View Full Version : Many Avid Quadra Questions

10-10-2001, 10:48 PM
I have the beloved Avid Media Composer 5.6 running on a Quadra 950 with System 7.5. The SCSI card is an ATTO Silicon Express/SCSI Accelerator IV Drive Rev 1.61 HW Rev10.

I have two old Avid 9GB drives but now need to radically increase my media drive space. I am an editor that knows his software but little about the hardware. What kind of SCSI do I have (the connector seems to be the Centronics 50)? What kind of drives do I need?

Its been suggested that I get an IDE bridge – the Acard AEC-7720UW Ultra Wide SCSI-to-EDE Bridge. If I get that, would any IDE hard drive work? Could I actually get an 80 GB Barracuda? Or should I stay with my old school SCSI?

And what about a CD/Rom to import images and sound, hooked through the ancient Quadra built in SCSI. What device is retro enough to work with that?

Please assume I know very little – spelling out what to get, where to put it and what cables I would need. Talking down to me won’t be offensive. But the bottom line is, that I still need my Avid to be impeccably stable.

John Nakashima

10-10-2001, 10:58 PM
Couple of things

(1) if you use the stock SCSI, you have to get a Narrow drive and they are getting increasingly harder to find - most have transitioned to LVD - The gurus have narrow 'Cudas, I believe. Not sure about your SCSI Accelerator card in terms of what it can talk to (natively)

(2) CD-R or CD-RW - shouldn't be a problem - any of the Plextor mechanisms should work as replacements - I replaced all my 7300's stock CD-R w/ Plextors. Your other option would be an external SCSI CD-ROM.

10-12-2001, 10:59 PM
i work on avid systems,
the scsi card you have is probably a 68 pin card with the avid crossover cable that connects it to the 9 gig drives that have centronics connectors on the back. you have room to add more drives on the chain. the drives inside the external cases are most likely seagate 410800N. the old 50 pin heat monsters. you can pick them up pretty cheap on ebay, but you can add any scsi drives on that chain as long as you stripe them with avid drive utility. turn off drive filtering and they will work fine. you could get a raid from the gurus, just remember that everything on the scsi chain will at the speed of your slowest device. use scsi probe and see what you have on that scsi bus, it should tell you the acutal make of the drives. get on ebay and do a search for avid.

10-28-2001, 11:19 PM
Dear Professor,
Because of illness, I haven’t been very timely in my response on the MacGuru Videophiles Only page. Your second option, “you can add any scsi drives on that chain”, is the most appealing. By any scsi drive, what would be a good choice? In the Seagate line it seems the lowest end drive they still make is the Barracuda 36s (at 18Gig) which comes in two flavors ST318417N and W. In their specs they say things like “Ultra160 and Legacy narrow/wide interfaces”. I guess what I’m talking about is a “Legacy” system - maybe.

They also seem to be internal drives, so do I purchase housing from the Guru’s. It’s a bit confusing for me. My big Avid project will involve about 40 hours of material, at AVR 6 or 3. I will on-line at a post-house. Any further advice you may have would be greatly appreciated.

10-29-2001, 05:06 PM
Just so happens we just retired an old 950 quadra here at the paper, it ran 10 years consistantly without a restart, (other than power failures), just had to goof off and tear it apart to see what’s ahead of you in your little project...

First, you have two scsi chains to work with:

You have a 17MHz SCSI bus (grey ribbon connector) internally on your original motherboard with 50 pin internal connections to hook up to hard drives and such. The original motherboard 25 pin centronics external SCSI connector on the back of your case will have half the data transfer rate of the 17MHz internal ribbon, far too slow for any multi-media work. (Todays mother boards are tricked up to mostly 250Mhz or faster). The good news is you could connect a good used 50 pin 4X CDROM to the internal ribbon off the motherboard to access art, you’ll have to pull your floppy drive to mount it internally though, or get a cased external CD and hook it up to the external 25 pin centronics, It will transfer slow, but it will work.

To add a large fast hard drive internally in the original front mount 5.25” drive bay you would attach a 50 pin flat, grey ribbon cable to reach from your SCSI card in the nubus slot to reach above your power supply and attach to your new hard drive mounted in the 5.25” bay. This will be your easiest and cheapest option. This way you also retain the fastest possible speed transfer for your data, (hard drives connected through the 25 pin SCSI external connector of the ATTO SCSI Nubus card will transfer data at roughly half the speed of the internal SCSI ribbon connection).

I would then move the external 9 gigs to the original 25 pin external centronics connector off the motherboard, (not the SCSI card), and use them for back-up, as they will drag the speed of the new internal drive down by half if they are attached to the same card as the new drive because they are slower drives than the drive you plan on installing. The slowest drive on the chain will drag down the speed of all the other drives!

I am assuming your two 9 gig avids are in external cases and hooked up to the external 25 pin centronics type SCSI connector off of your ATTO card in one of your nubus slots.

As far as the new hard drives go, I would find the largest capacity, fastest, and smallest form factor 50 pin narrow Seagate I could find.

One thing to keep in mind is the age of that power supply, how will you replace it if it goes south on you? there can’t be too many floating around anymore!

Maybe I can set this quadra aside for you for parts if you need it, we don't have much use for it anymore, but shipping it would probably cost more than than the quadra is now worth marketwise.

I hope I've helped clarify things for you, if I have your set-up wrong, let me know and we'll go from there! Good Luck!

Terrible advice

10-29-2001, 06:06 PM
hi nakadoc,
i have some 24X external cd-roms for sale cheap on a post in misc. for sale. nice cases, etc., & i even have the driver disk to go with them. good luck with the upgrades!


10-29-2001, 11:06 PM
What you are suggesting, even though you are obviously a MacGuru with a black belt in Quadras, does not sound like something an Avid would like.

First of all I should explain why filmmakers love these ancient systems. Avid abandon it's NuVisa software line in the mid-90s. But there are probably ten of thousands of these machines still out there in the world. These turnkey systems new sold for as much as $80,000. The thing is that, since everything is frozen in time - the operating system is not getting more complex and the Avid software never changes - the Quadra is plenty big and fast enough. I am digitizing everything in low resolution. It has all the features that long-form editors want and very few of the features DV editors want.

The concept of off-line verses on-line (you may already know this). Most people want to on-line edit and not deal with an off-line. This means that they digitize-once-at the high resolution desired for the final product. Filmmakers off-line edit when the plan is to make every edit decision on a low resolution version before going to an expensive post-production house. At the expensive post house everything is redigitized at very high resolution. I my case it will be high def, uncompressed. All of this is based on video time code. Final Cut Pro is still unproven to be absolutely, positively infallible – even though others claim otherwise. If you discover one inaccuracy, a single 1/30 second mistake at the $1000. an hour post house, it puts into question your entire 90 minute film, thousands of edits. The instablity could cost you several thousands of dollars. Since the stability of the off-line system is paramount, I’m trying to do things the Avid way.

And so documentary-makers and filmmakers around the world still use the old -at one time top of the line - Avids with the assurance that you are working on a very tried and true machine, that outputs an edit decision list that every big post-house can read without conversion. Even the AvidDV doesn’t have these features.

The concept of finding and buying a few back-up power supplies is a point well taken. But I think I’m correct in thinking that the media drives must be hook to the ATTO. So knowing all the other bits of info I’ve dropped in previous posts. What currently available new SCSI drives can I hook to the ATTO board and how?

11-02-2001, 02:35 AM
yes the seagates are internal. avid's external drives are actually seagates in avid cases. you can get a couple of the big old narrow drives set them up in a gurus case with centronics connectors, set the id's hook them up to the chain, add the terminator and the stripe them. you can hook up drives to the internal bus, they will work fine with single field resolutions.
we have one internal drive that another editor mistakenly digitizes on sometimes, it doesn't work well because it is the same drive media composer runs from so there are underruns associated with it.
get on the net and do a searchf or avid resellers, most resellers carry used drives for sell, or get on ebay and do a search for avid, sometimes you can find drives for sale there.
i suggest all media drives be hooked up to the atto card because that's the way avids were designed. just be sure they're striped with avid drive utility.

as far as your project, if you're doing a 40 hour project i would digitize at the lowest possible rez, 3, since you are going to decompose and finish at a post house. i can't remember how much space that rez takes up per sec, look in the book and it will give you a good idea of how much space you need just for digitizing material.