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

Rick Moen rick at linuxmafia.com
Thu Dec 28 21:59:41 PST 2006

Quoting Daniel Gimpelevich (daniel at gimpelevich.san-francisco.ca.us):

> Paul is apparently still ignoring your lack of a 1394-IDE bridge, which no
> SCSI enclosure will provide.

Yeah, I was wondering about that.  (To explain the jargon for the
uninitiated:  "1394" in this context is short for "IEEE-1394 interface",
aka Firewire.)

The boxes in question are decent places to put a stack of SCSI drives if
you have them sitting around and want (e.g.) to make a cheap impromptu
SCSI drive RAID array but don't have room / PSU capacity for those
drives in your system box.

They're also really handy if you have IDE drives and want to use the box
simply as a good physical place to mount drives, that also furnishes
power, and plan to run some sort of IDE cable across and ignore the SCSI
backplane parts entirely.  Again, a really dirt-cheap, effective
solution for expanding a system's mass storage.

Firewire?  OK, so you buy a PCI card with an Oxford Semiconductor
Firewire chip but _no_ bundled USB.  The host machine now does Firewire.
You buy a Firewire patch cable.  So far, so good:  You now have bridged
Firewire signaling across the _vicinity_ of the external drive box.  You 
mount IDE drives into the external box.  Good, they now have a place to
live and power.  But now you have you left hand on the loose end of a
Firewire patch cable, and your right on some drives' PATA (old-style
IDE) connectors.  

And those two don't bridge, without some additional circuitry not in
this picture.

The alternative Darlene discussed, of buying a purpose-built Firewire
drive enclosure, probably would cost significant money instead of being
completely free, and probably wouldn't have the drive capacity, but
seems to fit the original problem description better.

(I can't help thinking that the drive boxes Paul has should be a great
solution for _somebody_, though.)

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