View Full Version : The Ultimate Total Media Enclosure?

03-06-2001, 07:57 PM
During my earlier post regarding internal or enclosure mounting of drives and peripherals, mactheripper mentioned the Total Media Enclosure, which struck me as a great idea for consolidating backup/archive/portable media etc.

So here's a question. What would you put in a Total Media Enclosure? CDRW, Tape, a backup drive, Zip? I've got a Yosemite and a Pismo and I'm backing up graphics, mp3, video, emails and my bookkeeping. I await the collective wisdom of the gurus.

03-06-2001, 08:21 PM
It's an excellent idea

Personally - I'd go CD-RW, Ecrix VXA, and then a back-up hard drive (or two). For your Pismo / Yosemite, you'll need a SCSI card. We have a similar box in our lab but we have some MO drives in it now.

03-06-2001, 09:45 PM
I second the notion of the Ecrix VXA paired with a nice Plextor CDRW. Actually, strike that. A SuperDrive instead of the Plextor. I would think that a pair of mirrored 36GB Seagates would round out the enclosure nicely. Zips and MO's have either been phased out or never phased in, here in my humble abode/office.

Is it too much overkill to use a mirror as a backup that is also taped as backup? I suspect certain folks would say no. I haven't gotten THAT neurotic yet, but I do like my mirror to get backed up to an external HD quite regularly. Now, if I could only stomach the expense of a tape drive.

I would take a rather serious method of backup on all counts. Especially the MP3'ing. Not that any of us get illegal music for free, but the time and effort put into re-ripping all our CD's is fearsome when you step back and look at it. It isn't as important as my actual work, but it represents a lot of effort I am not willing to put forth again.

Now, for the ultimate enclosure...this is all mounted in a Magma chassis. Yeah. There you go. How beautiful would that be?!? My 9600 sitting next to a Magma full of goodies. OK, I have to stop myself.

03-06-2001, 11:55 PM
Now that would be a sweet box - wonder what it would cost parted out?...

As for the mirror => back-up -> tape -that's what I'm thinking of doing here in our lab - we mirrored up a data drive and that's backed up to DAT and VXA, and when I get my switch in, it'll be faster. But I'd still like to have redundancy

Hmmm - I think I'll see what I come up with w/ an 2 x 36 Gb Cheetah, an internal VXA, and a Plextor CD-RW in a MAP 5041 w/ new Granite cabling and terminator...


03-07-2001, 07:57 AM
I just parted up what I would set up for the total media enclosure

2 x 36 GB Cheetahs
Ecrix VXA drive
Plexwriter 12/10/32 CD-RW
GD9861 external LVD cable
GD4700 LVD internal cable
GD2015 LVD dual mode terminator

I think I have all that I would need (and priced out) but here's my question. While I know that the VXA and the drives can be on the LVD bus (i.e. running off my Miles2), from what I've read, adding the Plexwriter on the same bus would force my card into SE mode. Is the solution to simply set up a dual channel box - LVD to the hard drives / VXA and then SCSI-2 to the Plexwriter? and if so, then do I need to punch out the other two ports on the back of the MAP5041 so I can route in the SCSI-2 cables and an additional terminator with the associated case fittings?



03-07-2001, 01:04 PM
That sounds good. I'm also wondering about DVD-RAM. I like the sound of its drag-and-drop characteristics, but I don't know anyone who is using it. Any thoughts? Should that go in the TME?

[This message has been edited by Gallagher (edited 07 March 2001).]

03-07-2001, 09:41 PM
ok...whoa, now. Sorry I'm so late to this party.

you can indeed build a dual-channel TME, with one bus single-ended narrow, and one bus LVD. There are adequate punch-out ports on the rear of the MAP5043 to accommodate two LVD and two SE narrow internal devices. We will need to get a little fancy with the SCSI ID selector switches on the backplane, but it's no problem. We have a box full of spares in the basement, as long as you get the -3 version of whatever enclosure you are considering.

now....the way the internal cabling works in these enclosures, you need internal ENCLOSURE cabling. These cables are different than those sold on the internal cables page (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/obj_show_page.cgi?mgscsiteflonintcables.html). The internal cables page has cables for installing drives inside a Mac. The enclosures page (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/obj_show_page.cgi?mgscsienclosures.html), down towards the bottom, has enclosure cables that work inside enclosures.

remember: enclosure cables have two connectors that interface with the backplane, and are screwed into the backplane. They also have however many internal connectors required.

an internal cable has a connector for a terminator, SOMETIMES, and internal connectors ONLY. It is designed to be plugged into a host like a logic board or a SCSI card, then go directly to devices. For internal LVD cables, there will be a short pig-tail stub with a terminator connector at the end. Part number GD1200 (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/obj_show_page.cgi?mgscsiteflonintcables.html) is a common example. It has three internal connectors, and one connector for a terminator. There is actually a photo of it, clearly showing the pig-tail terminator stub, on the internal cables page. The terminator depicted on the GD1200 is the vaunted GD6299 LVD Diagnostic (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/obj_show_page.cgi?mgscsiterminators.html).

enclosure cables are different. That's why we sell them on the enclosures page.

in this case, you would want two SE narrow devices, and two LVD devices.

you would, consequently, need two separate buses, each with different cabling.

for the SE devices, meaning in this case the SE VXA-1 and the PlexWriter, you would use part number GD5248.

for the dual Cheetahs mirrored in RAID 1, you would use part number GD7031.

you would need an LVD terminator for the backplane to terminate the LVD bus, like part number GD6299 with the LED Remote GD1636, and you would need a SE terminator like GD5509 with a GD1636 LED Remote for the SE bus.

for your external cables, you would use an LVD 68-pin Granite LVD cable, and a 50-pin Centronics Granite cable for the SE bus. If you are attaching the 50-pin bus to a Bluenote, you would get a 50-pin MicroD to 50-pin Centronics cable like GD6510 (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/obj_show_page.cgi?mgscsicables50microD.html). If you are attaching the narrow bus to the external SCSI port on the rear of a vintage Power Mac, you would get a 25-pin Apple to 50-pin Centronics cable like part number GD3600 (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/obj_show_page.cgi?mgscsicablesapple25.html).

for your LVD bus, you would use something like a GD9861-LVD (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/obj_show_page.cgi?mgscsicables68microD.html) if you are running off a Miles2, or a GD491 (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/obj_show_page.cgi?mgscsicables.8mm.html) if you are running off an ATTO.

hope this helps, rather than confuses?


[This message has been edited by magician (edited 07 March 2001).]

03-07-2001, 10:54 PM
Hi... sounds most excellent - thanks for the detailed reply.. Was wondering though - since the Ecrix is available in an LVD version - is there any reason to NOT put it on the LVD side of things - i.e. along with the two striped or mirrored Cheetahs?.

(ohh - now to reprice what I selected - egads)


03-12-2001, 02:01 PM
Hi.. to follow up on this

I just put in my 'Gurus order for a 4 bay Burly enclosure (MAP5043) to be populated with 2 internal LVD Ecrix drives...along w/ GD cabling and terminators.

It came in at ~ $500 less than what Ecrix was selling for their 2 drive RakPak system and I gain two extra bays to play with - an excellent deal and I also get the benefit of putting the whole thing together on my own.


03-14-2001, 12:15 AM
chris, that's excellent. Sorry, I missed your earlier question. The problem doing so boils down to internal cabling. You have dual internal connector ribbon cables, or you have four connector cables. In a quad-bay, you are either building a dual-channel unit with two single-ended or LVD devices per bus, or you are building a single-channel unit with four internal connectors. See what I mean?

look at it this way: a GD7031 has two internal connectors. You can attach a pair of LVD drives, no problem. If you get LVD VXA's, you may as well get a GD2682 internal TPO ribbon cable, with four connectors, and put all four devices on the same bus. This would leave you with two drives and two VXA's on the same bus. Not a problem, as long as they are all LVD devices. Still with me?

the GD7031 handles two internal devices. The GD2682 handles four internal devices. In a quad-bay, you can use two GD7031, or one GD2682.

still with me?

or did I confuse things even more?


03-14-2001, 07:35 AM
Thanks for the update - I figured I'd go with the 4 connector cable for this one - given the rate that I'm racing through network storage and with these back-ups. I may end up with a big rack of VXA's shortly - imagine - a 4 bay VXA array.. next step - autoloading robot...


03-15-2001, 03:28 AM
my only gripe so far with VXA units: I can't figure out how to attach them to the front LED's on a Burly enclosure.


03-15-2001, 07:45 AM
Hmmmm - I'll see what I can rig up ;-)...There must be a way - their RakPak systems have LED displays

(a project to let my grad students loose on ;-) )...


03-15-2001, 01:27 PM
well, there are LEDs on front of the units themselves....just no way that I can figure to connect remote activity LEDs like those on the front of the enclosure.

03-15-2001, 06:33 PM
Oh - I get it...

Maybe I can rig up those cool solid light guides similar to the ones that are used on the chassis to show hard drive activity


03-19-2001, 11:49 AM

Just took delivery of my VXA array 4-bay kit... Got everything installed and ready to rock and roll (well - once my other back-up is done on the computer).

The only thing I see - the Ecrix drives won't fit in at least the bottom bay - not really enough clearance between it and the power supply - I ended up mounting them in the top two bays.

I'll have to hook up a multimeter or something to those connectors and see if one of them is in fact a drive activity light

Nice looking unit though.. now - wonder if it's worth going for those 181 GB Seagates ;-)...


03-20-2001, 04:50 AM
whoa...I never noticed that the MAP5041/3 wasn't deep enough to handle a VXA in the lower bay! Are you SURE? It should accept four standard 5.25-inch devices.....just like four CD-ROM.....and the VXA-1 is built in that form factor.

03-20-2001, 07:15 AM
Well - I should qualify this by saying that it does fit - it's just that the power cables etc would be jammed back there i.e. you probably have to plug all the connectors in first and then slide it back in and even then the harness would get squished.


03-20-2001, 05:40 PM

just looked at one. What you do is you route the power cables down low into the base of the enclosure, underneath all the mechanisms, and then you carefully route upwards just the cables that you need. You can bend the power cables from the power supply downwards so they don't interfere with the lowest device, or get smushed too much.

be careful with your VXA units--we've had two so far where the front flip doors got busted. They use this flimsy piece of plastic nubbin to retain the spring and hold the door in position.


on the cool side, we called Ecrix and they are sending out five replacements. Just like that.


03-20-2001, 05:50 PM
ahhh - O.K. - It's working right now (backing up) so I'll wait until that's done to reposition them _ they look pretty slick where they are at the moment.

I'll watch the doors too..

Ecrix seems to be pretty darn responsive - remember I had to have that one external drive I picked up from the 'Gurus replaced by Ecrix when it munged one of my tapes - they cross-shipped one right away...Customer service is key I tell you ...

and on that regard, you guys are the best.

So - do I win for having the most VXA drives on one chain?...


03-20-2001, 07:09 PM
Anyone notice that the 5041/3 can potentially hold FIVE devices?

There's a fifth bay at the very bottom, without any kind of front-accessibility. It is partially blocked by the front power switch housing extending back into the compartment, but you could mount a few things in there, depending on what they are. Myself, I put in a couple of 3-inch fans mounted in a 5.25" mounting tray, blowing upwards into the enclosure. I don't know if you could get a hard drive down there or not, probably would have to deal with the heat issue...

Anyway, the point is there are slots/holes in the side panels for putting in the screws to mount a fifth device down there.

03-20-2001, 08:50 PM
Maybe an older Powerbook SCSI drive (w/ the right adapter) ..
Or an older small boot drive... (I remember being amazed at a 1 GB drive... now that seems too small)


03-21-2001, 12:21 AM
it's much easier to be a good vendor when your customers are cool, Chris.


I've looked at that open space under the first bay....stuffing fans in there is an interesting idea...


03-22-2001, 02:05 AM
Mag, I'm just curious, when you laid out that parts list for Chris, did you just KNOW those part numbers, or did you use a reference?

Inquiring minds want to know.................


03-22-2001, 05:55 AM
well, dave, I'm sorry to say that I know a lot of them. Some of them just don't "stick" in my brain, so I do have to look some of them up, if only to confirm them and doublecheck. My memory is getting noticeably worse, lately.


03-22-2001, 07:17 AM
;-) One time I was talking to a vendor about some parts for an optical bench that we were building - we spec'ed all the parts (at least I thought I had) and I asked "Are you sure we don't need anything else" - "Nope, you're set".. I get all the parts in and wouldn't you know it, I end up with a male socket and a male fitting so I needed an adapter.. a $12 adapter, which when shipping to Canada costs me $20 in UPS.. ARGHHHH.. But I had to have it so I ended up adding some other items that I didn't really need to the order just so that shipping made sense.. I wish they had one of those blow-apart diagrams that showed how things would be connected... (like the way the 'Gurus enclosure page is laid out).


03-22-2001, 12:47 PM

that's the worse. Almost as bad as losing ONE SCREW, or not having enough jumpers. That sort of thing drives me crazy.

we have a fortune in Granite hardware in the basement, now, precisely because I was sick and tired of needing a cable and not having it, or an adapter, or a terminator. One year, I just said hell with it, buy two of everything, and we just about did exactly that.


03-23-2001, 01:45 AM
Mag, the lack of Copenhagen is probably contributing to your ST memory problem. That said, all things considered, it wouldn't make sense for you to have that big pinch in there. You don't DO that anymore.

I am a non-smoker now, and have become, temporarily, even more of an oddball than I was before I gave up the smokes (still the first week). I've had a very strong urge to run my tongue over a naked Winona Ryder. Pretty useless urge for sure. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

03-23-2001, 08:20 AM
yeah, I still crave the Copenhagen, Dave.

thank God for the patch. It makes the addiction managable for me. I haven't relapsed.

now, the real test for me will be what happens four to six weeks AFTER I'm done with the patch. When I used the patch to quit smoking, I indeed quit smoking. But I had a dip. And MAN, was it GOOD.


03-23-2001, 08:48 AM
the memory thing is called detox.

03-25-2001, 05:04 PM
thanks, Michael.

it's only been what, ten years since I went on a bender?

i think the most I have had to drink at one sitting since then is two beers?

it COULD be all the ambient THC I was exposed to at those great concerts I went to when I was in high school....Frampton, The Who....ZZ Top....except, yeah, that was in the '70's.


maybe I need to drink a glass of wine a day, like the French.

oh, wait. That's for the heart.