SUMMARY: Installing 3.5" 1 Gig drive in sparc 1/1+

From: Won-Soon Lau (
Date: Thu Sep 10 1992 - 03:57:43 CDT

My original posting was:

The original Quantum 105 drives are giving us a lot of problem. Everytime
a power failure occurred I had a hard time getting them to spin up.

I'm aware that there are a couple of new 3.5" half-height drives with
capacity in the region of 1 Gigabyte in the market now and thinking of
using them as replacement for the 105s. However, most of these drives
are using the fast scsi II standard. I would appreciate information
about the compatibility of these drives with the scsi adaptor on the
mother board especially the sparc1 since it doesn't support synchronous
transfer. Will there be any problems with the power supply and the cooling
of the drive? Personally I think that there shouldn't be a problem
with the power supply as I'm going to replace both 105 by a single new one.

If you have any experience in swaping the drives or information regarding
any 3.5" 1 Gig drives (model number, price, hardware spec, format.dat)
please email to me. I'll post a summary of all the responses.
Please note that my site will lost internet connection for about a week
after the 9th September. Thank you.

General consensus on scsi-1 and fast scsi-2 compatibility was the newer
scsi-2 drives should work on the scsi-1 adaptor. From what I have found
out myself, apart from the well discussed IBM 3.5" 1G drive and the
DEC DSP-3105, Quantum, Seagate and Micropolis also has similar product.
The Quantum drive is of particular interest to me since it is 1.2G formatted,
11 ms average seek time, 512k cache and cost about ~$1,800 US.

Many thanks to the following sun-managers who replied:

        Jeffrey Marans <> (Peter Baumann)
        Mike Raffety <>
        Athula Mandanayake <> (Shelley L. Shostak)

Following are a concatenation of all the replies:

From: Jeffrey Marans <>

I've been replacing the 105's in ss1's for 3 years now, and the only issues I've
worried about were heating problems. The 420's generate more heat, as indicated
by the power consumption on the disk label [physical label vs magnetic tracks].
I actually put 2 420's in a pizza box and got noise complaints. The disks have
been spinning fine for a year now, so I think the box can handle more heat than
I realize, but in the long term I expect early failure. If you've any weak
components, you can also expect early failure.

I've ordered a 1G for my own machine and when it arrives I'll find out if it
works, but I'm expecting it'll behave like a racing car confined to city

I continually see postings requesting format.dat entries, and I just
don't understand why people need them. When I install a new disk, if
format doesn't recognize the type, it says so. Starting with a raw
disk, which is how all mine arrive, I use the type command and select
other, as in:
format> type

        0. Micropolis 1355
        1. Toshiba MK 156F
        2. Micropolis 1558
        3. Quantum ProDrive 80S
        4. Quantum ProDrive 105S
        5. CDC Wren IV 94171-344
        6. SUN0104
        7. SUN0121
        8. SUN0207
        9. SUN0320
        10. SUN0327
        11. SUN0400
        12. SUN0669
        13. Sun1.0G
        14. Maxtor LXT-200S
        15. other
Specify disk type (enter its number) [12]: 15
That's when I'm prompted for the number of cylinders, etc, and when that's done
format is ready to write a label. The rest of the process follows straight out
of the Sys Admin Course manual.

Jeff Marans.

From: (Peter Baumann)

We just ordered a SCSI-2 drive (DEC). The supplier promised it would run with
a SS2 until we get our SS10. The drive: 3,5' (I don't know which height, it's
external), supposed to be "much faster" than current drives (no reliabl
transfer rate data), 9ms average access, DM 3600,- (1US$ = 1.38DM).

From: Mike Raffety <>

Fast SCSI-II drives can always run as slow SCSI-I drives; the SCSI spec
requires upward compatibility, I believe.

The SPARCstation-1 is indeed capable of sync SCSI; some of the older
ones have chips which can choke on it, however.

To enable sync SCSI on a SS-1, use adb to set the kernel global
esp_ss1_esp0sync to one. I ran my SS-1 that way for over a year
without any problems (I now have a SS-2).

You're most likely to have power and/or cooling problems; get the specs
on the old and new disks, and compare.


We have just installed a couple of Toshiba MK438FB 1GB internal
drives in some SS2s. Note, however, that the useable space is
really about 800MB after formatting and running newfs. Getting
them up and running was no problem, and they would appear to work
all right as boot drives. They run a little hotter than a Quantum,
but this doesn't seem to be a problem in the Sparc2 chassis at all.

Any of the following formats work, and appear to be equally efficient
(just don't exceed the sectors available, which seems to be ~1715700):

        ncyl=1703, acyl=2, pcyl=1705, nhead=15, nsec=67, rpm=3600
        ncyl=1680, acyl=2, pcyl=1682, nhead=15, nsec=68, rpm=3600
        ncyl=1425, acyl=2, pcyl=1425, nhead=15, nsec=80, rpm=3600

We bought these drives for ~$1600 US on a "monthly special" from:

        Computer Systems Technology (800) 458-5058 sales
        One Technology, E-309 (714) 453-8567 voice
        Irvine, CA 92718 (714) 453-6832 fax

... which may or may not be a good source for you. The good news is
that the drives are very light and well-packed and should ship well.

From: Athula Mandanayake <>

No I have not installed any of these yet.
Will the new
SCSI II fast bus compatible with the existing scsi adaptor on the CPU board?
Yes but if you have normal SCSI bus you can not use the speed (or power) of
SCSI II fast to read/write data. So you will not see any improvement in speed
of the disk.
I think SPARC station 10 has a SCSI II fast ( check ).

From: (Shelley L. Shostak)

Be very careful about getting complete information from the vendor. Some of
the disk cannot be used with sparc 1/1+ systems (SS1, SS1+, SLC, IPX), only
the sparc2 based machines (IPC, ELC, SS2, SS10).

Won-Soon Lau

Dept of Electrical Engineering         \  BITNET:  ENGP2065@NUSVM.bitnet      
National University of Singapore        \  Phone:  (+65) 772 6319       
10, Kent Ridge Crescent. Singapore 0511. \______________________________

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