4 Replies Latest reply: Jul 5, 2011 8:30 AM by cjed
cjed Level 1 (0 points)
Daisy-chaining peripherals using Firewire 800 does not work with mac mini (June, 2010, tested with 10.6.6, not yet 10.6.7, however the FW kext does not seem to have been updated).

If chaining two external hard drives using FW800, when copying from one to another the transfer stalls after some seconds, disks finally get unmounted from the desktop (with an error message) or it can even freeze the system.

If chaining a hard drive with a firewire audio interface (mac mini to external hard drive using FW800/800, and hard drive to audio interface using FW800/400), audio stops/resets after a while.

Daisy-chaining using FW400 works great (FW800/400 from mac mini to audio interface, and FW400/400 from audio interface to external hard drive).

The external case uses a 934DSB-LQA chipset from PLX (that acquired Oxford). It has been said that these chipsets aren't well working with macs since, notably Mac Pro (Apple does not support anymore 924 chipset).

Since thunderbolt has been unveiled, I wonder whether Apple will try to fix Firewire 800 daisy chaining problem with macs.

Does anybody tried Sonnetech Yin Yang, using FW800 for an external hard drive and FW400 for another peripheral ?

Mac Mini 2010, Mac OS X (10.6.4), 2,4 Ghz Core2 Duo ,4 Gb ram
  • cjed Level 1 (0 points)
    Just bought the Sonnet Yin Yang adapter (FW800 to FW800 and FW400) and same problem, audio cuts after a while !
  • cjed Level 1 (0 points)
    After further try and another (longer and thinner) Firewire 800 wire to connect the external HD enclosure, it seems better.
    Moreover audio cuts are less frequent when using the Yin Yang, and playback always start again after a few seconds. Relauching application (iTunes, etc.) also helps when problems occur due to external disk sleep or manual unmouting from desktop (no more audio cuts after relaunch, whereas when using daisy-chaining through the HDD enclosure it doesn't work again).

    Using the Yin Yang also allows to use the audio interface without having to power the external HD enclosure (does not work when daisy-chaining - the audio interface isn't visible), and without any audio cut.
    Audio software streaming samples from the externall HD enclosure also worked fine with the Yin Yang (FW800 speed and no audio cuts with large piano libraries - to be confirmed after further tests, however at least it would be very usable).

    Apple should however fix these problems (remaining audio cuts and daisy-chaining).

    Message was edited by: cjed
  • cjed Level 1 (0 points)
    In fact after additional tests, problems (audio cuts) still occur - and are frequent - with audio applications that stream samples (also when samples are lodaded fully into ram).

    So chaining using Firewire 400 (through the audio interface Firewire 400 ports) is required for now.

    I however will keep the Yin Yang in case of Apple/and or PLX fix these problems (as it allows using the audio interface alone while keeping Firewire 800 connection for the external disk).

    Message was edited by: cjed
  • cjed Level 1 (0 points)

    Problem with audio cut seemed either due to a compatibility problem with Macway/Storeva Silverdrive Quattro enclosure (slave/master configuration conflict between its recent PLX 936 chipset and older Oxford 912 chipset from the Audiofire interface), or a bad PLX chipset, or bad electronic design for enclosure’s controller board, and/or its power supply (1.2 A).


    Macway even provides a 0.5A only power supply on its AluceIce enclosure, while a powerful disk uses about 8W on 12V for its engine (that is about 0,7A) and  additional power on the 5.5V line for the electronic (about 1W for the chipset) and the activity led.


    Replacing the enclosure with an OWC one (Mercury Elite Al Pro) fixed the problem (no audio cut when chaining the enclosure with the audio interface, nor blocking/error when copying files from an external disk to another chained one).

    Moreover the OWC enclosure uses a 3A power supply, and the audio interface still works when the disk enters in sleep mode (no rotating).