Resolved Most modern Mac to write to 800K floppies?

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by tevion5, Oct 13, 2013.

  1. tevion5, Oct 13, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2013

    tevion5 macrumors 68000

    tevion5

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    #1
    I have a 512Ke which works great and I have a small collection of software for it, but I would love to do more with it and play with some more abandonware such as other games and MIDI composition software.

    What are the best Mac's that can write to 800K and also network with a more modern computer like my PowerMac G5. I know I could get a powerbook to talk straight to the 512Ke but I believe the 512Ke needs appropriate software to set up such a transfer (maybe I'm wrong here?) that of which I do not have already on an 800K disk.

    Any help here? :)
     
  2. havokalien macrumors 6502a

    havokalien

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2006
    Location:
    Kelso, Wa
    #2
    Powermac

    The newest Mac that the drive can writes to 800k floppy should be any beige Mac I think that System requirement is system 7.5.5 or older.

    Should be the 9600 series and older.

    After that the system software didn't support the old file system.

    I use a powermac G3 to get on the internet, put the img file on a zip and use a zip in a color classic to make 800 k disks.
     
  3. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #3
    Any Macintosh that shipped from Apple with a floppy drive is capable of reading/writing even the original 400K floppies. (At least with Disk Image - later Mac OSes removed the ability to mount 400K floppies.) Any such Macintosh equal or newer than the Plus and 512kE can read and write 800K floppies, in any 'Classic' version of the Mac OS they support.

    But it must be an original Apple-supplied floppy drive. No USB drive can read/write 800K Macintosh-format floppies.

    The beige G3 or the PowerBook G3 "Wallstreet" would be the last of the 'shipped with a floppy drive' Macs. The beige G3 came with a floppy drive on all configurations, whereas the PowerBook's floppy drive was optional, with more people opting just for the optical drive than not.

    Both can run up to Mac OS X 10.2 officially, and up to 10.4 with the help of XPostFacto. Needless to say, they also can run up to Mac OS 9.2.2 officially - which is what you would have to run to use the floppy drive anyway.

    A beige G3 with a decent G4 upgrade, a SATA card and faster hard drive, and a lot of RAM would be a pretty usable computer. (There were G4 upgrades up to 1 GHz, or dual 500 MHz available. Although they will be difficult to find now.)
     
  4. tevion5 thread starter macrumors 68000

    tevion5

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    Jul 12, 2011
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    Ireland
    #4
    Great at least I know what I'm looking for then. Thanks :)
     
  5. tdiaz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    #5
    For the "absolute best" experience, I would aim for the latest Mac you find with an Auto Insert drive in it.

    Those are the ones that were designed from the get go for GCR, and not an MFM design that's been adapted.

    My theory is that Apple intended to switch from 800K to 720K for the lower density default format, and this was around the System 7.5.3.

    For a little while, you could format disks as "HFS Interchange Format" which is a 720K MFM based HFS volume, instead of the GCR 800K capacity.

    This was a dismal failure of a mess.

    It disappeared by the release of 7.5.5. Just getting disks to format was a pain in the butt. If a disk is formatted GCR, trying to reformat with a different encoding method may take 2 or 3 attempts. Typically you'll get I/O errors and that would result in the disk being chucked.
     
  6. Zellio macrumors 65816

    Zellio

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2012
    #6
    Shouldn't any usb floppy drive work as long as their are drivers?
     
  7. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #7
    Yeah I think a lot of people are overthinking this. Any Mac with a floppy drive can read 800K floppies. As for networking, you'll want to look for just about any of the PowerPC family. Though the G3 is likely the lowest you should go. The 601-604 family of processors are going to be really slow.
     
  8. tdiaz macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    #8
    USB Floppy Drives, Imation SuperDisk, and the Insite Floptical do -not- support GCR, only MFM, with regards to 3.5" floppy disks.

    That means MFM, 720K/1.44MB only, and most USB Floppy drives won't even do double density, only high density. (1.44MB)

    MFM = Modified Frequency Modulation.
    GCR = Group Code Recording.

    Woz's devised recording method that eventually became the 16 Sector floppy disk standard formatting scheme on the Apple II was also used by the Apple /// for SOS filesystem, and was used on the Apple II by ProDOS as well.

    MFS and HFS on 3.5" drives use the same encoding method, and the FileWare (Twiggy) drive uses a similar method of encoding.

    Apple only supported MFM with the later Mac models, starting with the Mac SE & II.

    Some other semi-related bits, the Apple /// boot information is stored on Block $01 on the SOS/ProDOS filesystem, and the Apple II uses Block $00 on the same disk. This was done to allow the same disks to be interchanged between the II and ///, although the ProDOS was not released for the Apple II until just before Halloween 1983. 3 years and 5 months after the Apple /// was released.

    The Apple II was first to have double sided 3.5" disk storage support, and it never had single sided 3.5" disk support officially.

    The Applied Engineering PC Transporter uses a "hybrid" revision of the IWM (Incredible Woz Machine) that supports MFM as well as GCR, but only Double Density.

    The 20 pin pinout is very similar from the original Disk II though the 20 pin connector on the Bondi Blue iMac that was never populated/implemented.
     
  9. David Schmidt macrumors 6502

    David Schmidt

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2006
    Location:
    Southeastern USA
    #9
    Not in this case. As Mr. Diaz pointed out, GCR-encoded 800k disks are not readable in MFM-only drives (which are almost all of them). Not only is the encoding scheme different, which is something that is typically burned-in at the hardware level - but the Sony 800k drive was modified to shift into different rotational speeds based on track being read (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zone_bit_recording ).

    So, keep thinking... it's not as simple as it might seem.
     
  10. tevion5 thread starter macrumors 68000

    tevion5

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Location:
    Ireland
    #10
    As usual you seem to know your stuff! Well I'm just after winning a Power Macintosh 8600 that has Ethernet and an original apple floppy drive and I plan to make it run system 7.6. I believe this should do the job? :)
     
  11. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #11
    That should do it just fine.
     
  12. blesscheese macrumors 6502a

    blesscheese

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2010
    Location:
    Central CA
    #12
    That 8600 will be great for a bunch of reasons...

    If I were you, I would dig up the old Disk Utility software for the Classic OS, and make disk images of any old disks that you have. That way, if your 512k Mac dies, you can still run the software using Mini vMac . Emulators are great if you don't have the original hardware, but nothing beats the actual old computer...

    I have hung on to a couple old Macs for various reasons...the wonderful Apple IIGS emulator, Bernie to the Rescue, runs on Classic, and will read the Apple II GS disks in the Mac's floppy drive.

    This is also a helpful website to get up and running in System 7: System 7 Today
     

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