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EvieSigma

Is the 800/840 really that bad to work on?

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I mean, there's nothing wrong with it, but I just don't understand why people want twice the price of a IIci for a 040 IIci in a slightly modified case.

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Get the best of both worlds... stuff a 650 logic board in a 700 case. tada!

 

Find tedhodges on here... he had a ton of those 650's.

 

Here it is:

https://68kmla.org/forums/index.php?/topic/27688-fs-centrisquadra-650s/?hl=quadra

 

While we're piling on the 800/8500's... how about those pci card retainer tabs??? lol smh.

Edited by MJ313

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Yea, I snapped a few of those PCI card retainers on an 8500 (ended up needing a new case after I snapped the start button). Add 9500's to that list as well.

 

I stuck a 650 motherboard in a IIvx case (same as the 650/7100 case).

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My 68K Mac of choice is an 840AV - not because I sought one out, but because somebody gave me one and it nudged everything else out of the way for obvious reasons.

 

There is good and bad to be said about the case. Yes, you have to remove the logic board to install memory or replace the battery, but there is an upside in that the logic board is very easy to remove. All of the connectors (except for the 840AV's composite video jacks) are lined up on the top edge with the cables kept in place by the chassis, so they are easy to unplug, and after that you just have to remove the power button and one screw to slide it out. Compare many other period machines or even modern PCs, where removing the logic board requires hunting down cables all over the place if not gutting most of the case.

 

I see many mentions of the Quadra 650 (which I also have) as a friendlier alternative, but it is not without its own faults. To access the logic board, you have to remove the drive cage and the power supply. Getting the power supply back into place properly after doing this can be touchy, and if you have a CD drive installed, plugging the drive data and power cables back in can be a challenge because they are under the drives themselves, and not all of the cables are long enough to be plugged in with the drive cage out of the way (without a CD drive installed, there is enough space between the drives and the power supply to reach in and plug them in with the cage in place). The cage itself is made of cut steel and requires the usual PC case caution to avoid drawing blood.

 

That being said, the issues with brittle plastic are all completely true, and I share Gorgonops' disdain for "the little tabs along the bottom of the case" that very easily snag the cover as you slide it on and off. All of that plastic makes the insides friendlier to fingers, but it also makes the machine very delicate, which is why I take the 650 on the road and leave the 840AV at home. I don't feel like the 650 is all that easier to work on, but it is vastly more durable because it is mostly made of metal.

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I see many mentions of the Quadra 650 (which I also have) as a friendlier alternative, but it is not without its own faults.

 

To be clearer, probably wouldn't really argue that the 650 is that much "friendlier" to work on, outside the utter horror of getting the outer shell of the other case on and off, but if you're used to working inside of a PC its construction is at least more... straightforward? As I mentioned earlier it really reminds me of something like a early 90's Dell 486, like the Optiplex /L series: it's neater and better thought out than a standard, generic, "dump an AT motherboard into a box and stuff cards and cables at random" machine but it also doesn't try particularly hard to be innovative or "tool-less". Thus by not trying too hard it has the virtues of sturdiness and simplicity the 800 lacks.

Edited by Gorgonops

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Count me lucky so far then. I have an 8100 I picked up locally awhile back, it doesnt have 1 ounce of broken plastic on it. Yet... And I already have taken it apart once to put a Sonnet card in it, and it never chimed. So I had to put the stock CPU back in it, I eventually shelved it. 

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if you're used to working inside of a PC its construction is at least more... straightforward?

That's fair. I was never really a PC person so it doesn't feel inherently more straightforward to me, but its simplicity does make it very sturdy. Each design has its advantages. While it's nice that the 840AV doesn't require removing any major components other than the cover to get to the logic board, the aged plastic and those awful snagging metal tabs on the floor are annoying.

 

Count me lucky so far then. I have an 8100 I picked up locally awhile back, it doesnt have 1 ounce of broken plastic on it. Yet...

So far I have lost a couple of the thin NuBus slot tabs and way too many of the hooks that drive bezels attach to the front case with. I've bought a few replacements, but eventually they became unavailable, and my CD bezel is now glued on.

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Although it remains one of the easiest Macs to open and work on ever, I did want to mention that I pulled my blue-and-white G3 out today and realized that in comparison with my 840av, it has a lot more broken plastics. The top back handle has come off, the latch handle has broken, several of the plastic internal standoffs holding the outer case panels sturdily in place have fallen off, and I'm sure there are other bits missing.

 

Fabulously easy to work on, horrifyingly badly aged plastics.

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I remember speaking with an Apple engineer back when the 800/840 were more or less current, and complaining about the difficulty in servicing those machines.  The engineer looked chagrined and said something like "yeah, we learned a lot with that one".  Which, fair enough I guess they did, and they innovated to make each succeeding generation far easier to work on until the return of Jobs at which time other considerations apparently took precedence.

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Jobs did oversee the blue-and-white G3, the Power Macintosh G4 family, and the Power Macintosh G5, along with the original Mac Pro. It took over ten years for any kind of idea of unexpandable/unmaintainable Macs to truly take hold.

 

I think that what happened is that in the years between the 800/840 and today, the need for things like DSP photoshop accelerators and add-in networking cards and dedicated video compression cards has been reduced a lot as GPUs have been able to stand in for those things, reducing the need to fill a bunch of slots with specialized hardware.

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Although it remains one of the easiest Macs to open and work on ever, I did want to mention that I pulled my blue-and-white G3 out today and realized that in comparison with my 840av, it has a lot more broken plastics. The top back handle has come off, the latch handle has broken, several of the plastic internal standoffs holding the outer case panels sturdily in place have fallen off, and I'm sure there are other bits missing.

 

Fabulously easy to work on, horrifyingly badly aged plastics.

I don't have a problem with the plastics on the B&W G3 or the G4 towers made after. My first B&W was free because somebody let it fall off a table and broke a handle. While the handle was easy to replace the aluminum frame was slightly twisted and it is noticeable if you look (door plastic cover is slightly out of alignment towards the rear).

 

If I drop my working 840av from a 3 foot height I would expect plastic shrapnel all over.

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The top/back handle on mine has always been broken, I think that it was dropped when it was first shipped to me, which was in like... 2004. I don't think that the metal is bent on it, fortunately, I just never got around to replacing the handle.

 

The newer breaks are all things that happened even though it hasn't been dropped or even jostled too hard of late. It's not unusably bad but I've seen a few bits of plastic fall off and so far, there are more breaks on the B&W than the 840 I've got.

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Could be the plastics was cracked when the handle broke and just fall apart now with use.

 

Not sure what's worse, scratches on G3/G4 towers or scratches on black PC cases, can't really get rid of them.

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The correct answer is scratches and scuffs on the G5 case! I spent over an hour on mine and gave up when the scuffs wouldn't buff out with what I had on hand.

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Yea, some of my G5 towers have scratches but they don't bug me as much (or just blend in better).

 

Scratches on LCD panel screens are the WORST (or maybe white pressure spots).

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Agreed, I've gotten very lucky in that regard. Only LCD issue I have is a Toshiba with an incredibly bad screen, even by passive matrix standards.

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My G3's handle was busted when I got it. We're pretty sure it happened that way in shipping, started the process, but ended up giving up because it was going to be a lot more effort than to just deal with it. I ended up just taking it off. That was in 2004. Those handles shouldn't have given up the ghost with just five years of "normal use" -- the system was dropped. If I had to make a totally wild guess.

 

The door handle, maybe that was from use? I forget exactly when it happened but it was a lot more recent, that handle always seemed pretty sturdy.

 

Of late, it's the plastic bits that get used internally to coordinate opening the machine breaking off.

 

I'm generally fine with scuffs, and to be honest, the problems I've had with plastics have been more or less exclusively retaining clips and things like that.

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The 650/800 has a couple of notable advantages over the 900 & 950, if you can live without the extra 3 Nubus slots (2 really, considering the 9x0 needs a video card).  They're somewhat faster, and use 72 pin RAM - far easier and cheaper to find, and larger in capacity, than 30 pin RAM.
 
LEM says:
 

The Quadra 800 introduced a higher speed SCSI bus as well as accelerated internal video. It also uses interleaved memory to squeeze out about 10% more performance.
 
By using faster memory and interleaving, the Quadra 800 outperformed the Quadra 950, according to the Macworld review.


If you don't want to have to mess around with SCSI disks, consider the 630 or one of its many variants* with internal IDE (and external SCSI).

LEM's Options for 040s is a decent guide to choosing a machine and what to put on it or in it, though being a 16 year old article, you can pretty much ignore anything in there about prices and availability.

* Quadra 630: Performa 630->638, 640, 640DOS: LC 630, 630DOS

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To make it even better, the 900 and 950 only have five NuBus slots, so with the addition of a video card, you're only really up one slot from the 800/650.

 

The biggest advantages are really the additional capacity for internal disk bays and the 256 megabytes of RAM. There's a place for them, but not a particularly big one.

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900/950 have built in video just like the 800/840av/650 so if you need a better video card you still have 4 empty slots in a 900/950 compared to 2 in an 800/840av/650.

 

The 950 series has the rare 5 drive tray + cdrom  + floppy. Without that special tray you can have floppy + cdrom + 2 drives internally (parity with the 800/840av).

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So it's not that dire. Although realistically, for most general purpose needs, the Macintosh Color Display 16 was probably enough, and any Quadra could comfortably run that display. Some LCs with enough VRAM could drive the MCD16 as well, if needed.

 

The 5-drive cage for the 900/950/95 is intriguing, but I can think of very few situations where that would be specifically important today. Neat, but I don't think it's important for the average 68k Mac enthusiast to have.

 

It is definitely a step above the rest of the 68ks, but I personally struggle to think of a situation where I would need, say, the storage prowess or the above and beyond RAM capacity of a 950, but wouldn't benefit from just moving forward to like an 8100/110 (which I believe can also run 256MB of RAM) or an x500/x600.

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