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More CompUSA Firewire/USB Card Reports:
Last Updated: 12/20/2001 (reader reports section)


CompUSA FW/USB Card Clearance Sale ($19.xx): The 11/28/01 news page here noted that Compusa had a combo FW/USB card for under $20. Over a dozen readers found them at local stores for this price. They currently (as of 11/30/01) show the card at their online store as backordered at this page but you can use their store finder/stock check to see if any local stores have stock. (I've included some readers comments on these under-$20 cards below but have not read all emails yet.)
My Tests with the $20 SKU# 280284 card (Lucent FW/USB chips, TI bridge chip): [12/3/2001] (Serious problems seen in B&W G3 w/VST portable drive in both OS 9.2.1 and OS X. I've later tested more and see the problem with both AC powered and portable drives. The drives work for some light use - but in heavy IO the CompUSA's firewire bus goes south repeatedly in this B&W G3.) I bought one of the last two $19.88 cards at CompUSA in Richmond for testing here. (The card has Lucent FW and USB chips, a TI bridge chip and the power connector.) Although one B&W G3 owner (at least) reported problems with this card in his system, I've seen mixed results with my B&W G3 rev 2. That system has no other PCI cards installed however (if that matters).
I installed it in the middle PCI slot, connected a power cable (HD to floppy connector type - about $5 at most computer stores) and it mounted a VST portable FW drive and I copied about 50MB of files to one of the internal HDs fine in OS 9.2.1.

I then updated my B&W G3 OS X drive with the latest OS X 10.1.1 updates and tried to use my VST portable FW drive with OS X. The VST drive mounted fine at first but after about a minute I noticed a "spinning beachball" cursor. I looked at the VST drive and the LED was off - indicating there was no power on the Firewire bus. I opened the case and verified the card/power cable, etc. were fine. I unplugged and reconnected the drive (getting a warning from OS X) and the drive mounted again. But within a minute the power LED on the drive went off again. I again unplugged/reconnected the drive and it flickered (access light), then the LED went out and the drive never mounted this time. ( I tried again and the same thing happened - no power on the drive and it would not mount of course without power.) I then selected the OS 9.2.1 drive to boot from and selected Restart - and the Mac never restarted (spinning beachball at a blank blue screen.)

What is really bizarre is I can no longer restart/boot from the OS 9.2.1 disk (a slave drive that working fine before this episode). I've twice selected it as the startup disk in OS X, tried restarting and even a cold boot - and still it boots from the OS X drive every time. I ran OS X's disk first aid and the 9.2.1 drive was reported has OK. (I booted from a Diskwarrior CD, ran DW and then was able to restart from the OS 9.2.1 disk. ) After booting into OS 9.2.1, I ran the entire Macbench 5.0 disk test suite (to exercise the drive) and during the testing the VST drive power LED again went out. So the issue is not just with OS X but OS 9.2.1. Again I may have a bad card, etc. but I'll do further testing to try and isolate the fault. Until seeing the loss of FW bus power, this card was showing promise in OS 9.2 and OS X (it mounted drives, etc.) but right now I'm not happy with the card as you can imagine. (I tried using a different FW cable, a different port on the card and enabling the FW cardbus enabler extension - same problem, even in OS 9.2.1 the FW bus power/LED on the VST drive eventually turns off. This VST drive is used daily with other macs with onboard FW ports with no problems and checks OK in disk first aid and Diskwarrior.)

I'll test more later and also try an AC powered (rather than bus powered) Firewire drive to see if that helps. Perhaps I have a suspect card - but just a FYI on what I have seen with the CompUSA card in this B&W G3 so far.
(I've not tested the USB, since I have onboard USB in the B&W G3.)
I don't know why some have noted problems even using the basic Firewire of the card with B&W G3s in OS 9, but I'm not seeing it here with my card yet in limited tests. (My card is identical to the middle one in the photo below.)



The Firewire/USB Combo Card feedback page here has had some mixed reports on CompUSA cards in Macs and notes on two different models being sold. (Latest reports are added farther down -including an odd report from a Beige G3 owner noting enabling the "Firewire Cardbus Enabler" extension helped.)

Some of the recent reports on this card includes a Beige G3 owner that had good results with firewire DV import and export with a specific model of the card. A PowerCenter owner that previously had problems with a FWdirect combo card noted the CompUSA card he bought worked (but his later comments included notes on problems with an Epson USB printer - see the 8/21/2001 update from him below that noted a different CompUSA card model solved the problem.)

Note to those having Problems: One of the Beige G3 owner reports below noted having to enable the "FireWire Card Bus Enabler" extension. I wonder if that's needed for the PCI Bridge on the combo card. For those having problems with a Combo card verify this extension is enabled to see if that helps. (I know the older Powerbooks used a TI PCI/cardbus bridge chip - and the CompUSA #280284 card has a TI bridge chip on it).
(BTW: Some also noted that their #280284 had an Opti chip on it, not the 2 Lucent chip version which seemed to be on most of the cards of that SKU#. )


Reader Feedback: (most recent additions first, but a few reports are ones I just now an getting to in my 6,600+ email inbox.)

[Added 12/20/2001]

Hi Mike,
First, thanks again for your work. You're site is the first place I send people with questions about Mac upgrades.

I bought one of the first combo cards available, from OrangeMicro. I've been satisfied with the original and a new model from them (you have a couple reports from me in your archive), but was intrigued by the $19.88 CompUSA combo card. The consensus seemed to be that the Lucent FW chip-based cards (with aux. power connector) were better than the Opti chip-based ones (which lack a power connector).

I needed a combo card for a Beige G3 (Rev 2. DT, G3/400MHz upgrade, 768MB RAM, OS 9.2.2) here at work, so I grabbed the last one available at my local store (Downtown Chicago). I was leery of it having the Opti FW chip, but for $20 it was worth trying. I'm happy to report that in my case, it has been working flawlessly using the stock Apple FW and USB drivers.

First I tested it with a USB Zip 250 and its FW adapter. It mounted with the stock Apple driver, the FW adapter drew bus power, and copies to/from a 250MB Zip disk, up to 220MB at a time, without a hitch on either interface. Next I hooked up my Nikon Coolpix 775 to a USB port. The camera mounted (no drivers needed), and I downloaded 30MB of pictures at a nice 0.5 MB/s rate without a problem. Then I attached my old ClubMac FW drive (with 17GB Maxtor drive) and did several multi-100MB copies (up to 770MB) to/from it without a single hiccup.

Finally, I attached my Sony TRV-103 Digital 8 DV camcorder. Using BTV Pro 5.2, I captured and outputted DV with no problem, both to/from an IDE drive on the internal bus, and to/from the aforementioned ClubMac drive. I'm very happy with it, even aside from the bargain price.

I'd bet some of the inconsistent results may be because of poor quality control. My card's faceplate isn't straight, leaving a big gap between the faceplate and the top part of the opening (I can't mate the faceplate's screw slot with the faceplate screw hole in the case). Given the price I wasn't expecting perfection, but I'm glad at least the circuitry is straight. It would be interesting to see if CompUSA ever replenishs stock of these at this price. I'm glad I got so lucky, and thank you for keeping us all informed.
Regards.
Phil Lefebvre "


(Came across this email from Aug 16th, which notes that the SKU number alone doesn't assure you of any particular card chipset/features- see the photos below of the 3 various CompUSA combo cards cards seen.)
" I sent you an e-mail last night about the CompUSA Firewire/USB combo card, indicating that they are now selling a different card.

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.
Kathryn Jenkins
[Note that SKU 280284 is the $19.xx card now - and the picture on the box I saw in the store for that SKU had the power connector and two Lucent chips plus the TI bridge chip. As is true for most any store brand card like this, the actual card design/OEM mfr may change from lot to lot.-Mike]

(Kathryn's original email from Aug. 15th follows)

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.

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 Jenkins "


(email dated Aug 27th, 2001)" Dear Mike,
Just wanted to mention that the CompUSA Firewire/USB card with the "Lucent" chip set (see picture on box) works flawlessly in my PowerLogix G4/450 upgraded 9600. It not only doesn't lose a frame in DV capture under Premier 5.1LE running the QT5 codec, but it also works flawlessly with EditDV, MotoDV, PhotoDV and most likely, Cinestream using the highly regarded Radius SoftDV codec. I'm returning the Orange Micro card and it's NEC chipset tomorrow.
Post when you get a chance
Best Wishes for you and your family
Marshall Colley "


(Email dated Aug. 27th)" Is anyone successfully using a combo card in a 7500 for iMovie?

System Details:
OS 9.1 Apple Firewire and USB Card Support, minimal extension set for video. 7500 w/ carrier Zif 350 running at 397, bus speed 53mhz, 2-1 backside cache
512 MB RAM, interleaved
ATI 128VR
Jackhammer UW SCSI card with 2- 9 gig Barracuda in ext. enclosure

System has been highly stable at this speed.

I bought a CompUSA card for my Powermac 7500, after trying an Orange Micro combo card. Both cards have Lucent/TI chipset, the CompUSA card has a power connector. The Picture on the box showed the Power Connector.

The Orange Micro card had problems recognizing my USB devices on start up. I had to unplug and reconnect them, before the drivers would load. I did not have this problem with my Belkin USB card, I am replacing. IT would capture from a Canon ZR-20 camcorder but failed to export to camera.

The CompUSA card ($70) cost about $110 total after purchasing a 1394 cable and power connector. The USB works fine. iMovie can capture clips fine to my HD, Clips and project play fine on computer. However I can not export to camera. Black with boxy video and bad sound. It will export to Quicktime just fine.

I am going to try and slow the Bus speed to 50mhz, and I am setting up 1 separate drive for iMovie and other video projects.

Thank you for your hard work putting together my favorite Mac website!
Brian Bee "

It may not help but I asked if he had the Cardbus extension enabled.


" Mike,
Just wanted to let you know, regarding the CompUSA Firewire/USB combo PCI cards; I purchased two of the cards. The boxes still had the $69.99 price tag on them but I told them cashier that their website showed them as being $19.99. He checked the site and after about 8 minutes came back and said "wow, that's really cheap!" I was very excited! Upon opening of the boxes I realized that the two cards were made by different manufacturers. I was skeptical as to whether they would both work but my doubts were unfounded. Both cards work flawlessly.
Also, the clerk allowed me to pick up my OSX 10.1 upgrade CD package with no proof of previous X ownership. He charged me a penny and I was off! Gotta love my CompUSA!
Kevin Husted
* S W I Z C O R E * M E D I A *
http://www.swizcoremedia.com "

I wanted to ask Kevin if the card works in OS X (and what chips were on the card), but he has an @home email address - which was cut off this weekend.


" Seeing the reports, and since I have had trouble with CDRW-erasing (Firewire) and USB-hubs on my B&W G3, I thought this might be the $20 dream-answer.

I bought the card (SKU 280284), and it has the OPTi Firelink chipset.
Does anyone have this get recognized in OS X? (10.1.1)
I'm not seeing Firewire of USB devices being recognized thru it.
Looks like I'll be returning it. Can't tell for sure from the reports if any of the other chipsets will matter.

Mike Z"

I don't know of any drivers for FW cards for OS X if they don't work natively. (I think Orangemicro may have released some beta drivers for one of their firewire card but I don't think that was for the combo card, which has a bridge chip.)


A reader in the forums asked for Beige G3 owner comments with this $20 card - here's a few beige G3 owners comments on using it.

" It's been running in my beige G3 without a hitch - except for the initial kernel panic I received... Apparently, OS X doesn't like two USB PCI cards installed. Removed the old one and everything is peachy.
Jeff Crump
Scanning Coordinator
The Leaf-Chronicle "


Another Beige G3 owner:

" Hi Mike:
I'm a frequent visitor of your web pages and have gained much from the information you gather there. While I've thought of thanking you before, this time, I couldn't resist messaging you: I snagged the VERY LAST Usb/Firewire combo card at my area compusa last night, for the unbelievable discounted price of 20 bucks. This is less than i paid for a 2 slot pci usb card!

What has made me so ecstatic is that I merely dropped it into place in my trusty Beige G3 300 DT, plugged in a usb mouse and my OWC Oxford FW HD and restarted. Bingo! both work perfectly, the firewire transfer speed is not at all slower than it is when it is plugged into my G4 powerbook! I can now go back and forth between my laptop and my desktop with large files without having to interrupt my ethernet dsl line!! Wunderbar!
thanks for the headsup!!
Steve "


Another Beige G3 owner report:

"(SKU #280284)
Success! I'm currently using a Logitech USB Optical Mouse (the three-button version) on my G3/266. It is, as many have said, the one with the Lucent chips, etc., pictured on the box. All I had to do was install the Apple Firewire and USB drivers, followed by Logitech's own Mac OS driver, and everything's up and running! (Needless to say, my ADB Turbo Mouse 5 is feeling a bit jealous, at the moment.) ;)

For some strange reason, my second monitor (hooked up to the stock monitor port; I've got a 32MB Nexus in PCI slot C) wouldn't work for a while after installing the drivers, but as soon as I unplugged the first one during startup, then plugged it back in, everything was back to normal. (Better, in fact! Everything seems a bit zippier, actually!)
Specs:
Power Macintosh G3/266 MT
640MB RAM
Mac OS 9.2.1
Lots of irrelevant extras! :)
L8-R,
Jeff Drake "


Another Beige G3 owner report - noting pauses with a USB mouse. (I asked if this was the SKU 280284 card and what OS version/USB extensions version he had installed)

" Mike,
I recently got one of these cards (the one with the Lucent chipset) with the idea of updating my Rev A Beige G3 to have an optical mouse and work with my new iPod. Well the good news is that it works with the iPod straight away (I installed Apples' firewire and usb drivers). Mounts, launches iTunes -- very cool.

The bad news is that my new mouse occasionally freezes up for 5 to 30 seconds. Tried two different mice (Logitech and Apple Pro) with and without Mouseware software and it makes no difference -- still freezes up. The machine is fine and comes back to life if you wait it out but it's very annoying.
Does anyone know how to stop this?
-- Jeff
BTW: the machine is a rev A Beige G3 w/466 OWC G3 card, PCI Radeon, Sonnet Tempo IDE card and now the CompUSA Firewire/USB. "


(This Beige G3 owner report was from Oct. 16th, so it may not be the same SKU# as the $20 card model)

" Mike:
Once again, xlr8yourmac.com comes through! I had no idea that Comp USA even made a USB/Firewire card until I was started researching them with your site. After reading your Comp USA page, I picked up a card for myself. The price was $70 pre-tax [although the gift certificate my brother gave helped defray the cost :) ]. All the copies they had on the shelf featured the Lucent chipset model with the internal FW and power connectors. It's interesting to note that when I had been in the store the week before there were 12 copies on the shelves. When I picked up mine there was only about six left.

Installation was a snap. After seating the card, I installed Apple's USB Card Support 1.4.1 drivers and Firewire 2.3.3. I'm running a beige G3/300 with Mac OS 8.6. Everything I've tested with the card has worked great. For the USB, I've used a Logitech scroll mouse and a HP Deskjet 895 Cse; on the FW side I hooked a Club Mac 12x 10x 32x CD-RW. In Apple System Profiler's Devices and Volumes pane, when any USB items are plugged in the bus shows up as USB 0, version 1.4.1 (I forgot to check to see if the Firewire bus shows up.)

If I wind up getting a digital video recorder I'll let you know how that works. Thanks again for a great site. You keep helping make informed purchasing decisions and are saving me a lot of money on hiring people to install this stuff!
--
Sincerely,
Matt Andrews
Matt Andrews Illustration
http://mattandrews.net/ "


9500 Owner Comments:

" Mike-
Grabbed the last one of the combos in the compusa near me for the $19.88 price. I put it into my 9500, and after extracting the USB and Firewire drivers from the appropriate TOME's I have a (basically) fully functional firewire and USB bus. (Although the ASP does not identify the Firewire in any way).

My Sony Firewire external CDRW mounts CD's and burns fine with Toast and iTunes 2. My iPod also functions perfectly as a HD and as the iPod.

All USB devices function normally as well.
A steal for sure. I am going on the hunt for a second one tomorrow. Thanks
PM 9500 (G3 450)
OS 9.1
Voodoo 3 3000
Sonnet Tempo 66mhz (6gb Maxtor)
CompUSA combo card
Mark "


A B&W G3 owner noted problems:

" Well I have some bad news :( No matter what I do I cannot copy to the FW HD? I can see the directory of the drive. I can read files off of it. But any large copy to the drive (At least over 2.3M) causes the Finder to lockup?

I moved the card from slot number 2 to slot number 1 but it still won't work. I cannot move it to the 66Mhz slot as its keyed wrong. I tried both FW ports with no change.

This is with OS 9.2.1 and Firewire drivers 2.8.4 and the USB drivers 1.5.5 both from OS 9.2.1. I tried adding the firewire cardbus support extension but that didn't help.

The funny thing is that when I first installed the card ASP showed it as a PCI USB card and I also saw another USB bus but no extra FW bus?

I then zapped the PRAM and now it shows as a PCI bridge PCI card and I still see the second USB bus but it still won't show another FW bus? I think zapping the PRAM helped a bit as it will move the copy thermometer further but it still locks up.

Any help would be appreciated.
Thanks, Tom "

(Update - the results of my tests in a B&W G3 rev 2 at the top of this page.)


S900 Owner report (email dated 10/3/2001)

" Mike,
I just thought I'd share my recent experience with the CompUSA FW/USB card (I have the one with the internal power connector). I'm running OS 9.1 with 2.8.2 of the Firewire drivers and 1.4.1 of USB. My system is a Umax S900 with a Sonnet G3/500, 304MB of RAM, Radeon in slot 1, FW/USB card in slot 2, Formac Ultra40 card in slot 5 and Farallon 10/100 Ethernet card in slot 6. My startup volume is a 2GB drive on internal bus 0. For the price, I am very happy with the card. My Intellimouse works perfectly as does my Lexmark Z32 printer and my Que! 12x10x32 firewire CDRW. The only hitch is that I have occasional problems with my Maxtor 80GB firewire drive. Sometimes the computer gives me a "firewire disk has stopped responding" error. If I restart it happens when the desktop comes up. Same if I power cycle the drive or unplug-replug the firewire connector. Strangely, if I connect only my Que drive, open Toast, let Toast recognize it, then plug in the Maxtor drive it works again. Really strange workaround, but it's the only thing that I've found so far that does it. I tried different versions of the Firewire drivers as well as the Cardbus enabler one but they make no difference.

The only software hitch I've found is my Alien vs. Predator demo no longer runs correctly. I get strange visuals that make the game unplayable. Although unrelated to the CompUSA card, I can no longer boot from my Formac Ultra40 card, as it is no longer in one of the top two slots, however I can still use drives hooked up to it. I've read that some people have gotten Radeon cards to work in the lower slots of Umax S900 machines, but I had no such luck. Is there something special I have to do to make it work? I'd really like to be able to boot from my Ultra40 card again.

On a side note, I have not been able to install OSX on my machine. I've tried using an Apple brand CD-ROM drive and pulling all my PCI cards except the Radeon with no luck. Do you have any suggestions for what else I might be able to try? Sorry to send such a lengthy email when you're already swamped. Thanks for the great site and all the work you put into it!
Mike Monahan "

The S900 is not supported by OS X and is a modified Tsunami (9500) design. I suggested he check Ryan Rempel's OS X on Legacy macs page and the S900 owner reports in the OS X on pre-Beige G3 forums here. (registrations are closed but you can still read/search the existing reports from members there.)


" Mike -
Perhaps old news by now, but I am happy to report success using a CompUSA combo card SKU# 280284 on my 266 MHz beige G3 desktop to import from and *export* to a Sony TRV 730 Digital-8 camcorder using iMovie 2.01 running under OS 9.1 (Apple FireWire 2.7; no non-Apple drivers). I turned off most all extensions, and I had to remove the ethernet cable; it was causing stuttering in the audio export. (I installed an internal 80 GB IDE drive from Western Digital dedicated to the video project onto which I put a clean OS 9.1.) The USB ports work also (with both a mouse and a scanner).

This card uses Lucent chips for FW and USB and a TI chip for the PCI interface; it has 2 external USB ports, 2 external FW ports, 1 internal FW port, and an internal connector to supply power directly to the FW ports (not needed for a camcorder, since it draws no PCI bus power through its 4-pin cable). The card was stickered at $100, but rang up at $70. No software, no cables, next-to-no instructions, but so what! It works; just plug it in and go.

But BEWARE: On the same shelf with the same stock number, there were CompUSA combo cards that carry the NEC chip, stickered at $70. You can tell them apart easily because the picture on the right box clearly shows Lucent chips, and the bad box does not (also no internal FW port, no power connector). (They had similar good/bad variants of FireWire-only cards under their name; be careful.)

My previous experience was with an Orange Micro combo card which I bought about a year ago (spring 2000) for $110. I initially used it for the USB ports to connect a HP scanner; it worked fine. This June (2001) I got the Sony TRV 730 (great camera) and attempted to use it with the Orange card, but the card had the NEC FireWire chip and would import from but *not* export to the Sony camcorder, despite all forms of drivers and OS. Even a year after purchase Orange exchanged my card --- but for another one with the NEC chip, newer revision! Same result. Imports fine, exports produce the dreaded gray "lego blocks" dancing over the screen.

From what I read and my experience, the Sony is a hard camera to deal with, but it can be done. (Couldn't have done it without your excellent web pages!) Perhaps the NEC chips work with other cameras, but not Sony. Perhaps Orange and others have finally dumped the NEC chip. But your mileage may vary....
Chuck N."

OM did change their chip used based on some later reader reports, but recent I had one email that noted they are using a revised NEC chip that addresses the low write speeds seen with the original NEC chip (based on tests I did last year with the original chip and other owner reports in the past).

A PowerCenter owner wrote:

" Mike,
after talking with FW Direct for months, trying USB 1.2 and 1.4.1, I found the solution to fix the USB incompatibility with my PowerCenter 150 w/NewerTech G3/500 and 9.0.4 - I bought the CompUSA #280284 combo card. I now have both functional USB and FW on my old PCenter at least for Digital Video and Camera and Epson printing.
Eugene L.

[I asked if he had tried exporting DV using the card and he replied]

I have not tried to export yet, however I have now noticed a conflict bewteen the CompUSA card and my Epson 875DC USB drivers - the machine will boot and work just fine after a MB reset or PRAM zap, but will hang on any other boot, unless the Epson drivers are off. I am going to have to return the CompUSA card and try Orange Micro. I just cannot reset the MB for every boot-up (a PITA on a PowerCenter MB).
Any suggestions? "

[8/21/2001 update] Eugene later wrote:

Okay Mike,
Sorry to drag things out but after reading your FW/USB combo section again, I noticed the remarks about there being 2 CompUSA cards. I looked at the one I bought and it is the version sans molex power connector and using the TI/Opti chipset. I went back to another CompUSA and found they had both versions! I bought the other version which uses the Lucent/TI chipset and has a power connector.

Guess what? Now the Lucent chipped card works perfectly, no hangs/freezes, and does my FW DV camera (Canon ZR10), my USB digital still camera (Sony DSC-S85), and my USB Epson photo printer (875DC). No start-up probs any more...
I attached a photo of all 3 cards lined-up, the CompUSA Lucent card is in the middle

Again my set-up: PowerCenter 150 MT, NewerTech G3/500, 256 MB ram, OS 9.0.4, Formac ProRaid I ultra SCSI with 2 IBM 9 gig LVD drives, Formac ProFormance III driving SGI 1600sw, Espon Color 900 and 875DC.
Eugene L."

[Added 8/27/2001]

" Hi Mike,
I have to thank you for an excellent site. I couldn't have done my USB/Firewire conversion without you.

I saw the first success report on your firewire page and made a note to myself to run out and get a CompUSA #280284 combo card in June. Sometime in July, I ran out an got one, Plugged it in, but hadn't bothered to upgrade from OS 9 to 9.1. The card was recognized under 9 but crashed the computer at bootup under 9.1. Figuring I had done something wrong, I quickly went back to your site and whoa- a whole page dedicated to CompUSA combo boards!

I managed to plead insanity and got CompUSA to exchange the board . Well the new board didn't crash, but it didn't recognize any devices either. Again checking your site I found that I only had 2 of 3 Firewire extensions mentioned. I ended up grabbing the FireWire Card Bus Enabler using TomeViewer on a Firewire 2.5 installer. I picked this up from the Apple site on 8/23, but my 9.1 disk is up to version 2.8... But now, I've got a Nikon camera on usb and a Sony minidv to import from iMovie.

Thanks again
Carl Miyatake

Beige G3 266Mhz 384Mb
30GB WD hard drive (did it just like your page told me to)
OS 9.1 with Japanese Language Kit

USB Device Extension 1.5
FireWire Support 2.8.1
FireWire Enabler 2.8.1
FireWire Card Bus Enabler 1.0.1"

It's odd the Card Bus Enabler would matter since that's normally for PCCard firewire cards (PCMCIA slot cards such as notebook models). However I wonder if that's needed for the PCI Bridge on the combo card (?). (I know the older Powerbooks used a TI PCI/cardbus bridge chip - and the CompUSA #280284 card has a TI bridge chip on it.


" Mike,
I recently purchased an Orange Micro Firewire/USB 2.0 combo card to install in my 9600/350, because I had so many problems with my recently installed Powerlogix G4/450 if I had any cards at all in the lower 3 PCI slots. I figured that by using the combo card, I would still have two upper slots open for my ATI Xclaim VR 128 and Sonnet ATA/66 cards while keeping the lower slots empty, which is the only way for me to avoid random crashes with the G4 card installed.

The combo card has the slower NEC chipset, which I am disappointed about. I used to use an Orange Micro Firewire card with the TI chipset and a Belkin firewire card with the Lucent chipset. Both of these cards are much faster than my new combo card when using the Atto benchmark utility to test the drive in my Oxford 911 case.

When booting into OS 9, my devices connected to both the Firewire and USB ports were all recognized. I then decided to boot into OS X. For some reason, OS X wouldn't recognize neither the USB nor the Firewire ports, which is odd, since Orange Micro advertises compatibility with OS X. In fact, it is currently the only operating system that shows support for USB 2.0. I even installed the Orange Micro USB 2.0 drivers for OS X, but the ports were still not recognized. OS X had no problems with my separate USB (Entrega 4 port)and Firewire cards.

I think the problem might be due to the special PCI-PCI bridge chip on the combo card. The Apple System Profiler in OS X shows 4 slots with the same name. For example, if the combo card is installed in the top slot, slot A1 is listed 4 times. Perhaps since I have a 6 slot PCI machine, OS X has trouble recognizing an additional PCI bridge. Regardless, I am going to try and return the card to Outpost.com, where I purchased it. Even though it works with OS 9, I'm not thrilled with the speed of the Firewire chip. I'm not sure if all combo cards use a PCI bridge chip, but I think I might try purchasing the CompUSA combo card to see if it works. I'll let you know what I find.

[he later wrote]

Well, I tried the CompUSA combo card with the Lucent chipset and the power connector. OS X also did not recognize the card. I really think it has to due with the fact that 6 slot Macs already have a PCI bridge chip. OS 9 recognized the card, but the benchmarks were very slow. I was only getting about 6 MB/s read from my 7200 rpm drive in an Oxford 911 case.
With my Orange Micro firewire card with the TI chipset, I get 31 MB/s read!

In any case, I don't recommend using combo cards in 6 slot Macs if you plan on running OS X. Now I just have to find a way to be able to use my lower 3 PCI slots or else I will probably have to return my G4 card.
Sincerely,
Peter Lin "


" Dear Mike:
Still trying to solve the "lego block video" output from my Orange Micro card.

Regarding the report by Eugene L. of 8/21/01 on the Comp USA firewire card combo, I had just that day purchased the card with the opti/TI chips and my computer crashed each time I tried to access firewire. I took it back and exchanged it for the Lucent/TI card with the power connector plug and it works much better. No crashing, and on export, the lego block video is 99% gone, HOWEVER, I still get occasional dropout of the audio, randomly about every 10 to 30 seconds or so lasting 1/4-1 second. I feel I am "almost there" in solving this problem, but not yet. The good card has the code "FS:UTI" above the barcode.

Do I have to attach a power wire to the molex power plug on the combo card? There is such a plug in the computer but it doesn't reach.
[I do when the card has this power plug, but it's probably only be needed for bus-powered devices. Most computer stores have a $5 or less "Y" adapter that can be used to extend the reach - but most of the FW cards power connectors are a floppy (small) connector size, not the standard HD connector size.-Mike]

I have tried all the other suggestions in my G3 desktop, rev2, with OWC 333 ZIF chip, system 9.1, and Maxtor 20 gb 7200 rpm drive, ie, no extensions on except firewire and quicktime, unplugged all cables from the back except firewire, put a floppy in the drive. Defragment the HD. Nothing seems to matter except the PCI card.
Thank you.
Gene C."

I asked if he had Virtual Memory enabled, which can negatively affect audio. I also disable autoplay from the QT settings control panel and make sure there is no other polling device drivers or software running. Different versions of QT and/or the Sound Manager might also be a factor.


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