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Thread: Best SCSI Bang for the Buck for older Mac?

  1. #1
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    Sep 2001
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    Hi I have a PowerCenterPro 210. I would like some advice on the best bang for the buck to speed up the hard drive access.

    I've already added the following to my Mac: 128 megs ram, ATI Rage Orion 128-16 megs video ram, XLR8 G3 400 - 1mb processor upgrade (running at 406 mhz/58mhz bus). Everything works great, except the hard drive is very very slow (a 2 gig Seagate STN52160N-285 attached to the built in Adaptec ultra SCSI 2930Bcard Ive set the software control panel to enable the Ultra SCSI transfers (20 megs/s) though it sounds fast, this drive/card combo seems very slow compared to my PCs ultra 66 ATA/IBM IDE drive)

    Advice from other stores/sales people have recommended wide ranging solutions from: firewire PCI cards & firewire drives, to expensive SCSI solutions ($500-700), or cheap ATA 66/100 drives with IDE Sonnet PCI card (under $200).however, Ive heard there can be problems using the firewire or ATA drives as the main startup disk. Sonnet tech support says there are no problems, but others Ive talked with say they cant startup their Macs with the IDE PCI card/drive combos.

    So Id like to see what internal mount SCSI options you might recommend for my older Mac that cost (hopefully) under $400 (around $200-250 would be ideal). My desire is simple: I like would an upgrade in my Mac that ends up providing at least similar (or better) speed/performance as the Promise Ultra 66 card/IBM DJNA-371350 drive in my PC (my PCs drive performance is quite fast, and the drive is nearly dead silent). Is this possible without breaking the budget?

    If not, do you know if I can use an IDE drive/Sonnet PCI card in my Mac as the startup drive? Or, is there an internal SCSI drive that would work with the 2930B card in my Mac that is also much faster than the built in Seagate? Thanks : )

  2. #2
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    One solution to speed up the Seagate, is to run a separate cable from your CD drive and any other internal removables (jaz,zip, etc) to the built-in SCSI bus on your logicboard. Having the SCSI card only support the higher speed drives will speed it up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    Best SCSI Bang for the Buck for older Mac? ..... actually ATA is the best bang for the buck for older Macs.

    ATA drives and cards. They are all bootable in any Mac with a PCI slot despite what you hear. Grab an ATA PCI card. Grab the cheap ATA drive of your choice. Plug it all in and see the speed boost. ATA Rocks. It really does. ATA runs cooler, smaller drives, less expensive, and such high capacities for low prices (I picked up a 20GB Maxtor the other day for $39 for my C500, awesome..). And get this......ATA is even faster than Ultra160 drives. Ironic, yes. Check the facts at barefeats.com . A new, fast ATA RAID can stomp all over all that expensive SCSI equipment. But that's not the end. Expect new Serial ATA next year. Will totally blow SCSI away. SCSI is going to be wiped out wether it is accepted or not.

    If I were you, I would wait for the Sonnet Tempo/100 card (supposed to be out later this month?). It has the Promise ATA/100 chip on it, and is supposed to be optimized for read/write performance in legacy PPC Macs like yours. The Tempo/100 card is also fully OSX compliant if you want to run unsupported OSX on your machine, and it is also ATAPI compliant, so you can hook up IDE CD-RWS, CD-ROMs, DVD-ROMs, Zips, etc to the card. Good luck!

    ------------------
    ObsoleteMac
    members.tripod.com/threedeefx/index.htm

  4. #4
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    Answering Ricker's original question: Yes I can boot my 9500 with a Sonnet Tempo IDE card. My 9500 has much the same configuration (G3-400, ATI Video, 176M RAM) as your computer. My Tempo ATA66 is suitable for booting, email, surfing, and word processing, but it's totally unacceptable for audio editing.

    If you're planning to work on audio or video, make certain you are aware of the drive stuttering issue with drives connected to ATA cards. When I try to record even a mere two track (stereo) song on an ATA drive, there's a warbling or stuttering such as you hear when one wiggles one's throat with a hand while speaking. No such recording is usable for any purpose.

    The money that bought my Sonnet card and ATA drives would have been better spent on a Miles2 card alone. For legacy Macintosh audio or video workers, IDE drives offer false frugality.

    ------------------
    ricercar

    my free 7500 grew up into a 9500, but it's still nickel-and-diming me to death!

    [This message has been edited by ricercar (edited 15 September 2001).]

  5. #5
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    Well, Ricker, my g/f and I both have PowerTower Pro 225s here. She's installed a Sonnet ATA card and an IDE hard drive. She can boot up with that.

    I am also in the same situation. I am considering increasing the storage space on my own system and I am now leaning towards her solution. I don't have any need for audio or video editing. I just need a bit of space for websurfing, emailing, document editing, and programming.

    The price of the IDE solutions make it really really tempting.

  6. #6
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    ATA cards bad for audio and video editing?... Not for long.
    The Sonnet Tempo/100 card that should be shipping soon will indeed address and fix the audio stuttering problem. Sonnet has really looked into this problem and has developed some solution to fix it with the Tempo/100 card. Again, If I were you, I would wait, get the Tempo/100 card, a cheap ATA drive, save money, and have tons more fast space.

    ------------------
    ObsoleteMac
    members.tripod.com/threedeefx/index.htm

  7. #7
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    There's also a slightly different method of getting IDE drives into your SCSI Macs. While many people are aware of PCI cards that allow you to connect IDE drives to the card, Acard (the chipmaker behind the ATA33 and ATA66 PCI IDE cards) also introduced a small adapter board that attaches to the back of and IDE drive. This adapter converts the IDE connector of your drive to a SCSI connector and is not plagued by AV stuttering issues - this is the only way you can get an IDE drive into a NuBus-based Power Mac. I don't know whether it has OS X support or not. Check out an xlr8yourmac review at http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/IDE/IDE_t...i_adapter.html

  8. #8
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    Actually a system such as that would automatically work with OS X since it would cause the ATA drive to appear for all due respects as a SCSI drive. I do wonder how it would handle sending a Low Level Format command since this would render an ATA drive useless.

    Really sweet looking product though. I hope the price comes down a bit from the current nearly $80!

  9. #9
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    I don't think that just because the adapter makes your drive look like a SCSI drive will automatically enable it under OS X. For example, my ProMax TurboMax ATA/33 card (the first generation of IDE->SCSI PCI cards) makes my 40 GB IDE Maxtor DiamondMax+ appear as a SCSI drive. But when I boot into OS X, the drive is not accessible in any way. This is a well-documented shortcoming of the TurboMax 33 (that to my chagrin will never be fixed/patched - I hate ProMax and their nonexistent support).

  10. #10
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    Oh and when you try low level formatting an ATA drive hooked up through a PCI->SCSI card (mine's the TurboMax 33), at least with Drive Setup, the checkbox for low-level formatting is either inaccessible or it gives you an error when it starts, both of which essentially prevent you from low levelling (I can't remeber which one it is, I tried doing it before when one of my ATA drives was dying and before I found out you couldn't/shouldn't low-level an ATA - but it didn't work anyway).

  11. #11
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    The difference between this device and your PCI card is that OS X would have to recognize your PCI card. That's not the case with this device. If OS X recognizes the SCSI interface, it doesn't have to create a special driver for this device.

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