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Marc's Notes: Comments, Ramblings, Rants & Tips


Was Now

400mhz G3 CPU

550mhz G4 CPU

For a short period, Other World Computing sold their own G4/550 with AltiVec and I was lucky to snatch one at a fair price. Literally it was a 10 minute swap:

64 MB PC100 DIMM

(4) 256 MB PC100 DIMMs

Not all DIMMs are created equal and the DIMM internal timing is critical in this machine. Glenn Anderson's freeware utility, DIMM First Aid can be used to see if your memory meets spec (Mac OS 9).

8 GB Apple Maxtor PATA

(3) 120 GB Maxtor PATA

One pair of these 120 GB drives have been setup as a RAID mirror for Tiger Server while the third drive simply has a Client Tiger install onboard. A Sonnet Technologies Tempo ATA100 PCI card has all three drives off the motherboard ATA BUS, which I still don't fully trust. And yes, the mirror drives do not share the same controller bus.

Apple DVD ROM Drive

Pioneer DVD±RW DL DVR-109

I still use this Mac for occasional CD and DVD mastering.


IOmega Zip 100

The 100mb Iomega ZIP cartridge is simply the '90s version of a floppy drive. Yes, I know that the 90's were almost a decade ago.

Apple OEM ATI Rage128 16mb with hardware DVD decoder

ATI Radeon 9200 128mb for Mac

While the ATI Radeon doesn't support Mac OS X Quartz (no PCI based card does due to bus speed limitations) the Radeon 9200 is the top PCI card for video.


Sonnet Tempo ATA 100
Sonnet Tango Firewire/USB 2.0

While the B&W has built-in USB and FireWire, this card provides USB 2.0 support as well as doubling the number of FireWire ports. USB 2.0 is rated a little bit faster than the FireWire's 400mbps speed. The Tempo (see above) hosts all the internal HDDs

PowerMac G3Upgrading a Blue & White G3

Update — January 2007: Needs of the business turned this Mac into a toxic lab for Tiger Server testing. Stable but a bit slow, and infrequently expendable.

This particular model was introduced in 1999, and has been superseded by many G4 & G5 models before Apple kicked it addiction to PPC architecture.

Code named 'Yosemite', it was the first Mac to shed the beige look, while retaining several legacy features I found important. Features like the Apple Desktop Bus, or ADB, which was the standard way that input devices (keyboards, mice, etc.) have connected to Mac's since the venerable Mac SE.

It also ushered in several new standards, like a faster processor BUS, a PCI-66 slot for video, as well as USB and FireWire, and 100bT Ethernet.

Boasting four PCI slots (three standard, and one PCI-66) there was room to grow, and the four lower hard drive bays didn't hurt either.

My particular B&W started off fairly simply as a Rev.1, 400 MHz G3, with an 8 GB hard drive and DVD-ROM. It was a good starting point.

The Rev.1 motherboard fixed a nasty problem that plagued the first B&Ws if you ever added a second hard drive. The drive controller in the Rev.0 machines sometimes got confused about which drive it should be talking to and could, um, write to the wrong one. It wasn't a pretty picture.

Ever since Apple introduced the PowerMacintosh 7500, the ability to swap the processor has been available to the end-user. With the introduction of the Beige G3 models, this change went from a processor "daughter card" swap to just popping the processor itself out of its ZIF (zero insertion force) socket. For some people, this was a do-not-try-this-yourself idea, but many others found the 10 minutes spent upgrading CPUs to be quite rewarding.

The path I've taken to grow my B&W has been a mixture of "way cool" discoveries tempered with "interesting" experiences. I hope that if you're contemplating a long overdue overhaul, you can benefit from these.

(1) The opinions expressed in Marc's Notes: Comments, Ramblings, Rants & Tips are exclusively those of Marc Wolfgram.
(2) Only one Macintosh™ computer was permanently harmed - link. (3) Any references to real people may be intentional.
(4) Don't try certain things while driving or at home without proper adult supervision. (5) Microsoft Windows—Just say NO!

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Mac OS, Macintosh, and other like terms are all trademarks of Apple, Inc. - 25-Oct-2009

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