Legacy PS/2 FAQ

Important: This FAQ is not necessarily up-to-date. Please refer to the respective sections of the Ardent Tool website or check the CSIPH newsgroup when in doubt.

Version: 5.6+ (based on Alkemyst's version 5.5, updated and integrated with the Ardent Tool)

   Christopher Feeny <Alkemyst>
   Louis Ohland <The God Emperor of Micro Channel>
   Tomáš Slavotínek <Major Tom>

Table of Contents

S) 1.0: Introduction
Q) 1.1What does this FAQ cover and how do I use this FAQ?
Q) 1.2What are the different PS/2s and their features?
Q) 1.2aWhat are the different Processor Complexes and their features?
Q) 1.3What are the IBM brand MCA cards?
Q) 1.4Where do I get a Reference Disk for my PS/2?
Q) 1.4aWhere can I get a Reference Disk for my non-IBM MCA System?
Q) 1.5Which file does what on my Reference Disk?
Q) 1.6What does the Reference Disk do?
Q) 1.7Accessing the Advanced Diagnostics
Q) 1.8Why can't I copy my Reference Disk, I want to make a backup?
Q) 1.9I got the Reference Disk, but now it is saying I need an Option
Diskette/or giving me a 165 error at POST...What are Option
Diskettes and Where do I get them?
Q) 1.10I got the Option Diskette, but the Refdisk is telling me no option files can be found, What am I doing wrong?
Q) 1.10aI copied the option's ADF to the refdisk, but Setup can't find it!
Q) 1.11I bought my PS/2 second hand who can I get tech support from?
Q) 1.12IBM tech. support says they do not know my answer now what?
Q) 1.13Where can I find support on the internet?
Q) 1.14How do I tell what an IBM MCA card with no labeling is?
S) 2.0: Motherboards (Planars)
Q) 2.1Where can I find a PS/2 motherboard?
Q) 2.2Instead of a 'stock', can I get a more advanced board?
Q) 2.3Will a standard motherboard work in a PS/2?
Q) 2.4What planars come with cache and are more recent.
Q) 2.5 Which planars allow/prohibit additional on-board memory?
Q) 2.6Can I use normal 72-pin SIMMs?  30-pin SIMMs?
Q) 2.7How do I tell the speed of the SIMMs I have on my planar?
Q) 2.8What speed SIMMs do I need?
Q) 2.9How good is MCA and what does it offer?
Q) 2.10Which is better, ISA/EISA/VLB/PCI/etc?
Q) 2.11Will an ISA card work in an MCA (PS/2) machine?
Q) 2.12How do I enter the CMOS configuration menu?
Q) 2.13What is bus mastering anyway?
S) 3.0: IO controllers/interfaces
Q) 3.1How do IDE/MFM/RLL/ESDI/SCSI interfaces work?
Q) 3.2How can I tell if I have MFM/RLL/ESDI/IDE/SCSI?
Q) 3.3Why won't my two hard drives work together?
Q) 3.4How do I install a second controller?
Q) 3.4aSecond IBM controller dumps W9x into MS-DOS mode!
Q) 3.5Which is better, SCSI or IDE or ESDI?
Q) 3.6Can MFM/RLL/ESDI/IDE and SCSI coexist?
Q) 3.6aCan I use an IDE controller in my 85 / 90 / 95?
Q) 3.7Difference between SCSI and SCSI-2.
Q) 3.7aCommon transfer rates of MCA SCSI Controllers
Q) 3.8Can I use a non-IBM ESDI in a PS/2?
Q) 3.8aCan I use an AS/400 drive?
Q) 3.9Do I need a reference disk for my SCSI drive?
Q) 3.10What is a 16550UART and do I need one?
Q) 3.11Should I buy an internal or external modem?
Q) 3.12What kinds of sound cards are available?
Q) 3.13Can I run both a SoundBlaster and the Audiovation/A?
Q) 3.14Can I fake a keyboard so my computer will boot without it?
S) 4.0: Upgrading Processor/Coprocessor/Disks/Video/CDROM
Q) 4.1Don't have money for a new computer or planar, what can  I do?
Q) 4.2What are the Benchmarks for the Processor Upgrades?
Q) 4.3Which Math Co-Processor do I use?
Q) 4.4Can I replace my slow stock HD with a faster and larger one?
Q) 4.5Can I add a second FD and what type will work with my PS/2?
Q) 4.5aWhat is the Third floppy connector for?
Q) 4.5bWill the * floppy drives damage my floppy controller?
Q) 4.6Is there an SVGA option for PS/2s?
Q) 4.7How can I add a CD-ROM to my PS/2?
Q) 4.7aJumper Settings for a CD Rom
Q) 4.7bInstalling DOS/W9x on a CD Rom w/IBM SCSI Controller
Q) 4.8How can I build a Multimedia PS/2?
Q) 4.9How can I get sound effects in DOOM?
Q) 4.10Upgrading a Model 90/95 to Pentium 180/200MMX.
S) 5.0: Adding System and Cache memory
Q) 5.1How do I add memory to my PS/2 off the motherboard?
Q) 5.2How do I add cache memory to my PS/2?
Q) 5.2aAdd up to 2MB of cace to the SCSI w/cache Adapter /A?
Q) 5.2bI added 1MB SIMMs to the SCSI w/cache, now it shows 0KB!
Q) 5.3Can I use 4MB SIMMs when 1 or 2MB SIMMs are listed?
Q) 5.4 Who has memory the cheapest?
Q) 5.5Is there a way to identify a PS/2 RAM card or SIMM?
Q) 5.6What is the ECC memory options on some of the newer PS/2s?
Q) 5.6aWhat is this setting for ECC-P for on my 9585 (all models)?
Q) 5.7What cache size do I have/can upgrade to?
S) 6.0: Diagnostics
Q) 6.1What do the POST beeps mean?
Q) 6.2What do the POST codes mean?
Q) 6.2aWhat do the CP codes mean?
Q) 6.3How can a system boot OK , but the refdisk reports errors?
Q) 6.4How can I *REALLY* find out if these errors are just bogus?
Q) 6.5OK I got a problem, who can I get to fix it?
Q) 6.6What are the wrap plugs the refdisk sometimes refers too?
S) 7.0: Misc
Q) 7.1What is the pin out for ...?
Q) 7.2What is the special SCSI connector by IBM?
Q) 7.2aMaking a SCSI Cable for an IBM 50 pin edgecard internal port
Q) 7.2bMaking a Fast/Wide SCSI Cable for the IBM F/W SCSI Adapter
Q) 7.3Where are benchmark programs located. What do they mean?
S) 8.0: Operating Systems (OS)
Q) 8.1Can I run UNIX on my PS/2? Which UNIX variety works?
Q) 8.2Why won't certain UNIXs run on my PS/2?
Q) 8.3What is better for the PS/2, MSDOS or PCDOS?
Q) 8.4Can I run Windows?  What would I need?
Q) 8.5Can I run Win95/98? What would I need?
Q) 8.5a(1)Can I run Win98? What would I need?
Q) 8.5aBlank Screen Under MS-DOS Mode
Q) 8.5bCan't See >16MB or >64MB  Under W95
Q) 8.5cW95 Does Not See IDE Controller on MCA System
Q) 8.6Can I run Linux now?
S) 9.0 References
Q) 9.1 Who makes upgrades for a PS/2 computer (company phone #'s)
Q) 9.2 Is there automated FAX help available?
Appendix A: MCA Brand Card and Part Listing
Appendix B: IBM Reference Diskette Listing
App B.1Starter/Reference Disks
App B.2Diagnostic Disks
App B.3Microcode Update Disks
App B.4Option Disks
App B.5Driver Disks
App B.6ADF Files
Appendix C: ADF Modification for dual SB and Audiovation/A use
Appendix D: Error Codes
Appendix E: Pinouts
Appendix F: PS/2 Sound Cards

Content created and/or provided by:
Louis F. Ohland, Peter H. Wendt, David L. Beem, William R. Walsh, Tatsuo Sunagawa, Tomáš Slavotínek, Jim Shorney, Tim N. Clarke, Kevin Bowling, and many others.

Ardent Tool of Capitalism - MAD Edition! is maintained by Tomáš Slavotínek.
Last update: 29 Nov 2023 - Changelog | Legal Info & Contact