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jupo

PCI cards for PM5500?

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So, I have a 5500/225 that I decided to bling out with all the ports, because why not. External video out, AV in, and the TV tuner are all on the way for pretty darn cheap. I have a CS ethernet card, so that's already taken care of. But after that, I still have the right angle PCI slot staring me in the face. What's the best use for PCI on a 5500? I imagine there aren't any video cards that would have a way to use the internal monitor. Is USB the only real expansion that would have been useful on these?

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FireWire/USB Card, but there are only two cards that are compatible: Sonnet Tempo (First model) & OrangeLink (Original model)

 

These cards use a patch to allow the machine to see them, all other FW/USB cards wont work sadly. 

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USB comes in mighty handy, you could also try a Voodoo 2 PCI card for games

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Yeah for some reason a number of PCI cards don't like the Gazelle-based Macs, or sometimes even the Alchemy or Tanzania, all of which share the same (or nearly so) TI-produced processor-to-PCI/memory controller chip (PSX or PSX+, depending on the model). This chip has to provide all of the byte-swapping of going from PCI's little endian to 60x's big endian* byte format, and it has to operate asynchronously (the processor bus runs at 50MHz in the 5500, while PCI is 33MHz, so it's not only a different speed but also not at a common multiple). It's understandable that very complex cards, such as those multi-function USB/FW/Enet boards featuring PCI-PCI bridges, may be a little wonky in such a situation. Bigger machines based on the Bandit PCI controller don't have quite so many problems, possibly because they are dedicated PCI controllers and don't do double-duty as the memory controller. But then, G3 and later machines based on the MPC106 or Apple's UniNorth often play nice with the bridge-containing cards and those chips are multi-function devices. Maybe Apple just didn't engineer the PSX very well and/or they cut corners to reduce costs since these were supposed to be consumer-oriented machines.

 

Long story short: it's a lot of trial and error (mostly error) trying to get a multi-function PCI card to work in a PSX-based Mac. See the TAM threads for more info on what cards have been tested.

 

*The 60x is bi-endian but Apple only ever used big endian mode.

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