View Full Version : Praise and Upgrade questions

Dick Brillo
04-19-2001, 01:44 PM
Mac Gurus,

I sent this first to your email address which I guess is not checked very often, judging by the lack of response. I'm rewriting again; I just wanted to make sure we connected and hopefully this could help other people.

First... you guys FUCKING ROCK!!! The other day, I started really reading your webpage during my lunch break and I couldn't stop! I looked at my watch and it was 4:20pm! I spend over 4 hours, reading and reading, and I still have more to go. I've been printing out individual sections at a time and reading them on the train/bus ride home. My co-workers and fianc? think I'm nuts getting all obsessed over this "SCSI stuff". Well, I am hear to personal thank you so very much for what you are doing. Your good nature and honorable approach comes thru loud and clear, and is so refreshing. I'm pretty much the tech guy at a small architectural firm, and I've been so frustrated ordering from places like PC/Mac Connection etc... in the past. So sick of ignorant people not speaking english or only knowing what is printed on their screen about a product. I can not TELL you how much I enjoy and totally agree with your approach. Just by HOW you approach selling, recommending items and your web page, you have gained a customer for life; me.

Ok, now that is out of my system...

I had more questions in my past email, but I've done a lot of reading on your web page since then so, I have just a few...

Currently, I have three classic macs with nothing special; all standard inside.


Which do I give to my 74 old father?

I was going to give him the 7300, but after seeing 'bam_bam' I thought maybe it had the potential to be faster. If that is true, giving him the 8500 could pose a problem cause I'm in the middle of making a reel, and I need to print to video right now.

The other, more theoretical, question is it worth keeping these machine and adding LVD etc... to make them faster, considering the 6 slot G4's and the cost of RAM.

I did some calulating of my own and came up with...

A new Dual G4 533 with single Cheetah X15 and ATTO card is roughly $3,960.
I could later, upgrade to one more Cheetah and 1.5GB RAM, $1,080... grand total = $5,040

-I could take all the RAM from the 8500 and get 512MB in the 9600, leaving an additional 64 MB for Dad. Get a XLR8 G3/500 for $460 and add the Miles2 and Cheetah X15 for $575 (this could be done at two different times - which first?) which would cost $1035.
-Uprage to one more Cheetah and Granite cables for $517... total $1,552
-buy (4) 128MB RAM for $760 for total of 1GB total cost... $2,312
-Could get a new G4 card for 9600 (I read something about the bottom slots not being accessable/waiting is better/that why the G3 above) and put the G3 in the other computer.

Now all of this could be done at different times... but $2,312 is a lot cheaper than $5,040. I know the G4 is faster and it would be more to upgrade the 9600 to G4... but the thing I really like is, I can handle incremental, 'less-than-$1,000' upgrades. A new computer would have to be put on a credit card which I do not want to do.

So, I guess the big question is this a viable plan? I won't use this for profession, except possibly for teaching on the side (I've taught formZ in the past). I know I want to get into video, but no camera now. I'm trying to get into the special effects field, so Maya on OS X might be in my future. Now if things go the way I want, I'll have a machince at work with Maya etc... having Maya at home would really be secondary need or not really a need at all (I at least one worth paying for). So home would be more formZ, Photoshop, Illustrator... I can see myself doing a lot of short movies at home in the future, and I think that is where my main machince's use will gravitate to, but who knows - it's the future?

But I do know, that I love this shit, and I can't wait to get my hands on this stuff and start building! I did start by buying 'Intech Software CD/DVDST 5.7/HDST 3.2' just a few days ago, from you of course, and all these numbers and hard drives and cables are all floating around in my head bumping into each other. Please help!

04-19-2001, 02:05 PM

there is a lot to your post so bear with us. You problem is a very common one. I too have little upgrade burst.

The machines listed are great machines. I do not know how far you can upgrade the 9600/233, others will pass through and add. The 8500 is a great machine. Used one as my primary box for a while. Had 512 Mb ram, dual 18GB Cheetahs with a Miles2, 3dfx voodoo 3, with a 500 Mhz G3. It ran solid for years. Became a pro at removing the cover and logic board. The 7300 series is far easier to gain access to the internals. Bam Bam stays mostly with the cover off since Magician keeps swapping parts and drives.

I purchased a G4 533 and have started to upgrade it as well. Its cool and fast. Still miss my 9600 though. Have no idea why, but I do.

It boils down to do you want to dish $3k for a new machine plus upgrade? Having these beige boxes and upgrading slower is cooler in my eyes. Love that shit.

Sticking a Miles2 with x15 is a great upgrade for the machines you listed. If you have surfed through the forums, you will find many people running two Miles2 with two x15s on each in a 6 slot Mac. Very cool stuff.


Dick Brillo
04-19-2001, 02:28 PM
Thanks for your response...

Yeah, I think I will end up ungrading the older machinces just because of money issue. Plus it would be very interesting to see how fast the 9600 could go. The only thing that doesn't work, finacially, is adding more RAM. That really hurts. I guess I could get some more eBay etc... but am a little scared about doing that. How important is new/matching RAM in the synergistic relationship between RAM/processor/adapter/hard drive?

Does MacGurus have any more pages like 'bam_bam' and 'Beast'? Those are very entertaining and informative. It is nice to see what someone has done with pictures...

Dick Brillo
04-19-2001, 02:32 PM
that's "UPgrading" not "UNgrading"

04-19-2001, 02:41 PM
Hi... it's a bit of a dicey call since those machines may not be able to run OS X easily (i.e. w/o the hacks from folks like Ryan Rempel). but.. all that said and done, I've upgraded two 7300's w/ G3 cards - they both work very smoothly. Also put in Miles2 cards and both 'Cudas and 'Cheetahs for my lab - One machine is running dual 18 GB 'Cudas (RAID 0) as boot + 4 x 36 GB 10K Cheetahs set up as 2 RAID 1 arrays for my server - this machine is very , very stable and is my ASIP server.

RAM is your biggest hit right now though for those machines - I put a GB of RAM in a G4 and it was dirt cheap c.f. what it would cost for a 7300 machine...


04-19-2001, 03:40 PM

That is the page on beast. Hasn't been updated in a while. Been upgraded from that point though.

Well, we have been spoiled with PC-100 ram prices as well as PC-133. DDR ram is still expensive. It is slowly dropping. A 256Mb DDR cost almost $400 a few weeks ago.


[This message has been edited by jorge (edited 19 April 2001).]

04-19-2001, 04:20 PM
The 9600 box is awesome. I wish I had one rather than my 8500!

some lingering questions I;ve had -- has anyone quantified the performance hit one takes using these beige boxes? The bus speed is definitely a lot slower, doesn't that affect these really fast SCSI cards? Also, these 5v DIMMs, are they slower than the memory coming in the new boxes?

04-19-2001, 09:47 PM
It's hard to say - but in my experience, I like running stuff on my 7300 a bit more than on our G4 (although the video on the G4 is faster than the on board on the 7300) It's a pretty close call - the 7300 is running a G3/400 while the G4 is a G4 350/ Yikes machine... RAM 224 vs 1 GB, booting off RAID 0 Atlas drives vs the stock 20 GB IDE on the G4..

Hard call..


04-19-2001, 10:32 PM
Man. there's just something about these old beige machines that just won't let you let 'em go. I have a 9600/350 and an 8500. I used to just say I had a 9600, because the 8500 has been back in the box until I recently baptized it with G4 and SCSI RAID and it was born again. I am going to use it at the office. It has an XLR8 450 G4, 448 MB of new 60ns RAM, Miles2 with dual 15k Cheetahs and the TwinTurbo OEM 8 MB video card and 24x CD ROM from the 9600 in it. It smokes the 9600. The 9600 has a dual 10k Cheetah RAID, ATTO dual channel card, FW/USB card, 3Dfx V5 video card and Plextor CD RW in it and it rocks. It is waiting for the dual XLR8 G4 upgrade and I may get Velocity with the second CPU for the 8500.

Yeah, I spent a few ducks but I leveraged what I had and I really, really don't care if OS X ever runs on these machines. As much as I have loved them, I'll drop kick 'em into the ashcan in a New York minute and buy four new Compaqs if Apple continues to play this silly marketing game with their loyal customer base. It was one thing to be forced to introduce a discontinous non-backwards compatible PowerPC technology after a dozen years of product development, for the betterment of the overall product. It is quite another thing to arbitrarily introduce non-backwards compatible software just to drive hardware sales. I sometimes worry that the wonderkids brought in by Scully, Amelio and company have permanently ruined the company we all think we admire. They better soon get the message that you don't grow market share by flogging your installed customer base for more cash. If you keep your customers smiling, after a while, everybody else is bound to start wondering about why these guys are smiling all the time. We were almost there until OS X.

04-20-2001, 07:24 AM
Sure there is a speed hit with SCSI on these older machines, but heck, they still smoke. The new Sawtooths pump a lot through their buses. Awesome for using them as scratch disk or so, still can't boot off them like these beige boxes. The fastest disk access you can boot off these new machines is setting up two x15s in a Raid 1. Looking at about 80MB reads and 40 Mb writes sustained.

The main point is, running a processor intense program like Maya, you will need all the bus speed, memory access and processing power you can get to render all those effects. Maya would greatly benefit from a new world machine especially with dual G4s.


Dick Brillo
04-20-2001, 09:53 AM
Yeah your right, if I ever (and I really don't know) used Maya at home, I would buy a new G4. I'm playing around with a NT version of Maya now on a little celeron PC, and it barely opens. It really is a monster; so many menus and submenus it is mind blowing... For now, formZ is my primary 3D program, and I've been able to render everything I needed with the 9600 and 384 MB of RAM. Would really like to see the speed difference with some upgrades...

I agree with all of you. I love my older Macs. It seems silly to spend 3K on a new machine and then replace all the parts, unless you've got the cash/work to do it. I suppose if one had all the programs working happily with 9.1 and an 'a la Guru' upgraded system - that would be the end, pretty much, and you just use it as long as you could. They could always turn into servers. Right?

MacMikester... I don't know if I would, as you say, "kick my mac in a trash for new Compaqs.." I've been in the PC world for a while and I really hate it. I feel like I'm in a dark tunnel. No help. I go to Microsoft web page for help, and it can't be any more confusing! Buying parts just suck. Try to learn about SCSI for a PC! I bought a server for our office from Micron and paid good money for a SCSI hard drive and a $800 tape back-up. First, the SCSI fucking sucks! It just fell apart in my hands! I had to rig it with rubber bands just to get it to stay on so every could work!

Then the back-up software (which didn't come with the system, I bought Veritas Backup Exec Desktop Pro v4.5) is so hard to understand. It is so stupid. No way can you find out how much room is left on the tape. Or what backups are on what tape... They show all the backups ever made you have to insert the correct tape if you want to restore... Now, I'm not an idiot. I can figure all this out, but the point is I don't have the time or the desire. I know it is backing up so that all that matters now. But it really bugs me that you have to become an expert in every damn program just to use it efficiently. I don;t know what it is with programs for the Mac but they all just seems to work, easy to use, and are nice to look at. I've been Mac since I bought my 9600 for $2,000 back in 1998 (I think). I still use a PC everyday for work but I teach on Mac and of course have mine at home...

any way (sorry for the PC venting) I was going to ask MM what your read/write times where on the 8500 vs. the 9600...

04-20-2001, 07:53 PM
OK, just for you Dick:

I just now shut down my connection and ran side by side tests. I have both macs set up at home now while I'm prepping the 8500 for work. ATTO ExpressTools Pro 2.5, Disk Cache off, 8 MB max transfer size, sample size 8:

9600/350, ATTO UL3S, 2 x 10k 9.1G Cheetahs (ST39204LW), RAID 0 across both channels (one drive per channel):
PR 70.97 SR 56.74 PW 28.28 SW 28.20

8500/xlr8 G4 450 MPe, Miles2, 2 x 15k 18.3G Cheetahs (ST318451LW), Raid 0 on single channel:
PR 66.59 SR 65.49 PW 33.81 SW 33.01

Also, you caught me...I exaggerated a little bit, I would actually jump in the ashcan with my macs and set it on fire before I would buy even one Compaq. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

04-21-2001, 01:00 AM
I'm loving this thread. Thanks for letting me hang out with you guys.


ok. First thing. I have to apologize for the lack of email response. You know where your email is? In the "Real Long Ones" mailbox. Judging by the number of other Real Long Ones, it is likely to be there awhile.

unfortunately, things are getting so that I am daily deciding which ball gets dropped. Lately, it's been the Real Long Ones. We do much better handling the Short Sweet Ones.

sorry about that.

but you did the right thing! You came and posted on the forums, and you actually got things rolling! Good work!

now...let's see....what else do i have to add to this thread....oh, yeah.

I WILL update the Beast page. I am waiting until I finally figure out what I am doing in terms of dual Radeon versus dual Formac boards. Beast has had lots of other updates since the last update....he's running X15's, and rotated the old FireWire card out for an XLR8 DualPort and a MAChFire, along with an ADS FireWire videoconferencing camera, and <gasp> new USB peripherals including a Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro and an optical Intelli-Mouse to go along with the soon-to-be-upgraded TurboMouse.

I've really been liking Beast these days....he's got the Rage 128VR, so we can accept input from anything analog.....and he's got the best FireWire card I have ever used, the MAChFire....and it is just compatible with everything I attach to it.....and he just, well, hauls butt.

I've also been upgrading Jorge's old Yose in the basement, and playing with Banshee (dual-G4 500MHz Velocity in bG3). Miss Bam has been building arrays, along with Banshee and the Yose. Not sure what to name the Yose yet. She hasn't told me her name, though we definitely have carnal knowledge.

at some point, we plan to post pages on Banshee, on Bitch (our old 8500), on Boo_Boo, one of our S900's, and other machines here, including Bocephus, which is our 6100 running NetPresenz as ftp.macgurus.com (for the moment). We should probably do pages on bo_bo and basher, too....a PowerCurve running EIMs, and a 9500 running ASIP....

but there are only so many hours in the day.

anyway, bocephus will probably be running a sitecam in the Basement soon, and Louie's old PowerCenter, bimbo, will take over FTP running Rumpus.

there is a plan, see.


04-21-2001, 12:14 PM
Is that PowerCurve the $22 one that I sent you? What ever happened to the Power Center 150 MT that I sent? We even decided on a name for her but I have forgotten it.

04-21-2001, 06:49 PM
Wait,wait,wait,wait a minute. It gets better, Dick. I done a Bozo thing. I just realized that I never installed the XLXR8 Control Panel on the boot Raid volume I use on the 8500. The Control Panel was installed on another bootable disk I use in that machine for utility purposes and initial setup. Soooo...the backside Cache was not enabled for my previous test results:
8500/xlr8 G4 450 MPe, Miles2, 2 x 15k 18.3G Cheetahs (ST318451LW), Raid 0 on single channel:
PR 66.59 SR 65.49 PW 33.81 SW 33.01

Here's the results with the backside cache working as it should be (at 225 MHz, 1:2 ratio):
8500/xlr8 G4 450 MPe, Miles2, 2 x 15k 18.3G Cheetahs (ST318451LW), Raid 0 on single channel:
PR 69.86 SR 69.16 PW 39.06 SW 38.98

Geeeeez, I knew it was smokin' the 9600 by a better margin than those earlier numbers!

04-21-2001, 10:17 PM
I thought those earlier numbers looked low, but I didn't want to hurt your feelings.

04-21-2001, 11:55 PM
oh, man. MM's been sampling his own wares!


we named your PowerCenter "bimbo," Louie. I think she's going to host the new FTP server, or maybe a new Caracho server. (I gave up on the idea of Hotline after my son summed it up as "a bunch of PC losers, pornographers and software pirates. Caracho is Mac-only, Dad."

the mail server is, in fact, one of those $22 PowerCurve's you sent me. I have another here as a hot-spare backup, just waiting for the first one to fail.


old Macs never really die. They just get used as servers.

[This message has been edited by magician (edited 22 April 2001).]

04-22-2001, 10:58 AM
From one brief experience, I think Caracho has the same qualities as your son says of hotline.

04-22-2001, 01:13 PM
Well now that the weather is cooperating, I'm gonna crank up the Yamaha VMAX I have so I can clear out those Formalin fumes that are fixing my brain. Nothin' like a couple of Horseflies between your teeth to help sort out life. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

You know, the ironic thing about the whole PC vs. Mac thing in this thread is that I juiced this 8500 so I could run Virtual PC with reasonable speed. I need it to run a PC module for my Laboratory Information System at work. Well, it too runs a little faster with the backside cache enabled. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Dick Brillo
04-23-2001, 12:34 PM
I was nursing a hangover all weekend and just couldn't get to the computer... I want thank all for the responses; it is really helping me map out my system upgrade.

MacMikester thank you for the numbers. I'm glad that it helped you in finding your cache error and in squeezing a little more outta your system. I think I will follow in your footsteps. I'm gunna put the money/upgrade into the 8500 first cause of the video out. That is most important thing for me now. Why didn't you go for the Dual G4 processor, other than money? Did you buy all new RAM or did you have some already? I'm curious cause I have 4 sets of different 64MB chips between the 9600 and the 8500, and I wondering how important it is too have RAM that is all the same... as far as speed/compatibility etc... But, I think I will go for the same setup as far as hard drives/card and turn the 8500 into a Photoshop/Illustrator/Final Cut Pro/After Effects machine. Leaving the 9600 for 3D work. I'm doing that cause of the current 'dual-G4-six-slot' problem. Maybe that will be resolved by the time I can start (and afford) working on the 9600. By the way... I did manage to clean up my office at home and I got the 9600 off the floor and on the table top. It sure looks pretty; so massive in scale! I can't wait to upgrade these machines...

Magician, thanks so much for the update on all the computers. I really look forward to seeing updates on Beast and bam_bam and more pages on the new computers. I would like to give you some freindly feedback on the site. You know, it is real hard to find the pages on Beast and bam_bam. I only found them after hours of reading at work http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Later, when I was home with a friend looking at your site, I could not find those pages to save my soul. I have them bookmarked now, but it ain't easy to find them on someone else's computer. I show these pages quite often when I recommend your site to people. I think it really kinda wraps up the whole MacGurus concept. Everything you sell, is pretty much so you can create a Beast or a bam_bam. It is VERY helpful to see the whole picture through one of your machines. "Ohhh, that's what I can do with my old 7500 in the corner. WOW and look at those numbers..." It is hard to get that reaction with all the pages you have on individual parts and items. I would bet most new comers to your site know little or none about RAID. Although your 'How to Buy SCSI Hardware!' is really great, it really doesn't tell you how to take advantage of RAID. For example, on the current bam_bam page you have two Cheetahs striped to a Level 0 RAID and another larger Barracuda hard drive in an external enclosure. Now through reading and learning, I figure you copy your files from the 2 Cheetahs to the one Barracuda and the end of the day for back-ups. One could install a back-up drive in that enclosure to put it on tape, or using the current configuration make CD-R's of your work. You can still work and not upset the burning process. See, I would of not thought of that just because, I have not seen the different RAID configurations I can only assume you have. Seeing this setup opens my eyes to other combinations that I might want to work towards in the future. I know you are really busy; I can tell from these forums. But, I think if you put a little more focus on systems that you have built and maybe some of your customers too, it would certainly help promote more sales and answer a lot of newbie questions. Looking through the forums I learn a lot from just reading what people have done to there machines, what there speeds are and what they use the computer for, just how MacMikster has responded to me. If you had a spot on your web page that should pictures and gave just simple basic info (don't have to write a book) on different computers with different configurations I think it would be a huge success.

That is just my 2 cents.

Thanks again!

04-23-2001, 01:41 PM
the six slot issue might be a dead one. Read this:

That is posted by Darin, tech support @ Xlr8.

When you need to find something on the site, use the search field on the front page. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif


[This message has been edited by jorge (edited 23 April 2001).]

04-23-2001, 07:26 PM
Hey Dick,

Just to quick answer your questions at me:

Yes, I bought all new 60 ns RAM for the 8500 because it had all 70 ns RAM and I wanted to keep my RAM interleaved and thought it would help the G4 be all that it can be. My trade-off was to only get a single CPU MAChCarrier MPe but I can add Velocity with a single matching chip later if any money falls of any trees in the near future. Actually, I stole some of the new RAM for the 9600 too (I bought 512 MB but I left 448 MB in the 8500).


Dick Brillo
04-24-2001, 04:52 PM
Thanks MM - I think I know what to do now. Just need the money...


Do you have a way of testing your RAM? I've got a bunch and don't know what I have.

04-24-2001, 05:51 PM
Hey Dick,

Apple System Profiler or TechTool Pro or others can tell you something about your RAM, at least the size of the modules. You can tell the basic speed of the component chips by looking at the long series of letters and numbers stamped on each of the small individual chips. 60 ns chips end in -6, -06 or -60. 70 ns chips end in -7, -07 or -70.

For more: www.chipmunk.nl/DRAM/ChipManufacturers.htm (http://www.chipmunk.nl/DRAM/ChipManufacturers.htm)


Dick Brillo
04-24-2001, 09:18 PM
Thanks MM!

That was a great link!


Dick Brillo
04-25-2001, 10:09 AM
Magician where are you???
What did you think of my idea for the web page???