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IDE to SCSI Adapter: More Info Directly from Black Fire
Published: 12/24/1998
Yesterday's news (12/23) had two items on IDE to SCSI adapters (identical hardware it seems), which are a hot topic on the heel of the G3 IDE drive upgrade article and performance tests and the availability of large, fast and cheap IDE drives. Since only the Apple G3 and a few older Macs (6400/6500, etc.) have IDE interfaces this means most Mac owners can't use them as their is no PCI IDE controller cards for the Mac at this time.

The IDE to SCSI adapter seems attractive, but As I noted in the news - be aware that the faster IDE drives probably won't reach their potential using adapters like this due to the fact the Mac onboard SCSI interface is only 10MB/sec (at best).

Black Fire, one of the sources for the adapter apparently saw the post and wrote this mail to me with more details on the adapter:

" Hi There:
Saw your post ... Thanks for the exposure ! (Black*FIre Technology is a Mac only shop !)

Our IDE -> SCSI Card is the I-O Data Card (mentioned in your updated post). It is a small card with a 40 Pin Connector (that plugs into the back of an ATA device (like a CD-ROM, Hard Disk Drive, CD-ROM Burner etc). It has a 50 Pin SCSI connector that you plug your 50 Pin SCSI ribbon cable into. It also requires its own 4 Pin Power Lead. With the Card plugged in, an ATA device becomes a SCSI device.

The Card has 12 jumpers ... 3 to set SCSI ID, 4 for Mode (2 for MODE1 & 2 for Mode2), 3 unused and 1 to set Termination On/Off.

That said, there are a number of issues to keep in mind:-

  1. Size ... The IDE -> SCSI Converter Card has been designed for a 5.25" device (like a CD-ROM). It's size is 126.31 mm (W) & 34.75mm (D) & 22.49mm (H). On a 3.5" device (like a Hard Disk Drive), part of the card sticks out about an inch to the side. This makes it impossible to fit a "converted device" into a standard 3.5" External SCSI case, and can also cause problems inside some Mac computer models.

  2. Power ... The IDE -> SCSI Converter Card requires its own internal 4 Pin +5VDC Power Lead, in addition to the 4 Pin Power Lead the IDE device connects to. So you need an another Internal Power lead spare for it to work.

  3. Drivers ... Devices like CD-ROM require you to either have a Driver for it, or use something else like Silverlining, or use a "Hacked" version of Apple's CD/DVD drivers. I'm currently using a Pioneer 36X Slot IDE CD-ROM Drive with the Card (mounted internally in a PowerCenter 150 Desktop in the CD-ROM bay).

  4. Hard Disk Drives ... For reasons unknown, "Converted" IDE devices don't always format to their full IDE size.

    eg. I've got an IBM DTTA-371010 10.1 Gb 7200 rpm IDE drive working on my PowerCentre 150. I formatted it successfully with 3 formatters:-

    FWB's Hard Disk Toolkit V2.5.3 formatted it to 7.87 Gb
    Apple's Drive SetUp V1.6.2 formatted it to 8.064 Gb
    La Cie's Silverlining V5.8.3 formatted it to 8.24 Gb

    Note: All formatters correctly identified the Drive Make & Model !
    I 've also got an old Maxtor (IBM) 129Mb IDE drive running as a 129Mb SCSI !

    I hope the above info is useful.
    Note: Over Xmas & January we are selling the Card for $AUD$99 (and not $139 as quoted).

    Have a great XMas.

    Regards ...
    Peter KORTGE - Principal
    Black*Fire Technology
    46 Sandalwood Court
    Flagstone QLD 4280
    Main Web Site (in Melbourne, VIC):
    Alternate Web Site (in Sydney, NSW):

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