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Build Guide: OWC Elite Firewire CaseReturn to News Page


Build Guide: OWC's Elite Firewire Case Kit
Step-By-Step Illustrated Guide

By Mike
Published: 4/30/2001

This page is a follow-up to the OWC Elite Firewire case kit performance comparisons page

OWC Elite case kit

(Note: Readers say that the later Elite case kits did not look like the one I bought. The new case is similar in size, but has clear plastics.)

Kit Contents: What you get with the OWC Elite case kit:

  • Firewire case (of course)
    (with Oxford 911 IDE/Firewire bridge inside and IDE cable attached.)
  • AC Adapter
  • Firewire cable (6 pin-6 Pin)
  • Stand for Vertical Mounting (Detachable)
  • CD with El Gato's Disk Control 1.1 Drivers
    (NOTE: OWC says they now include Charismac Anubis software, not El Gato.)

If you're running OS 9.1 or the Firewire 2.7 drivers, you don't need any extensions to mount the drive once it's formatted. I prefer to format the IDE drive using the onboard IDE of a Mac before installing it in the case, instead of using any 3rd party utilities. (If you can't do that, just connecting an unformatted FW drive to a Mac will usually pop up a dialog in the Finder that will allow you to format it.) That way I can remove the drive later and use it in on the onboard IDE as well as the benefit of using Apple drivers, which are generally more compatable with future OS versions.

Tools/Items Required: In addition to the case kit you'll need:

  • Philips Screwdriver
  • IDE Hard Drive (IBM 75GXP 60GB used in this example)

Assembly Overview:

  • Remove detachable stand bracket (lift tab at rear of drive)
  • Remove 4 small screws from rear of case corners
  • Separate the two plastic case cover halves
  • Remove the metal shield from the case housing
  • Jumper the IDE drive to "Master"
    (use "Single Drive" setting for Western Digital drives)
  • Connect IDE and Power Cables to drive
  • Slide drive into case
    (side in the front of the drive first)
  • Secure the hard drive to the case using the 4 screws/holes on the bottom. (Align the drive mounting holes with the slots on the bottom of the case)
  • Re-assemble the case.
  • If the drive has not been formatted (using onboard IDE in later macs for instance), install and use the supplied driver/util on the CD. (If you're running Firewire 2.7 extensions that come with OS 9.1, no disk support extension is needed.)
  • Connect the supplied AC adapter, power the drive on and connect the supplied Firewire cable to the drive and Mac's firewire ports.

Case Kit Disassembly:

Remove the 4 Case Screws:

Case Rear View

Separate The Case Cover Shell:
Once the screws are out, lift the plastic case cover halves up and to the rear to separate them.

Separate Case Covers
Remove the Case Metal Shield:
The metal shield cover lifts off by the edges.

Case Shield

Jumper the IDE Drive for "Master" Setting:
The image below shows Master settings for IBM 75GXP and most Maxtor drives. (Western Digital drives should be set to 'single drive' setting. See your drive label for specific info or visit the web site of the drive mfr. for jumper info if it's not on the drive label.)

Drive Jumper settings

The Maxtor photo is not as clear as I'd like, but the Jumper is on the far left position.

Connect the Hard Drive Cables/Install the Drive:

Installing drive

Note: Make sure the wires on the inside edge of the case going to the LED at the front of the case are not pinched under the drive. (Keep the wires against the case wall.)

Secure Drive in Case:

Drive Mounting screws

Drive Mounted in Case:

Drive mounted

Re-Assemble the Case:
Once the drive is mounted, place the metal case shield back on the case, taking care to ensure the internal tabs are all inside the case wall edge as noted in the photo on removing it. Then slide the 2 plastic case covers on the top and bottom (the 2 halves are identical). Slide the covers part way on, to where they will mate together and then slide them forward into the final position. Reinstall the 4 screws removed previously to secure the case covers.

If you didn't format the drive on an onboard IDE mac, use the supplied CD to install Gato's utility for formatting. Make sure you format the drive as HFS+/MacOS Extended to get the maximum storage efficiency (large drives using HFS+/MacOS Extended have smaller minimum block sizes and are more efficient as far as storage space used.) If you're running OS 9.1, as noted previously the Apple Firewire 2.7 extensions will mount the drive without any 3rd party disk support extension.

I actually like this case better than I thought I would originally. It's fast and with the vertical mounting bracket, it fits perfectly in my limited desk space between the Powerbook and the CDRW drive.

One thing I spotted, but that has not been a problem so far. The AC Adapter is rated for 1.25Amps (@12V) continious, but the IBM specs for the 75GXP series shows a maximum startup current draw of 2A for the 75GXP series. I'm not sure if IBM's max figure is conservative and that's just the initial spinup/poweron draw (typical operating power requirement is lower) but just a FYI. (Note: After this review was posted in 2001, OWC changed the AC adapter to a much higher output (DC Amps) model.)

Pricing & Availability:
Prices change over time (usually going down as capacities go up) so check OWC's firewire drive product page for the latest pricing/models. Also check the site specials page drive section.

Related Articles:
For performance tests of this drive on 4 different Macs (G4/500 DP, PB G3/500, PB G4/400 and 9600/350), see this article. For previous Firewire reviews and install guides, see the Firewire articles page. (Includes reviews from last year on the first ADS Pyro, Macally and Clubmac cases, as well as portable Firewire drive tests, portable case kit build guides and Firewire PCI controller card tests.)

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