View Full Version : The Story with IDE Cards in 8500s ?

Luke Mandle
02-16-2001, 10:02 PM
Has anybody had any success playing audio/video files off ATA drives on an 8500 or sim mac? I've read about the 'stuttering' problem at xlr8yourmac.com, but wanted to find out if anybody has fingered the problem, and any solution to it? I have a couple of drives connected to my 8500, and can't play mp3's very well. Any advice (other than purchasing another machine) would be appreciated http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

02-16-2001, 10:53 PM
If you've been reading Mike Breeden's site you know that ATA cards in legacy Mac's don't do well, especially for A/V. The results with newer ATA cards is improving for general purpose work. We believe that SCSI is the only way to fly for A/V. If you do a search, you should find some interesting reading on the subject.

02-18-2001, 05:51 PM
if you read our own IDE pages, you will note that we do not recommend using IDE hosts or drives in vintage Power Macs for anything related to audio or video, including QT movies and MP3's.

sometimes, you really do need to spend more for SCSI--even narrow single-ended SCSI.

Luke Mandle
02-19-2001, 02:08 PM
Thanks for the replies.

I guess I'll have to convince them at work that we need to upgrade the server, http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif and then take it home for myself. It's a 9600 and it's been "streaming" audio over the network from two internal IDE drives flawlessly for a year now. Then I can slide my Ziff Carrier upgrade from my 8500 into it.

Maybe you could provide me with a good suggestion for a better machine and OS to run backups and handle file serving for our office of about 20 people? Currently we run Retrospect to hard drive and internet from the 9600 running OS 8.6 with ASIP 6.1.

I'll miss my 8500, though http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/rolleyes.gif it's never let me down, and handled all the aftermarket crap that I've snapped onto it, until now.

Luke Mandle
02-19-2001, 02:09 PM

please excuse the heavy handed smilies

02-19-2001, 05:33 PM
nothing wrong with your current 9600 server. If it feels sluggish, stuff a couple of Cheetahs and a Miles2 into it, and install a 500MHz G3 CarrierZIF. Make sure you have at least 256MB main memory.

if it isn't rock-solid, upgrade to the latest version of ASIP, MacOS, and Retrospect.

are there any other processes running on this machine? If not, it should work very well.

Luke Mandle
02-19-2001, 06:12 PM
geez ... I know it's perfectly suited for its job, that's why I picked it. Rather, I was really looking for some help in the sales pitch for a new machine so that I could commendere this one for my personal use at home (replacing my 8500) wink ... wink http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

how does our current setup compare with a newer G4 with OS X Server software.. etc ?

02-21-2001, 12:17 AM
ah, I got you.

well, OSX Server is delayed until after OSX ships, so you won't be able to do anything fast unless you go ASIP.

let's see what the others say.


03-12-2001, 09:20 PM
Just thought I toss into the Sonnet ATA card debate. I keep meaning to test my sonnet card in my other machine. I have an 8600/250 that's waiting for my tax return for a G3 (you guys could be nice and set aside one of those XLR8 466s for me) but it runs great with the Sonnet board. No problems at all. MP3, aiff, mov and mpeg1 all run fine with no stutters. As a matter of fact, it worked so well for me that I pulled the SCSI drive completely out. I need to test that card in my 9600. It was a 233, so it has the Tsunami board. That seems to be part of the problem with the stuttering. The Kansas/MachV boards seem to run it fine. I'm just being lazy, and I need a better reason to crack the case...

03-13-2002, 10:29 PM
Is there any new development on this issue? I have an 8500/120 upgraded with XLR8 MachCarrier G3 400/1M and VST Ultratech ATA66. I have major audio stuttering when playing QT video off the IDE drive. Capture to disk works fine, playing off RAM disk is fine too. Just wondering if there is a recently discovered workaround that I missed. (Couldn't find any on xlr8yourmac or macgurus). Is it a bug in the PCI IDE cards or in the Mac motherboard?
Can I be assured that if I buy an Initio Miles SCSI card for my Seagate ST118273W I will have no audio stuttering?


03-15-2002, 10:39 PM

You're in luck. OWC came out with a firmware update and an A/V software fix for the VST 66 cards literally 2 days ago. It's distributed under shareware so pay the fee if you find it useful (I'm sure you will, if it works). I'm becoming quite impressed with OWC and their amazing OS X hacks (VST firmware and XPostFacto) as they're greatly extending the life of my older Macs.

Oh yeah, the link for the VST stuff is at http://eshop.macsales.com/OSXCenter/ .

03-18-2002, 06:33 PM

Thanks for the tip. I'll try it soon and report about it here. Yes, the OWC people are great at keeping our old Macs alive. I was going to try the IDE to SCSI adapter from ACard which I read works quite well. Obviously nothing would beat having a VST card work at full performance, so I really hope it fixes the problem.

03-19-2002, 02:23 PM
I tried out the new firmware/software upgrade for the VST UltraTech66. It consists of an application to optimize performance in different situations and a firmware upgrade. I first tried the optimizing app (in the form of a control panel) and saw no effect. Next I moved my UltraTech66 to slot A1 (closest to the processor board in my 8500; was in C1) and I actually started seeing some effect: the Mac was frozen for a few seconds when I changed the settings (this did not happen when the card was in the last slot); however, video/audio performance was not affected at all. I finally decided to install also the firmware upgrade (the readme file stated that it was only necessary for OSX compatibility which is not my case: still running OS9.1). Only at this point I started seeing some changes in the performance. The setting "Video Playback" actually resolved the audio stuttering problem I had when playing a QuickTime video (I used the barenakedladies.mov movie that comes with the OS 9 CD). The other settings ("Uncompressed Video" and "Compressed Video") did not help.
I also checked the disk performance with ATTO's benchmark tool and noticed that the "Video Playback" setting 'kills' the read performance of the drive by slowing it down to 5 MB/s (I normally get 18.8 MB/s)! Funny that to improve performance you have to slow down the transfer rate!
However, I am still not too happy since I still can't print to DV from iMovie. Capture seems to be OK (it was working also before I tried the upgrade), but exporting to my DV camera still has lots of spots and audio breaks.

Does anyone have any experience to share on this?

03-19-2002, 04:26 PM
I knew that the A/V tuning software would slow down the performance of your drive, but not by that much. For your information, the ACard and Sonnet solutions do the exact same thing (Sonnet cards, in fact, are either identified as Acard or Ultratek cards in Apple System Profiler, depending on which card you have).

As far as problems exporting to DV, do you know if it might be a problem with your Firewire card? I'd suggest going through and posting your problem in the Firewire forum to see if anyone's run across the same issue.

04-05-2002, 02:24 PM
OK, I decided to buy the ACARD SCSI/IDE converter (AEC7720UWM) and it works great. It is quite expensive compared to the VST 66 and considering it only works for one drive. But on the other end I get a faster drive and I can do video/audio streaming on it without having to throttle its speed. And hopefully if I buy a wide SCSI PCI board I can get even better performance. My question now is: would PCI SCSI board suffer from the same performance problem as IDE PCI boards?
As far as the DV problem I tried to export to tape from an iMovie project in RAM disk and I still got some data loss. At the same time I was debugging an issue with a FireWire enclosure that was not working properly and ended up discovering that my FW card has indeed a problem. OrangeMicro has acknowledged it and offered to repair my board for $40. However they didn't agree to send out a working unit first so I wouldn't be without printer, mouse and HotSync for a few days. So I guess I will have to buy a new FW/USB card from some other manufacturer.