IDE vs. SCSI Hard Drives

1998 – Quantum makes the best SCSI drives for Apple or Mac clone branded equipment. I think they make lousy IDE drives though and vote for IBM or Maxtor when it comes to IDE.

When I’ve had the privilege of working on Adaptec SCSI cards in IBM/Intel/Linux boxes, I’ve always gone with Seagate SCSI, instead of Quantum, because the Adaptec cards are smart enough to handle Seagate drives properly. When dealing with IBM/Intel/Linux boxes with internal IDE drives, my favorite is Western Digital Caviar – while I have been known to carry a few Seagate IDE drives around as well.

My current choices:

  • Apple, SCSI: Quantum – no substitute for total compatibility
  • Apple, IDE: IBM, Maxtor – Seagates have a lot of problems with Apple’s IDE controller
  • Intel, SCSI: Seagate – because when you have a card as smart as Adaptec, the bottom of the barrel will do.
  • Intel, IDE: Western Digital – low power, noisy, but reliable, or Seagate, who makes a decent IDE drive.

You might think it strange that my preferences don’t cross platforms properly, but I have reasons for all of them. I do have some real losers when it comes to hard drives though: I don’t like IBM SCSI drives – they suck – they don’t work with most Apples and are too anal to configure. Micropolis made a wonderful drive; unfortunately they’re out of business, and you could only sell them to me for about $100 apiece in their 9 GB configuration. I like warranties, because about 1 out of every 10 drives die a miserable death after just a few months.


APS [defunct] has long been one of the best for cables of all kinds, especially SCSI cables and test gear, as well as for hard drive brackets, external housings, etc. If you want to extend your ‘040 system’s life with internal or external hard drives, internal cooling fans, CD drives, all kinds of peripherals, etc., check them out at apstech.com. I don’t have any financial interest in the company. I just really appreciate the way they have handled my questions and orders in the past – and I feel a little bad that they suffered from Jobs’ clone decision.

I loved APS – but I didn’t purchase from them much, because I found I could piece together the same parts for much less. Of course, that’s me. I would purchase DAT units and external devices from them when the need arose. I especially purchased their parts when dealing with high-end servers, with large external devices or CD-Jukeboxes, with 24/7 tape backup units. APS was reliable and dependable, and I rarely had to service the equipment again simply because they built boxes out of the same equipment that I did. When I didn’t want to build a crappy looking machine, but needed something presentable (not shoved in a closet or a cabinet as a hidden server), I purchased APS equipment – in that case, APS was cheap.

Scott L. Barber <serker@earthling.net>
Pres/CEO, SERKER Worldwide, Inc.
Providing Hardware/Networking/Telecomm for 13 years

Scott L. Barber first posted this to Quadlist, the listserv for users of 68040-based Macs. It is reprinted with his permission.

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