Contents | < Browse | Browse >
GVP SERIES II SCSI HOST ADAPTER
The SCSI controller on the G-Force is very fast compared to SCSI-1
adapters. Out of all the drives I tested, the Quantum LP240S was the
fastest at over 1.8MB/sec (32K buffer). Although the A3000 SCSI controller
was consistently 5 - 10% faster for all the drives, the G-Force is capable
of using a SCSI-2 drive that the A3000 cannot.
If you plan on using a hard drive at all while using the Amiga's built-in
serial port, you may have problems. Anything above 4,800 bps is subject to
hardware overruns. This is common to all DMA host adaptors, although it
seems particularly bad with the G-Force when coupled with a fast drive.
GVPpatch (included) helps a bit by breaking down large data requests into
smaller ones while the serial port is in use. You can apply this patch to
virtually any device that might have a conflict, you merely have to specify
the device name (e.g., gameport.device, gvpser.device, empser.device, etc.)
You may run GVPpatch as many times as needed for as many devices as
FASTPREP & EXPERTPREP
These programs look nice, but they don't conform to the Amiga style
guidelines and they open on a custom 640x200 screen. Although they
promote, they would look much nicer with a font-sensitive OS2.x compliant
Workbench interface. A major complaint I had with the programs is that
newer versions don't seem to write Rigid Disk Blocks that are compatible
with each other. If you write a RDB with version 2.0 of Expert Prep, and
then get a new version such as 2.5, read the data, and re-write the RDB you
can loose your partitions!
Upon loading, FastPrep will read the drive information and suggest
splitting it into a number of partitions (usually two). In the case of a
1GB hard drive I tried, it wanted to split it into three partitions. It
allows you to define up to eight partitions per drive, and you simply
choose the number of partitions and enter how many megabytes per partition
you want. It's possible to lose a little space when using FastPrep if you
type in specific amounts, because the program will just leave the last bit
of space unused. You can lose up to 999K of space this way.
ExpertPrep is similar to FastPrep, but with some additional options. You
can specify OFS, FFS, or N/A (none) for your filesystem. You can also set
buffer memory type, DMA mask, MaxTransfer, and Boot, Mount, Nomount,
Disconnect, Last Disk, Last LUN, and Synchronous flags.
ExpertPrep does not let you define many things that an "expert" prepping
program should such as: DriveInit code, BytesPerBlock, BlockPerTrack,
Heads, Cylinders, TotalBlocks, CylinderBlocks, Interleave, RDBLow, RDBHigh,
MinCylinder, and MaxCylinder. It also doesn't allow altering (per
partition or globally) of BlockSize, Surfaces, BlocksPerTrack, Reserved
Blocks, PreAlloc, and DOS Interleave. I can understand the lack of these
options in FastPrep, but it's inexcusable in ExpertPrep. "Maintenence
Mode" only allows for two additional options: Low level format and Bad
Neither program allows management or addition of alternate file systems
such as MuFS or CrossDOSFileSystem, and they do not let you know whether a
hard drive is loading FastFileSystem from the RDB or ROM by default. They
also impose an artificial limitation of one boot partition per drive. This
is very unfortunate for developers and users wanting to test programs in a
"clean" environment. I keep a small partition with a virgin installation
of OS 2.1 available for testing programs and select it from the Boot Menu
of Kickstart 2.04 when I want to use it.
This does not mean that the G-Force is a dead-end street for those needing
more flexibility. You can set partitions destined for alternate
filesystems as "N/A" and write a mountlist entry for it, to be mounted
after boot time. Unfortunately, this solution does not allow for different
filesystems on the boot partition, so it won't work for some people. Also,
you must boot from a disk with the mountlist definitions and filesystems on
it or you can't get to your partitions.
If you need an advanced drive prepping utility that's compatible with the
G-Force, look for RDPrep from Microbotics. It is freely distributable and
has all the options I listed above, and more. It's more user friendly in
laying out partitions, and supports alternate filesystems at the Rigid Disk
Block level. RDPrep also integrates an "easy" mode and a "complex" mode in
the same program very effectively. RDPrep can generally do a
non-destructive read and rewrite of a FastPrep or ExpertPrep RDB, but do
not try to go the other way. ALWAYS back-up your hard drive for safety.
Changing the RDB is a risky operation that should not be taken lightly.
It's always a good idea to start and stay with one prepping utility, so
choose before you put hundreds of megabytes worth of data on your drives.