Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

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bushnrvn's picture
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So I came across a Bondi Blue Rev. A over the weekend and I had to have it. Came with all the packaging and original shipping info and an early 1998 build date. Great find.

I looked it up on Everymac.com and after some searching (why don't they list it with the iMacs by model? Weird.) I found the maximum supported RAM is stated as 384 MB if both RAM slots are used. That's the thing though - I see only one RAM slot. The VRAM slot is populated with the 4MB expansion.

With 32 on board I don't see how we can get to 384. Any insight?

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bushnrvn's picture
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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

I think I answered it. Apparently there is another slot on the underside of the CPU daughtercard. Interesting. Smile

http://www.kevinomura.com/macs/imacg3/

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

Also note the maximum RAM is actually 512MB. The "384MB" number comes from there being no SO-DIMMs bigger than 128MB that would fit in the shorter under-the CPU-card slot when the spec was written down. (The lower slot will only hold the smaller "business card"-size SO-DIMMs, while there's room in the upper one for larger "half postcard"-size ones.)

Also note that many (most?) random 256MB SO-DIMMs won't work, or at least won't be recoginzed at full capacity. (And this applies to both the top and bottom slots.) Only ones with a specific bank layout do. A shortcut way of determining if a given 256MB SO-DIMM *may* work is count the memory chips. If the unit has eight (four on each side), probably won't. If it has 16 (eight on each side) you have a shot.

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

I thought the 512MB limit applied only to the Rev. B machines (those with the upgraded ATI Rage Pro card.) So the Rev A and Rev B have different RAM slots?

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

bushnrvn wrote:

I thought the 512MB limit applied only to the Rev. B machines (those with the upgraded ATI Rage Pro card.) So the Rev A and Rev B have different RAM slots?

I found that section on EveryMac.com where they say it's 384 on the Rev. A's and 512 on the B's and it's repeated a lot, but I don't know how they arrived at that. The CPU cards of the A's and B's are identical (In fact, the CPU cards are swappable between all the Tray-Loaders, including the later 266Mhz and 333mhz ones) and all of them have the same limitation of allowing a "tall" SO-DIMM on the exposed side while only accepting a "short" one on the buried side. All the differences between the various machines are confined to the motherboard or in the clock multiplier settings, RAM controller's the same.

Here's a page with a picture of one of the "Tall" SO-DIMMs; they're not very common, if you've never seen one contrast with a normal height SO-DIMM

(We Love Macs says the limit for the Rev. A is 512MB. It does say that 256MB modules require the machine be on the latest firmware, maybe that has something to do with the EveryMac.com contention the limitation is lower? Any existing Rev A. is probably already on the latest firmware unless it was never upgraded to OS 9.)

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

Good to know. The downside to all of this is that the Mezzanine slot is disabled if the firmware is current. Not that I was going to find a 3dfx Voodoo II card for it anyway Smile

Thanks for the clarification. I'm honestly surprised that such a relatively recent machine is steeped in mystery.

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

I'm pretty sure the Mezzanine slot getting disabled is a rumor; there are old forum discussions about it where a bunch of problems were blamed on the firmware update but those are countered by reports from other people claiming to continue to use Mez cards with OS 9.2.x, which you can't get to unless you install it. The firmware update does murder the floppy controller. (Soldering a connector for a Mac floppy drive into the unpopulated holes was a popular, or at least well-known, hack.)

The real problem with the Rev As, Bs, basically any CRT iMac, is the flyback transformer. If the screen on your system works it's probably been *very* gently used. I gave away my Rev. B back in 2006 after it started occasionally making "fzzt" noises, and it's very likely the only reason it lasted that long was because I had barely turned it on for the four years before that. Unless it's been repaired with a better quality component it's not a question of if it's going to fail, it's when.

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

Good to know.

I had a similar experience with a later slot loading model I got for $20. I've already started sourcing a spare flyback transformer for the sad day in the future when the Bondi just won't turn on :\

As it is, this thing is seriously in mint condition. I don't know how often it was used, but I got it from the original owner and it was loaded with games for children - KidPix, Freddie Fish, etc. It gets a little hot but that's to be expected. At any rate, I am already hesitant to turn it on aside from just making sure it still works.

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

I actually had two Bondi iMacs, a beat-up unit which I can't actually recall if it was a Rev A. or a Rev B; that was the one that started fzzt-ing out; and another with a Rev B. board that came to me in the form of a disembodied motherboard plus a near mint-looking carcass in the original box. That one had lost its flyback around 2001 and the original owner had started a project to put the board in an old Sun disk box, got bored with it, and gave it to me instead of throwing it out. (After which I fiddled with building an ATX power converter and explored several other recasing options before fully realizing that an iMac 233 in some other case, no matter how nifty the case might be, is still an iMac 233.) Some of the nicer case parts from the dead-already unit ended up on the working one before I gave the whole mess away.

Frankly I don't have particularly fond memories of those machines. But in all fairness the reason why is because I expected them to run OS X, which they do very poorly. (The first one I was given actually had Public Beta on it.) If you stick to Classic I imagine they're okay.

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

Very cool.

I've got plenty of machines running OS X - I am just now starting to make OS 9 useful for my needs. I have this switch in my brain that sees older computers in 20XX and just goes "CHALLENGE ACCEPTED."

Honestly, it is a rush. Smile

I've got to get the disk drive replaced so I can reinstall the OS. RAM shipped 3/19 from OWC. Sidenote - if anyone is looking to buy 256 modules for the Bondi from OWC I just bought two of their last three sticks...or so I was told by the sales guy on the phone. I had to call to see why they hadn't shipped and apparently they were looking for them in the warehouse!

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

I suppose I have to ask: is the little flip-down door over the I/O plug area intact on yours? I've never actually seen a used one with that not broken or missing. (Granted my sample size is less than half a dozen.)

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

It is, but I think it has been replaced because the rubber ring on the latch is a darker blue than what I would expect - unless it has changed with age. I'll post a pic later.

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question
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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

As a slight tangent, am I the only one who knows that you don't need to stick cables through that hole in the door, but that they can fit through the gap at the bottom? I've seen plenty of iMacs but not a single one with the cables routed the right way.

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

Shock

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Re: Bondi Blue Rev. A RAM Question

Dr. Webster wrote:

As a slight tangent, am I the only one who knows that you don't need to stick cables through that hole in the door, but that they can fit through the gap at the bottom? I've seen plenty of iMacs but not a single one with the cables routed the right way.

Nope, I've always been nuts about routing the cables into the port compartment on my Rev. D the correct way. Smile

Anyway, nice score you have there, I've always thought that it'd be nice to get a good condition Rev. A, if only I had the room for it. I have a Rev. D Lime which was my main Mac from 1999 - 2007, it works, but its very, very, very heavily used. The screen even works, but it takes about 10 minutes to warm up, and sometimes the flyback arcs.