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"ultimate" 68k machine

What do you think?  

31 members have voted

  1. 1. What do you think?

    • Quadra 840AV
      16
    • Quadra 900 w/ 50mhz accelerator
      15


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I've been into classic (well really all) Macs for a long time and have quite an random collection of them. I've decided to build myself an "ultimate" 68k machine... i.e. the best 68k mac one could reasonably have. Here's the harder part... which configuration should I go for? The almighty Q840AV has the highest stock 040 at 40mhz, however you can get 50mhz 040 accelerator cards for the Q900, which seems like it would just nudge aside the 840AV for fastest. Built in AV features are cool but NuBus cards in the 900 can fix that (although at greater expense). Personally I like the look of the 900 more than the 840AV so coupled with the extra 10mhz I've been leaning that way...

 

What does everyone else think?

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Well, if you have a program that can take advantage of the AV's DSPs, then it wins, hands down. Any NuBus card you can put in the 900 would also be possible for the 840AV. So for native Mac use, I would definitely say the 840AV would be better.

 

Of course, if you want to run a UNIX on it, then the 900 would win. With the faster main processor with an upgrade, and the possibility of twice as much RAM as the 840AV, the 900 would be a better server.

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But wouldn't installing a video card with DSP's basically put the 900 on par with the 840AV when it came to running DSP enabled programs? (though the 900 should still win with the extra 10mhz)

Also, nearly forgot about that but I do like the idea of having twice as much RAM in the 900 as well.

The only DSP enabled program I can think of offhand is Photoshop and I have a quad core G5 to handle my Photoshop tasks. (I'm a photographer and not about to use a 68k Mac for serious PS tasks)

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They made 68040/50 Mhz accelerators for the 950 as well. There were 2 models, one with cache and one without. I have the one with cache, it blows a stock 840av out of the water. The 950 has a faster BUS (33Mhz) compared to the 900 (25mhz) so RAM access would be faster.

 

There are plenty of DSP enabled programs such as video editing apps and music apps.

 

Another plus the 950 has over the 840av is the PDS slot, you can find (a rare) accelerator with dual 68 pin SCSI connections for some serious HD speeds.

 

840av has faster Nubus slots compared to the 950, DAV slot, cheaper 72 pin SIMMs, built in DSP and A/V, and a faster stock CPU plus faster memory bus.

 

I have been messing with these machines for years, unless you specify what you need to do, you realy can't pick an ultimate 68K mac.

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For me it would be the 840AV.

 

Out of the box it's a great machine. The 900 / 950 have those awesome towers. However they are to large for me. I'll never do more with a 68K Mac than tinker on it. So loading it up with NuBUS cards is not economically viable for me.

 

The 840AV can take a reasonable amount of RAM, a video upgrade and storage upgrades. Good enough for my needs. I also love the form-factor of the tower.

 

Other people with demanding needs for high bandwidth A/V stuff might go for a fully decked out 900/950. Like Unknown_K said above me, it depends upon the intended work load.

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I agree completely with Temetka. My favorite 68k Mac is the 840av, everything I'd want to do with one is right there in a neat little mini-tower package, hooked up to a rather nice AudioVision display.

 

I'll admit that my configuration is far from "ultimate", it's got 24 megs of memory and a 1.2 gig hard disc. Although, just because it's not ultimate doesn't mean it's not really nice... it's in great overall physical condition, I've got a lot of nice boxed software for it, the cdrom drive works (the floppy doesn't work as well as it used to, but ohwell.) And I've got a nice kb/mouse, and monitor for it. Plus ethernet transceiver and the 4/600PS printer.

 

It's realistic to the times (I know because I've got it set up almost exactly how the photo teacher I got it from used it) which is one of the main reasons I like it so much.

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besides with a Thunder IV, the 900 would win. I mean there was very few programs that took advantage of the DSP

 

The built-in video on many of the Quadras is very very fast. The biggest limitation they have is that Apple limited the VRAM ceiling on several of them. Anyway, if I've ever seen a comparison, I don't remember it, but I would not be surprised to find that the Q840AV built-in video beats a Thunder IV NuBus card--at least in bandwidth intensive tests.

 

For example, in the NuBus PowerMacs, the PDS VRAM card (HPV card) beats any NuBus card for tasks that require high bandwidth, e.g. playing Marathon. While the high-end NuBus cards such as the Thunder IV GX and Villagetronic MacPicasso 340 win at processor intensive accelerated Quick Draw tasks.

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Yeah the macpicasso is smoked by the q950 onboard video in benchmarks I've done - macbench I think it was. I'd imagine the same would be true with the Thunder IV. It's nice to have both options though (photoshop acceleration, 4mb ram, other driver features).

 

I like the 950 myself - although loud, it's a mean looking monolith & much more expandable.

 

PS: I've got the same 50mhz upgrade card as unknown k.

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From memory also, a lot of those 50MHz upgrades are 40MHz chips that have tested stable with the overclock.

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... What does everyone else think?

There is a small cache of 950-ology already here to stimulate your little grey cells. One incentive to your ambition must include the knowledge that there is/was a DayStar 100MHz PDS card, as well as the Apple/DayStar 66MHz.

 

http://68kmla.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3911

http://68kmla.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3904

http://68kmla.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=2193

http://68kmla.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1623

http://68kmla.org/forums/viewtopic.php?t=503

 

de

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Daystar made a PDS 66 & 100 (I have both) and the models that have RAM slots (80mhz?). The ones with the RAM and much rarer and cost a bunch, the RAM is usable when you are in 68K mode so that helps.

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From memory also, a lot of those 50MHz upgrades are 40MHz chips that have tested stable with the overclock.

 

They (50mhz 040 upgrades) all are overclocked 40mhz chips. 40mhz was the fastest 040 ever officially produced.

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there is/was a DayStar 100MHz PDS card, as well as the Apple/DayStar 66MHz

I realize that there are faster PPC cards but I'm looking to build the "ultimate" straight up 68k machine, no PPC involved, which pretty much leaves me at a 50mhz 040 upgraded Quadra.

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I'd be interested in seeing some benchmarks from a 950 with an over clocked '040 in the PDS slot.

 

There are no CPU upgrades for the 840AV are there? I know PPC is not gonna happen, but could I theoretically stick a 50MHz '040 in it, swap oscillators and be on my way?

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