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Maximum performance tuning of a Power Mac 7200


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Hi all together,

 

I just reanimated my old PowerMac 7200/75 and thought about upgrading it to the fullest. I already bought a used Sonnet Crescendo (G3/400) with 384MB RAM and by now the machine owns a FastSCSI adapter with 4GB HDD (520MB SCSI1 is standard). What I'm now thinking of, is:

 

  • a faster network adapter (base configuration: 10 MBit onboard)
  • better graphic card (base configuration: proprietary, 1MB VRAM already extended to 4MB)
  • faster and bigger HDD (converter to newer interfaces like S-ATA?)
  • the rght choice of the Mac OS version (probably 9.x because of driver support)
  • any other interfaces like USB/Firewire/etc.

What do you think? Any ideas are appreciated. :)

 

Cheers,

Blackswan

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Naturally, you want the G3...which leaves us with 2 slots left to play with. If it were my machine I'd probably stick in a better graphics card, as well as a Sonnet Tempo SATA. (neat card, even though it says G3 only, it will apparently work on older Power Macs, and since it emulates a SCSI card its bootable and doesn't need drivers :) )

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Naturally, you want the G3...which leaves us with 2 slots left to play with. If it were my machine I'd probably stick in a better graphics card, as well as a Sonnet Tempo SATA. (neat card, even though it says G3 only, it will apparently work on older Power Macs, and since it emulates a SCSI card its bootable and doesn't need drivers :) )

 

Sonnet Tempo SATA is a very good idea, as this system is still horrible slow due to HDD performance (1:45 min for power up, OFF --> Finder). The Mac is now equipped with 96 MB RAM (64, 16, 8, 8) and 256KB 2nd level Cache. The SCSI adapter is not longer available (don't know why, maybe I removed it to test something!?) and I'm wondering, if I can find an acceptable browser for Mac OS 9.1 which is already running. IE 5 and Netscape are a nightmare.

 

PS: The Crescendo 7200/G3 is installed and running without problems. Until I'll receive my 384 MB, the Crescendo is equipped with 64 MB.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I now equipped my PowerMac with a Sonnet Tempo and a 32GB Sandisk SSD, installed Mac OS 9.1. Sad to say, but it didn't get any faster, HD doesn't seem to be a bottleneck. Independant from that, it so much more silent, which I do appreciate very much. :b&w:

 

Specs

 

Processor: PowerPC G3/400 (Sonnet Crescendo)

RAM: 96 MB

HDD: 32 GB SATA (Sonnet Tempo w/ SanDisk)

OS: Mac OS 9.1

 

Are there any benchmarks to have a comparison about the speed? BTW, network speed with the built-in Ethernet is about 610KB/s, which seems to be fair enough for 10MBit (but I still have this Asante PCI 10/100MBit card lying around for a while).

 

Blackswan

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I am surprised that you do not notice much of a performance improvement. I used an 8200 as a work/test machine for many years, and there is little positive that can be said about the 7200/8200 models.

 

My first upgrades were RAM, of course, followed by a Seagate Barracuda 4GB 50 pin SCSI disk. Even on the built-in SCSI, the Barracuda gave a noticeable improvement (your SATA/SD combination should be significantly better). I fitted a Matrox Millennium (perhaps a Millennium II) from a PC with Mac ROM flash. Again there was a noticeable improvement. Finally I fitted a Sonnet G3 card (128MB RAM or so on the card) which made it realistic to use the 8200 again for web browsing and photo editing. Aside from the Sonnet G3 card with RAM, all upgrades were recycled components. The G3 card was purchased because I wanted to try it in a Pippin (failed).

 

How are you benchmarking your 7200? I don't think that startup time is a realistic measure (too much time running on the PPC601). Photo or video editing etc should demonstrate improvements. For web browsing, try Classilla. Mac OS 8.6 may be quicker for performance, but I agree that Mac OS 9.1 may be most compatible overall.

 

My recommendations are:

* Try benchmarking again when you have a big RAM upgrade on the G3 card.

* Experiment with mid range PCI graphics cards such as the Matrox -- your 7200 will never have enough muscle to tax a high end card -- bearing in mind that the built-in graphics card is pretty good.

* Fit the Asante 10/100 PCI ethernet card if you will be transferring large files <100MB. The benefit diminishes for smaller files >10MB.

 

Good luck.

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