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Mac SE/30, maximum hard disk capacity

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If you were to get a Mac SE/30 and replace the old internal 20MB HD, what would be the maximum capacity a SE/30 can take?

Is 500MB too much or too little?

 

If you were to replace the original ROM with a IIfx ROM, can I opt for even larger hard drive?

 

 

Thanks

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You don't need to worry about partitioning your hard drive to 2GB sections UNLESS you want to run System 6.x on a partition. If you only care about running System 7, with the stock ROM or non-stock ROM, it doesn't matter. But realistically, you don't need a 1TB hard drive on a System 7 Mac. :-)

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Some thoughts:

 

There is no connection between hard drive size and the ROM, original or replacement. The size of the hard drive is controlled by the System software. E.g., System 7.1 will work with a drive up to 2GB in size; after that, partitioning is necessary under 7.1. I think System 6.0.8 is the same.

 

You would not really want to go beyond System 7.1 in an SE/30, at least not if you want it to run fast. System 7.5 is much more cumbersome. The machine was really designed for System 6/ very early System 7. Note that System 6, 7.0 or even 7.1 will find that 8MB of RAM offers it plenty of room for manoeuvre — especially 6.

 

A 500 MB drive will frankly be hard to fill up in an ordinary SE/30, and IBM made some for Apple that were real nice and quiet, so I would go for one of those; even a 2GB drive would be almost ludicrously large in an SE/30. There are nutters who stick 9GB drives in the little machine, but that is a waste of a 9GB drive — and it has to put strains on its electrical system, since the faster that thing spins.... For most uses, 500MB is plenty, and assuming you have one to spare, just use it.

 

Replacement ROMs in an SE/30 have to do with the computer's ability to access large amounts of RAM — but that can also be done by a software patch called Mode32, which is readily and freely available on the web, so I would not go about ruining a IIfx just to get its ROM for an SE/30. However, if you happen to have, say, 16MB+ of RAM, I would forget about the dirty ROMS issue, and look instead at one of the old RAM disk utilities (e.g., Maxima) that allow you to use RAM above the 8MB maximum as an ultra-fast RAM disk. RAM compression technology in Maxima allows you to double or treble that. Those little tricks are, in my view, more interesting to work with than having 16MB+ of RAM to play with in early systems like the SE/30. 8MB was a LOT of RAM back when the machine was manufactured.

 

The one OS that does need plenty of RAM in an SE/30 is A/UX — but it will recognize up to 128MB of RAM without further ado. Not sure why. It would also be happier with a drive up to 2GB in size, as it is a hefty installation. It runs, but runs rather slow on an SE/30.

 

Returning to the drive, you would also find your path much easier if you were to choose an Apple-branded 50-pin SCSI drive (they have the Apple logo on them), as the standard System utilities will not initialize third party drives (though the A/UX disk utility will). And there are other workarounds if need be, but we'd need not go there just yet.

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I have this 4.5GB drive on my SE/30:

 

IBM DGHS 4.5GB Hard Drive Specs

 

I have it partitioned such that no partition is greater than 2GB, and I do that so System 6.0.8 can see all the partitions and read/write to them. Moreover, I have 2.5GB of data on that drive, and I've not put every single piece of vintage Mac software on it yet. However, I will admit that you probably won't find more than 4GB of vintage Mac software (for Systems 6 & 7) out there, unless you just start dumping numerous CD-ROM images on your drive.

 

As to RAM, I have 128MB in mine, but unless you run Photoshop, you really can do with less. Even 64MB is rather big. If you want a lot of RAM but don't need to max it out at 128MB, you'll do just fine (even when web browsing on your SE/30) with 32MB. I know because I have run my SE/30 for in many different RAM configurations, running each for many weeks at a time, trying different things.

 

And if you like to keep an SE/30 mostly stock yet run as fast as possible, an 030 accelerator (that's right, 030, not 040) will accomplish that and retain complete software compatibility. Here is the one I use:

 

http://www.flickr.com/search/?w=66071596%40N00&q=Micromac&m=text

 

Yes, they are still for sale, brand new in fact. Just read the descriptions under my Diimo photos for details on that.

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Thank you folks.

I'm glad someone pointed out that some hard disk may put stress on the PSU and the non-Apple brand might have trouble being recognized by the system.

I have a few bare hard disks laying around and they are Apple 80MB, Apple (conner) 160MB, IBM 500MB and Seagate 2GB.

The SE/30 has *20 MB* hard drive in it and it's very noisy indeed. The Mac is sitting on top of the external 100MB HD and these two make even louder noise totally unacceptable by todays standard.

I got the IIfx ROM and was planning to install it but the Mac boot up process would stop at the 'welcome to Macintosh' indefinately.

Since I got the ROM, I'd like to run the latest OS on a bigger HD to make it usable for todays standard.

 

I'm not good at troubleshooting so I'd rather not push to the limit like some of you did with your Mac.

So if I was to run OS8.1, will Apple branded HD be the best bet given what I have?

Edited by Guest

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While good advice in general, the fact is that a non-Apple branded SCSI disk drive will not stress out your internal PSU even if that drive is installed internally. My 4.5GB hard drive was actually used in servers years ago, not Macs. But my Mac handled it just fine internally. It was only when I maxed out the RAM and then added a power-hungry 040 accelerator AND an Ethernet card at the same time that I felt my PSU might be taxed. So at that point, I added a secondary PSU (you can also see that on my Flickr account). But I later found an old HD20SC enclosure for sale and I moved my hard drive to that. You could do the same. That way, you can use any drive you like. But again, if you don't plan to add an accelerator, go ahead and put whatever hard drive you like inside the SE/30. The PSU is more robust than you think. If you doubt me, pull the PSU and look at the specifications on the label of the PSU itself. It can handle it.

 

As to noise, you'll need to swap out the stock ELINA fan too. I replaced mine with a Silenx 60mm and my SE/30 is much quieter now.

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I gforgot to mention you've got an impressive Mac.

It was joy to watch them. It must have cost you fortune and a dedication just to add all those things up.

However I intent to sell mine off when the demand is right for the market. I just couldn't sell it off stock cheap.

So I got the ROM and now the hard drive but I'm afraid that's as far as I'd like to go. If I had a huge house I might reconsider otherwise.

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For quite a while, I used a 10,000 RPM, 18 GB SCSI drive in my SE/30. I also ran it with an extra fan for ventilation, and an extra power supply running said drive. Made a great AppleShare 3 server for my home network.

 

In theory, a Macintosh Plus running System 7.5.5 could in theory have a 2 TB volume size! (Note that with original HFS, you could only have 65,535 files, at a maximum file size of 2 GB, so in order to reach 2 TB, you'd have to have average 32 MB per file up to the 65k limit.) But if you had a SATA-to-SCSI adapter, you could throw up to 7 of the new 3 Terabyte drives onto a Mac Plus, and just use a a few partitions on each.

 

(Using, for example, you could use seven of these monsters to JBOD 8 drives each. Because you'd be connecting to a Narrow SCSI host, you'd only get to use 7 of these; each as a separate SCSI ID, each with 8 SCSI LUNs (1 for each drive; since Mac OS 7.5.5 can't handle volumes that large.) But eight 2 TB drives would still be 16 TB of drive space per device. Seven of these would be 112 TB. On a Mac Plus. Of course, if you actually wanted to get data *ON* them, you'd have to give up one of them for a SCSI Ethernet adapter, so only 96 TB. And while I'm thinking of this, you'd have to take into account that the maximum speed the Mac Plus could possibly write to them is 1.25 MB/s. So if you started writing to it right now, you'd finish up sometime in mid-April, 2013.)

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My drive is 7500rpm and is quite fast. Again, it was used in servers in its day. But of course, for some operations, a 10krpm drive can be faster. But it is not faster in every operation. Theoretically, an SSD with a PDS controller (bypassing the SCSI bus entirely) would be the holy grail of SE/30 drive replacements. But so far, no one has stepped up to that challenge. And I don't expect anyone ever will. There's no profit in it. It would be a labor of love.

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I am sitting on 60 18.2 and 36.4gb U320 IBM drives i stripped from a server that was scrapped.

 

problem is, I dont know how to interface a backplane U320 drive to a macintosh. hehe.

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The one OS that does need plenty of RAM in an SE/30 is A/UX — but it will recognize up to 128MB of RAM without further ado. Not sure why.

It is because A/UX uses a Unix kernel and thus do not depend on the Macintosh environment set up by the ROM at all (the A/UX Startup app is just a bootloader).

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problem is, I dont know how to interface a backplane U320 drive to a macintosh. hehe.

Which connector does the drive have? You will likely need a 80-bit SCA to 50-pin adapter.

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In theory, a Macintosh Plus running System 7.5.5 could in theory have a 2 TB volume size!

I don't think large volume support (>4GB) was patched to older machines until 7.6, and then only on 68040 and later machines..

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