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Performa 6116 (aka Powermac 6100) various stuff

Dimitris1980

Well-known member
Hello,

since 2010 i am a user of a Macintosh Performa 6116CD with lot of changes since then. Below is my configuration:

Perfoma 6116CD

Sonnet Nubus G3 at 500 Mhz installed

Apple 8100 video card with 4mb ram

72gb hard drive

136mb ram

Apple Keyboard M3501

Macintosh Color Display Monitor & Samsung 15" monitor

Roland MT32 connected via the Macintosh MACMAN midi interface

4x scsi cd rom drive

I am really happy with my computer, i use it for retro gaming and it is really great with this configuration. I would like to push it a little further but not in the near future. Also i know about Steven Kan's upgrade site but i would like also an opinion from you because the site is a little old now. So, let's begin:

1) Memory: i know that this machine can have totally 264 mb of ram. Am i going to see difference if i put two sticks of 128mb? The sticks where i need must be 128mb 72-pin 60ns? And every type of these sticks that i find on ebay are suitable for the Performa?

2) Optical drive: i used to have an apple 24x scsi cd rom drive but unfortunately is off so i have installed again the apple 4x cd rom drive. I would like again a faster cd rom drive. Is 12x or 8x cd rom drives enough? I can say that almost all games run great with the 4x cd rom drive except few like Diablo where it takes some time for the loads. I remember i had a big difference with the 24x cd drom drive on this game. I would like also to check a cd recordable drive or also a dvd drive. I have read that maybe there are some heat issues. Is it better to have an external drive? I have read also that maybe there are some boot issues when the drive is not apple,

3) Graphics card: I have the Apple 8100 with 4mb of video ram installed. I use it on my Samsung Monitor in order to have more colours and bigger resolutions and i can play some games that require at least 800x600 resolution. Also i use classilla 9.3.3 for internet. Are there better video cards than this? Well, ok, i use my machine for retro gaming and it is really does not matter, especially from the moment that i have the sonnet g3 installed, the machine flies. But what about the Radius Thunder GX IV? What do you earn from this card? I have read good opinions. Can this card be connected on the sonnet nubus? Is this the best video card? Also as i know you cannot install a 3d card on Powermac 6100.

4) Peripherals: i love retro machines and i love when they are complete. What do you suggest for a nice retro scanner and printer (especially from apple)? I rarely print and scan but if i have to i would like to do these kind of things with my Performa. I would like to have the ability to print text and photos in colour, also scan in colour. I do not know the difference between the Apple Styler Writer Printer and the Apple Image Writer Printer. Regarding the Appledesign Powered speakers now. I have seen that there are two versions. Also one version has the ability to connect a subwoofer? How is their quality? I use the logitech X230 and i wouldn't want to change them with something with lower quality, Also, do you have an opinion regarding the apple quicktake cameras and the connectix quickcam?

5) If you have something else to add i would love to read it.

Thanks and Regards

Dimitris from Greece

 

Macdrone

Well-known member
If the games you use dont use any virtual memory the 128 sticks wont change anything, if you do then yes it would.  Performance will go up if the game writes to the hard drive less.

Everything else seems like your as good as that machine will allow.

 

Nathan

Well-known member
Very nice setup there! That's quite a speed and storage upgrade you have.

I've got a 6100 myself, but not quite as fancy and I use an AEK and a vga lcd.

- Sonnet G3 250 MHz (well 33x8=264).

- 136mb ram

- 12x scsi cd-rom

^ everything else is basically stock

 No experience to quote but if you can find a reasonable price on a pair of compatible 128mb sticks I'd say go for it. l

 
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Dimitris1980

Well-known member
Thank you. I really like my Performa. Especially the sonnet g3 is the best buy. I bought it only 66$ including the transportation from New Jersey to Greece. It is really difficult to find one and usually is very expensive. 

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
I haven't personally upgraded my 6100 with much more than some RAM. The main thing I want is actually one of the high performance video cards from a 7100 or 8100.  You're supposed to be able to run those in the system, but I don't know about compatibility with G3 upgrades. That's the fastest video solution for the 6100.

Is 12x or 8x cd rom drives enough
This should be fine. Anything that new will read CD-Rs and CD-RWs with no trouble and be noticeably faster than the original drive.

Are there better video cards than this?
In some situations, the 4-meg HPV cards from the 7100 and 8100 are supposed to run in the 6100. I don't remember what compatibility is like with the G3 cards, however. If the A/V card is installed that can accept 2MB of VRAM and should be a lot faster than the onboard graphics and also allow some higher resolutions and/or more color depth, depending on the configuration.

NuBus boards should work, however you'd need a 7" or smaller one. The ideal one to look for might be the dispaly card 24AC. It supports all the same resolutions and modes as the 8100/7100 HPV video card and is availalbe in a 7-inch slot. Also I believe it explicitly works in PowerPC machines. It's a toss-up as to whether a NuBus video card will be any faster than the 6100's onboard video, however.

I wouldn't bother with more RAM than you've got, I don't think any appropriate games for that hardware will use more than a hundred, let alone 20 or so megs of RAM, but if your'e using a lot of high end productivity software, database stuff or if your'e using a lot of newer stuff then it can be worth having more.)

Anything you put in and aren't getting anything out of, you can take out and move to another system later.

Have fun!

 

Dimitris1980

Well-known member
I have the apple 8100 video card  which is installed on the slot of the sonnet g3. I have installed 4mb vram. Some period I had connected both monitors. The Macintosh colour display at the port of the onboard video card and a Samsung LCD 15 inches monitor at the port of the apple 8100 video card. So I could play games that require at least 800x600 resolution or play games in bigger resolution like Civilization 2, Championship Manager or Duke Nukem 3D. It was nice,  some games before they start they were asking which monitor do you want to use. Or I could run Gobliiins with the one monitor and I could drag the file with the codes on the other in order to pass the  protection. 

Now the Samsung monitor is connected to the Performa on the apple 8100 video card and the Macintosh colour display at my LC475. I use the same keyboard and mouse for both computers which are connected via a switch with 2 positions so I can chance position depending on which computer I want to use.

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
For some reason I had parsed it all out as if you had an 8100 with that card in it, separately.

That's how I'd use it, if you already have the 8100 HPV card in the 6100. That's the fastest video configuration you can get for that machine.

You can probably find other cards that can do higher resolutions, because I believe that configuration is only good for up to 1152x870, but in my personal experience, 1152x870 is "good enough" - the only reason not to use it is if you have a bigger or newer LCD monitor, but at that point we should think about just using those monitors on newer computers. (An upgraded Beige G3 should be able to do 1600x1200 and some PCI video cards can do 1920x1200 or 1920x1080 with no trouble.)

 

Dimitris1980

Well-known member
I am really happy with this machine. Without the sonnet g3 is really slow. Monkey island 1-2, Gabriel Knight, Doom high detailed graphics,  Dark Forces high detailed graphics, King' s Quest 7 and other games run from slow to extremely slow  (some of these are made for motorola and are not suitable for the architecture of ppc, they run better on my LC475). But the powermac 6100 is a machine that although it does not have a lot of space for upgrades, you can make it lot faster. Long live the Sonnet. 

 

tanaquil

Well-known member
Sweet setup! Those KVM switches are impossible to find now for macs. If you are running both computers at the same time, does the keyboard still function when hot-switched? Do you have any trouble with soft power-on?

re: printers: for that era of computer a color StyleWriter would be period appropriate (I think? I never had a color one, only a regular one). The ImageWriters were dot matrix and were already obsolete when I bought my Classic. Scanning though I am not sure. I think of all in one printer-scanners as a USB era thing but I wasn’t an early adopter in that area. 

 

Dimitris1980

Well-known member
The switch works almost perfectly. I have turned on both computers and usually when I change position of the  switch it works. I say almost perfectly because sometimes when I change position, the keyboard and mouse don't work at all. Then I disconnect the serial cable from the switch,  i reconnect it and it works again. I bought the switch because I don't have space and I wanted to find a way to use the most computers that I have. To the left I have a powerbook 540c, below my office is a powermac g4 mdd and at the basement I have an IMac g3 in great condition and a power Macintosh g3 beige that I want to try after my vacation. The truth is that I wanted the Dr Bott moniswitch where you can connect up to 4 Macs with adb port using only one monitor, keyboard and mouse but is expensive for me. 

 

just.in.time

Well-known member
Nice setup.

My PowerMac 6100 is currently running the following:

264mhz Sonnet G3

72mb RAM (8mb onboard + 2*32mb NOS Kingston ram)

Apple AV card (2mb Video memory soldered onto card)

2gb SCSI hard drive

Stock CD-ROM

That makes for a fantastic Mac OS 8.1/8.6 machine.  Incredibly responsive.

Which brings me to my next point.  With the Sonnet adapter you can only use 3 PDS video cards (the 2mb 7100/8100 card, the 4mb 7100/8100 card, and the 2mb AV card).  It doesn't support any NuBus devices.  If you want to use a NuBus graphics card you will have to remove the Sonnet G3 upgrade and install the PDS to NuBus adapter.  Since you have the 500mhz version, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you are probably better off keeping the Sonnet over the Radius Thunder GX IV.  Especially if you are pushing your system to play Civilization 2/3, where the extra CPU speed will help with AI turns.

As to the CD-ROM, maybe find an Apple 600i.  That should be a good bit faster than the 300i and still retain boot support.  But I can't really say as I still have the stock unit in mine.

For accessories, I know apple made their Apple ColorOne Scanner lineup that was supposedly pretty good.  They generally took up a huge amount of space on a desk though.  Likewise, for printers I'd say go for a LaserWriter (huge, but high quality) or one of the earlier StyleWriter units based off the Canon Bubblejet series (small footprint, but uses ink that dries).  If you can find a SW I or SW II that uses only a black cartridge you will have an easier time finding a cartridge for it.

I had a B&W Connectix QuickCam way back in the day, it was neat but trying to find one now would be pretty tricky.  And in all practical usage, not sure what it would really be useful for at this point in time.

At any rate, sounds like you have a great system for playing Mac games that were popular around the 7.6.1 and 8.1 era :)

 

Dimitris1980

Well-known member
Thank you for the answers. They really helped me. I want my sonnet g3 installed. It is the best buy I have ever done for my Performa. The computer is fast and stable and as you say so responsive. It is really great for gaming with this configuration. The games look also great with the Macintosh colour display although I 've always wanted an audiovision display 14.

 

Nathan

Well-known member
The switch works almost perfectly. I have turned on both computers and usually when I change position of the  switch it works. I say almost perfectly because sometimes when I change position, the keyboard and mouse don't work at all. Then I disconnect the serial cable from the switch,  i reconnect it and it works again. I bought the switch because I don't have space and I wanted to find a way to use the most computers that I have. To the left I have a powerbook 540c, below my office is a powermac g4 mdd and at the basement I have an IMac g3 in great condition and a power Macintosh g3 beige that I want to try after my vacation. The truth is that I wanted the Dr Bott moniswitch where you can connect up to 4 Macs with adb port using only one monitor, keyboard and mouse but is expensive for me. 
Hopefully you are disconnecting and reconnecting the keyboard end. I have heard it's pretty easy to toast the ADB controller on some systems by hotplugging devices....

Regarding CD-ROM drives, as I mentioned before I have a 12x SCSI drive in my 6100 (not sure the model, but it is an Apple branded one). No idea how speed would affect games as I have no CD games for that era of Macintosh. I can confirm that booting a disc works fine as I used a MacOS 7.6.1 install disc to fix the OS install awhile ago (thought the drive was dead for a couple years, turned out the OS was just borked somehow and wasn't being detected or booting). It also plays music cds just fine.

Incidentally I also have the AV PDS card (7100?), minus the necessary adapter cables to use the other functions sadly. I have chosen not to have it installed, because I have no support bracket to hold the card. I don't like it just hanging off the G3. It also doesn't reach the outside of the case when plugged into the Sonnet G3's passthru slot, which necessitates the monitor cable and/or VGA adapter sticking into the computer's internals. Said configuration also adds yet more pull/pressure on the G3...

 
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Dimitris1980

Well-known member
Just an update of my setup:

Macintosh Performa 6116CD

Sonnet Nubus G3 500mhz
136mb ram
72gb hard drive
Apple 8100 video card 4mb
Apple 24x scsi cd rom drive
Macintosh Color Display Monitor M1212
Apple M3501 keyboard
Macally mouse
Monkey Island 2 mouse pad
Gravis Mac Mousestick II
Roland MT32
Roland Sound Canvas SC88
Macman Macintosh midi interface
Mac OS 8.1 and Mac OS 9.04
Logitech X230 speakers
 

MacKilRoy

Well-known member
Just an update of my setup:

Macintosh Performa 6116CD

Sonnet Nubus G3 500mhz
136mb ram
72gb hard drive
Apple 8100 video card 4mb
Apple 24x scsi cd rom drive
Macintosh Color Display Monitor M1212
Apple M3501 keyboard
Macally mouse
Monkey Island 2 mouse pad
Gravis Mac Mousestick II
Roland MT32
Roland Sound Canvas SC88
Macman Macintosh midi interface
Mac OS 8.1 and Mac OS 9.04
Logitech X230 speakers

That’s pretty cool setup. How fast does the 6100 series run with a 500mhz G3 upgrade ?
 

Dimitris1980

Well-known member
That’s pretty cool setup. How fast does the 6100 series run with a 500mhz G3 upgrade ?
I will use benchmark sometime to check. With the Sonnet G3 upgrade the Performa is literally another computer. It is very fast and responsive. Sonnet card is one of the best buys i have done for my Macs. Huge difference. Some info:

Doom 2, Heretic, Dark Forces: They run with full speed on high detail graphics
Carmageddon 1: It is really fast with 320x200 resolution and just ok with 640x480
Riven: it requires PPC 90 Mhz but it runs with great speed with the Sonnet
Some 68k games like Gabriel Knight, Police Quest 4, King's Quest 7 run very very fast.
Quest for Glory 5: a demanding game which runs very well with the Sonnet.
Championship Manage 2001: it needs resolution 800x600 but with my Apple 8100 video card, a suitable monitor, the 24x scsi cd rom drive and the Sonnet card, the game runs perfectly.
 

MacKilRoy

Well-known member
If you can use something like System Info from Norton Utilities 3.5.3, or Speedometer 3.x or MacBench 4.0 that would be great to post an image of the results, when you get time.

I’ve often wondered how well a G3 inside one of these old Macs performs.

I honestly can’t remember the performance I had when I had a PowerMac 7600 with a G3 upgrade. It was a 300mhz G3 so I imagine your 500mhz likely performs better, which is crazy to think.

Imagine if someone figured out a way to make a G3 upgrade for machines like the IIci or Quadra 700?
 
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