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PowerCenter 150 CPU Upgrade - Dual Processor?

legodude

New member
Hi All,
I recently picked up a PowerCenter 150. I have a strange compulsion to acquire dual processor machines from the 90s - Sun Ultra 2, Pentium Pro, BeBox (gone, sad), SGI Octane (looking for a dual CPU module). I'm less familiar with 604-era PowerMacs and clones. I know the 9500 and 9600 had dual processor models, as did several of the clone manufactures, and my understanding is that this was accomplished with dual processor modules in most of these machines.

Does anyone know if the PowerCenter 150 will take a dual processor card? This machine looks to be based on the Catalyst architecture. I can't find much in the way of information related to this topic. The following document suggests that it is not supported, but not necessarily that it won't work...

https://cdn.preterhuman.net/texts/computing/PowerComputing_manuals/PowerSpecificationSheet.pdf

A related question - are the dual processor boards in demand? They seem rare, but from my limited searching, it seems that the faster G3/G4 upgrade cards are more sought-after.

thanks
mike
 

CircuitBored

Well-known member
As I understand it, only Power Center cards will work in the Power Center 150. So no multi-processing, sorry.

Multiprocessor cards tend to be limited to whichever system they were designed for. Umax, Daystar, and PowerComputing all came up with their own bespoke MP hardware but they shared the same Daystar nPower extensions for the somewhat janky software implementation.

Multiprocessing pre-OS X is rather odd. "Old World" Macs with multiple processors cannot natively run apps in parallel. Instead, there existed a handful of applications (e.g. Photoshop) that can take advantage of the extra silicon, sometimes to great effect. That said, you see a much greater boost in performance across the board (and a huge drop in power consumption) by opting for a G3 or a G4.

ISTR that there are actually a few niche circumstances where a dual 604e wins out over a single G3 but it's not significant enough to be worth it.

I may be approximating this a tad but, on Old World systems with multiple CPUs, the chips are essentially multiplexed, i.e. they share a connection to the bus and must wait their turn to access data from it. I don't think this was the case with the dual-processor G4 systems but will happily be corrected on that. I think that dual-G4s can actually do quasi-multitasking in OS 9 for select things like networking transfers and formatting disks but may be conflating memories there.

In short, multiprocessor cards are desirable for collectors and niche apps but singular fast G3 and G4 cards are better for everyday use and thus more desirable overall.
 

legodude

New member
Thanks for the reply. I did see one mention about PowerCenter-only processor boards, but really can't find any clear documentation and the form factor seems similar to other Old World machines...
I am remiss in not mentioning that my plan for this system involves BeOS in addition to MacOS...

mike
 
Last edited:

ArmorAlley

Well-known member
Hi All,
I recently picked up a PowerCenter 150. I have a strange compulsion to acquire dual processor machines from the 90s - Sun Ultra 2, Pentium Pro, BeBox (gone, sad), SGI Octane (looking for a dual CPU module). I'm less familiar with 604-era PowerMacs and clones. I know the 9500 and 9600 had dual processor models, as did several of the clone manufactures, and my understanding is that this was accomplished with dual processor modules in most of these machines.

Does anyone know if the PowerCenter 150 will take a dual processor card? This machine looks to be based on the Catalyst architecture. I can't find much in the way of information related to this topic. The following document suggests that it is not supported, but not necessarily that it won't work...

https://cdn.preterhuman.net/texts/computing/PowerComputing_manuals/PowerSpecificationSheet.pdf

A related question - are the dual processor boards in demand? They seem rare, but from my limited searching, it seems that the faster G3/G4 upgrade cards are more sought-after.

thanks
mike
You should have a look at the Radius Rocket NuBus card. It was essentially a 68040 computer within a mac with NuBus slots (Mac II or Quadra). It's not SMP but it did allow two processors to be used by a user simultaneously back in the early 1990s albeit for different tasks.
 

Ortho'sDeli

Active member
If it's a Catalyst machine, it shouldn't have an issue taking the MP card. You'll almost certainly need to install the extension for whichever one it is, but beyond that it should work.

From everything I see, these do not have NuBus slots, so the Rocket will not work at all.
 

absurd_engineering

Well-known member
Hi All,
I recently picked up a PowerCenter 150. I have a strange compulsion to acquire dual processor machines from the 90s - Sun Ultra 2, Pentium Pro, BeBox (gone, sad), SGI Octane (looking for a dual CPU module). I'm less familiar with 604-era PowerMacs and clones. I know the 9500 and 9600 had dual processor models, as did several of the clone manufactures, and my understanding is that this was accomplished with dual processor modules in most of these machines.

Does anyone know if the PowerCenter 150 will take a dual processor card? This machine looks to be based on the Catalyst architecture. I can't find much in the way of information related to this topic. The following document suggests that it is not supported, but not necessarily that it won't work...

https://cdn.preterhuman.net/texts/computing/PowerComputing_manuals/PowerSpecificationSheet.pdf

A related question - are the dual processor boards in demand? They seem rare, but from my limited searching, it seems that the faster G3/G4 upgrade cards are more sought-after.

thanks
mike
I believe any 604/604e dual processor CPU card should work. The PowerCenter and PowerCenter Pro are quite forgiving.
 

absurd_engineering

Well-known member
You should have a look at the Radius Rocket NuBus card. It was essentially a 68040 computer within a mac with NuBus slots (Mac II or Quadra). It's not SMP but it did allow two processors to be used by a user simultaneously back in the early 1990s albeit for different tasks.
These are PCI Power Macs, they do not have NuBus slots (and a Radius Rocket would be comically underpowered compared even to the stock single CPU 604 and 604e cards these machines shipped with).
 
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