View Full Version : 9500 guidance

01-14-2001, 11:22 AM

I have an old machine, Power Mac 9500/200, 96Mb of interleaved RAM, 64KL1, 512KL2 cache, PPC604e processor. I am a black and white photographer. The machine has worked almost flawlessly for years.
But, I want to do more with it and I need informed help on hardware and software.

I want to install an AudioMedia III card, I have 30 years of analog tape recordings that need to be digitized and edited. The Digidesign folk recommend upgrading to at least OS8.6 (I'm currently running 7.6.1) and having at least 128Mb RAM.

I gather that internal hardware upgrades on the 9500 are less than pleasant (compared to 9600).

Currently I have a SCSI chain with a Nikon LS-1000 film scanner, a Epson Expression 636 flatbed scanner, a APS (Yamaha)4x4x16 CD-RW, a 1GB Jaz drive, the internal CD and the internal 2Gb HD.

I am connected to my printer and a laptop via AppleTalk ethernet, have a little hub.

I generate a lot of files (scanning photos). I store them on CD. What I'd like to have is more hard drive space for working with audio and for storing images (currently I do a lot of CD swapping). I was thinking about a Seagate 18Gb Barracuda.

So the questions for you all:

1) Can you recommend a CPU upgrade card?
2) How much memory? Manufactured by?
3) Would I need a new SCSI controller? (Remember, I don't know what I am talking about, but I figure something might be necessary to direct the big hard-drive.)
4) Do you think I, who have never taken the case of this machine, can handle this?
5) Best to put the Barracuda in the 9500 or on the SCSI chain?

Several people have suggested I buy a new computer, but I'm hoping an upgrade is a logical step.

Thanks for your help!



01-14-2001, 01:00 PM
1) Yes - get an XLR8 Carrier G3-333Mhz or faster. If you know your software will benifit from a G4 you may want to consider this also - but the great thing about the carrier is you can upgrade to a G4 later (to save cost now).

2) I would get 128MB x2 - since you want to interleave to attain max speed on your old slow RAM. Since 128MB is only about $50 more than a $64MB, that is the deal. I have seen cases where 64MBs were MORE than 128MB. I hope your existing RAM is interleaved. Make sure it is 60ns, 168pin 5volt FPM (or ED0) DIMM(s) with lifetime warranty. I have not upgraded RAM in any 9500, but know itis a beast to deal with. I have upgraded RAM in an 8100 http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/eek.gif !

3) You do not necessarily NEED a new SCSI controller, but you might want to consider it. This would depend on the drive(s) you want. Two two cards you should consider are the MilesU2W (80MB/s) - this card ROCKs and comes with LVD cable+term and SOFTRAID! Its $200. The MilesBlueNote (20MB/s) is SCSI-3 Ultranarrow and will handle 50pin drives. I'm not sure if cabling or SoftRAID is included. - its only $75 (I think).

4) Well since you are asking - I would probably guess no. PCI and CPU upgrades are fairly simple on this machine, but the RAM is not - IMO. You might want to take it to a shop, send it in, or have a Mac/9500 savvy user friend come over. Always remember to ground yourself (touch the powersupply often) and you may need to reset the CUDA (reset) on the logic board.

5) I'm not sure I understand this question. If you get the 50pin Cuda it is best if yuou get a MilesBlueNote to connect to it. Your system should be able to handle the drive internally fine. If you get an LVD drive you should get an LVD card (MilesU2W) - again you can (or someone else can) set this up internally. This would be much cheaper as external case, cables and temrinators can cost hundreds of $$.

This is a nice computer (size & slot wise) to upgrade. Keep in mind you can take any PCI cards and HDs to your new system, but you can not take RAM. You can transfer proecessors if you get a beigeG3 or B&WG3, but the newser systems use a different socket. Audio conversion can take up many, many GBs. I have about 6GB of MP3s (about 1,000+ songs) and still counting. In standard audio format (16bit, 48khz) this would take about 10x the space! http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/eek.gif So getting an MP3 converter is a good thing - or you might want to get some huge drives. I would recommend the Seagate 36GB 10K Cheetah (or larger) with an LVD card. You can run about 14 drives this way. It really depends on how large your audio collection is. I assume you would backup the songs to CD.

The new system are definately killer. The best of them - 667 & 733 - will not be out for a few more months and supplies of the 733 (at least) will be low. These systems are ment more for pro-sumer/highend video. They also do not come with Seagate drives, so any money you spend on this now, will not be tossed out when you get a new Mac.

01-14-2001, 07:02 PM
I put new ram and a processor in our 9500 about 2 weeks ago. Processor was a breeze, just flip the fan down, take out the old and put in the new. For the ram you have to take out all pci cards, processor, disconnect all cables, pop out the power button, take the screw out of the motherboard, slide the board forward and lay it down. It wasn't difficult, just a little time consuming. The machine has twelve slots, so get as much as you can at one time. It's really not bad, just take your time.

01-15-2001, 03:32 AM
I would definitely take the machine down, blow it all out with an air compressor or multiple cans of compressed air to get all the dust-bunnies out, then reassemble it. If you can rebuild it without a problem, then you can certainly handle the upgrades.

01-15-2001, 04:48 AM
Good call. My problem is not disassembly of reassembly. It's the problem of not having anything else to put in it.

01-15-2001, 09:54 AM
Let me express my heartfelt thanks for your responses, this site unbelievably fine, the bulletin board and the commercial side are a delight. Yup, I am new here, I like it.
I've got to digress for a second, call it repair theory. Robert Pirsig talks about a friend of his in "Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance" who is afraid to do anything to his bike. I am that guy. But after reading the book I spent 7 years as a mechanic (Volvo).
I like Magician's suggestion. Take the machine apart, evict the dust bunnies, reassemble, test. A good starting point, measure my competency...
But I'd sure love to have a map. What I mean is sometime there are unexpected dangers lurking. For instance- in photography, with single lens reflex cameras, taking a lens off is a no-brainer, they are bayonet mount. It's like unscrewing the lid from a peanut butter jar. So, you run into a Hasselblad, you pop the lens off, but it doesn't turn off, it locks mid-turn and jams the camera. There is the pitfall, the shutter has to be cocked before removing the lens on this camera. Anyone who has ever removed the lens from a Hasselblad learns this lesson. Some people don't have to learn it by experience, they get told first.
So can you tell me, are there any pitfalls? Do you remember what it was like to be a beginner, what it was like the first time you opened the case on a machine?
Professor, you say "just flip the fan down." But I've got to get to the fan first! I know I'm making a whining noise here, but have you ever seen a step by step guide of how to take a Powermac apart?

"UNPLUG MACHINE! DISHARGE POWER SUPPLY CAPACITOR Remove the six 6x32 machine screws from..."

If there is such a resource on the web can you email me the URL?

I am going to DC this weekend to photograph the Inauguration. Once I scan those negatives I am going to follow Magician's advice, take the machine off-line and disassemble.

One final question. I gather XLR8 is super careful to manufacture for Mac + they have great literature so I feel confident about installing the upgrade card. But I wonder, when installing a non OEM internal hard drive is it necessary to be creative (sheet-metal screws, duct tape?). Is the level of manufacture from a company like Seagate such that the installation is fairly straightforward.


01-15-2001, 10:46 AM
No sheet-metal screws or duct tape required for Seagates. I have installed them in all manner of NuBus machines as well as S900 and PowerTower Pro PCI Macs. Same with IBM, Western Digital, etc. k

01-15-2001, 05:07 PM
I don't think I've ever seen a step-by-step take-down of the 9500, though Breeden does have one for the 8500 I believe, which is very similar.

This is one of those rites of passage: if you can take your machine apart and rebuild it, we're a good fit for you. If not, you're among those who may best be served by a good local dealer, God help you. As we have all discovered the hard way, local vendors are not all created equal. Apple has done a decent job squeezing the marginal vendors out of existence (let's just be honest about it, ok?), but some still hang in there....and they will see you coming and exploit the hell out of you. We can assist you to a certain degree in these cases, exposing outright fraud and bullshit....but there is something to be said for understanding your tools here, and that's what the Mac really is, a tool. If you can take it down and rebuild it, you understand your tools in a much better way, and definitely reap benefits.

01-16-2001, 02:08 AM
Do a few searches for 9500 ram install. I found a couple of step by steps a while back. If I come across any I'll post the url. Most of the ones you'll find will only be text, but I did find one or two with the visuals. Here's one of the text versions I saved, hope it will help. Just remember, TAKE YOUR TIME AND DON'T FORCE ANYTING. PCI cards can be a pain because of the little plastic tabs on top. Just push them to the side as you slide the cards up.

Here's how you get to the slots using only a phillips head scrwedriver:

1) Unplug the computer. While you're at it, disconnect every cable that connects to the back of your computer...be they SCSI, serial, audio or ADB.

2) Take out the 6 bolts in the back that hold the cover in place and take it off...kind of sliding backwards and up.

3) Go to the left side of the machine (when looking from the front). Down on the bottom is the cooling fan. Squeeze the two sides of the top part of the structure holding it and swing it down towards you. It is still connected to the motherboard via a little bitty cable. Disconnect that cable from the motherboard by gently pulling the end of it towards the front of the machine and off of its pins. There is a little piece on the bottom holding the fan in. Push it down and you can slide the fan completely out so it won't get in your way.

4) Remove the video card and any other cards in the PCI slots. The PCI slots are the 6 off-white (beige?) slots that are right in front of you now. Most cards will just pull right out unless screwed down, in which case you'll need a phillips head screwdriver to undo the screws first.

5) Remove the processor card. It's the card right above the PCI slots...but you probably already know this since you did the G3 upgrade. = )

6) Now it's time to go to the right side of your computer. Right in the middle of the motherboard is a phillips head screw. Remove that.

7) At the top of the motherboard six different cables are connected. Disconnect them all. Don't worry too much about getting them back in the right places. They all pretty much fit only in their correct plugs and only in the right direction.

8) Pop the power button and its little holder out of the front of the case. That's in the lower left hand corner if you're looking at the right side of the machine. There are two clips (one on the top and one on the bottom) that hold it in place and need only be pushed out of their holes to pop it out.

9) Slide the motherboard as far as it can go towards the front of the machine (maybe a quarter of an inch). The only thing holding the motherboard in place now is a clip at the top. Lift the clip and swing the top of the motheboard out and down.

10) You now have access to all 12 of the black memory slots. I've heard all kinda of recommendations about what the best configuration of the RAM is, but I've had the best luck in our machines by just starting at A1 and working my way up.

11) To put it together, just do all of the above in reverse order. ; )

01-16-2001, 07:21 AM
Wow, very nicely done prof. k

01-16-2001, 09:19 AM
Is there a good home substitute to serve as an anti-static mat for supporting the motherboard while I am installing RAM?

01-16-2001, 09:41 AM
Thanks Kaye.
As far as an anitstatic mat for mobo. I don't know, but I just took everything apart on my desk and just made sure I was grounded.

01-16-2001, 12:54 PM
re anti-static, Michael Breeden mentioned the mat in his step by step takedown of an 8500, said something about fragile capacitors on the backside of the motherboard?

01-16-2001, 01:49 PM
emory, my 2....the motherboard (mobo, around here) is one thing you probably don't need to move. Just use the canned air Magician mentioned, and blow out the dust. Also, just my opinion, but I wouldn't disassemble EVERYTHING just for the sake of taking it apart. The main thing is that you can clean things up, and be comfortable with rummaging around the inside of the case.

I would add one thing...although this is at odds with item #1 of prfessors excellent step by step post.....When doing work with the innards of a Mac, you can use the power supply as a grounding point. Assuming your home AC power outlet is grounded, leave it plugged in to the back of the machine. Then, every time you want to grab or touch electronics, firmly touch a screw or bare metal spot on the case of the power supply (the enclosure which the AC plug feeds into). Make it a matter of habit...reaching into the case?.....touch the PSupply.....pulling a card....touch the PS first......picking a card up to put back in....touch the PS first...etc....

But since you're new to this, no need to remove the mobo. Any of the slot interfaces on the mobo that will concern you will already be accessible to you the way it's mounted. If you accidently trash the mobo, that's the end of your computer.

That said, on my last project, I think it was Kaye that suggested I take the power supply out (unplugged, of course), open it up, and thoroughly blow the dust and crap out of it. He was right on...it was a mass of fuzz...the fuzz and dust makes heat dispersion less efficient. Really give the fan housing and blades a good blowing off, no need to open them up. If they fail, we just replace em.

If you have occasion to use the floppy drive, give it a good blowing out. Same with the CD drive. If you pull it, you can take the top off of it, and give it a good blowing out...be careful not to knock the laser assembly around though.

As has been said, take your time, and if you're not sure, seek further guidance from the guys here.

It is also very helpful to have another machine for web use, in case you need to get back here for further guidance.

Have fun!! You are right, this site and the Gurus are the best in the business, hands down!!



01-16-2001, 09:06 PM
you're right about touching the power supply. One thing though, to get to the dimm slots on the 9500 mobo, you have to take the board out. The way it is mounted, the slots are behind the frame for the drives, no other way to get to it. You can easily get to all of the pci slots and the daughtercard, but that's about it.

01-17-2001, 08:13 PM
Called macgurus in DE and spent money, 2 -64 Mb DIMM's and a MACh G3 500MHz Carrier. Yesterday did a clean install of OS 8.6, abandoning the beloved 7.6.1, what are all these extensions! been turning them off left and right.
So, I'm going to take on the cleaning&upgrade job, looking forward to it, the physical mysteries of the box's interior revealed. I'll let you know how it turns out. I will try not to sacrifice the mobo on the altar of my ignorance. If I do, know anyone looking for cheap "brand new" upgrade stuff?
Naw- everything going to be all right.
thanks professor/crazyeights/kaye/magician/pendragon18
I'll be back with more C101 questions, like what's the deal with all these different SCSI types!

01-18-2001, 12:51 AM
forgot one thing,
when you put in the dimms, you'll have to flip the tabs on the end clips down and push the dimm in until the end clip flips up. it may take a little pressure, but it's just like a pc, just takes a little more force.