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Thread: PCI Card Enclosures for slot expansion

  1. #1
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    Wilmington, DE, USA
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    Although the Burly Enclosures are great for adding drives, I need to add PCI slot capacity to my older upgraded (G3) 8500, where all PCI slots are used (and crucial). I am wondering what enclosure might do the job, and what the negatives might be. Mobility Electronics is offering a $350 unit - "connected to a PCI slot in your Mac or PC, the T35 adds three additional full-length PCI slots, three 3.5- and two 5.25-inch drive bays, and two USB port." There may be other makes - - but usability is an issue. Really (T35) a 15-inch high tower, and claims Mac compatibility. Any advice appreciated. Or, just wait for the alleged upcoming 5 (64 bit) PCI slot Mac later this year. ?

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  2. #2
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    Aug 2000
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    Toronto, Ontario, CANADA
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    hi

    I just posted a link in the custom configs forum - MacNN just did a review of that very chassis

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    we're going to be checking them out shortly. They are certainly more affordable than Magma chassis, with more features.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    More info from Mobility regarding PCI expansion "Easexpansion T35/T45 products:
    "The Easexpansion T35/T45 are compatible with the G3(Blue and white) and G4.
    The return policy is 15 days if purchased off our website and our resellers
    have there own return policies." I will pursue Mobility with more compatibility questions (and hope that you guys can get a demo shortly - with even better info). At this moment I don't know if they have found out that *ONLY* the G3 Blue & White are compatible, *OR* that this is the only G3 Mac they tested. Nor do I understand whether or not G3 *UPGRADED* , such as 8500/8600, 9500/9600 Macs might be candidates for this expansion product. Or G3 beige Macs. Mostly the three slot Macs are potentially big undusers for this type of product. At $350 (Macdeals.com) this unit, with proprietary bridge technology on the backplane to efficiently manage bandwidth across drives, USB, and PCI devices might be very attractive - to me anyway. But got to get answers to above first. Very much appreciate your interest in testing. (will post this also at Custom/Speial Configurations)

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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    An important test, for anyone who gets one of these to test, is to see whether expansion chassis slots exhibit the types of limitations that one finds in the lower slots of the S900. So, e.g. if one puts a PCI expansion chassis on an 8500 try some dual function cards in the expansion chassis and see if there are problems. Not only is that important information about the compatibility of the chassis, but it will help to identify whether the x500 Apple ROMs have some problems with PCI-PCI Bridges.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
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    silicon valley, usa
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    I've got a Mobility Electronics EasiExpansion T35 for PowerBook, and unfortunately it doesn't recognize any of my PCI cards with a PowerBook G3 FireWire 400mHz.
    - ATI Mach 64 video card
    - M Audio Delta I/O SP-DIF audio card
    - Sonnet Tempo Ultra ATA 66 hard drive controller

    The unit ships with a CD with an Apple "driver installer," which installs one extension and one control panel. However, after installation, regardless whether I have the hardware connected at boot time, my PowerBook displays a system dialog saying

    "Couldn't Find an EasiExpansion Chassis
    "A MacOs error occurred. (-2538)"

    Opening the control panel produces a modal dialog with the same text.

    When I called Mobility Technical support (toll free!), Kevin told me to remove extansions, revealing that "we've never gotten them to work, and the chassis doesn't need them." This leaves me wondering why they ship a CD...

    Without the software, the chassis recognizes USB mice and keyboards, at least Apple Pro keyboard and the hockey puck mouse, but this is only after boot. During boot I was unable to use the USB keyboard shift or space keys to disable extensions via the Extension Manager.

    I tested under a clean 9.0.4 system folder, and my daily use MacOS 9.1 with identical results.

    Overall, this is not feeling like a keeper. I called tech support this afternoon, but they had to escalate with "someone who knew the Macintosh." Sounded like this person was following a flowchart which I had exhausted before they returned my call.

    Good news is that the Sonnet Tempo ATA66 controller card "should" work correctly, because this card works for other customers. I was eventually able to get the Pismo to pause during its search for a boot volume while a HD was on the Tempo, but the Pismo never found either the internal nor the Tempo card HD. When I connect two drives that worked on the Tempo card in my 7500, the Pismo boots without hesitation, and without recognizing the Tempo drives.

    I mostly expect to get an RMA under the 15 day return policy for web orders. *sigh* It seemed too good to be true for a $219 expansion chassis.

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    ricercar

    my free 7500 is nickel-and-diming me to death.

  7. #7
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    we've got one here in the basement. Greg just got caught up on arrays and some server shuffling we needed to do, so next week we'll try and get Louie's next shipment of gear out and put the Mobility up on the bench. We'll test it with everything.

  8. #8
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    Feb 2001
    Location
    Austin, TX
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    The T35 connects to the PowerBook through the CardBus slot, right? If the CardBus slot requires drivers to load before the Mac can use the CardBus card, then nothing in the T35 is going to be bootable. I'm simply uncertain as to whether CardBus support requires drivers to load, or whether it is built into the ROM.

    In a desktop Mac it would connect through a PCI slot and the PCI slots are supported before any drivers load, so in theory, one should be able to boot from devices connected through the T35 when it is connected to a desktop machine.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Location
    Quebec City, QC, Canada
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    If anyone is intereste, Mike Breeden posted a few blurbs about those chassis on xlr8yourmac.com. Just snoop in the recent news (less than a week ago).

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