This is a very nice alternative to the SCSI2SD. As others have noted, the FAT32 format of the SD makes it easier to get bootable drive images onto the SD, as well as to update those images as needed, and to back them up. The SCSI2SD, while great, is a little trickier to work with in this respect, especially if you ever want to update one of the multiple images on the SD card. In general once you write to the SD card directly in the old-fashioned Apple format (e.g. with dd), you're going to have a hard time getting the image back onto your modern SSD in bootable form. The approach taken by this board is easier to work with.
The multi-CD loader/switcher is a nice idea although it'll get tedious to cycle through them if you make regular use of more than one or two of them. (You can always reorder them in the ini file, I suppose.)
The position of the SCSI connector in the middle of the board is a little awkward. If your SCSI cable is very short, you might run into some difficulty. On my Quadra 700 the default cable reached, but at the cost of rotating the board so that the SD slot ended up under the cable. A longer cable might be needed in some circumstances.
The product shipped immediately and arrived well-packaged. I'd buy it again.
This little board works very well and is very flexible. It's great to finally have the Apple CD emulation for the picky Mac's that won't boot from any CD drive. Being able to mount hard drive images is cool too. You can read the SD card in a normal Mac/PC too and uses a config file (This is the preferred method, I'm not a fan of proprietary programs to manage this kind of thing). I have it in an external enclosure so I can use it with multiple Macs (especially with the CD emulation) as it's a fantastic recovery tool for any old world Mac.
Just to keep it balanced a little, I would say the only small complaint I have with it is the position of the SCSI connector. In the enclosure, and in some Macs the original short cable won't work. For my enclosure I ended up finding this monster 3ft long cable/connector set that's now stuffed in there. It's not a big deal by any means, but just be ready to get some slightly longer SCSI cables when you buy this if you have a really short one.
I saw a video review of it on youtube while I was considering picking up 1 of a couple of other solutions. Being a person who uses flash storage and floppy emulation on PC's, I have been trying to find a solution for emulating an ATAPI cdrom on a 386 or similar machine. So when I saw the CDRom emulation on this solution i was immediately sold on it. I use it primarily on an LCII so far, but will use it on some other mac's when I get them out of the store room to play around.
Usage in practice. The the INI setup is vastly superior to the proprietary setup method needed for the SCSI2SD, however it can be a bit of a fudge when I have forgotten to update it for another CDrom image, or misspelled a hard drive file the odd time. And the CD rom roulette can get a little unwieldy if there are too many images in the list. But these really are just nit picks. The documentation is quite good at explaining the features and how to make the most of them. It isn't quite as easy as another solution that just requires the image file itselfed be named to contain scsi ID and what not, but that device also doesn't do CDROM emulation or have a means of mounting a bunch of floppies at once... The latter which was very handy for a few old applications i have.
I must also say it has come in handy that the device has a degree of ability to deal with file fragmentation. Albeit it does slow up the process when switching images, it at least can still function in a pinch without needing to quick erase the whole card to defragment the images. The other solutions I have tried will just refuse to read the image or will show it as corrupted. So this is a big plus.
Physical layout is ok. It was intended to be usable in a large range of macs and as compatible as possible. In my LC2 in particular, the only small gripe that I have, is I can't use the stock short scsi cable. And the way that it orients ends up putting the SDcard slot underneath the cable facing the motherboard. I have a 10" or so long cable that folds over so this isn't so bad really. I can exchange the card without having to unplug anything. In my 6100/66 this may also be a slight issue, but I think i can mount it in a way that it faces forward.
Price is also a quite a bit higher than competing solutions. And gets into SCSI-2-SD V6 range for something that is bespoke to macs. The upside is none of those other solutions have a good means of CDrom emulation or mass floppy image mounting. This product just works as advertised and sofar after about 20 hours of use has been perfect and met all my expectations. The included SD card full of software and games was a very nice touch.
I've tried a number of alternatives to the MacSD, but none of them quite live up to what the MacSD can do. First, let me be clear, they all work. But which is easiest to configure and use? Hands-down the MacSD is the easiest to use, especially for modern Windows users. There's no special software required. It's simple. Put a SD card into your PC and copy a bunch of ISO, TOAST, and DSK files over to it. Then open a text editor, like Notepad, and create the config file. It's very simple, you give it the name of the disk image file and assign it a SCSI ID. Save the config file to the SD card, and you're ready to go.
There's no messing around with Linux-like commands. There's no clunky configuration app. There's no downloading software from github. If you have a modern PC or Mac and an SD card reader, you've got everything you need.
The killer feature that makes the MacSD better than the rest is the way it handles CD images (ISO and TOAST). You can put several of them on the SD card, and when in use on your classic Mac, it will mount the first CD image as if you had a CDROM drive. Drag that CD to the trash and it will auto-mount the next CD image on the SD card. You can have as many CD images as you have room for on the SD card, and it just rotates through them, starting at the beginning again when you eject the last CD.
The only down side of the MacSD is the configuration file. To be honest, it's a very small downside. If you're messing about with retro computers, you probably have a lot of experience with text-based config files. The config file is used to setup the SCSI IDs of the disk images and the order in which the CD images rotate through. It's not hard, and after looking at the example config that comes with the MacSD, you'll get the hang of it quickly. When compared to other SCSI-to-SD solutions, this config is super easy and very flexible.
Another killer feature that I have not had a chance to work with is that you can assign multiple disk image files as partitions under a single SCSI ID. So, you can have a TON of storage this way without interfering with your other SCSI devices. Lots of us have other things on the SCSI bus - like an internal HDD, a zip drive, a jaz drive, CD-ROM drive, etc. With only 7 SCSI IDs to work with, and a 2GB partition size limit (System 6 or 7), you can run out of IDs quickly. So, for example, you could have three 2GB partitions as a single drive and use only one SCSI ID. That's cool.
Overall, I highly recommend the MacSD to anyone who uses a Windows-based PC as their main modern computer but needs a SCSI storage solution for a classic Mac.
If you're looking for replace an existing mechanical hard drive in your classic Macintosh computer, or are simply looking for a more feature-rich alternative to other SCSI to SD solutions, then you really need to give MacSD a try.
The set up is as simple as dragging hard disk image files (that you can prepare is any number of emulators on a modern PC or Mac) to the SD card, modify a single configuration file, and your real Mac is ready to boot. I was very impressed with the documentation, and the sample configuration files give you a good headstart to customizing the device to your needs.
One of the best features of the device is that you can easily simulate a CD-ROM drive... even on Macs that don't have a physical CD drive. Copy your BIN/CUE files to the SD card, add them to your configuration file and you've created a "jukebox" where a disk is automatically mounted at startup, and dragging it to the trash automatically "inserts" the next CD in your collection. The physical audio outputs on the device allow real CD audio (for games or multimedia programs that make use of it) out. You can even just play audio CDs if that's your thing :)
The device is designed with mounting holes that match the mechanical hard drives that many classic Macs already came installed with. If you have access to a 3D printer, there is a bracket available for download on the files section on the MacSD website that makes mounting the device a breeze. I was able to remove the hard drive sled from my Mac, remove the old drive, and easily mount the MacSD in its place using the same factory screws.
While I was reviewing this device, a new firmware became available that allows more advanced used to tweak the performance of the device. In my testing (using MacBench on a Power Macintosh 6100/60 - 256k Cache - 64MB RAM) the upper limits of the current "overclocking" shows similar benchmarking to CodeSRC's SCSI2SD V6 Rev. 2020c. Updating the firmware was painless. Simply remove any older firmware files from your SD card, copy the new firmware to the root of the card, move a single jumper on the card (as outlined in the manual) and then power on the device. The build on LEDs will let you know when the process is complete.
Feature rich, fast (when overclocked), and highly configurable. There's currently nothing else like it on the market for classic Macintosh users. I'd highly recommend the MacSD to anyone in the market for a solid state drive replacement!
If your Macintosh is finicky about SCSI termination, make sure you thoroughly read the section on the only manual regarding that topic. You could easily find yourself in a situation where you believe the device is not working, but in reality, it simply can't be addressed due to the termination configuration issue. As the manual suggests, try removing the included on-card terminators and see if it resolves your issue. Clearing your PRAM (CMD+OPT+P+R) might not be a bad idea either.
The MacSD does not have a MOLEX or BERG style power connector to power the card on machines that do not support termination voltage. In those cases, you would need to use the USB Mini-B connector to power the device. For internal installations, any use of a MOLEX to USB Mini-B adaptor cable would likely be at the user's own risk.
Novice users may find editing the INF configuration file confusing. But the sample configuration files do provide a good base to build your own configuration files from.
** While no doubt an issue specific to my machine / OS install,** the CD-ROM "jukebox" functionality of the MacSD would not allow a traditional CD-ROM drive to be mounted simultaneously as a virtual disc (even after verifying that the physical and virtual CD drives were on different SCSI IDs). If you disable the "jukebox" mode by changing the number of CDs in the list to "1," unmounting the virtual disc will then allow a physical CD to be mounted and used. After a reboot, the virtual CD will be again mounted be default, and the physical disc be back back waiting for you to unmount the virtual one. If this "issue" effects other users, I hope that this might be addressed in a future firmware update.
PLEASE NOTE: This unit was provided to me at a discount by ymkdevices for the purposes of review. That said, I'd gladly purchase a second unit a full-price based on the positive experience I've had with the device, and the prompt and friendly communication I've had with the designer. Please look for a more indepth review of the device soon on my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/Tyrantulas