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6100 - SCSI2SD v6-worthy?

LaPorta

Well-known member
I forgot around what time/machine that the faster SCSI speeds came available that would yield even some kind of benefit from a v6 SCSI2SD vs the v5.x. Is the 6100 worthy of one?

 

dan.dem

Well-known member
Apple's Developer Note on the original PPC 6100/7100/8100 mentions that the 8100 provides Fast-SCSI support, which means to me that 6100 and 7100 do not. This supports my memories of SCSI on the 6100 not being faster than on a Performa 475.

If you don't have a CD-ROM in it, likely there is a SCSI-connector for it anyway on the flat cable inside the Mac. It may be used to attach a 2nd hard drive - needs a free SCSI-ID. Probably a place to try the SCSI2SD without the need to remove the real HD.

What OS do you have installed? I would be interested how well System 8.1 performs on it. I had used System 7.6.1 which worked reasonably, but with the limited stability of Apple's OSes in the mid/later 1990s. However, in my opinion from 7.6 to 9.1 every Mac OS release was more stable than the previous one. And the 6100 supports even 9.1. So this is definitely an advantage and may be worth the try.

 

LaPorta

Well-known member
It’s a 6100 DOS w/ built-in CD, so second drive is out. I have 7.6.1 right now, but I was actually planning on going back to 7.5.5 for various reasons (stability one of them).

Basically, your findings indicate I can get a 5.1 w/ no issue. You also thankfully answered my question about my 8100...v6 it is!

 
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ArmorAlley

Well-known member
I'm saving up for a SCSI2SD v6 for my 8100 too. I found someone selling a NOS bezel for an MO-drive for the 8500. That'll house the mounting bracket nicely.

 

dan.dem

Well-known member
It’s a 6100 DOS w/ built-in CD, so second drive is out. I have 7.6.1 right now, but I was actually planning on going back to 7.5.5 for various reasons (stability one of them).


Hmm. Individual perceptions of stability seem to differ widely.

I went the other way in the 1990s, from all iterations of System 7.5 finally to 7.6.1. As I wrote before, I found stability improving from 7.6 onward, becoming acceptable for me again with System 8.5. I actually have tried 8.5 and even 9.0 on a 6100 - just briefly, booted from a CD-ROM. The slow optical startup medium added to the perception of nearly pathetic sluggishness. However, I've never tried 8.1 on a 6100. This may be the sweet spot of performance versus stability.

 

LaPorta

Well-known member
I suppose stability may not have been the correct terminology. See, none of these machines are used for anything meaningful; each and every one has a spot in my collection on a large shelf in my basement. Heat/cool/humidifier control. Basically being saved in working condition for the future. Occasionally, I haul them out to play some games or something, but most sit idle. Finally, I have the resources to begin to recap and overhaul all of them. So, what I am usually looking for is speed/compatibility of period software. It always seemed to me that 8.anything ran slower on older machines. But, I suppose that is up for debate as well as depending on what you do with the machines.

 

dan.dem

Well-known member
Dealing with old Macs is definitely an area where everyone can do "as you like it". As my sig-line says, I'm not a collector, I just have some Macs left from previous 30 years of use.

@LaPorta, "speed/compatibility" is right my point too, hence I talked about a "sweet spot" of system versions. I guess for most early PPC-Macs like the 6100 the sweet spot is System 8.1.

My reasoning: I found increasing stability (less crashes) with consecutive Mac OS versions from 7.6 onward, I'm hoping 8.1 may give you less crashes than 7.5.x and 7.6.x. And since 8.1 is quite in the middle of the supported Mac OS range (7.1.2 to 9.1), and it even runs on an older, slower 68LC040-hardware, I guess it will show decent speed on any PPC. Compatibility: Most changes that make old software break are already present at System 7.5.x for PPC, e.g. cease of support for 24-bit code.

Frequent crashes of early PPC-Macs had been much discussed in the mid/late 1990s. I was so annoyed that I exchanged my Work-Mac for a Windows PC. The situation eased regarding stability and performance when System 8.5 and affordable G3s became available. But I am still curious if System 8.1 wouldn't be at least a partial remedy. And sorry, if I am annoying you.

About recapping and repairing. I am really hesitating buying equipment just for a few Macs to repair. What equipment are you planning to use?

 

cheesestraws

Well-known member
About recapping and repairing. I am really hesitating buying equipment just for a few Macs to repair


I mean, all one really needs for recapping and basic maintenance is a temperature controlled soldering iron and a multimeter, neither of which are particularly expensive and both of which will last a long time.  Equipment snobs will tell you you need to spend lots of money; they are generally wrong.  Personally, I got the lowest end one that came with a vacuum desoldering gun from circuitspecialists.eu about a decade ago, and it's still going strong.  The vacuum desoldering gun is a luxury that I allowed myself.  I don't think I spent more than £20 on the multimeter, at around a similar time.  And I've never regretted either, they've both come in useful for a number projects.

 
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dan.dem

Well-known member
Yes, I've seen desoldering guns in action on youtube, that's the perfect way to go. Removing old solder is truly important.

Thank you for your patience.

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Hmm, I'll have to look into fast scsi on the 8100, I don't remember it having anything specific, but it might be the same kind of thing you saw on some of the later higher end powermacs where there was a secondary faster bus for a boot hard disk, which of course the 6100/7100 do not have.

Anyway, I'd say that if you can, try a v5 first and if that's not enough, esp. for the needs of the DOS card, pop a v6 in.

If the DOS card will work, I agree with the assessment that 8.1 might be worth looking at on this machine, since it will allow you to use HFS+ for slightly more efficient use of large partitions.

The other thing to consider is (max partition sizes ref) that 7.5 has a max partition/volume size of 4 gigs, even on PPC hardware. If that's fine, then that's fine - you can partition a SCSI2SD, in multiple ways, to accommodate this, but it is worth knowing. 7.6.1 bumps that to 2TB and 8.1 maintains 2TB but adds HFS+. If you have a 1800 gig partition that's all dc6 and pc card images, then of course the file size thing won't matter and plain HFS will work fine, but if you wanted a giant pile of tiny text documents, HFS+ would be more efficient.

Anywya, I have a PowerComputing Power120 I'm gonna put a scsi2SD v6 into, but my 6100, even though it's also a DOS, will probably get another v5 variant.  You might be able to bench the difference between the two on a 6100 but I don't think you'll be able to notice it. An 8100 or Power120 or similar where you can run >64megs of RAM and especially if you've got a G3 upgrade is going to be the scenario where a scsi2sd on PPC makes most sense.

 

LaPorta

Well-known member
Thank you for everyone's opinion, they are all making me consider different things.

As for what I plan on doing with this machine, I never have "grand ambitions" for any of mine. To make an analogy with cars: I am not a performance freak, moder, or hot-rodder, to say. I like everything pretty much stock. That is to say that my 6100 will stay pretty much as-is, except for additions that would already have been done to any machine: I added 64MB RAM, and also added a 32MB stick to the DOS card (in comparison, the dedicated RAM really does make a HUGE difference on the DOS/Windows side vs. shared memory). Usually, this applies to system software as well. I'm not the "try and get OS 9 on a machine that maxed out at 8.1" person, either. Usually, I'll load a mcahine up with whatever system it shipped with, as an examole of period hardware and software. If I need an OS 8 machine, I will just pull one of those out.

All that soap-boxing, done, Cory does bring up an interesting point. I might actually get more speed in this case with OS 8 as a result of far more PPC code in the OS than 7.x ever had. That, plus the HFS+ point with reagrd to huge drives makes sense. Ont he other hand, I'll never install more than a few hundred megabytes on the machine (I wish they still sold reasonable, small, 2 GB SD cards that didn't cost 5x as much as larger ones). I agree the v5 will be best in the 6100 (I actually ordered another yesterday). My 8100 on the other hand will likely get a v6 when the HD dies. 

As a side note, my PowerTower Pro is, ironically, the machine I like the most. It has a MaxPower G3 card in it, and really is incredibly fast. That, plus the ability to run OS 7.5 through 9.1 via multiple partitions makes it the most versatile machine I have. It is my main machine to doll out software to any others I acquire. I never got my v6 SCSI2SD to play nicely with my PTPro (although, it looks like it may have been a corrupt version of the firmware that was causing data corruption). I now use an IDE to CF adapter with the PCI IDE card I have in it. That plus a 32 GB CF card work very, very well together.

 

LaPorta

Well-known member
So I had an interesting experience when I tried your suggestion, @Cory5412. I tried to install both OS 8.0 and 8.1 (different times). Both times, they both got to the end of the installation where it says "Finishing Installation...", and then mysteriously failed due to an unknown error. I also tried to start from either the 8.0 or 8.1 discs I have (both original, legit Apple retail), and after loading extensions, I get an error that there was not enough memory to load the finder. I have 40 MB of RAM in the 6100, there's no way that it is actually out of memory. Both 8.0 and 8.1 did this. I have no rational explanation for why this would be. I have successfully installed both System 7.5 and 7.6 previously without issue.

I am at a loss for this one.

 

NJRoadfan

Well-known member
I can say for a fact that MacOS 8.5 and 8.6 work on a stock 6100/66 with 40MB of RAM. Generally on PPC machines I stick with 8.x since more of the OS is PPC native. I know back in the day people were not a fan of System 7.5.x and 7.6.x's stability on PPC machines. The recommendation to stick with System 7.5.5 is mostly one for 68k machines due to it being more compatible with older software and hardware (24-bit addressing is still available etc.).

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
With the understanding that every one of these machines is, absolutely minimum, old enough to drink and that we're all doing this for fun, and there's no real-world impact to any of this:

I need to give 8.5 or 8.6 a go on my 6100 or 6200, in theory more PPC code would be better, but IME you have to balance this with RAM usage and "the OS just gets heaver over time for various reasons" and I've always found 8.1 to be the best of mix of convenience, faster than the early PPC 7 releases, stable, HFS+, but still light enough that it runs Basically Fine on the 6100/6200. Though, because mine don't have big disks, I often end up on 7.6.1+patches because I like the crisp monochromatic-inspired/compatible appearances of 7.6.1.

For mostly aesthetic reasons, I don't really run 8.5/8.6 or 7.5.5, although the specific reasons for each is a little different.

For 7.5: I tend to find 7.1 is meaningfully faster and 7.6.1 is meaningfully easier/more reliable and more capable. (7.6.1 supports 2TB volumes, for example, and 7.5.5 only supports up to 4GB.)

For 8.5/8.6: Similar, 8.1 is faster and most machines that, IME, run 8.6 well run 9.1 just as well.

I did some MacBench 4 runs on my 6100/66 and 6200/75, with and without VM and VM/noVM are within a percent of each other, and, 7.6.1 to 9.1 is like a 20% benchmark delta, on top of the meaningful slowdown in responsiveness and the meaningful boost in RAM usage. (i.e. you really want, say, minimum 40 megs of RAM to run 9.1, 32 will run it but you'll only have a few megs for application software, and, 9-era software needs more RAM than that to, itself, run.)

So, I'll have to poke at this with 8.5 or 8.6.

Outside of/pending that, my recommendation if it's possible is to get 8.1 running if you can. 8.0 doesn't get you HFS+ or the updated-by-default (or: good enough by default) OT/AS so I'd say go for 8.1 unless you have something that (for whatever reason) works in 8.0 but not in 8.1.

Another thought, that you might try out, I don't know how this'll play out on a 6100 but on my 6200 and 7200, Speed Doubler 8 did end up making a nice boost on overall system performance, network file transfer performance (esp. via localtalk on my 6200, whose Ethernet card I haven't gotten running), and 68k emulation performance - SD8 made my 6200 (relative to a Q700 at "100") go from scoring 45 in the CPU test to scoring a 224. (FPU went from 8.7 to 13.2 so, there are definitely still caveats, but most of the system software isn't particularly FPU-reliant.) (This was all on 7.6.1.)

 

dan.dem

Well-known member
@LaPorta: Sorry to hear that OS 8.x doesn't boot successfully on your 6100. Does anybody know if the PC-Card (it's a 80486, right?) is compatible with System 8?
It may need System Extensions, at least for producing the cool fading effect when switching OSes. Try booting without the card.

And is SCSI2SD ready for OS8? I think most people use it with System 7-variants?
Consider trying a real SCSI-disk if you have one, and swapping your original but old OS8.1-CD with a freshly burned one from another source.

@Cory5412: Interesting, you found 9.1 being 20% slower or faster than 7.6.1? Whatever, more important is - as you wrote - the "meaningful slowdown in responsiveness and ... boost in RAM usage" with the newer OS. And about 8.5 and 8.6 having more PPC code: Yes, Apple emphasized this fact, but I cannot remember a newer MacOS version _feeling_ really faster than the previous, actually quite the opposite (with few partial exceptions). And I wouldn't want FindByContent running on a 6100 in the background, especially with the slow disk interface it has.

The exception of speed _increase_ I remember was, when Apple changed the 68k emulator for a new one (in 7.5.3?). Before, I also used SpeedDoubler. But for FPU-emulation - I did a lot of number crunching then - I loved the perfectly reliable PowerFPU, but soon switched to native apps (which _really_ made a difference), so I never tried SpeedDoubler 8.

 

AndiS

Well-known member
To answer @dan.dem's question. I've not been able to get the PC Card extensions working under MacOS 8 or 8.1 although I have tried on a 68k Performa 630 and not a PPC 6100. I had to switch  back to System 7.5.5 for the PC Card functionality although 8.1 did not display any other issues and worked fine otherwise. My guess is, the PC Card is not the problem that prevents an OS 8.x install. But trying without the card does not hurt either and could be worth it.

 
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Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
And is SCSI2SD ready for OS8? I think most people use it with System 7-variants?


Yeah, it should work fine. I have 9.1 on a SCSI2SD v6, in an 8600/300, my read largely is that a 6100 isn't going to be fast enough to merit the v6, regardless of what OS you run on it, with the possible exception of a G3-upgraded unit.

The 7100, largely the same boat except those came in 66 and 80, and the you might be able to justify it.

The 8100 came in 80, 100, and 110 versions and I would suspect that the 100/110 are where you finally start getting fast enough to merit the v6, but, although I have a P120, I havent benched it. Same applies to the 9150/120, but the 9150 is sort of like "it might be worth finding some full height disks anyway" and "can cool a more modern server disk in a way an LC or a 6100 really can't" so there's some different options there.

The v5 should be fine with 8 too, whether it's on an '040 or a 601.

I've not been able to get the PC Card extensions working under MacOS 8 or 8.1 although I have tried on a 68k Performa 630 and not a PPC 6100.


Have you had an opportunity to try PC Setup 1.6.4? Kan.org's 6100 site suggests that version is for OS 8 compatibility with the DOS cards, but I don't know how universal that is (i.e. if that's still a 68k build of the program.)

I still don’t know why I can’t instal it, though.


Yeah, that is... something.

I should see about imaging the iMac 8.1 restore CD, because I'm curious to see if you could get 8.0 or 8.1 on it in some sideways manner. IME the iMac's 8.1 disc doesn't relaly like to install at least onto 68k, although it'll install the base 8.0 component, the important part is kind of  getting to 8.1 so you can use HFS+ (though, you can do HFS boot and HFS+ data.)

8.0 isn't otherwise highly recommendable over 7.6.1, at least in my experience.

The DOS card being present shouldn't (AFAIK) do it, I am pretty sure I've had 8.0 on my 6100 with it in, and I have definitely had 9.1 on it with it in.

nteresting, you found 9.1 being 20% slower or faster than 7.6.1?
MacBench 4 did, in day-to-day usage I'd argue it feels worse than that, but I'll have to get my numbers out and try it again.

I'm sure there's a lot you can do to make this feel better, but there's sort of a practicality question of how long until you would be better off just going for a previous version. I also never did the test on newer hardware (like the 8600/300 or even 7200/90) and I didn't test 8.5 or 8.6.

Just from experience, I'd say it becomes worthwhile running 9 on anything with a 604e/200 or better in it. I haven't done it on any slower 604s or any fast 601s, like a 7500/100 with an L2 or a 7200/120 with an L2, so it's tough to say how it'd be there. My understanding is that 603 systems are roughly the same. 9 is "fine" on 603e/200s that have L2 and faster, and those systems typically support ~96-136 megs of RAM or there-abouts and IME that's enough to run a couple basic 9-era internet or productivity apps.

The other thing with when your base OS uses more RAM - if you're like me and your 6100 and 6200 have, say, 32 megs of RAM apiece and 9 needs 20 of those to boot, you're leaving a lot less room for early 8 era or even late 7-era software to run well. Word 98 does run "fine" on 6100/6200 with 7.6.1, I bet it'd still be fine on 8.1, all bets are off by the time you get to 9.1.

Though, I realize this is out of scope a bit but I don't see any reason not to go directly to 9.2.2 on anything that shipped with a G3 in it. G3s are all fast enough and their memory is upgradeable enough that it works fine, great even. 32 megs was only barely enough memory in 1998 the way 8 megs was only barely enough in 1995.

 

dan.dem

Well-known member
Thank you @Cory5412. Your findings completely coincide with my experiences. I lived - sometimes suffered - through that period of early PPC Macs.

Apple's claims that the next version of Mac OS would be faster than the previous were/are untrue. While the amount of PPC-native code was rising (slowly) the toll on the processor became even heftier due to new features or new (more robust) methods of performing OS tasks. At least System 8.5 and consecutive versions were a big step forward in stability.

Again I agree, the feel of System 8.5+ user interfaces on a 6100 or 5300 PowerBook is unacceptably slow (both of mine had RAM maxed out). And this is way below Cory's proposed hardware threshold for the modern variants of classic Mac OS: faster 604e-equipped PowerMacs. System 8.1 may be a workable compromise between stability and responsiveness. (However in 1998 our developers cursed it because of frequent crashes running on a revision A iMac.)

Using System Restore-CDs is a good idea. These CDs hold a disk image of the completely installed volume with the new OS. Just grabbing all Folders of the disk root and dragging them over to the (already formatted) destination disk should be sufficient. The disk image _may_ be in HFS+. So a 8.1 or newer OS is needed for copying the folders. But the destination desk is also fine with old style-HFS (sans the "plus"). What is omitted this way are disk driver updates which are usually performed when running the installer scripts. Probably this is the cause of the installer's fail on @LaPorta 's 6100?

Another work around would be doing a dedicated install for a 6100 (or "universal install" / "for all Macs" if this is still avaible) on another compatible PPC-Mac, and transplanting the drive or only the medium back to the 6100/PC.

Disk drivers: I found it not an issue when running newer disk drivers with old Mac System versions. I mostly used the disk setup utilities of System 8.5-9.0.4 also even for 68k Macs running System 7.6.1.  

 
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