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Owner Comments: Firewire/USB Combo PCI Cards
Published: 5/15/2000
(Last updates: More CompUSA combo card reports (success), 2 FireWire Direct problem reports, a CompUSA card problem report, and latest OM combo card reports.)
Updated 11/26/2001 for OrangeMicro FW/USB 2.0 report:


NOTE: Although not a combo card as far as I know - a reader with a Digital Origin card noted only 1.5MB/sec rates with the card and a fast Oxford 911 Firewire/ata bridge case (the OWC elite drive - reviewed here at the firewire articles page. His comments indicated the card is not OHCI compliant. Other others of the DO card noted in the forums they also has low general file copy performance, etc. Just a FYI to avoid any other complaints of poor performance, even with a fast firewire drive. Here's a clip from a post from the owner of the card:

" I contacted Digital Origin regarding their firewire card that I'm using.... Check out this reply that I got....
    Dear Arthur,
    Unfortunately that Radius/Digital Origin FireWire Card uses the Texas Instruments PCILYNX chipset and does not support FireWire CD R/W drives. [? Arthur's issue was with a hard drive, not a CDRW-Mike] Since the Radius/Digital Origin FireWire Card was only intended for use with DV devices, we have no plans to improve support for non-DV devices at this time. If you wish to use such devices, you should connect them to a FireWire interface that supports your device, such as a card using the OHCI chipset, but the only OHCI card we have qualified with CineStream on Mac is the OrangeMicro cards. We haven't tested the BVT cards, so we can't say whether they would work or not.
    Warmest regards,
    Nathan Gilbert
    CineStream Technical Support Media 100 Inc. "

Note the early OM cards at least, had the NEC firewire chip which had lower write speeds than the TI chip FW cards I tested. (Even with a portable VST drive, the NEC chip Western Digital card had lower sustained write speeds by appx. 6MB, almost half the rate of the TI chip cards I tested like the RocketFire and FWdepot cards. Some readers in 2001 have said that OM may have changed the chip on their Firewire cards however. Contact the vendor if in doubt.


In May of 2000 at the main www.xlr8yourmac.com news page, I asked for owner feedback on combination Firewire/USB cards. I was most interested to know if they worked with only Apple's Firewire 2.3.3 and USB card support 1.4.1 drivers (without any of the vendor's drivers installed). I know that most Firewire-only PCI cards work fine with Apple's Firewire 2.3.3 drivers, but was curious if the combo cards with USB would also work with only Apple drivers.

The answer in most cases seems yes, but a few owners didn't state if they tried both Apple driver sets. I've separated problem reports, but note that like all upgrades, some owners seem to have problems with the same brand card and even Mac model, so make sure you read the success stories and not just the problem reports.

[Updates:]

Although it's not a combo card, I had good luck with the FWdepot.com $69 Firewire PCI card in my S900. This low-cost card performed as well as the RocketFire card with my VST portable drive and Sony Firewire CDRW. A review/comparison of that card is listed on the Firewire topics page. My review of the $69 FWdepot Firewire only PCI card is also there.

One tip - this card and some others include a power supply connector (the FWdepot.com card comes with a cable, some others don't). It may be more reliable to select/connect the power cable option (obtain power from the Mac's power supply cable, not the PCI bus).

RocketFire USB/Firewire Combo Card Tests in S900: [Update: a reader wrote to say that the Rocketfire combo card is now sold by VST, not by Macworks.] I know others have reported the RocketFire card outperforms most other Firewire PCI cards, but I have to say I am impressed at how much faster it is. I just tested the RocketFire USB/Firewire combo card in the S900 which previously had a Western Digital Firewire card installed. I was shocked at the difference it made in performance with the portable FirewireDirect drive. ATTO benchmark sustained write rates were nearly twice as fast with the RocketFire card (6MB/sec faster). Before the card swap I suspected the low write performance may have been due to the older Mac motherboard. All tests used the same Apple Firewire 2.3.3 drivers only (no card vendor drivers used). The Rocketfire uses the same TI chip Apple has on their G4 systems, the WD card uses an NEC controller. I have to say the RocketFire card has earned a spot in my older Macs; providing great performance and freeing up a PCI slot that was used with a USB card. The Rocketfire card is made by Meltdown systems and sells for $129.99 (Firewire only version) to $169.99 (Firewire/USB version) at Macworks. Requirements are a PCI PowerMac running OS 8.6 or later (6500 macs are not compatible according to the manual).

For results of tests between the RocketFirew and WD cards with a bus-powered firewire drive, see the Benchmarks page of my Portable Firewire HD Kit article. (Note - although I have not tested USB speeds, the Rocketfire USB ports do work fine with my USB ZIP 250MB drive.)


I welcome your comments and experiences regarding Firewire/USB combo PCI cards. Please include your card brand, drivers used and Mac model/OS version.


Note: See the problem reports section update for two new entries from the forums noting problems with the Evergreen combo card in Macs.

Success Stories: (Most Recent First)

[Added 11/26/2001]
Orange Micro FW/USB 2.0 Combo Card Report: A Beige G3 owner sent a pretty positive report on a FW/USB 2.0 card from OM:

" Mike,
First off, I have to express my appreciation for your web site. It has been an invaluable resource so far and I'm glad that I can contribute a (very) little bit at long last.

Recently purchased and installed and OrangeLink+ FW/USB (2.0) combo card in my Beige G3 MT (350 mHz upgrade O/Ced to 400 mHz, 384 MB, OS 9.2.1). Installed in first PCI slot (recommended per documentation) and have Radeon PCI in 3rd slot. Had to go back to install USB card support from the 9.2.1 installer and after that it has worked perfectly to date with testing using Kensington USB mouse. I have also been able to use the Firewire port to enter Target Disk Mode with my Titanium PowerBook (550/256/OSX 10.1.1) successfully.
I have a VST SmartDisk 8/8/24 Firewire CDRW on order for use with both computers, so I will also update the CDRW compatibility DB when I get that info. Thanks and hope this is of use to somebody.
Doug Horstmanshof"

[Added 6/27/2001]
Latest Orange Micro Combo card (FW/USB 1.x) Reports:
I had heard that OM had revised their chipset on their combo card and this reader replied noting the new card is faster than the original one:

" Hi Mike,
I've been meaning to write you about my new OrangeMicro FW/USB (1.1) combo card, and this morning's news nudged me along. I have one of the very first OM combo cards to ever come off the line, order the day they were announced. As I reported well over a year ago, it has been very reliable for me in my 8500 w/ G3/400, and I have been generally quite happy with it, except for the slow NEC FW chipset.

Well, the rumor you heard is true. I just got the new OM FW/USB (1.1) a couple of weeks ago, and it has the Lucent FW chipset (and an internal FW port, but still no auxillary power connector), which is indeed faster than the NEC chip. The write speed on my ClubMac/Maxtor 17.2 GB 5400 rpm FW drive kit increased from 7-8 MB/s to around 12-13 MB/s, and read speeds increased from 11-12 MB/s to 12-13 MB/s. This is equal to the maximum transfer rates the drive achieved when it was on the 2nd IDE bus of my Biege G3. Thus the card is no longer a bottleneck for my drive.

My USB devices still work flawlessly (USB 250 MB Zip drive and Epson 750 printer). I have yet to test DV export, and probably won't get around to it for a couple of weeks, so I'm just reporting what I know now. We often discuss these combo cards on the 8500/8600 list (info at http://www.bigfat.com/mac8500-l/). While none are perfect in legacy Macs, and several people agree the OM combo card is among the most reliable overall.

BTW, the CompUSA combo card was mentioned by some reports. I noticed it in the store the other day, and it appears similar to the OM card. It has the same shape and layout, same internal port, but with a power connector added. It is a nice bargain at $70, but the OM card comes with an A/B USB cable and a 4 pin-6 pin FW cable, as well as video editing software (Premiere 5 LE for Mac, Ulead VideoVision for PC), better warranty, and excellent tech support, making it a good value in my mind. Hope this info is helpful.
-- Phil L. "

Recently there was a PowerMac 4400 owner report here that noted he had problems using a Firewiredirect FW/USB combo card. His latest comments noted tests with several other brands and one that finally worked:

" Mike:
Here's the continuing saga - and happy conclusion - of my experience with the PPC 4400 and combo cards...

FWDirect combo card... As stated previously - doesn't function completely. Even with direct power (not PCI bus), USB peripherials don't work. Firewire does work. SANITY CHECK: Inland USB card (#08307; $10 at Fry's) performed well - with PCI power only.

CompUSA card SKU# 280284... Again, all possible combinations with power and OS (8.6 and 9.1). FIREWIRE does not work with this card. Every time a Firewire device begins to be recognized by the finder, the finder freezes - a force-quit works, but the device won't be recognized. USB is fine and scanner/printer/Trimedia Reader peripherials work well. Again, after a complete diagnostic to check for any kind of conflict with extensions and so forth... No Firewire connection. (Same was tried with the FWDirect card).

OrangeMicro combo card... Since the trusty PPC 4400 won't be running Mac OS X and most likely won't ever be able to support USB 2.0, the final test was with the OrangeMicro combo card (the same as others have tried in this forum). This card does not have a power connector, so it's only powered by the PCI bus. This card works well with all of my external devices! USB and Firewire, both work nicely.
Regards and thanks for the forum,
Mike N."

[Added 6/24/2001]
I've heard that OM may have changed their Firewire chip to a different one (the early OM cards had an NEC firewire chip, which has lower FW write speeds than the TI or other chips based on tests last year). Here's a Beige G3 owner report on his new OM Combo card:

" Hi, I thought I'd give my expereince with an Orange Micro combo card. I replaced my Entrega USB card with the Orange Micro combo card a few weeks ago so I could use my DV camera with this older mac.

System:
Rev A. Beige G3 MT (233Mhz model), 500mz Formac ZIF
288MB RAM
Orange Micro USB/Firewire Combo PCI
ATI Rage 128 16MB, Orion PCI
Pinnacle Miromotion DC30 PCI
MacOS 9.1 (FireWire 2.7)
30gig internal IDE HD, 7200 RPM

Installation: Easy
I pulled out the Entrega card (always worked great), sweated while I fit the Orange Micro card in, reset the motherboard, zapped the PRAM three times and I was good to go.

I didn't need to reinstall any Apple Firewire drivers because they got put in my system with the default install of OS 9.1 whether I had a Firewire card or not. I never touched the additional CD with drivers from Orange Micro (it was a year old).

DV: Great
The Orange Micro card came with two Firewire cables (different connector types), both translucent silver like Apple's. They work.

With my Canon Optura, everything worked great in both iMovie 2 and Final Cut Pro 1.2.5; camera controls worked fine, importing and playthrough back to the camera worked perfectly. I've found this to be a great card for my DV camera, which is 2 years old, and my friend's new Canon ZR30. In my experience, it worked just like an iMac DV 500mhz.

Firewire Drives: Don't Know
I haven't been able to try a FW drive yet, but the card seems useless until the drivers load with the OS. If my camera's FW cable is plugged into a FW port when I boot, I get an indefinite stall after the happy mac. I'm not sure, but it seems to be waiting for information that never comes. I blame the fact that this is a PCI addition and that the bus gets confused. I won't delude myself and expect to be able to have a FW boot drive for this old mac, but if throughput for transfering files is as good as it is with my camera, then it should be good. The card also supports target disk mode to use FW ibook and FW powerbook HD's.

USB: Good
For USB, all my devices work fine (HP printer, gamepads, Wacom tablet, krittercam, and USB CD-RW), even with extensions cables or a hub. My Lacie USB 4x CD-RW gets occassional buffer under-runs if I burn more than one CD from Toast 4.1 without quiting Toast and restarting the app for each new CD and rebooting after 3 CD's. It didn't seem to do this so much with the Entrega card.

Overall: Good
I'm very happy, though for the price ($199 Canadian) I wish it came with an additional internal FW port and that it wouldn't be fussy with my camera plugged in at start-up.
Sincerely
Michael "


(Update: Since this page is getting over 70KB, I've also created a separate page with more recent CompUSA Firewire/USB card owner reports.] [added 6/11/2001]
CompUSA Combo USB/Firewire Cards: There was some previous comments on two different versions of the CompUSA (store brand) Firewire/USB card in the past here. A reader sent a note on 8/16/2001 about problems seen with one version:

" Mike,
I bought a CompUSA combo Firewire/USB card about 2 months ago, based on a favorable report on your site. That card has worked beautifully in my home machine (a 9600), so I bought another one about 2 weeks ago for an 8600. I just got around to installing it tonight, and noticed right away that it didn't look like the first card. For one thing, the first one had a power connector, and the new one does not.

Unfortunately, the new one also does not work. The 8600 crashed like mad with the card installed. I then tried it in a 7500, and got even worse results, with text under drive icons disappearing and other ugly video artifacts. The bad symptoms went away as soon as I pulled the card.

There's no indication on the packaging that CompUSA is using a different card. But the new one seems to be a real dog, at least in a Mac. And of course it's now too late to return it.

[she later wrote]
The one that works comes in a box that shows a card with a 4-pin power connector at the top of the card. This morning I took a look at the box for card that does not work, and indeed the picture on the box is different: it shows a card with NO power connector. I wish I'd noticed sooner.

Anyone still looking for a CompUSA card should check the picture on the box.
The bad one is SKU#280284. This may be the same as the other, can't remember.

Just wanted to pass this along, as a heads-up to anyone else who's tempted to buy one. Unless they get lucky and get the card with the power connector, it probably isn't going to work.
Kathryn J."

[Earlier reports follow]

" One failure and one success to report.

My hardware:
PowerCenter Pro 180
XLR8 G3 Carrier card at 400MHz
MacOS 9.1 (FireWire 2.7)
OWC Mercury Elite 75GB external FW drive (IBM Ultrastar 75GXP)

I've had an *OrangeMicro OrangeLink Combo card* for a while now, but only used it for USB.

Recently, I bought an external Firewire card. Attempting to use it with the OrangeLink card (both with Apple-only drivers and with the Disk Control 1.1 "FireWire Disk Support" driver) was a disaster. The drive would mount OK, but any attempt to read or write from the disk would freeze up the computer after only a few seconds of disk activity.

In desperation, I went down to CompUSA and bought their *USB/1394 Combo card*. It cost $70, and uses the Lucent chipset.

Works like a charm.

I get 20.5MB/sec sustained reads and 10.25 MB/sec sustained writes with all kinds of stuff running in the background (a semi-real world test; I did not do a clean boot before running the benchmarks).
Jacques D.
(He later wrote)
Yup. It was the "Store Brand" :-) : CompUSA SKU #280284.
And a much nicer card, too. 3 firewire ports (2 ext, 1 int) instead of 2, and a separate power supply connector (no cable, though :-( ).

No software (not that you need any). Four slim pages of documentation (which, most amusingly, say "This Combo Card is made exclusively for the IBM-PC or compatible line of computers."). "

Another CompUSA combo card owner reported mixed results (see his comments from the problem reports section below.

[From the 11/22/2000 www.xlr8yourmac.com news page].
A reader sent a note that a Sonnet Tango Firewire/USB combo card worked fine in his 6410, whereas an Orange Micro card didn't. The issue is apparently power for the firewire bus, where some Macs (esp. Performa models) don't provide enough power via the PCI bus. (The number of installed cards and their power use may also be a factor.) In my opinion the safest choice are cards that have a power connector on the card to allow for a power supply connection directly to the card. (The FWDepot.com card has this setup and comes with a cable, see the review on the Firewire articles page. The Rocketfire combo card also has the connector for this option but came with no cable included.) A clip from the reader's mail:

" Hi Mike.
About Firewire/USB combo PCI card.
A Tango Card from Sonnet Tec seems to work fine with my Performa 6410 with Booster G3/400MHz from Interware. I first bought and tried one from OrangeMicro. [The Powerlogix card was also reported as having the same problem in Performas] It does work on USB side but not on Firewire side. ...

So I bought Tango and replaced with the one of OrangeMicro. My Tango is working just fine with my Firewire HD (RX-35F FW HD case from Planex http://www.planex.com.tw/product/drive/rx-35f.htm) that did not work with OrangeMicro (especially read mode was not functional at all).
My Performa 6410 system is as follows.

BOOSTER L2 54/64 400 G3 upgrade from Interware (AKA Vimage in USA)
RAM136M
HD40GB, Maxtor
Farallon Com II 10/100 Ethernet Card
ATI Rage128 Orion PCI Card
Tango Firewire/USB

OS: 904J
Firewire 2.4J
USB Card Support 1.4.1J
Radialogic StorageMaster FW HD Drivers from Prosoft
(no driver provided by Sonnet)

Hope this info will help others.
Shigeki Kawahara, from Japan "

[added 7/4/2000] Ratoc Firewire Card Reports: I received several reports on the Ratoc card - surprisingly owners reported it had an NEC Firewire controller chip (which was much slower at writes than the TI chip cards in my tests). Here's a report from a Beige G3 owner that the Ratoc card did not like to coexist with a Wired4DVD card:

"Mike
I recently made 3 purchases: a Toshiba DVDrom drive, a Wired4DVD card to go with it, and a Ratoc PCIFU1 Firewire/USB combo card. I installed them all at once and the Wired card would not work--no video or even a boot start. It turns out to be incompatible with the Ratoc card. With the Ratoc card pulled the Toshiba and the Wired card play together very nicely. The Ratoc card is on the way back to Club Mac as soon as I get an RMA.

This was in a beige G3 minitower with the AV card. The Mac booted fine with just the Ratoc card. I don't have a USB or firewire peripheral to test it with however. I bought it in preps of getting some ;-)

The minitower has only 3 PCI slots, and Wired4DVD worked in the one that once held the Ratoc card when installed by itself.
...best, Michael"

Another Ratoc card owner wrote that Zapping the PRAM solved a sleep problem:

"Mike,
The Ratoc card finally checked out fine. The machine sleeps after a PRAM reset. USB and Firewire work fine. Remaining tests are speed tests for Firewire, and digital cam video test.
Regards,
Theo "

Another owner reported a DOA card and the fact the Firewire chip was from NEC:

"Mike,
Just got a Ratoc FireWire/USB combo card, was surprised to see this card has an NEC FireWire controller (I thought it was supposed to be a TI??) I figure maybe it's an old card (the software CD is dated Feb 2000)

Unfortunately the card is dead, when I installed the card in my Rev 3 Beige MT it would chime but not start up. I've decided to go with the new combo card from FireWire direct, I'll let you know how it goes.
Kind Regards
Chris Ridley "


[added 6/20/2000] Here's the latest feedback on the Evergreen combo card that included a note on extensions:

"Hi Mike,
Buy.com finally shipped one to me, so I just installed an Evergreen FireLine Combo Card in my desktop system:

Beige G3/266 DT rev 2, with an OWC G3/366 CPU upgrade
384 MB RAM
Mac OS 8.6
FireWire 2.4 package, easy install
USB Card Support 1.4.1 package, easy install
QuickTime 4.1.2
QuickTime FireWire DV Enabler 2.2
QuickTime FireWire DV Support 2.2

PCI Slot left* ($C1) - Evergreen FireLine PCI Slot mid ($B1) - Mark of the Unicorn 324 (2408 audio interface) PCI Slot right ($A1) - empty

* As seen from the front of the machine

Everything works perfectly so far. I'm using a Keyspan USB hub and an Intellimouse Explorer on USB, and running iMovie with a Sony TRV-900 on FireWire.

That said, with a previous config I did experience a similar startup crash as reported by some others. I couldn't startup at all, even with Shift held because I guess these QT FW extensions are loaded early:

QuickTime FireWire DV Enabler 2.1.2
QuickTime FireWire DV Support 2.1.2

PCI was setup like so:

PCI Slot left ($C1) - Radius/DO MotoDV FireWire card
PCI Slot mid ($B1) - Mark of the Unicorn 324
PCI Slot right ($A1) - Digidesign Audiomedia III

I finally had to disable the QuickTime FireWire DV extensions. At the time, this was ok since the Radius/DO extensions did their job anyway. The Radius/DO MotoDV card also uses a Texas Instruments FireWire chipset.

Since everyone with trouble seems to be focused on the FireWire 2.4 extensions, and not the QuickTime FireWire DV extensions, users might make sure they have the latest 2.2 versions. I had to get them via the custom option of the QuickTime Updater.

Thanks for reviewing this card [I didn't review it - but there are comments on the Firewire/USB combo card feedback page-Mike], and the others. I ended up saving money and grief, avoiding the slow output speed of the NEC FW chipset. I suspect that's why people with OrangeMicro cards can capture DV video just fine, but can't print back to the camera.

Peace,
Glenn Gutierrez"

One other Evergreen card owner that reported problems orginally said that a clean install of the Firewire and USB (apple) extensions seemed to have helped.


[added 6/19/2000] Although several recent owners reported problems included another one this weekend (see problem reports section below) some Evergreen card owners like this one reported all OK. (I separated the very long text into paragraphs for readability)

"Hi Mike,
Saw your links and comments from a few readers about the Evergreen FireLine Combo Firewire/USB card this afternoon. Well I just got back from circuit city where I had gone to look for a tv that was no longer in stock and ran across one. It was a bit expensive with tax at 158 bucks, but it was a spur of the moment purchase as I had been meaning to buy something similar since april of 99 when I bought a Sony DCR-TRV10 mini-dv camera (Very nice I might add).

I have used the camera successfully with final cut pro and other apps on g3's and g4s at work. So I was a little hesitant after reading reports of problems, but decided it was worth it anyway. So I popped the card in the 3rd slot from the top of my trusty 9600/200 with original 200mhz 604e cpu in it...still waiting for the perfect CPU upgrade. :) I've got 256 megs of RAM, Voodoo II card, IXMicroUltRez 8mg video card, Mac OS 9.0.4, several standard scsi-2 internal and external drives, tape drives, syquests, zips, scanners, wacom tablet, etc, etc...basically fully loaded workhorse machine.

All I had to do was install Firewire 2.4 and USB Card Support 1.4.1 and everything worked like a charm. USB was able to recognize an imac mouse I had lying around (didnt test USB too much as Im lacking in the usb peripheral area). Then I updated Final Cut Pro to 1.2.5 and tried out the firewire. It talked to my camera perfectly...Was able to control it great with not a problem. I dont have the best capture rates (dropping a few frames) because of my slow highly fragmented cheapo quantum drives but its great for tinkering. I will try dropping in a UltraSCSI drive soon with a Adaptec card Ive got around here somewhere and see how well I can capture with some real drive space.

All in all I have had no problems yet but have really done any "production" grade work with it. It is pretty nice though, its got 3 external firewire ports and 1 internal and 2 usb ports. Also it uses the TI chipset for Firewire and intel chipset for USB. I didnt notice too much else worth noting as far as any asics on the card are concerned. The documentation and CD's were all PC based..so they are still in there shiny plastic wrap..destined to stay there for all eternity...There is not any info at all about installing on a mac but if you go to there website and follow this link: http://www.evergreennow.com/prequal/default.asp?product=fireline

It comes up with a compatibility table for all their firewire products and there are links to Apples software installers for Firewire and USB (although the firewire link is for 2.3.3 not 2.4) it also notes minimum requirements and has a table specifically for Mac compatibility.

I am curious to here more details about the USB issues mentioned by some other evergreen card owners in your forum as to their exact nature. Especially the reader who mentioned USB sound issues.

Also if you know anyone who has a spare g3 or g4 upgrade lying around I would be more than glad to compatibility test it with the Evergreen card for them... ;)

Anyway, keep up the great work!
Regards,
Robert M. Hall"


"I just installed the Evergreen Technologies fireLINE PCI Combo Card. It was a breeze to install into my G3 upgraded 8500 running OS 8.6. I updated my USB driver to Apple's 1.4.1 and the Firewire driver to 2.3.3.

I've used my Compact Flash Card reader in the USB port and it worked, as well as the Sony Video Walkman. I am very happy with it as I had run out of PCI slots.

The only downside so far is the card only indluded drivers for a windows machine. The website claims to include the Apple drivers, and included links for the drivers, but someone without internet access would have some difficulty.
Darby Lee Darrow"

See the later problem reports below for two other owner reports, one noting USB problems, the other noting firewire problems with the Evergreen card.


" I just got an Evergreen Technologies fireLINE PCI Combo Card. See: www.evertech.com/products/fireline/

This thing's got 2 USB ports & 4(!) Firewire ports (3 external + 1 internal). It's working great so far in my 9600/350. I have a USB mouse and game controller hooked up to USB and I borrowed a DV camera and grabbed some video into iMovie with it to test the Firewire. It uses the TI Firewire chipset.

No drivers needed other than Apple's USB 1.4.1 & Firewire 2.3.3. I'm running 9.0.4.

Just thought others might be interested. I've been looking for a combo card for a while and this one was the best deal I've seen. I paid ~$112 shipped from buy.com using one of their online coupons
-David"


"Hi Mike,
I have a OrangeMicro combo card in my PowerTower Pro (with xlr8 G3 upgrade) located in slot 3. No problem using the apple firewire 2.3.3 drivers. (no orangemicro drivers.) I have the firewire hooked up to my Clubmac firewire/ide case. I've also used firewire with my sharp viewcam with imovie with no problems that i can see.
Ron "


"Hi!
I installed a Orange Micro Firewire/USB combo card in my G3/266 minitower (MacOS 8.6). After updating to Firewire 2.3.3 I could delete the "Orange Micro Enabler" which enables the Firewire-Ports for MacOS/Quicktime. Both, Firewire and USB, works perfectly - if Apples USB Drivers 1.2 to 1.4.1 would let my G3 wake up from sleep there would be no problem at all :)
Hope this helps...
Regards, Alexander "

"Yes. Orange Micro OrangeLink FireWire/USB boards work fine with 2.3.3 http://www.orangemicro.com/faqgrappler.html
Ed Garcia
Orangemicro"

The FAQ link he notes is for their Grappler SCSI card, I could find no OrangeLink Firewire card FAQ at their site. (A later reader mail sent the correct link, which does not seem to be listed at their support or products pages when I checked this sunday. The OrangeLink FAQ is at: http://www.orangemicro.com/faqolmac.html. The other question I had was does the Apple USB Card support drives work as far as USB ports on the combo cards. (I.E. - can you use only Apple's Firewire 2.3.3 and USB Support 1.41 drivers, and not any of the vendor's drivers and still get full card functionality)


"I use the OrangeLink Firewire/USB PCI Board with just the Apple USB Card Support and Firewire 2.3.3 drivers...I had to relocate the PCI card to the first slot, but other than that, it works great!
John Clark "

I've asked him which Mac model he's using that required moving the card (6 slot mac perhaps, but my S900 has 6 PCI slots and the Western Digital card works fine in the 5th PCI slot (2nd slot from the bottom).


"I've used the Orange Micro OrangeLink FireWire/USB card in both a 7600 (with G3 upgrade card) and a Twentieth Anniversary Mac (with G3 upgrade card). The USB ports were used with various input devices, I have not connected any FireWire devices as yet. However, TattleTech indicates that both USB and FireWire buses are available and list the specs for each. Obviously you can't boot from drives attached via the card, because the disk based drivers don't load until the machine starts booting! Hope this was what you were looking for!!
Adam "

I've asked Adam if he's using Apple's Firewire & USB drivers or Orange Micro's.


"I have an Orange Micro Firewire/USB combo card that works fine with only the Apple Firewire 2.3.3 Extensions (Just the enabler and the support extension). I have used a WD 30GB drive and firenet (to a Pismo) with it.

The Apple USB extensions work without problems with the card too.

I am quite happy with my setup. I have not seen any slowdown with Q3 Demo (demo1 timedemo tests) since installing this PCI card.

Beige G3/233 (OS 9.0.4, 192MB of RAM), the only other PCI card I have is an ATI XClaim VR 128

I only have Apple and ATI extensions installed on my system and the EL Gato Firewire HD driver
"


"Mike,
I have an OrangeMicro combo FireWire/USB card (2 ports for each) installed in my beige G3 MT / 450 MHz IBM copper (at 500 now for 5 months w/great stability). I don't have any third party drivers installed, just the USB support in 9.0.4 and FireWire 2.3.3. I have been using the FireWire to capture video from my Canon Ultura DV camera (have been using iMovie for 2 months now) and I have an Epson Stylus Color 740 attached to one of the USB ports. I'm happy to report that everything works flawlessly.
Tom Twigg "


"Hey Mike,
I've picked up one of those Orange Micro Firewire/USB cards a few weeks back.

Here are my personal findings (No Benchmarks though)

The Machine:
Beige G3MT 266mhz.
Running XLR8 G3/450 OC'd to 500mhz (stable as heck)
384mb of RAM
Apple Stock SCSI Card
ATI Rage128 VR
3 x 9gb Cheetah 10kRPM RAID with SoftRaid
1 x 20gb Maxtor IDE Drive
1 x 8x4x24 LaCIE Internal CDRW

This is my PowerMachine (i've also got a lombard 400) used for 3D rendering, digital video, TONS of photoshop etc.

I got the card so I could capture with my FiancČ's Canon GL1, and make use of the LaCIE 20gb Firewire drive I use for backing up my Lombard (via RATOC FireWire PCMCIA card) and my VST 6gb Firewire pocket drive.

I've noticed a pretty decent slow down in performance overall using the Orange Micro card. Considering I sit in front of this thing 4 to 6 hours every evening, it is something I've noticed in the finder.

Upon FIRST installation of the card, I figured I'd just go with the Apple USB and Firewire drivers. I had TONS of problems, copies just wouldn't finish to either of the external drives and the machine would crash, crash, and crash some more.

So I installed the OrangeMicro drivers, that fixed the crashing problem, but now the machine seems to be slooooooow.

ALSO, the machine has a lot of problems booting up if a drive is attached and powered up. Odd no?

I've been using my Microsoft Intellimouse on the USB port without a problem since day 1. The USB is good, the firewire is a bit buggy in my opinion. Otherwise a good solution for someone needing USB and Firewire on 1 card, since all of my PCI cards are full now (I yanked a 100bt card for the Firewire card...)

It's times like these I wish Apple still made a 6 PCI slot machine. That or it's finally time to get a G4...
Chris Whittier
fluidVision iNteractive
http://fluidvision.forestart.com/ "


"SYSTEM:
Beige G3 300mhz (333 mhz)192mb ram, Formac proformance3 2D/3D graphics card, Stock ATTO UW SCSI card, OrangeMicro Firewire/USB card.

Devices used:
Cannon Vistura DV camcorder (firewire)
HandSpring Visor Delux (USB)
Creative Video Blaster WebCam Go (USB)

Everything worked with the OrangeMicro Firewire Extensions enabled as well as disabled.

Extensions enabled:
Firewire card bus enabler 2.3.3
Firewire enabler 2.3.3
Firewire support 2.3.3
USB HID driver game sprocket 1.7.4
USB device extension 1.4.1
USB mass storage extension 1.4.1
USB mass storage support 1.4.1
USB software locator 1.4.1
USB support 1.4.1
USBSentinel Mac OS USB DDK 1.0
USBSerial-

Regards
Dan "


"I _had_ to remove the custom drivers (OrangeLink Enabler, Lynx Enabler, etc.) to stop my system (PowerCenter w/ XLR8 G3/400 using the OrangeMicro combo card) from bombing on shutdown or startup (Finder crashes and that blank gray screen deal).

A brand new LaCie Pocketdrive (via either USB or Firewire), a Kensington TurboBall, and a Keyspan PDA adapter all worked fine before and after the drivers' removal, but now the system is stable again.
-- Chris Dunn "


"I have an upgraded S900 with Firemax combo USB/Firewire card. Installed in the system is the G3, USB/Firewire combo card, ATI RagePro, Voodoo3, Acard IDE/66 (driving two Maxtor 40GBs). In addition to System 9.0.4, I installed Firewire 2.3.3 and USB Card Support 1.4.1... the system work flawlessly (no need to use the Firemax drivers).

The USB is used for the Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer, USB cradle for a Handspring Visor. The Firewire ports have only bene used with iMovie, Final Cut Pro 1.2 and a Sony TRV-900 DV camcorder.

The system works flawlessly... I haven't had a crash which is pretty amazing considering that an upgraded S900 is certainly not one of Apple's recommended configurations for Final Cut.

Anyway the combo card is a great addition to my S900, which is pushing an amazing 3+ years yet seems as capable as any of Apple's new machines. I must applaud Apple for writing such great drivers, and essentially allowing legacy systems to benefit without any additional cost USB and Firewire.

Regards,
Alex Lapeyre "


"Last week, I just installed an OrangeMicro Firewire/USB card into my 8500 (with a 350/512k G3 upgrade), and 128 Meg. of RAM.

I didn't even bother to install the OrangeMicro drivers. I just started using iMovie with my JVC camcorder (not officially supported), using Firewire 2.2.3 and the latest USB Card Support (1.4.1 ?). I also have USB Overdrive installed.

It works perfectly. I haven't tried to export back to the camcorder yet (I'm in the midst of a Mothers' Day movie project, with clips of my 15 month old daughter), but everything else worked absolutely flawlessly. No crashes or problems at all.

BTW I think iMovie and desktop video is nothing short of miraculous. To be able to shoot and edit movies at home, with so little effort, is mind-blowing.

I also have a TurboMax PCI card with a 27 Meg. WD drive. As you might expect, when I try to use the TurboMax drive with iMovie, I get stuttering and cut-outs (as previously reported/experienced with the TurboMax and my 8500).

Time to buy a bigger internal SCSI hard drive :)
Greg Abbott "


"I've been using the OrangeMicro USB/FireWire combo card since February and LOVE IT!

Up until the latest drivers from Apple, I needed to use OM's drivers, but since the latest release, OrangeMicro has had me remove their drivers and just use Apple's. I have a (can't remember whose) USB hub and Handspring Visor USB cradle, SanDisk compact flash card reader, and an Aiwa USB Travan tape drive for backup. They all have worked flawlessly with OM's card.

I haven't had a chance to test any FireWire equipment with it yet, but hope to get a Que CD-RW drive in the near future.
Rod Martin "


"My OrangeMicro FW/USB card works fine w/ the Apple FW 2.3.3 and USB 1.4 drivers in my 8500 G3/400 (XLR8 MACh/OWC ZIF) using OS 8.6. I was hoping for a speed up in FW drive write speeds, but no such luck.

With that card, my ATi Orion, 3 SCSI buses, analog A/V in/out, serial and ADB support, floppy, etc, I would put my 8500 up against any B&W G3 and know it can hold its own. Granted this 4.5 year-old motherboard is a bit bus-limited, but it still handles my video work with aplomb. (Heck, DV makes it even easier). It's case may be a bear to open, but I think they look better. Thanks to your site I've been able to keep this thing ship-shape and up-to-date, and for a pretty reasonable price.
Phil Lefebvre"


"Mike,
The OrangeMicro OrangeLink FireWire/USB card works fine with the Apple software.

I have a five of these installed in beige Rev. 2 G3's updated with Newer 466MHz ZIF's and there is no problem. Most are being used to upload digital photo's from various popular digital cameras. None are currently used with FireWire drives, but are used with a few USB scanners.

-Rod
ASTEC Company, Inc., Virginia, USA "



This report is includes both a problem report and success story.

"Mike,
I have tested combo cards, and single firewire/USB card combinations. I will give you the bad first. My first experience was with single firewire/USB combinations from Orange Micro and later their combo version. All I can tell you is that having tried several cards and drivers (including betas) that Orange Micro cards could never effectively capture video without either dropping frames or having audio problems. I had a professional video editor assist me to no avail. I also had problems with random crashes at startup and after booting up.

If you examine complaints logged at the MacIntouch site (he has a firewire section) you will see that I was not alone (hundreds, including resellers have had problems with these cards). My advice (except to the 3 sigma "it works" exceptions) is stay away from Orange Micro firewire cards of any type. Getting my money back was a nightmare, as yours will be if you have problems.[Note: Several Orange Micro owners reported using only the Apple Firewire 2.3.3 drivers worked fine-Mike]

Now for the good. I decided to try a RocketFire 4-port Firewire/USB PCI card. The first one they sent out (by mistake) was a prototype (backing plate missing). They quickly sent out a replacement. Their card has worked flawlessly using the new Firewire 2.3.3 and USB 1.4.1 Apple drivers. I was able to capture video using both the USB and Firewire. Using the Firewire I was able to seamlessly capture video into Final Cut Pro without dropping any frames. I also have had no problems with random crashes with the RocketFire. In checking out the card MacWorks told me that the Rocketfire uses the Texax Instruments chipset, which is the same one used by Apple. However, that the Orange Micro uses the NEC chipset. The results speak for themselves. Even my video editor friend was impressed. The performance importing and exporting video to his Sony 3CCD DSR-PD150 was as good or better than some of the machines they use at his shop (they use everything from upgraded 9600's to G4 500's).

My machine is configured as follows:

Umax S900
XLR8 G3 400 (overclocked to 440 MHz)
Ultrastar 9LZX Hard drive
Original WD Hard drive
Initio Miles U2W LVD card with the latest drivers
ATI Nexus Video Card
Ultimate Rez Video Card (I use dual monitors)
RocketFire 4-port Firewire/USB Card
MacOS 8.6
1GB of FPM RAM (all 8 slots interleaved of course)

A Long Time Site Follower,
AL "




Problem Reports: (Most recent first)

[added 7/7/2001] (Email from June 2001 that I just spotted tonight in my overloaded inbox)

CompUSA Combo Card in 7500 Problems:

" Mike,
I bought a FW/USB card from compusa, and put it into my 7500 with a G4 upgrade (metabox). Under OS 9 it read the USB, but not the firewire. Under OS X It read the firewire but no USB. I thought that to be strange, so I just returned it to the store. Hope this helps with people making a decision on this card.
Keep up the quality work!
John Wood"

The Success stories above had some other reports on the CompUSA card.


(The next reader's email report was also sent in early June)

Firewire Direct Combo Card Problems:

" More grist for the mill on your special page on FW/USB Combo cards.

I bought the FirewireDirect Combo USB/FW card about 4-5 months ago. Quickly noticed that I was having problems printing color output on my Epson 870. Spent a week or two jiggling things around.. no luck. This even included doing a totally fresh OS install on a spare partition, OS 8.6/ OS 9.1. Nothing worked. Tried through a powered hub, and direct to the card itself. 2 to 18% of the image would print, then I'd get a message about loosing touch with the printer.

I HAD been using a cheapy (i.e. no cost.. a gift from xlr8 because I had a lot of trouble with one of their accelerators.. resolved, BTW) USB card that printed just fine. But now I have a FW based burner, and with limited slots, I had to go combo.

Wrote to them.. they wrote back, acknowledged that they knew about this "bug" and were working on a patch or software update to address this issue. Would be available in about 2 weeks (this is 4 months ago).

Since that time I'd sent at least half a dozen polite inquiries. All went unanswered. I checked their site today.. no information at all.. looked at FAQs, looked at a link that implied I'd find compatibility problems. No mention of this at all.

They continue to sell a product that has KNOWN TO THEM serious defects.. with NO warning to the public. AND it is clear that they don't intend to ever fix the problem. $110.00 thrown down the drain.

Do YOU want to ever buy anything from this company (hope they're not an advertiser!)? I sure as hell won't.
Paul Constantine
(I asked for his system specs and he wrote)
It's in a 8600 w xlr8 500 MHz G3. I've been trying to get some assurance from somebody that the Ratoc card will work.. wrote to MacGurus and Ratoc.. neither responded. Wrote to OWC and at least I got a response:

    "The RATOC card should work with a USB printer. There should be no reason why it should not. I looked at Epson's web site but did not find any card that they do not support."

I could print just fine through a xlr8 USB card..which they sent me free because I was having troubles with one of their accelerators.. (they had to do a board swap). "


[added 6/22/2001]

FirewireDirect Combo Card/PowerMac 4400 Problem Report:

" Mike:
My comments regarding a Firewiredirect USB/Firewire combo card and a PowerMac 4400...

Card Specs:
- 2 USB ports
- 4 Firewire ports, one is internal
- PCI or direct power (as set by user with a jumper, default is PCI)

Machine/OS specs:
- JoeCard G3 upgrade 320 MHz
- 160 MB RAM
- Mac OS 8.6 (and I tried OS 9.1, which works on the machine, but not for the card)
- Firewire 2.3.3
- USB 1.4.1
- plus (and minus, to test) the drivers from Firewiredirect, which don't seem to conflict with the Mac drivers

When I got the card, I loved it. With PCI or direct power, it was fine for use with a VST Trimedia Reader for USB and for Firewire connection of my iBook (target-disk mode). I have NEVER had a problem with data loss, but did find some freezing here and there with transfering of digital images from CF or Smartmedia on the VST TM Reader. Not consistent enough to raise suspicions, however. I have done so many things with my 4400 and have tried so many non-Mac or unsupported upgrades that I thought that I introduced my own bugs.

Now that I've upgraded the remainder of my peripherials to USB, I'm very unhappy with the card. The printer (HP Deskjet 932c) and scanner (Canoscan 1220U) that I've connected (not the VST TM Reader) don't want to work. I've even used a powered hub and gold-plated cables, etc. I DO have communication with the printer, scanner, and the Mac (identified with Apple System Profiler) and I can install software and begin work with each device. Part-way through a job, however, there is failure to communicate (the printer dialogue box says that the printer is no longer connected or powered). The peripherials work flawlessly with the USB of my iBook, so I'm certain that there are no problems with my printer or scanner. The VST TM Reader even freezes my iBook occasionally, so there was little reason to believe that the USB side of the Firewiredirect card is problematic...

I've tried everything - including removing other PCI cards, installing and using OS 9.1, diagnosing extension conflicts, getting rid of other power-drawing internals like the CD-ROM and one of my hard disks... I've never been able to get the printer or scanner to work.

I believe that the Firewiredirect card is the problem. In the product literature, they specify a couple of Macs that do not work - the 6500, for example - because of 2.0 version PCI slots. It turns out that my 4400 has the same kind of PCI slot. The card, apparently, requires a 2.1 compliant slot. Can this be such a problem? Perhaps so, perhaps not. I'm going to test out another card (the FMI combo cards sounds promising) and also a cheapo USB card just to see...
Regards,
Mike N"

Some PCI Firewire cards like the fwdepot card I reviewed have a power connection on the card - which some say helps with that series of motherboards where there's less than adequate PCI bus power if I remember correctly. The FWdepot card came with a "y" power adapter cable to connect to the card (the other end connects to a HD power supply connector)
I think Sonnet's Firewire card product page might have a note on this issue also.

Not sure that would be a 100% solution (powered cards or other card models) but just a comment on the issue noted last year with some macs.

[added 4/5/2001]

VST Combo Card and Orange Micro Combo Card in Beige G3:

" Mike,
VST Firewire/USB PCI card
Orange Micro Firewire/USB PCI card
Beige G3/466 (Formac ZIF) MT rev. A
OS 9.1 Firewire 2.7 USB 1.4.6

I tried these cards with iMovie 2.0.3 and a JVC GR-DVF21U and could import, preview, etc but they wouldn't export to the camera. The camera's tape transport runs, but it doesn't go into record mode. With the Orange Micro Firewire/USB, but found that if I pressed the record button on the camera after the tape started moving the camera would record. I tried this with the VST card and the camera locked up when I pressed the record button and iMovie reported that the Firewire connection was lost. I switched back to the Orange Micro card and it works okay (if I press record).

I reported the problem to VST and they want me to return the card for repair/exchange, which I'll do when I can free it up. Right now it's in a PM7500/G3/400 (Sonnet) where I needed its USB, which seems to work okay.

I'll report back when I get the VST card back and let you know if it works. I really wanted to go with the VST card in my G3 because it uses the TI chipset and is reported to be one of the fastest Firewire cards out there. Not that the speed makes a difference with iMovie, but I'm planning on getting an external Firewire HD and CD-RW soon, and expect that the difference between the VST and the Orange Micro card will be evident.
Pete "

[added 3/23/2001]

FirewireDirect Combo USB/FW card and USB Printers: A reader ask I post this as a warning to others:

" Dear Mike,
After 2 straight days of monkeying with an Epson 875DC printer and my PCenter 150/FW Direct USB/FW combo card, I gave up getting it to work. It worked just fine with my S900 using a Belkin 2port USB card.

Just got off the phone with FW Direct tech support. There is a compatibility issue with their USB/FW combo card and USB printers. Supposedly a patch is due out in the next week or so.
Eugene Lou"

Check FirewireDirect's site for an update in the future that may resolve this issue.

[added 7/5/2000]

Evergreen Combo Card/PowerCenter Pro Problem Report:

"Hi there Mike.
I just went through one of the worst weekends while attempting to intall the Evergreen USB/Firewire combo card in my Powercenter Pro. I tried everything I could think of, including the tips from other readers of your site. Let me start by describing my system:

PowerCenter Pro 180 MT
XLR8 CarrierZIF + Mot G3 400Mhz Zif (clocked to 480 on a 60Hz bus) MacOS 9.0.4
192mb RAM
ATI Rage128 VR
Adaptec 2940UW (stock card) + Seagate Barracuda UW hd
Entrega USB PCI card (2 usb ports) + IntelliMouse
Apple USB Card Support 1.4.1 drivers

Everything had been working quite well, but I decided I needed some more storage and the current IDE disks were really tempting. So I went for the Evergreen card and the ADS Pyro Firewire/EIDE converter box, plus a Maxtor 30gb hd.

I proceeded to replace the Entrega USB card with the Evergreen card, hoping the Intellimouse would keep working; it didn't. In fact, the computer would just hang during the booting process, right after the XLR8 extension had loaded. Booting with extensions off didn't help either, so I had to restart from the OS 9 cd. To cut a long story short, I had to manually remove the USB extensions (both Apple's and Microsoft's) and the Intellimouse control panel before being able to boot from my regular partition.

I had to remove the card, performed a clean install of Apple's USB drivers (no Intellimouse this time), put the Evergreen card back in and still no go. I then tried USB 1.2 from Apple [note 1.4.1 is latest-Mike] to no avail. So, in a nutshell, USB support with the Evergreen card in my system is non-existant.

I was frustrated to say the least, but hoped for a chance that the Firewire portion of the Evergreen card would work, so that I could use my new ADS Pyro and Maxtod drive. With my system folder free of USB extensions, I installed Firewire 1.4 [2.4 I assume-Mike] from Apple and restarted. So far, so good. While at the finder, I installed the 2 extensions that come with the Pyro and restarted again. Still going smoothly. As per ADS instructions, I turned on the Pyro case (Maxtor already installed in it) connected the provided firewire cable between the Pyro and the Evergreen card and after about 10 seconds, the usual notice for an unreadable drive appeared on screen. So I just proceed to click OK to initialize the disk as a MacOS Extended volume. The menu bar clock stopped ticking, the mouse and watch pointer both froze and I literally started crying beyond relief. I went to my second Mac and started browsing the web for answers. Like your site.

After about 8-10 minutes, the Maxtor volume finally appeared on the desktop and the clock and mouse became alive again. Since initializing a disk usually involves just creating a file directory, it shouldn't have taken but about a few seconds and not minutes. So I wasn't too excited about seeing the mounted Maxtor volume. I then tried saving a tiny 10k text file to the Maxtor by dragging it from another volume and once again everything froze... took almost 2 minutes for the file copying process. It made the 7200rpm DiamondMax UDMA66 Maxtor perform like an 80's 5.25 floppy drive... under 50ft of water.

I thought I was loosing my mind but decided to perform the troubleshooting process just as I did with the failed USB ports. Went back to Firewire 2.3.3, removed every other PCI card, minimum extensions set, tried MacOS 8.6 from another volume, you name it.... still the same results and sometimes it wouldn't mount at all after leaving it for several minutes aftrer a cold restart. I also tried removing and reinstalling the latest Quicktime Firewire support as your reader said.

I was able to borrow a second Evergreen card (from a PC user) with the same ill results. Now, I wasn't expecting to use this setup for DV capturing, just for my USB mouse and extended and inexpensive external IDE storage (after all, the cost of the Pyro and Maxtor combined is still well below similar size SCSI prices). Btw, the ADS Pyro and Maxtor works great with a G4 and its built in Firewire ports.

So, should I return the Evergreen and go for some of the other USB/Firewire combo cards providers? Or, could it be that the PowerCenter Pro is no match for a firewire card? Any other ideas on how to make this thing work? Evergreen is still mum on the issue, and as your other reader pointed out, the only current solution is to remove the card. For the time being, I went back to the Entrega USB card for Intellimouse support. It is working well, even with all the firewire extensions loaded (both from ADS and Apple).

I am really sorry for the extremely long letter, but I hope I was able to describe the problem in hope of a simple solution.

Thanks again for your great site and knowledgeable support.
Guillermo "

I could only suggets a card like the Rocketfire perhaps - but not sure that would work with the Intellimouse, as even a Ratoc card owner (see below) reported probelems with the IntelliMouse.


MS IntelliMouse Issue w/Ratoc Firewire/USB Card?

"Mike,
I have a Ratoc USB/Firewire board in my 9500 (upgraded G3/400) and have just got off the phone with Ratoc support (I live in Japan and speak Japanese) and I have been told that the card has a problem with M$ intellimouse (and possibly all optical mice). When I use the mouse the machine freezes periodically with or without the mouse drivers installed.

The support guy said it was due to the way the mouse draws current when the mouse is in motion; it usually freezes when I move the mouse while something else is going on (like starting up photoshop). He said that there was nothing to be done and that other makers cards are affected as well but I have seen no reports anywhere (including your fine page) of this kind of problem. Anybody hear of anything like this?

There was some talk of possibly using a hub but the guy was unsure that would help or not. I have a Que! 8x firewire CD-RW with which I have had no problems with. Any help/info appreciated.
-Scott "

I assume he's using Apple's firewire and USB drivers (they seem to work better than most any card vendor's drivers). MS recently updated drivers for the Intellimouse, but not sure that would help. I heard some combo cards owners say that some cards have a USB chip that is not fully Mac compatible. I don't own the Ratoc card or Evergreen card, but if any readers have used a Firewire/USB card with an Intellimouse, please let me know.


[added 6/19/2000] Another Evergreen problem report (USB in this case)

"Mike:
I've had the same troubling experience with the Evergreen combo card. Theoretically it is a great product! Three external firewire, one internal firewire and two external USB ports make it very attractive, especially at buy.com's low price. Too bad I can't get it to work. I've tried two different cards and the same thing happens...the USB causes my system to freeze. I have the following: USB Logitech Wheel Mouse, Best Data 56K USB Speakerphone modem, AMP USB Hub, Epson USB Scanner, Ariston USB iRead digital film reader. It always seems to freeze when I access the modem, even when it is the only thing attached to the bus. It also happens when I use the scanner. Total freeze.

I have worked with Evergreen tech support and they can only duplicated problems with "sound drivers", such as USB speakers. They were unable to try to duplicate my problem because they didn't have the USB modem or scanner. The tech support people seem pretty cool, just need some more experience on the Mac side with more hardware. Haven't tried the firewire yet, I just bought a Sony Digital 8 camcorder so I will try soon. BTW, I also bought an OrangeMicro combo card that works without any problem. I think the USB chip on the Evergreen card is inferior.

Other info: PowerMac 8600/300 Upgraded too XLR8 Mach Carrier G4/400, with Adaptec 2940UW SCSI controller and ATI Xclaim 128 VR. Using latest Apple drivers at the time (USB 1.4.1 and firewire 2.3.3).

Thanks for an incredibly useful website!
--
Jason Reisinger "


[added 6/15/2000]

"Posted by Cal
Date: Thursday, 15 June 2000, at 10:23 p.m.

In Response To: Evergreen Firewire/USB card by Theo

I also have an Evergreen card, but I have NO problems with the USB. My problem is the FireWire. The USB works fine on mine. I have a Gravis Gamepad Pro, Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 900u monitor (with built-in hub), and an Epson 740. All are recognized on the USB bus. I used the drivers provided at Apple for add-on USB devices. These are for computers without built-in USB, but with a card.

On to my problem! I can't even boot with the FireWire Enabler extension enabled. Even if this is the only extension or control panel that is enabled, my system hangs on boot. The cursor is still active, but the computer just stops. I try rebooting with extensions off and the same thing happens. Had to boot from a CD before it would even finish the boot cycle. Anyway, after removing the FW extension and enabling everything else, my system would boot without sound! Couldn't figure out how to get sound back, but it eventually returned. This is the built-in sound, not USB sound.

As far as the USB, Evergreen has acknowledged there's a problem with the USB, but they have no idea about the FW. Have you tried rebooting with ONLY the USB drivers installed and NOTHING else? Maybe there's something going on? I asked if they would send me another card to try thinking maybe something's wrong with this one, but I haven't gotten a response back yet. "

Theo's post from the forums follows:

"I just got it. First test is can it copy files to my USB Zip drive which works flawlessly with 2 USB cards on two machines, an XLR8 and a USB card.

Test failed. I got a huge freeze just at the beginning of the copy to the ZIP drive of some big files. Had to force restart, tried no extensions, copied one file to the ZIP, then my Logitech mouse 'lost control with Houston.' :-)

Restarted tried to copy the same file again, at the end of the copy it froze.

Who cares how fast the Firewire section is, I didinít even try it.

Suggestion to Mike: when you test a combo card you have to test BOTH functions. [Note - the only Combo Firewire/USB Card I've tested is the RocketFire card - and both USB and Firewire work fine on it in my experience.-Mike] This card has a generic USB chip on it, which is crap. I did manage to print a nozz;e check test print through my Epson 1270 printer, but that does not mean this cardís USB is to be trusted AT ALL! I am using 9.0.4, btw, with 1.4.1 USB software.

Do not buy it!
Theo "


Cal had sent a previous mail prior to the forum post above regarding his Evergreen card problems:

" Evergreen fireLine PCI Combo Card installed in a Beige G3 300 MHz bumped to 333, Rev 1. Apple SCSI card in PCI 1, ixMicro UltimateRez card in PCI 2, fireLine in PCI 3. Running OS 9.0.4. The USB works GREAT, but the FireWire is another story.

I haven't been able to get my system to boot with the FireWire Enabler extension enabled. FireWire Support seems benign, but the enabler hangs my system on startup. Cursor still moves, but bootup stops. I've installed FW 2.4, enabled ONLY the FW extensions with NO control panels nor other extensions and the problem still occurs.

In order to get my computer back, I have to boot from CD and manually remove the FW extension from the Extensions Folder (booting with Extensions Off results in the same hanging problem). After restart with the restored Control Panels and Extensions, all of my sound inputs/outputs disappear. I haven't been able to figure out what to do to get the sound back, but it happens eventually. BTW, this is NOT USB sound, this is just normal, built-in sound.

I've switched PCI 2 and 3 and still have the same problem. Called Evergreen Tech and they're working on it. Just wondering if anyone else has had this kind of experience. As recommended by Evergreen, I removed the card, rebooted with all extensions enabled including the FW 2.4 drivers and it started up fine. Seems to me there's a something about the card and drivers that don't seem to want to mix.

-Cal

[He later wrote:]

I actually sent that as an entry to your combo card page. I had the same problems with the 2.3.3 drivers. Are the other two people using Beige G3 Rev 1? The guy at Evergreen is using a 7200 and apparently shows no problems, either. There does seem to be some USB sound issues that they have discovered, but I haven't experienced anything like that. "


[5/16/2000 Update]

Orange Micro Firewire/USB Combo Card Sleep Issue? A reader reports a problem with this card in his Beige G3:

"Hi Mike,
... I too purchased the OrangeLink FireWire/USB PCI Board. I have been using it in my beige G3/266 mini-tower under OS 8.6 (required for the card). I can report no problems with this handy card, except for one annoying one. The Mac appears to go dead after 10 seconds of sleep, and cannot be revived! I have tried everything suggested on Apple's Tech Exchange, to no avail. Otherwise, the card is happy in slot 1 (luckily put there by chance). Look forward to testing digital video sometime soon.
Regards,
Vic"

I've asked Vic if he's using only the Apple Firewire 2.3.3 and Apple USB card support 1.4.1 drivers. Based on reports, the Apple Firewire drivers are a better solution that using the vendor's drivers.


"I bought a combo orangelink card and haven't gotten it to work with any available sets of drivers.. Orange referred me to placing it in the top PCI slot [due to the PCI bridge computability issue] but its not showing any devices as being available through the profiler. The usb alerts and messages window is always asking for a native power manager or something or other.. i don't own any Firewire peripherals yet, but I'm not to hot to get any, especially since none of the usb ones appear to work.
Kenny J."

Note: In my S900 running OS 9.04, I'm using a Western Digital Firewire card with only the Apple Firewire 2.3.3 drivers. It does not show up in Apple System Profiler (it's in the 5th PCI slot), but works fine.


"I have a powercomputing powercenter pro 180lp with an XLR8 Carrier ZIF G3 at 400mhz...OS 8.6 Orange micro combo firewire/usb was ok on USB, but froze up machine when used with final cut pro and a Firewire drive from CLub Mac. Drive worked perfectly on a B/W G3 at work.

Tried the Ratoc Combo card after that and usb worked great, but card would not recognize the firewire drive unless I used old orange micro extension, then after a while not even with that. Wouldn't work with either of 2 versions of Ratoc driver.

Tech support from ratoc was email only from japan. Sent it back too. I was using latest apple usb 1.4.1 and tried firewire 233 and 222 versions.

Waiting for Powerlogix combo card to come out, as I only have one slot available.
Michael W. "


"I bought an Orangemicro Firewire/USB card for my PowerMac 7500 with a Newertek G3 275mhz upgrade card running OS 9.0.4 and firewire 2.3.3 and it works most of the time. I use it with my VST 14 Gb firewire HD and the only problem I've found is that sometimes, when I disconnect and reconnect the drive (it's replaced my Jazz drive as my bulk file mover), my computer won't recognize that there's a FW drive attached, forcing me to restart. I recently read that MacWorks RocketFire PCI card is faster. Oh well. [That may have been tests with native drivers, not the Apple Firewire 2.3.3 drivers-Mike]

I recently bought a G4 500Mhz, and read that I could network it with my old machine via firewire using FIRENET from Unibrain (Unibrain.com). Both machines are running OS 9.0.4 and firewire 2.3.3 and I have yet to get it work. Unibrain's repsonse was:

From: George Mastrokostas (gm@unibrain.com)
Subject: RE: can't make firenet for mac work

There might be something wrong with the orange micro card. Please try to connect 2 Mac's with a built in firewire port and you should get them runnining.

I haven't received a response from Orangemicro on the problem. I move large photo files from my old machine, which has become my scanning station, to my G4 and it's a small pain to save the file to the VST drive, disconnect, reconnect to the G4, and open the file. Expecially when the drive won't come up on the older machine maybe 15% of the time.
there you have it,
jayme thornton "




I welcome your comments and experiences regarding Firewire/USB combo PCI cards. Please include your card brand, drivers used and Mac model/OS version.


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