Mac Components Engineered (MCE) PowerBook Products today announced the FireBay. It’s an external FireWire-based docking unit to accommodate devices designed to fit into PowerBook G3 expansion bays. The FireBay enables users of any such devices to utilize them as conventional external peripherals on FireWire-equipped Macs.
“Now PowerBook owners can more fully realize their investment in expansion bay modules by the ability to use them as external FireWire devices across machines,” said MCE president Arnold Ramirez.
With the FireBay, you can use PowerBook G3 expansion bay devices like hard disks, CD and DVD-ROMs, CD-Rs and CD-RWs, Zip drives, and more. The FireBay can fit any expansion bay device designed to work in PowerBook G3s equipped with bronze keyboards, including the “Pismo” models (which include FireWire), and the older “Lombard” systems.
The FireBay itself is stackable, and can be either bus-powered or AC powered, depending on the expansion bay device installed. The backplane of the FireBay features a FireWire cable connector, and to reduce cable clutter, the stackable design incorporates a topside FireWire port which will connect multiple FireBays together without any external cabling.
MCE said the FireBay enables PowerBook users to access several expansion devices simultaneously. MCE also expects the FireBay to become popular with multimedia authors and digital video producers who have thus far depended on large expansion bay hard drives — rather than transferring the data over a network or FireWire connection through the PowerBook, users can simply plug the expansion bay hard drive into an external FireBay chassis and start working right away.
MCE says that the FireWire Expansion Bay will ship in May. The product will include the driver software, a cable, and owner’s manual. Pricing is still to be determined.