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! D'Lynn Waldron Industry Insider

Adaptec's Solutions to SCSI and
Firewire Connections

by D'Lynn Waldron, PhD. ©1999

Apple's new high end models have FireWire and USB, but not SCSI or serial. (An ADB port on the back of the new tower models can accommodate existing tablets, joysticks, and keyboards.)
... Many high end users have a major investments in internal and external SCSI devices, while others will want to use the new FireWire devices with their existing SCSI Macs.
... Adaptec offers several solutions that will allow the use of SCSI devices with the new USB and USB/FireWire Macs, and the use of FireWire devices with SCSI Macs.


FireWire is Apple's trademarked name for the 1394 connection technology. The IEEE 1394 bus can support up to 62 devices, and each can talk to any other device independent of the rest of the chain.
... FireWire devices can be hot connected to the chain without turning off the computer. The devices on the 1394 bus are sometimes referred to as "nodes".
... The bandwidth of the 1394 bus ranges from 100-400 mps (millions of bits per second), and that bandwidth is shared among all the devices on the chain.
... Each 1394 device needs its own driver.



Adaptec SCSI Accelerator Cards

Adaptec's SCSI accelerator cards provide a much larger pipeline for data passing between the peripherals and the CPU, than do Apple's built-in SCSI buses. The increase in speed with an Adaptec accelerator card can be up to 400% over standard SCSI controllers.
... Adaptec's PowerDomain line of Ultra Wide SCSI accelerator cards have two buses for two separate SCSI chains. Each chain can accommodate up to 15 additional SCSI devices.
... Adaptec SCSI Connect 2906 is a basic connection card that runs at 10mb/sec and is ideal for Zip drives and scanners.

Adaptec PowerDomain 2930U card has a transfer rate of 20mb/sec which is ideal for connecting multiple SCSI peripherals such as: hard drives, Jaz drives and CD-R.
... Adaptec PowerDomain 2940UW card accomodates bursts up to 40 Mbyte per second . It runs devices at the speeds of Fast SCSI and Wide SCSI. The card has two buses for a total of 15 peripheral devices. The 2940UW card streets under $160.
... Adaptec PowerDomain AHA-2940U2W card is the top of Adaptec's SCSI accelerator card line. It accommodates bursts up to 80 Mbyte per second on the UltraWide bus. There are two UltraWide and two Ultra2 connectors on the card, which can be used concurrently, and mixed with each at its maximum speed. The card has two buses for a total of 15 peripheral devices. The 2940U2W card streets under $450.

Adaptec Ultra HotConnect 8945 gives you the choice of having two Ultra Wide SCSI chains, or one UltraWide SCSI chain and one FireWire/1394 chain. These chains can be one internal and one external, or both internal, or both external.
... The FireWire/1394 connection supports up to 25 MB/sec.
... The Ultra Wide SCSI connections support bursts up to 40 MB/sec, which is significantly faster than the FireWire.
... Each 1394 device needs its own driver. Adaptec's AHA-8945 HotConnect Ultra comes with drivers for DVD devices such as Camcorders and players that have a 1394 connection. Other devices will ship with the driver they require.
... Adaptec's Ultra HotConnect card software does not support all of the lower-end models of Macs and clones, so check out Adaptec's Web site for information on compatibility.
... The Adaptec Ultra HotConnect 8945 card streets for under $600. This price includes a complete kit of connectors, cables and ribbons for any configuration you may want now or in the future.

For more information on Adaptec products go to
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