Webster WQSMD/04 Qbus SMD Controller

Ethan Dicks ethan.dicks at gmail.com
Mon Dec 14 14:45:41 CST 2015

On Mon, Dec 14, 2015 at 2:42 PM, Robert Jarratt
<robert.jarratt at ntlworld.com> wrote:
> I have had a few replies now. So it seems that it wasn't that unusual to
> connect up these big drives to a MicroVAX II.

In the late 1980s, your choices for uVAXII disk were essentially,
5.25" DEC RD drives, which topped out at 154MB, or external drives,
often 8" or 14", and unless you were tied to DEC-only (and went with
an QDA50 and first an RA81, then RA82, then possibly RA90, etc), your
next choice was some 3rd party controller and the drives to match.  If
the goal was > 150MB, that often meant Fujitsu SMD drives, but then
later, large-capacity 5.25" ESDI drives started to appear.

I have a bit of both with my VAX 8300... a KDB50 with a real RA81
(because we already had that when we got the used 8300 in 1989) then
some years later, I landed a 5"-tall 3rd party disk box with ESDI on
the inside and SDI on the outside.  ISTR mine has 2x 600MB ESDI, so
it's 3X the storage of the RA81 in 1/2 the volume, in less than 1/4
the weight, and probably 1/5 the power.  :-)


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