Powermac 8600 USB Card?

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smileyranger's picture
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Mar 21 2011 - 20:50
Posts: 167
Powermac 8600 USB Card?

A few months ago, I pulled a very dirty Powermac 8600 out of the trash, thinking I'd just plug it in at some point to see if it worked.  I didn't really have plans for it beyond that.  It's since sat in the back of my van for months, weathering both winter temps and half of a Tennessee summer, knocking around whenever I brake too hard.  I figured that if it wasn't dead by the time I got it, I'd surely managed to kill it. 

However, I set it up on the back porch yesterday, since I didn't want to bring it inside, and it booted right up.  Definitely not what I was expecting.  

It started up surprisingly fast, and was extremely responsive on OS9.  (Faster than my indigo iMac and tangerine iBook.)   Normally, I wouldn't be able to think of a practical use for it, but I've recently been doing a lot of recording in an old version of ProTools on the indigo iMac, since it's such a minimal program, and feels about as close to a 4 track tape machine as any DAW can. 

Given the surprising performance of the 8600, I'd like to try and do the same with it.   The only problem is the lack of USB!    For the iMac, I typically just transfer files to my MBP using an SD card plugged into a USB hub.   I assume an ADB to USB adapter for using keyboards and such might not work? (or would it?). I haven't used any ADB macs of this era before, so this is all new to me. 

I saw this card mentioned online as something that might work.  https://www.amazon.com/TECHNOLOGIES-FWUSB2A-Firewire-400MBPS-480MBPS/dp/B0007WZMWM/ref=redir_mobile_desktop?ie=UTF8&ref_=cm_cr_arp_mb_bdcrb_top

Could this be a solution?  And would I need any additional drivers? 

If anyone has any recommendations for bringing this 1997 machine into 1999 with USB, I'd certainly appreciate it! 



Tom Owad's picture
Last seen: 1 hour 38 min ago
Joined: Dec 16 2003 - 15:14
Posts: 3078
I'm pretty sure that's the

I'm pretty sure that's the USB card I had. With the last Mac OS 9, I don't believe you need any drivers.

An ADB to USB adapter will work for your keyboard, but not for reading media. I'm not sure if that was your question?

The easiest way to transfer data would probably be over the network.

smileyranger's picture
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Mar 21 2011 - 20:50
Posts: 167
That definitely answers my

That definitely answers my question!  Thank you!

I need to be able to transfer data, and I'd like to be able to use a thumb drive, or an SD card with it.   (It's also nice to keep my protools projects on them as well.) 

I'll probably wind up ordering that card today. 




smileyranger's picture
Last seen: 4 months 3 weeks ago
Joined: Mar 21 2011 - 20:50
Posts: 167
Are there any SSD options?

I went ahead and ordered that card, and it should arrive in a couple of weeks.  

However, I was using the computer today to transfer files from my iBook G3 to it, and it was freezing up, and the HDD was louder than it was on the first couple of boots. 

Does anyone know of any SSD options for something this old?  I'd hate to replace a spinning drive with another spinning drive if at all possible. 


EDIT:  I'd also love to know if there is an SSD solution that works well with an iMac G3 & Clamshell iBook.


eeun's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: Dec 19 2003 - 17:34
Posts: 1892
USB Wombat



I have one of these and highly recommend. It's bi-directional, so you can use USB kbd/mouse on ADB or you can hook up your Extended II keyboard to your PC.

It's pretty sweet using an optical mouse on a Colour Classic. :) 

(edit: sorry, I see now you've already ordered a card. Still recommend buying one anyway)

Last seen: 1 day 22 hours ago
Joined: Mar 31 2020 - 19:55
Posts: 591
That's interesting that it is

That's interesting that it is faster than what should in theory, be a more powerful machine. The Indigo should be a 400MHz G3, and the 8600 max option was 604e/300. The bus speed on the 8600 is half the clk of the Infdgo, and the RAM is 10ns, versus 70ns. Unless your Indigo is limited in some way that is unusual, it's worth checking if the 8600 has a G3 or a G4 daughter card. Those existed with a max of 1GHz.




This was a fantastic product for the 9600 and 9650 systemms, for running a Rhapsody Server.

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