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PowerMac 5500/225 PCI video card expansion options

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Some time ago I picked up a black PowerMac “Directors Edition” 5400/180. It came with a 5500/225 (PCI not PDS) motherboard, a Sonnet Crescendo G3 (7450) L2 400/1M accelerator, a TV/ FM Tuner card, an AV card (820-9745) and what seems to be a ATI IIc and/or ATI RV100 (both come up in System Profiler) card in the raised PCI slot.

From looking at everymac.com and other sites it seems the video card might have come from a 6400.  Interested to know whether there are better PCI video cards that could go in this to max this out?

Edited by TimHD
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Hi Tim (thanks for cable :)))


My experience with graphics cards in 5500/TAM is that because of the dependency on the onboard ATI Rage IIc graphics, it's difficult to get decent internal and external video acceleration at the same time.  The later ATI extensions do not play nicely with the onboard Rage IIc, conflicting with the two ATI GPUs running.  Possibly with some driver shuffling you could get both running well, but I found MacOS got too confused with primary/secondary monitors, resolution support and acceleration and gave up in the end.


ATI RV100 = most likely a Radeon 7000 which is probably one of the better cards for your 5400 considering low heat output - but check as it can still get pretty hot in there with the G3 card unless you put a small fan in somewhere nearby to expel some of the heat.


Another curve ball is putting in a generic 3DFX Voodoo II in there, which will give you great game acceleration on an external monitor - the prices are these are rising fast, but I've seen them around for $100 - 200.



Edited by Byrd
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Thanks for the comments (and glad that cable has helped). Will any 7” PCI video card work, or is there a specific sub-class of video cards that can be used (esp if a 3DFX Voodoo is too pricey)? I have a PowerMac 6400 that currently has PSU issues, with a PCI video card I might try if compatible...


Looks like I have, as you noted, a Radeon 7000 in there - do you know if that is a 3rd party card (not Apple bundled) or donated from another Mac series, eg 6400)? 


Finally, I have an Apple External Display Connector kit (a DB15 connector that plugs into a dedicated connector on the 5500 motherboard) - see my related post seeking a bracket - would that be accelerated and running off the ATI iic graphics on the motherboard?

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Any 7" Mac compatible PCI card will work - what you have is probably the best; there is a Mac Edition Radeon 7000 card but many are PC flashed units - perhaps post a pic of yours up here.


The External Display Connector completely clones everything you see on the internal display, with acceleration - no slowdowns. You cannot configure it for multiple displays, only mirrored/cloned.

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If I get the better drivers, do they help with the built in display or only the externals?


Am thinking I might get some further partitions on the 20GB hard drive, one for 7.61 (for it's 040 heart - not sure if I boot without the Sonnet extension it falls back?) and possibly also 8.0 (5500/225 603e) - while it's currently configured as a PPC (7450) 9.2.2 (Old World) thanks to the G3 L2 400/1M card. 


Quite a beast and not bad for something I picked up for under A$100... 8)

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