When it first arrived, everyone liked the Apple standard SCSI because it was relatively fast and easy to use. Unfortunately, it soon became clear that SCSI was not the answer to the Mac’s problems and might even cause some of them. With Apple’s implementation of SCSI, termination and SCSI ids are often difficult to troubleshoot. In addition, newer Macs accept information faster than the 1.5 megs per second that the SCSI port transfers it, and vendors are coming up with products that easily outrun Apple’s SCSI as well.
Some problems may disappear in the foreseeable future, though, if SCSI-2 (this is the week of the sequel) is accepted as the standard and implemented by developers. SCSI-2 is a much more detailed standard, and includes features that increase speeds up to 40 meg per second, allow the computer to send the SCSI device a bunch of commands to be executed as a batch, and definitions for types of devices that cannot now be hooked to SCSI ports.
SCSI-2 will certainly please vendors such as FWB and MicroNet, who recently announced hard drives with impressive sizes, speeds, and prices. FWB introduced the hammer155FMFim, a 155 meg Wren mechanism that transfers data at up to 2.2 meg per second (for $4095), the SledgehammerFMF, a storage system that accepts different types of high performance storage devices, and the hammerDisk 1000, a 1000 meg erasable optical drive (for $8995). MicroNet’s drives are similar in price and storage capabilities, but use a NuBus SCSI card designed to take advantage of faster storage devices. The Micro/NuPORT card will be sold only with certain drives that have high enough performance to use the NuPORT’s power.
A third company, Jets Cybernetics, will soon release a board similar to the MicroNet board in that it is a NuBus replacement for the Mac’s onboard SCSI, but different in that it will include a RISC-based processor to control the I/O and an instruction cache to store the full SCSI-2 instruction set.
FWB — 415/474-8055
MicroNet Technology — 714/837-6033
Jets Cybernetics — 800/369-5387 — 415/322-5387
MacWEEK — 08-May-90, Vol. 4 #18, pgs. 1, 6, 7