Using Sun CD-ROM drives on PC/PC-clone systems... can it be done?

Using Sun CD-ROM drives on PC/PC-clone systems... can it be done?

Post by Ronald F. Guilmet » Fri, 31 Dec 1993 03:30:44



The title pretty much says it all.

I want to know if anyone has ever *successfully* used a Sun CD-ROM drive
on a PC or PC clone system.

(I want to know, because (a) I have both types of systems, and (b) I
currently have no CD-ROM drive on either system, and (c) I am in the
process of trying to buy a CD-ROM drive, and (d) I am too damn cheap
to pay for two similar devices when I might, in theory, be able to buy
only one, and then just plug it into the Sun/Sparc or the PC alternatively
when/as I need to do so... which is to say only quite rarely.)

I have done some research on this question, and the answers I have gotten
so far are confusing, disturbing, and not entirely conclusive.

I have been told that the actual drive inside those cute $825 boxes with the
nice Sun logo on the outside are essentially IDENTICAL to the Toshiba
XM-3401B model drives now being sold for PCees (whose street price here in
Silly-Cone valley is now in the neighborhood of $360) EXCEPT that in the
Sun models (for reasons known only to Sun) one of the traces on one of the
circut boards in the drive has been CUT, thus forcing the driver to use a
block size of 512 bytes for transfers, rather than the PC-standard of 1024
bytes per transfer.

(As Dave Barry always says, "I'm not making this up!" :-)

Now, the plot thickens...

Lord only knows why Sun insisted on 512 byte blocks, but they did.  The
people I have spoken to tell me that it is a BIG SECRET which trace has to
be cut on an off-the-shelf Toshiba MX-3401B in order to make it Sun compatible,
but some folks at least know how to do this, and they will do it for me if
I ask nicely (but they won't share the actual SECRET with me... so much for
open systems).

I frankly don't give a s*** about the GREAT BIG SECRET, but I *would* like
to be able to use a single drive on both a Sun/Sparc and a PC.

The problem is that once you cut the trace (and force the block size to 512)
it is at best dubious if you will ever again be able to use that drive on
a PC system!

A representative of Toshiba tells me that the 512 byte block size of a Sun
compatible (modified) MX-3401B *is* in fact OK for use on PC systems, but
only under certain very limited conditions.  Specifically, he said that you
can *only* use such a (modified) drive with a Future Domain TMC 850 controller
and that YOU MUST YOU *TOSHIBA'S* DRIVER (as opposed to anyone else's) if
you want to use the modified CD-ROM driver with MS-DOS on a PC.

That's all the information I could manage to extract from Toshiba.  I got the
distinct feeling that the guy I spoke with was very reluctant to talk about
any of this... perhaps because Toshiba has agreed not to undercut Sun's
ultra-fat profit margins on their $825 versions of this $360 (retail) drive
(whose actual wholesale cost is probably down in the $150-$200 range).

Anyway, this "answer" is unacceptable to me for several reasons.

First, I *don't* plan to just run DOS on the PC.  Rather, I plan to run
MS-DOS and OS/2 and (later in 1994) Solaris 2.4, and maybe someday also
Windows NT and Linux.  So I'd like to get a solution which would at least
hold out a chance of working with all of these different operating systems.

Second, I have no interest in using and/or buying an antiquated (and slow?)
8-bit Future Domain TMC 850 SCSI controller just for this drive.  Rather,
I'd like to get a new, fast Adaptec 2874 SCSI VESA but controller.

So the question is this:  Have any of you folks out there in net-land ever
tried unplugging a real "official" Sun CD-ROM drive from your Sun and then
hooking it up to your PC's SCSI controller?  If so, did it work?  If so,
what operating system were you using at the time?  What driver did you
use for the CD-ROM drive?  What *controller* were you using?

Any/all answers would be greatly appreciated.  Please please please send
responses to me via E-mail.  (DO NOT MERELY POST THEM.)  I don't read all
these newsgroups on a regular basis, so I won't see your response unless
you E-mail it to me.  (I will gladly summarize all responses in a follow-up
posting if I get enough of them to warrant it.)

Thanks.

--

-- Ronald F. Guilmette, Sunnyvale, California -------------------------------

------ uucp address: ...!uunet!netcom.com!rfg -------------------------------

 
 
 

Using Sun CD-ROM drives on PC/PC-clone systems... can it be done?

Post by Dennis S. Breckenrid » Fri, 31 Dec 1993 10:02:46



Quote:>The title pretty much says it all.
>I want to know if anyone has ever *successfully* used a Sun CD-ROM drive
>on a PC or PC clone system.

No problem!

Quote:>I have been told that the actual drive inside those cute $825 boxes with the
>nice Sun logo on the outside are essentially IDENTICAL to the Toshiba
>XM-3401B model drives now being sold for PCees (whose street price here in
>Silly-Cone valley is now in the neighborhood of $360) EXCEPT that in the
>Sun models (for reasons known only to Sun) one of the traces on one of the
>circut boards in the drive has been CUT, thus forcing the driver to use a
>block size of 512 bytes for transfers, rather than the PC-standard of 1024
>bytes per transfer.

SUN sells two different drives in the 411 cases. The standard SUN drive
is a SONY CDU 8012. I have used this drive with Adaptec EZSCSI and Corel
SCSI. There is a rumour that the newer SUN drive is a Toshiba 3401 but to
date no one has confirmed this.

BTW the standard blocksize on a CDROM drive is 2048 bytes/sector.

Quote:>I frankly don't give a s*** about the GREAT BIG SECRET, but I *would* like
>to be able to use a single drive on both a Sun/Sparc and a PC.

I use a Toshiba 3401 drive with NeXTstep, BSD, and SUNOS 4.1.3. I cut both the
pads and soldered two switches to select the drive parameters.

Quote:>The problem is that once you cut the trace (and force the block size to 512)
>it is at best dubious if you will ever again be able to use that drive on
>a PC system!

I have run the drive with 512/sector under DOS. It works albeit a bit slow.
I use an Adaptec 1542B in all of my pc based systems.

Quote:>A representative of Toshiba tells me that the 512 byte block size of a Sun
>compatible (modified) MX-3401B *is* in fact OK for use on PC systems, but
>only under certain very limited conditions.  Specifically, he said that you
>can *only* use such a (modified) drive with a Future Domain TMC 850 controller
>and that YOU MUST YOU *TOSHIBA'S* DRIVER (as opposed to anyone else's) if
>you want to use the modified CD-ROM driver with MS-DOS on a PC.

Is this driver available in the public domain or can it be purchased?

--
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dennis Breckenridge          Microsoft Windoze. Genetic throwback from the

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 
 
 

Using Sun CD-ROM drives on PC/PC-clone systems... can it be done?

Post by Paul T. Ro » Sat, 01 Jan 1994 03:57:51



: The title pretty much says it all.

: I want to know if anyone has ever *successfully* used a Sun CD-ROM drive
: on a PC or PC clone system.

: I have done some research on this question, and the answers I have gotten
: so far are confusing, disturbing, and not entirely conclusive.

: I have been told that the actual drive inside those cute $825 boxes with the
: nice Sun logo on the outside are essentially IDENTICAL to the Toshiba
: XM-3401B model drives now being sold for PCees (whose street price here in
: Silly-Cone valley is now in the neighborhood of $360) EXCEPT that in the
: Sun models (for reasons known only to Sun) one of the traces on one of the
: circut boards in the drive has been CUT, thus forcing the driver to use a
: block size of 512 bytes for transfers, rather than the PC-standard of 1024
: bytes per transfer.

: (As Dave Barry always says, "I'm not making this up!" :-)

Well, some of it is made up. I just got a new SUN CD-ROM+ and its not a Toshiba,
it's a Sony CDU-561 SUNMSCD1.9k, at least according to probe-scsi.

A toshiba can be made to work with a Sun if you cut the traces some where on the
circuit board. However, I still don't think you can boot with the thing.

: Now, the plot thickens...

: Lord only knows why Sun insisted on 512 byte blocks, but they did.  The
: people I have spoken to tell me that it is a BIG SECRET which trace has to
: be cut on an off-the-shelf Toshiba MX-3401B in order to make it Sun compatible,
: but some folks at least know how to do this, and they will do it for me if
: I ask nicely (but they won't share the actual SECRET with me... so much for
: open systems).

: I frankly don't give a s*** about the GREAT BIG SECRET, but I *would* like
: to be able to use a single drive on both a Sun/Sparc and a PC.

: The problem is that once you cut the trace (and force the block size to 512)
: it is at best dubious if you will ever again be able to use that drive on
: a PC system!

: A representative of Toshiba tells me that the 512 byte block size of a Sun
: compatible (modified) MX-3401B *is* in fact OK for use on PC systems, but
: only under certain very limited conditions.  Specifically, he said that you
: can *only* use such a (modified) drive with a Future Domain TMC 850 controller
: and that YOU MUST YOU *TOSHIBA'S* DRIVER (as opposed to anyone else's) if
: you want to use the modified CD-ROM driver with MS-DOS on a PC.

That's weird. I also have Toshiba, that I bought for our PCs, I tried it on the
sun, but it didn't work, and I don't want to take it apart. Anyway, it came with
the little future domain card, but we've used it with and Adaptec (I think it was
an EISA board, maybe the new 27xx). But then it still has the 2048 byte block size.

: That's all the information I could manage to extract from Toshiba.  I got the
: distinct feeling that the guy I spoke with was very reluctant to talk about
: any of this... perhaps because Toshiba has agreed not to undercut Sun's
: ultra-fat profit margins on their $825 versions of this $360 (retail) drive
: (whose actual wholesale cost is probably down in the $150-$200 range).

: Anyway, this "answer" is unacceptable to me for several reasons.

: First, I *don't* plan to just run DOS on the PC.  Rather, I plan to run
: MS-DOS and OS/2 and (later in 1994) Solaris 2.4, and maybe someday also
: Windows NT and Linux.  So I'd like to get a solution which would at least
: hold out a chance of working with all of these different operating systems.

: Second, I have no interest in using and/or buying an antiquated (and slow?)
: 8-bit Future Domain TMC 850 SCSI controller just for this drive.  Rather,
: I'd like to get a new, fast Adaptec 2874 SCSI VESA but controller.

Like I said above, you shouldn't have to buy a Future Domain Card, it comes
with, if worst comes to worst. But I still think it should work, even cut.
You might want to put switches in like another post said.

: So the question is this:  Have any of you folks out there in net-land ever
: tried unplugging a real "official" Sun CD-ROM drive from your Sun and then
: hooking it up to your PC's SCSI controller?  If so, did it work?  If so,
: what operating system were you using at the time?  What driver did you
: use for the CD-ROM drive?  What *controller* were you using?

I have used my old Sun CD-Rom on my PC at home, and it did work, for
Solaris X86, anyway. I don't remember if I tried it with DOS.

But I will take home the CD-ROM+ this weekend and try it out with DOS, Solaris
and maybe Booting NT (though I won't load it because it won't load the way I
want it to), and report back next year :-).

For drivers on DOS, I have both the adaptec ezscsi and CorelSCSI.

: Any/all answers would be greatly appreciated.  Please please please send
: responses to me via E-mail.  (DO NOT MERELY POST THEM.)  I don't read all
: these newsgroups on a regular basis, so I won't see your response unless
: you E-mail it to me.  (I will gladly summarize all responses in a follow-up
: posting if I get enough of them to warrant it.)

: Thanks.

: --

: -- Ronald F. Guilmette, Sunnyvale, California -------------------------------

: ------ uucp address: ...!uunet!netcom.com!rfg -------------------------------

--

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Using Sun CD-ROM drives on PC/PC-clone systems... can it be done?

Post by Larry Plo » Sat, 01 Jan 1994 06:48:15


Quote:>>I want to know if anyone has ever *successfully* used a Sun CD-ROM drive
>>on a PC or PC clone system.

> No problem!

>>I have been told that the actual drive inside those cute $825 boxes with the
>>nice Sun logo on the outside are essentially IDENTICAL to the Toshiba
>>XM-3401B model drives now being sold for PCees (whose street price here in
>>Silly-Cone valley is now in the neighborhood of $360) EXCEPT that in the
>>Sun models (for reasons known only to Sun) one of the traces on one of the
>>circut boards in the drive has been CUT, thus forcing the driver to use a
>>block size of 512 bytes for transfers, rather than the PC-standard of 1024
>>bytes per transfer.

> SUN sells two different drives in the 411 cases. The standard SUN drive
> is a SONY CDU 8012. I have used this drive with Adaptec EZSCSI and Corel
> SCSI. There is a rumour that the newer SUN drive is a Toshiba 3401 but to
> date no one has confirmed this.

I was not able to install UnixWare (1.0 or 1.1) on a Zenith Data Systems
PC with a SUN (Sony CDU-8012) CD-ROM and an Adaptec 2742T. If the CD-ROM
was on when I installed the HBA, the install would hang. If the drive
was off, everything went fine (but the system does'nt know I have a CD-
ROM drive, which puts a damper on installation). The Adaptec was
successfully controlling my primary disk all along.

I have installed UnixWare with that same CD-ROM on ISA PCs with an
Adaptec 1542. It is unmercifully *slow*.

- ljp
--
SIT  DENIQUE INSCRIPTUM  IN   "Let  it   finally   be  written
FRONTE  UNIUS CUIUSQUE QUID    on  the  forehead  of each  man
DE  REBUS PUBLICIS  SENTIAT    what  he thinks of open systems"

 
 
 

Using Sun CD-ROM drives on PC/PC-clone systems... can it be done?

Post by Raymond Shwa » Fri, 31 Dec 1993 23:54:08



Quote:>I want to know if anyone has ever *successfully* used a Sun CD-ROM drive
>on a PC or PC clone system.

        A few weeks ago I used a Sun CD-Rom drive attached to a DPT Smart-
Cache III ISA SCSI controller in an AT&T StarStation to install UnixWare PE.
So, yes, it is doable.

--


 
 
 

Using Sun CD-ROM drives on PC/PC-clone systems... can it be done?

Post by Grant Edwar » Wed, 05 Jan 1994 08:57:18



: I want to know if anyone has ever *successfully* used a Sun CD-ROM drive
: on a PC or PC clone system.

I have run a Sun CD-ROM drive with an adaptec 1542CF under Linux.  It
works, but it's a lot slower than it should be (I would guess it's
about factor of 4 slower than expected).  I don't know why -- I just used
it to install stuff.  The file copying took about 6 hours when it
should have been under 2.

The drive was a Sony 8xxx, BTW, not a Toshiba.

--
Grant Edwards                                 |Yow!  If I am elected, the
Rosemount Inc.                                |concrete barriers around the
                                              |WHITE HOUSE will be replaced

                                              |ANN MARGARET!

 
 
 

Using Sun CD-ROM drives on PC/PC-clone systems... can it be done?

Post by Michael Gerhar » Thu, 13 Jan 1994 00:17:21




> : I want to know if anyone has ever *successfully* used a Sun CD-ROM drive
> : on a PC or PC clone system.
> I have run a Sun CD-ROM drive with an adaptec 1542CF under Linux.  It
> works, but it's a lot slower than it should be (I would guess it's
> about factor of 4 slower than expected).

One uses 512 bytes per block and the other 2048 bytes.

Michael
--

                      *  Preussenstrasse 59  * guest-account out of
                      * Germany  41464 Neuss * order - sorry

 
 
 

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Thanks in advance!


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