View Full Version : Prepping a G3 for digital audio

03-18-2001, 02:17 AM
I'm a musician with a 300Mhz Artemis G3, (Rev. 2) 256MB Ram and a 8 gig hard drive (dont have the specs on the drive) I'm ready to get serious with a digital audio studio, but SCSI is out of reach (no SBA loans for us - how unfair! http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif Plus at ProRec.com, I've read that IDE may even outperform SCSI in certain digital audio situations. So here's the question - go with a Seagate ATA or is Maxtor or IBM my only choice? and will the internal Zip drive have to go (not that I really need it.) in order to keep the drive away from the power supply (heat and noise)?
Also, what exactly is disk "optimization" that I see on drives such as the Glyph drives? I know they use external Seagate SCSI drives, but why are they (supposedly) better for audio? Especially since I thought external was always a hair slower than internal?

Hope I didn't blab too much, thanks for any help.

03-19-2001, 04:45 AM
optimization is marketing blather for the fact that a technician may use a copy of ATTO Tools to "optimize" the drive by setting mode page parameters for optimal audio performance. You can do the same thing, and actually test yourself whether the optimization really works better for you or not.


ATTO Tools is on our FTP site for free download.

you will be fine with any of the IDE drives we sell. We aren't such Nazi's about IDE drives, as we consider it a more or less disposable technology, anyway. We use whatever we have, though some of us are forming a bias towards IBM and Seagate drives at the expense of Maxtors. You will probably find lots of folks with different opinions here, and no one with a monopoly on truth.

as for drive placement, it depends on whether you have a desktop or minitower.


03-19-2001, 01:36 PM
Thanks for the "optimization" tip - now it's clear why
Glyph is trying to charge about $100 more for a Seagate drive.

My beige G3 is a minitower - at xlr8yourmac.com I found a great article that shows how to install the new drive, but there are two differences in my situation - one, i don't want to replace the drive, just add on- and two,
I'm not sure about cable lengths yet. do you have any sites
where I can follow someone else's lead?


03-19-2001, 10:35 PM
If your MT was originally a 300, it has to be a Rev B and therefore able to use two drives on each channel. All you have to do is makes sure that one HD on the channel is jumpered as Master and the other as Slave.

Some one else will have to talk about ATA cables, allowed lengths and distances between connectors because I do only SCSI.

03-20-2001, 06:45 AM
just follow mike's article at AYM.

you don't require any mounting hardware beyond four screws per drive, assuming you are installing into one of the two bays beneath the CD-ROM. Your existing drive should probably be on top of the power supply. IDE cabling and power connectors should already be vacant and ready inside.

03-20-2001, 02:35 PM
What if the cables aren't long enough? What are the ATA rules for length and connector spacing?

03-20-2001, 10:49 PM
I don't remember the formal cable length limits in the spec. Dookie can regurgitate them to us, if he still has his handy storage book laying around. The cable distance limits are short, compared to SCSI, which is the primary reason why IDE is an internal storage technology, and rarely used in external enclosures.

As with single-ended ultra wide Teflon cables, Granite pushed the fringes of the cable distance spec a little further out, making it possible to use single-device internal ribbon cables as long as 36-inches. For dual devices, the limit using Granite cabling is 16-inches.

We sell both TPO and Teflon IDE cables on our IDE page (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/showrampage.cgi?idepagesofheck.html).

[This message has been edited by magician (edited 20 March 2001).]

03-20-2001, 11:12 PM
I thought it was limited. I've read accounts of G3 owners not being able to add this or that because the cables were not long enough.

03-21-2001, 01:04 AM
I checked a whole bunch of AYM posts and none of them mentioned additional cable, but I think they all switched at least one IDE device to SCSI in order to achieve it without adding an additional PCI card. I thought four ATA devices were allowed on the Rev. B, (master/slave twice) but the manual says 3 (hard drive, CD-Rom and Zip) are allowed for with the factory cable. Which one is right?

I checked system profile and discoved my replacement (current) drive is a IBM. My feeling is now that it may not be worth it to keep it, but I'm gonna run the ATTO tools and at least see where it stands. Now that I'm recording vocals, I'm a little worried. Started getting some errors last recording session, including a very scary "spin cycle" when my Digital Performer program froze up. Nothing but the hard drive turning for about 3 minutes before I finally did the classic "unplug it" solution. so you see why I'm pretty sure I have to make a choice quick.

03-21-2001, 01:24 AM
There's enough cable in the DT model to do one HD on ATA 0 and a CD and Zip on ATA 1. I'm not sure if they give you an extra connector on ATA 0 in the MT or not. Both channels can take two devices, but you may need a different cable.

03-21-2001, 01:40 AM
If only I had the G3 with me now (i'm on my son's Hewlett Packard, yuck) I could check the connectors myself, but it's in the studio. I'm relying on diagrams in my manual and photos at AYM.

Louie, since you are a SCSI man, would I have to invest in an accelator card in order to get the benefit of better throughput on the external SCSI? That's one of the reasons I'm out of the SCSI price range - if I'm limited to 5MB/sec then I'd rather spend the money on a XLR8 400mhz ZIF card and the IDE drive (more tracks per dollar)

03-22-2001, 07:25 AM
as Louie says, IDE supports dual drives, or dual devices, per bus, one each master and slave, assuming your Mac's firmware also supports it. Older Macs with IDE capability don't support master/slave functionality, but the rev b G3's do.

don't know what's up with that Apple manual, but there should be no problem adding devices up to the IDE limit. In a MT case, there's room, with a bay on top of the power supply, a CD-ROM bay, and two drive bays below that, one often used for Zip. My suspicion is that you have a spare IDE connector and a spare power connector just waiting for another device, inside the machine. If not, you know where to get good cables.


to attain SCSI thruput faster than 5MB/sec in that machine, you do indeed need to install a PCI SCSI card. A Bluenote will get you close to 20MB/sec with appropriate drives, and a Miles2 around 35MB/sec with a Cheetah. You can go even faster, in that machine, using an ATTO UL2D and a few Cheetahs, but it gets very expensive, and I don't think I've ever seen performance beyond 75MB/sec sustained writes in that machine....it could just be that I haven't tested, or I may actually be suffering from Alzheimer's....or it could be true.

compare that, price-wise and peformance-wise, to a good IDE drive in that machine: if I'm not mistaken, most deliver around 17MB/sec or so, due to limitations in the IDE controller.