View Full Version : Let's starting talking about upgrade options

01-23-2001, 06:46 PM
Hi, I'm back again. I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing .... grin.

Hey Magician, have you dusted off those StarMax computers in your basement yet? I'd like to walk through some potential upgrades but to tell you the truth, I don't want to talk to someone that is just guessing about these machines. So, Magician, are you up for a little work through with those old computers or are you too busy with the newer Mac models?

Looking forward to your reply, Linda

01-24-2001, 04:23 PM
we're up for it.

we're still collecting stuff for our own....and I'm waiting until my son moves out here permanently around Spring Break. It will be his project. He's 12, and real, real good at this stuff. We're going to make it into a games machine, and a videoconferencing workstation.


01-25-2001, 07:19 PM
Wonderful! I'm so happy that you still have those StarMax computers and are willing to crack them open for a look-see.

By the by, I am sorry that my comment about not wanting to talk to people who are just guessing about these machines sounded so bad and I rue the day that I made such a vile comment. I've been doing a lot of research online lately and I've come across a lot of people who are trying to be helpful but who are, in essence, giving out erroneous (and sometimes disasterous) information. I swear, I'll try to behave myself in the future.

On that note, one of the better StarMax information sites (www.starmax.net (http://www.starmax.net)) has disappeared and other good sites are fading fast. I suggest that you hit all that you can find and print/copy off every peice of information before any potentially helpful information is gone for good.

I'm not exactly sure what questions to ask right now. I've got a million questions about the information that I've been gathering but I'm unable to organize my thoughts into a succinct line of inquery. I do have one area right now that I'm having some trouble researching though; perhaps you can help me.

In all my searches so far, I haven't been able to find much information about adding a PCI card to run SCSI devices; specifically how the connections are performed. Is it just a matter of putting in a PCI card or are there cables that also must be connected? I have a feeling that this is a totally stupid question but without knowing this answer, I can't ask other questions that may not seem so dumb.

I can and do run SCSI devices externally on my StarMax 3000/240 tower and I do have the Motorola internal SCSI connection upgrade (unutilized though), but from what I gather these SCSI connections are 5 MG/sec rates and without a PCI card, I can't run over that rate. To simply add a SCSI hard drive to my current system configuration isn't my question and please don't confuse this with what I'm trying so desperately to ask. I would like to understand more about PCI cards that add SCSI capabilities to my machine.

Can't wait for a response.


01-25-2001, 07:59 PM
We're always glad to see a person who wants to learn, and you've definately come to the right place. If you want to know about PCI SCSI, go here:

All of the SCSI questions you asked are answered here and many more that you haven't asked...... yet. cause believe me, the more that you get into it, the more questions that have!

It's a fun time here, sit back, try to remain calm when the computer is being stubborn, and most of all, enjoy your Mac!


01-26-2001, 12:48 AM
right. Reading thru the SCSI Pages of Doom is a good exercise, as it will give you more perspective than you realized that you needed. A good thing to do is go thru, read the various pages, and take notes as you go. Then, ask your questions in the forums, one by one (you get faster responses that way).

to answer your first question, PCI SCSI cards are used these days to enable PCI Power Macs to use LVD SCSI drives like Cheetahs. Such buses are more robust than IDE bus in vintage machines, and light years beyond the old 5MB/sec SCSI standard.

in a Moto, the right PCI LVD card to use would be the Initio Miles2. Combined with a Cheetah X15, you will get close to 40MB/sec sustained reads and writes.

we'll watch for your other questions as we go!


06-04-2001, 04:53 PM
Yes, I can relate to many of the upgrade issues mentioned here. I've just had a hard time trying to upgrade RAM. I've been assured various times that what I was buying would work perfectly, only to find out that it would not. It appears that RAM for a StarMax 3000 (64 MB) is about $250. Yikes!

Also, I'm having trouble simply upgrading my system software from system 7.5.3, which is what came on the StarMax CD, simply to 7.5.5. When I insert the upgrade disc, I get a message stating that it will only upgrade system 7.5.3, even though that's what "about this Macintosh" tells me I'm running. Weird. I would blame all of these things on my own ignorance, except that I've successfully upgraded an old Centris 650 many times with no trouble. This StarMax is a pain, however....
If anyone has any advise, I'd love to hear it.

06-04-2001, 05:50 PM
well, our price for StarMax memory is $195 (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/showrampage.cgi?edodimm.html), which is a little better.

that's one place to start.


next, I would update your disk drivers. Maybe even boot off an OS9.1CD-ROM, and then reinitialize the drive (might be a good time to upgrade to a bigger drive, too, now that they are so affordable)...then install OS9.1.

my one reservation: the StarMax has several unusual features like parallel ports, etc....so i would make sure that you have ADB mice and keyboards, etc....and that the odd ports are not in use now for anything critical. I have no idea if MacOS9.1 will support that machine's weirder features.

06-05-2001, 10:30 AM
Sorry, but you can't upgrade your StarMax to OS 7.5.5 because Apple chose not to support the Tanzania architecture in this version of their Operating System. Just as you have experienced, the 7.5.5 installer recognized that you had a Tanzania motherboard and quit without installing the OS. You can, however, install OS 7.6.x, OS 8.x, or OS 9.x.


06-11-2001, 06:23 PM
Many thanks to all who responded.
There are so many strange issues with this machine!

Why I am thinking about upgrading this instead of getting a new imac is beyond me.

06-11-2001, 09:08 PM
Because an iMac is a dead-end computer much like the performa was and it is limited to a 15in monitor. Now if you asked the question..."why do i bother to upgrade this computer when i could get a PTP box on ebay and upgrade THAT.....then who could argue with ya http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

06-11-2001, 11:17 PM
Wow...here's a slant I never took on this before. Normally I am right alongside everyone for bashing iMacs except for students and entry-level folks. Or the little kids running around some homes on this blue marble. But tonight (well...this AM) I came up with this:

The iMac is no less upgradeable than the TiBook (or iBook). 'Cept the Ti has one PCMCIA slot. And the 'Books are extremely portable.

The lure of a new machine is a strong one. Warranty....shiny case.....newest of everything....all the letters are still visible on the keyboard....the list goes on. As always, the cost of upgrading is one to be taken gingerly. Perhaps it really is wise to consider an iMac. This place is all about furthering the Mac platform. I would rather see a new iMac bought and inserted into our market-share-% than have someone buy a used one and wonder if they should upgrade. If a new machine satisfies the need, then so be it. Now, don't start a battle here. The point is, a new computer should always be a consideration. I love upgrading. I love new "things". I have some of each here.

A few years ago, I contemplated the same issue in a different field.....do I restore my old musclecar or buy a restored one? Well, I restored it and sold it a while later. Then bought a new car from a dealer. My advice on this topic? Sit back and think about where you wanna go and how many variables you want in the mix. Either way, it's a hell of a ride. And you'll love it. After all....we are all on the right side of the tracks when it comes to computing. Good luck with whichever you choose. The Gurus and members here will support you (probably) all the way. Just don't go calling people "commies" and we will all be OK. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

06-12-2001, 09:34 AM
I would say the iMac is even less upgradeable than a Performa, depending on which Performa you're talking about... I've added G3 processors, larger hard drives, more RAM and faster video cards to two 611x-series Performas. Granted, none of these upgrades actually brought the Performa up to the level of an iMac, but the point is that there were systems I could upgrade in the Performas that are not upgradeable in the iMac. RAM is the only thing, and an AirPort card... maybe the mezzanine slot in those early iMacs...

Mag, you're mistaken about the weird ports on the StarMax. They don't have parallel ports, they have PS/2 ports for PC-standard keyboards and mice. Even so your advice stands, I can't imagine making PS/2 input devices work with a modern Mac OS.

My StarMax 4000 is actually a clone by MacTell, called an XB204-MT. The strange thing is that my particular model is in a genuine Motorola case, not a MacTell one, even though it has the MacTell logo on it. After they lost their sub-license with Motorola, MacTell got hooked up with UMAX. They made an XB Pro which was a clone of the S900, and also two machines called the Typhoon and Twister which were C500 and C600 clones.

[This message has been edited by the_anarch (edited 12 June 2001).]

06-12-2001, 04:04 PM
Hello again. Well, I finally got my hands on some additional RAM for my StarMax 3000 and now I'm considering a processor upgrade. I know that you Gurus like the Sonnet cards. Do you have any opinion on a JoeCardT 320 MHz upgrade? Here's a link to check it out...

it's about half the price of the Sonnet 350 MHz card. With this machine, cheap is good!

06-15-2001, 09:49 AM
thanks, t_a.

one of these days, I will actually build the Moto in my basement. It will be a good project for my son.