The combination converter, FireWire hub, and repeater, BridgeIt! supports multiple hard drives, CD-R/RW, MO and removable media devices in a SCSI chain. The maximum transfer rate is 20MB per second for SCSI (Ultra Narrow) and 400Mbps for FireWire. A 50-pin high-density SCSI connector and three six-pin FireWire ports are provided for SCSI conversion, as well as FireWire hub functionality. For legacy SCSI devices with 25-pin connections, BridgeIt! will support 25 to 50 pin cable adapters. BridgeIt! is a FireWire repeater when powered off and is a FireWire-to-SCSI converter when powered on. An AC/DC adapter or cable power is required to work.
“Compare it to other US$90 to $120 FireWire-to-SCSI solutions available that only support one SCSI device — plus standalone FireWire hubs typically cost as much as $90 to $120 themselves,” Fastware.net CEO Matt Schultz told MacCentral. “BridgeIt! offers real value while also saving a rare PCI slot.”
Currently, BridgeIt and the FireWire extension supports a total of four SCSI drives, MO, and/or removable media such as Jaz and Zip. The early FW Extension that supports up to four SCSI drives, will also support CD-R equipment when used in conjunction with B’s GOLD CD authoring software, which will be available from Fastware.net for $79. The SIM driver will support most of the popular CD-R authoring applications.
The minimum requirement is Mac OS 8.6 and FireWire 2.3.3. A separate version will be introduced for Mac OS 9.1 (which, ahem, hasn’t been officially announced yet).
Support for scanners, printers, CD-R/RW, etc., and a full SCSI chain of seven devices is planned in near term driver and flash upgrade releases, said Schultz. In early March, a SIM (SCSI Interface Module) Extension for Mac OS 9.0.4 will be emailed to all BIT registered owners with a valid e-mail address at no charge, he added. This extension will support scanners, printers, MO, removable media, hard drives and CD-R/RW via Toast, and most major CD authoring applications. Support for a SCSI chain of four will be maintained.
By the end of March, a flash update utility will be available for download from the Fastware.net FTP site at no charge to customers. This utility will field-update the firmware in BridgeIt to provide for a full SCSI chain of seven devices.
“Owners of the BIT box, having purchased their units previously, can now run the flash update via their Mac’s FireWire ports, upgrade their BIT box firmware, and enjoy our full feature set,” said Schultz.
BridgeIt! comes with an external power adapter, an ON/OFF switch, indicator LEDs, a 50 position high density SCSI receptacle and three 6-pin 1394 ports, so it will also act as a Hub for 1394 peripherals.
“One of the best tests to determine the performance of a converter of this type is to copy a large file from one folder or directory to another on the same disk,” said Schultz. “We copied a 33MB QuickTime movie on a SCSI Jaz drive, connected to a G4 via the BIT box, in a quick 26 seconds.”
BridgeIt! will be available in volume this month on the Fastware.net Web site for $149.95. Only US power adapters are available.
Kodiak for European versions.