Project: Apple Disk II Floppy Drive to Thunderbolt External SSD

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by mmomega, Jun 18, 2016.

  1. mmomega, Jun 18, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2016

    mmomega macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #1
    The project idea is to take an old Apple 2 external floppy drive and convert that into some form of external storage drive.

    Originally I thought of simply gutting the internals from the floppy drive and installing a portable USB3 drive inside and calling it a day.
    That's when I remembered that I have 2 - Western Digital MyBook Thunderbolt Duo 4TB drives.
    Each one has 2 Western Digital 2TB Green 5400 rpm HDD Drives inside and are Thunderbolt 1.

    The thought then turned to if I can take the Thunderbolt Duo internals and fit it inside the Floppy drive case with 2 SSD drives.
    You can then set this up as JBOD, RAID1 or RAID0. (This is why I had 2 of these previously, 1 external was RAID0 for speed and the 2nd was a backup in RAID1 for the first)

    This started happening rather quickly and I was almost completely done with the first mockup before I started taking photos but if anyone is interested I plan on doing a 2nd and can document the process a little better in round 2.

    The end result, hopefully, is to have a neat retro Apple DiskII Thunderbolt external RAID drive.

    The WD Thunderbolt Duo controller board fit fairly easily inside the floppy drive case and I had a few aluminum spacers I used to mockup mounting points to set the board up a little as SSD's slots on both sides of the board. I can only use 3 of the 4 mounting holes to secure the board inside the drive but for as little as the board and SSD's weigh, it feels very secure.

    I couldn't get the Thunderbolt jacks and power ports close enough to the rear of the case so at least with this v 1.0 I'm just drilling a hole large enough for a Thunderbolt cable another for the power cord through the rear of the floppy drive case and then place rubber grommets to protect the cables from the bare metal, make it look a little nicer and help hold and secure the cable from moving as much

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  2. BeatCrazy macrumors 6502a

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  3. mmomega thread starter macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #3
    Thank You.
    The end plan is to put in 2 Samsung EVO 500GB SSD's and clean up the inside a bit more possibly add a second thunderbolt hole for a daisy chain cable. Possibly cover the thunderbolt cables in a black nylon braided wire loom.
     
  4. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #4
    Wow? Yikes? Not a project I'd have taken on or found relevant. The last time I'd used an Apple II and those massive floppy disks for actual work was in 1988, in Engineering Physics Lab - (the late) Mr. Pike was the instructor, at Clark College in Vancouver WA. I don't miss the Apple II green screens at all, 6 college degrees later... Um, good luck?
     
  5. MH01 macrumors G4

    MH01

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  6. mmomega thread starter macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #6
    2 Samsung 850 EVO SSD's are on their way and should be in tomorrow for a little bit of testing before heading out of the country Wednesday.

    The main idea is to run VM's on these drives. Probably 4-5 VM's total, testing Windows Server 2016.
    Possibly running these 2 drives in RAID0 for a few weeks. Most Likely they'll just be run as JBOD.

    With the 2nd project, which will be an exact duplicate of this setup to be an exact duplication backup of the 1st.

    Also have some black braided sleeving and heatshrink on their way to tidy up the wiring a bit.
    Screen Shot 2016-06-20 at 4.38.46 PM.png
     
  7. priitv8, Jun 20, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016

    priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #7
    Once you've equipped your drive with SSD-s, could you please measure it's performance and compare it to one other project, here

    My own results are like this (RAID-0), basically the same as the guy reported in his video.
    BMSpeedTestMyPP-1GB-SSD.png
     
  8. mmomega thread starter macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #8
    Sure thing. The drives should be in today around noon. I'll try to get something in the forum soon after.
     
  9. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #9
    Thanks! Looking forward to the results.
     
  10. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #10
  11. mmomega, Jun 21, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016

    mmomega thread starter macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #11
    I appreciate it. I've been back and forth to their website for YEARS!! like back in 2004'ish. I just never decided to have them paint anything. Though they do a tremendous job.

    These drives are just going to be conencted to my new Mac Pro. I even toyed with the idea of trying to make it retro looking and if they could do it but I like the black/space grey color it is :)

    **Also...I planned on having the new drives by now but the USPS in my city is one of the worst delivery options available, they tried delivering to the wrong office and I had to send someone to the post office to pick up the package along with 2 more deliveries they said was handed directly to my front desk receptionist yet today they left a delivery attempted tag for today and yesterdays deliveries that they never attempted to deliver. Ok, I may have a slight irritation with the USPS over the years.
     
  12. campyguy macrumors 68030

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    #12
    I'm still having flashbacks to my Apple II days when I opted to get out of my former line of work at the time - cutting meat! Although I get almost as much out of that line of work today as my engineering experience - I can BBQ with the best, formerly of Austin, St. Louis, and KC...

    My computing flashback runs to the other computer I was using at the time - an HP mainframe we were using to compile Fortran 77 and Pascal, on punchcards, no less! Kids nowadays have no frickin' idea how good they've got it!

    What I like about your project is that you tackled a updated conversion of a classic - in a good way. I've read that the Mac Pro is made in the US, and I know that your drive (enclosure) was made in the US - I'm sure that there's a fab shop somewhere that could fab an external enclosure of your Pro so that it's "beige" in appearance, with some translucency there - heck, I'd pay money for that!

    As to USPS, I get that. I have 3 USPS employees that service my offices - service was a bit sporadic. One day, I got a delivery the next day from Amazon when I didn't expect it. I went out of my way to offer my happiness that USPS got what I needed right away - and I never had a late USPS delivery again. We all like a bit of praise for a job well done, even though it's part of the job description IMHO. I'm a boss - a company owner, and "boss" is a 4-letter word - but I still like to know that they're happy when I deliver on time, pun intended.

    I read that you're heading out of the country soon, be sure to have a safe trip! Cheers!
     
  13. mmomega thread starter macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #13
    Made it back, my new drives were waiting eagerly to get used so I put them to use.

    I'll start off by saying I think the controller on this board from WD may be the limiting factor but I need to research a little more across more devices.

    Priitv8 my results were very very similar to yours. I'll post the photo below.
    And I got the exact same numbers +/- 1-2 MB/s whether it was a single drive or in RAID0.

    These tests are being performed in Sierra but I don't believe that to be causing low numbers as my internal drive is reading it's normal 720+ / 900+ write/reads.

    Here are the results.
    This was a single 850 EVO drive. and RAID0 was 1-2MB/s higher.
    Screen Shot 2016-06-29 at 9.14.29 AM.png
     
  14. priitv8, Jun 29, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2016

    priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #14
    Yeah. There is no RAID controller in these WD drives, it's just dual-SATA to TB bridge. Speeds are such because OS X software RAID is used.
    That's my explanation. Maybe someone has more hindsight.
     
  15. mmomega, Jun 30, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2016

    mmomega thread starter macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #15
    When I said controller I'm meaning more so the Thunderbolt controller/chipset used.
    I've software RAID'd SSD's in my Macs previously and got much better results with older slower drives.

    I'm just thinking the chip is limiting input/output because there was essentially zero speed increase going from a single drive read and write to RAID0.

    ***
    So after some more digging I see that WD used the ASMedia 1061 Sata controller in a lot of their external Thunderbolt enclosures. The ASMedia 1061 uses PCI-e 1.0 x1 lane which is the bottleneck.
    After reading a Toms Hardware review on chipsets they pretty much confirm the ASMedia controller is fairly slow, putting up almost exact numbers as you and I got.
    So RAID0 or not, I'll be limited to roughly 360MB/s, which is just about where the single 850 EVO made it to before being bottlednecked.

    Seeing as they only ever intended to have 5400rpm HDD's in this enclosure they would have never maxed out that chip.

    Tom's also stated running the tests on Windows and Mac and getting near identical results.

    Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 4.01.42 AM.png

    Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 4.04.14 AM.png
     
  16. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #16
    Well, that is good info! In the sense that at least it explains.
    Do you plan to swap your TB-SATA chip to something snappier (AMD/Intel) in your enclosure?
    My options are rather limited. But I can live with my setup, I still find it much more performant than the MyPassport Pro with the HDD-s. As a matter of fact, speedup is about 4x
     
  17. mmomega thread starter macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #17
    I'm actually ok with the speed it is at. If I needed faster I'd probably just purchase a newer thunderbolt external and go from there. This was more so a project to see if it would work and 360MB/s is good for me.
     
  18. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #18
    It is actually even visible on this pic, that WD MyPasspor Pro indeed uses ASM1061
    [​IMG]
     
  19. pshifrin macrumors 6502

    pshifrin

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    Mar 14, 2010
    #19
    You should have just hooked it up as is! I'm sure Woz can whip you up a Disk II to thunderbolt adaptor. 360k can store so much these days ;)

    Very nice.
     
  20. s-hatland macrumors regular

    s-hatland

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    Feb 4, 2014
    #20
    that's cool. man they don't make em that beefy anymore, eh?

    did the WD innards have a LED you could route to the light on the front? that would be neat.
     
  21. mmomega thread starter macrumors demi-god

    mmomega

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    #21
    That was the plan but the WD board has an extremely tiny LED soldered on the board and had a piece of acrylic (I guess) that covered the LED and to the front of the stock case.

    I have decent soldering skills but that thing is very small. So I decided to pass on the activity light. :)
     
  22. priitv8 macrumors 68020

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    #22
    You could try with a flexible light guide.
     

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