SCSI hard disk replacement options

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Most classic macs use a hard disk drive as their main mass storage medium. The majority of 68k Macs uses SCSI hard disk drives of a kind not in production any more. There are several options to replace a defective SCSI hard disk drive. Here you will find some suggestions.

The choice should depend on the use to be expected for the device.


  • For frequent use with heavy writing load, where writing access performance is important, try a SCSI-IDE converter with a new silent IDE harddisk (2.5" or 3.5"). Keep in mind that the throughput of a modern drive is usually throttled by the slow host adaptor or bus speed, not the drive itself.
  • If you need very low noise, or low heat (as in a fanless Mac), but with top performance, try a Solid State Disk (SSD) or industrial Compact Flash (CF) card and adaptor. Some CF adapters mount two cards, however many of these allegedly will not mount two cards in a Mac.
  • A striped RAID can provide even faster performance. Unless you are using a high-performance drive controller, it will still be limited to the host Mac's speed
  • In any other case a recent CF card in an appropriate adaptor should do well in a vintage machine. (Use for virtual memory is debated)
  • A MicroDrive would give you the benefits of a small footprint, low power consumption and fast write speeds. It would combine the disadvantages of both CF cards (less reliable) and usual hard disk drives (moving parts), also.
  • If price matters, consider an external SCSI enclosure filled up with used SCSI server hard disks. With a long cable you can hide the drive in a place where it is allowed to be noisy. You might have to throw in a few extra bucks for a recent SCSI-a-lot-pins to standard SCSI adaptor, but gain a cheap supply for high speed drives. This especially applies to people with access to server farms, where usable drives get swapped for new ones based on a fixed schedule.
  • And, a more hypothetical case, if the price should not matter at all, have an UPS buffered RAM-disk and stream the data to a NAS.

Always have a working backup of your important data!


If you are interested in a solid state storage solution, go to the page about using flash memory.

If want to use a harddisk drive of recent make, go to the page about SCSI-IDE converter.