[ This follow-up is being cross-posted to comp.periphs.scsi. ]
>Yes, I think it would be best to keep the TOSHIBA CDROM for PC use and get a
>Sun CDROM for your Sun Machine......
>Systems & Networks Engineer
>Mercantile Software Systems, Inc.
<<< flame mode on >>>
Bullshit. The Sun units are grossly overpriced and are essentially
identical to what you can get at any well stocked PC store for less
than half the price that Sun asks for their's.
At least this was certainly true in the case of the 3401's, when I
looked into it about a year ago.
This is/was a blatant scam on the part of both Sun and Toshiba, both of
whom are apparently in cahoots on the whole deal. (I know this first-hand
because I investigated the whole thing myself about a year ago, and I
tried to get Toshiba people to tell me which two traces I had to cut on
the PC board for the 3401 to make it work with my Sun. That's right!
The only difference between the off-the-shelf PC model of the 3401 and
the Sun one is that to make an off-the-shelf PC version of the drive
work on a Sun, you had to open it up and cut two of the tiny traces...
which were engineered into the drive expressely for this purpose...
so that the drive would power up with a 512 byte block size, rather
than with the _normal_ power up block size for the PC world, i.e.
Now get this... When I asked a PC components *dealer* if he would tell
me which two traces to cut, he told me that this was secret information,
and that the only reason that _he_ even knew which two traces to cut was
because he had been specially licensed by Toshiba to have the knowledge.
Secret information indeed! They didn't want the public to know about how
their customer (Sun) was gouging people.
I asked people at SunExpress why they were selling the drive for around
$800 while the virtually identical PC model has a street price of about
$300. They were unable to explain this. More importantly however, I
asked them why, after PeeCee SCSI CD-ROM drives had been on the market
for so many years already and after the PeeCee industry had already settled
operating systems still could not cope with a CD-ROM drive which powered-up
with a 2048 byte block size.
Obviously, they were unable to answer this question also.
Anyway, this whole thing pissed me off so much that I was determined NOT
to let Sun gouge me for a CD-ROM drive so I kept asking about the drives
in comp.unix.solaris. Eventually, some nice fellow in Germany wrote me
back and said that he would mail me a photocopy of an article which had
appeared in a German computer magazine which explained exactly how to
convert a PC version of the 3401 for use on a Sun (i.e. it told which
two traces to cut). I had it translated to English by a friend of mine
who is a native German, and then, with all of the information in hand,
I had a local electronics repair shop wire up a small double-pole double-
throw switch on those two traces so that I could use the drive on _either_
my PeeCee or on my Sun (with a flip of the switch). That cost me around
40 bucks. (I could have done it myself, but my eyesight isn't as good
as it used to be, and the traces that needed to be fiddled were REALLY
I ended up saving myself a lot of money, and now I have a CD-ROM drive
that can work on either a PC or a Sun.
It still makes me mad that Sun hasn't managed to get their OSes and
their boot proms to accomodate 2048 byte-per-block CD-ROM drives...
or have they? (I haven't been paying attention to this subject for about
10 months now.) Anyway, this isn't rocket science we are talking about
here. It was obvious to me at the time that the primary reason that
they hadn't yet adapted their software to 2kb blocksizes was that they
were far too pleased with the status quo... i.e. being able to charge
people 800 bucks for a $300 drive.
So much for open industry-standard interfaces! Humph!
<<< flame mode off >>>
P.S. I'm not a Sun hater. Sun sells many very fine software and hardware
products. My primary development machine is a Sun. They have been real
pioneers in this industry and I thank God for companies like Sun, SGI,
HP, and IBM for their valiant resistance to the Evil Empire in Redmond.
But giving people good value on every part of your product line is
something that _everyone_ in this business ought to be doing. (I'm
also pissed off at HP for charging me 35 bucks for two measly 4mm DAT
cleaning tapes. Now try to tell me that 90% of _that_ isn't profit!)
-- Ron Guilmette, Roseville, CA ---------- RG Consulting -------------------
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