IDE drives on on-IDE Macs...

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
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With the apparent death of my Rev A iMac, I must know tackle the question of what to do with its IDE hard drive. In fact, I have a total of 6 hard drives when I count the five spares on hand (ranging from 4.3G to 120G). As the only true IDE Mac I own is the aforementioned husk, I have a quandry.

I do have several SCSI Macs (like my 8500, G3 500MHz, 9.1 machine).

What I need is one of the following:

  • some kind of dongle to connect an ATA IDE drive to an internal SCSI bus.
  • some kind of external box to interface an ATA IDE drive to USB and/or Firewire

I know such animals exist; this is a solicitation for trade/sale if you have one you are willing to let go of...

TIA
--DDTM

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

'If it ain't broke, take it apart anyways. If you can't take it apart, break it so that you can fix it.'

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dankephoto's picture
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FW box your best bet

Just buy a FireWire box for 3.5" drives, that way you can attach any ATA (AKA IDE) drive to any FW-equipped 'puter (even darkside machines.) I have several FW boxen, one of which is dedicated to this very purpose - dealing with loose ATA drives.

You'll find USB cases for much cheaper than FW, but unless you have USB 2 equipped 'puters you'll be quite put off by their relative slowness compared with FW. IMO, it's well worth the money for a FW box.

Don't use an ATA PCI card, nearly all of those cannot directly use a regular ATA-initialized drive. They appear to the system as SCSI busses and do some alternate whamma-jhamma that makes those drives incompatible with 'normal' ATA buses, until you re-initialize them on an ATA bus (or visa-versa.)

dan k

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Re: FW box your best bet

dankephoto wrote:

Just buy a FireWire box for 3.5" drives, that way you can attach any ATA (AKA IDE) drive to any FW-equipped 'puter (even darkside machines.) I have several FW boxen, one of which is dedicated to this very purpose - dealing with loose ATA drives.

You'll find USB cases for much cheaper than FW, but unless you have USB 2 equipped 'puters you'll be quite put off by their relative slowness compared with FW. IMO, it's well worth the money for a FW box.

Don't use an ATA PCI card, nearly all of those cannot directly use a regular ATA-initialized drive. They appear to the system as SCSI busses and do some alternate whamma-jhamma that makes those drives incompatible with 'normal' ATA buses, until you re-initialize them on an ATA bus (or visa-versa.)

dan k

I've found the best solution to be using an old scsi disk tower that has a built in powersupply and a firewire-ide bridge. Works perfectly and you can put a few of the bridges in the machine.

catmistake's picture
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Man... firewire been

kicking my @--,

I'd recommend a USB 2.0 enclosure. Firewire, at least on intels, is still buggy. Here are some symptoms... if you have 2 enclosures from the same manufacturer, they may not both be mountable simultaneously (that's not platform specific). But the really annoying one is that it often hangs Finder and any app that is accessing the drive. Spinning wheel forever. Yank the cord, and Finder and executing app will immediately begin responding (without crashing) and all you get is the "your drive was put away incorrectly... you may have lost data" -- done this dozens and dozens of times, never lost data, but sometimes need to 'touch' the drive with diskutility verify disk.

doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
Good to know...

These things are good to know. I will most likely gravitate towards an enclosure that supports USB and is usable with my 8500 w/ a USB card - I will need to check and see if it is 2.0 or not, but the lowest common denominator will win out.

Now if an internal solution presents itself, that trumps all.

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'If it ain't broke, take it apart anyways. If you can't take it apart, break it so that you can fix it.'

MacTrash_1's picture
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Re: Good to know...

doug-doug the mighty wrote:

These things are good to know. I will most likely gravitate towards an enclosure that supports USB and is usable with my 8500 w/ a USB card - I will need to check and see if it is 2.0 or not, but the lowest common denominator will win out.

Now if an internal solution presents itself, that trumps all.

Unless you are running OS 1.2 or later you will not get USB 2.0 and may never get it on an 8500. USB 1.1 will work but slowwwwww

Another choice would be to get a cheapo B&W G3 to put the drive in.
If you are still in N. Central FL there is a guy on eBay with a bunch of B&W's cheap. The shipping is based on the distance and not the ordinary flat rate crap most eBay sellers charge. You can probably get a basic 300MHz B&W for about $40 shipped and your hard drive should boot it right up.

I have tried using an ATA PCI controiller card to get data off a drive and as mentioned it will not read the drive until it's formatted while attached to the card.

There are also some USB to IDE connectors available. And if you add a Firewire PCI card to your old Mac they usually have an internal firewire connector. You could mount the drive internally with a Firewire to IDE adapter bridge thingy.

The B&W 300MHz G3 would be about as fast as your 500MHz G3 upgrade card in the old Mac is. Better bus speed, RAM and video.

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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If you want to go USB, here's

If you want to go USB, here's probably the simplest solution:

http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Newer%20Technology/U2NVSPATA/

Probably a very useful little gadget for future use with SATA and USB2 too. It says it requires OS9.2, though. You could always use OS9 Helper to upgrade your 8500 if that requirement is genuine. Perhaps, that would make the requirement--might want to check with OWC first.

I find it fascinating that you don't have any other IDE Macs.

dankephoto's picture
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re: if you want to go USB . . .

Or save $5 by using this link instead, which I got from the OWC maillist specials page. I bought one of these just a couple weeks ago, haven't used it yet however. At $20 I figured it might come in handy someday.

I still recommend FW. I've only ever had rock-solid experiences with FW, both with MacOS and win2k. And, as mentioned, if you aren't using OSX.2 or better, v1.1 is the fastest USB you'll ever see.

dan k

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Six months ago they were sell

Six months ago they were selling at OWC for $14.95. Wish I had bought one then. Guess they got popular and OWC got wise.

Wait! Hold the presses! They're in the Clearance items section right now for $9.50! I just bought mine.Smile Yippee! But actually, the one in the clearance section looks like it doesn't have the SATA connection, only PATA, so it must be the older version, which would explain why it's in clearance. The new version for $19.95 has both SATA and PATA connections. But all I need is PATA so I'm a happy guy.

Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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***Here's what my invoice say

***Here's what my invoice says about the clearance version:
"Connect IDE/ATA/ATAPI Hard Drives and Optical Drives via USB2. **Units have non-functional SATA Port, use of this port is not supported**" Comes with a 1 year warranty. OWC is a very reputable company, so no worries.

You know, you can use this thing for optical drives too (CD, DVD), so it could come in handy in a lot of ways.

Of course, you could just pick up a Beige G3 off eBay for $10 too. Might even find one at Goodwill, etc..

Jon's picture
Jon
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I'm a tad surprised no one ha

I'm a tad surprised no one has mentioned getting a dual interface enclosure. Something with both USB 2.0 and FW400. I haven't looked lately to see if any of the PATA/SATA combo capable ones offer both USB and FW, but they used to be fairly common for just PATA. It's getting harder to find FW enclosures locally, let alone combos. The plethora of USB 2.0 is killing it off for the average buyer, and they don't realize what a drain on a system it is by using USB instead of FW.

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Please go on...

Interesting. I haven't heard about the difference in a drain on the system before. Can you elaborate or provide a link? USB and Firewire have been going at speed wars over the past recent years just like the SCSI and ATA race, and the processor mhz wars. USB definitely seems to have won for the manufacturers. Is this a loss to all of us just like we all lost when VHS won over Betamax (due to Sony's greed)?

There's always eBay where the dual enclosures still abound.

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Jon
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USB usually has the CPU doing

USB usually has the CPU doing a lot of the processing for it, a-la IDE/ATA. FireWire has a dedicated controller chip that does it's own processing leaving the CPU free for real work, a-la SCSI. You'll notice a real speed difference with the same drive in a USB 2.0 enclosure vs FW. People used to report things like the same drive going from about 19MB/sec on USB 2.0, and jumping to 40 or 50MB/sec on FW with the G4 minis. A faster computer will alleviate that some, but FW is still faster and I'm fairly certain the only reason USB 2.0 ever got pushed to "480 MB/s" is pure marketing over FW400. USB couldn't beat FW800, so they made eSATA a standard to unify all the one-off attempts from internal SATA. Now they can advertise 1.5GB/s even though no drive can even come close to FW800 anyway.

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USB Vs. Firewire

I have not looked ... but do many PC machines have firewire ports?
I think that is one of your points.
It would certainly help explain the [lack of] FW sales and availability, too!

Thank you for the tech details and observations, Jon.

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Jon's picture
Jon
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There are several makers that

There are several makers that put FW on their machines, but they are usually not the cheap value lines. Midrange and premium models often get FW, and sometime business class ones will. Commonly Sonys have them (iLink) and I've seen several Gateway and Compaq and even Dells with FW ports.

As a matter of fact, one of the PCI FW cards I have is a Compaq OEM card.

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catmistake's picture
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USB 2.0 RAID

neat device...
I'm envisioning a USB 2.0 RAID in a 9600 box... strip out the board... leave the PSU in there, and squeeze maybe 7 or 8 of these and cheopo 40GB IDE drives in there and a usb hub... connect to OS X box and use Disk Utility to RAID5. Then again... 320+ GB drives are only ~$100 these days, and use a lot less power.