I'm embarking on a long-term project, aiming to build a computer based on the Intel 8088 architecture. This venture provides an excellent opportunity to deepen my understanding of computer hardware and operating systems. As I begin this journey, I have some queries to address, seeking clarity on certain aspects.

One key consideration is the 8088's 20-bit address space, limiting it to addressing only 1Mb of memory. Understanding this limitation, I'm curious about how the operating system interacts with storage drives that can store significantly more data than the available memory. Does the operating system communicate with such drives differently, considering the file system?

To ensure I don't overlook critical memory requirements during the system's configuration, I'm contemplating whether I need to reserve specific address space for the drive, treating it as an I/O device. I don't want to purchase any Ics that I wont end up using.

Initially, my goal is to get DOS running on the system. Subsequently, I plan to delve into the development of my own basic operating system. While I recognize this is a huge project that will take a long time, I am eager to gain in-depth insights into operating systems. I would like to read and write to a floppy disk because I think it would be cool.

I also have questions about storage limitations. Are there constraints on the amount of drive space I can address or the size of a single drive? Looking ahead, I wonder if it's possible to configure SATA to my 8088-based system or some kind of older interface, allowing for the integration of a large drive, say 500GB. I would never need a drive that big but I am wondering where the limits are. I appreciate any insights or guidance on these matters. Thank you!

  • $\begingroup$ This is the wrong forum. Please post it in stack overflow. $\endgroup$ Dec 6, 2023 at 22:49
  • $\begingroup$ The site with recent experience should be Retrocomputing@SE. (16 bit 8088 system?!) $\endgroup$
    – greybeard
    Dec 9, 2023 at 13:07


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.