April 1995 MAGazine Volume 11 Number 4

Table Of Contents

The March General Meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group wil be held Saturday, April 8, from 1:00 pm until approximately 3:00 pm in the Thornton Bulding on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis.

The newsletter is published monthly for distribution to the members of the Memphis Amiga Group. MAGazine contains meeting announcements, hardware and software reviews, video and book reviews, and other information of interest to Amiga and computer users in general. Contributions and may be submitted in hardcopy or via disk in ASCII format at any meeting or you can upload to Operator Headgap BBS - (901) 759-1542 V.32bis hi speed operating CNET PRO v3.05c software. Be sure to leave a note to the sysop.

From the President's CLI

by Scott Pitts

Last month, we ran into a conflict with the Farris auditorium where we usually hold our meetings. Unfortunately the conflict exists this month as well, therefore the meeting will be held in the John L. Thorton Building room 104. This is the same location that we had last month. State Tech is also asking that we pay for the use of their facilities. The fees are $250.00 per 6 months. I am currently writing a letter to State Tech requesting the use of Farris Auditorium at no charge. Previously we had a State Tech Employee as a sponsor, but new guidlines no longer allow this as a waiver for fees. These issues will be a topic at the business meeting at Gridley's and the regular meeting at State Tech.

I would like to invite everyone to Gridley's at 11:00am for lunch and our business meeting. The food is purchased in the Deli area and carried to the dining area for our meeting. Hope to see you there.

MINUTES

The March Meeting was late starting as is was moved to the Thorton building which had a severe power shortage. This month it will again be held in the Thorton building. Last month started off with Scott's Demo of several commodities, including DevsMan, AltTab, Arq and Clipboard. Scott also showed and explained DataTypes with a demo of some of the DataTypes.

David Pickett with Opus2 gave the club a program including a video tape on Newtek's Video Toaster Flyer.

David's program was followed by Scott's demo and tutorial on Opus configuration which included his Opus config file. He demonstrated how he had set his up to play most any sound file or show most any type of pictures including mods, meds, gifs, tifs, iffs, and jpeg. We had a total of six disk available including Commodities 1, DataTypes, The Opus Tour, Background II, and two game disks.

MAG Meetings

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) holds gener- Meeting Temporarily moved to Thorton Building stitute at Memphis (see map at left).

There will be a board of directors lunch meeting at Gridley's BarBQ beginning at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, April 8 (before the general meeting). For more information call Scott Pitts at (901) 854-1987.

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1995

President
Scott Pitts
(901) 854-1987

Vice President
Steve Echols
(901) 756-9261

Secretary
Keith Burns
(901) 756-8514

Treasurer
Terry Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Librarian
Bill Bowers
(901) 360-0003

MAGazine Editior
Paul Stokes
(901) 867-8417

MAGazine Printing & Distribution
Terry A. Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Disk Sales & Video Rentals

MAG library and Fred FISH disk are $2 each.
($5 each for non-members)
Quality blank disks with labels are 65¢ each.
($1 each for non-members)
Rental of Amiga related videotapes is $3 per week.
(not available to non-members)
For all this and more contact club librarian
Bill Bowers (901) 360-0003
OR see Bill at the next MAG general meeting.

Full Page $20.00
1/2 Page $11.00
1/4 Page $7.50
1/8 Page (or business card) $3.00

(contact Terry Campbell at 601-393-4864)

INFO

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is promoting and encourageing the use and understanding of the Commodore Amiga Computer. Memberships are open to all those who share a common interest in the Amiga computer and its many wonderful and unique features. Monthly meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome.

Annual membership dues for new members are $25.00 with an annual renewal rate of $20.00. Associate memberships are available for $15.00 per year, renewable at the same rate, to those who must travel more than 45 miles one way to attend general meetings. All memberships are family memberships and dues are nonrefundable.

Western Digital Caviar hard disk

PRODUCT NAME

Western Digital Caviar hard disk

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

An 340-megabyte, 3.5-inch, IDE hard disk for the Amiga 1200, Amiga 600, or any Amiga with an IDE controller.

COMPANY INFORMATION

Sorry, but I purchased the hard drive as part of a package, so I don't know any supplier information. If anyone knows the information, please send it to amiga-reviews@math.uh.edu.

LIST PRICE

Again, I don't know, since I bought it with a computer. I think around $600 (US) might be right.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE

An IDE hard disk drive controller is required.

Every disk partition requires 30K of RAM. If you have a base model Amiga, such as a 1 MB Amiga 600, you may want to get a RAM expansion.

CPU speed also plays its part here. Hard disk operations (read, write) are faster if you have an accelerated CPU and some Fast RAM. I have also installed DiskExpander (which itself needs RAM to compress/decompress the data).

SOFTWARE

None required.

If you would like to partition the hard disk, then you need some "prepping" software. There are freely distributable programs on the Aminet ftp site for doing this.

COPY PROTECTION

None.

MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

Amiga 1200 series 2MB Chip RAM, 4MB Fast RAM. Internal 880K floppy drive. External high density floppy drive. Kickstart 39.106 (3.0), Workbench 40.35 (3.1).

REVIEW

If you own an Amiga without a hard disk, you ain't lived! ;) Honestly, though, the difference between a floppy based system and a hard disk based system is immense!

Ever since I sold my Amiga 500, I've wanted more power. The A1200 was the obvious, affordable choice; and coupled with 6 megabytes of RAM and a hard disk, I thought it would be a killer product! Well, I took the plunge and bought a system, and it has brought me nothing but pleasure. I think you don't know what the Amiga can do until you have a fairly fast machine (68020 or better), lots of memory, and a large hard disk... or at least that's what I've found. :)

Being the curious type, I have tested the hard disk performance just to know how it is compared to the other hard disks available. I was pleasantly surprised to learn this is a very fast hard disk indeed! Just to show that I am not cheating, I have used two programs to test the hard disk, and both report similar results. The drive was tested with two different benchmark programs -- SysInfo version 3 and SPSTrans version 1.01 -- before and after I got my Fast RAM. The results are tabulated below.

Program With Fast (Megs/Second) Without Fast (Megs/Second)
SysInfo 1.78 Megabytes per second 1.41 Megabytes per Second
SPSTrans 1.76 Megabytes per second 1.39 Megabytes per Second

DOCUMENTATION

None. Now the specifications... *YUMMY* , 8)

Device Size: 340961280 bytes
Device Name: WDC AC234H
Heads: 12
Sectors: 55
Cylinders: 1010
Seek time: less than 15ms

LIKES AND DISLIKES

What do I like about this hard disk? Everything! It does what it is supposed to do very well.

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

Although I have friends with A1200 computers and hard disks, they don't have Fast RAM. Therefore, all the details next are for a basic A1200 (my Fast RAM removed). I know these figures, as I had to sort the machines for my friends because I know how to do it and they don't! , 8)

Hard disk Data Transfer rate/sec
This hard disk 1.4Megs
Conner 60 meg 600K
Quantum 900K

BUGS

None found. The drives mentioned above seem to have problems. One of them seems to spin up, but the "Insert Kickstart" 3.0 animation is shown. A warm reset cures this; but if it was my machine, I would be very annoyed. ;)

One thing to note is that HDToolBox uses some very strange MASK number as a default value. Therefore, when you repartition the drive, you must enter the correct one(s). The values at present are:

Mask: 0x7ffffffc
Max Transfer: 0x1fe00

These values seem to work fine.

VENDOR SUPPORT

Never returned it! , 8)

WARRANTY

One year warranty on the computer provided by CBM itself, and one year on the drive by Western Digital.

CONCLUSIONS

If you've been thinking of getting a large capacity hard disk, then this would be a nice choice. Also, if you plan to buy a hard disk again, then this is a good choice. It may seem like a lot of disk space, but I've filled about 80% of it and I'm still going strong. ;) (Thats if I was to uncompress the data that is already compressed.) If you think it's still too much here the result from the AmigaDos INFO command:

Mounted disks:
Unit      Size    Used    Free Full Errs   Status   Name
DH1:      200M  199596  210922  49%  0   Read/Write HardDisk
Amax:    7862K      27   16471   0%  0   Read/Write Emptyhd
OTHER:    116M  207689   30569  87%  0   Read/Write Other

The partition "SYS:" is compressed using the xpkNUKE compression library. The information for this partition is:

DiskExpander Statistics v2.110  by Markus Bader
(C) 1993 Stefan Ossowski Schatztruhe

Listing of path 'sys:':

Original  Packed  PackRate  Library    Name
-------- -------- -------- ---------- -------------
[deleted file names to save space]
-------- -------- -------- ---------- -------------
137496731 94852534   31.0%             7923 files

For a final result, I give this hard disk five stars out of five. It works just like it should, and it is very good compared to other hard disks that work on the A1200.

You may do with this review as you want as long as you don't claim to have written it. :) I also take no responsibility for the information contained in this document which is correct as far as I know at this present time.

Copyright 1994 Saleem Khan (Duggy). All rights reserved.

(Congrats Duster on your new baby, and you Jim-Beam)

Apple CD-300e Plus

PRODUCT NAME

Apple CD-300e Plus

NOTE: This review is an "update" to a previously posted review of the Apple CD-300 drive by Heiko Rath:

From:       hr@brewhr.swb.de (Heiko Rath)
Subject:    REVIEW: Apple CD-300 CD-ROM drive
Date:       1 Jun 1993 18:31:16 GMT
Message-ID: <1ug79k$a3v@menudo.uh.edu>

I have included and quoted Heiko's comments where applicable and used his review as a template, allowing readers to do a side-by-side comparison between the two drives.

[MODERATOR'S NOTE: Heiko's review is available in the c.s.a.reviews archives. - Dan]

BRIEF DESCRIPTION

The Apple CD-300 is a dual speed SCSI CD-ROM drive that supports playing of audio CDs, reading of CD-ROMs, is multi-session compatible, and conforms to several other standards. As a bonus, it can read digital data from audio CDs.

AUTHOR/COMPANY INFORMATION

Name: Apple Computer GmbH

Address: Apple has different contact addresses in other countries. Check, your phone book for dealers!

LIST PRICE

I don't know the list price. I paid DM 800,- (about $500 (US)) at my local Apple dealer here in Germany.

I paid AUS$685.00, about US$500.

SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS

HARDWARE

An Amiga with a SCSI host adapter, preferably SCSI-2.

SOFTWARE

CD-ROM Filesystem software:
"Free" - AmiCDROM versions 1.15 or later recommended
Commercial - AsimCDFS version 2.2 or later

Direct Audio: (one or more of) SCSIUtil 2.2 allows reading audio data and saving to disk. PlayCDDA 1.1 required modifications to recognize the drive and handle the data properly. CDDA 1.12 using "plan a"

For playing audio CDs, you will need a little utility. I have written such a thing called SCSIUtil that will allow you to play selected tracks. A much more comfortable solution is Jukebox, a program with a GUI and ARexx support, available from Franz-Josef Reichert (fjrei@kbsaar.saar.de).

Jukebox 2.83 didn't know how to handle the drive. YACDP 1.1 also failed.

PhotoCD: Not evaluated, but you will need something to convert from the PhotoCD format. (See Heiko's review.)

COPY PROTECTION

None. Or is this just a very expensive "dongle"? :-)

MACHINE USED FOR TESTING

Most evaluation has been on the author's machine:

Amiga 4000/040
8M Fast RAM
Oktagon 2008 SCSI-2 adapter
MultifaceCard III serial/parallel adapter
Seagate ST3144AT IDE drive
Emulex MD21/S2 ESDI (rev A00) adapter to 300M
Micropolis drive

A brief test was performed on:

Amiga 2000 with A2620 accelerator
8M Fast RAM
Workbench 2
A2090A with 40M ST506 drive
A2091 with 80M Quantum SCSI drive
CDTV via Parnet

COMPONENTS SUPPLIED IN PACKAGE

Apple CD 300e Plus
Power cord
SCSI terminator
DB-25 to 50-pin
"Centronics" SCSI cable
Warranty Statement
License Agreement
1 Macintosh floppy
1 User manual
1 Macintosh Starter CD

REVIEW

Following my subscription to various Fish archives on CD-ROM, as well as numerous purchases of interesting other CD-ROMs, I felt the not-unreasonable need to be able to read them!

Of course, I had to get a SCSI adapter first, as the A4000 lacks this, so the procurement programme was somewhat prolonged by selection of that as well.

Initial investigation showed that there were few candidates of CD-ROM which would deliver the features wanted, at a price within my budget. My features list was much the same as Heiko's, and the short list came down to:

Apple CD-300
Sony CDU8003(?)
Toshiba SM3401B

I only became aware of Apple drives capabilities by word of mouth; maybe I should have paid more attention to c.s.a. reviews!

The price of the drive and local support eventually swayed me in the direction of the just-released Apple CD-300e Plus.

Finally the drive arrived at the beginning of March 1993. The box contained the drive, some Macintosh specific software, and a short user's manual. The color of the Apple CD-300 is the same as that of my Amiga 3000, only a little bit lighter. On the front panel it has an eject button, a status LED, volume control, and a headphone jack. Next to the eject button is a little hole which is used to eject a disc in an emergency. The eject mechanism is motor-controlled, and a trap door very ingeniously protects the drive against dust. On the rear, the drive has two RCA audio output jacks (to connect to an external amplifier or amplified speakers), the on/off switch, the power connector, two SCSI 50-pin connectors, and a selector for the SCSI ID.

The most significant and noticeable difference between the CD-300e Plus and its predecessor is that the newer 300e does not require a caddy; instead, a motorized drawer is used, much like in most audio CD players.

"Bootstrapping" was achieved by reading an AmiCDROM 1.9 archive from one of my CDROMs on the SPARC machine at work, and then transferring that via modem to my Amiga. Installation of the software was straightforward, following the instructions included in the archive.

The drive is able to support multi-session Photo CDs with a Macintosh. To do the same with my Amiga, I needed some software. After looking around and getting a hint to search in alt.sources, I found Hadmut Danisch's (danisch@ira.uka.de) hpcdtoppm utility, originally written on a UNIX machine. This was easily compiled on my Amiga and enables me to convert Photo CD images to PPM, from where I can convert to any other required format.

This was not tested on the CD-300e Plus, but should work without any headaches.

Because I'm very curious, I wanted to know how to read digital data off an audio CD. Several questions later, I had the info about a vendor specific SCSI command and incorporated it into my little SCSIUtil. Now I'm able to read all these soundbits and pieces and use them on my Amiga.

This works as before, though some software, except perhaps the more recent stuff, does not recognize the drive type and gives up without even trying.

BTW, the Apple CD-300 replies to a SCSI INQUIRY command with "SONY CD-ROM CDU-8003". I heard that this basically a Sony CDU-561 drive with a patched ROM.

SCSI inquiry(*) yields the following from the CD-300e Plus:

Peripherial qualifier: 0
Peripherial device type: $5, CD-ROM device
Removable medium: yes
Device type modifier: 0
ISO Version: 0
ECMA Version: 0
ANSI-Approved Version: 2, The device complies to (SCSI-2)
AENC: no
TrmIOP: doesn't support TERMINATE I/O PROCESS message
Response data format: $2, conforms to SCSI-2
Additional length: $1f INQUIRY[5-6] (Reserved): $0, $0
RelAdr: doesn't support relative addressing
WBus32: doesn't support 32 wide data transfers
WBus16: doesn't support 16 wide data transfers
Sync: does support synchronous transfers
Linked: does support linked commands
CmdQue: doesn't support tagged command queueing
SftRe: responds to RESET condition with hard RESET alternative
Vendor identification: MATSHITA
Product identification: CD-ROM CR-8004
Product revision level: 1.1f
Vendor specific:
Reserved:
(*) using SCSIUtil.

Apple CD 300 Technical Specifications:

Playback medium: 120mm and 80mm optical disc
Capacity:
Mode 1: 656 MB
Mode 2: 748 MB
Data surfaces: 1
Data per block:
Mode 1: 2048 bytes
Mode 2: 2336 bytes
Blocks per disc: 336,150
Audio playback:
Playing time: 74 minutes and 42 seconds
Frequency response: not specified (20 to 20,000 Hz)
Characteristics:
Rotational speed (approx):
-- Normal speed (1X): 230 to 530 rpm
-- Double speed (2X): 460 to 1060 rpm
Latency (average): varies over radius
-- Normal speed (1X): 55 to 130 ms
-- Double speed (2X): 27.5 to 65 ms
Average access time (typical):
-- Normal speed (1X): 410 ms
-- Double speed (2X): 290 ms
Data streaming rate, normal speed (1X):
-- Mode 1: 150 KB/sec
-- Mode 2: 171 KB/sec
Data streaming rate, double speed (2X):
-- Mode 1: 300 KB/sec
-- Mode 2: 342 KB/sec

* "(2X)" is the symbol for increased performance -- double the spin speed

Block rate:
-- Normal speed (1X): 75 blocks/sec
-- Double speed (2X): 150 blocks/sec
SCSI bus transfer burst rate (typical)
-- Asynch: 2.5 MB/sec
-- Synch: 2.1 MB/sec

Formats supported:
Audio CD
CD-ROM Modes 1 and 2
CD-ROM XA Mode 2, Forms 1 and 2
CD+I Mode 2, Forms 1 and 2
Photo CD Single and multisession
CD+MIDI
CDDA
CDDA (CD digital audio data via SCSI bus Interface)
One headphone jack with volume control (front panel)
Two SCSI 50-pin connectors (rear panel)
Two RCA audio output jacks

Laser:
Type GaA1As
Wavelength 790+-25nm
Output Power 0.14 mW
Beam divergence 53.5+-1.5 degrees

Electrical requirements:
Power requirements: 100 to 240 V AC, 50/60 Hz, 0.28-0.17 Amp

Operating environment:
Temperature: 41F to 104F (5C to 40C)
Relative humidity: 5% to 90% noncondensing

Non-operating environment:
Storage temperature (6 mo.): -22F to 122F (-30C to 50C)
Transient temperature (72 hrs.): -40F to 149F (-40C to 65C)
Relative humidity: 5% to 95% noncondensing

DOCUMENTATION

The Apple CD-300 comes with a users manual that explains how to connect it to an Apple Macintosh, install the required software, handle CDs, and work with the Macintosh software. It also contains a short technical specifications page about the drive.

LIKES AND DISLIKES

I like the Apple CD-300 as it is fast, reliable, relatively cheap compared to other drives, complies very closely to ANSI SCSI 2, supports multi-session CDs, and is able to read digital data off audio CDs.

THe 300e complies with SCSI-2 (AFAIK).

I like the caddy-less design as it allows for faster disk changes, without the need to buy extra caddies, which are usually fragile.

I like the fact that I now have 600 ex-Fish floppies.

I dislike the fact that it keeps me awake until dawn while browsing new CD-ROMs. :-)

I dislike the fact that I now have 600 ex-Fish floppies. :-)

COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS

The Apple CD-300 is comparable to the Toshiba 3401 speed and featurewise, but the Apple is cheaper (at least here in Germany).

The same appears to hold true for the CD-300e Plus.

BUGS

None detected.

VENDOR SUPPORT

As I already had an external SCSI disk connected to my Oktagon card, I ordered my 300e with 50-50 pins SCSI cable but received 25-50 pin (standard Mac) cable instead. A call to the dealer rectified the problem quickly. I decided to hang onto the 25-50 cable because of the ability to move the drive between Amigas without having to disconnect my external SCSI hard disk.

WARRANTY

1 year limited warranty.

CONCLUSIONS

Competent hardware, at a good price.

Extracts: Copyright 1993 Heiko Rath, All rights reserved.

The remainder is Copyright 1994 Bernd Felsche, All Rights Reserved.

Distribute freely. Extracts are to include appropriate attributions.