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Beta's New Unit (7100/80 AV)

BetaC

Member
While this lad isn't an absolute unit like the later PowerPC based machines, I am happy to have it.

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I would consider this kind of machine one of my Beige Whales, as it's something that I've wanted to get but I was never going to spend the money most would ask for. Functionally, it's more of a interesting system to mess around in, as my B&W G3 400 is far more usable as a classic MacOS machine. Still, now that I have one, I am more than happy.

Luckily for me, I managed to find it at a local computer shop that was more than willing to give it to me for $60 after plugging it in for a chime test. The only external part that seems to be missing is a single rubber foot on the bottom. It included both the proper HDV/AV card, and a nice 80MB of ram, and has a working floppy and CD drive. The only piece I had to put in myself was my SCSI2SD, which now gets more use than it did in my old LC II.
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As it stands now, the machine is running both 7.6.1 and 8.6 interchangeably, and I have upgraded the RAM to 3/4ths of it's max (96 MB + the 8MB soldered on.) I am yet to find a real use for it beyond looking and feeling cool to own thanks to that guitar strum chime, but hey, now I have something interesting to mess with, and a machine that gives me a NuBus gateway.
 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
This looks like a fun machine with a fun loadout and that's the important part!
 

trag

Well-known member
Starting about 20 years ago, I found the 7100s often overheat because the heat sink grease between the PPC601 and the heat sink has dried out. If you start experiencing weird random crashes or video artifacts, it's something to keep in mind. Of course, someone along the way may have already replaced the heat sink grease.
 

BetaC

Member
This looks like a fun machine with a fun loadout and that's the important part!
That it is. It isn't the most upgradable or the most interesting, but it's fun to mess around with.
Starting about 20 years ago, I found the 7100s often overheat because the heat sink grease between the PPC601 and the heat sink has dried out. If you start experiencing weird random crashes or video artifacts, it's something to keep in mind. Of course, someone along the way may have already replaced the heat sink grease.
I've already switched the paste out with something modern, don't worry. It wasn't original-xbox-level dried gum paste just yet, but it wasn't too far off from being there. I also went ahead and deep cleaned it to make sure that there's no capacitor juice eating the board.
 

joshc

Well-known member
Ah, the 7100, a machine I paid no attention to until a few months ago when I acquired one as part of a large haul. And then I ended up with a second one, again unintentionally along with other stuff.

From my point of view, when compared with the later models in the 7xxx series, the 7100 is where it's at. They re-used the IIvi/IIvx/650 case, and it's OK - I still think the IIci/IIcx/700 case is far better, but of course they had to change it to fit a CD-ROM drive in there. The one benefit is that the metal case at least means the majority of the unit won't yellow over time. And I haven't had any problems with brittle plastics on the 7100, there is very little plastic used in the whole machine.

The other huge benefit the 7100 brought is active cooling for the 601 processor, which the 6100 didn't have. The 6100 cooks itself, the 7100 does not seem to, at least as much. Both of my 7100s "just work", they aren't even recapped yet (spoiler alert: The 7100 has a *lot* of 47uf 16V capacitors, so its not a small recap job). The PSU is shared with the IIci/IIcx/700 (same pinout) - the later 7xxx use a different PSU.

I haven't repasted my 7100 yet, it's on the list of things to do.

There's also a number of cool things you can do with a 7100, although both of them require you sourcing 'hard to find' cards. One of them is put a Radius Rocket in it, so that you have an 040 living inside your early PPC machine. Cool. The other thing is that it will take a Sonnet Crescendo G3 card - the only problem is that it uses the same 601 PDS slot as the HPV/AV card, so you lose your dedicated video card if you do that. However - Sonnet made an adapter called the 7100/8100 Video Adapter which allows you to install the Sonnet Crescendo G3 with a ribbon cable allowing you to retain your HPV/AV card - weird and wonderful stuff indeed.

I recently spent some time figuring out what to do with my 7100, so I ended up trying Quake on it. It runs, albeit slowly. It was playable at a smaller resolution with pixel doubling enabled with little to no lag.

So what more do people really want? The only thing the 7100 lacks is charm - although it does have that neat startup chime that most other Macs don't have. This machine is growing on me - at first I was ready to write it off as another one of Apple's quirky mid 90s dissapointments, but I actually can't really find a good reason to fault the 7100.

Do you find your 7100's fans a bit loud? Mine has two, the small CPU fan and the PSU fan. That's one thing I'm hoping to address soon.

And I agree 100% - this is a beige whale if there ever was one. A nice thing to have, but nobody would have a reason to spend lots of money on one of these. But if one comes up very cheap or for free, they are definitely worth getting in my opinion.
 

slomacuser

Well-known member
I like them too. I have 7100/66 and have both the AV and HPV card. The HPV card is twice as fast as AV, sadly you can not use both at the same time. Also the 66 MHz does not have a fan only 80 MHz ones have.
 

BetaC

Member
There's also a number of cool things you can do with a 7100, although both of them require you sourcing 'hard to find' cards. One of them is put a Radius Rocket in it, so that you have an 040 living inside your early PPC machine. Cool. The other thing is that it will take a Sonnet Crescendo G3 card - the only problem is that it uses the same 601 PDS slot as the HPV/AV card, so you lose your dedicated video card if you do that. However - Sonnet made an adapter called the 7100/8100 Video Adapter which allows you to install the Sonnet Crescendo G3 with a ribbon cable allowing you to retain your HPV/AV card - weird and wonderful stuff indeed.
I would be interested in doing some of that stuff if NuBus cards were either available locally, or weren't far more than the money I spent on this machine. And, really, since I have my G3 B&W, I don't quite need to upgrade this machine all too much.


I recently spent some time figuring out what to do with my 7100, so I ended up trying Quake on it. It runs, albeit slowly. It was playable at a smaller resolution with pixel doubling enabled with little to no lag.
Yeah, I noticed that the system can't quite run Dark Forces at full 640x400, but if it's set to the DOS resolution via pixel doubling it can keep pace with my Pentium machine. If only I could use my SC-55 with my Macs.


Do you find your 7100's fans a bit loud? Mine has two, the small CPU fan and the PSU fan. That's one thing I'm hoping to address soon.
With the case open, they are a bit loud, but with the case closed up and not at ear-level, it's more than fine. I don't want to deal with finding good replacements right now, as it isn't even comparable to the PSU's windtunnel fans in my 1.42 DP G4.
 

trag

Well-known member
I've already switched the paste out with something modern, don't worry. It wasn't original-xbox-level dried gum paste just yet, but it wasn't too far off from being there. I also went ahead and deep cleaned it to make sure that there's no capacitor juice eating the board.

If there was a thumbs up emoticon I could add to your post, I would just do that. :) But thumbs up for rescue/maintenance already done.
 

BetaC

Member
If there was a thumbs up emoticon I could add to your post, I would just do that. :) But thumbs up for rescue/maintenance already done.
Believe me, after having to recap the PSU and the logic board in my LC II, and changing the thermal paste on my DP G4, this was easy maintenance. Heck, it only involved four easy to remove tabs.
 

Huxley

Well-known member
This is so great, congrats! I know it's not a particularly beloved model - it'll never have legions of fans like a Color Classic or an SE/30... but I have a huge personal soft spot for the 7100/80. Back in 1999 I was desperate for a 'modern' Mac and some kind soul (I think it may have been someone from the old Obsolete Computer Helpline forum, which I was on constantly in those days) sold me one for $80 shipped- I remember them joking that I was paying "a dollar per megahertz!"

That 7100/80 was my main Mac for several years, including gaining a new lease on life when I scrimped and saved for months to get a Sonnet G3/266 upgrade card. With that G3 in there, the 7100 flew - I could finally play an MP3 song while also browsing a web page! Thanks to some random odds-and-ends I scavenged from a school surplus sale, I soon had my 7100 maxed out with three "Toby" NuBus video cards paired to a trio of 14" Apple CRT monitors. My crappy old desk was sagging under the weight, and I had to run the 7100 without the top-case installed just to give it a bit more heat dissipation, but man I felt amazing - my family started calling my room "the bridge of the Enterprise" in that era :)

Anyway, congrats again on picking up this machine - I hope to find one again myself some day!

Huxley
 

joshc

Well-known member
@Huxley Thanks so much for sharing your 7100 story, this is the stuff I come here for! (no, really, I'm being serious). It's wonderful hearing people's stories of their Macs from the time, and it makes me appreciate the 7100 even more. :D I don't suppose you've got any photos of your 7100 setup from back then?
 

BetaC

Member
Anyway, congrats again on picking up this machine - I hope to find one again myself some day!
Thanks, I'm still trying to figure out what I am going to be doing with this machine, but that can be blamed on my managing to find interesting PC hardware recently. After all, you can't find an AWE64 Gold for $5 without getting sidetracked for a while. I'm also using my G4 to move files to the first partition on my SCSI2SD for now, as AAUI to Base 10 isn't something I want to invest in until I have more of a reason beyond "hey I'm on the internet on a 1995 machine"
 

lobust

Active member
I have a soft spot for the 7100, I had a 7100/66 that saw me through university. It was already old at that point - I attended uni between 97-01 - but I was on a tight budget and couldn't afford anything newer.

Many hours were spent by me and a few of my flatmates playiing FA18 Korea, even did some course work with it now and again :p
 

rsolberg

Well-known member
Speaking of active vs passive cooling on these 601s, I vividly remember burning myself on a 6100's CPU heatsink. Not just "ow that's hot!" but enough of a burn on the side of my hand that that it left a mark.
 

BetaC

Member
I have a soft spot for the 7100, I had a 7100/66 that saw me through university. It was already old at that point - I attended uni between 97-01 - but I was on a tight budget and couldn't afford anything newer.

Many hours were spent by me and a few of my flatmates playiing FA18 Korea, even did some course work with it now and again :p
Awesome. I have a love for slight sims, so I will definitely give that a shot when I can get to it. Currently, I have it all up and running mostly stable, and I think I might be looking out for a HPV card at some point, as the AV card seems to be a minor hindrance at this point.

Speaking of active vs passive cooling on these 601s, I vividly remember burning myself on a 6100's CPU heatsink. Not just "ow that's hot!" but enough of a burn on the side of my hand that that it left a mark.

I've done similar on a Voodoo 3 3000 heatsink in my ever shifting Win98 machine. At least Apple gave the 601 a fan.
 
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Byrd

Well-known member
Hi BetaC,

Another 7100 fan here - as a kid when the 6100/7100/8100 came out, they were the pinnacle of sheer power (compared to me using a lowly Mac Plus at the time). Expensive as all heck, solidly built and using early PPC apps provided a massive boost in performance over high end 68K Macs released the year before.

Have you done the motherboard caps on yours? I've a 7100/80AV (with G4 upgrade, purchased from 68kMLA member a couple of years ago), the motherboard it came with was roached out from battery corrosion, the second board had a cracked CPU core, and the third board (uncapped) just works so well I don't want to start desoldering just yet - and there are many caps ...

JB
 

BetaC

Member
Hi BetaC,

Another 7100 fan here - as a kid when the 6100/7100/8100 came out, they were the pinnacle of sheer power (compared to me using a lowly Mac Plus at the time). Expensive as all heck, solidly built and using early PPC apps provided a massive boost in performance over high end 68K Macs released the year before.

Have you done the motherboard caps on yours? I've a 7100/80AV (with G4 upgrade, purchased from 68kMLA member a couple of years ago), the motherboard it came with was roached out from battery corrosion, the second board had a cracked CPU core, and the third board (uncapped) just works so well I don't want to start desoldering just yet - and there are many caps ...

JB
No, I apparently managed to find one that hasn't started leaking all over its self.
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It's been IPA cleaned since this image, and the PRAM battery was changed as well.
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Have the beauty shot.
 

joshc

Well-known member
You should replace the caps anyway - these machines are old and those capacitors are reaching or beyond their end of life now. Even if they don't *look* like they are leaking, they will be or will start soon.

I recapped mine yesterday. It's a lot of caps but not too bad really. All 47uf 16v except for one 100uf 6v.
 

BetaC

Member
You should replace the caps anyway - these machines are old and those capacitors are reaching or beyond their end of life now. Even if they don't *look* like they are leaking, they will be or will start soon.

I recapped mine yesterday. It's a lot of caps but not too bad really. All 47uf 16v except for one 100uf 6v.
I will be getting around to doing it in the next few months. For now, I am content with leaving it as is until I am confident in my SMD abilities. My LC II is a little rough on the inside
 

chelseayr

Well-known member
sorry if this maybe is a little semi-offtopic but betac does the label on your rom simm spell out that its 'dos ready' or not so much?
just wondering
 
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