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Power Mac 6500 - Boot failures after testing PCI card

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    Power Mac 6500 - Boot failures after testing PCI card

    Hiya folks!

    Running into a weird issue with my Power Mac 6500. While tinkering earlier today, trying to add a PCI Rage 128, it was rendered un-bootable. Following adding the PCI card, the system would power on, but never reach the happy mac symbol. In stead the mouse cursor would freeze and it would never progress further. The system was definitely working prior, and PRAM battery is still alive, but even after removing the Rage 128 card (and, in fact, all add-in cards other than the RAM and cache card), it no longer boots.

    Here's where it gets interesting: if I disconnect the hard drive, I'm able to boot to an installer CD with a valid system folder.

    So far I have tried:
    Removing all PCI and Comm Slot cards
    Zapping the PRAM (the system freezes early enough during boot that Cmd-Opt-P-R never fires)
    Removing the logic board, pulling the PRAM battery for 5 minutes, pressing the board reset button, and booting
    Using a different hard drive

    All of the above reach the same result. As long as any IDE drive is connected, boot fails almost immediately after video is initialized. At this point I have no idea if this is somehow a result of testing the PCI card, or if I just coincidentally triggered it during installation. I did have to remove and re-seat the RAM and cache cards during installation, but given I can boot an install CD, they seem to be functional.

    Are there any troubleshooting steps I've missed? Have I somehow zapped the drive controller? All of the contacts on the board look fine, and I don't see any obvious debris in the slot inside the computer. If that were the problem, I would assume my repeated re-seating of the board would at least cause intermittent changes in behavior.

    Thanks!

    #2
    Actually, think I may have found the issue. Apparently a dying PRAM battery will cause exactly what I'm seeing - CD-ROM boot working fine, HDD boot failing. Though it was working fine immediately prior, I pulled the battery and it's only showing ~2.9v, so perhaps it was just pushed over the edge as I was tinkering with things. I would have expected it to work fine regardless, when connected to line power, but I guess these things can be super finicky. Have ordered a replacement, and we'll see how it does when that arrives!

    Comment


      #3
      A bad PRAM battery on a PM 6500 won't cause it to not boot. I have three similar machines, all using the same logic board design and none of them have PRAM batteries installed and work fine, besides not being able to keep the time and some settings.

      Two issues I suspect:

      1) Is the Rage 128 video card you installed the Macintosh version? You cannot use a PC video card in a Mac (with the exception of the Voodoo1 and 2) because the BIOS on the card has x86 code on it. A special PowerPC specific BIOS is required for video cards to work in PCI Macintosh machines with a PowerPC CPU. There is a way to flash a PC card with a Mac BIOS, but it's not straightforward and can result in the card being bricked. It is usually possible to recover from a bad flash, but it can be a PITA.

      There are a limited number of cards that can be flashed due to them requiring to have had a Mac BIOS made for them. Installing a Rage 128 isn't really an upgrade for the machine either, unless you need the extra video memory. The PM 6500 already has an integrated ATI Rage chip.

      2) Have you recapped the logic board and the power supply? If not, that is more than likely the source if your boot issues. Apple used shitty SMD electrolytics starting in the late 80s, throughout the 90s and early to mid 2000s. All of these have failed by now, either by leaking or drying out. Your machine could have been marginal already and the extra electrical load pushed the machine over the edge and caused it to fail. The power supply is also suspect, because the capacitors in there weren't the best quality either. Age is also a problem, 20+ years is an eternity for them and even good ones can fail from age.

      I've had to recap all three of my Performa 6360, 6400 and 6500 machines, and basically all of my macintosh collection already.

      A symptom of bad capacitors is the machine failing to boot, hanging, or being generally unstable.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by GiGaBiTe View Post

        Installing a Rage 128 isn't really an upgrade for the machine either, unless you need the extra video memory. The PM 6500 already has an integrated ATI Rage chip.

        .
        There's a big difference in performance between the Rage II graphics that come with the 6500 and a Rage 128. The only PCI Rage 128 Mac card that I know of is the one that comes in the B&W Powermac G3, but that's a New World ROM Mac while the 6500 is an Old World ROM machine. I don't know if that makes a difference to compatibility. I do know that I am using a Radeon 9200 that was pulled from an X-Serve in a 7500 and that works, but I can't speak for all possible permutations between generations.
        Last edited by animekenji; April 6, 2021, 08:39 PM.

        Comment


          #5
          What GiGabyte said:

          "I've had to recap all three of my Performa 6360, 6400 and 6500 machines, and basically all of my macintosh collection already."

          My 6100/60 is getting the disease--no sound. But I'm too lazy to recap it. Will probably end up recycling it eventually. It's not terribly useful, as Macs go.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by animekenji View Post
            There's a big difference in performance between the Rage II graphics that come with the 6500 and a Rage 128. The only PCI Rage 128 Mac card that I know of is the one that comes in the B&W Powermac G3, but that's a New World ROM Mac while the 6500 is an Old World ROM machine. I don't know if that makes a difference to compatibility. I do know that I am using a Radeon 9200 that was pulled from an X-Serve in a 7500 and that works, but I can't speak for all possible permutations between generations.
            My personal experience with the entire Rage series from the early mach64 Rage 1 to the Rage Fury Pro has been universally negative. Trash drivers, horrible OpenGL support, there's really no salvation to them other than they were cheap. The only thing they did barely adequately was DirectX, but most games of that time frame were OpenGL or Glide. There may be a performance difference between the 3D Rage II and the Rage 128, but the lack of OpenGL support and bad drivers made them mostly worthless. I still have several Rage cards and rarely use them unless I need just basic graphical output. For everything else, I go to my Nvidia, PowerVR or 3dfx cards.

            As for compatibility between new and old world ROM machines, as long as the card has a PowerPC BIOS, it should work. Again the exceptions being Voodoo1 and 2 cards, since they're purely memory mapped devices and will work on anything with a PCI slot so long as they have the right drivers. I've put the Rage 128 card from my B&W G3 into several of my older beige PowerPC Macs and it worked fine.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
              Trash drivers, horrible OpenGL support, there's really no salvation to them other than they were cheap. The only thing they did barely adequately was DirectX, but most games of that time frame were OpenGL or Glide.
              That's not really Mac-related, is it? They perform well in Macs and drivers came from Apple.

              My 6100/60 is getting the disease--no sound. But I'm too lazy to recap it. Will probably end up recycling it eventually. It's not terribly useful, as Macs go.
              The 6100 is a very sought-after machine...

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by Timo W. View Post
                That's not really Mac-related, is it? They perform well in Macs and drivers came from Apple.
                They perform well in the limited role I specified earlier, basic display output. Under Mac OS, for any 3D support you either had OpenGL or Quickdraw 3D RAVE. The former was just as painful as Windows and there wasn't much software that used RAVE because it was more or less an orphan by the late 90s and killed off when OS X was announced.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Timo W. View Post
                  The 6100 is a very sought-after machine...
                  I wonder why. The 7100 is generally more useful since it has integrated nubus and doesn't
                  have the industrial design problems the 8100 has, which it shares with the 800 and 840AV.

                  I have a 7100 with a Sonet 250MHz G3 upgrade, so it's the fastest Nubus machine that I own.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Mainly because it was the entry to the PPC line and also has the DOS compatibility card available, which gives one Mac+DOS on a very small foot-print.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
                      A bad PRAM battery on a PM 6500 won't cause it to not boot. I have three similar machines, all using the same logic board design and none of them have PRAM batteries installed and work fine, besides not being able to keep the time and some settings.
                      The Rage 128 does have the mac ROM, I believe it was pulled from a B&W G3. No particular purpose for installing it beyond "why not?" It's fun to tinker!

                      Originally posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
                      1) Is the Rage 128 video card you installed the Macintosh version?
                      [...]
                      2) Have you recapped the logic board and the power supply? If not, that is more than likely the source if your boot issues.
                      Indeed, a new PRAM battery hasn't done anything to resolve the issue . I think what gave me hope is that it consistently boots from CD-ROM, looks like re-capping is going to be my next step. Thanks for the detailed advice! I've been lucky to avoid dead caps on everything so far, it was only a matter of time. Amusingly, this 6500 is probably the newest tower (wrt date of manufacture) in my collection.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        I had weird problems using a G3 or G4 PCI Rage 128 card in Old World Macs. I'm not sure if it was the particular cards, but both were wonky, and a Rage Orion (or similar vintage Mac-specific Rage 128GL or 128VR card) worked better.
                        I use my C128 because I am an ornery, stubborn, retro grouch. -- Bob Masse
                        Various projects and oddities: http://oldvcr.blogspot.com/
                        Machine room: http://www.floodgap.com/etc/machines.html

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by Timo W. View Post
                          The 6100 is a very sought-after machine...
                          By whom? It's slow, limited and not terribly cute. What's it good for?

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Apple collectors? I already posted the reasons. You may watch something like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ynro9kW8TvY to understand why it is also an important part of Apple's history.

                            Also, what kind of statement is that when it comes to vintage computers? Slow, limited - seriously..? It's like when people say the Mac Classic is bad because it was outdated at release in 1990. As if that has *any* meaning today.
                            Last edited by Timo W.; April 9, 2021, 11:31 PM.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I'm not a collector--I keep old systems around for their usefulness in processing old media. The 6100/60, like my beige G3 was picked up years ago from the local e-recycler. The 6100 can still handle 800K Mac floppies.

                              Comment

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