Adaptec: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly!
August 1, 2001
by Andy Goodman
Adaptec's most recent kit the 2940U2W is probably the best card they have ever brought to market. This card is wonderful. It has an internal LVD connector running at 80 Mbps it has an internal UW connector running at 40 Mbps a internal 50 pin connector running at 20 Mbps and an external LVD connector at 80 Mbps. Of course these are all maximum rates. The best news is you can use them all at the same time. They also give you a bracket with a 50 pin HD external connector, but you must terminate it even if you have not plugged anything into it. The card will support 15 devices running at a mix of speeds and SCSI levels. It will automatically terminate all the connectors on the card and figure out parity for you. The kit comes with 4 different cables for almost any conceivable configuration. The kit also comes with Adaptec's great Easy SCSI Software for backup and scanning. Well that was the good, now for the bad.
Adaptec has created a great deal of confusion and bad will with their 2930U2 card. Even the folks at Adaptec don't understand this card. I have spoken to more than 6 people over there and none of them agree on what the card can or can not do. It was an attempt to bring in some of the lower end market that is currently going to UDMA. How ever in order to not shoot themselves in the foot with their other products they have crippled the card (they call it tuning) to work well with only 1 LVD drive. Maybe 2 depending on which day you talk to someone over there. So you end up with an expensive 1 drive system. If you're interested in performance go directly to the 2940U2W for a little more and if your only concern is price, step all the way back to UDMA. One of the best features of SCSI is the ability to add more drives as you need room, this card takes away that feature by making you suffer a performance hit when you add additional drives. Both the 2940U2W and the 2930U2 support LVD or SE devices if you have the correct cable. If you plug a LVD drive into a SE cable or plug a SE drive into a LVD cable and plug the SE cable onto the LVD port of the card it will run at SE speed not LVD speed which is twice as fast. Make sure you use the correct cable. Only put LVD drives and cables on the LVD port. Put everything else on the other ports and Adaptec's new technology will split the bus and keep all the devices running at their maximum performance levels. Now for the ugly.
One of the things that made Adaptec the leader of the industry it is today was its tech support. But they have decided to follow an ugly trend in the industry to take regular production product and dump it out into the market and call it OEM. Then they claim they have no obligation to support it since it is OEM product. Retail Product comes with a sticker called a TSID as in tech support id number. Unsuspecting consumers buy either the cards or systems built on the cards because of the Adaptec name. When they call for support or bios updates or just about anything else they are told the products are not supported. Adaptec has no interest in them. I think this is a big mistake. It could potentially ruin the great name Adaptec has built for itself over the years. Also the Intel Product Dealers (IPD's) lobbied Intel to put Adaptec SCSI on Intel's new motherboards, just to find out Adaptec won't support them either. 3com is doing the same thing and is up to us the general public to send them both a clear message. Support your products or we won't buy them.
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