Newbie with SCSI questions

This is my first time putting together my own system. Before I have always bought a complete system, but this time around I wanted to do it myself. I'm looking for some advice regarding the motherboard, DVD drive and scanner components.

Here are the components I am planning, a * means I have already bought that component.

18" Mid tower w. 300W power supply
* 256Mb DDR SDRAM, Crucial
MSI K7 Master(-S)
1.2GHz AMD Athalon, 266MhzFSB, retail
MSI Gforce2 Pro w. 64Mb RAM
Pioneer 16X DVD Drive (SCSI)
* Quantum Fireball AS 30 Gb hard drive
* Soundblaster Live! 5.1 OEM
* Altec Lansing ACS33 speakers
* 3 button optical mouse w. scrolling wheel
* Logitech Cordless Freedom internet keyboard
* Linksys 10/100 Ethernet card
Linksys Cable/DSL Router (or 3COM)

Already have:
- Mitsumi CDRW, IDE
- Umax Scanner, SCSI
- ISA SCSI card (useless to me for new system)
- PCI 56K modem.

So, I'm debating right now between getting a K7 Master-S, with integrated SCSI, and keeping my current scanner, or going with the basic K7 Master and buying a new USB scanner. Alternately I could buy a PCI SCSI card, but I have no idea what I would need as there seem to be a ton of SCSI cards of varying prices.

If I do go with the K7 Master-S, I was debating making my DVD drive a SCSI version. The idea being that my hd and cdrw could then be master on their own IDE channels, and the DVD would be SCSI. This seems to be a good idea to me, but then I'm rather new to this... does it pose problems for me?

- Is a SCSI DVD drive as good performance-wise as an IDE one?

- Would I have difficulty in burning from CD to CD with the SCSI DVD and IDE CDRW?

- Would the K7 Master-S integrated SCSI controller be able to control both the scanner and DVD drive?

- If I can't find the K7 Master-S, what is a recommended SCSI card to control my scanner and DVD drive?

- I found is a Tekram DC-395U Ultra Wide SCSI at a decent price, would that do it?

I'd appreciate any help you more experienced folk could offer me. :)

12 answers Last reply
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  1. Calm Down. First of all, KEEP THE SCSI SCANNER as ALL USB scanners SUCK (even the good ones, because more data=slower speed).
    First, for what your doing, you don't need a high-end SCSI card. I only use Adaptec myself, but even an old 2940 single channel card would work for you, which can be had cheaply if it's used.
    SCSI works independantly of the rest of the system, so CD to CD copies work better if one of the drives is SCSI. I have a SCSI CDRW on mind and an IDE DVD-ROM, it works perfectly, never a buffer underrun. So to answer all of your questions:
    -SCSI DVD should give you the same performance as IDE, but since it takes stress off the IDE controller, it should make multitasking easier.

    -You should have no difficulties doing CD to CD coppies with an SCSI DVD to IDE CDRW. I would make the CDRW the only device on the secondary IDE channel to ensure that you have a constant data stream, since IDE can only access 1 device at a time per chain.

    -ANY SCSI controller should work for both internal and external devices, but if it only has an internal connector, requires that you use an adapter that connects the end of your internal chain to an external connector.

    -For 50-pin devices (SCSI1 and SCSI2 Narrow), I recommend the Adaptec 2940. If you also use wide SCSI (68-pin), I recommend the 2940UW. Both of these are older cars that can be had cheaply used. While they do not offer the high-speeds required by the newest hard drives, they are both fast enough for any CD device or scanner. Other cards are available that should work, these are just the two that I am most comfortable recommending.

    -The Tekram card should also work well, but since I have never used one I can't recommend it. A lot of people do recommend them.

    Remember that, for CD devices and Scanners, 10MB/s is adequate, 20MB/s is overkill, and 40MB/s is rediculous.

    Speeds of 40MB/s and faster are only required for the newest, fastest hard drives, and since you are going to be using an IDE hard drive, you should save your money and get whatever is cheapest.

    Cast not thine pearls before the swine
  2. Thanks a lot! That was some great information... I am going to get the Tekram card since it is cheaper and seems to do everything I need for the scanner and DVD drive. I imagine it will also be a lot cheaper for me to get the Tekram card than to get the K7 Master-S over the K7 Master, though I can't say that for sure since neither is available yet. I'm going to hold off on the SCSI card until I find out, but I think it's safe enough for me to go ahead and buy the SCSI DVD drive.

  3. Tekram is a good choice. I'll vouch for that... (adaptec is good as well, but you're paying more for the name). They both have excellent driver support.

    It's probably a better idea to get it seperate anyways... if you ever decide to upgrade the SCSI to a more advanced/faster version (or if it breaks down), you can get another card without changing the entire system.

    The on-board SCSI will probably be just as good for your needs though, and it will probably be cheaper than a seperate card. The choice is yours (and either way you should be ok).
  4. > Remember that, for CD devices and Scanners, 10MB/s
    > is adequate, 20MB/s is overkill, and 40MB/s is
    > rediculous.

    I know I'm just screaming newbie here... but I'm not sure if the Tekram card qualifies or not. First there are two versions, the more expensive (395UW) just seems to have "Ultra Wide SCSI", while the more basic one (395U) doesn't. Is Ultra Wide something I would need for either the scanner or Pioneer 305S DVD drive?

    Secondly, regarding the transfer rates... there are several listed for the Tekram card and I'm not sure which is the one I need to look at. Here is a cut and paste of the info:

    SCSI bus transfers:
    Async: 5MB/sec & Sync: 40MB/sec (DC-395UW)
    Async: 5MB/sec & Sync: 20MB/sec (DC-395U/DC-315U)

    Data transfers:
    133MB/sec (at 33MHz)
    80-byte DMA FIFO for 2/4/8/16 dwords burst (PCI)

    With regard to connectors, they have the following:

    (1) 50-Pin Ultra SCSI Internal
    (1) 68-Pin Ultra-Wide SCSI Internal
    (1) 50-Pin Ultra SCSI External

    (1) 50-Pin Ultra SCSI Internal
    (1) 50-Pin Ultra SCSI External

    Thanks again for the help.

  5. You won't need UW for your devices. While some CD devices do have a 68-pin connector, they still do not have the tranfer rate to REQUIRE it, they were just used in some cases to avoid the necessity to get an adapter if you wanted to pu them on the same chain as another UW device. So in allo likelyhood, your DVD player will only have a 50-pin interface, which would make the 395U/315U a good choice. If, by the odd chance the DVD player does have a 68-pin connector, you can get an adapter. Cabling should be cheaper if you stick to 50-pin interfaces, especailly for external devices such as your scanner.
    If by chance your scanner is 25-pin SCSI, there is a PCI SCSI card available <A HREF="" target="_new">HERE</A> that has a 25-pin external and 50-pin internal connector for only $25. It looks pretty cheap but should work fine for what your doing, and if it doesn't, you can send it back. The specs on the Tekram card are better if that's what your really interested in.

    Cast not thine pearls before the swine
  6. The scanner is indeed a 25 pin. I'd still prefer to get the Tekram card though, is there an adaptor I can get to go from 25 to 50 pin?

  7. You can get an adapter or a HD50 to DB25 cable, the cable is available for around $8

    Cast not thine pearls before the swine
  8. Hey Crashman,
    You seem to know a lot about SCSI card (2940UW in particular) and I know I've seen you comment on other forums some regarding mbo also. I have a question that deals with the two combination. I just upgraded to an Asus A7A266 mbo and have an old Adaptec 2940UW from my previous system, anyway every time I turn on the system with the SCSI card inserted in any of the PCI slots the system hangs up on the BIOS POST, the last message being "BIOS EXPAND" but does complete boot-up when I take the card out. I have the BIOS rev 1002B on the mbo and I know there is a more recent BIOS rev 1004D out there. I'm not sure if flashing the BIOS will solve my problem. Have any advice? My system consist of the A7A266, 900MHz T-Bird 200FSB, 128MB PC-133, running Win 98SE. Thanks!
  9. I have only experienced that problem with VIA chipsets, so it surprizes me to here about it happening on an ALi board. I would try a newer version of bios, Tom's latest review gives a quick explanation of why he had to do this. Then I would try setting your BIOS to PNP OS-NO, so that the card is configured in BIOS.

    Cast not thine pearls before the swine
  10. Wow, I'm just getting swamped here... OK, two more things I found out. First, I got an email from Umax, and there are no Tekram cards listed to support the scanner. The Advansys one you pointed out is listed though. From the email they mention this: "All Ultra Wide SCSI cards are unsupported by UMAX. The UW cards cannot be properly slowed to a constant data transfer rate under 20 megabits per second. Our scanners function with a sustained data transfer rate of approximately 5 megabits per second. You will need to move the scanner to a card that is fully supported by UMAX."

    So the Tekram is out. Now, the Advansys ABP3922 you pointed me to is supported by the scanner, but will it run the Pioneer DVD drive? The internal connector on the card is right, a 50 pin connector. However the Pioneer DVD drive says it uses SCSI-2 interface specifications. The card info (I also checked the Advansys website) doesn't mention that, it just says "Fast SCSI". In addition to that, the DVD info says it can reach sustained rates of up to 13.5Mb/s, and the card says it can do 10Mb/s max.

    Sometimes I think too much information is a curse...

    Anyway, do you think the Advansys card is OK to control the Pioneer DVD drive?

  11. YOu caould use the Advansys card and the DVD, but your trnasfer rate would be limmited to 10MB/s (is that around 12X DVD?). Anyway, that would be almost 70x for the DVD on CD operation, which is beyond the needs of the drive for CD's, and well beyond what you need for playing DVD's, but limmits your file tranfers for things like backing a DVD up to a hard drive. You could always save a little money and look for a 12x DVD drive. Or you could do like me and use an IDE DVD and a SCSI CDRW, since even the fastest CDRW can't do more than 2.4MB/s recording. This would be my suggestion, especially if you can resell your current CDRW. You can find a great price on a SCSI CDRW <A HREF="" target="_new">HERE</A>, or search pricewatch for even better deals. I never did like UMAX, they have buggy drivers, but you don't need to give up hope just yet. Remember that DVD has a much higher tranfer rate than CD, so you best choice with the Advansys card is to either get a SCSI 12x DVD, or a SCSI CDRW and an IDE DVD.

    Cast not thine pearls before the swine
  12. Since the CD side won't be inhibited, and the DVD not by much, I am going to go with the Advansys card and get the SCSI DVD drive.

    Thanks for all the help!

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