Realistic/Theoretical Limits on upgrading an 8600

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
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With the recent death of my iMac, I am now transitioning to my 8600.

I have read the specs for my machine and they are, of course, dated. What I want to know is how far I can upgrade it.

Base machine is an 8600/300 w/:

  • Sonnet 500MHz G3 installed
  • OS 9.1
  • 128MB RAM
  • 2MB VRAM (I think it is 2MB - Profiler won't tell me)
  • Dual port USB card installed
  • Extra NIC intalled (but unused at this time due to presence of native NIC and AAUI - I need to plug the case whole with a benign device)

I know I can go to 9.2.2 with OS Helper.
I know I can upgrade my HD/add more but I need to acquire 50/68 pin adapters to use what extra drives I have.
I know I can upgrade my CD ROM.
I could add extra CD ROMs, but need face plates.
I have a ZIP drive but would need a face plate.

Spec limit on RAM is 512MB, what can I really do?
VRAM could stand to be upgraded, especially since I will add a second monitor to have extended desktop/mirroring - can I go beyond 4MB?

TIA
--DDTM

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
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Re: Realistic/Theoretical Limits on upgrading an 8600

doug-doug the mighty wrote:

Spec limit on RAM is 512MB...

Oops, I meant to say 1GB

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Well, one way to go is to rep

Well, one way to go is to replace the motherboard with a 9600 motherboard. That three PCI slot limit on the 8600 is pretty debilitating. 4mb VRAM is the limit. But I'm getting the impression that you don't want to spend hardly any money on it, which is what most people would tell you about upgrading an 8600. What's the chip on your ethernet card? Just an extension should enable it, right? Personally, if I were limited to an 8600, I would put in a Radeon 7000, a 10/100 ethernet, and a USB card (or dreamily, a Tempo Trio). Definitely, if you're going to stick with SCSI, then get a 50/68 adapter for a drive that's got the fastest RPM. Actually, I could probably live without the USB and go for a controller card instead. I've still got Epson 740 printers which have serial ports. Why do you worry about face plates? Are you digging in for the long term? They're not necessary. You can always mod the floppy slot and put the zip in the top bay.

alk's picture
alk
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What's your goal? You coul

What's your goal?

You could cram a 1 GHz Sonnet G4 in there and even install 10.4, but without some ideas for where you want to go, it might be tough to give you the info you want.

Anyway, the 8600 doesn't support multiple displays using the on-board graphics unless one of those monitors is NTSC, PAL, or SECAM and driven via the composite video out (RCA jacks). 4 MB would be good for that, but otherwise, the VRAM will only buy you greater bit depths at greater resolutions.

Multiple monitors (VGA or otherwise) requires the use of another PCI video card. You could install a Radeon 9200 to support up to three monitors (one using onboard hardware, two using the Radeon). Install three 9200s and get 7 monitors...

You can install a Sonnet Tempo Trio to get four ATA/133 hard drives, USB 1/2 (USB 2 is not supported in OS 9 but will work as USB 1.x), and FireWire 400.

Max RAM really is 1 GB (8 128 MB sticks of FPM or EDO DRAM).

You could install a crazy fast SCSI card for a fast storage system.

You can hook up a DVD burner (or CD burner, or one of each, or more than one, etc) to any IDE controller that will work in a Mac...

If the Zip drive is SCSI, you can just plug it in. If it's IDE, you'll need an IDE controller.

You could install up to 1000baseT ethernet...

There are lots of options. The "maximum" upgrade level really depends on what you want to use it for. Remember, you are limited by having only three PCI slots...

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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I believe 1000baseT requires

I believe 1000baseT requires a faster bus and at least OS10.2. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't 10/100 the limit?

doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
My goal...

alk wrote:

What's your goal?

A very powerful desktop machine to be used with my scanner and some basic video editing. Otherwise, it will be an email/web machine more often than not.

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:

...But I'm getting the impression that you don't want to spend hardly any money on it, which is what most people would tell you about upgrading an 8600.

Yeah, the mobo will stay an 8600 unless it catches on fire. Wink

The monitor situation: I plan to use an NTSC monitor or add a spare video card from my Mac clone (which had two). The Radeons are good, but I would have to pick one up through trade to get one right now.

The DVD deal is ideal as I have one, but it is IDE, so bridging is required (I will add this to my wish list...). I have an internal zip drive on hand, but not disks for it. Since I actually do use floppies for small stuff, the resident floppy will stay. Since my home network is limited by the 10BaseT hub (read as "I got it for free"), the on board network solutions will suffice. The installed NIC does work and I have used it before, but will probably pull it in favor of something else.

The plastics are important to me as I like my Macs to look pretty much stock, that and the 2-year old likes to stick things in open spaces. Wink

So far, from your ideas, my plan is starting to look like this:

  • pull the extra NIC card and drop in a Sonnet Tempo Trio (need to 'acquire' one of these)
  • pull the then redundant USB card and drop in the extra video card from my Mac clone
  • hook up my IDE DVD burner
  • drop in my 120G IDE drive
  • bump the RAM from 512MB to 1G (need to 'acquire' this)
  • pick up a few 50/68 adapters and add some of my on-hand Cheetah 9G 7200 RPM drives
  • fill up the rest of the SCSI chain with some of the external CD roms I have

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Jon's picture
Jon
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NIC card == Network Interfa

[small peeve]
NIC card == Network Interface Card card
[/small peeve]
Wink

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catmistake's picture
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bah, Old World PCI

Sounds great in theory, HC, but in practice, stability on the PCI bus is hit or miss trying to use 6 slots, esp with upgraded processor if the bus speed was changed. At least, under OS X, I believe this is the case (there was some many PCI card super audio 9600 all tricked out shown to me when I've stated this before... extremely drool worthy even today). I went through 2 9600 boards that refused to be stable with a 100Mb nic before just giving up and I've been with the 8600 ever since (still have a 9600 board, totally available). Who knows, maybe it was my RAM, but I'm done messing with it. With the 8600 G4/450 I get uptimes of 30-60 days depending upon whether I install an update or not. Just fine for Web/ftp/file serving (I experimented a little with streaming server... almost friggen' works!)

Its not my intention to rain on parades, but I really think you should spend as little time as possible and no money to put it in a state it can stay in forever and still be quite useful. XPostFacto & Tiger (since you've got the G3, if 604e, I'd go with 10.2.9), simple web/afp server/web client/email client/text editor ... once you get OS X (or any unix, lets not forget the gnu/linux's available for ppc) on there, it can do a lot of things, just try to keep it to 1 or 2 things at at time. Older machines work better as servers than as desktops (unless it be some dedicated web desktop, one trick pony kind of machine).

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Re: bah, Old World PCI

catmistake wrote:

... if 604e, I'd go with 10.2.9 ...

I'd actually recommend 10.2.8. Much easier to find . Wink

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my $.02

I've got a 9600 running Tiger as me file server. It's got a 450MHz G3 and Rage 128Pro vidcard as well as 768MB RAM. As a file server it's plenty fast for my needs. It's also quite usable for most any sort of desktop ops including web stuff, but if I were to be doing any sort of video work I'd be very underwhelmed. GUI responsiveness is fine though not exactly what I'd call snappy.

I set up a customer with a 1GHz Sonnet G4 on their 1GB o' RAM equipped production 8600 running 9.1. I wasn't impressed with the speedboost from 300MHz 604 to 1GHz G4. Just didn't feel like it was worth it to me. I did install Panther on there too and it was very usable, _except_ that they haven't added a vidcard (still using the onboard 4MB VRAM) which made the GUI feel very pokey. They use 9.1 almost exclusively, for legacy publishing apps, so the lack of boosted video doesn't bother them too much.

Heh, you can add _alot_ of drives inside that case. I've had . . . hmm, let me see . . . 7 SCSI drives inside the 9600 (when it used to be my main desktop), 2 of which were 1/2 height 10K Cheetahs in the two lower front bays. Needed some extra fans for that bit o' kit as you might imagine.

dan k

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iantm's picture
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This is some interesting stuff ...

I've got an 8600/300 laying around the house. It was given to me by one of my end users after it was retired from service. It's got 96mb of ram, a 1gb drive that was scrounged, cd-rom, and the factory zip. I've got a 9600/200 coming my way with 288mb of ram that I'll probably scavenge for bits.

I'm learning some interesting stuff here. The last old world machine I had was a Umax S900 with a G3 card running 10.1 (this was back in early 2002). Wasn't a bad machine with the twin turbo video card. I'm planning to scavenge more bits to get a useable server.

I think I'll be keeping an eye on this thread.

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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My maxed 9600, no problems

I've not moved my 9600 up to OS X. I did once with Jaguar just to try it, but my uses with the 9600 don't require X. It's running 9.2.2 thanks to OS9 Helper.

My 9600:

Sonnet 450 mhz G4
832(?)mb RAM--all EDO, interleaved

6 PCI slots:

1) ATI Rage 128 VR connected to Xclaim TV box

2) Adaptec 29160n SCSI card connected to harddrives internal and scanner external

3) Wired4DVD pass through card hooked up to the VGA of the Rage 128 and the monitor

4) Sonnet ATA66 (Acard) controller hooked up to DVD drive

5) USB/Firewire combo card connected to burner, hub: zip, mouse, printer, etc.

6) RealTek RTL8139x 10/100 ethernet card

I have three Ultra160 harddrives in the machine: Seagate 18GB 10k, Atlas V 18GB 7200rpm, 9GB 10k (I forget the brand)

Connected to the ADB port is the keyboard, a Calcomp drawing tablet, a Big Island YOYO telephony device

Connected to the DB25 SCSI port is an old external SCSI drive

EVERYTHING works great, including the Firewire. The machine starts up clean as a whistle, runs fast and fun. The only thing I've ever had difficulty with is connecting ATA drives to the ATA66--sometimes they mount, sometimes they don't, but I'm not sure if it was the bus or the drives that weren't making it happen.

When I tried Jaguar, I was able to find a 8139 driver that worked fine. A lot of the rest of those peripherals don't work in X, and aren't suppose to, which is the main reason I stay at 9 with this machine.

Of great importance for making the G4 daughtercard hum is disabling the onboard L2 cache using the method described here:
http://www.geocities.com/pm9600g4/l2cache.html

As for the Sonnet Tempo Trio card: good luck finding one cheap. They usually sell on eBay for at least $100, and they are notorious for having problems. Check the site I just linked to for his experience trying to get one to work. He was successful, but it took some tweaking.

B&W G3: average price these days--$50, sometimes less. 100mhz bus, ATA33 onboard, SDRAM, USB, Firewire, one 66hmz PCI slot, 3 33mhz PCI slots. Even has an ADB port. No XpostFactos required.

alk's picture
alk
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Why'd you bother with the Wir

Why'd you bother with the Wired4DVD card? Your setup will run the hacked copy of DVD Player 2.7 just fine without requiring the DVD decoder...

What has your experience been like with it? I thought I read that it had trouble with some DVDs. I've been thinking about tracking one down for a hack w/ a 5500...

As for gigabit ethernet, Sonnet has a card that will work in any PCI Mac that can run OS X 10.2 (such as with the help of XPostFacto): http://www.sonnettech.com/product/presto_gig.html

Peace,
Drew

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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I never tried doing the DVD h

I never tried doing the DVD hack with the 9600. I thought I remembered it only worked with the B&W and above. I did use the hack with my B&W's Rage 128 for awhile before I got a Radeon 7000. I was never satisfied with the hack--sometimes stuttering and crashes. No problems with the Wire4DVD and it's app--DVD Station--no stuttering, crisp, clear picture full screen, nice control panel. It's possible that it might have problems with some newer forms of DVD since it's an old card, but I haven't encountered any problems. Only drawback is it doesn't remember your place when you stop the program your watching to start again on cue at later viewing. A Radeon card would be an all around better option, but I want the TV/video in with the VR as well.

There's also the option of the DVD decoder daughter card that attaches to the Rage 128 video cards. My Rage 128 VR has the pins for that, but I haven't bought one and tried it. I've read somewhere that it was specifically designed for the B&W's--for either the 66mhz PCI, or the 100mhz bus--I don't remember which--so I don't know if those daughter cards will work with Rage 128's in earlier machines or not.

One thing I forgot to mention: after doing the XLR8 MachSpeed, Powerlogix CPU Director extensions combo described in the link, according to Gauge Pro, my memory is doing around 86-88mbs! Is that possible? That's only a little more than 10% less than my B&W's. It does feel that fast, though.

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Really?

Golden oregon coffee climbs airplane nonstop albatross. golfers carpet heterogenous mushroom trees.

Who knew!

Peace,
Drew

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doug-doug the mighty's picture
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no, really?

I think I may not be allone when I say...

wtf?

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

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

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DDTM, you missed the spambot

DDTM, you missed the spambot post that I replied to. It was the typical gibberish gobbledygook. It has since been removed by the mods.

Peace,
Drew

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ahhh.

...the mods are quick tonight.

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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.'

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If you can spare a slot, I'd

If you can spare a slot, I'd definitely go for a PCI card IDE/ATA controller rather than SCSI 50/68 adapters or SCSI->IDE bridges. Way cheaper and probably faster. The Sonnet Tempo Trio would be a great solution: USB, Firewire and ATA in one PCI slot.

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Got a 8600 and love that mach

Got a 8600 and love that machine. I ALMOST have it running x. Smile But for the most part I have it running as a fast G3 400mhz. Very expandable and robust.

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Re: NIC card == Network Interfa

Jon wrote:

[small peeve]
NIC card == Network Interface Card card
[/small peeve]
Wink

[personal small peeve]
people using fake html (faketml?) tags to describe emotions, sarcasm or an opinion
[/personal small peeve]

doug-doug the mighty's picture
Joined: Apr 14 2004
Posts: 1355
Re: NIC card == Network Interfa

reklus wrote:
Jon wrote:

[small peeve]
NIC card == Network Interface Card card
[/small peeve]
Wink

[personal small peeve]
people using fake html (faketml?) tags to describe emotions, sarcasm or an opinion
[/personal small peeve]

...like you did? Wink

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--DDTM ('Fritter Critter' since Apr 26 2004 - 18:16)

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

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Posts: 233
Re: NIC card == Network Interfa

doug-doug the mighty wrote:
reklus wrote:
Jon wrote:

[small peeve]
NIC card == Network Interface Card card
[/small peeve]
Wink

[personal small peeve]
people using fake html (faketml?) tags to describe emotions, sarcasm or an opinion
[/personal small peeve]

...like you did? Wink

Sorry, should have phrased it with

Offline
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Posts: 233
Re: NIC card == Network Interfa

doug-doug the mighty wrote:
reklus wrote:
Jon wrote:

[small peeve]
NIC card == Network Interface Card card
[/small peeve]
Wink

[personal small peeve]
people using fake html (faketml?) tags to describe emotions, sarcasm or an opinion
[/personal small peeve]

...like you did? Wink

Sorry, should have phrased it with

[irony]
[/irony]

gobabushka's picture
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Posts: 494
Re: NIC card == Network Interfa

[too many quotes!]

reklus wrote:
doug-doug the mighty wrote:
reklus wrote:
Jon wrote:

[small peeve]
NIC card == Network Interface Card card
[/small peeve]
Wink

[personal small peeve]
people using fake html (faketml?) tags to describe emotions, sarcasm or an opinion
[/personal small peeve]

...like you did? Wink

Sorry, should have phrased it with

[irony]
[/irony]

[/too many quotes!]

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Joined: Feb 23 2005
Posts: 233
Re: NIC card == Network Interfa

[more quotes]

gobabushka wrote:

[too many quotes!]

reklus wrote:
doug-doug the mighty wrote:
reklus wrote:
Jon wrote:

[small peeve]
NIC card == Network Interface Card card
[/small peeve]
Wink

[personal small peeve]
people using fake html (faketml?) tags to describe emotions, sarcasm or an opinion
[/personal small peeve]

...like you did? Wink

Sorry, should have phrased it with

[irony]
[/irony]

[/too many quotes!]

[/more quotes]

alk's picture
alk
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Posts: 373
Are you done yet? Peace,

Are you done yet?

Peace,
Drew

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