CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X...

Posted by: bmartinek

CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 09/19/06 01:56 PM

Has anybody here tried setting up a CF Card as their startup disk for OS X?

If so I would love some tips and suggestions for settup and hardware. I have ordered on of the CF to2.5" IDE adapters and will order a 8gb CF card shortly.

Brand Suggestions?
Posted by: maestro

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 09/19/06 03:46 PM

Is there another reason to do this besides the coolness factor or its size?  Most CF cards will not run as fast as a hard drive.  Two of them in a raid may work better though.  I would love to see a mod guide on this if you pull it off.
Posted by: bmartinek

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 09/19/06 04:04 PM

Yes there is a reason, actually multiple.

If you get a resonable speed CF card it should be pretty fast, but more to the point I see 3 advantages:

1.) I am trying to make a tablet design, hence space is at a premium CF Cards = Small

2.) CF Cards are very vibration resistant. (I was considering putting this project on a vespa)

3.) Retrieving data from a CF card requires far less energy than spooling up a HD

But there a re downsides, they are pricy as far a storage i.e. 8gb = $130+ and speed can be an issue and again faster cards are pricy.

Just a couple thoughts.
Posted by: Waragainstsleep

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 09/19/06 07:13 PM

I tried to use a a PCMCIA flash drive as a scratch disk in order to boost performance on my Lombard before it got nicked. Didn't work since on the Lombard at least, the scratch disk initialises before the PCMCIA drivers. So no joy there.
I wanted to boot from it, but despite my best efforts, I failed to strip Tiger (or it may have been Panther) down to under the 1GB size of the card. I suspect it wouldn't have worked anyway, for the same reason as the scratch disk.
CF to IDE or SATA should work fine. SATA will probably give a better speed boost over the HD. RAIDing two of them is only going to help if you have two independent busses for them. You can do this with a PowerBook, but you will lose your optical drive. RAIDing two with an iBook will also lose your optical drive, but won't be any faster than a single card anyway, since both drives are on one bus.
MacBooks and MacBook Pros have only one SATA connector, and RAIDing across SATA and ATA is silly.
Posted by: maestro

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 09/19/06 07:44 PM

All legitimate reasons.  I hope it works!  I have seen people use them for scratch disks on desktops using fw or sub.  Good luck.
Posted by: bmartinek

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 09/29/06 02:31 PM

Well This lends some street cred to my idea, but how to do it....

I just got my 4GB card in the mail last night and I did a disk utility on it, so it is formated to OS X, but I keep getting an I/O error when I try to do a restore from a nice small OS X partition I made on one of my FW drives.

Any suggestions?
Posted by: bmartinek

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/01/06 06:39 AM

¡Great Suffering Friends!  frown

It looks like in all my illustrious wisdon I hsed my new 4gb CF card.

So others might benifit from my mistake and not propagate it I have to sugestions:

1.) Make sure the adapter you muy is a MALE one as opposed to Female
2.) You cannot plug the Female on directly into the boad even though it fits, tis possibly caused its failure, it could also be trying to write the OS to the card and formatting it may times.

So a new adapter is on the way and I need to find cheaper smaller cards. frown

Any suggestions for creating a .dmg of OS X besides disk utility, it was being very grumpy when I had tried that.
Posted by: bmartinek

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/19/06 04:28 PM

A little news:

I ordered a new male 40pin 2.5" adapter and after frying the old CF card tried the card that came with my Canon XT. Success! it recognizes it as an HD even with the HD icon (strange I thought). I had to bend a pin to make it fit but pretty neat. I have another card coming from that is a 2gb, so it should fit a stripped down OS X, we will see I guess. Here are some pics:

<a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" width="499" height="333" alt="Substitute HD" /></a>

and the results:

<a href="" title="Photo Sharing"><img src="" width="499" height="333" alt="It's Alive!" /></a>

Let me know what you think, or if you have any suggestions for the next step.
Posted by: Waragainstsleep

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/20/06 08:02 AM

2GB is just enough. A stripped Tiger is 1.9GB, leaving you a little room for a swapfile. Really a 4GB would be better.
Posted by: macDeviant

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/20/06 01:44 PM

A 4 gig card might work better cause the 2 gig flash card is not going to be a full 2 gigs. Just like all hard drives it suffers from the same genius which plauges all writable media. It won't be a full 2 gigs. You might not even be able to fit osx on there at least maybe not Tiger. Even if you were able to it might choke with a swapfile. I say this cause my 2 gig Nano is only 1.7 gigs. I had a good install of Tiger running on my G4 Cube with only a 4 gig hdd, that would give a decent bit for the swapfile too.

my two cents
Posted by: maestro

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/20/06 04:19 PM

You are right.  Even a stripped down OSX wont fit on two GB.  My suggestion....a stripped array of 2x 2GB cards.  That would be sick.  I see its in a laptop too, very cool.  More pics please! wink
Posted by: bmartinek

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/20/06 09:08 PM

Hey There Gang,

While I agree that a 4GB card would be optimum there results a problem the we economist use often "sunk costs", meaning that 4GB cards are expensive and frying another one would cost me almost as much as I purchased the G3 iBook for.

As it stand currently I have a really realy stripped down version that seems to still boot (I havent thrown away to many files I guess) that weighs in around 1.65GB which even with formating should fit on that card, as far as a swap file or virtual memory that will have to come later.

Given the nature of Flash memory in its current state I did have some questions that maybe you guys could answer:

    1.) If there a way to set the write disk diffent than the boot disk? Maybe if I got a microdrive i could use that for the swap files, and just boot from the CF, I mean thats how the Linux Crowd seems to do it I Guess?

    2.) I don't remeber my other question now????
Well Soon as I get the seconf CF I will let you know.


If you all wanna help out with purchase of a new card let me know
Posted by: maestro

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/20/06 09:54 PM

Theoretically you could.  Thats how I run all my Macs.  Put your OS on one flash card and storage, etc. on another one.  Trick is that there is only one bus for a HD.  You could need to use the optical drive connection to run the second one.  I would love to see you pull it off.  Dont forget to post some pics! 8)
Posted by: bmartinek

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/21/06 01:17 AM

So I got the second card formatted and am commencing to load my OSX_Lite on it, which is really skimpy, I am using the card reader in an hp printer which sofar say "CF Card Error" but disk utiility is soldiering on... So we will see I guess.

Here is teh second question I had actually now that I remember:

How does OS X treat a master slave setup as far as reading and writing?

I have seen several dual card set-ups and am tryinf to find a male one now, nut I am curious as to how they are going to react?

If this works there could be great implications for a tablet setup fr an older iBook.

If anybody has any ideas send them my way I am out in the hinterland here.  :-
Posted by: bmartinek

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/21/06 04:54 AM

I gotta goto sleep :

Here are the latest pics, I will tell all tommorow

Good Night!  :compute:
Posted by: wgill1981

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/22/06 03:59 AM

From  experience, this does not work.. however, has anybody seen that there is upcomming software for Windows users who will be able to carry their desktop on a stick and plug it into another windows PC and see their desktop , preferences etc?

Posted by: bmartinek

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 10/29/06 02:47 PM

OS X works in mysterious ways....

So the CF Drama lives on till I get frustrated and decide to put the nice new 7200rpm HD in. I tried loading  OS X onto the card again and do have one word of wisdom that I have discovered:

The drives have to be on seperate busses, if they are on the same bus (daisy-chained drives for example) they get in I/O error and you waste 20 minutes.

well I booted again from the card and got a similar response front the last time i did it, even when statting in: regular, safe, and verbose mode. So I tried one last thing

Target Disk Mode

Now this is where things get wierd. So I put the iBook in target disk mode and fired up the my Mac Mini.  Well it gets past the kernel loading, which it didnt directly on the ibook, and proceed to the login screen where it starts up OS X services and then goes to the movie where it thinks its the initial instal and prompts you for the setup. Unfortunately it gets stuck at the keyboady layout screen.

So its stuck there, and I have had to hard power it down at this point, but its a bit further, than before. So obviousy there is something different about how OS X treats a firewire drive as opposed to the internal one, that lets it get a bit further in the start up process. As well clearly this is where the technology with Vista and Seagate being all over the hybrid Drives.

Until next time...

And please someone comment if you happen to know something about this.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 11/01/06 05:51 PM

Where did you get your adapter from anyway? I need a small one about that size with no forward footprint for my duo 2300 and microdrive.
Posted by: bmartinek

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 11/02/06 04:50 AM

I got it off ebay, they are cheapest there by far but you do have to wait, since they are usually shipped from china or they say they are.
Posted by: TCPMeta

Re: CF Card Startup Disk Set-up OS X... - 11/03/06 11:52 PM

This mod reminds me on a few PC mods I did in the past with a CF card. Most CF cards are faster then HDs. They move as fast as the controller can let it. Unless you're running a system with ATA100 and the drive is also ATA100 then there wouldn't be a diffrents.

You can fit on a small copy of OSx onto a 2GB partition. I had my iBook running with it but it crashed after installing a few programs that screwed up the startup. Beleve it or not half of the stuff in OSx you don't really need. Just run the delocalizer program and remove a lot of programs you don't need. After that you can remove a lot of files that Apple tossed in that depend on UNIX software that isn't in use. Also you can remove alot of Frameworks, PrivateFrameworks and Services. Also you can remove a few things from /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin, /etc, /usr/etc. I wish I still had the kill list I made for files you didn't need for OSx.

Thing is this makes OSx so bare it would be like one of thoses Linux Live CDs.