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Dimitris1980

SSD for Powermac G3 beige minitower

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I would like to ask if an sdd can be installed in a powermac g3 beige minitower, what card is needed for the connection and if is it possible to install and run classic mac os. 

 

Thank you 

Dimitris ftom Greece 

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Yes. You could either use an SCSI2SD (probably a bit slower than a G3 could take advantage of), an IDE to mSATA/m.2 or SATA converter, or get a SATA card and use any normal SATA SSD.

 

Mac OS 9 should install and run on any of those things just fine.

 

I don't know if this is universal, but on some SSDs I've seen people have more success if they format below the actual stated capacity of the drive, I don't know if that was a machine quirk with someone's PowerTower Pro or if it was an issue with how HFS+ partitioning works in 7/8/9 or what, but it's something to try if you get it set up and it looks like it doesn't work.

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Hi Dimitris,

 

 I have an IDE-SD converter and I boot my PM G3 MT from it. I have a SATA card (flashed SIL 3112, I think) in my B&W G3 and that boots from a SATA SSD, so I don't really see why you couldn't boot your PM G3 MT from a SATA SSD.

 

 Send Bolle a PM and see if he has any of the flashed SATA left. He had some a while back.

 

All the best,

aa

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I'd recommend a PCI SATA card. They're very cheap (around €10 with free shipping from China), should work with the older Mac OSes, and work in these old Macs. I also think they allow you to bypass the partition size limit. A SIL3114 card, once flashed in a PC, will work in place of a SIL3112 card, as the 3112 cards have disappeared in favour of the 3114 cards, but only two of the four SATA connectors seem to work. Not a worry if you only install a single SSD, of course.

 

Just look on eBay for "SIL3114 PCI", and find the cheapest. But again, you will need a PC with a PCI slot to flash it following this guide: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/guide-to-flashing-pc-sil3112-sata-cards-for-mac.1690231

Edited by Daniël Oosterhuis

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You won’t be able to boot from a drive connected to one of those flashed cards though.

If you want a bootable card you have to solder on a new flash chip and flash the Firmtek/Sonnet firmware instead.

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24 minutes ago, Bolle said:

You won’t be able to boot from a drive connected to one of those flashed cards though.

If you want a bootable card you have to solder on a new flash chip and flash the Firmtek/Sonnet firmware instead.

Really? I boot my MDD off of a SIL3112 card just fine...

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2 hours ago, Dimitris1980 said:

So, which adapter is the most economic?

 

Economically with the best performance, I'd say a second-hand mSATA SSD 30GB+ with an IDE to mSATA adapter, depending on the adapter you'll probably also need a 2.5" to 3.5" IDE adapter to connect to your beige G3.  Go for an mSATA brand such as Intel or Samsung.  I'm converting as many of my later PPC Macs to mSATA SSDs as I possibly can, one by one - bang for buck it's the best option.

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The IDE bus on the Beige G3 is 16.6MBs, any old junky SSD will saturate that. Save the faster SSD for machines that can make use of them. Personally I would just use a newer IDE drive from the scrap pile.

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Yes, but when you can do SSD for cheap, saturating the bus on any lowly Mac to make it as fast as possible, with good reliability is the way to go over a dicey older mechanical drive.  Last conversion I did was putting an Intel 80GB mSATA SSD in my TAM; the mSATA drive cost AUD $30 used on eBay, and the enclosure < $5 from eBay HK.  I've a pile of 2.5" IDE 40/80/120GB drives as spare, but when the price is this good I'll keep going.

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I had gone the IDE-CF route for a lot of my IDE-based machines. Any opinions on why this might ultimately have been a mistake? I’m contemplating moving the IDE-mSATA route at some stage...

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3 hours ago, LazarusNine said:

I had gone the IDE-CF route for a lot of my IDE-based machines. Any opinions on why this might ultimately have been a mistake? I’m contemplating moving the IDE-mSATA route at some stage...

High capacity CF cards are crazy expensive. I just checked a popular Dutch techsite that aggregates prices from webstores for tech products, a 256GB CF card is €212... Just for reference, a Samsung EVO 850 1TB mSATA at the cheapest is €199... €13 cheaper and four times the storage.

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7 hours ago, LazarusNine said:

I had gone the IDE-CF route for a lot of my IDE-based machines. Any opinions on why this might ultimately have been a mistake? I’m contemplating moving the IDE-mSATA route at some stage...

 

No issues, but CF to IDE is best used in earlier Macs in my opinion, with virtual memory off as CF are potentially more prone to wear than a normal SSD.  CF are also not available in shops anymore near me, so if I had the choice (and knew it worked), I'd now go much cheaper SD for slower 68K/PPC Macs, and step it up to mSATA in later models.  I'm running down to only a few 3.5" IDE drives spare now, most are mid-00 era and I couldn't say they'd be too reliable.  Do have some cherry picked 7200.8 Seagate drives I'm putting in my 9600 at the moment, think they'd be great.

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8 hours ago, Daniël Oosterhuis said:

High capacity CF cards are crazy expensive. I just checked a popular Dutch techsite that aggregates prices from webstores for tech products, a 256GB CF card is €212... Just for reference, a Samsung EVO 850 1TB mSATA at the cheapest is €199... €13 cheaper and four times the storage.

Interesting. I’ve always just opted for lower capacity CF cards for system files and most applications. 32GB is plenty of room for a lot of OS 9 apps and files. If necessary, I can then expand to external drives where necessary on ‘newer’ Macs like the MDD.

2 hours ago, Byrd said:

 

No issues, but CF to IDE is best used in earlier Macs in my opinion, with virtual memory off as CF are potentially more prone to wear than a normal SSD.  CF are also not available in shops anymore near me, so if I had the choice (and knew it worked), I'd now go much cheaper SD for slower 68K/PPC Macs, and step it up to mSATA in later models.  I'm running down to only a few 3.5" IDE drives spare now, most are mid-00 era and I couldn't say they'd be too reliable.  Do have some cherry picked 7200.8 Seagate drives I'm putting in my 9600 at the moment, think they'd be great.

Your first point about the possible wearing of CF cards due to excessive read/write cycles is definitely something I’ve wondered about. I use CF cards in my G3 laptops, G4 MDD and, if I’m remembering correctly, one of my desktops. Maybe the Performa 630 or was it the G3 desktop (can’t remember if the latter is IDE). Anyway, turning off VM is a good shout. I’ve always left it on, but it’s potentially doing more harm than good. I think one of my laptops - possibly the G3 iBook is running off an SD card, actually. It was a bit more fiddly to set up and get recognised by Drive Setup or whatever it’s called. That’s probably because it was a cheap converter bought off eBay, though.

 

On a side note, and unrelated to the OP’s question, I do wish there was a cheaper alternative to SCSI2SD for SCSI Macs. I relied heavily on Max1zzz’s terminated SCA converters and older server drives, but one or two of those are not playing nice at the moment. A relatively inexpensive SCSI2SATA would be most welcome!

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To add: for performance reasons, I tend to recommend against turning off virtual memory in any PowerPC-based Mac. Helpfully, I've never actually sat down and tested it, so if the general concensus is either (and, I've forgotten the technical reason) that the SSD's speed and random r/w performance negates the problems with turning off virtual memory, then it's a fine option.

 

The other option is to just have enough memory not to hit virtual memory option, since if I remember correctly in 7/8/9 it won't hit virtual memory until you actually fill main memory. Another option, of course, is to just buy a new and good enough card to be able to avoid this problem.

 

Anything old enough for CF to be a very reasonable choice on, you won't need a 256gb card. The sweet spot is probably 32GB cards which you can use fully in at least 7.6.1 or newer on supported machines. If you've got anything older than that then you'll either have to deal with many partitions or you'll want an older card.

 

Given the cheap nature of SD cards, that's less of an issue (and, sizes like 8GB are still readily available, at least in the US, often for under $10 for good brands at retail, meaning you can walk over to your nearest gas station or grocery store and buy another SD card for your scsi2sd) - and there's of course no moral problem with just not usng some capacity. I'm currently using just 256 megs of a 30-gig card in my Apple IIgs.

 

I have been meaning to, but have yet to actually, test SCSI2SD v5, v6 and a SATA card against the stock hard disk in my Power Macintosh G3@300. Unfortunately, due to upcoming travel and the fact that I've had this intention for the better part of a year, it'll be "A While" before this actually happens.

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The beige G3 has a 66mhz BUS and I think the RAM only runs at PC-66 (PC-100 works fine also but at 66 speeds). Bandwidth for PC66 is 533 MBs compared to the ATA interface of 16Mbs max. So using a SSD as vitual memory isn't going to help speeds compared to just maxing out the RAM to 768MB which for OS 9 is more then enough to not need VM.

 

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There was a different issue with virtual memory on PowerPC Macs -- "don't disable virtual memory, in general" applies even on sytems with much slower disks. (Or, perhaps, chiefly there, I'd have to look.)

 

There's a handfull of tasks where it's recommended, but that's true of everything on Classic Mac OS, all the way back to the system 6 and 7 days, advice to do x and such thing (usually disable something) then reboot and do a particular task, then reenable that thing and reboot. All manner of things fall under that particular advice.

 

So, obviously nothing outright bad will happen if you turn off VM, but it won't help save any writes if you have enough RAM anyway and (I'll have to look it up, it's late etc etc) could cause some other disadvantage.

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OK, found it (re-asked the person who knows for sure):

 

If you disable virtual memory, the system's MMU is disabled. When that happens:

  1. Every program you launch needs to be 100% loaded from disk when you launch that program, which could cause program launches to take longer, particularly applications which are themselves large. The impact of this will vary based on the speed of the disk or network volume the application file resides on
  2. The other thing that will happen is all applications will instantly take up their maximum possible RAM allocation, which even in 768, if you're running 9-era stuff, especially anything creative, could have a big impact.

 

In newer versions of 8 and 9, you can look at Get Info for any given application to view what an app will take when launched. I believe (but can't confirm at the moment) that it'll show you what the allocation will be.

 

These penalties are there and as such I personally recommend against ever disabling VM in Classic Mac OS on PPC. (these limitations do not apply to 68k) In a system with, as you say, enough RAM, you'll never actually hit the disk when paging anyway.

 

Now, again, if you're largely single-tasking or running older 7-era software, have a lot of RAM, and you choose a faster disk option (like a SATA SSD connected to a SATA card) then the impact might not be that bad. As far as the speed of launching applications go, that'll depend on what type of connection you use and how good the media you get is and how fast the bus you connect it to is. I.e. if you plan on disabling VM, using the IDE bus (or the built-in SCSI bus) is the worst case scenario.

 

So, that's what that is.

 

The other-other thing to consider is that in situations involving "real" SSD media (mSATA/m.2 SSDs, SATA SSDs, certain very high end SD cards) wear leveling and other technology is good enough that the risk of damaging the drive from even fairly heavy swapping activity (for example: OS X with low RAM) is very very minimal.

 

But the good news, because nothing is entirely infallible, is that just because you got an SSD doesn't mean you stopped running backups, amirite?

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RAM Doubler on systems with limited physical RAM for Mac OS < 8.1 is a good work around, but I believe the improvements to virtual memory in Mac OS 8.6+ and above negate the need to use it.

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Just casually though I recently popped a SCSI2SD v6 with a Samsung Evo "Select" card in my beige g3, because it feelsl ike the beige has gotten less reliable. It is "fine" -- it's a bit better at actually booting when first asked with the SCSI2SD, so I suspect the original 8GB Quantum disk is dying. I'm not super surprised about this, given I've encountered another dead Quantum disk (4GB) from a beige G3 desktop and after discussing it in #68kMLA.

 

I've got MacBench 4 on hand and I intended to do a full bench of the disk in the SCSI2SD but the machine crashes during the publishing benchmark, so I'm chalking it up to some of the oddly specific things the machine does at that point.

 

Anyway, I have a newer Maxtor 40GB IDE disk which I formatted in a firewire case the other day, so tentatively my plan is to put that in, restore the contents of the old disk to it, and then MacBench that, as well, to see where these things lie.

 

I've got a slightly higher spec SanDisk SD card I might try, and I also have a SCSI2SD v5 I've been meaning to try.

 

I realize among the most expensive options for this particular machine, but in general the SCSI2SD v6, paired with a good SD card gets a vote of confidence from me.

On 11/22/2018 at 4:39 AM, sstaylor said:

without the downside of hitting the HD all the time.

Apple's own VM implementation does not do this. VM on Classic Mac OS never has. If the hard disk is being hit, it's because the machine is out of real memory. In my experience, this is true as far back as 7.6.1 (which is the oldest I usually run, personally, and is the minimum I'll run on any given PPC.

 

68k Macs, notably, are different because they have physical PMMU chips or on-CPU circuitry and can handle some of the more advanced memory management stuff without having VM turned on.

 

If you have enough RAM to turn off VM, you should probably leave it on anyway, your RAM will go further and your apps will launch faster.

 

If you don't have enough RAM to turn off VM, consider whether you are picking appropriate software and tasks for the machine you have. Mac OS 9 and a bunch of 2000-2003 software won't run well in anything less than 128MB of RAM. Mac OS 8 and a bunch of 1996-1998 software won't run well in any less than about 24 megs of RAM, for example.

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I have a Sandisk 16 GB Extreme Pro CF card in my Color Classic Mystic.    I read some place that if you format a CF card and do not use all of it (say, format a 16 GB CF as three 4GBs partitions), the CF will last longer.  It has something to do with buffering the read/write area.  My Mystic is not my daily driver, but I do use it allot.  I think it will be fine for quite some time.
 
You can buy standard CF cards.  You can pay a little more money and buy a Ultra.  You can pay even more money and buy a Extreme.  And if money is falling out of your pocket, you can buy the Extreme Pro. I think I paid less then $30 for the 16 GB Extreme Pro.
 
 
They have a limited lifetime warranty.  The demands I make on this card are far, far less then a photographer shooting 30 fps, or capturing 4K video. 
 
mraroid

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On 11/4/2018 at 10:57 AM, Cory5412 said:

I don't know if this is universal, but on some SSDs I've seen people have more success if they format below the actual stated capacity of the drive, I don't know if that was a machine quirk with someone's PowerTower Pro or if it was an issue with how HFS+ partitioning works in 7/8/9 or what, but it's something to try if you get it set up and it looks like it doesn't work.

I can second that Cory.  I first learned about this when a buddy was trying to bring back a Windows 95 machine.  It was running some old, outdated software he needed for a old video camera.  He was advised to format under the size of the CF to make the CF last longer.  So I do not believe it is Mac specific.  It seems to be a trick to give more life to a CF card.  I can not say for sure that this trick works on SD cards, but I would think so.  Same probably holds true for a standard SSD....

 

But wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to just install a modern solid state hard drive in a G3 beige?  About all one would need would be a simple adapter like this:

 

https://www.amazon.com/HDE-Computer-Drive-Interface-Adapter/dp/B008X8NK0I/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1549057209&amp;sr=8-9&amp;keywords=SATA%2Bto%2BATA&amp;th=1

 

or this:

 

https://www.amazon.com/Parallel-DVD-ROM-Interface-Convert-Adapter/dp/B0089F7KWY/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1549057209&amp;sr=8-3&amp;keywords=SATA+to+ATA

 

Thoughts?

 

mraroid

 

 

 

 

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IDE to SATA adapters work well. I use them in all sorts of machines, and I even use them with SCSI to IDE adapters. IDE to SATA adapters generally run at up to 133 MB/sec, and with a modern SSD, everything feels very fast. I have yet to find any issues with SSDs on older machines, even Quadras or VAXstations.

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TL;DR: Storage is complicated and there are a lot of factors, and I do think that there's no "one perfect solution" - there's easy solutions, complicated solutions, slow solutions, fast solutions, and cheap solutions and expensive solutions to almost any situation or problem.

21 hours ago, mraroid said:

He was advised to format under the size of the CF to make the CF last longer

 

Most CF cards don't do wear leveling in this way. Some "real" SSDs do, but they ship with that over-provisioning in their firmware. A 180GB SSD might have, for example, 186GB of actual NAND flash and firmware will switch to some of the reserved capacity when sectors begin to go bad.

 

I don't believe I've ever heard that intentionally short-stroking an SSD using partitioning will do anything helpful. In the case I mentioned, I think it was a reporting error between the SSD's "written on the object" capacity and the way Mac System 7/8/9 was detecting the drive.

 

21 hours ago, mraroid said:

But wouldn't it be easier and cheaper to just install a modern solid state hard drive in a G3 beige?

It depends.

 

If you've got a good CF/IDE adapter, a Beige is probably a good system to use it in, especially if you have "enough" RAM or you're in the habit of disabling VM. (I have not had a lot of time to put effort into researching that.)

 

Modern "real SSDs" are designed with wear leveling explicitly for use cases like frequent swapping and applications like Atom-derived text editors and almost all modern web browsers, which save data to the disk constantly for various reasons. Very little Mac OS 9 software does this.

 

That said: If you've got some kind of write-heavy use case, it may be worth evaluating whether multiple disks (boot SSD + data HDD, for example) or a higher end SSD would be a better solution. Video almost always benefits from having multiple drives, for example.

 

Another factor of the Beige G3 specifically, compared to some other hot-roddable systems is that it's got fewer PCI slots than most of them do, and so it's really up to the individual's judgment whether an IDE to SATA adapter or a SCSI device like the SCSI2SD v6, or a SATA card or much-faster SCSI/IDE card is the best use of the machine's slots and space.

 

12 hours ago, johnklos said:

IDE to SATA adapters work well.

I'm happy to hear this! To supplement the SATA cards I plan on putting in vtools, I've picked up a "starter" SATA to IDE converter. For convenience' sake, I'll probably get one of these for my Beige eventually as well.

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