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jwse30

New 8600/300 Owner Questions

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I found a PowerMac 8600 on Facebook Marketplace and picked it up yesterday. When I got it home I opened it up did a brief dusting (more to make sure none of it was sticking to capacitor goo), made sure the battery wasn't exploded, reseated the RAM, etc.

 

When I plugged it in and pressed the power button on the keyboard it fired right up. Previous owner used it in a graphics design studio and had a ton of software on it, so System 9.1 was very bloated. It looks like the machine was last used in 2007, according to the dates on some of the files. I plugged a cat 5 cable into it and backed up the hard drive. I had to do a clean install of 9.1 and backup the existing system file afterward as there was a file that wouldn't copy before. Played around a bit with it after that, and it is definitely zippier than my only other pre G3 PPC, which is a Powerbook 1400.

 

Anyhow, I couldn't find anything online during a very brief search about these machines needing capacitors replaced. Some of the ones on the board look very similar to ones I see on my SE/30, so I am guessing they do need to be replaced. Am I on the right track?

 

Also, it looks like RAM for this machine has become very difficult to find. About 20 years ago I owned a 7300, and RAM was plentiful, with the 16M sticks being throw away items. IIRC I paid $20 for a 128M DIMM back then. This machine has 160M in it right now, with two 16m and 2 64m sticks. I think they were even installed correctly to allow for interleaving. What kind of RAM am I looking for? The specs are pretty confusing to me with FPM and EDO, etc. Near as I can tell, I am looking for 168 pin, 5v, edo, 60ns. Anything else I need to know, or am I wrong on any or all of that? The RAM in it ought to keep me happy for a while, but there's empty slots in there! If I stumble across something that may work, I want to fill those slots.

 

Finally, it looks like there is a mounting bracket on the bottom of the case for two more hard drives. I have an extra 4Gig SCSI drive that I would like to install in this machine some day. The motherboard has 2 SCSI busses, one fast and one slow. The fast one is what everything in the upper bays is hooked to, with the slow being unused. There is a mess of ribbon cable and power connectors in that bay section, but it doesn't appear to be a good way to leave there. There are a few "hooks" by the handle you use to swing the bays out of the way of the motherboard. Are those meant to hold the ribbon cable and power cable? is there typically a cable included in there to get to the bottom of the case? If not, is there a cable set I should be looking for?

 

It's doubtful anyone made it past that volley of questions and is still reading this, so I'll quit for now. Thanks in advance for any advice!

 

J White

 

 

 

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Nice machine - I'm yet to see any compelling need to replace capacitors on 1997+ Macs unless they're had a hard life and show visible signs of leakage.  In other words, don't replace just for the sake of it.

 

RAM: 5V DIMMs used to be super cheap a couple of years ago but are thinning on the ground - I'd look out for a second hand job lot on eBay and chuck in as much as you can, matched and interleaved.  It's initially confusing to work out what RAM goes where, refer to the 8600/9600 service manual.

 

HDs: the black plastic tray on the bottom of the case can take 2 x 3.5" HDs, but cabling isn't neat - better though if you have a PCI IDE or SATA card with cables running to the bottom, and a molex extention cable which make it look neat.  Keep everything in the upper bays if you can, note the 3.5" HD mounting region above the PSU as well.  Cooling will be much better in the upper trays.  The 'hooks' weren't used for cables - my 9650/350 had cables snaking through the small oblong shaped hole in the bottom of the upper tray.

Edited by Byrd

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23 hours ago, jwse30 said:

The motherboard has 2 SCSI busses, one fast and one slow. The fast one is what everything in the upper bays is hooked to, with the slow being unused. There is a mess of ribbon cable and power connectors in that bay section, but it doesn't appear to be a good way to leave there. There are a few "hooks" by the handle you use to swing the bays out of the way of the motherboard. Are those meant to hold the ribbon cable and power cable? is there typically a cable included in there to get to the bottom of the case? If not, is there a cable set I should be looking for?

The slow SCSI bus is connected to the external port as well, so as to be compatible with most cabling without issues. Those hooks stabilize the CPU daughtercard when the case is closed, so don't route cables there or you'll pinch them/stress the CPU & logic board. Those bottom bays didn't have factory cabling in my experience, but they may have in the Workgroup server configurations, which included a 40MB/s 68-pin Jackhammer PCI card. You could also use a SATA or IDE PCI add-in to utilize the bays that way, but if you found an adequate SCSI cable you could route all the bays to your internal 20MB/s fast SCSI too.

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Thank you both for responding, especially about those hooks that hold the daughtercard in place. I'd have made a mess with my cabling for sure. I did not notice the extra drive bays above the power supply. Next time I open it, I will take a gander and hopefully install a hard drive up there.

 

I bought a 10/100 ethernet card, even though I think I have all the big data transfers done now. It was $10 shipped, so why not?

 

A person was giving away some 8m DIMMs that ought to work with this machine, so those will up the RAM to 192 meg.

 

Thanks again,

 

J White

 

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You can still find Adaptec PCI SCSI cards with 68 pin connectors pretty cheap. 

 

I have a small stash of Powermac RAM laying around that used to get installed on machines when I got them to test them out (8/16MB I think they were). The 32MB and larger DIMMs are more harder to find these days plus you have the ones used on old PCs to weed out. A search of the forum here should find thread stating the type of RAM you need.

 

8600's are very nice machines.

 

 

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