A2 Upgrades

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SCSI Interface Card Specifications

The CMS SCSI II Interface Card

Requires: 64K II+, //e, IIgs, Laser 128 / Compatibles.


Data Transfer Rate: Approx 64-128K / Sec

The CMS Card does not support the same standard Apple Partition Map like most other cards do.

There are 3 ROM Revisions available for the CMS Card, the first, and most common has a date of 11/09/87. The intermediate ROM is dated 03/01/89 and is similar in restrictions as the original.

To use a hard disk with this card, it requires that the user set a series of jumpers to thier needs and it will only support up to 64 Meg. (2 32 Meg Partitions). To access a larger drive requires the addition of another SCSI card to the system, with itself set to a different ID.

That means that of you had a 120 Meg drive and wanted four partitions- you would need to use TWO SCSI cards with a cable running between them on the outside of the computer, or custom crimped ribbon cables inside.

The third and final ROM being dated 4/1/90 does NOT have the same limitations as the older two, it can utilize the card WITHOUT setting jumpers for sizes. The jumpers are set in a certain way for most users and left alone. The ROM automatically partitions in 32 meg increments until the end of the drive is reached. There is an upper limit on the number of partitions. It is not as many as the Apple Inside Mac V Partitioning Scheme allows. This is how most other SCSI cards work.

CMS SCSI Networking

Now, here is a fun tidbit;

Have one hard drive and two computers? Want to use it? Put a SCSI card in each and hook each computer to one of the connectors. File locking is all your own problem. But you can do it. Multiline BBS? Great simple solution.


The CMS SCSI Card is not recommended for use in the Apple IIgs at all.


The Apple SCSI Card

Requires: 64K II+, //e, IIgs, Laser 128 / Compatibles.

Data Transfer Rate: 128-256K / Sec

This card is made by Apple Computer and was released as a Rev. B and later upgraded to Rev. C. No hardware changes were done, just firmware. It was superseded by the High Speed SCSI Card.

The Rev. B card has 342-0112C on it's ROM and the Rev. C is labeled 342-0437B. In the Rev. B configuration this card supports four partitions in placed in Slot 5 and two partitions if placed in Slot 7. Additionally, Rev. B does NOT support the Inside Mac V Partitioning Scheme.

The Rev. B will also boot a drive that was formatted with a CMS SCSI card and the first partition only, will be accessible.

The Rev. C, with ProDOS 8 will access more than 2 partitions. ProDOS 8 will automatically map the partitions, two per slot, in any 'position' not occupied by another storage device already. If you have a 5.25" controller installed, that will pre-empt that slot position regardless if you have one or two drives attached. A 3.5" controller will allow one HD partition to be mapped as Drive #2 if you have only one 3.5" drive attached. Any other slots, empty or occupied by NON block/storage devices will have a partition mapped to them except Slot 3, which will only have one, unless you have disabled the /RAM volume. In an Apple IIgs, GS/OS can recognize up to 40 partitions of 32 Meg each, thus allowing the use of a much larger drive. The Apple Inside Mac V Partitioning Scheme is the method used here, meaning devices used with this SCSI card can be moved between an Apple High Speed SCSI card, the RAMFast SCSI card* and the Macintosh**


The Apple High Speed SCSI Card

Requires: Enhanced Apple //e 128K, Apple IIgs

Data Transfer Rate: IIgs 1Meg / Sec - //e 512K / Sec

This card has all the same characteristics of the Apple II Rev C. Card, and is downwardly software compatible with it. That is where the difference stops, it is a totally new, redesigned card. It offers 1 Megabyte a second data transfer rate* (512K on an Apple //e) and is DMA, (Direct Memory Access) compatible.


RAMFast SCSI Card

Requires: Enhanced Apple //e 128K, Apple IIgs

Data Transfer Rate: 1 Meg / Sec

Cache Size: 256K or 1024K

This card, is compatible with the Apple High Speed SCSI card, capability wise, it is not compatible with software for the Apple SCSI Cards. It offers all the same hardware specs as the Apple High Speed SCSI card, with the addition of hardware caching, it has 256K or 1024K of cache-ahead buffering, thus making it the FASTEST SCSI CARD available for the Apple II.

  • *The RAMFast supports Inside Mac V Partitioning however it is limited to 12 partitions only.
  • **Using SCSI hard drives from an Apple II on a Macintosh requires some method of support for the ProDOS file system. There is an extension for ProDOS support for Mac OS 7.5 through OS 9.2. Be aware the ANY files written directly to a locally attached ProDOS volume from Mac OS WILL HAVE RESOURCE FORKS APPENDED and will NOT work with ProDOS 8 any longer, until the resource forks are stripped.


= CD ROM Drives

There are several brands of SCSI CD ROM drives available. To use a CD ROM drive on an Apple II a SCSI interface is required. There are two main SCSI interface cards that will work with CD ROM drives, and a distant third.

The RAMFast SCSI card from Sequential Systems and the Apple High Speed SCSI card from Apple Computer. The distant third is the Rev "C" Apple SCSI card, (making sure that is is infact the Rev "C" card.). The Rev C Card will work, it will just produce a slow environment.

To date, there are not very many specific CD ROM titles. However, a new product on the market from Sequential Systems, allows use of many of the popular titles available for the PC and Mac market. Things such as the Home Physican, Groliers Encyclopedia, the World Almanac. The product is called DiscQuest and requires an Apple IIgs with System Software 6.0.1 installed, and a hard disk.

Sequential Systems: DiscQuest

DiscQuest is a CD ROM software product for the Apple IIgs, with DiscQuest you can open up to a whole new world of reference library software. DiscQuest comes with the Family Doctor CD ROM. Familiy Doctor is a medical encyclopedia. It contains a vast wealth of information on human anatomy, common ailments and remedies, and much more. DiscQuest allows you to use DiscPassage format CD ROM that are available for PC and Mac systems and are commonly found in software stores that sell CD ROMs. Again, the CD's must be in DiscPassage format. Discs in this format are generally Reference/Informational type databases and not games. Some titles are US History, World History, US Geography, US States & Capitols, Baseball Statistics, and many more. Additionally, as a separate product called DiscQuest Encyclopedia, which is Comptons Multimedia Encyclopedia with special software enabling it to be used with the Apple IIgs. Both, DiscQuest & DiscQuest Encyclopedia will take full advantage of any graphics included on the CD ROM and play any sounds as well. Additionally, you can use DiscQuest to play music CD's as well.


To use DiscQuest you need an Apple IIgs system consisting of:

Apple IIgs with 1 Meg memory & 3.5" Drive


Apple High Speed SCSI or RAMFast SCSI v3.01ez card

Any standard SCSI CD ROM Drive*

Optional System configurations would be: (in addition to the above)

SCSI hard disk, 2 Meg or more memory, SoundMeister card, accelerator card.

Only Apple branded CD ROM drives, models, CDSC CDSC Plus, CD 150, CD 300 can be used with an Apple brand SCSI card. Separate software drivers are needed for any other drive type in order to work with an Apple SCSI card. The RAMFast SCSI card will use any standard CD ROM drive, regardless of brand with DiscQuest.