Friday, February 18, 2011

MSD SD-2 Super Disk Drive

           I recently added a MSD SD-2 Super Disk Drive to my Commodore collection, and was thrilled to own a piece of MSD history. The device comes complete with an MSD IEEE-C64 connector. This connector lets you connect any IEEE device to the C64. IEEE-488 interface was typical to Commodore PET and early CBM computers from the late 70s and early 80s. The MSD-2 also has serial cable inputs that lets you connect to any Vic-20 or C64/128 computer using a standard serial cable.
     The MSD Super Disk Drives were the first third-party peripherals designed for compatibility with the Commodore 64. What makes this drive so unique is that it contained two onboard drives that used the Commodore DOS duplicate command used on Commodore PET computers that would allow you to copy an entire disk from one drive to the other in less than two minutes, and format a disk in 18 seconds. This was a substantially faster time than the 1541 of the day. The MSD SD-2 came standard using device 8 and 9, but could be changed with a simple change in the jumper cable located inside the cover. MSD made sturdy, quality Commodore compatible products that were quite popular in the early to mid 1980s. The MSD SD-2 was listed in RUN magazine in January 1985 at $449.95.
     The MSD SD-2 was, and still is, an excellent source for quickly copying disks for use and dispersement. There are some limitations with the drive that keeps some copy protected programs from loading due to the difference in DOS code and memory mapping. If you happen to come across one of these you will be one of the few that claim to have ownership of one. Mine currently has an error code that signifies that there is something wrong with the drive mechanism, so this will be a fun repair project at one of our next Commodore meetings in either Portland, Oregon @, or Tacoma Washington @ UPCHUG meeting.  Link to the MSD SD-2 user manual. Link to MSD-2 Wiki writeup. Here is a link to the CMD unofficial homepage for more Commodore rare peripherals.

Commodore SX-64 Executive Portable Computer