IDE Adaptor cards on a 6400

This page describes ways of getting more IDE drives connected to your 6400. The 6400's IDE controller does not allow a Master/Slave setup so you can only use one IDE drive connected. Below are some new solutions for getting more IDE drives connected.
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IDE to SCSI interface card

I found this site while reading Accelerate Your Mac on a company named Black Fire that has made an interface card that will allow you to run IDE drives from the SCSI bus. Basically it attaches to your SCSI bus and then you can attach IDE drives to it. I have emailed the company for more info on if it will work on Macs.

IDE to SCSI interface card update: I got a reply from Black Fire and it seems that they are a Mac company and the card will work on any Mac with an available SCSI port. 6400 users may want to get a SCSI accelerator card for better performance as we all know how slow the internal SCSI-1 is on our Performas! Here are my letters with their replies.

It also seems that you can only attach one IDE drive to one SCSI ID. Master/Slave of IDE drives not supported.

4/26/1999 IDE-SCSI adaptor card review: Dirk Paul bought one of Black Fire's IDE-SCSI cards and mounted it in his upper drive bay to a 10G IDE HD. He wrote up a great review on the install and will have speed tests in a bit. Thanks Dirk! Take note that at this time the card will only recognize up to 8.4G so he is not getting the full benefit of his 10G drive. Black Fire is working on a fix.

6/11/1999 Issues with BlackFires SCSI-IDE card: Dirk Paul sent me some more info on his new 10G IDE drive connected using BlackFires SCSI-IDE interface card. It was in response to a reply of mine asking why the 2 drives benchmarked similar when large IDE drives are usually faster then the stock HD.

Basically the BlackFire card can only transfer data as fast as the SCSI bus its on. The internal SCSI for the 6400 is only 5MBps which is pretty slow. I asked him to try swaping the two drives and see if performance improves.

8/7/1999 Another BlackFire IDE-SCSI adaptor user: Bill sends word that he got one of BlackFires IDE to SCSI adaptor and it is working fine for him in an external SCSI case. Thanks Bill.

12/24/1999 BlackFire's SCSI-IDE adaptor has its 8.4G limit removed: I just received word that BlackFire has removed the 8.5G limit on there IDE to SCSI adaptor card. This makes it much more worth the price now since you can only attach one drive to the card. Thanks.

1/13/2001 Acard IDE-SCSI adaptor: I found another IDE-SCSI adaptor to add to the list of IDE adaptors I have going. What's interesting about the Acard adaptor is that its not just a card that sits on the end of your IDE drive like Blackfires does. It is a little cage that you put the IDE drive in then the cage/HD fits inside your computer case. It is designed to fit in a 3.5" space but possibly a full height space unlike the IDE slot on the 6400. The Blackfire card was designed for a 5.25" space. If anyone tries this, please send me some info. Thanks

1/26/2001 Acard SCSI to IDE review: here is a link to a web site that has some good info on using Acards SCSI to IDE adaptors. They have a few different types to suite anyones needs!

3/23/2001 Review: ACARD ARS-2000UB Ultra SCSI to IDE External Cabinet for IDE Drives, for PC and Mac: I found this on Accelerate Your Macs web site the other day. It is a review on the ACARD Ultra SCSI to IDE external drive enclosure. It allows faster IDE drives to reach more of their full potential when being attached to a SCSI bus.

IDE to PCI interface card

Just when you thought one interface was enough! ProMax has announced its own IDE interface card that allows up to 4 IDE drives to be attached via a PCI card. It has 2 IDE ports and runs a Master and Slave drive on each. It will also do IDE RAID but only with one drive per port. Here is some info I found on Accelerate Your Mac's web site.

I have emailed them myself for more info and they replyed saying that the card was only tested on 8500, 8600, 9500, 9600, and G3's. No word on 6400 compatibility. They said I could try but I couldn't return the card if it didn't work incase of damage. This would be a better choice over BlackFire's card as you can hook up more IDE drives with just the one card and you don't need to buy a SCSI accelerator card to see the full potential of the drives. Here is a PDF data sheet from them with more details.

2/14/1999 TurboMax PCI IDE Card Feedback: I found this on Accelerate Your Mac 2/13/1999 which states the ProMax PCI-IDE card may work on a 6500 (which also means a 6400) but you must format the drive once attached to the card. This is weird? I wonder if because the card makes IDE drives look like SCSI drives that it actually wants to put a SCSI driver on it? I'll keep posting info as I find it so stay tuned :)

2/19/1999 PCI-IDE questions and answers: I emailed ProMax, the makes of Turbomax, a few questions on this card. It seems that they know the card will run on other systems besides the ones they mention but they only qualify the 8500-G3 systems as working with the high demands of video capture.

No reply?
>Can IDE CD-ROM's and ZIP drives be attached also? What about IDE DVD

6/3/1999 Review of Promax's TurboMax PCI-IDE card: Here is a link to Accelerate Your Mac's review of this card which allows up to 4 IDE drives to be attched to your Mac. Its not with a 6400 but I thought you might be interested in reading it. It will work on the 6400 as Ryan sends word that it is for him. Thanks Ryan

6/10/2000 Turbomax ATA/66 PCI IDE card in a 6500: Here is a link to some info on Accelerate Your Mac's web site about this card in a 6500. Click here for more info on IDE adapter cards for the Mac.

8/12/2000 PCI IDE card comparisons: Here is a link to Barefeats page on PCI IDE cards for the Mac. It shows performance comparisons between the competing cards on the market now.

9/9/2000 Sonnet Tempo card and the 6400: I got a good letter from Rodney on his experience with Sonnet new IDE PCI card called the Tempo. Click here for more details. He had a serious issue where his computer shut down because the fan was not working and will probably be unhappy to see me post it but I wanted to let everyone know what can happen when new components are installed. He later found out that the ribbon cable going to the drives was blocking the fan. This can happen to many people as you would not expect this. I know I wouldn't have at first.

12/30/2000 Web site on IDE-PCI card performance: I found this web site the other day that has a whole bunch of info on how well these new IDE-PCI cards really work in an older Mac. He used a 7500 with the PCI cards and an iMac for comparison. Its very informative.

According to his first chart, the IDE spec name for the 6400 would be called "Fast-ATA" which is the 16MBps bus speed version. He notes that most people use the wrong term when speaking of IDE buses with there relationship to their speed. I will have to agree since I never knew that there was anything slower then what we had and apparently there are 2 buses that are slower. EIDE and IDE. But a lot of HD vendors used the term EIDE for their 33MBps drives. I have also seen Ultra-ATA and Ultra-IDE which don't even exist? Oh well :) Read the labels!!!

On a side note. He mentions that Apples Drive Setup 1.9.2 is a universal driver so it installs both an IDE and a SCSI driver on all drives. This is good for people wanting to move their drive later on. Since the IDE-PCI cards look like SCSI devices to the Mac and of course the stock IDE bus is IDE to the Mac, you cannot just move any HD from one bus to the other without having both drivers. Normally you need to initialize the drive once moved from bus to bus. This has been a reported issue on many other Help sites. It would appear that using Apples latest Drive Setup will solve that problem

Sonnet Tempo card and sound issues: I found this info on MacFixIt's site. Sounds like there is a timing issue with Sonnets PCI-IDE controller card?

[Sonnet Tempo ATA/66 card linked to sound problems
A MacFixIt reader found that, after installing a Sonnet Tempo ATA/66 card for his G3-upgraded 7500, he began to have sound-related problems, especially choppy sounds during disk access. He adds: "When I pulled the card out and booted with a SCSI drive, the problem disappeared. Sonnet Support confirmed that this is a known issue and that it has to do with the way Acard designed the card ('if you move files that sound bad to a SCSI drive, they sound fine'). They said that Acard is working on a fix, but did not know when they'd get that done. [See also previous coverage on this Tempo card.]]

This might also cause iMovie to work sporadically which throws out my suggestion of trying it to install faster HD's :( Has anyone with a 6400/6500 and Sonnets Tempo card seen this problem?

SCSI PCI cards may also have sound skipping issues?: Later MacFixIt posted this message!

[Sound skipping problem may extend to SCSI cards Regarding yesterdays item on a sound skipping problem linked to a Sonnet Tempo ATA card, Seth Mattinen replies: "I experienced the same problem after installing an Initio Miles U2W SCSI card and a Cheetah 9 GB 10K RPM drive. The trouble was that audio, video, and even MP3's in various players were skipping when the drive was accessed. The solution? I had to turn the speed down on the card from 80MB/sec to 26.6MB/sec. According to Initio, this is a problem with QuickTime that was supposed to be fixed with QuickTime 3.0, but apparently not for me. I haven't tried the new QuickTime 5 Preview though. My Mac is a G3-upgraded PowerCenter Pro 240."]

According to this report, it may be more related to QT then just a hardware timing issue?

2/10/2001 Caution using IDE PCI cards and HD formatting utilities!: Bob sends word that using an IDE card causes IDE HD's to appear as SCSI drives to the Mac. The problem then is that SCSI HD formatting utilities will allow you to format these drives! This is bad since you are not supposed to low level format an IDE HD. They should only be initialized which just prepares them for use. Not to be completely remapped. Thanks Bob.

[One word of caution with the UltraTek: From the Mac's side, it looks like a SCSI drive. The problem is that Drive Setup allows low-level formatting of SCSI and so that option is available for formatting the ATA drive too. However, VST cautions that only the regular "initialize" button should be used because the low-level format damages an ATA device! I also just read a note that the drive has to have SCSI drivers installed after moving over from the IDE bus of the Mac to the controller.

Trouble using a TurboMax ATA/66 card in a 6500: Here is a link to an article on Accelerate Your Macs web site, that Bob sent me, which is from a 6500 owner having trouble getting a TurboMax ATA/66 IDE PCI card to work. Basically he says he was unable to use the IDE1 channel for booting and had to install his boot drive on the IDE2 channel. Thanks for the link Bob. This person had not tried placing a secondary drive on the IDE1 channel as of the original posting so it may work for a non boot drive but I don't know? Has anyone else had trouble with booting from drives connected to IDE PCI cards?

UltraTek66 card in a 6400 issue: speaking of issues with IDE PCI cards, Bob sent me some more info on using an UltraTek66 IDE card in his 6400. Thanks Bob. He is working with UltraTek to find a solution to this problem.

[The VST UltraTek66 card works fine in the 9600--not at all in the 6400! I moved it into the 9600 tonight, and my Maxtor 30 GB initialized on it right away in the 9600, but initialization fails in the 6400 on both ports.

He later sent this email stating he was unable to get the card to work in his 6400 :( Thanks for the update Bob. Has anyone tried the UltraTek66 ATA card in their 6400/6500 and gotten it to work?

[Well, I have no good news on getting the VST card to run in the 6400. I had the card (with my own) in the 9600 and flashed the ROM to v1.1.2, and had my Maxtor 30 GB drive initialized on it. I moved the pair to the 6400--and the Mac sees the drive on the card but says it isn't initialized. I tried Drive Setup from both OS 9.0.4 and 9.1 to no avail. Part way thru it says "initialization failed" and that's it. So the card is coming out of there. I'll see if will let me send it back.

I did get a note from VST tech support and they say that they have "seen issues" with the Maxtor drives--they recommend IBM and also say that the Quantum and Toshiba drives work quite well.

So I don't know what else to tell you. It was a cool idea, too bad it didn't work ;-(.

8/4/2001 Getting improved performance from PCI IDE cards: Jacobo replied to a post on my forums about lousy capture in iMovie on a 6500. His states that by moving the PCI IDE card to the 1st slot that it acted faster and iMovie worked for him! Thanks Jacobo

[Had to try one more thing. I placed back the Tempo card but this time in the PCI slot closest to the mother board (the one which also makes the Radeon work). I regained the HD data throughput and iMovie is better than ever. Thanks again for taking the time to reply to my inquiries.

This brings up an interesting question. Is the 1st slot better then the second slot for PCI data access? I have heard from Radeon users that the card only works in the 1st slot which Jacobo also notes. Is there a difference between the two? Can a card in the 1st slot slow access to the second slot? Could this be related to the timing issue that older Macs such as ours have with PCI slots? Is the Moon really made of cheese! I had to add that one :)

Sonnet PR/Tempo ATA100: Sonnet announced at MacWorld,a new Tempo card that now runs at ATA/100 speeds! If anybody tries one in their 6400, I would appreciate hearing about it :) Thanks.

10/21/2001 Sonnet ATA/100 card and their new software do reduce audio stutter!

: Now I don't have info on their software working on a 6400 or a 6500 yet but Accelerate Your Mac had some info posted from a 7500 owner who said it got rid of his audio issues completely! This is good news and maybe it will help us as well? But you will sacrifice some performance for this as the software slows the drive access down some to accomplish this :( Here is the info from Accelerate's site.
[7500 Owner Reports Sonnet ATA/100 IDE Card Stuttering Audio Fix Works: -
In the past there have often been reports of stuttering audio when playing back files from IDE drives in older Macs using PCI IDE card. (Not all owners reported this, but many have). Sonnet noted in their press release for their ATA/100 card that it would ship with a software utility to address this. A reader post in the forums noted it works:

" Okay, I bit the bullet... took one for the team... and I'm happy to say that my new Sonnet ATA/100 card works flawlessly in my 7500.
Upon initial installation, I still had audio glitches (but blazing fast booting off the new buss) so I installed the accompanying software. This is a control panel with 4 settings that basically slows the card down to prevent the audio glitches we all know and hate. Works like a charm. I've also been running for a week without having to drag out Disk Warrior for major repairs."]

11/4/2001 Utility for Acard PCI-IDE card owners to help fix audio stuttering issues: I found this info on Accelerate Your Mac's web site. He notes a Utility provided by Acard to reduce or eliminate the audio stuttering issues noted by many users of older Macs with their PCI-IDE card installed.

[Acard's A/V Utility for Stuttering Audio Issues w/PCI IDE cards: -
If you have an older (pre-G3) Mac with Acard PCI IDE card with stuttering audio problems, try Acard's A/V Optimizer (direct download link is here). A reader with a 7500 and Acard ATA/66 card reported it solved his problems. Acard notes it lowers performance (as does Sonnet's ATA/100 card utility noted in past tests here).
The readme file with the download has information on using it. The Sonnet ATA/66 cards were made by Acard, but the readme says the utility is only for Acard models. (I'd suspect it would work with Sonnet Tempo ATA/66 and RAID cards, but welcome any reports from owners trying it). Sonnet's ATA/100 card is made by Promise and comes with their own A/V utility.]

3/2/2002 update on UltraTek66 PCI IDE card issues in a 6400: Andreas found a fix for issues with UltraTek66 IDE cards in our Macs. It seems there is an issue with the PCI clock? Thanks Andreas.

I got the same Problem using an Ultratek66 in a Umax Aegis or PM4400.

The controller shows up in ASP but trying to format the HD attached to it, formatting fails. So what to do? Buy a {...} Sonnet card?
No way.

I took a closer look on both the Ultratek66 and the Promise Ultra66. The difference that jumps in the eye is the missing 66 MHz Oscillator on the Ultratek.
So, why not?
The Ultratek (better the Promise chip) can get the clock from the PCI Bus,too. But the PCI Clock is not as stable as it might be. Maybe, the PSX Controller on all 4400,5XX0 and 6XX0 is a little bit buggy.

In short:
I removed the R27 {resistor} and soldered in a 66 MHz Oscillator.

After formatting the HD it shows up on the Desktop, yeah. And a CD-ROM is working well on the 2nd IDE channel.

I hope, this can help anyone.

Could this be the timing issue that Apple has told us about in the past and released that PCI Timing patch for? Could there be a real problem with the PCI clock circuitry on the mother board? This sure seems to suggest it. I asked for more info on where to get the oscillator and maybe some pictures of the procedure to install it.

3/23/02 Update on UltraTek66 card hack to make it work in our Macs: Andreas wrote back with more info on his hack to make his UltraTek66 IDE card work in his Mac. Thanks Andreas.

[Hi Tom,
I got the Oscillator from an original Promise Ultra66.Controller which I modified to get an UltraTek66 clone.

Maybe you'll get an Oscillator in your local parts store.
Attached are 2 pics.

1. remove this resistor (R27/1K)
2. Add 66 MHz Oscillator (a squared or you can place a DIL16 OR a DIL8 Oscillator here. There is no difference in these other then size of the Oscillator.

Hope this helps

image of resistor to remove

image where oscillator will go

[Hi Tom,
here is a scan of an 47.500000 MHz Oscillator. It's the same Type I used, only with 66 MHz.

all quartz oscillator have 4 pins. Data sheets can be found on the Net.

But don't forget: This Mod is only for people with knowledge on
soldering Multilayerboards. If you don't use the right tools you rip your card.

image of 47.5Mhz crystal

I am not sure if the oscillators with part numbers DIL16 or DIL8 are the correct 66Mhz oscillator so make sure it is if you plan on ordering one. If anyone else tries this and it works, I would love to hear from you. Thanks.

2/28/2004 Sonnet Tempo HD!: I don't remember ever mentioning this but I just found this neat product on Sonnets web site called the Tempo HD. It is a Tempo IDE card with only one IDE port but it also has a built on notebook sized IDE drive! The capacity is up to 40GB which isn't bad and it says it works on our Macs.

The 40GB unit sells for $239.95 and just a plain card with no drive is $99.95. It should work with any 2.5" notebook drive.

If anyone has tried this please email me your results. Thanks.

SCSI / IDE combo PCI card

SCSI and IDE both on a PCI card?: I came across this info on Accelerate Your Mac's web site. I think its a Japanese company called Century that is offereing a PCI card with both SCSI and IDE connectors on it specifically targeted towards the Mac! This would be perfect for the 6400 as you not only get another IDE channel but a faster SCSI bus ta boot :) Click here for more info on IDE adaptors for the Mac.

IDE to USB adaptors

3/10/2001 MacAlly IDE to USB external drive case: Paul sent a link to Macally's web site for their new IDE to USB external drive enclosure. It lists for $89. I'm not sure if this price is good or not for an IDE to USB case but here is the link. Thanks Paul. Maybe this will help those of you with USB cards and IDE CDR/CDRW drives burn with iTunes?

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This page last updated 5/25/2003