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Quadra (700, 900, 950) & Upgrades


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I am thinking of buying a quadra in the indirect future. I have a performa 6116, imac g3, powermac g4 mdd and powerbook 540c but i would like to have a motorola desktop machine for games specially for monkey island and larry era. Are these Quadra(s)  good for this purpose? What kind of upgrades do they take? I read sth about a sonnet presto accelerator. If the machine have this card installed, is it possible to boot the machine without the drivers in order to use the motorola cpu? What about the addressing mode? I really want to be able to change that from 24 to 32-bit and opposite. With the sonnet presto can you do that or not? What other upgrades can these machines do? Can you put an internal cd at Quadra 700? I know that there are also other quadras but i like the three towers (700, 900 & 950). As i see the quadra 700 is small, the 900 has a huge tower case and it is the same but more expandable and the 950 is the fastest. I like also the quadra 840av but i saw that it has only 32-bit addressing mode.

 

Thank you,

Dimitris from Greece

Edited by Dimitris1980
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Hi Dimitris

 

www.lowendmac.com is not a bad place to start for answers to such questions.

Here are the results from my experience:

 • Are these Quadra(s)  good for this purpose? Quadras were top-of-the range between 1991 and 1994. They are very good for all games that came out on and before this time range. LLS has 7 iterations that came out over a long period. To all intents and purposes, Quadras can run System 6 games superbly well, early System 7 games very well, late System 7 games well and some games games for Mac OS 8.1.

What kind of upgrades do they take? There are many Quadras: from the Performa 475 at 25Mhz (without an FPU) to the Quadra 840av running at 40MHz. I personally have a Q950 and a Performa 475 upgraded with a NewerTech Quadra Overdrive running a 40MHz 68040 at 50MHz. The Performa ran amazingly well.

 

 • I read sth about a sonnet presto accelerator. If the machine have this card installed, is it possible to boot the machine without the drivers in order to use the motorola cpu? I imagine so.

What about the addressing mode? I really want to be able to change that from 24 to 32-bit and opposite. With the sonnet presto can you do that or not? I'm not sure, but I think that the 68040 is only 32-bit.

If 24-bit is important to you, then look at the high-end 68030, like the IIfx and IIci.

 

 • What other upgrades can these machines do? Upgrades to Quadras include PPC upgrades (but why would one do that? A PPC8100/80 is far better and cheaper), replacing the 68LC040 with a full 68040 in those machines that have one, giving it lots more RAM, the Sonnet Presto and Newer upgrades, if you can find one, impressive NuBus graphics cards, SCSI NuBus cards that allow the use of faster drives and so on.

 

 • Can you put an internal cd at Quadra 700? No. You need a Q900, Q950 or Q840AV. An LC or Q630 also has a CD-ROM. Why not get an external SCSI one?

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ArmorAlley,

 

thank your for your time and for your answer. I do care for the 24-bit addressing mode because of the adventure game 'Rex Nebular' which it cannot be run with 32-bit addressing mode and it is one of my favourites. Unfortunately it doesn't run on my performa 6116 and my powerbook 540c (there is not an option at the memory panel). I checked these machines on apple support and it says that these quadras have both addressing modes. So if i obtain one of these machines i would like to make it faster and better :). My performa 6116 is great with the sonnet nubus and the macintosh color display, lots of games look and run greatly but i would love to have also a motorola desktop.

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No internal CD in the 700. Quadra's can be pricey to find. You need to stay at System 7.5.5 or lower to have the option for 24-bit addressing. The 900 and 950 hold more RAM than the 700. Upgrades...stay with the '040 and make sure you've got a cache card. If you want a PPC upgrade, just buy a PPC machine, the 601 upgrade card isn't that great.

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I agree on many points. The PPC 601 upgrade is not good to put into most Quadras.

 

24/32 bit addressing becomes an issue for some older software that can only run on pre System 7.5 machines. I've only run into a few things that are not important to run on a "high powered machine" like some games. In fact,  some games are awful to play on a "high powered machine" because they run too fast and become unplayable.

 

If you are getting a "high powered Mac" like a Q475 to Q950, get a "low powered Mac" like an LC III if you do not have one to keep certain software going that wont run the Quadras. For me that would be Comic Works, a great little program to daw comics with but it wont work on anything on System 7.5 and/or PowerPC.

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  • 3 weeks later...

A Quadra with a PPC upgrade is going to cost too much. Better to go with a 7100 or 8100 machine as they haven't really caught on with collectors yet. The soldered in 601 combined with the inability to run OS X even with a G3 upgrade makes many people avoid them like the plague. The later PCI Powermacs manage to steal most of their thunder since you can take them so much farther than the Nubus machines. I built a Quadra/PPC machine when the parts were still available and cheap, but if I had to do it again today I'd just put a 7100 motherboard in my IIvx case. 

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If you'd like a compact machine, the Quadra 605 variants (Q605, LC475 or 476, Performa 475, 476) are great.   While the stock speed is 25Mhz (as fast as the Q700) they can easily be upgraded to 33 MHz and taken to 40 MHz with somewhat more trouble.  Also, with a 128MB SIMM, their memory can go to 132MB or almost twice what the Q700 will do.    The Q700 has more Video RAM (larger monitors and/or more color depth) and two NuBus slots and ethernet built in.  The Q605 has an LC-style PDS slot.  Neither has room for a CD-ROM drive.

 

A Q700 logic board will fit into a Centris or Quadra 650 case.   Then you could have an internal CDROM drive.   I think a 7100 case will work as well, but I'm not sure if the rear slots line up properly.    The rear ports on the Q700 and Q650 match up properly, if I remember correctly.  Of course, that wouldn't give you a tower.  

 

I bet that the Q700 logic board will fit in the Q800 case as well, because the Q800 logic board is identical to the Q650 logic board.  So if the Q700 replaces the Q650 and the Q650 and Q800 are identical, the Q700 should fit into the space where the Q800 was...

 

So, if you want a tower, and don't want something as big (and rare) as a Q900/950, perhaps the thing to get is a Q800 and install a Q700 logic board (assuming the Q800/650 won't do 24 bit addressing).

 

ArmorAlley:  Seriously, you got your Q605 to 50 MHz???    Did you have to replace the MC88916 or MC88920?  Did you use the DW70 or DW80 variant if you did.  What speed VRAM did you go with?

Edited by trag
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ArmorAlley:  Seriously, you got your Q605 to 50 MHz???    Did you have to replace the MC88916 or MC88920?  Did you use the DW70 or DW80 variant if you did.  What speed VRAM did you go with?

 

 

The QuadDoublers and Quadra Overdrives double-clock the m68040, so a 25 MHz machine runs the motherboard at 25 MHz all the time and the CPU simply runs at 50 MHz only when the CPU releases the bus. This makes it so it doesn't really run at the full 50 MHz all the time, but enough time considering how much stuff can be run in the two 4K caches.

 

I haven't figured out a way to close the case when adding any sort of QuadDoubler to a Quadra 605, but one will fit with a good copper heat sink in a 1U case. The same holds true for adding 256 megs to a Quadra 605.

 

They're flexible little machines, for sure.

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Hi trag et al.

 

I'll have to submit photos of my pride-and-joy. I'll also submit names of the individual components with them.

I'm not sure about the speed of the RAM. It's a 128MB SIMM taken from a Sun Cobalt server. The processor is from NewerTech and it is a 40MHz 68040 chipped up to 50MHz and it goes by the name of Quadra OverDrive. It requires no drivers and no modifications. It sits in the CPU slot where the 68LC040 was. Uniserver recapped the mobo for me after I lost internal SCSI and I also got a PSU with a higher output from him. In the meantime, I got a 2-floppy LC case from CompuNurd and I put a SCSI MO in the place of the HD. It is now my AppleShare 4 server and the HD is a 72GB SCA drive running externally in its own case.

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Hi trag et al.

 

I'll have to submit photos of my pride-and-joy. I'll also submit names of the individual components with them.

I'm not sure about the speed of the RAM. It's a 128MB SIMM taken from a Sun Cobalt server. The processor is from NewerTech and it is a 40MHz 68040 chipped up to 50MHz and it goes by the name of Quadra OverDrive. It requires no drivers and no modifications. It sits in the CPU slot where the 68LC040 was. Uniserver recapped the mobo for me after I lost internal SCSI and I also got a PSU with a higher output from him. In the meantime, I got a 2-floppy LC case from CompuNurd and I put a SCSI MO in the place of the HD. It is now my AppleShare 4 server and the HD is a 72GB SCA drive running externally in its own case.

 

Looking forward to the info, ArmorAlley.  One minor correction.   I am not curious about the RAM.  I am curious about the VRAM.  All of the 128MB SIMMs I've seen are 60ns or faster, so there's no real question of those working.   However, in the case of VRAM, I've seen reports that slower VRAM modules may not work when clock chipping the Q605 (and relatives) above 33 MHz.   One gets dead or funky video, thinks  the clock chipping didn't work right, but it's the slow VRAM causing the issue.

 

However, it sounds like your upgrade may not drive the rest of the system at a faster speed, just the CPU, so these may not be relevant questions.

Edited by trag
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trag: ArmorAlley's Quadra 605 isn't overclocked - the motherboard runs at the stock 25 MHz and only the CPU runs at 50 MHz by way of the Quadra Overdrive, so there wouldn't be any issues with VRAM.

 

I've overclocked many Quadra 605s to 40 MHz, but because I typically don't have monitors, 832x624 at black and white is fine. Some of the issues I've seen are resolutions not working at all, the picture getting cut off 40 or 50 pixels from the right side, higher color depths causing loss of sync and so on. It can be quite interesting!

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trag: ArmorAlley's Quadra 605 isn't overclocked - the motherboard runs at the stock 25 MHz and only the CPU runs at 50 MHz by way of the Quadra Overdrive, so there wouldn't be any issues with VRAM.

 

I've overclocked many Quadra 605s to 40 MHz, but because I typically don't have monitors, 832x624 at black and white is fine. Some of the issues I've seen are resolutions not working at all, the picture getting cut off 40 or 50 pixels from the right side, higher color depths causing loss of sync and so on. It can be quite interesting!

 

Thank you for the clarification John.   Any idea what speed VRAM is needed to guarantee proper operation at 40 MHz?  I think I read that 80ns would do the trick, but my memory is hazy.

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Hi Trag + Johnklos,

 

It's funny that you mention the VRAM. The one bother I do have with my upgraded system is with video. I can only get 640x480 now. I have two 512K Apple VRAM SIMMS in there. It doesn't bother me much, because its function is for games (like Marathon) and to act as server. I had to replace the 1600x1200 monitor it was driving with a 1024x768 one. I had suspected the cables and VGA adapter until this.

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trag: There are a few ways to get to 40 MHz. The simplest, which is to add a 20 MHz crystal oscillator, seems to work best regardless of VRAM, plus I've seen instances where even faster VRAM doesn't make a difference. Sometimes it's just something on the motherboard which doesn't want to run faster.

 

For reference, this is how I've done most of them:

http://mail-index.netbsd.org/port-mac68k/2002/05/31/0006.html

 

And here's the site that had the original information (from archive.org):

https://web.archive.org/web/20040715065245/http://gabezing.sytes.net/LC475-40Mhz-E.html

 

I've also tried the non-oscillator speedup, but have had more variations in measured speed and more video issues. Here it is for reference:

http://www.applefool.com/clockchipping/q605_40.html

 

 

ArmorAlley: Yes, it's most likely your VGA adapter. Try a different one. I can get 1152x870 at 256 colors with generic adapters and 512K VRAM SIMMs.

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trag: There are a few ways to get to 40 MHz. The simplest, which is to add a 20 MHz crystal oscillator, seems to work best regardless of VRAM, plus I've seen instances where even faster VRAM doesn't make a difference. Sometimes it's just something on the motherboard which doesn't want to run faster.

 

For reference, this is how I've done most of them:

http://mail-index.netbsd.org/port-mac68k/2002/05/31/0006.html

 

Thank you, John.  I'll have to remember this thread for when I have time to look at the Q605s again.   There were two or three 40MHz speed ups posted on Marc Schrier's site at one time or another.  I don't remember which one I used any more, except  that I did  install the faster clock buffer chip, (MC88916?).  

 

I've done the 33MHz before without issues.  I have some 20MHz oscillators kicking around somewhere.  I'll have to give that method a try.

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