Adaptec 4300 review
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Although FireWire may become the SCSI of the 21st century, the first FireWire cards were strictly limited in what they could do, being dedicated, pretty much, only to the capture and playback of DV footage. Adaptec - the market leader in SCSI - was, naturally enough, one of the first to bring a FireWire card to market, although most of its output was marketed and sold under others' brand names, most notably Pinnacle. The Pinnacle DV300 was a re-branded Adaptec 8945, and the original DV200 was an Adaptec 8940. Tests we carried out on the own-brand 8945 were among the most harrowing we've ever undertaken - with many tens of hours wasted trying, and failing, to get the card to perform reliably.
For a while, it looked as though Adaptec had withdrawn, fingers burned, from the FireWire arena to concentrate on new high-speed SCSI sectors, but now the company has re-entered the fray, introducing an OHCI-compatible card - the FireConnect 4300 - intended not just for DV editing but also as an in/out card for use with other FireWire devices, such as hard drives, CD writers, scanners and DVD writers, and for enabling peer-to-peer FireWire networking.
On our Windows and
Mac test beds - neither powerful by today's standards - Adaptec's FireConnect
installed easily and performed well with external FireWire hard drives
and for DV editing. Although the card is better value for Windows users
because of the bundled MGI editing software, at £58, it's still
a decent buy for Macs.
More in the May 2001 issue of Computer Video Magazine