Apple II CD-ROM -


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From: tdiaz-a(in_a_circle)-apple2-dotsero-org (Tony Diaz)
Newsgroups: comp.sys.apple2,comp.answers,news.answers
Approved: news-answers-request@MIT.EDU
Followup-To: comp.sys.apple2
Subject: Apple II & CD-ROMs Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Archive-name: apple2/cdrom
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: August 21 2007
Version: 1.0

FAQtual NOTE: This document contains both reference and contact information. While the reference information is still accurate, due to the passage of time you should assume that contact information is out of date and is only provided for historical reference.


Compiled by Stephen C. Davidson (most reliable) (most read) First Release : 6th November 1994 Last Release : 6th November 1994 Version : 1.0


Thanks to the following people who emailed info about which CDROM drives and SCSI cards being used as well as other info that they sent

Bradley Von Haden (A big thanks) Auri Man (love PowerGS) ASTDM Avi Drissman Paul Schultz David Fretz Steve Reeves Phillip `Ty' Young William R. Hall Shawn Beattie David Empson Jawaid Bayzar (A big thanks) and anyone I've forgotten to mention (remind me & I'll credit you).

If anyone wants to add anything or if there are mistakes/ommissions, please feel free to email me with suggestions, etc at - (most reliable) (second choice) I have no affliation with any company mentioned within or following.

Table of Contents:

<<Note: This FAQ was originally designed for a text editor, and only html formatting codes inserted, but the style of the table of contents was outdated, so it was removed, and filled with relative links. If they do not work, you may have an outdated www viewer, like Lynx pre v2.4>>

CD-ROM Drive specifications / Info

discQuest Compatibility List

Apple High Speed SCSI
RamFast SCSI
AppleCD-150 ++ ++
(Sony CDU-8002 mechanism)
CD-SC ++ ++
(Sony CDU-8001 mechanism)
CD-SC+ ++ ++
(Sony CDU-8002 mechanism)
CD-300 *1, *2, *4 *4
(Sony CDU-8003 mechanism)
NEC CDR-38 *3 ++
CDR-25 *3 ++
CDR-74 *3 ++
CDR-84 *3 ++
TexelDM-3x1S *1 ++
DM-3028 *1 ++
DM-5028 *1, *4 ++
Sony CDU-8002 ++ ++
CDU-8003 *1, *2, *4 ++
CDU-555S *4 *4
Toshiba 3401-200 *1, *2, *4 *4
Pioneer DRM-600 ++ ++

++ No known problems.
*1 No CD audio in discQuest (digitized audio on the Encyclopedia will work fine).
*2 Must reboot computer to put in a new CD.
*3 Requires special driver (not included with discQuest).
*4 No Audio CD's

discQuest* CD25 Drive ( NEC CDR25 mechanism)


Based on NEC's CDR25 mechanism, the discQuest CD25 CD-ROM player is a 'single speed' top-loading (caddyless) design. This low cost unit has an external power supply and is light and portable. The interface is SCSI standard, and Macintosh compatible. A terrific value!


  • Average Data Transfer Speed: 150KBytes/second
  • Access time (typical): 650ms
  • Interface: SCSI-1, 50-pin connector
  • Caddy

discQuest* CD210 Drive ( NEC CDR210 mechanism)


The discQuest CD210 is a Double-speed CD-ROM player based on the NEC CDR210 mechanism. The interface is a standard SCSI-2 connector and is compatible with the Macintosh. It features a caddyless, sliding tray design and includes a rugged steel enclosure with two full SCSI connectors on the rear.


  • SCSI-2 CD-ROM Interface
  • Caddyless, sliding tray loader design
  • Double speed
  • Multi-session Photo CD* compliant
  • External front audio jack with volume control
  • Can be used with Macintoshs, IBM compatibles and Apple IIGS


  • Average Data Transfer Speed: 300KBytes/sec
  • Access time (typical): 400ms
  • Interface: SCSI 2, 50-pin

Apple CDROM 150


Apple's CD-ROM 150 is a single speed drive that is single session PhotoCD compatible.

For IIGS owners with the Apple High Speed SCSI card, the CDROM 150 would appear to an excellent choice.


  • SCSI-1 CD-ROM Interface
  • Caddy
  • Single speed
  • Single-session Photo CD* compliant
  • Front External audio jack and volume control on front of drive
  • Rear RCA audio jacks


  • Average Data Transfer Speed: 150KBytes/sec
  • Access time (typical): 650ms (????)
  • Interface: SCSI 1, 50-pin

Apple Apple CDSC and Apple CDSC+


Older CDROM drives than the Apple CD-150 that work with the HS SCSI card, the firmware and standard GS/OS CD-ROM drivers. Anyone with more info?

Apple CDROM -300 and CDROM - 300 Plus


Both the Apple CDROM -300 and CDROM - 300 Plus are the same drive mechanism, but the Plus has got a Caddyless, sliding tray loader design. Drive/s have extra fumctionality on Macintoshs (eg can play audio CDs etc) unknown if it can be used with IBM compatibles (unlikely).


  • SCSI-2 CD-ROM Interface
  • Caddyless, sliding tray loader design (300 Plus model)
  • Caddy with 300 model
  • Double speed
  • Multi-session Photo CD* compliant
  • External front audio jack with volume control
  • External rear RCA lacks
  • Two 50 pin SCSI port connectors
  • 256Kb buffer size


  • Average Data Transfer Speed: 300KBytes/sec
  • Access time (typical): 295ms
  • Interface: SCSI 2, 50-pin

Apple II compatible SCSI Interface comparisions

RamFAST - SCSI Interface for the Apple IIe and IIGS


  • High speed DMA (direct memory access) operation for up to 1 Megabyte/second transfer rates
  • Ideal for hard drives, CD-ROM, tape backup, Syquest, floptical, and many other SCSI devices
  • Built-in configuration and hard drive backup software
  • Trouble-free 4-layer circuit board; low-power design
  • 256K or 1MB cache memory for excellent performance on any

Apple High Speed SCSI - for the Apple IIe and IIGS


  • High speed DMA (direct memory access) operation for up to 1 Megabyte/second transfer rates

General Comments

Apple IIGS High Speed SCSI card owners.

For IIGS owners with the Apple High Speed SCSI card, the "best" CDROM drive (IMHO) to get would appear to be the Apple CD-150. Although only a single speed CDROM drive (and so is a little slow), it works fine with the HS SCSI card and the drivers that come with GSOS System Software 6.01. It can be used to access Macintosh and MSDOS format CDROM's, discQuest CDROMs as well as being able to play Audio CD's with the System 6.01 drivers and NDA.

NEC CDROM drives can also be used with the HS SCSI card but require a driver/s from Tulin which will allow the CDROM drive to be used to access files/programs etc, but its unknown if the NEC drives could be used to plat audio CDs.

Apple IIGS RamFast SCSI card owners

If you haven't got a SCSI card for your IIGS yet, the "Best" one to get appears to be the RamFast SCSI Interface Card ROM Revision D Version 3.01e (or later). It is able to drive (almost) any CDROM drive (see above table) without any extra drivers required, except if you want to listen to audio CDs. There are drivers on Internet called "RFMedia.shk" that can be used to play audio CDs easily, and are available from Sequential Systems by request if you order their discQuest software.

As well as better support for CDROM drives, it also has better support for Hard disk drives (can supply termination power - needed for many of the newer hard drives which don't supply this and won't work unless something else does), SCSI Tape backup units, CDROM drives, Syquests, Flopticals, etc....

RamFast SCSI cards can be purchased together in a bundle from Sequential with discQuest software, NEC CDR210 double speed CDROM drive and some CDROMs, or in a bundle with discQuest Encyclopedia. See previous posts to comp.sys.apple2 for info on the discQuest software.

CDROMs available for use with Apple IIGS's

GEM-CD / Apple II

The Generous Efforts of Many, a CD-ROM of software for the Apple II. (Comment scd - This is a fairly old CDROM disk)

What is the GEM-CD / Apple II? GEM is an acronym for the Generous Efforts of Many, an acknowledgement of the many user groups and individuals that have contributed their software and time to the development of this CD, one of the very few CD-ROMs that contains only software for the Apple II. While the Macintosh has seen hundreds of CD-ROM releases, few (if any) publishers are producing CD-ROMs for the Apple II. We hope that this disc is a start of a new trend, and an encouragement to those developers who are hesitant to support the Apple II.

What's on the GEM-CD / Apple II, Volume 1? Quite a few items: about 150 megabytes of Apple IIgs and II software, plus Macpaint graphics that can be converted for IIgs clip art.

GEM CD _is_ still available (as of a couple of months ago):

Wayzata Technology Inc. P.O. Box 87 16221 Main Ave. S.E. Prior Lake, MN 55372 (800) 735-7321 (612) 447-7321

DigiSoft Innovations

Jim Maricondo of Digisoft, the company that brought you the Twilight II screen blanker for the Apple IIgs, stated that they plan to have an Apple II CD-ROM, called the "Golden Orchard", available soon. It is to be packed as full of Apple II and IIgs goodies as they can make it. A detailed report of the contents has not yet been released, but it is expected to include the following categories:

  • 106MB of applications
  • 119MB of disks (selfbooting, non-ProDOS, etc.)
  • 15MB of sounds
  • 31MB of stacks
  • 25MB of text
  • 33MB of TrueType fonts
  • 2MB of Finder Extensions
  • 3MB of NDAs
  • 35MB of graphics
  • 5MB of cracks, cheats, and deprotects
  • 2MB of BASIC programs
  • 8MB of AppleWorks-related material
  • 2MB of bitmap fonts
  • 800K of Hot Cookies

(Latest Info) Stay tuned for the DigiSoft Apple Orchard CD-ROM too! We've had a few setbacks thanks to the extreme bugginess of the HFS FST with large volumes, but we're working on some workarounds, and in the process improving the CD's content as well. And I'm happy to announce that we recently finished negotiating with Apple and you will find many megabytes of Apple stuff on the CD that previously were only available on hard-to-find Developer CDs or the System 6 GM CD! More info will be posted as it becomes available..

If you'd like to be sure you're on our internet e-mailing list to receive notification of release of the CD or further progress reports, send your electronic address to me here at

Jim Maricondo DigiSoft Innovations

DiscQuest GS(tm) Multimedia CD-ROM

Sequential Systems has introduced DiscQuest(tm) and DiscQuest GS(tm); a hardware/software combination that will give today's Apple IIGS user access to the exploding library of information available on CD-ROM.

DiscQuest(tm) utilizes standard SCSI CD-ROM drives and will support currently available CD-ROM titles from leading multimedia publishers such as Creative MultiMedia, Grolier, Compton's and more. DiscQuest(tm) Software, developed by Sequential Systems, Inc. and Procyon, Inc., provides text search, still graphics display and audio from DiscQuest-supported titles. Bundled with Sequential Systems' RamFAST SCSI interface, search performance of the DiscQuest System(tm) using a non-accelerated Apple IIGS is similar to that of a Macintosh LC.

DiscQuest GS(tm) software (for Apple IIGS computers) will be made available to resellers and end-users for use with other SCSI-type CD-ROM drives. The software includes a copy of Creative MultiMedia's popular title "The Family Doctor".

The DiscQuest GS System(tm) is a bundled product that includes Sequential Systems' DiscQuest(tm) Software, an external CD-ROM drive with cable and one disc caddy, a RamFAST SCSI interface, and four CD-ROM titles.

DiscQuest(tm) works with the following hardware: Any Apple IIGS with 2MB of RAM or greater RamFAST/SCSI with NEC, Sony, Apple or Sequential CD-ROM drives Apple High Speed SCSI with Sony, Apple or Sequential CD-ROM drives

If you have a RamFAST you need the very latest ROM revision, 3.01e.

CDROM titles available so far are -

  • Darwin Multimedia CD-ROM
  • Monarch Notes(r) CD-ROM
  • Sherlock Holmes (CMC)
  • The Family Doctor (CMC)
  • Shakespeare (CMC)
  • Great Literature (Personal Library Series)
  • Parenting - Prenatal to Preschool
  • Multimedia Audubon's Birds
  • Multimedia Audubon's Mammals
  • The Best of The Bureau
  • Total Baseball - New 1993 Edition (CMC)
  • 1991 YearBooks(R) (YearBook Medical Publishers, Inc)
  • US History on CD-ROM (Bureau)
  • History of the World on CD-ROM (Bureau)
  • Countries of the World on CD-ROM (Bureau)

discQuest Encyclopedia release info

Sequential Systems announced the release of their new 'discQuest Encyclopedia(tm)' product, the first comprehensive encyclopedia on CD-ROM for the Apple IIGS.

discQuest Encyclopedia is based on the Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia(tm), and features hundreds of audio clips, thousands of still images, and thousands of articles on virtually any subject.

discQuest comes with the CD-ROM, a hard drive installer disk and a standalone boot disk version, and a short manual describing the features of the software. The package is very easy to operate, as it uses the IIGS's "point and click" graphical interface. Other benefits include the ability to print articles and images, and cut and paste text directly into other applications. discQuest bundles, including RamFAST SCSI interface and CD-ROM drives, are available from Sequential Systems. Contact Florence Welkie.

Apple IIGS and Mac SIG in Germany CD

The Apple IIgs SIG and Mac SIG here in Germany have produced a joint CD which is available NOW. It contains about 300 MByte worth of Macintosh PD and about 200 MByte worth of Apple IIgs PD [public domain]. It's a plain HFS formatted CD you're able to access from Finder without any special programs necessary [other than the HFS FST that comes with System 6]. The price of the CD will be US$ 43.00, CAN$ 60.00, resp. AUS$ 62.00 plus s/h. Shipping the CD airmail with jewel case to the US, Canada, or Australia will cost US$ 10.00, CAN$ 14.00, resp. AUS$ 14.50; shipping the CD with booklet and inlay card in a 5.25 inch disk mailer will cost US$ 6.25, CAN$ 8.75 resp. AUS$ 9.00. (I suggest you buy your own jewel case and get the CD in a floppy disk mailer...)

Cheques in US, Australian or Canadian currency will be accepted, drawn on a US, Canadian or Australian bank. Please, add US$ 2.00, CAN$ 3.00, resp. AUS$ 3.00 for cashing fees. So to get the CD in a floppy mailer, send me a cheque for US$ 51.25, CAN$ 71.75, resp. AUS$ 74.00; to get it with jewel case, send me a cheque for US$ 56.00, CAN$ 77.00, resp. AUS$ 79.50. (Other currencies and countries, please ask.) Guys [and gals, I presume] living in Europe send me an Eurocheque for DM 80.00 (CD with jewel case). Within Germany the price will be DM 72.00 (for nonmembers of AUGE). A catalog of the IIgs part of the CD is file #22701 in the A2 Library. Send your cheques to:

Udo Huth Leipziger Str. 16 a 38329 Wittmar Germany

Apple IIGS owners reports

The following are reports from online IIGS owners.

Bradley Von Haden

Apple High Speed SCSI with Apple CDROM-150 drive, single speed playing audio CDs through Earphone socket. Using discQuest for discPassage CDs.

Auri Man

NEC MultiSpin CD-ROM (2x speed) hooked up to a RAMFast, and it works like a charm. Haven't had any problems, and it's fast as heck. I don't know why people stick with the Apple HS, since it is no longer supported, but if you want to insure compatibility with today's SCSI devices, and hopefully tomorrow's, I would ask you to consider purchasing a RAMFast from Sequential Systems.


RAMFast SCSI, ROM 3.01e, REV D with AppleCD-150, Single speed can play audio CDs though external speakers connected to the drive using the RFMedia.shk package. It allows you to hookup several different CD ROM drives to your RF. It also has the audio additions required. It works great for ISO & HFS formatted disks. GS disks are available but harder to find. There is a german UG that just came out with a CD (I have it) and DigiSoft is coming out with one. On the audio side, it took me a while to figure out how to play CDs properly. There is a Media Controller NDA that works with the RF. It is just like the Apple "Remote Control". But you have to skip to track 2 to play audio CDs. It is a fault on Apple I believe but you get errors trying to hit play instead of the >> key to skip to track 2.

Avi Drissman

The RamFAST SCSI, Rev D, Rom 3.01d with an old NEC CDR-25 single speed. The CDR can play an audio disc only with speakers ( or headphones) attached to the earphone plug. Nothing special is needed for computer CD's except for FSTs. The RamFAST driver works fine. For audio CDs, I use the Media Controller desk accessory, the Media Control CDev, and a media control driver called "RF.NEC" available from Sequential (in RFMedia.shk file).

Paul Schultz

An NEC CDR-25 single speed drive hooked up to my RamFAST rev. D 3.0.1EZ. Have used the publicly available drivers for the RamFAST which allow me to play audio CDs through speakers connected to the CD drive using the Media Controller supplied with Sys 6.0.1 as the 'remote'.


Apple HS SCSI Card nonterm power version with Apple CD-150 Single speed. Plays audio through the Media control panel and the CDRemote NDAs through the CD RCA jacks on back or earphone jack on front.

Drivers to get it to work with program CD's and/or audio CD's to play are the ones included with System 6.01.

Steve Reeves

An AppleCD 300e double speed drive based on the Sony CDU-8003 mechanism which uses caddies and has a 256K buffer with an Apple High Speed SCSI card. The drive reads data discs (ISO 9660/High Sierra and Macintosh HFS) just fine using the CD driver and FSTs included in System 6.0.1. It has the capability to play audio discs, but there isn't currently a driver that supports this (on the Apple IIGS - davoesq ). It is also capable of reading multi-session Kodak Photo CD, CD+G and CD+MIDI discs, and can transfer CD digital audio data over the SCSI bus, but again there is no software that supports these (on the Apple IIGS - davoesq) .

The CD Remote NDA and AppleCD SC media control driver included with System 6.0.1 were designed to work with the older AppleCD 150 and SC drives, which use a proprietary command set to control audio. The AppleCD 300e uses the newer, standardized SCSI-2 command set. I am hopeful that someone will create a driver that takes full advantage of this drive.

William R. Hall

Apple High-Speed SCSI with Apple CD-150 single Speed which plays audio CDs through headphone jack on front of drive and/or from two line-level RCA jacks on the back of the drive. Drivers are the standard Apple drivers included with system software. Both CD-Remote and Media Control Tool will play audio CDs. With an unaccelerated GS, the single-speed drive doesn't seem to be a big speed problem. The disk accesses seem to be relatively quick compared to the processor time spent interpreting them (with discQuest, sound file converters, image converters). Of course, it isn't as fast as a hard drive!

Stephen Davidson

Apple High Speed SCSI card with Apple CDROM-150 drive single speed which play audio CDs through RCA jacks on back of drive or through the earphone jack on the front of the drive. Drivers are the standard Apple drivers included with System software 6.01.

Shawn Beattie

RAMfast v3.01e, REV.D, 1 MB cache with an Apple PowerCD Single speed. CDROM player can play audio CD's (either through the IIGS's speaker or via speakers connected to the earphone socket on the CDROM (or directly connected to your stereo system via RCA jacks. Oh yes, and can be controlled with a remote control. Pretty much like a regular portable CDROM. Also does PhotoCD discs direct to your TV. I just use the RAMfast driver for access to CDs. I haven't messed with the Media Control drivers since it plays audio CD's just fine on its own. This drive is not produced or sold by Apple anymore. This drive runs off 6AA batteries also. (nice if you have a Powerbook)

Jawaid Bazyar

With System 6.0.1, the Apple CD300 works fine on an Apple HS SCSI card except for CD-Audio. Also, since the discQuest Encyclopedia's audio is 8-bit digitized, it will work fine as well.

The company to talk to about device drivers would be Tulin; they're the people who currently sell the NEC CDROM driver for the HS SCSI (written by the Apple engineer who wrote all the SCSI card drivers). A SCSI-2 CDROM driver for the HS SCSI card has been discussed with Tulin (Quality Computers sells a SCSI-2 drive, like the CD-300, that has no HS SCSI driver). They're looking into it.

You might look into a NEC model of CD-ROM drive as well, since the driver for these drives already exists, and NECs are available in a wide spectrum of prices and capabilities.


(Historical Reference - circa 1998)

Companys to contact

Company: Tulin Technology Address: 2156H O'Toole Ave. Suburb: San Jose, CA, USA 95131 BH Telephone: 0011 1 408 432 9057 NEC CDROM drive drivers for use with Apple High Speed SCSI card.

Sequential Systems, Inc 1200 Diamond Circle, Ste D. Lafayette, CO USA 80026 BH Telephone: 0011 1 303 666 4549 Switchboard: (303) 666-4549 Sales: 800-759-4549 Tech Support: 800-999-1717 GEnie e-mail: SEQUENTIAL Internet: Notes : Hardware, RAM Cards, CD ROM Software, SCSI Controller

Stephen C. "Davo esq" Davidson _--_|Apple Users Society of Melbourne (AUSOM)

There are a lot more questions with answers not included directly in this FAQ; please see for more of them.

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