As a result of receiving my iPod recently, I was in immediate
need for an USB/FireWire PCI card for an 8500 Mac, This short report covers the
results of my findings and experimentation. First off I tried to find the
CompUSA USB/Firewire card at two local CompUSA stores, however they were out of
stock. Even the CompUSA web site lists the card as backordered. Incidentally their
web site lists the card for $19.99 which is pretty amazing if you can find one
at that price. The link is www.compusa.com/products/product_info.asp?product_code=280284
The next option was to check out the local Fry's where
based purely on price * I decided to go with the SIIG USB 2.0/FireWire combo card,
which I purchased for $99:
(*I'm somewhat of a hardware Junkie since my background
is writing drivers for various communications/networking hardware, however the
purchase of the SIIG card was a gamble since I was not able to determine the
chipset vendor since all of the chips on the board have SIIG part numbers or
have SIIG labels which are darn impossible to peel off. I had previously used
SIIG USB PCI cards in several Macs without problems, and the SIIG packaging specifically stated that this combo card is an OHCI 1.0 Compliant device.)
After a quick installation of the SIIG card in my 8500, I
downloaded the FireWire 2.8.1 SDK from: http://developer.apple.com/sdk/index.html
and installed the appropriate extensions. I then proceeded to install iMovie
2.1.1 and iTunes 2.0.2. I am happy to report that iMovie recognized my Sony
TRV7 DV camera and imported video. Also iTunes recognizes the iPod and I am
able to sync music to the iPod, as well as use target firewire disk mode to
mount the iPod as a hard drive. I did
not have to set the iPod into forced
target disk mode.
To top it off, the SIIG USB/FireWire card charges the iPod
(The indicator on the iPod shows that it is charging). As a quick test of USB
functionality I plugged in an Apple optical mouse and that worked fine.
The icing on the cake was when a PowerBook G4, started in
target disk mode, appeared like magic on the desktop of my 8500. I copied
across 30 MB of data without any problems.
To get a feel for overall performance, I ran some benchmarks
on three machines (PowerBook G4 550, iBook 600 and 8500 with SIIG card) using
FWB's hard disk toolkit version 4.5. The test results consist of
benchmarking the internal hard drive of each computer then benchmarking the
iPod connected to the same computer.
(I used Excel to graph all the results of Roger's individual FWB tests.-Mike)
Internal Hard drive of PowerBook G4 550
(Individual FWB Benchtest graphs follow)
(Partitioned with Drive Setup)
iPod connected to
PowerBook G4 550
Internal Hard Drive
iPod connected to
8500 Internal 40GB Maxtor Hard Drive
(Sonnet ATA66 PCI/EIDE Card)
iPod connected to 8500's SIIG USB2.0/FireWire PCI Card
- PowerMacintosh 8500/180 Upgraded to G3 440
- Sonnet ATA66 PCI Card & Maxtor 40 Gig Drive (Internal
SCSI hard drive removed).
- Voodoo 3 3000 PCI Graphics card
- SIG USB 2.0/Fire Wire PCI card
- 352 MB RAM.
- MacOS 9.1
- USB 1.4.6
- FireWire 2.8.1
- IMovie 2.1.1
- ITunes 2.0.2
First off, I don't know what's up with the low
Read/Write transactions per second for the iPod but they are pretty consistent across
the three machines. In practice The iPod's drive performance is quite
acceptable for a developer like myself who thrives on I/O performance.
To bad SIIG is clueless about marketing this card to Mac users,
as it seems to be a solid performer and pretty much worked out the door.
(Note: I've used $29 Dlink, etc. PC FW Cards with Macs also. The Dlink was
TI chip based and came with a 6/4 pin FW cable in the box. For reader reports on various
brands of Combo FW/USB cards - see the Firewire
articles page, controllers section.-Mike)
Previous iPod Owner Comments/Info/Tips: - see this page.
Apple's iPod Pages:
For more info, specs and QuickTime movies on the iPod, see Apple's product page.