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Conquest: Powermac 9600


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Scored a 350Mhz 9600 over the weekend on ebay for £50. Has 2 4GB SCSI drives, 512MB RAM and zip, cd and floppy as standard.

 

Quite pleased with myself, although I did bid more than I originally intended. But I'd had the thing in my watch list for the whole week and had slowly convinced myself of the essential nature of this purchase. ;)

 

So, my retro setup now consists of my expanded Performa 460 and this 9600. I'm going to keep up the 460 project, still plenty to do in getting that system as epic as possible and will do likewise with the PowerMac. I'm thinking USB, Firewire and IDE boards are going to be my first purchases. Already got my eye on a G3 500Mhz Sonnet board too. Will look to max the RAM. Any other suggestions? What can I do with the video card, are there other options to the standard one?

 

Happy days. Pictures will follow when the package arrives!

 

S

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There are various ATi Radeons or Rage cards to pick from on the GPU front.

 

These are most likely the most expandable Mac's that will ever exist really (9x00). Nice find! Nice thing about the 9600 is how the case is not 100% made of brittle Spindler Plastic.

Mac OS 7.6 will be hyper-warp speed on an upgraded 9x00. I would give it a try before OS 8 or 9, just for fun.

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The 9600 is such a beast, and probably the most expandable Mac ever (Quadra 950 close second). I've found suitable upgrades come up real cheap on eBay from time to time (eg. accelerators, RAM, video cards), if you take your time looking out. Last upgrade for my 9600/350 was the full gamut of RAM (and more!), coming out to under $5 a stick.

 

A suitable video card is a PC ATI Radeon 7000 (flash it yourself), or I've seen the Mac Edition 9200s kicking around too. Even cheaper, a 3dfx Voodoo 3000 PCI card (again flash it yourself), good for games. A Mac compatible IDE/SATA card is also a must, and any generic PCI USB 1.1 card will probably work fine too. I'd hold out for a G4 accelerator card, the Sonnet ones come up from time to time (I've a 1Ghz G4 in mine which cost ~ $80 a couple of years ago).

 

JB

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A suitable video card is a PC ATI Radeon 7000 (flash it yourself)

Are you sure about reflashed units? I never tested an original mac firmware one but a reflashed 7000 I own worked in the PowerMac G3 but was not detected at all in my 9600.

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Yes, I've used two different PCI PC-flashed Radeon 7000s in my 9600. I think the 7000 is a good card to flash as most are of reference design.

 

The 9600 is picky about card placement; I recall the MACH-V based variant is even pickier. It takes some shuffling of cards to get things right sometimes. IIRC the top slot is bus-mastered and takes highest priority, so best for ATA/SATA/SCSI cards, and then the video card, next up things like FW/USB/lesser cards.

 

JB

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Think of the Radeon 7000 as an "enhanced" Rage 128, but running almost as cool. 2D is the same, but 3D stuff/games is definately snappier. I think with the ATI control panel installed it also has some DVD/MPEG hardware decoding support under OS 8/9. The AGP Radeon 7500 is a good cheap upgrade for the G4 Cube, provided you put a fan on it or have some nearby airflow.

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Yes, I've used two different PCI PC-flashed Radeon 7000s in my 9600. I think the 7000 is a good card to flash as most are of reference design.

 

I flashed scores of PCI R7000s made by Sapphire and they all worked just like an ATI built unit, but with twice the VRAM.

 

However, on the ones I flashed, I physically removed the 25P05 serial flash chip and replaced it with the larger capacity 25P10 serial flash which the Mac firmware needs. I think a lot of the folks who flashed those kept the 25P05 and used a hacked/reduced version of the R7000 Firmware which squeezed into the smaller flash and probably didn't work as well.

 

The 9600 is picky about card placement; I recall the MACH-V based variant is even pickier. It takes some shuffling of cards to get things right sometimes. IIRC the top slot is bus-mastered and takes highest priority, so best for ATA/SATA/SCSI cards, and then the video card, next up things like FW/USB/lesser cards.

 

[NITPICK]I know that bus mastering canard has been quoted at xlr8yourmac.com and propagated from there, but it just isn't true. Or rather, it is true, but not relevant.

 

All the PCI slots in any Mac are bus mastering slots. Every last one of them.

 

There are two possible reasons (and perhaps other undocumented ones) why a PCI card might work best in the first slot.

 

1) The firmware for the cards is loaded at boot time in order. Being in the first slot means that your firmware gets loaded first. This shouldn't matter, but it might.

 

2) A specific way in which #1 matters is that (IIRC, this is documented in Apple's PCI slot materials) block transactions (I think) are only available to the first card to reserve an area of address space corresponding to some cache line or lines. If a later card comes along whose address space has the same corresponding cache lines, then block transfers are disabled for that card.

 

I may have explained that completely wrong. The memory is really hazy, but that's the gist, possibly with all the terms such as block transfers and cache lines wrong.

 

In theory, in the 9500/9600, the best PCI performance should be found in the lower three slots, and amongst those, in the first one. So slot 4 should probably have the best performance.

 

You see, the upper three slots are really the upper four slots, with the fourth upper slot being all of the 9600's built-in I/O. The Grand Central chip is a PCI device, and it shares bandwidth with the upper three slots.[/NITPICK]

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Good score. I'm using a 9600 running OS 9 for a few games and other things. It has a 400 or 450mhz G3, can't recall which. I'm booting off a compact flash card on an ATA 100 card. I was using a 9200 video card but needed it elsewhere so I switched to a R7000 which does just as well for my uses. Also have USB and firewire cards.

At times I'm tempted to add more but then I'd need to pull the parts out of something else. For my uses i don't think it'd make a lot nof difference

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Morning folks.

 

Yesterday was a good day... She arrived.

 

It was just the 9600 tower that I'd bought, so hooked her up to my old Apple monitor and keyboard and mouse and... she works! Has 8 64MB sticks of RAM installed for 512MB RAM, but... I'd already lucked into some more RAM!

 

Conquest 2 - 8 x 128MB for 1GB RAM, 400Mhz G3 Sonnet board (and not pictured, VRAM and maths co-processor). All this was scored for £11, listed on ebay as pulled from a dead 8500. The VRAM (and maths board I guess) are of no use to the 9600 but the RAM and G3 board most certainly are!

 

Only issue so far is that it seems 3 of the RAM slots aren't happy about having RAM in them. I need to do further research and testing before I draw any conclusions though. As it stands, I've got 1GB RAM total in there and she FLIES! Just installed 7.6.1 on one of the other partitions and it's like lightening. Will fit the G3 board today, although I believe that will rule out using 7.6.1?

 

Anyway, brilliant stuff.

 

S

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Great pics! With all that RAM installed what a powerful beast it is!

Will fit the G3 board today, although I believe that will rule out using 7.6.1?

As long as you have the drivers for the sonnet G3 card installed, 7.6.1 will run like Usain Bolt!

Any other suggestions?

With so many PCI slots, perhaps an ACARD AEC-6890M for lots and lots of storage?

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