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By Sean Mitchell
(Last Updated: 8/25/2000)
** Important Note ** As mentioned here earlier - Maxtor 5400 RPM drives are reported to not work in the Clubmac and Macally cases. See reports in the Drive Compatibility Database. I have used Maxtor 7200 RPM 10/20/27/40GB drives in my Clubmac case fine, but always verify drive compatibility before you purchase a case kit. ADS case kits are said to work with 5400 RPM Maxtor drives, based on reports - see the Firewire Articles page here for a very detailed review of the ADS Pyro Case. Also see updates below including a note from Clubmac on changes in their current Firewire case.
Updates and Additional New Info:
(Added 8/25/2000 - email from Clubmac)
" Hi there.
(Added 6/19/2000 from a post on the main site news page
Clubmac Firewire Case/Maxtor 60GB HD: Although the Clubmac (and Macally) case have had reports for some time that 5400 RPM Maxtor drives did not work, a reader notes that the 60GB 5400 RPM drive worked fine in the Clubmac case:
The following comments are regarding Firewire/IDE cases in general. FYI: This article originally dealt with the Clubmac Firewire case (one of the first to appear as a kit). However be aware that the Clubmac case is probably identical in design (same OEM mfr) to other cases sold under other brand names, but is not the same as the ADS Pyro case based on owner reports. However the firmware revision of any case can also affect compatibility (one PB Firewire owner reported needing an update to his ADS case after he applied the recent PB firmware update from Apple).
Re: MacAlly Firewire Case for CDs & HD: In reply to the earlier post, a reader writes regarding what was advertised as a combination CD/HD Firewire case kit:
"CA-808FW was a case only accepting HD without software only for distribution purposes. NO LONGER AVAILABLE (DISCONTINUED). "
The problem with firewire case kits is that often times the same case made by an OEM in the far east is sold by many companies - who may not know all the compatibility details. (And the OEM source can change designs, firmware revs of the bridge, etc. over time.) Readers have told me Clubmac claimed their case was not Maxtor drive compatible - despite the fact since day one I have used 7200 RPM Maxtor drives fine with it in 10GB, 20GB, 27GB and 40GB sizes. There were reports early on noted in the Clubmac Firewire case article [this article, see below] that 5400 RPM drives from Maxtor did not work with that case. It's also said the case is the same as the Macally one - but I have no proof of that and Clubmac could change their source at any time. If you have assembled a firewire case kit please post an entry in the drive compatibility database and note in the comments the details of your case and drive.
And don't forget my comment on the dubious cost benefits of building your own CDRW drive from a firewire case kit. If you buy a fast (8x/10x) IDE CDW drive and the case it's often almost as cheap to just get a Sony 10x/4x/32x firewire retail drive ($399). Other completed Firewire CDRWs may be even less (8x or 4x models). That way you avoid any hassles of compatibility with cases/CDRWs and get a software bundle and support to boot.
Reminder on Firewire Case Kits and ATAPI Devices: [Note -see the later update on Macally's cases. And note as mentioned in the Clubmac case article, 5400 Maxtor drives are reported to not work in that case, but my 10, 20, 27 and 40GB 7200RPM Maxtor drives were Plug and Play - despite reader reports that clubmac says Maxtor drives don't work. Perhaps they've changed OEM vendors for the case. Bottom line is get verification for any drive you plan to use. ] Paul J. Tetreault, Jr. wrote asking I post a reminder that most Firewire case kits will not work with other than hard drives. MacAlly sells both HD case kits and CD/DVD/CDRW kits for this reason (at least that's what they list on this page). As mentioned here back in the April 25th news, the Firewire/IDE bridge needs to be programmed for ATAPI device mode for support of CD/DVD/CDRW, etc. drives. There were however some reports that Toast 4.1's firewire extension allowed CD drives to work in Firewire cases, but I can't say from personal experience if the Clubmac case works with only the Toast 4.1 extension (I have no IDE CDRW to test with the case). The first reports of the Toast 4.1 extension working were noted in the May 18th news
based on reports in the Drive Compatibility database. Depending on the bridge chip in the case and its firmware, the Toast 4.1 extension may not work in all cases with all CD/DVD/CDRW drives however. If you have tested this, please post an entry in the database with details on your CDRW drive and case brand. Paul's working on a detailed article on Firewire cases that should be published soon.
(Added 5/18/2000 from report on the main site news page)
Clubmac Firewire Case/Toast 4.1 Report: A Clubmac Firewire case owner reports that Toast 4.1 (5/15/2000 released update) allows the IDE CDRW drives to work :
Here's a few photos of the case taken during my assembling a Maxtor Plus40 drive into it:
Firewire Adapted/Plus40 Benchmark Performance: These are only pure benchmarks but they show what the drive is capable of:
The ATTO Tools Benchmark shows performance as a graph (from 0-8MB file size). Note the very flat write performance. The ATA/3 (16.6MB/sec max spec) interface is a bottleneck for this drive as shown in my review of the Plus40 in a B&W G3 with ATA/33 onboard IDE controller:
Final Cut Pro Capture to Plus40 in Firewire Case: A reader sent word that his Maxtor Plus40 drive mounted in the Clubmac Firewire/IDE case worked fine for Final Cut Pro capture:
" I was most likely the first to find out about the maxtor 27 gig drive not working in the clubmac external firewire enclosure. I got an RMA to return the clubmac firewire case yet held onto it long enough for the success story "here" regarding the Maxtor 40 gb and was able to purchase the drive at a local Costco (seattle) for $279+state tax. (doubt any are left!). Anyway... without much work at all i was capturing via Final Cut Pro to the 40gig clubmac firewire combo....
I believe DV is only about 3.8MB/sec rate, but good to know the drive works well. As I noted the other day - I saw 14MB/sec writes that were flat as an ironing board (no sags/spikes that could cause dropped frames).
(From the Feb 23, 2000 front page news)
Maxtor Plus40 Performance in Clubmac Firewire/IDE Case: The Maxtor Plus40 drive worked plug-n-play in the Clubmac case connected to my G4/AGP (sawtooth) system. It also worked fine with the iMac DV. (I took some photos of the case and install for readers that are interested - only a few minutes from start to finish.) The Firewire/IDE adapter is only EIDE/ATA-3 (16.6MB/sec theoretical max, similar to a Beige G3 onboard IDE performance). ATTO Tools v2.3 benchmark shows the drive peaking at just over 14MB/sec (read/write), with sustained reads at 11.76MB/sec and sustained writes at 14.11MB/sec. The write curve was flat as an ironing board at 14MB/sec from 512K to 8MB file sizes. Since the interface is holding back the Plus40, I'll likely install one of the 27GB drives in the case and save the 40GB for a controller that will let it perform up to its potential.
(From the Feb 22, 2000 front page news)
$112.95 Firewire/IDE Case: After the report of the new Maxtor 40GB working in the ClubMac (part number C104 9025) Firewire case I decided to order one. Their regular price is $149.95, but I called to ask if they would match the Buy.com $112.95 price (SKU 10241966 - still backordered) noted here two Thursday's ago. I spoke to Jennifer at ClubMac who said while current supplies last they would match the price (reorders of new stock could have a different price). The fastest way to get this price-matching is to call Jennifer at 800-217-9153 x4797 and mention Mike/AccelerateYourMac! [Update: a reader said that ClubMac is now out of stock on the case (as of 5:00 PM). Not sure they will match prices on the backorders but you can ask. I knew this would likely sell out their stock shortly after the posting.]
In most cases I've seen, if you switch an IDE drive from even a PCI IDE controller to onboard IDE, you have to reformat the drives (PCI IDE controllers look like SCSI to the Mac). Not sure on these Firewire/IDE adapters, but you might have to reformat the drive if you put it on the internal IDE bus.
Brad Chatellier writes he had mixed results with Maxtor DiamondMax drives :
I asked Brad to see if the Plus 40 would work in the case. I assume his 27GB drive that did work was a 6800 series (the ones currently on sale) but I've asked to verify this. Another reader reported the Clubmac case did not work with a 5400 RPM 27GB Maxtor as noted in the update to the Firewire/IDE case article. I'm still looking for reports from any owners of the 40GB DiamondMax Plus 40 drive that have tested it in a Firewire/IDE external case.
(Previous Update Follows:)
Note - one reader said he could not get a Maxtor *5400RPM* 27GB drive to work with the case, but that a Quantum drive did. [A reader later said the 7200 RPM model did work and there are reports of the 40GB Diamondmax Plus 40 working as well.] He said that Clubmac commented they use Quantum and IBM drives with the case in their completed drive models. There may be an issue with some Maxtor drive models working with the Firewire/IDE adapter used in this case.
[The Original Article follows:]
Reader Sean Mitchell sent a report of using an external Firewire hard drive case with IDE hard drives:
" Recently, I purchase ClubMac's firewire enclosure. The enclosure come with a CD from INDIGA Software Release 1.4, 6" firewire cable, and instructions for installing a bare IDE hard drive.
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