Gaming PC

Enthusiast Builds DIY 2.5 Inch IDE SSD for Retro PCs

Keeping an early 2000s or late 1990s PC running is a difficult task. No need to worry about leaking capacitors or watch batteries. In most cases, retro PCs have old hard drives with parallel ATA interfaces, which are not as reliable as they were back then. The logical action is to replace it with an SSD. There are cheap PATA SSDs on the market, but they will eventually disappear, making it difficult to repair older PCs. Apparently there is a solution. is to build his own 2.5 inch SSD with an IDE interface.

this is probably dos dude 1 That’s when I decided to build my own drive with Silicon Motion’s SM2236 controller and up to four 512Gb NAND ICs in a BGA152 or BGA132 package. Ironically, building an SSD (whether it’s the best SSD or a cheap drive) requires basic PCB routing, soldering, and programming skills. On the other hand, manufacturing NAND flash memory and SSD controllers requires billions of fabs and advanced packaging facilities.

A GitHub post made by Dosdude1 contains a blueprint, PCB design, and PCB schematic for a 2.5 inch PATA SSD with SMI SM2236 controller. This information was gleaned from open documents and extensive reverse engineering. A person who decides to build his SSD like that will need to source the controller, memory chips and build a printed circuit board using the design provided. Also, he from Silicon Motion should find the SM2236 Mass Production Tool (MPTool) and list compatible memory chips, as well as NAND IC datasheets, and set the correct voltages for these chips.

(Image credit: Dosdude1/Github)

Once the drive is assembled, the SM2236 SSD controller needs to be programmed for the attached NAND IC. This part looks interesting because you have to use a Windows based system running SM2236 MPTool to program the controller, but the SSD simply won’t work if it’s plugged into the PATA port, but the PATA A USB bridge to the -to-system.

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