PFS 3 uses a method of saving files known as 'atomic commit'. This works by
when a file is saved, the file is not COMPLETELY written to the drive until
the write operation is complete. Hence, PFS formatted volumes move from
valid state to valid state. You can try turning off your computer during a
write, but it's virtually impossible to corrupt a PFS partition deliberately
or otherwise. Speed-wize, PFS offers a 500% increase-fold in performance
compared to Commodore's original Fast-File-System. This benchmark primary
depends though on how many buffers are allocated per partition via your
prepping software, the speed of the Amiga's CPU and/or IDE/SCSI controller,
and whatever Maxtransfer rate is used on each partition.
What you will notice is icon's come up quicker on screen, as does reading
local HTML pages from disk. All disk operations including copy, deleting,
moving and reading etc, are dramatically enhanced and much faster. Normally
when burning CDR/CDRW disks I always use a spare partition for storing ISO
images. When I was using Fast-File-System, it would take about 2-3 minutes
to delete a 650 megabyte ISO image. With PFS 3 it's 2 seconds !
Another nice feature is that PFS also incorporates 'artificial intelligence'.
In the rare occurrence should a severe problem be detected on a particular
partition (which incidently is VERY rare), it will immediately 'lock' the
partition to prevent you from writing to it and causing further damage. This
lock feature can of course be disabled by typing: Lock (NAME OF PARTITION)
OFF [RETURN]. However, in such instances it is best to run the DiskValid /
PFSDoctor program in analyse mode first, to find out what the particular
problem is, and then unlock the partition and run PFSDoctor again (in repair
mode) to fix any problems.
Things to be aware of:
There are some things to bare in mind when using PFS 3. The first of which
is incompatibility. Tools that expect to access Fast-File-System partitions
at low level such as Quarterback, Reorg and Disksalv are only designed for
repairing partitions formatted with Commodore's Fast-File-System and these
programs will not work with partitions formatted with PFS. Hence you are
stuck with only two programs at your disposal for repairing corrupt PFS
partitions: DiskValid & PFSDoctor that are included with PFS 3. This is not
a problem though: PFS 3 is virtually bomb proof as far as file systems are
concerned. All other software such as ABackUp will work as before.
Things that ARE NOT mentioned in PFS 3's documentation:
Heinz Wrobel (responsible for coding the NSD supprt for OS 3.5), states on
the OS 3.5 mailing list (maintained by Alex) the following (see below):-
"And don't forget: if you are using an A600/A1200/A4000 and you are using
the internal IDE connector, you're still stuck with the internal 8 gigabyte
limit of the v40 IDE_scsi.device. You can use a hard disk with no more than
8 gigabytes if you apply NSD patch to the internal ROM IDE_scsi.device v40 -
8 gigabytes nothing more."
"Filesystems like PFS and SFS which have a direct scsi" version MUST use
the IDE_scsi.device v40 as well, so the 8 gigabyte limit applies here as
(the docs of PFS are a bit vague on this topic)."
"You can NOT patch the internal 8 gigabyte limit of the old IDE_scsi.device
v40 with NSDPatch, nor can you avoid it with a third party filesystem's
After I read Heinz Wrobel's statement on the OS 3.5 mailing list (above), I
decided to check the above statement with Hugo (one of the PFS developers).
Hugo informs me otherwise (see below):-
"Heinz Wrobel's statements are beside the point. Yes you CAN use more than
8 GB on the internal IDE controller (using the DirectSCSI version of PFS)
and no you can not use the full 20.4 GB on your drive. The Amiga internal
IDE controller is outdated and can't recognize the full capacity of modern
drives. Check how much space HDInstTools or HDtoolbox recognizes: this is
the maximum you can get on your 20.4 gigabyte drive. You can probably use
around 13 GB."
1) If you want to use a hard drive LARGER than 13 gigabytes on the A1200's
motherboard IDE connector (on the motherboard), you MUST use the NSD support
that OS 3.5 offers (and not PFS).
2) As Hugo mentions, you CANNOT use a drive larger than 13 gigabytes on the
A1200's motherboard IDE controller with PFS. This is not a fault limitation
of PFS, but a limitation caused by V40 IDE_SCSI.device (the firmware
contained in the Amiga's kickstart) and the aging IDE port on your A1200's
motherboard. If you have a big box Amiga with a Zorro 2/3 IDE controller
card which your hard drives are connected up to, only then, can use hard
disks over 13 gigabytes with PFS.
Adding Bonus (Kang Fu!):
You also get a game called 'Kang Fu' which is included on the PFS CD-ROM, and
is produced by the same team of developers who programmed PFS. It's quite a
good platform game, in which you are oddly a Kangaroo (wearing sunglasses!?).
You'll need a CD32 joypad to play it. I didn't manage to get very far: the
games to bloody difficult !
Pro's and Con's:
Ease of Installation:
Might be fiddly for some Amiga's users, due to the cack handed manual
installation method of the PFS 3 extra floppy disk (which must be installed
manually: there's no installer for this) 8-(
The Amigaguide documentation is well laid out, and explains everything in
PFSDoctor program is broken: exiting the program by clicking the 'Quit'
button (not the close gadget results in a recoverable error). If you get
this same problem, e-mail Greed Developments and demand a new version of the
PFSDoctor program. Also, the PFSDoctor program sometimes reports spurious
errors on freshly formatted partitions (as Hugo explains to me it's a bug
they still haven't managed to fix).
No live optimiser has been included even though Greed have promised to make
Safer and 500% faster than using Commodore's buggy FFS. PFS 3's performance
also can be vary depending on how many buffers are allocated per partition,
the speed of your Amiga's CPU and IDE/SCSI controller and Maxtransfer rate.
No more invalidated disks: disks are always valid, deleted files can be
easily recovered using the .deldir feature. Lots of other tools are
You get's Greed's free 'Kang Fu' game on the CD as well !
Overall: A superb product, but a bodge to install. May be difficult to
install for novice Amiga users. Despite a couple of minor niggles, PFS get's
the thumbs up anyway, since it's faster and safer than using Commodore's
Craig 'Hercules' Daines
Technical Editor for THE CRYPT