Core CNT-MCK ESDI Adapter

@0500.ADF CORE CNT-MCK Fixed Disk Adapter Utilities Diskette (zipped image) Zipped contents of the disk image above

Core CNT-MCK ESDI Adapter
8580-A31 Experiences
Core International Today

William has this listed as "Core MCK 15/20MHz ESDI/ST-506 (?) Adapter".

Based on content by William R. Walsh (original HERE).

Core CNT-MCK ESDI Adapter

Core MCK Dual ESDI Adapter

CR1 Red SMD LED (disk activity)
TP1 Test point (?)
U11,12 Mosel MS6264AL-45SC
U19 "6002"
U20 "6004"
U21 "6010"
U27 "6001"
U28 "6007"
U45 NS DP8456V-8 Disk controller
U48 SMC 94C18 MCA Controller
U49 "6005"
U50 "6006"
U51 MCK BIOS ROM A Ver. 2.11
U52 MCK BIOS ROM B Ver. 2.11
Y1 20.000 MHz

The black line indicates a soldered black wire rework of some kind. Handwritten over the "Rev C" notice on the card is a "Rev D"... Perhaps the rework has something to do with this? I'm not sure what it would affect. Upon powering up, this adapter displays the type of both drives. The ROM chips on it have strings inside pertaining to ST-506 drives and the utility diskette has utilities for ST-506.

The lower numbered ends of each connector above indicate the location of pin 1.

Experiences In An 8580-A31

As far as I can tell, the Core adapter appears to have been designed for systems that are much slower than the 25MHz variant of the 8580. All of the following testing was done under MS-DOS 6.22.

The system this adapter came with also had a 486 MCMaster card installed. With the MCMaster installed, reliable operation of the computer could not be obtained. All of the CORE adapter and MCMaster settings were tried in an effort to obtain reliable operation. Behavior in the various configurations ranged from random lockups, boot failure or even loss of all data and formatting of the boot drive.

The MCMaster card was removed and reliable operation of the disk subsystem was the immediate result.

Still hoping to use an upgrade, I tried to use an IBM "Blue Lightening" 486 upgrade. This upgrade is installed in place of the 386DX CPU. Because it replaces the main CPU, this upgrade could potentially resolve any 'bus hogging' issues that adapters on the MCA bus might experience. With this upgrade, the computer would boot but it froze the system up solid early on in the boot process. No data was lost during this test. Because I had a good working setup at this point, I did not try to adjust any switch settings on the Blue Lightening.

Important: It appears that this adapter may be pushed to its limits in faster PS/2s. As a precaution, you should make a backup of your data before you upgrade your CPU. This adapter may not like such an upgrade. In my experience, you will know very soon if the disk controller cannot handle your CPU upgrade. Avoid a disaster and think before you upgrade!

Core International Today

Core International? After some digging around in the CSIPH archives, and more searching from that point onward, I have a pretty good idea. Sometime in the late 1990s, Aiwa America (yes, the same Aiwa that sells audio equipment) swallowed Core International and renamed it to Aiwa Data Product Services. Archives of the Aiwa web site show this name--and the Core International logo--being in use. Later they became known as the Aiwa Computer Systems Division. This division sold tape backup drives and disk array systems. I saw no disk controllers or standalone hard drives being offered for sale.

A general search of newsgroup postings seems to reveal that Aiwa shut down their Computer Systems Division on October 31st, 1999. Reason for the closure of this division seems to have been a result of Sony Corporation's competing products along with a 50% stake in the company. Today Aiwa's web site has no information on their computer products.

I wasn't able to find any record of a company that may have picked up the rights, support and documentation for Aiwa's computer products. If you know what (if any) company might have picked these things up, please do let us know!

Content created and/or collected by:
Louis F. Ohland, Peter H. Wendt, David L. Beem, William R. Walsh, Tatsuo Sunagawa, Tomáš Slavotínek, Jim Shorney, Tim N. Clarke, Kevin Bowling, and many others.

Ardent Tool of Capitalism is maintained by Tomáš Slavotínek.
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