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View Full Version : Looking to buy a Power PC , need some advice



twolazy
April 30th, 2012, 02:49 PM
I own a few apple machines, but no power pc's. Problem is I don't know enough about the models to make an educated guess on which one I would want.

I want to run Marathon 1-3 as well as a few other later games. Needs to have a 486 dos card, or be able to use one. Also needs to be able to be networked to my vintage macs though apple-talk, so needs an apple-talk port. Tower or desktop doesn't matter much to me. Something easy to find parts for be a huge bonus.

Anyone have any advice here on what systems would be best for gaming and would network easily to my classic macs?

commodorejohn
April 30th, 2012, 03:13 PM
As far as I know, the last Mac with RS-422 serial ports is the beige Power Mac G3; starting with the Blue & White they're gone. (I don't know if you can get a PCI RS-422 card for newer models or not.) I don't know whether there are PCI DOS cards, though, so even that might not work for you. Beyond those requirements, I'd say get the newest model you can find, but check it out on Low-End Mac (http://lowendmac.com) first to make sure there are no gotchas; there are a few models like the Performa 5200s that are just inexplicably awful internally (I had one of those once, it was so crappy it couldn't run 68k System 7 games at a playable speed, let alone newer titles.)

twolazy
April 30th, 2012, 04:14 PM
I'd say get the newest model you can find, but check it out on Low-End Mac (http://lowendmac.com) first to make sure there are no gotchas; there are a few models like the Performa 5200s that are just inexplicably awful internally (I had one of those once, it was so crappy it couldn't run 68k System 7 games at a playable speed, let alone newer titles.)

See that is exactly what I am worried about, buying a turd of a system that wont work as intended. Guess I can look at the 6xxx line first, I know most those had support for the dos cards. After that though I am kinda lost which models are good/bad...

commodorejohn
April 30th, 2012, 04:34 PM
I'm no expert on the matter, but it's my general observation that the "Power Macintosh" models are usually the top-of-the-line, so I'd go for those. Low-End Mac, as I said, is a great resouce for getting the dirt on any particular machine you're looking at, and clearly marks the crap ones as "Road Apples" so you can avoid them.

Edit: Also, here's (http://homepage.mac.com/olivers/DOScard/DOScard.html) a FAQ for DOS cards; looks like there were some PCI cards. I assume that since there's only one that they note is only compatible with select models, the others ought to work in any PCI Mac, but obviously you'd want to double-check that before buying. If that is true, I'd go for a beige Power Mac G3; you can't go wrong giving OS8-OS9 as much horsepower as you can.

twolazy
April 30th, 2012, 04:56 PM
Well I do have a dead Dark Blue Imac sitting here I received from another member on the forum. Sadly the CRT is busted. Tried booting it to an external monitor but no go. Looking at the faq you gave me ( many thanks btw!), it seems almost the imac I have be a candidate. It is a G3 after all. Hrmmmmm.... I do have some old 15" lcds... *gears going in head

commodorejohn
April 30th, 2012, 05:00 PM
I kinda doubt that; I don't know about the later models, but the Rev. B iMac I have has no PCI slots or serial ports. Decent specs, but not expandable at all.

twolazy
April 30th, 2012, 05:05 PM
Damn. I have yet to open it up really to check, kinda makes sense though. Guess back to trying to find a machine then... *sigh

NeXT
April 30th, 2012, 05:59 PM
One of the last macs to have the best of all worlds and not totally suck somewhere (the blue and white G3 has awful IDE speeds and the G4's have crap power supplies and CPU cards) was the 9600 series systems. You have plenty of PCI slots, you could do over a gig of ram, you had fast SCSI plus you could upgrade it as far as a 1ghz G4 through CPU upgrades from companies like Sonnett.

With your blue and white though, you could get an RS-422 port using one of the Stealth Serial adapters which replaced the 56k modem with one serial port.

commodorejohn
April 30th, 2012, 06:20 PM
If you do get a 9600, I have an 800MHz Sonnet G4 card for it that I'm not using.

njroadfan
April 30th, 2012, 07:32 PM
I got a 8500 here that I'm willing to let go of. I just transferred the G4-450/1MB card and RAM out of it and into a 8600 I had. The catch is I don't have a CPU card that works with it. The 300Mhz 604e I took out of the 8600 will only work on the 8600/9600 boards, you will need to find the original 180Mhz 604, or use a G3/G4 upgrade card. It will come with 2x32MB of RAM, but no HD as the Seagate made some nasty noises and passed on (to think that drive had BeOS 5 on it!). Apple and Orange Micro made DOS cards for the PCI bus.

These machines are the most upgradable Macs ever made. 8 DIMM slots (5v FPM or EDO) take up to 1GB of RAM, built in fast SCSI (10MB/sec) in addition to the standard SCSI (5MB/sec) bus, 3 PCI slots. Its capable of running Mac OS X 10.4 with XPostfacto (upgraded of course), MacOS 9.2.2 (via OS9Helper, 9.1 is the latest official supported), and BeOS 5 (need to use MacOS 8.5 as a boot loader). I'm open to trades, just let me know.

dorkbert
April 30th, 2012, 07:54 PM
One of the last macs to have the best of all worlds and not totally suck somewhere ... was the 9600 series systems. You have plenty of PCI slots, you could do over a gig of ram, you had fast SCSI plus you could upgrade it as far as a 1ghz G4 through CPU upgrades from companies like Sonnett.
9600 does have a few caveats; namely that Apple stick a few PCI slots behind a PCI to PCI bridge which does cause some grief for some aftermarket add-on hardware. Google is your friend (mostly.) Personally I think the 8600 is a better machine just because there are less hardware compatibility problems than the 9600.

Unknown_K
April 30th, 2012, 08:10 PM
Most people don't need 6 slots, so the best PCI Powermac to get would be the 8600. Plenty of room, easy to get into, built in SCSI and basic A/V. The 7500 case is more common and easy to work with but has less space for drives and I prefer towers. The 8500 and 9500 seem to have the worst plastics with respect to brittleness (the CDROM bezel, power button, and the plastic bits that keep PCI cards in are known to just snap with age), plus getting to the RAM and VRAM means taking most of the machine apart.

olePigeon
April 30th, 2012, 08:14 PM
My suggestion would be a Quicksilver G4. You can always add a serial port via the USB port by using a Tripp Lite/Keyspan USB to Serial adapter (do not use any other brand if you want it to work correctly.) Another option, if you get lucky on eBay, is to find a "Stealth G3" serial port upgrade.

I see Dual 1GHz models quite regularly on Craigslist for about $50. It's one of the fastest G4s you can get that'll still run OS 9 natively. It's also plenty fast if you want to experiment with OS X up to version 10.5.

You can add an OrangePC PCI card if you want to add DOS/Windows compatibility.

njroadfan
April 30th, 2012, 09:10 PM
My suggestion would be a Quicksilver G4. You can always add a serial port via the USB port by using a Tripp Lite/Keyspan USB to Serial adapter (do not use any other brand if you want it to work correctly.) Another option, if you get lucky on eBay, is to find a "Stealth G3" serial port upgrade.

I see Dual 1GHz models quite regularly on Craigslist for about $50. It's one of the fastest G4s you can get that'll still run OS 9 natively. It's also plenty fast if you want to experiment with OS X up to version 10.5.

USB to serial adapters won't support Localtalk. The only way to get a serial port that does that in New World machines is the Stealth G3/G4 upgrade.

olePigeon
May 1st, 2012, 12:16 PM
Or get an AppleTalk to Ethernet bridge.

Mk.558
May 2nd, 2012, 07:25 AM
The two desirable PowerPC desktops to me are:

333MHz Minitower or Outrigger (because it has LocalTalk, ADB and a built-in floppy drive: ideal bridge Mac)
1.25GHz MDD of mid-2003, because it can boot OS 9.2.2

olePigeon
May 2nd, 2012, 08:26 AM
The easiest way to identify the mid-2003 Mirror Drive Door G4 is that it doesn't have Firewire 800. The FW800 MDD can not run OS 9 natively. So be careful. However, I still suggest the QuickSilver. It's only marginally slower than the MDD, but it also allows you to run 9.2.1. The main reason I suggest this is because for whatever reason, 9.2.2 breaks a few System 7 apps and extensions (most notably forme, the original Civilizations game.) The more important reason, however, is that there never was a 9.2.2 retail disc, only 9.2.1. So unless your MDD comes with the system discs, you're going to need a second Mac just to install and update to 9.2.2 for the MDD.

twolazy
May 2nd, 2012, 12:53 PM
Thanks a bunch so far for all the info! I started calling around today before work and managed to maybe find a mirror tower and a few g3 towers at a Salvation Army around an hour away. I will be headed out there tomorrow to see what shape they are in, etc. I really dislike buying off salvation army, refuse to let you check it out usually, and no guarantee it works, unlike goodwill. Guess I'll find out soon enough. :D

Mk.558
May 2nd, 2012, 08:49 PM
Well yeah, any machine with 9.2.2 machine specific disks (like my iBook 900MHz) have to have their discs specifically and won't work with a retail copy (well...sort of)

I'd personally go with the 333MHz machine, although they aren't exactly easy to find. It should run OS X Jaguar just fine with enough memory, and is an excellent handler/bridge Mac for any 68K Mac. (Well, Macs with 400K disks are best supported by something that can handle System 6...)

Chromedome45
May 3rd, 2012, 03:23 AM
I have a power Mac G4 at 450MHz has AGP graphics, PCI slots, 512k RAM 1 30Gig and 1 60 Gig HD plus a ZIP drive! and a dvd burner in it. It runs OS 9.2.2 or even OSX Tiger. Which I have both os's installed already. One on each HD. If you are interested let me know by PM. Oh Kinda Heavy

twolazy
May 3rd, 2012, 01:29 PM
Just got home from the Salvation Army. They did have a few apple machines...

The mirror tower didnt even try to boot
the g3 towers turned on but no sound, nothing, didnt even hear hdd's, guessing they were robbed for parts as one I didnt even think had a video card in it

Only one that seemed to boot was the bondi blue, but at 80 dollars + tax, no deal! :(

So back to finding a mac... I'll pm ya Chrome =)

On the upside, I got my 2 LC/PDS Macally network cards today! Just popped one into my LC I. Woot! Brand new in the package too ^_^ Now only If I can get the network drivers extracted I'll be golden and may not even need localtalk ports! If this works the way I plan, I can use the LC as the bridge instead for classic macs. Still want a gaming machine though. :D

Edit : Just extracted the network drivers , and its a .imag file. :S Trying to use stuffit atm to compress it to fit on a floppy. Taking forever and ever though... Hopefully after I use pc exchange, I can burn the .imag with winimage. At least thats my plan... I tried diskcopy but it didnt open the file. Maybe i need 4.2.2?

Driver - ZM-NSI_1.5.1.sea.bin

Edit 2 : Just nabbed diskcopy 4.2.2 and imaged the diskette from the .imag file. Yeay! Installing now...

olePigeon
May 3rd, 2012, 07:05 PM
Don't forget to check Craigslist. My local Craigslist has dual CPU G4s for $50 or less.

Al Kossow
May 3rd, 2012, 07:55 PM
managed to maybe find a mirror tower and a few g3

Stick with the Beige G3's if you need legacy I/O.
Mirror door G4's are notorious for power supply failures and system overheating problems.

LPeck
June 7th, 2012, 06:08 PM
If you want a Power PC, check out the system I am about ready to take to the recycling. The computer works perfectly and is packed in the original box.

Macintosh Computer System

Power Macintosh 7300/180
144 MB Memory
CD Drive & Floppy Drive
2 Internal Hard Drives: 2 GB and 8.5 GB
Adapter to drive LCD monitor (e.g. 17 inch LCD at 1024 X 768)
2 ADB Keyboards and 2 ADB mice
Mac OS 8.6

Extra Hardware

2 External SCSI Hard Drives: 1.1 GB and 325 MB
SCSI Extension Cable
External Zip Drive Plus (can also be used on a PC parallel port)
14 Zip Disks (100 MB each)
2 AppleTalk Transceivers
Global Village TelePort 33.6 Modem
Gravis Mac MouseStick II
Epson Stylus Color 800 Ink-Jet Printer

Installed Software:

Adobe Acrobat 3.0, Adobe Acrobat 4.0, Adobe Illustrator 5.5, Adobe PageMaker 5.0, Adobe Photoshop 4.0, Adobe Photoshop 5.0, Aldus SuperPaint 5.5, Claris Home Page 2.0, ClarisDraw 1.0, ClarisImpact 1.0, ClarisWorks 3.0, Filemaker Pro 3.0.4, Filemaker Pro 4.0.2, DNA Strider 1.2, MacPlasmap 1.8.2, MacVector 3.5, RasMol 2.6, Canvas 5.0.3, Canvas 7, CS ChemDraw 4.5, CA Cricket Graph III, JPEGView 3.3.1, KaleidaGraph 3.0.8, Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, Microsoft Excel 8, Microsoft PowerPoint 8, Microsoft Word 5, Microsoft Word 8, Microsoft Project 4.0, Classila 9.2.3, Eudora 4.3.2, Fetch 3.0.3, iCab 3.0.5, Netscape 4.7.7, Telnet 2.7b4, Iomega Zip Drive Tools, Memory Mapper 1.3.2, Norton Antivirus 6.0.2, Norton Utilities 4.0, Stuffit Expander 6.0.1, SunClock 1.0, TechTool Pro 3, American Heritage Dictionary, BBEdit Lite 4.6, EndNote 3.0

Games on CD (with printed manuals)

Wing Commander IV, StarWars Rebel Assault, A-10 Attack, F/A-18 Hornet 2.0, Dark Forces, Master of Orion II, Chessmaster 4000, Settlers II, Iron Helix, The Time Warp of Dr. Brain, Descent II, Civilization II, Comand & Conquer, Marathon Infinity

Games on Disk (with printed manuals)

Sim City 2000, Sim City, Tetris

If you are interested you can email me at LPeck (at) astound (dot) net

Chuck(G)
June 7th, 2012, 06:32 PM
AFAIK the Power Macs will act dead if the PRAM battery is flat. They do exactly nothing--not like a PC with a dead CMOS battery, which will usually power up and tell you that it's dead. So those G3s that you see may well only need a $2 battery to be good again. And they're about the right age for the battery to be dead.

Oh yeah--generally, the battery is easy to replace--it's a 2/3 AA-size 3.6V TL2150 lithium cell in a holder. So leave that soldering iron unplugged.

I wonder how many G3s have been junked because of a dead battery. Probably corresponds to the same number of 386/486/P1 PCs that have been taken to the landfill for the same reason.

animekenji
July 7th, 2012, 12:06 PM
I own a few apple machines, but no power pc's. Problem is I don't know enough about the models to make an educated guess on which one I would want.

I want to run Marathon 1-3 as well as a few other later games. Needs to have a 486 dos card, or be able to use one. Also needs to be able to be networked to my vintage macs though apple-talk, so needs an apple-talk port. Tower or desktop doesn't matter much to me. Something easy to find parts for be a huge bonus.

Anyone have any advice here on what systems would be best for gaming and would network easily to my classic macs?

Anything beige with PCI slots (not Nubus) from the 7x00,8x00, or 9x00 families EXCEPT for the 7200. There was also an 8200 model released in Europe and Asia that is also to be avoided. The 7200 and 8200 had a soldered CPU and can't be upgraded to run OS X. There were PCI slot G3 upgrades for those machines, but they only work with pre-OS X operating systems. Anything from the 5x00 or 6x00 families are also out and especially avoid the 4400.