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Old 09-11-2011, 11:57 PM   #1
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Default Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

For quite some time I have been looking for a good SCSI drive solution for my Amiga(s) that is both reliable and relatively speedy. I have a A3000D and A4000D which I both use infrequently - mainly because of a shortage of available time - and both my A3000 and A4000 are equipped with SCSI controllers. I have used the A4000D on Compact Flash using a CF2IDE adapter for a short while, but the performance of the IDE interface on the 4000 did not make me very happy. Besides, I have a good SCSI controller available in the machine! Also, I like to move my drive around occasionally between machines which I cannot do with the CF. The SCSI drives I could find were either 10K rpm SCA2 drives from server systems or really old SE UltraSCSI drives which I do not trust my data with.

As a solution I purchased two refurbished Seagate drives from a Dutch company that were new in all practical ways. The joy! They work great, do exactly as promised, work flawlessly and were an instant reminder why SCSI sucked so bad. The drive is noisy - although not as noisy as it's full-height older SCSI cousins - it just is very audible. While this gives me a truly retro feeling and really takes me back to 1990 (when I bought my first 100MB Quantum SCSI drive with controller) technology has moved beyond this. I still love my Amiga but cannot stand the noise of the drive anymore for extended periods of time (more than a few hours). Second issue with the drive is the speed, it is no speed devil in any way. Usually this is not a problem, but I could not get a HAM8 video demo to run (courtesy of Tahoe) from HD, it just could not get it from the drive quickly enough.

In the meantime I scouted the local 2nd hand sites from drives and tried many different types and kinds. This involves messing with many different SCSI convertors (SCA2 to WideSCSI to 50PIN USCSI, etc. etc.). This often creates more problems than it solves and if termination is an issue anywhere will cause many hours of digging, searching and trying. This gave me faster drives but often even more noise than my 2b Seagate. Winner of the noise contest was a 10K SCA Fujitsu drive!

After doing some research on the net I decided to order a ACARD ARS-2000SUP, a SATA to UltraSCSI bridge masqueraded as a 3.5 inch drive. Although expensive it does allow me to use a 2.5 inch laptop drive as UltraSCSI drive without any hassles. As it has a 3.5 inch drive form factor it gives the A4000D the needed stability as the drive connects the PSU to the backplane.

The ACARD ARS-2000SUP is the newer version of the ACARD SCSI to SATA bridge they apparently have been selling for many years.



My setup
A4000D, revision B;
2Mb ChipRam / 12Mb FastRam on the motherboard;
GVP A4060DT 68060 @ 50MHz accelerator with 128MB memory on-board and FastSCSI2;
PicassoIV (slot 1);
Ariadne Ethernet (slot 2);
Deneb USB card (slot 3);
Onboard IDE terminated using the small board from Amigakit;

First the box…
The package is quite small and comparable to any harddisk upgrade for your average PC. Inside there is the drive, nicely packaged in an antistatic bag, 8 drive screws for the drive and the enclosure and a brief manual.

The manual
The manual is actually very nice as it gives pictures of the (very easy) installation steps. Nothing special there.



The case
This is much nicer than I had anticipated. It is made of strong aluminium, no sharp edges. Looks very nice and clean. The top comes off easily where you can see the embedded controller that does all the hard work. There is plenty of room for the 2.5" SATA disk. I do not think the very high 1TB drives will fit, but my small laptop drive left a few mm's of height unused. The jumper layout for the SCSI side is printed on the case and I was surprised to see that the case itself includes a terminator which can be set ON or OFF.



Installation
Easy. Just remove the four screws on the top of the case and the top and side (one metal part) come off. Slide in the SATA drive, use 4 screws to fixate it to the case and reinstall the top. Now it's the same size as a standard 3.5" harddisk.

I installed it into my A4000D in the SCSI chain that exists of the SCSI controller and the trusted Seagate HD. After booting I fired up HDToolBox (using the OS3.9 version), selected the correct SCSI controller and the drive was detected. I added a 2GB partition (as to avoid any partition / drive barrier issues) and wrote the RDB to disk. After a quick reboot I formatted the drive with FFS and it was ready for it's first real test! BTW I'm using 0x0000FE00 as MaxTransfer, I still need to figure out proper settings for this.



Speed
I haven't made a very thorough benchmark. I wanted to have some numbers so that I could compare the old setup to the new. I used SysSpeed in the latest version from Aminet to determine the differences. Look at the two screenshots and see for yourself! The raw read speed went from ~3.65MB/s to ~5.5MB/s, that is about 50% extra speed. Still not stellar performance, but remember I still need to tune my MaxTransfer etc.

Price
This is not a cheap alternative for a "real" SCSI disk, neither is it on the same level as a CF to IDE adapter which is nearly free on Ebay. The unit cost me about US$160. It is however a large drive that I can move between my Amiga's when needed and fits in nicely.

All in all I am very happy with this little box. As a next step I will add two PFS3 partitions to it to be able to use the rest of the ~130GB diskspace on the drive. Also I will need to dive into the Mask/Transfer stuff to see if I can squeeze more out of the drive. And when I get my A3000D from the attic I will test it using the SCSI controller in that machine as well.
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Last edited by mousehouse; 09-12-2011 at 12:11 AM.. Reason: added test setup / configuration
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Old 09-12-2011, 12:15 AM   #2
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

Thank you so much for this extended review mate!

Indeed ACards are such full of win and I seen one more time a test of a SATA inteface on an Amiga! Cheers for that.


I used an 7220U with an 2.5HD also on my A4000 mounted on a custom bracket and except being so silent... it gave me a constant 18.3MB/s (measured in SysSpeed) although I need to alter my Max Transfer mask as well



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Old 09-12-2011, 02:32 AM   #3
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

Very nice, I've been thinking about getting one of these for years, but it's been prioritized down and down all the time
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

that is a expensive solution and adds unnecesary hardware to the Amiga
for the 3000 is ok cause there is no ide
btw,please post a sysinfo screenshot with the drive speed tests because sysspeed'tests are not dependable
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:47 AM   #5
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

There is no such thing as expensive if you want nice solutions for your loving machines.
The fact that IDE exists for example on A4000 doesn't compare with the awesome speedup and less CPU usage by using SCSI interface.
As mousehouse said, SCSI is awesome but it's noisy and also power hungry. For putting cheap and 2.5" HDs ACards are an awesome solution that work just fine.

Btw SysInfo gives a bit less results but I always known that SysSpeed was more trustworthy than SysInfo when it comes to drive reading numbers.

For example in my setup...SysInfo gives about 15.7MB/s while SysSpeed gives about 18.3MB/s. Still a great deal of difference comparing to the internal IDE @ 2.5MB/s don't you think?
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:50 AM   #6
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfilos View Post
[SIZE=3]


I used an 7220U with an 2.5HD also on my A4000 mounted on a custom bracket and except being so silent... it gave me a constant 18.3MB/s (measured in SysSpeed) although I need to alter my Max Transfer mask as well
there is no amiga or hardisk controller for the Amiga which can offer 18mb/second transfer speed
maximum on the Amiga are 7 or 8 mb per second on Phase 5 scsi controllers
so you are lying or you are drunk loi...
do not use syspeed to test hardisk speed use sysinfo or diskspeed v4 on aminet
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

It's not just the A3000 that is SCSI only, same for A4000T. Also, this lets you easily use SSD in Amiga, if you want that.
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Old 09-12-2011, 03:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaserBack View Post
use sysinfo
And there goes your credibility
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:16 AM   #9
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

[OT mode = ON]
Quote:
Originally Posted by LaserBack View Post
there is no amiga or hardisk controller for the Amiga which can offer 18mb/second transfer speed
maximum on the Amiga are 7 or 8 mb per second on Phase 5 scsi controllers
so you are lying or you are drunk loi...
do not use syspeed to test hardisk speed use sysinfo or diskspeed v4 on aminet
Apparently you have no idea about CSPPC/CSmk3's UW SCSI controller mate.
Theoretically it can reach up to 40MB/s and I seen screenshots of UW HD's at 24MB/s.
Mine is UW SCSI but I putted a simple Ultra SCSI ACard that bottlenecks the speed to a max of 20MB/s.

Check my whole blog post here: http://mfilos.blogspot.com/2011/08/a...-together.html

and you can see the screenshot @ the end.

So... next time, better be sure and more polite before you accuse someone of lying or being drunk.
[/OT mode = OFF]

Sorry for the OT reply. Mousehouse again... thanks again for this interesting review.
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Last edited by mfilos; 09-12-2011 at 04:18 AM..
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:17 AM   #10
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaserBack View Post
there is no amiga or hardisk controller for the Amiga which can offer 18mb/second transfer speed
I see you've never heard of UW SCSI in CS PPC.
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:29 AM   #11
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

Quote:
Originally Posted by LaserBack View Post
there is no amiga or hardisk controller for the Amiga which can offer 18mb/second transfer speed
maximum on the Amiga are 7 or 8 mb per second on Phase 5 scsi controllers
so you are lying or you are drunk loi...
do not use syspeed to test hardisk speed use sysinfo or diskspeed v4 on aminet
you seem pretty sure 'bout that...



I suggest the next time you accuse someone of lying or being drunk you do your homework and actually know what you are talking about.
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Last edited by keropi; 09-12-2011 at 04:31 AM..
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:30 AM   #12
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfilos View Post
[OT mode = ON]

Apparently you have no idea about CSPPC/CSmk3's UW SCSI controller mate.
Theoretically it can reach up to 40MB/s and I seen screenshots of UW HD's at 24MB/s.
Mine is UW SCSI but I putted a simple Ultra SCSI ACard that bottlenecks the speed to a max of 20MB/s.

Check my whole blog post here: http://mfilos.blogspot.com/2011/08/a...-together.html

and you can see the screenshot @ the end.

So... next time, better be sure and more polite before you accuse someone of lying or being drunk.
[/OT mode = OFF]

Sorry for the OT reply. Mousehouse again... thanks again for this interesting review.
like I said syspeed is not the tool to test hardisks or cpu speed or anything
it will give you incorrect and exaggerated numbers
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:34 AM   #13
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

Man seriously... You must be right. We're all wrong for using these utilities for years now, so I rest my case
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Last edited by mfilos; 09-12-2011 at 04:37 AM..
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Old 09-12-2011, 04:38 AM   #14
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

sure! if someone insists so much it must be true, right...?

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Old 09-12-2011, 05:45 AM   #15
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Default Re: Review of my Acard ARS-2000SUP SCSI to 2.5" SATA adapter

Quote:
Originally Posted by mfilos View Post
Man seriously... You must be right. We're all wrong for using these utilities for years now, so I rest my case
I'm right of course....18mb per second is a total exaggeration.....why do you not post a sysinfo screenshot instead ?
because like you said ...it will give you small numbers and you do not like it
that is not honest or real
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