IDE, when hard drives connected using Modified Frequency Modulation (MFM), and the cool kids added Run Length Limited (RLL) controller.  When you did it right, changing that signalling not only increase the size of the drive by 50% it also increased the read and write speeds as well. The problem was that many early adopters of MFM/RLL installed an after-market RLL controller and the results were often rather poor.  Eventually the controller was incorporated directly into the HDD, which vastly improved the reliability of MFM/RLL HDDs.

Hardware Asylum recently decided to relive the old days and upgrade an their 386 machine with a Microscience HH-106 MFM/RLL drive.  They both documented the process and provided a video of the upgrade process as well.  From there they installed DOS and Windows 3.11, which took up almost all the free space on the drive.

If you would enjoy a trip down memory lane, or a glimpse into what we needed to do back in the old days of personal computing to upgrade our storage you should head on over.

Now here is something you don't see every day. A Retro PC 386 with a MFM/RLL hard drive installed which is the ultimate expression of true retro computing. It may not be period correct or all that useful but, it is amazing.

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About The Author

Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it,, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.


  1. willmore

    “Tell me how old you are without telling me how old you are.”

    C:\> DEBUG

    • Old dude 99



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