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Old 03-21-2006, 10:17 PM
DaleMeyn DaleMeyn is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Stafford county, VA
Posts: 53
More thoughts on selecting HDs

This was recently posted by MMM, responding to a post by drbonbi:
“It's the chip that the enclosure uses that determines if it will boot under Firewire in OS X. All enclosures that use the Oxford 911 or 922 chip will boot. Cheaper enclosures that use the Prolific chip (rev A and B) will not boot all the time. Supposedly Prolific has fixed the problems with their chips in rev. C, but I can't find anyone that can verify it. If the chip says Eon on it, then it's made by Prolific.”

I had a Iomega Black Series 120GB FW/USB HD (purchased Jan 06) which had a Prolific chipset (revision number unknown), it booted every time I tried it under OS 10.4.5, on an iMac G5 iSight.
So the short answer is, yes, the latest Prolific bridges will boot, every time. However, the Iomega still had problems. It wouldn’t reliably mount to the desktop after prolonged computer sleep or shut down (when used as a backup volume, not startup). Sometimes it would seem to mount, showing its icon on the desktop, but wouldn’t be detected by SD! unless I double clicked on the icon, after which SD! recognized it. This happened about 1 of 3 or 4 wakeups or startups. Sometimes the only way to get the HD to mount was to unplug the AC/DC adapter at the power strip, then replug it. Also, it didn’t pay much attention to computer sleep or even shut down, the drive just kept humming. The only way to turn it off (short of unplugging the AC power) was to eject the HD icon, then pull the FW connector, then push the power button on the HD, whereupon the drive would power down. It did perform reliably in USB2.0 mode, however, and that was the only way to use it for scheduled automatic updates. If I tried auto scheduled updating in FW mode, sometimes it would refuse to mount when the iMac was awakened, and SD! would shut down, or Finder would freeze.
I finally gave it to my son-in-law (he has a new Dell PC) and got a Micronet FW/USB 250GB HD with the Oxford 911 chipset, it works beautifully.
I remember reading a lot of discussion that Panther up to 10.3.6 worked well with Prolific but not with Oxford, whereas 10.3.7 and up worked with Oxford but had problems with Prolific (is this accurate, Dave?). My advice is, if you’re running 10.4.x, don’t fool with any HD using the Prolific chipset, stick with Oxford 911 (FW400) or 922 (FW800). If you're running Panther or earlier, get a drive with Oxford, making sure the vendor can supply a firmware update for it, or update the OS to 10.3.7, or Tiger. It is very difficult, unfortunately, to discover which chipset any given HD or enclosure series has. I was lucky with the Micronet, they actually gave that info in their product WEB page. Just because a vendor claims its HD is compatible with Power Macs and OS X, doesn’t mean it will work reliably with every version of OS X. Caveat emptor. Dale Meyn.
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