[conspire] questions re firewire pci card and firewire enclosure for 30GB hard drive

Daniel Gimpelevich daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us
Thu Dec 28 20:17:27 PST 2006

On Thu, 28 Dec 2006 14:21:09 -0800, Darlene Wallach wrote:

> I also called Central Computers in Santa Clara asking how
> much a firewire card costs. I was told they had one in
> stock for $14.95. Since the prices are very different,
> I want to make sure I'm buying the right part for what I
> need.

Most 400Mbps firewire cards have a chipset either made from or based on
Texas Instruments's designs. The major exception are cards with a VIA
chipset, which slightly differs in design, occasionally leading to weird
behavior. Therefore, you can just get whatever 400Mbps card you come
across, and the results won't noticeably differ. However, if you get a
card that does both firewire and USB, your chances of Linux problems

> I also will need to purchase a firewire enclosure for my
> 30GB hard drive. I'm assuming I need to buy a 3.5" firewire
> enclosure. Daniel mentioned something about Oxford w/911
> chip - I do not know what that means.

The cheapest enclosure to include firewire at MicroCenter is the ULT31310
from Ultra Products. Do NOT get that one, as it uses a chipset from
Prolific Semiconductor instead of Oxford Semiconductor, which is what you

> Are there recommendations for brand(s) for the
> firewire pci card?

As always with Linux, look at chips, not brands.

> Are there recommendations for the brand(s) for the
> firewire hard drive enclosure?

Having said the above, the brand BYTECC has really come through in the
past, but their prices have since shot up dramatically. At Central
Computer, there will likely be someone who will know at least one of their
wares to use the Oxford 911 chip (probably a fellow customer), but it may
not be the cheapest Oxford 911-based enclosure they stock there. At
MicroCenter, you will likely be able to request that a salesperson open
one of the boxes of each model they have just to read the markings on the
chip. Both places will likely have higher prices than outlets like
WeirdStuff, if they have something like that. I know you dislike Fry's,
but after seeing what's available everywhere, and deciding on something
specific, there's usually no harm in making the actual purchase at Fry's.

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