For the past year or so I have been using the 4 bay SATA hard drive dock shown above in my main hackintosh. Made by Icy Dock it works perfectly under Leopard and Snow Leopard, allowing SATA drives to be hot swapped. Over the past couple of months I bought two Icy Dock external USB2/eSATA drive enclosures for backup drives, shown below.
I initially connected these drives using USB as the six Intel SATA ports on my motherboard were in use. The remaining two purple SATA ports are from the Gigabyte SATA2 chipset, a re-labelled JMicron controller. I hadn’t tried these, mostly due to remembered problems other users had way back in the early hackintosh days.
Attempts using Superduper to make backups reported a transfer rate of 4Mb/second over USB2 so eSATA speeds were needed. The external Icy Dock cases come with an eSATA cable and expansion card socket/internal cable so there’s nothing else needed. A quick search showed that nothing was needed in the way of kernel extensions to get the jMicron ports working, so ten minutes of installing the expansion slot sockets and the external drives are now working fine over eSATA. Superduper is reporting around 60Mb/second transfer rate to the external backup drives so there’s no excuse to put off slow backups now.
There shouldn’t be any speed difference between the internal 4 bay drives and the external ones, but the great thing about this setup is that the drive caddies are the same differing only in colour and air vent. I can remove an external white caddy and use it in the internal dock and vice versa.
One of the features offered as part of the latest Ubuntu release is installation to a USB flash drive. This is a menu option from the Live CD in 8.10, under System>Administration. The ability to use a flash drive has been around in various forms for a while now, but as an occasional Linux user I haven’t seen it offered in this easy a package.
I’m not sure quite where the cause of this problems lies, but I’m experiencing problems with USB flash drives on my hackintosh. I’ve had a Kingston 4Gb stick for a while now that works fine under Windows and has worked fine on Leopard. The last time the device was used with the hackintosh was around three months ago so it’s not clear when the problem started. Every time I try to copy files to the drive the transfer speed is worse than USB 1 spec, and the estimated time to completion when moving 200Mb earlier today was over an hour.
The reason for using the drive again was that two 8Gb flash sticks arrived today and I was thinking of doing some comparisons with Leopard running from Hard Drive and Flash Memory. The Kingston drive went in for some speed tests which turned out to be pointless since both old and new flash memory was appallingly slow. Trying to speed test the new flash drives (Dane-Elec brand) even froze Leopard a couple of times.
A search of several sites turned up many users suffering the same problem under Leopard, and these people are running genuine Apple hardware. I’ve had intermittent problems in the past with things like password prompting when waking from sleep, and it’s difficult to discern if the problem is because I’m running unsupported hardware or a Leopard issue. With many people reporting transfer speed problems after upgrading from 10.4 Tiger to 10.5 Leopard I’m leaning toward Leopard being the problem, so more searching is needed.
UPDATE I tried the same flash drives on my Macbook and got similar results, transfers were no higher than USB 1 speeds. Next test was a Panasonic Lumix camera connected by USB cable, speeds were also USB 1. The surprise was a Kingston 1Gb SD card in an Integral SDHC USB card reader which was transfering at the speeds I would expect, looked around 7Mb/s. Finder reported 900Mb would take less than a minute to copy.
A 60Gb 2.5inch SATA drive in a USB case was also tested and worked very fast, with finder copying 185Mb to the drive in just a few seconds and showing that 2.58Gb would be copied from the drive in under a minute. Looks like the problem is confined to USB flash drives.
I had a chance to play with these at the London International Music Show yesterday, and they look like a useful tool for the performing or writing musician.
Comprising a two octave mini keyboard, a bank of trigger pads and a mini mixer they connect via USB. No word yet on UK pricing.
UPDATE The Korg UK site has a page for these with a lot of info but no release date, stating only ‘COMING LATER IN 2008′
UPDATE DV247 is listing these as due October 2008 with a price of £59 for Nanopad and Nanokontrol, and £49 for Nanokey
In part one I looked at the steps I took to get my hackintosh working again after accidentally overwriting the boot information. The computer has been working fine for over three weeks since, and I haven’t found any side effects with software or hardware. My latest efforts have been focused on making bootable backups for use in the event of an unbootable hackintosh. Read more…
If you use a Mac, making bootable backups are easy, and definitely easier than on a Windows Computer. Using software like Carbon Copy Cloner or Superduper you can clone your Mac’s hard drive to another internal or external USB/Firewire drive. This copy is an exact image of the original drive so you can boot from it and see no difference to using the source drive. Add in smart copies that only copy the changes since the last backup and you have a fast, reliable and easy backup system. Scheduled backups even mean you don’t have to remember to backup, just check it’s working as planed.
I used this method with my Macbook and felt a lot more relaxed making big changes to the system. Updating to 10.5.2 was easily reversible when the wireless networking stopped working. Even the Leopard upgrade from Tiger was no problem when I could easily revert to Tiger if a show stopper surfaced. This ease is one of the factors that made me move my daily computer use to Mac OS, but what happens when you build your own? Read more…