SCSI Drive Size: Few Macs Take Full Height Drives

1998 – I have this incredible desire to mention a few things about SCSI, seeing the wealth of posts that in some way or another ask whether this drive or that drive will work with this machine or that machine. This isn’t meant to be sarcastic, and it’s very serious – I have clients that operate this way. It’s very cheap and effective.

For one thing, the only internal constraint for a SCSI drive is physical size – I’m talking about height. For instance, the Mac IIsi can take a full height (2.0″ tall) 3.5″ drive, while the Mac SE really only likes a half-height (1.0″) or third-height (2/3″) 3.5″ drive.*

If you want to be ridiculous (or you want a server), you can put a 4.3 GB drive inside a Mac SE or a 9.1 GB drive in a IIsi. A Mac II holds four 3.5″ half-height drives (or two 5.25″ half-height drives), so you’re limited to around 17 GB.

If you’re really feeling “bleeding edge”, you can hook up whatever size drives you want outside the case and put a maximum (with currently available drives) 165.2 GB of drives on your Mac SE under System 7.5.5. Knowing, of course, that the 23.6 GB drives might be too small for the average user, you might want to RAID the partitions together – and there are packages from FWB and LaCie that do this without requiring a RAID or JackHammer card.

These numbers may seem ridiculous, but I’m trying to prove a point – if you have a low-end machine and want to upgrade from a 40 MB drive, consider a 500 MB or 1 GB drive, since they’re only about $100. Or consider one even larger – 4.3 GB drives can be purchased for $289, and 9.1 GB drives are only $600 now. So for $620, you can have a 9.3 GB file server for a Mac Ethernet LAN.

Try to shop this at your local Apple dealer – their servers are 4 GB. All the drives I’m talking about are portable to larger machines, so when you upgrade you can take your mammoth drive with you, and you should. . . .

(As always, prices have dropped since this was first written.)

Scott L. Barber <>
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.

 * The same goes for 2.5″ notebook hard drives, where the thickest drives are 12.5mm, and 9.5mm drives eventually replaced them as the standard. With netbooks and very thin notebooks, 7mm drives become the norm.

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