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8600 RAM or SCSI2SD Issue?

LCARS

Well-known member
This machine has been a labor of love. It's a rescued 8600 that I had up and running over the summer with a V6 revF scsi2sd, a 4GB Panasonic SLC card, and a new PRAM battery. It was great- no issues. Glorious 7.6.1

I haven't used it in a few months (left plugged in). Now when it boots it will either not boot (screen is still in standby), boot to desktop and freeze after a few moments, or boot to desktop and open a blank error box (black & white rectangle) and be unresponsive even to the soft reboot. Sometimes if it does respond to the soft keyboard reboot, it won't chime and will just sit with a screen in standby.

I read nymunariya's post and downloaded the updated v6 utility and firmware, installed, but the problem has not gone away. I have pour too much of myself into this machine to give up just yet. Blind Writes is disabled. I've tried it with SCSI2 enabled, Speed to to 10MB/s as well as No Limit. Still, it will or will not boot desktop but always freezes.

What are the collective thoughts? Software? Hardware? Virtual memory is off but I have been running Speed Doubler. I hope I haven't cooked the card (which is why I chose and SLC version).

 

LCARS

Well-known member
Thank you, maceffects. Let's assume its software: what could have changed since last boot to now? It makes me think that the SCSI2SD is corrupting something critical. Its curious. I have a twin 8600 with the same specs save for the original SCSI drive, and it's a-ok.

I wonder if the v6 boards are the problem. My older boards have been fine (v5.1).

 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
Could it possibly be your SD card itself is being corrupted from not being used or being stored in temperature/humidity outside of its spec?

 

LCARS

Well-known member
corrupted from not being used...?


I had a similar thought, although I don't know why that would happen. If there was any data issue, I'm inclined to think it is the device and not the card. I bought that card specifically for its industrial grade tolerances. As for temperature, the machine is in the office with others (which have remained fine.)

I have a v5.1 SCSI2SD that I could try out. I really want to pin this on the v6 because that's an easy swap out. :eek:)

 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
I do know that flash memory can leak it’s data when not powered or used. A SSD and USB sticks are notorious for loss of data as a result. Less so with the SSD but storage without power does affect the data stored on it. 
 

I have had USB sticks get corrupted from simple storage. Even brand new preformatted ones that sit for a couple of years get corrupt file systems and need to be formatted before use. I’ve seen this numerous times with my stock of genuine Kingston USB sticks. 
 

Same goes with flash memory cards. I have a dashcam and I use high reliability SD cards and if it is not used for a couple of weeks and sits in hot or cold, the card becomes corrupt and needs to be formatted. 
 

Something similar could be at play here. Just a thought. 

 

LCARS

Well-known member
I suppose that's a possibility. So far, I haven't had that issue with any flash media...yet. There's always a first and thanks to irony, it would happen to the card that I bought to prevent that exact scenario. I'll try booting without extensions and then with an older SCSI2SD.

Out of curiosity, which General Settings are considered to be correct for PPC Macs? SCSI2 enabled?

 

MrFahrenheit

Well-known member
I suppose that's a possibility. So far, I haven't had that issue with any flash media...yet. There's always a first and thanks to irony, it would happen to the card that I bought to prevent that exact scenario. I'll try booting without extensions and then with an older SCSI2SD.

Out of curiosity, which General Settings are considered to be correct for PPC Macs? SCSI2 enabled?
Due to various reasons I don’t employ a single SCSI2SD card. I use vintage physical drives. I know, it’s a bit odd. I prefer it. 

 

LCARS

Well-known member
I know, it’s a bit odd. I prefer it. 


That's not odd at all; I prefer it, too. I like the sound but also the "wholeness" of the set up. I've been happy with the SCSI2SD in my PowerBook 550 as those drives are so terribly overpriced now. My original 8600 has the factory drive and it's such a lovely thing to hear. The rescue 8600 arrived without a hard drive or any of the sleds. SCSI2SD was/is a good solution to that, except for this issue. I might just try to find a compatible drive or use the pin converter avenue.

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
I run a SCSI2SD v6 with an 8600/300 and it works fine. It's not as fast as what you can get if you put an UltraSCSI, IDE, or SATA card in this system, but everything is responsive.

I did have to re-format it after hecking things up from when I was using a bad cable. It's also important that you don't do things like let the SCSI2SD rest directly on the metal plating at the bottom of the machine or in the drive bays, which can be conductive and therefore "bad for a bare PCB". All of this stuff is also true of period SCSI drives, and the MacSD for that matter, so it's not a good reason to avoid the SCSI2SD in particular.

Could it possibly be your SD card itself is being corrupted from not being used or being stored in temperature/humidity outside of its spec?


In general, no.

There's a study running around about SSDs leaking data if they are unpowered. It's important to know that that study pertains to SSDs in a datacenter environment, typically kept relatively hot by consumer and home standards.

I have a handful of SD cards I bought in ~2011 when SD started looking like it might make a good long-term archival format. I last put them all into a system a year or two ago and when I did, they all read perfectly.

EDIT 2: That said, if you crash a Mac badly enough, you can corrupt its filesystem and that can prevent it from booting or being readable. As with the termination, cabling, and mounting considerations, that can also happen to conventional hard disks and any other similar storage replacement solution (i.e. macsd/sata/ide).

SD itself shouldn't have humidity concerns, although the rest of the system might. Not sure about temperature concerns other than temps high enough to literally melt the components, which would be pretty high.

 
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LCARS

Well-known member
I'm reviving recycling this thread to ask a few relevant questions. I was able to find a Formac ProRAID card. Not really what I was looking for but it will be faster than the built-in scsi. Unfortunately, I'm finding it hard to find normal height 68pin SCSI drives that are a good GB fit. Seems like they're as unusual as 50pin and 80 is the new normal.

Has anyone used this adapter to use a 80pin drive? Also, will a 10k RPM drive bake in an 8600? Or bake the 8600, even worse!

Alternatively, I dug out a Sonnet ATA133 PCI card. The booklet states that OS8 is the min (but I really like 7.6). Is 8 truly the min?
It would seem strange that the more sophisticated ProRAID card can work with 7.6 but an ATA card can't.
 

trag

Well-known member
Has anyone used this adapter to use a 80pin drive? Also, will a 10k RPM drive bake in an 8600? Or bake the 8600, even worse!

I haven't used it, but from what I can make out from the pictures, if you use it as 80 pin to 68 pin, and you either put it in the middle of your SCSI chain or provide an external terminator, it should be fine.

If you use it as 80 pin to 50 pin it will not be reliable. There are no components on board to provide termination of the upper byte.
 

LCARS

Well-known member
Thank you, trag. I was wondering how it might handle the termination. This makes SCSI2SD seem more streamlined if it wasn't for the speed and reliability hit.
 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Also, will a 10k RPM drive bake in an 8600? Or bake the 8600, even worse!

The 8600 has LOADS of room in it. The system is explicitly, on paper designed to house either one 5.25 full height or two 3.5-inch full height disks at any rotational speed putting out any 1997-appropriate amount of heat on the plastic pad in the bottom of the case.

It's, as far as I can tell, in addition to reducing costs, most of why a 3-slot board ended up in a 6-slot box -- because putting big disks inside a 9600 blocks some of the slots.

I don't know off hand how cabling adapters will work, though. If you can do them inline instead of having to hang them off the back, or if you put one 3.5-inch disk facing back/forth (like a 5.25'd be oriented) instead of facing left/right (inside the case) then you should have enough room. I don't know what mounting for that position would look like unless you can get a 5.25 to 3.5 mount adapter meant for bottom holes.


At worst, you can pull some of the PCI slot covers out and add a fan. Though, what speed is your 8600? At leas the /250, /300 and /350 Mach5 machines have an additional fan to cool the CPU that should get air moving around in the slots/disk chamber enough that the machine won't fry.

Though, again a lot of Mac heat discussion is sort of based on sliding standards and we have to remember that the 604e/ev are, like, sweltering-by-1997-standards fifteen-watt chips. (or thereabouts) and so "hot" is... probably still not actually hot enough to cause problems if you have a heatsink installed and not all the fans have died.
 

LCARS

Well-known member
Thank you for the information, @Cory5412 I didn't realize that the 8600 was designed to house the larger series of drive. It make sense, given how they positioned those machines. A 3.5" drive would be ideal. I can put it in the front drive bay. A fair bit cooler, too, instead of sitting on top of the PSU. I was always curious as to why the shorter 3 slot board kept the same case (cost cutting aside).

My model is a 300MHz with functioning fans but it doesn't have the clear plastic fan shroud installed on removable panel on later productions units. So it sounds like this method, while needing more moving parts, is more interesting and period correct. I'm very curious to see how the increased throughput feels in 7.6 and 9.2.
 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
The 9600 has the same mounting positions at the base of the case so I imagine it was both "save money" and be able to mount faster disks inside the 8600.

In the era, there were a handful of 5.25-inch disks you could get with high capacities that were "fast" but weren't particularly "nimble" in the response time sense and mostly the use there would be to capture video onto that big disk.

In addition, the 8600 was aimed more at high end excelbox tasks and also "desktop" video (Adobe Premiere, Avid Cinema kind of things) whereas the 9600, when it got used for video, was aimed at studio/cinematic type use cases, so your storage for video capture on a PowerMac 9600 was a lot more likely to just be a 5u raid array type of box alongside of a variety of different i/o cards (e.g. for SDI video from betacam equipment, higher end compression gear, etc etc)

Though, I think low profile hard disks just got way better from 1996 to 1997-1998 or so because, it occurs to me, nominally the G3 minitower was The Replacement for the 8600 and they didn't retain the bottom mounting positions or the tall case, so, take this all as guesses.

Perhaps, ultimately, it may have turned out that that sort of midrange desktop video editor (Imagine someone whose job involves both Excel and video ediitng, for some reason) didn't really exist at the time. Apple did a *lot* of wishful thinking about video on computers in the '90s and I sort of expect lots of machines were sold on their video capabilities that ended up never getting used.
 

chelseayr

Well-known member
sorry to take a few days to finally write this due to other mid-week things...

I do sympathize with that putting video-in onboard does seem a little "iffy" compared to offering it as upgrade card instead (whether by the performa/G3 factory-option methods or via a conventional card for pci)

@LCARS I know it might not be much but I'll just comment on that the few sample seagate datasheets I had been looking at earlier in the month shows that a 'newer' 36gb 10krpm 2.5" ultrascsi drive has just slightly lower peak power draws than an 'old' 1gb 5400rpm 3.5" fastscsi drive so in blind theory (only because I yet have to try it) the extra vibration noise would likely be the only negative outcome but no extraheat/overdraw concerns nevertheless

anyway sorry I can't actually say anything about the real topic re scsi2sd, I'll bow out here for now :)
 

LCARS

Well-known member
@Cory5412 That was an interesting read. Thank you. I agree, Apple was very wishful on implementing video at the time. Although I was still amazed at seeing video input from a camcorder to an 8600 as a kid. Although I was maybe more impressed with the TV card (priorities at the time). It took years but I managed to find two QuickTime videoconferencing cameras, requiring an AV PowerMac. I'm impressed, especially when the box says 1995.

Low profile drives certainly improved quickly. When I opened up my Pismo and PDQ, the reduction in drive size is noticeable for just a year or so difference.

@chelseayr I appreciate your reply. That's good to know that at least the PSU won't be burdened (or the fans). I should have thought to take a look at spec sheets. On the topic of burdens, I've taken on too many PPC projects this summer. My fans are burnt out.

While I have everyone's attention: If I put in Wide-SCSI card, does that supersede the built-in controller? If I wanted to keep the original drive and add a faster drive via the card, will Drive Setup let me assign drives to both controllers?
 

chelseayr

Well-known member
@LCARS as far as I know pci and onboard scsi are treated as separate buses pretty much from the start so shouldn't be an issue. even then I only recall reading this somewhere a long time ago and will let someone else debunk it - it was some particular earlier dual onboard scsi (I think it was only a quadra thinge?) that had a bit issue with the system os 'seeing' both onboard buses as one single bus instead so having two id-4 scsi hds in such systems would cause odd things
 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
So, just to be clear about video, the 8600 itself should be up to the task and a well-configured SCSI2SD v6 is up to the task. In ~1995 MacWorld recommended a disk that can do 4 megabytes/second and with a good SD card the SCSI2SD v6 can clear that. My own v6 gets ~4.5 on big sequential writes. I haven't actually done video captures with it, but it should, in theory, work.

Apple's earliest AV dreams (the 660/840 and 630) are... not really practical systems for capturing video(1) -- at least not without thousands of dollars in add-on hardware of one kind or another(2). By the time of the PCI PowerMacs, it did work with the computers mostly stock, so it's less about these systems being bad and more about there not really being a good use case for it until YouTube existed.

Despite the DV era being better enough that it was much more practical to make and keep digital home movies, even that was a little bit of a miss, long-term, because it turns out people would rather watch things at their own convenience than on someone else's computer. (That's really where YouTube comes in.)



It took years but I managed to find two QuickTime videoconferencing cameras, requiring an AV PowerMac. I'm impressed, especially when the box says 1995.

Oh those should be fun. As far as I can tell, those cameras are the entire reason the 7500 and 7600 exist as separate products from the 7200 and 7300. I've got one of the cameras, although separated from the rest of the kit and at some point I should go grab it from storage and hook it up to one of my own machines.


While I have everyone's attention: If I put in Wide-SCSI card, does that supersede the built-in controller? If I wanted to keep the original drive and add a faster drive via the card, will Drive Setup let me assign drives to both controllers?

Yes, this'll work and in the 8600 you've got that handy room at the bottom to mount drives that connect to an add-in card. Server/workstation disks would work, newer IDE/SATA will also work. (At some point, I'm probably going to drop a SATA drive in my own 8600, and I'm just gonna strap it to the lower tray for convenience.)

On the topic of burdens, I've taken on too many PPC projects this summer. My fans are burnt out.

I'll admit that I know that feeling, if there's one thing I've learned over the years it's that these machines will wait for you to get done with whatever's more pressing and/or for you to have the time again, don't feel too pressured to do everything all at once.


===
(1) at least by modern standards -- in theory the 660/840 were useful for things like capturing pictures off of analog still cameras like the Canon Xapshot or fetching very short clips of very low resolution videos to be used with desktop multimedia productions. You could also use the video out on the 660/840 to do things like print presentations to video tape, which I actually did once as a child.

(2) fun sidenote: Adobe Premiere can do computer control of video decks that have timecode (some SVHS cameras/decks could do this, for example) via serial, but desktop editing decks with control like that cost way more than regular decks, and cameras outright couldn't do it, so it's not super practical for 660/630/6100 budget.
 
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