SCSI Drives

SCSI Drives

The SCSI interface was and still is the technological pinnacle for storage devices. It supports fast data transfer rates and various hardware level features.

Seagate ST-52160N

Seagate ST-52160N

One Sunday morning, while wandering through the tons of crap at the local flea market, I have spot this oddball Seagate disc bearing the Medalist logo. A shrink down 3.5" half-height format with a SCSI cord attached. I knew I had to pick this up.

Back at home, I learned that this belonged to a line of music synthesizers. In fact, it was entirely loaded with samples and synthesizer specific files.

One thing I have noticed is that this small disc makes an annoying pitch spindle motor noise. I don't think the bearings are off course. I heard other discs emitting the same noise when they were new. But this disc is slow! In my tests, with the Adaptec AHA-1542CF ISA bus SCSI host adapter, it performed bad. I was not expecting this. But I guess a synthesizer does not need a fast disc. However, the construction is beautiful. It speaks the quality language. It even has 128K cache memory on-board and on the fly ECC correction.

But if I think better, maybe the old Adaptec board was the bottleneck. It has to be this. I don't have a PCI SCSI host adapter to test SCSI devices. I'd better not discredit this little drive too much as I could be talking sh*t.

In the end, I sold it to someone needing a disc for his Korg keyboard. I kept the 50-pin SCSI cord. Never know when this might come in handy.

TECHNICAL DATA

CAPACITY: 2.17Gb
ACTUATOR TYPE: VOICE COIL
DISCS: 2
MEDIA TYPE: THIN FILM
RECORDING METHOD: PRML 0,4,4
RPM: 5.397
INTERFACE: SCSI (50-pin)
AVERAGE ACCESS: 11ms

Quantum ProDrive LP-52s

Quantum ProDrive LP-52s

The 50Mb Quantum ProDrive model LP-52s disc drive was factory fitted in my Unisys 286/10MHz machine. It was connected to an Adaptec AHA-164x 16-bit ISA bus SCSI controller, capable of delivering a mind-blowing 5Mb/s. The drive made the 286 machine appear really fast. Even if we are talking about a 286, the machine was faster in comparison to the same machine equipped with a Western Digital WD1004-27X disc controller and the Seagate ST-238R disc drive.

This drive has an unspecific size and that is why it is easy to remember. Quantum really paid attention to the optical aspect of this drive. The entire disc drive is extremely light. The aluminum case is probably what makes it so light. As you can see from the picture, Quantum put a sticker on the top cover that says POWER REQ: 5/12V and 6W. This is an important aspect that not many companies decided to specify on the drive's top cover.

I did not wanted to open the lid of this drive to take a picture of the inside because it still works and has not a single "bad sector" on it. The drive, making good pair with an Adaptec AHA-154CF SCSI controller, was originally used to create, store and serve this Internet site. For an entire year or so, this site was served from that disc.

As for the other aspects, I would like to mention that this drive gets a little hot while running. In fact it runs hotter than any similar drive of it's capacity and age. The mechanical design of this drive is also very good. In it's silver aluminum case, the drive looks great and Quantum did it again releasing this good drive back in the year of 1990. I can't accurately date this drive because there is no date sticker attached. The only way I can date it is to turn it upside down and to read on the DisCache® chip the year 1988. Also on the PCB is etched 1990 so I supposed this particular model appeared in 1990.

The layout of the components on the PCB is quite good and you just can't miss the shape of the LED if you ever get your hands on such piece of hardware. All my respects to Quantum for this great drive.

TECHNICAL DATA

CAPACITY: 50.1Mb
ACTUATOR TYPE: VOICE COIL
DISCS: 2
MEDIA TYPE: THIN FILM
RECORDING METHOD: RLL 1,7
RPM: 3.662
INTERFACE: SCSI (50-pin)
AVERAGE ACCESS: 17ms