Review: Miglia Catalyst ATA/FW Kit

by on April 19, 2004

If you’re like me, then you hate having old computer parts lying around when they could be put to better use. Of course, there’s not much you can do with a Mac II in modern applications, but if you’ve got an old SCSI case, it can find new life, thanks to Miglia Technology’s Catalyst ATA/FW Kit.

Miglia Technology, a company started relatively recently, has made a name for themselves with their video products, including the AlchemyTV video cards for Power Macs, and many FireWire cards.

Miglia Catalyst
Miglia Catalyst

Essentially replacing the 50-pin Centronics connectors on the back of the SCSI case with an Oxford 911 FireWire converter, the Catalyst Kit allows you to upgrade many older cases to make use of the enclosure, power supply, and mounting brackets with a newer ATA hard drive or an ATAPI optical drive. This product is intended for the computer do-it-yourselfer.

The converter gets its power by tapping into the 4-pin Molex connector found on most power supplies, hard drives, and optical drives. Installation is a relatively straightforward process (it took us about 5 minutes with an IBM ATA hard drive and our old ClubMac enclosure).

  • Remove one of the SCSI connectors and replace it with the ATA/FW converter. Two screws secure the converter to the case.
  • Connect the provided power cable to the ATA/FW converter and to a hard drive cable.
  • Connect the ATA cable to the ATA/FW converter.
  • If you are installing a single device, you need to connect it to the end of the cable and set its jumpers to master. If you are installing two devices, the device connected to the end of the cable needs to be set to Master; the other device, which is connected to the middle of the cable, needs to be set to Slave.

Connecting a hard drive at the end as a master is recommended, and it should be noted that optical drives might require additional drivers to run properly on Macs. On the software side, OS 9.1+ and OS X recognize the hard drives automatically.

It also should be noted that the front plate on the converter can be removed to allow upgrading of many earlier FireWire enclosures to the newest Oxford 911 bridge. Another use is to add more drives inside your computer, but to connect them via FireWire. Any drives connected to the converter as Master are bootable on many recent Macs.

In our use, the Catalyst has performed flawlessly, allowing to playback video, backup our data with no problems, and more. Speeds were more than acceptable, and the hard drive worked just like any other Mac drive.

The kit is available directly from London-based Miglia, or from many resellers in the US. The list price is $89, although prices range from around $70 – $90, due to conversion rates and reseller prices.

The One-Sentence Verdict™

Although not something that is designed to look pretty on your desk, the Catalyst FW/ATA Kit lets you dig up those old ugly beige enclosures and let them ride again with your newer Mac, an idea we love.

Pros: Makes use of older enclosures, supports 2 drives, versatile (you can use it in many different situations)

Cons: None significant

The Facts

5/5Product: Catalyst ATA/FW Kit
Company: Miglia Technology
Platform: Mac/Win
Price: $89 (list)

This post has been filed in Reviews and Storage