Thank you for the in depth answer to my original question, that is exactly what I wanted to see. In reference to me mentioning just using a HDD in an enclosure being faster, I mean format my HDD (in this case a 80GB ide) as fat32, hook it up to the pc, copy my files, then put it in a usb enclosure for the ps2 to play media from, this would be by far the fastest method I could think of.
The networking thing came up and was answered a little later in the thread, my ps2 is no where near my router, as such networking it isn't really an alternative I would care to explore, however it would be much easier to just share the files to SMS. I do tend to take my PS2 with me to friend's houses, and store music/movies on the HDD to be accessed whenever I want without the added bulk of external storage devices (my fatty takes up enough room).
Networking (just the sharing aspect of it) would eliminate this ability.
That all aside, I will explore the methods you mentioned as being possible, this doesn't sound like the a "normal" way of doing things, but I'm looking to run this stuff as fast as possible, which unfortuantly means the ps2 is left entirely out of everything short of actual playing of files.
This would all be so much easier if SMS could just read a fat32 HDD connected to the network adapter. It can read it through USB, just not internal afaik.
I have pretty much given up on the dual HDD option I was attempting to do, I have so limited time to work on it, and am constantly interrupted even when I do get to work on it that I'm just getting irritated and frustrated with it, so it's time to just put down the wires and walk away for a bit.
That aside, this is what I've determined so far: Just using a 40 pin adapter isn't enough, regardless of what they say over at playstation2-linux. Having messed with this thing 6428932 different ways, it just doesn't work. Closest I got was HDL as master, linux as slave, master on ide cable to network adapter, slave on ide cable to HDL master. Then HDL just hung, but didn't say the HDD was missing. I can think of two things now, either the original HDD for the linux kit had a 40th pin on the connector and is why it works for them but not me, as I don't have one, or the CSEL signals are interferring somehow and the network adapter can't figure it out.
I tried settings drives for CS, still no go. Until I can find even one remaining picture of this project from 5 years ago or an actual document stating what needed to be done, I can't proceed.
SCPH-39001 V7 GH-019, fliptop case, FMCB 1.8, 80GB HDD (SMS console) 16MB card running it all
SCPH-39001 V7 GH-022 FMCB 1.8, 120GB HDD (Game console) 64MB card running it all