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quadra 630 owners - question re: serial port performance


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#1 supernova777

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 01:14 PM

hey there guys

as many are aware there is the known issue that some early/mid 90s macs

can have problems with the serial port communications; (such as the performa 5x00 series)

 

im just wondering, can anyone confirm for me that the quadra 630's serial ports

function on the same level of fantastic as other 68k macs 

 

just because this is the sole reason for my interest in downgrading my performa 5200CD,

to achieve a better result with MIDI performance over serial.. as it is my Opcode 64XTC is unable to 

stay synched as long as its connected to the Performa 5200CD's serial port (modem). it errors out then oms complains it cant see the interface any longer, and then if i power cycle the 64xtc interface again, it will see it again, but it has some type of intermittant problem, im guessing this is due to the serial port not being able to maintain a 1mhz connection (or whatever speed it is working at?)

 

it is of course a documented shortcoming of the performa 

http://lowendmac.com.../performa-5200/

THIS page lists it as a problem specifically to do with "hardware handshaking"

 

im not sure of all the specifics

i just want to make sure whether or not the Quadra 630 is afflicted with the same malperformance..

because the parts are almost identical except for the cpu being powerpc vs 68040.

(the real quadra 630, not the LC models that came with 68040LC chip)


aka chrisNova777 | http://www.oldschooldaw.com- legacy MIDI sequencing / DAW Software info etc


#2 Themk

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 01:49 PM

The only difference between the real Quadra 630, and the performa and LC models with the 68LC040 CPU is just the CPU, they both have the same serial hardware.

 

Yes, the serial hardware works well on the Quarda 630.

 

because the parts are almost identical except for the cpu being powerpc vs 68040.

Not completely identical, there are a few differences.


Macintosh SE SuperDrive, Macintosh SE/30, Apple IIgs ROM3, ImageWriterBanger II.

Currently building the amazing 68040! Performa (Quadra??!!) 638CD gets 40MHz full '040 [;)] , Ethernet, 136MB RAM, AV input card, and maybe something else. Should have performance comparable to the Quadra 840av when done! (A/UX doesn't work, but I still like this little guy right here: [:P] )


#3 Cory5412

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 01:58 PM

It would be interesting to see this tested. Perhaps something worth doing for someone might be to put a 630 on a Localtalk network and put a QuickTake on the other port and see if that works as well as it does on other 68k Macs.

 

Connecting to MIDI devices sounds like it would be another good test. You're really testing two different things with those two tests.

 

In the LT/QT test, you're testing overall performance and system responsiveness while doing things. In the MIDI test, since MIDI doesn't need a lot in terms of performance you're really testing to see whether the needed hardware is there and functions.

 

I would personally be completely unsurprised to find out that the 630 has similar issues to the 6200 family in that regard, because as mentioned, the way the 6200 was built was to put a PPC chip on the 630 platform, which due to compromises in the way the 630 platform was designed, turned out to have poor performance.

 

If a 5200/6200 doesn't have hardware handshaking, I would say there is a strong possibility that the 630 and 580 don't either.

 

Ultimately, you may need to find a better system on which to do your MIDI work. Back in the day, you wouldn't really use a performa for this kind of thing. You'd have been looking for one of the real Quadra or Power Macintosh systems.



#4 Themk

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 02:53 PM

630 *does* have hardware handshaking, I've tried it myself!


Macintosh SE SuperDrive, Macintosh SE/30, Apple IIgs ROM3, ImageWriterBanger II.

Currently building the amazing 68040! Performa (Quadra??!!) 638CD gets 40MHz full '040 [;)] , Ethernet, 136MB RAM, AV input card, and maybe something else. Should have performance comparable to the Quadra 840av when done! (A/UX doesn't work, but I still like this little guy right here: [:P] )


#5 supernova777

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 02:57 PM

http://www.oldschool...hp?topic=3361.0

 

the article posted here is what gave me reason to believe that it might not..

because it explicitly states that a large group of macs from a specific time period (july 1993 - november 1994)could not accomplish this task

 

im not sure if serial handshaking was totally not possible at all.. or if it was not possible with APPLETALK enabled..

or if it was not possible with a certain speed link (1Mhz required by multiport MIDI Interfaces such as the MIDI Timepiece or Opcode Studio interface series)

 

also i should post this (april 1998) article aswell:

http://lowendmac.com...ial-throughput/

 

which had some input on my thinking aswell


Edited by supernova777, 24 July 2017 - 03:15 PM.

aka chrisNova777 | http://www.oldschooldaw.com- legacy MIDI sequencing / DAW Software info etc


#6 Trash80toHP_Mini

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 02:58 PM

HEH! You just beat me to it, I did a quick check of specs on everymac and LEM and neither mentions a lack of hardware handshaking. I ran a CAM setup off that port after I yanked the useless modem and installed a NIC in the CS Slot. That pretty much fixes the Quadra 630's few I/O foibles.

 

I would personally be completely unsurprised to find out that the 630 has similar issues to the 6200 family in that regard, because as mentioned, the way the 6200 was built was to put a PPC chip on the 630 platform, which due to compromises in the way the 630 platform was designed, turned out to have poor performance.

 

I would, Apple borked the entire I/O system of the Quadra 630 in the process of integrating a PPC upgrade card at the system board level. Add hardware handshaking into that convoluted mess and it would likely grind the entire system down to a screeching halt.

 

I've been wondering if someone might benchmark a 33MHz Quadra with PPC Upgrade Card against the RoadApple board. I'll bet dimes to doughnuts that the RoadApple board leaves the Quadra/PPC upgrade combo eating its dust because of its tighter system integration. Could be wrong, but I really doubt it. Looked at that way, the RoadApple's might not seem as limited given their unambiguous rock-bottom consumer/education market pricing segmentation.


jt [8]
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#7 supernova777

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 03:07 PM

right !! 

they did a s**t job of implementing the ppc chip into their existing architecture.. and killed off some features in the process

my estimate was that the serial port problems were a DIRECT RESULT of the fact that they werent able to translate everything from 68k to PPC and the serial communications were originally programmed in native 68k code;

so what they did when they started to transition to the powerpc cpu was they did the job as well as they could + kinda faked the rest! (LOL!) so that it looked polished on the outside but really they werent 100% done in the transition

and the serial communications suffered as a result.

 

the powerpc chip was definately at the heart of it..

probably had alot to do with why they implemented IDE hard drive instead of SCSI aswell.. 

 

but... if this is true, downgrading to the 68k quadra 630 motherboard would give someone like me fully functioning serial ports

enough talk! i just have to get a quadra 630 board + try it out 

 

i have a few mid-90s versions of Opcode's Vision that id like to try to run on this old hunk of junk

 

opcode vision v2.08 (1995)

opcode studio vision v3.06 (1996)

 

also MOTU Performer was a huge standard of composers in the 80s/90s

Performer v5.5 (1996)

Digital Performer v1.71 (1996)

Performer v6.01 (1997)


Edited by supernova777, 24 July 2017 - 03:17 PM.

aka chrisNova777 | http://www.oldschooldaw.com- legacy MIDI sequencing / DAW Software info etc


#8 Themk

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 03:12 PM

probably had alot to do with why they implemented IDE hard drive instead of SCSI aswell..

ATA was on the Quadra 630 board too, and is right on! The performance can give SCSI a run for it's money (SCSI as implemented by Apple at least, we're not going to talk about the FWB Jackhammer 16-bit wide SCSI card [;)]). Be thankful for the fact that you can toss in any old ATA HDD (Like I have, I have an 80GB unit in there right now!), and have all that space to store your music! :sleepy:


Edited by Themk, 24 July 2017 - 03:15 PM.

Macintosh SE SuperDrive, Macintosh SE/30, Apple IIgs ROM3, ImageWriterBanger II.

Currently building the amazing 68040! Performa (Quadra??!!) 638CD gets 40MHz full '040 [;)] , Ethernet, 136MB RAM, AV input card, and maybe something else. Should have performance comparable to the Quadra 840av when done! (A/UX doesn't work, but I still like this little guy right here: [:P] )


#9 Trash80toHP_Mini

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 03:26 PM

Interesting linkage to the Apple TechNote there. Determining which ASICs were problematic in order to sort questions like this out by checking the DevNote on any particular Mac would be handy.It

 

As that post notes, it wasn't just the Mac. IIRC the same kind of thing was going on with WinModems at the time. Processor speeds outstripped useful I/O before PCI hit the streets on both platforms, so idiocies like the "Software MoDem" had their day in the dark.

 

I got a PAS16 for the LC Slot in order to get the breakout box for my NuBus version. Is that considered MIDI? It's nothing like the SAII, but it's a pretty neat little bit of kit.


jt [8]
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#10 Trash80toHP_Mini

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 03:35 PM

the powerpc chip was definately at the heart of it..

probably had alot to do with why they implemented IDE hard drive instead of SCSI aswell.. 

 

but... if this is true, downgrading to the 68k quadra 630 motherboard would give someone like me fully functioning serial ports

enough talk! i just have to get a quadra 630 board + try it out.)

 

First, the 630 board would be an upgrade. [;)]

 

Second, it's doubtful the IDE implementation had any impact. As far as System I/O goes, it's a SCSI device, most everything but the floppy drive wound up being addressed via the existing SCSI I/O infrastructure.


jt [8]
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#11 Cory5412

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 04:47 PM

Are there PPC upgrades available for the 630? It could be interesting to see the relative performance of that vs, say, a 6200/75.

 

One question for OP: the article you linked and you wrote in your post that appletalk activity impacts serial performance. Is AppleTalk on on your system? What if you turn it off? That could fix this problem on the 5200 board you're using, because as has been mentioned, MIDI is nearly trivial in terms of interconnect needs and CPU horsepower needs. Perhaps this is an issue of needing to pull the modem out of the 5200 board (if it has one) for the serial ports to work better.

 

If you're running a bunch of software from 1995 and newer, it's reasonable to expect that it should work on PPC macs, but admittedly, the vendor would have been targeting 7000 series and above.

 

A 630 board might be the wrong change in this case.



#12 supernova777

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 05:05 PM

the appletalk being on while recording/playing midi always gives a warning whenever u launch midi programs on this system/os/mid90s apps vision/performer/oms/freemidi etc

 

this was a (fact) universal thing in the mid 90s for all doing MIDI on mac + all diff system 7 os versions as it impacts performance level

but doesnt totally screw it up  (like disabling /interfering with the serial ports hardware handshaking)

that was something that was either there or not there, in the hardware (fact) i believe

and some say that the 5200cd was lacking this because the 5200cd was a "Road Apple" shit mac

but really its because of the way they sucked at transitioning from 68k to PPC (i think, my opinion based on what ive read)


Edited by supernova777, 24 July 2017 - 05:06 PM.

aka chrisNova777 | http://www.oldschooldaw.com- legacy MIDI sequencing / DAW Software info etc


#13 Cory5412

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 05:22 PM

Worth noting: the 6100/7100/8100 likely don't have this problem, and are going to be the machines this software vendor would be targeting.

 

If the software recommends turning off appletalk, it could be worth doing even if it doesn't impact other tasks that don't need timing critical access to the serial ports.

 

The thing that's worth noting is that the 5200 and 6200 were incredibly inexpensive for what they were, when they were, and their target market was never going to be the same as the 6100/7100. It's well known that Apple made a bad choice in the way they added PPC to that particular platform, but it's not a show stopper for things people would have used them to do.

 

The 5200 is a low end computer, and it's unsuited to this particular task because of a compromise Apple made to get it to such a low price, but Apple didn't build the 5200 as a MIDI sequencing system, so indicting it for its poor performance at that task is unfair at best.

 

Anyway, the LEM profile says that the serial ports don't support hardware handshaking, and if that's what you need, then you should get a board that has it. I recommend a 6100, 7100, 8100, 7200, 7500, etc, as they're contemporary to the software you're listing and should have the necessary functionality in their serial ports.



#14 supernova777

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 06:31 PM

yes as the LEM profile says quite plainly for all to see, they nerfed the ports on the 5200

 

the whole point of the thread is.. are they also nerfed on the Q630???????????

according to themk the answer is NO! 

im hoping to hear a few more NO's for confirmation :)


aka chrisNova777 | http://www.oldschooldaw.com- legacy MIDI sequencing / DAW Software info etc


#15 Trash80toHP_Mini

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 06:53 PM

Not definitive, but I'm all but certain I ran the 56k Portable PowerBook modem successfully on the Quadra 630 in a lifetime long, long ago in a Metropolis far, far away.

 

ISTR there's a Pop-n-Swap CPU type upgrade for LCIII slot compatibles like 605/630 variants. Testing one in a Quadra 630 against the 5200 board so see how un-hobbled the PPC chip became when placed smack dab on the intersection of the I/O buses on the system board rather than on an "Upgrade" Card.

 

I always found the 6290CD to be perfectly useful within its limitations. I'm not easy to please when it comes to I/O compromises. However it was the rug rat's A/V HomeWorkStation, running a scanner and PPC code very nicely after the 68040 in the 630 was left behind. Even sop, it wasn't a 5200, it was the second gen RoadApple series with 100MHz CPU. Didn't use it as much as I had the 630 because by then I had the Duo 2300c Docked up under a TPD in the Master Bedroom.

 

I'd say putting a 630 board of any kind in your 5200 would be a no-brainer. Get the DOS compatible version with two DIMM Slots and dual platform playtime possibilities. [;)]


Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini, 24 July 2017 - 06:54 PM.

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#16 Cory5412

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 09:49 PM

There's a PPC upgrade card for 040 Macs with LCPDS slots.

 

It upgrades the machines initially to a 66MHz 601 and a later version has a 100MHz chip in it. It runs at 50MHz in the 25MHz systems, which could be an interesting further point of comparison for somebody with, say, both a 475 or 605 and a 575 or 630.

 

It's a little bit of a different bird because you'll get a 601, not a 603 out of it, but it could be worth the comparison anyway.

 

Of course, I think that there's a point at which just having a 6100 or a 7100 is a better use of your time, so it kind of depends on if someone's in it to "get a particular task done" or "have fun for a little while experimenting with different configurations."

 

In the line of thought of just trying things out: I'm still a little interested, perhaps it got said somewhere and I missed it, whether or not this task was tried with AppleTalk turned off, or if the absolute hard line is "hardware handshaking" and the software won't even try if it detects that's not there.



#17 supernova777

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 10:36 PM

i wish i could post a video

i have SVP4.51 running on my performa 5200CD on system 7.5.5 right now

its running ok i could show the MIDI performing somewhat accurately at 360bpm (just to make it work) and its looping playing a sequence of notes..

works great for overdubbing notes on other tracks while its playing. etc

its only working because i think im using an interface that doesnt run at 1Mhz

im using an Opcode Studio 3 interface, which is from 1989

maybe its working because i turned off appletalk.. it wasnt working before..

NOW this interface seems to work, but BEFORE when i tried the other interface..
the 64XTC had problems straight away which resulted in the lights flashing on + off on the interface itself 

so its very clear that something is not right there

 

but its always like this with the performa 5200CD.. sometimes it works.. sometiems it doesnt.. so it does "Work" but not 100%


Edited by supernova777, 24 July 2017 - 10:38 PM.

aka chrisNova777 | http://www.oldschooldaw.com- legacy MIDI sequencing / DAW Software info etc


#18 supernova777

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Posted 24 July 2017 - 10:44 PM

I'd say putting a 630 board of any kind in your 5200 would be a no-brainer. Get the DOS compatible version with two DIMM Slots and dual platform playtime possibilities. [ :wink:]

 

that would be pretty interesting actually, 

two dimm slots would mean it would be possible to get higher than 36MB installed correct?

 

the reason i havent done this upgrade/downgrade is because i think as soon as i get it ill just want

a vintage nubus mac, to be able to use other nubus audio equipment.

 

I would love to get a II/IIx/IIfx with 6 nubus slots :) but i dont want to spend too much and those machines dont work with IDE drives.......

which was another reason this was so economical of an option

 

i will probably end up doing both.. finding a Quadra630 board is the first step in accomplishing both tho :wink:

not sure id be able to find one that has 2 mem slots + a DOS compatibility card though.. i think thats pushing my luck,

ill leave that one to the hardcore mac-lover fan boys :)


Edited by supernova777, 24 July 2017 - 10:47 PM.

aka chrisNova777 | http://www.oldschooldaw.com- legacy MIDI sequencing / DAW Software info etc


#19 Trash80toHP_Mini

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 02:26 AM

It's a little bit of a different bird because you'll get a 601, not a 603 out of it, but it could be worth the comparison anyway.

 

Of course, I think that there's a point at which just having a 6100 or a 7100 is a better use of your time, so it kind of depends on if someone's in it to "get a particular task done" or "have fun for a little while experimenting with different configurations."

 

That's about what I thought. Upgrades topped out at OS8.whatever depending and the very first RoadApples were compatible up through OS9.1, so that's one point in their favor.

 

I'm just curious about how much better the RoadApple PPCs were than upgrading an existing Quadra, given the price points they hit. I've only ever used the second generation 100MHz variety. That one was given to me by a friend from NYMUG and went into the kid's room. I held on using the 2300c to run any PPC only apps I needed until I got the 6360 refurb and started saving up for its G3 card.

 

I did have a 52xx that I used as a VHS server for a while, but never actually did anything other than that on it. But that was pretty darn slick for a consumer level machine in that blighted twilight of the Quadra to PCI Mac transition. The NuBus PPC era was pretty darn awful in its own way. If I weren't so enamored of the Radius 81/110 I don't think I'd be upset to have none of the x100 machines at all.

 

I hope somebody has that upgrade card to test a Quadra 630/PPC against a RoadApplePPC. [}:)]


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#20 Cory5412

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Posted 25 July 2017 - 01:44 PM

If you already had an existing Quadra, it probably made a huge amount of sense to upgrade it, financially, even if it was going ot end up slower than a 6200 or slower than a particularly fast 7100 or 8100.

 

The cheapest of the x200 PPCs I can think of off hand is around $1900 for the Power Macintosh 5200/75LC, which was a pretty bare-bones configuration, basically meant to be sold to educational institutions that already had licensing for software. (So: not exactly a performa bundle.)

 

I'm sure there was either a performa variant or a 6200 variant for a little less -- possibly good if you were upgrading your own Mac and a 6200 fit the bill as a "letter writing and grolier's encyclopedia machine for the kids" when paired with, say, the old 13-inch color monitor from the IIci you would be shedding. Looking at MacWorlds/MacUsers from the era could be instructive on this, but I would bet that there was probably something around the $1,699 price point.

 

If you had a 475/605, you likely paid somewhere between $980 and $1,499 or so for it in 1993-1994. A 610 was $1449 in a pretty baseline config in 1993, so if a PPC upgrade card to get you to a 50-66MHz CPU was $500 you were saving a third of the cost of a new machine. On the other hand, depending on what you already had with, you weren't also getting the 15-inch multi-scan display, a modem or new printer, a new copy of ClarisWorks, the newest encyclopedia, and so on, so there's a possibility that people who really did want the performa bundle would do better waiting for that, specifically.

 

Plus, Internet connectivity even in 1995 basically consisted of dialing in, fetching the mail and the news out of a few AOL or eWorld channels you picked, then perusing it at your leisure offline. It wouldn't be until a few years later that this wasn't a viable Internet workflow, because really, this is what I did even on my iMac, in like 2002. I'd hop online, fetch my mail, and then hop offline and peruse it later when I had time. A lot of this is because at the time you didn't have more than a few megs of mail storage quota, so the possibility of your email inbox filling up was varyingly mildly to very real.

 

(As an aside: at around this time, maybe a year or two later in like 1996-1997, SyQuest had built a cheap version of one of its big cartridge storage systems for Windows PCs. It used the parallel port, so it was exceedingly slow, but it strikes me as the perfect place to do periodic backup and archiving of different datasets and it always seemed like a bummer to me that that particular system didn't come to Mac. Of course if you look up reviews and posts about it from the time, it was quite problematic, a lot more problematic than zip would be until a few years down the line when the zip click of death started happening.)






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