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Firewire Direct's Portable Firewire Hard Drive Kit
How it Compares to VST's Superslim Drives
by Mike
Published: 5/27/2000

Installing The Driver/Formatting the Drive

I received one of the first kits offered by Firewire Direct, a pre-sales model that had a pre-release CD version. The current retail version should be identical however. The contents of the CD is shown below:

CD contents

Although the final CD may differ, here are the contents of my CD's documents folder:

Docs Folder

The CD includes an OEM version of Prosoft's Radialogic drivers:

OEM Radialogic folder

Note: After installing the Firewire Direct extension, plugging the drive in allowed formatting it in the Finder, without the need to use Radialogic extensions or formatting. This reduces the extensions loaded which I prefer. If you want to partition the drive into multiple volumes, the Radialogic drivers/utility would be needed however.

The Firewire Direct installer puts the following extensions in your System Folder. Note I disabled the OHCI extension, which is used for PCMCIA Firewire controller cards. Since I was using onboard Powerbook Firewire (for PB tests) and a PCI Firewire card (S900 system) the OHCI extension was not required and was disabled.

FWdirect extensions

Once the Firewire Direct extension was installed, rebooting and then plugging in the drive results in the Finder popping up a standard drive format dialog box:

Finder Format Dialog

As with all large volumes, selecting MacOS Extended format (HFS+) is best, as it reduces wasted space due to smaller block sizes. (The minimum amount of disk space a file takes up on the disk.). Once formatted (a few seconds), the drive mounts on the desktop ready to use. The disk volume has a Firewire icon:

icon

This icon is used unless the drive is the startup disk. In that case the drive has the standard Mac disk icon.

About Drive Sleep:

As mentioned in the intro page, with the Firewire Direct drive mounted the Powerbook would not go into sleep mode. The solution is simple, just 'put away' or drag the volume to the trash. After doing this the Powerbook would sleep. *But* - if you use the VST 2.1 extension with the Firewire Direct drive, then you can sleep with the volume mounted. Hopefully Firewire Direct will update their driver to allow sleep with the volume mounted.

Here's the dialog box seen when trying to sleep on the PB when using the Firewire Direct drive with their v1.8 driver and the volume mounted:

Sleep Note Dialog

Note: Although firewire drives are hot-pluggable, it's recommended you drag the volume to the trash before disconnecting the drive (true of both all Firewire drives). Do not disconnect the drive while a file I/O is being performed.

The next page of this article covers performance tests with a PowerBook G3/500 (Firewire model) and an S900 with two different PCI firewire cards. Comparisons to VST's more expensive 12GB superslim drive is also included.


Next Step: Performance Tests!

Yes - show me!

No, take me back Home.


Index of Portable Firewire Drive Kit Project

Intro | Case Assembly | Software Install | Benchmarks

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