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Seagate 5.25 "vaporware" drives ST206 and ST278

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    Seagate 5.25 "vaporware" drives ST206 and ST278

    Forking this thread from the for sale forum:

    Originally posted by compaqportableplus View Post
    Was there really a 5MB version of the ST-212 (ST-206)? A quick google search reveals nothing and Iíve never seen it mentioned anywhere before. Didnít know about the ST-278 either!

    Glad to see someone else who collects these old drives too! They need to be saved just like the computers themselves do! I think having an old PC with a real MFM drive in it adds a lot of character.
    So yeah, the ST206 was apparently one of the early models they worked on and it appears to not have made it out to the market. There's a mention of it here in this article:

    Also a few other mentions of it if you search ... Here it is listed available for purchase, sortof:

    I found the same with the ST278 ... the Seagate ST11R tech document describe this model drive, but it does not appear to have ever made it out to market.

    ================================================== ===========
    | Model | Formatted | R/W | Data | Sectors | Auto- |
    | | MBytes | Heads | Cylinders | per Track | Park |
    ================================================== ===========
    | ST137R| 32.7 | 4 | 615 | 26 | No |
    | ST138R| 32.7 | 4 | 615 | 26 | Yes |
    | ST157R| 49.1 | 6 | 615 | 26 | Yes |
    | ST225R| 21.2 | 2 | 667 | 31 | No |
    | ST238R| 32.7 | 4 | 615 | 26 | No |
    | ST250R| 42.9 | 4 | 667 | 31 | No |
    | ST277R| 65.5 | 6 | 820 | 26 | Yes |
    | ST278R| 65.5 | 6 | 820 | 26 | Yes |
    |ST4144R| 122.7 | 9 | 1024 | 26 | Yes |

    Anyway, I'd love to find an ST206 or ST278 ... I would like to imagine that a few examples do exist, if Seagate built them at all. Anyone ever come across these?

    Another relatively unknown model might be the ST252 ... this one looks like it made it out to market, but I haven't yet found a picture of it.

    Also, the ST296 which came out as SCSI, but could in theory be converted to RLL using a 6 head board

    Also oddballs, the ST225R and ST250R are 3000rpm versions, either needing a 16-bit controller or ST11R as the only 8-bit controller I know of that can properly run these drives.


      Oh yeah, and I was going to mention that there were two 10mb drive models, ST212 and ST213. The ST212 is half-height version of ST412 and the ST213 is the 10mb version of the ST225 lineage.


        Some of the off by one model numbers are the same drive but in a different OEM mounting bracket so it is very unlikely to find one and even if one was found, the drive itself might not have a label indicating the special nature of the order.


          Do you have any examples of that?


            Only one I can find in a quick search is which is a ST-251 with a terminator that can't be removed. Same applies to the ST-278 which is a permanently terminated ST-277.

            I think there was a half height drive in a full height bracket that got a special model number but I can't find a reference for it right now. I can't get to the Seagate FTP and see all the models listed.


              Well that is certainly a good explanation of the ST252 and ST278 ... I hadn't noticed that minor detail before, so thanks for pointing it out. Good stuff!

              There is still no evidence that the ST278 ever made it to market

              Now, I wonder what is the benefit of a permanent terminator? Less flexibility for the end user I suppose, but maybe to simplify the product perhaps. I also wondered if the ST252 and ST278 were perhaps redesigns of the control board to address the reliability issues of those models. They are noted for higher failure rates.


                Some interesting stuff here! This is right up my alley!

                I’ve got an old eBay pic of an ST-252 somewhere. Would you like me to try and find it?
                Compaq - It simply works better


                  Found some pictures on german ebay : with a nice shot of the underside of the board. Definitely a different board when compared to the ST-251, so it's more than just the terminator... it looks like a whole new board. Very interesting ...


                    that german one looks really nice too, way better than some of my rust buckets haha


                      Originally posted by chris_nh View Post
                      Also oddballs, the ST225R and ST250R are 3000rpm versions, either needing a 16-bit controller or ST11R as the only 8-bit controller I know of that can properly run these drives.
                      Isn't the ST225R the same as an ST238? As for 8 bit adapters, what about the Adaptec 2070a? It was (so I've been told) it was designed for the 238, and it's good enough to act as a reference controller.


                        The ST225R is different, but the ST-225 MFM is basically the same drive as an ST-238R ... they do have different control boards, but I've formatted an ST-225 as an ST-238 before and it works OK. There are some differences in the platters, so data reliability is an issue if you have the lower density platter type of the MFM. The ST-225R/ST-250R are 3000 RPM drives ... normally 3600 on the better known models.

                        I don't know a lot about the Adaptec controllers, but I do know that every controller is basically unique and could be outfitted with different drive tables. Some cards are stuck with fixed parameters and others can be dynamic. I find that Speedstor command line "sstor /romlist" will usually output the drive table from the controller to show you what drives it can handle.

                        I think the ST-238R is the best and most reliable in my experience ... ST-238R had nice bearings and good platters, and is the model I find with the least failures. Even if you want to use it downsized as a regular MFM ST-225 equivalent, the extra margin will give you good reliability.


                          Browsing some other lists, I uncovered a few more oddball models ... anyone heard of these?

                          ST-290A 5.25 half-height w/ IDE interface (81mb) ... quite possibly the only drive of this lineage with IDE interface? Would love to find one of these, wow!

                          ST-224N 5.25 half-height SCSI


                            Originally posted by chris_nh View Post
                            ST-290A 5.25 half-height w/ IDE interface (81mb) ... quite possibly the only drive of this lineage with IDE interface? Would love to find one of these, wow!
                            Thatís likely a totally different designed drive than the ST-251-style units (like the 296N), as itís listed as having 1023 cylinders, which means itís likely voice coil and not stepper actuated. Iíve certainly never seen a stepper drive 1023 cylinders.

                            Probably similar in design to the ST-280A.

                            Iím loving this thread so far though!
                            Compaq - It simply works better


                              The ST-280A is listed as a WREN drive, so it is definitely different, agreed. The ST-290A, I've discovered, was not actually produced ... according to:

                              So... yeah, no IDE interface for these drives, BUT we did discover another model of vaporware The ST-290A was likely to have been a WREN as well, but no confirmation of that. I guess we need to find the product announcement to find out more.