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Thread: Help me upgrade everything!

  1. #1
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    I want to upgrade my old computer (if its possible) with the goal of editing video on it some day. So if I want to edit video from my Canon Vistura MiniDV camcorder using imovie 2, final cut pro or premiere what do I need? This is what Im starting with:

    PowerCenter Pro 180 (low profile desktop model) containing the following:
    180mhz 604e CPU card with 60mhz bus
    based on a optimized version of the Catalyst (7200) motherboard
    1 Meg L2 cache
    Adaptec 2940UW PCI Ultra-SCSI controller (2 PCI slots free)
    SEAGATE ST318275LW Barracuda 18LP 7200 rpm ULTRA2 WIDE SCSI drive formatted with Hard Disk Toolkit Version 3.0.2
    16X Teac Cdrom CD_516S using CD-ROM Toolkit Version 3.0.2 driver
    176 Megs ram (2x64 Meg+32 Meg+16 Meg 60 ns DIMMs - no free slots)
    2 Meg Vram Rage II Video Riser
    ADB Keyboard/Mouse
    1.4 MB high-density floppy
    MacOS 8.1

    External peripherals
    Epson Stylus Photo Inkjet printer
    HP LaserJet 4MP printer
    200 MB Syquest SQ5200C
    LaCieCD-RW with Yamaha CRW 4416S
    Epson Scanner ES-800C

    Could anyone please answer or recomend solutions to the following:

    1) A new CPU daughter card with a G3 which one and how fast?. I would love a G4 but I believe that requires interleaved ram so I think I'm out of luck unless somebody tells me otherwise.

    2) A new video card (with 32 megs of ram?) to be installed in a PCI slot.

    3) Is it necessary to replace my Adaptec 2940UW SCSI contoller card to
    take full advantage of my SEAGATE ST318275LW Barracuda 18LP (7200 rpm ULTRA2 WIDE SCSI drive formatted with Hard Disk Toolkit Version 3.0.2) or will the existing ULTRA WIDE bus be able to sustain the transfer rate necessary for video? If not then which controller card with what formatting software?

    4) A PCI card to transfer video from my camcorder's firewire port to the computer. If it has some USB ports that would be even better since this would fill up my third and final slot and I may want to add a digital camera or some other USB device in the future. What about a video capture card with real time capabilities do any of them have both firewire and USB?

    Ive covered everyhting I can think of but if anyone has any other thoughts or suggestions I would appreciate hearing from them.

    Thanks in advance
    Erik

  2. #2
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    Erik:

    I've been on sabbatical, but Kaye hollered me up to address your questions.

    I have experience with upgrading several Power CC machines including the Catalyst based madels such as the PCP. There are some inherent audio problems which you need to be aware of before you go any furher. I have to go out for about two hours but when I get back I explain. I will also give you an alternative solution to what you want do do.

  3. #3
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    I can help with a bit - Louie is the expert here...

    Here's what I've done

    Starting with a PTP 225

    Upgrades (all from the 'Gurus)

    G3/500 card from XLR8
    Initio Miles 2 driving a LVD Seagate drive
    MachFire PCI Firewire card driving a EZQuest Boa CD-RW
    Radeon ATI PCI card - also running the stock TwinTurbo card so dual monitors
    Asante 10/100 PCI ethernet card
    XLR8 DualPort USB

    All of this is running under OS 9.1 w/ 256 MB of RAM as my Webstar server... very nice machine, esp. since it cost me all of $350 CDN when I bought the stock machine

    Upgrading to OS X is apparently doable but you need Ryan Rempel's UnsupportedX installer, I believe.

    HTH

    Chris

  4. #4
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    Erik:

    I'm back and Chris has actually stolen my recommendation; swap your PCP for a PTP before you start your upgrade. Let me explain.

    The PowerCurve, PowerCenter, PowerTower, PowerTower(e) and the PowerCenterPro are all based on Apple's Catalyst logic board architecture. That is Apple's 7200 which was the first Apple PCI machine. It was considered a dog because the CPU was fixed and not upgradeable. Also, it did not allow interleaving of RAM.

    Power was able to modify it into a real performer by the use of removable processor card and other tweaks to give the later machine versions a 60 MHz system bus. They did not make any changes to allow RAM interleaving. I bought a new PCP 240 in August of 1997 and it was the fastest Mac on the planet.

    A couple of years later I upgraded this machine to a 450 G3 and began to have sound dropout problems. The then kind people at XLR8 worked with me on this and some improvement was gained with the then new 10X Carrier card and the 466 CPU. However, the only real solution came from either using virtual memory or slowing the synch rate between the UltraSCSI host adapter and HD's. Both ATI and Power developed software fixes for this but I never seen either work.

    I have upgraded at least six other Power CC Catalyst machines since and the all exhibited the same symptoms. Some of these machines are better/worse than others, but I would not try to use one for what you plan to do.

    Instead, sell it and find a Power Tower Pro on eBay to upgrade. It will do everything you want to do with the proper goodies and there are plenty of us around here to advise you. I saw a loaded PTP 250 go for $200 two weeks ago.

    You could also use a 9500/9600 but that will cost more and the PTP has more expansion room (nine bays). Another, more expensive alternative, is the beige G3. I'm in the process of building one with a BTO A/V card which is nice. The problem with the beige is that it only has three PCI slots and limited expansion bays.

    I would sell the Adaptec card along with the machine and buy an Initio Miles U2W (or two)(for LVD instead of Single-Ended operation), get a couple of Cheetah X 15's, A 500 MHz G3 (you will need the XLR8 Carrier card; not the MPe. The MPe doesn't work in a PTP unless XLR8 has fixed that lately), an ATI 128 (Orion, Nexus, VR) or Radeon, USB, and FireWire.

    I can say the the XLR8 USB card and the Apple (beige BTO) FireWire card both work well in the PTP. Some of the others will need to comment on other models/combos.

    Video is not one of my things but the above combo should do it. I believe MM does video capture on a 9600. Maybe he will comment.

    Also upgrade to OS 9.1; it has many improvements over OS 8.1.

  5. #5
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    I will leave the PCP/audio issues to Louie.

    As Chris mentions the XLR8 MACh G3 500MHz Carrier, 1MB L2 @ 250MHz $299.99 ea here http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart...boards2cz.html would be your top of the line choice. The G4 is not compatible with the PCP (read down the linked page).

    The Adoptec UltraWide card is forcing your Cuda into single-ended mode and out of LVD mode. A Miles2 kit, Miles2 A100U2W w/ LVD Cable & SoftRAID 2.1 $184.99 ea, here http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart...tioboards.html would maximize throughput of your Ultra2 Wide LVD Cuda and comes with the LVD cable and LVD terminator and SoftRAID and would allow more LVD drives including Ultra160.

    For combined FireWire/USB capability, the RATOC FireWire/USB PCI Combo Card for Mac $119.99 ea is the way to go.

    To make everything here work better, you need to upgrade your OS, at least to 8.6 but better to 9.1. My PowerTower Pro is running most of this stuff with OS9.1. k

  6. #6
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    Wow what a difference! I sent some emails to sales & dude@macgurus over the last month and I never received an answer but you guys already have given me a lot to think about.

    Chris it sounds like you already have the system that I will need to build. Quick question have you imported video via firewire or analog inputs and edited it on your system? If so how is it going?

    Louie thanks for taking the time from your sabbatical to respond and thanks for the heads up regarding the audio problems. I thought that the PCI Timing Update extension resolved those problems but obviously not. The PTP looks like a nice machine to put my upgrades in and it certainly has enough bays and PCI slots for future upgrades. I assume the ram is interleaved if so am I right in assuming that any ram I install must be in matched pairs? If MM edits video on his 9600 is it possible for me to contact him regarding his experience? If I find a suitable machine that makes economic sense for me to upgrade I hope you & the others will be around to help me.

    Kaye thanks for getting Louie to help and for telling me to post on the forums - you were definetly right about receiving some action! I realize that my Adaptec SCSI controller is forcing my Barracuda into single ended mode but I was wondering if it can already handle the 5 mb/s sustained transfer rate necessary for DV video. Any ideas how I could test for this? I have Norton Utilities and TechToolPro available to me. If it cant, the Miles2 card sounds like a good replacement. Since I already have the Barracuda hooked up with an LVD cable with an active terminator is SoftRAID superior to Harddisk Toolkit? In other words do I need the kit?

    Time to go to ebay and look at whats available. I am looking forward to hearing from all of you again.

    Thanks for the needed advice!
    Erik

  7. #7
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    Erik,

    It isn't required to interleave but it is a speed boost, so yes, you should buy in pairs so that they are matched. For a PTP, it should be FPM, 60ns or better, and 2k refresh, except that 128MB sticks only are called 4k, but meaning 2k per side.

    Either email MM direct or post to the Videophiles Only forum. You don't have to be an expert. Don't be put off by the "Only".

    Your card and Cuda should easily handle the requirements of 5MB/s. We like the freebie ATTO ExpressPro Tools bench test, set at 8MB and no System Disk Cache. It is on the Gurus ftp site. That will tell you if everything is configured correctly and what your sustained read/write is. The disk driver software is a personal preference. I like SoftRAID but you already have HDT. Just be sure, if you upgrade your OS, upgrade your drive software.

    An example of the ATTO SCSI Benchmarks results and HDT bench results here http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/SCSI/Atla...k_series2.html and scroll down the page. k

  8. #8
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    Hi...

    To be honest, I haven't used the FireWire on that machine for video in - our video needs are met by an Aurora Fuse board in a G4/500 upgraded Yikes box.

    I'm hoping I can scam a FireWire camera from a vendor and if so then I'll see how well it works.

    Chris.

  9. #9
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    After looking at ebay I found that they have 2 Power Tower Pros up for sale. The descriptions are as follows:

    180 MHz PowerPC 604 processor $63.50 USD
    80 Meg RAM
    TWO drives, one 2 GIG and a 4 GIG
    PC and MAC compatible Video Card
    OS 9.0.4 installed
    CD Rom Drive
    Floppy Drive
    Ethernet - AAUI, 10Base-T
    SCSI port
    6 PCI slots
    Ethernet card
    SCSI card
    NO KEYBOARD or MOUSE

    225Mhz Processor $152.50 USD
    2 Gig hard drive
    64 Megs of memory
    CDROM Drive
    Internal JAZ Drive
    Internal ZIP Drive
    Floppy drive
    Keyboard and Mouse
    Ports: Sound, Ethernet, LPT, etc.
    MAC OS 9 loaded on the hard drive

    Does anybody know if there is any difference on the basic level such as motherboard bus speed or motherboard version between the two? Is one better suited for video than the other because of such an issue or can I just pick which one I like based on price and features.

    Thanks
    Erik

  10. #10
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    Erik,

    I see one here http://cgi.ebay.com/aw-cgi/eBayISAPI...tem=1291209463 which closes in less than 5 hours and is at $125 with no bidders.

    Your question about the motherboard bus speeds and versions, though the various PTP's run at various bus speeds, 40-51.4MHz, they are all capable of 50MHz, and sometimes faster. Mine, a PTP-250, is running 54.0MHz with an xlr8 G3-500 at 540/270 with complete stability. The 250 model will usually be the latest version motherboard, version 05, but towards the end of Power Computing, they were shipping mobo versions at whatever they still had in their parts bin, so it is hard to know for sure what version mobo will be inside.

    Louie and I have tested 03 and 05 mobos and the 05 is very slightly faster in memory throughput. Not sure if that is due to some later chip designs or simply sample differences. k

  11. #11
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    Erik:

    I meant to mention yesterday that no matter what you decide to do and it includes an OS upgrade, you will need to use something besides those old FWB drivers which are incompatible with the newer stuff.

  12. #12
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    Erik:

    My reference to MM is MacMikester is a moderator here. Someone can send him a Bat Signal.

  13. #13
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    Kaye
    Unfortunately the PTP at your link ships only to the U.S. and not to Canada so I'm afraid I'm out of luck on that one.

    Louie
    I will definately be upgrading the OS to 9.2 or whatever is necessary for the editing programs to work. As well I would be upgrading all drivers to be compatible with that OS version. The question is should I pay for the HardDisk Toolkit upgrade or get SoftRAID? What are your thoughts on this?

    P.S. I will be sending up the bat signal when I get a chance.

    Chris
    Let me know how it goes when you get your hands on one!

  14. #14
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    Erik

    Keep your eyes peeled here...http://www.cpused.com/cpudaily.htm

    This is where I picked up my PTP.. they're in Toronto...

    Chris

  15. #15
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    There is also supposed to be an auction in Toronto on Nov. 22 for Mac hardware! Check out www.macdoc.com or www.macauction.ca.

    I am thinking of going because of the possibility of getting a G4. It might be cheaper than upgrading the PTP 225.

  16. #16
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    Chris
    The second place I looked was cpused but thanks for saving me the trouble of asking where you got yours.

    IronMac
    Thanks for the tip! I haven't heard of this auction before and I will check it out. You have given me something else to think about. I only hope we don't end up bidding against each other.

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