Imac bondi 233 upgrade

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Joined: Apr 21 2006
Posts: 5

Hello everyone,

this is my first post here and I would like to thank everyone for this great forum!

here's my quest: is it possible to upgrade a Rev. A Imac G3 with a later model motherboard (maybe a 600mhz or anything better than 233 anyway...)??

also concerning RAM I've ready different post on the net concerning the max amount of memory that the original motherboard can accept. Somewhere I've seen that 512 mb can be achieved with 2 256 modules. Somewhere else they say only 128 or only 256. what's the true??

Thanks and ciao from Italy
Claudio

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cwsmith's picture
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Joined: Oct 13 2005
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Yes, but not up to 600 MHz

Actually, it's not necessary to replace the whole logic board in this case, just the processor card. The processor sits on a daughter card on the logic board, under the shielding "cage." It will accept a donor processor from any other tray-loading iMac, including the "5 flavors" models of 1999 (266 and 333 MHz models).

This card also holds the RAM -- notebook-style 144-pin PC66, PC100 or PC133 SO-DIMMs (faster RAM will clock down to PC66). One on the top of the daughter card, one on the bottom. Up to 256 MB (low density) each slot, for a maximum of 512 MB RAM. Not too shabby!

You must use "low density" RAM in tray loaders -- with chips on both sides of the card. "High density" RAM will not work: the machine will (a) not boot up at all, (b) boot up but not see the card, or (c) boot up but only see half the card. "Low density" RAM is available in PC100 up to 256 MB. I've never seen a "Low density" PC133.

The Rev A iMacs (and maybe Rev B too -- somebody correct me if I'm wrong) have a couple more advantages that don't appear on the "5 flavors" models. First, there's the serial port on the back of the logic board cage: under the plastic housing, clearly (and erroneously) marked "No serial port." Right next to the old-school Apple monitor port, which is clearly (and erroneously) marked "No ext mon." In theory, this could be used to hook up an old printer, an external modem, a QuickTake camera, a MIDI controller, or other older serial devices. Haven't tried it yet with mine.

The other advantage is the "mezzanine port" on the underside of the logic board. In theory, this port was going to be used to connect a SCSI controller a la the older beige Macs. See that cutout in the side, under the USB and Ethernet ports? The one covered by a little metal plate? Looks suspiciously like the hole for a DB-25 SCSI port, doesn't it? Although I've never seen a third-party SCSI controller for the mezz port, I have seen other cards available to add serial ports, even FireWire, either through the mezz port or the modem port next to it. Snazzy!

There are even pinouts for an ADB port on the logic board -- I think there's a thread around AF that talks about soldering an ADB port onto it so you can use your old-school mice, keyboards, trackpads, etc. The Bondi iMacs were truly transitional -- and revolutionary -- machines. They really illustrate the changes Apple (and the industry as a whole) were going through in 1998.

Unfortunately, iMacs built later than the 333's (the slot-loading models) were competely redesigned. The logic boards do not swap out, and the processors are soldered directly to them -- no upgrades without replacing the whole board. And no slot-load processors or logic boards in tray-loading iMacs.

There may be faster tray-loader processor cards built by third-party manufacturers -- check eBay.

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
up to 600 MHz? oh yes!

cwsmith wrote:

Actually, it's not necessary to replace the whole logic board in this case, just the processor card. The processor sits on a daughter card on the logic board, under the shielding "cage." It will accept a donor processor from any other tray-loading iMac, including the "5 flavors" models of 1999 (266 and 333 MHz models).

The best I have ever seen came from Sonnet, it was the HarmoniG3.
Some one (can't recall who) made a card called the iMAXpowr, which came in two configurations: G3 500MHz and G4 433MHz. The maker collapsed and sold their stuff off so it is pretty hard to find.

I would go with the Sonnet as this gives you Firewire built in and killer speed.

cwsmith wrote:

This card also holds the RAM -- notebook-style 144-pin PC66, PC100 or PC133 SO-DIMMs (faster RAM will clock down to PC66). One on the top of the daughter card, one on the bottom. Up to 256 MB (low density) each slot, for a maximum of 512 MB RAM. Not too shabby!

You must use "low density" RAM in tray loaders -- with chips on both sides of the card. "High density" RAM will not work: the machine will (a) not boot up at all, (b) boot up but not see the card, or (c) boot up but only see half the card. "Low density" RAM is available in PC100 up to 256 MB. I've never seen a "Low density" PC133.

That being said, I have a Rev A with the stock 233MHz and I regular 256 on top and a short height 256 on the bottom and run stable with 512MB. Whatever you find that works for the upgraded processor card should work for stock.

cwsmith wrote:

The Rev A iMacs (and maybe Rev B too -- somebody correct me if I'm wrong) have a couple more advantages that don't appear on the "5 flavors" models. First, there's the serial port on the back of the logic board cage: under the plastic housing, clearly (and erroneously) marked "No serial port." Right next to the old-school Apple monitor port, which is clearly (and erroneously) marked "No ext mon." In theory, this could be used to hook up an old printer, an external modem, a QuickTake camera, a MIDI controller, or other older serial devices. Haven't tried it yet with mine.

Some people have said that they have not gotten this to work. Honestly, you are better off getting a USB-serial dongle and leaving your IR port intact - something you will loose if you upgrade your mobo past a B.

cwsmith wrote:

The other advantage is the "mezzanine port" on the underside of the logic board. In theory, this port was going to be used to connect a SCSI controller a la the older beige Macs.

Close, it was more akin to the personality slot on the earlier beige G3s, but slightly different. I have pinouts and details available here

cwsmith wrote:

See that cutout in the side, under the USB and Ethernet ports? The one covered by a little metal plate? Looks suspiciously like the hole for a DB-25 SCSI port, doesn't it? Although I've never seen a third-party SCSI controller for the mezz port, I have seen other cards available to add serial ports, even FireWire, either through the mezz port or the modem port next to it. Snazzy!

It is also the perfect size for two type 2 PC cards or one type 3, grant it you need to have some serious narrow buttons on the sled...

the only two pproducts I knew of for this slot was some game accelerator that was essentially a graphics accelerator that was near impossible to find when it was being made and a SCSI card made by Formac called the iProRaid, which was available in two configurations, a two channel SCSI card or a single channel card with A/V capture/TV Tuner built in to the card (the latter being called the iProRaidTV). these are also impossible to find nowadays.

My homework did find that if you picked one of these up and had a Sonnet HarmoniG3 installed, you *could* have them both in the machine because Sonnet ships a new side bezel that matches the Rev A but adds the Firewire holes just above the modem port retaining the hole for the mezz. I have never seen or found any other card for this, although I do have some half complete plans for building my own card that gave me the aforementioned PC Card slot(s).

Hope this helps...

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Joined: Apr 21 2006
Posts: 5
Re: Yes, but not up to 600 MHz

cwsmith wrote:

Actually, it's not necessary to replace the whole logic board in this case, just the processor card. The processor sits on a daughter card on the logic board, under the shielding "cage." It will accept a donor processor from any other tray-loading iMac, including the "5 flavors" models of 1999 (266 and 333 MHz models).

This card also holds the RAM -- notebook-style 144-pin PC66, PC100 or PC133 SO-DIMMs (faster RAM will clock down to PC66). One on the top of the daughter card, one on the bottom. Up to 256 MB (low density) each slot, for a maximum of 512 MB RAM. Not too shabby!

You must use "low density" RAM in tray loaders -- with chips on both sides of the card. "High density" RAM will not work: the machine will (a) not boot up at all, (b) boot up but not see the card, or (c) boot up but only see half the card. "Low density" RAM is available in PC100 up to 256 MB. I've never seen a "Low density" PC133.

Great, that's good news!

cwsmith wrote:

Unfortunately, iMacs built later than the 333's (the slot-loading models) were competely redesigned. The logic boards do not swap out, and the processors are soldered directly to them -- no upgrades without replacing the whole board. And no slot-load processors or logic boards in tray-loading iMacs.

There may be faster tray-loader processor cards built by third-party manufacturers -- check eBay.

one more question. In case of a complete swap of logic board do you think that the slot load board will phisically fit inside the housing of a tray load one (no problem on working on it, I'm quite good in this kind of stuff) or is it so different in size that it's impossible? (the problem is that the bondi is still in the hand of the shipping company and I never had one before, just white Ibooks Smile )

Also, regarding third-party cards it will be too expensive, I get this bondi just for fun for less than 80 euro (ab. 90 $). Logic boards of slot loading are instead really cheap on ebay, i've seen.

Last question, the bondi will be upgraded with a 40 gb hd. what's the best OS for some surfing, word, excel and a little terminal emulation (VT100 or so)?? I heard Panther should work with 512 mb of ram, but I'm worried about the poor video board of the Imac. Do you think OS9.2 could be a better idea? (I already own the OS9.2.2 and Office 2001 for os9)

thank for you help and ciao
claudio

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Joined: Apr 21 2006
Posts: 5
a crazy idea!

a crazy idea that came up by searching for a processor card on ebay right now? does the Pismo one fit????

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Joined: Jul 6 2005
Posts: 151
Only wallstreet processors wi

Only wallstreet processors will fit it.

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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 566
Re: Only wallstreet processors wi

Albookx wrote:

Only wallstreet processors will fit it.

I don't think they work though...

TOM

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Jon
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 2804
In terms of swapping in a slo

In terms of swapping in a slotload board, the answer is that it might be possible, but it'd require so much of the original slotloaders guts that you might as well have just gotten a complete slotloader to begin with. The slotloaders take a whole different PAV (Power Analog Video) board setup than the trayloaders, they use a different HDD and CD-ROM hookup, the video connections to the CRT are different, the CRTs used with a slotloader are different, etc. Search for a Service manual for a slotloader (ie, 350MHz+, iMac DV, etc) to see the vast difference between the systems. The tray vs slot loader are totally different computers. The only real similarity is the general design, as in functionality style and shape, and the name.

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Joined: Oct 11 2006
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imac bondi 233 upgrade

I have one of these old warhorses that I've upgraded with the Sonnet G3 600 card and a Formac SCSI card. I finally found the iProraid card for the old iMac and before I go to the trouble of installing I was wondering if anyone had any advice. Does it work with OS X? I read that there's a firmware update that may disable the mezzanine slot and another firmware upgrade for the iProraid card - anyone have any insight?
Thanks.

doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
awesome!!!

It is my understanding that X will kill your mezz slot. We have already seen things like 8.6 and higher disabling the floppy pins. I heard rumors of X and the Formac card, but it was so long ago.

I am desperate for one of these cards and am trying to get my machine to where you are at with the Formac and the Sonnet, althoug, I plan to keep my machine at either 8.5.1 or 9.2.2 (depending on my future plans for using my external floppy again).

If you are open to parting with the Formac card or can help me acquire one, please send me a PM!!!!

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Joined: Nov 14 2006
Posts: 13
Another point

I have researched for upgrades on my iMac 333. Now I got a bigger HD and 384 MB RAM with Panther (plans to reach 512 - maybe the real top). Bud I think that the best improvement possible beyond memory and HD is the firewire ports, so you can use periphels in fine speed. Upgrading processor will only expose an ending point: the poor and abandoned videocard. There is no opengl drivers for Panther and everything run very slow, not because processor is not doing your job, but because you got no video acceleration. The difference between Panther and Classic is... well... disapointing: that's the point! I can still play Descent III, Tomb Rider, Unreal, etc. in Classic. Putting more memory or upgrading to a newer videocard everything could run better. But you cannot chang videocard and ATI / Apple don't wanna you using this old machines by not providing drivers.

Using Classic instead Panther? I'm too old to spend my days trying to fix extensions conflicts!!!

If we wanna keep this machines working, we got to find a way to upgrade it's videocards!

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Re: awesome!!!

doug-doug the mighty wrote:

It is my understanding that X will kill your mezz slot. We have already seen things like 8.6 and higher disabling the floppy pins.

Kill it stone dead, never work again, or just don't work when running in X or 8.6?

gustavopinent: have you got the maximum 6MB VRAM?

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
Re: awesome!!!

DrBunsen wrote:

...
Kill it stone dead, never work again, or just don't work when running in X or 8.6?...

As for the floppy, I had X on my machine at one point and the only time the floppy ever worked was under 8.6, meaning I had to boot into 8.5.1 to use the floppy.

As for the mezz port, I got mixed stories early on and very few people (i.e. only those with mezz cards) can say for sure. I just heard alot of issues about the mezz cards not working after 9.2.2.

Perhaps it is more accurate to rephrase what I said as: Use of the floppy port is not possible at 8.6 and higher without hacking the OS and you can always boot up into a lower OS to regain use of it for that boot session. As for the mezz port, the only two cards known (commercially) had 3rd party drivers in order for them to be fuly usable and these drivers did not work on OS X. The understanding at this time is that the mezz port is unusable above 9.2.2 as the drivers do not work.

Since there is a firmware update applied to the machine to get X installed, I expect some changes occur, but cannot be exact on what without having a card to try it in Classic post X install.

If someone with a mezz card is using X, please chime in and clarify.

IN THEORY: the mezz port is just a trun connection to a PCI bus and to the Rage chipset. If someone built/had a card, one should be able to write drivers for the card and the system should accept it barring that the firmware for X on the original iMac did not preclude you from doing this and I cannot think who they would accomplish this.

I have a half completed project to build a mezz card of my own, but I had to kill it due to time and money. The pinouts I knew about are in my blog if you want them...

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'If it ain't broke, take it apart anyways. If you can't take it apart, break it so that you can fix it.'