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Thread: Memory upgrade for beige G3

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2004

    Lightbulb Beige G3 Storage

    First of all, welcome to MacGurus! You will soon find out you've come to the right forum for your upgrading questions.

    Now, I have a Beige G3 MT too, which I have "twicked" just a bit; so, I think I can throw at you my 2 worth.

    I gather from your question that what you will need from it, is some sort of backup system for your small graphic studio. I thus gather that the main "mean" machine with which you plan to do the "muscle" jobs is a different one? Maybe a more recent G4 or even a newer G5?

    I understand your need for fast disk access, due to the very graphic work you want to do, but... keep in mind that the old Beige G3 motherboard bears the limitation due to it's internal PCI bus, which is capable of 32-bit wide addressing at a maximum clock rate of 33.33MHz. It thus translates into a maximum data throughput of 132MB per second.

    Reguardless the kind of disk controller you are going to fit into it (wheather SCSI, Ultra ATA or SATA), that's the maximum data throughput you can reasonably expect from a hard disk connected to a third party PCI controller card.

    The on-board ATA/IDE bus, is, at best, an ATA/ATAPI-4 standard capable of handling Ultra DMA Mode 0; these are it's main specs:
    • Maximum data burst throughput: 16.7 MB/sec.
    • Supports ATA Packet Interface devices (ATAPI = CD-ROMs, ZIP Drives, etc.).
    • Allows system booting from the ATAPI device.
    • It came with two buses: one for the hard disk and the other for the ATAPI device.
    • It supports modern 80-conductors ATA interface cables (40-signal wires + 40-signal separating wires [earthing] to reduce cross-talking effects due to the increased data rates).

    Depending on the ROM revision mounted on board of your Beige motherboard, this ATA/IDE interface will or not will handle a Master/Slave configuration on its buses:
    1. Revision A ROM (from System Profiler, code # $77D.40F2) = will only support single Master devices; no "Slave" device will be recognized by the system.
    2. Revision B ROM (from System Profiler, code # $77D.45F1) = will allow Master/Slave configurations on the ATA/IDE buses.
    3. Revision C ROM (from System Profiler, code # $77D.45F2) = besides allowing M/S ATA configurations, adds some minor PCI protocols compatabilities.

    If I well remember, the standard OEM SCSI bus installed on the Beige systems from Apple, allows you a 50-pin internal connection and a 25-pin external D-type connections, for a maximum data throughput of 5 MB/sec. (useless, for today's standards).
    The only Apple branded internal SCSI PCI card which was, at the time, available for the Beige G3 series, was the "Apple Single-channel U1 SCSI card", which, if I am not mistaken, was built to the Ultra SCSI protocol and was capable of returning a maximum of 20 MB/sec data throughputs. It's also called "narrow" Ultra SCSI as it uses a bus width of 8-bit and connects to 50-pin devices. Does your IBM SCSI drive use such 50-pin internal connection?

    If it uses a 68-pin connection, then the card is a Wide Ultra SCSI standard and you can use more modern SCSI hard disks with it. However, hard disk data throughput will be limited to a maximum of 40 MB/sec (16-bit width per 20 MHz).

    Moreover, I am not 100% sure such SCSI card is any longer supported under OSX.

    Some Ultra ATA modern protocols can do much batter than that at a fraction of the costs of more modern SCSI devices.

    If hard disk data transfer rate is so crucial for you, even on a backup system, and money is not a problem, I am sure that there are people on this very forum who will tell ALL about SCSI in a Beige system. However, be prepared to cough up some serious dough....

    My suggestion is to do a little upgrading but, although the old Beige machines still are capable of doing their job, I would be against spending too much money on it, due to the technical limitations inbuilt into the architecture of the motherboard itself. That would leave you more money for upgrading a more modern system, which, ultimately, could benefit more from your investment.

    Therefore, my humble suggestion (mind you, others on these very forums may well come up with a better one than mine) and if I was in your shoes, I would limit my upgrades to:
    • RAM = Max it out: 3 sticks, 256 MB in size each, 16 DRAM devices on them (8 on each side), PC-100, CAS-2, unbuffered, 8ns refresh rate or better.
    • Hard Disk(s) = Drop a nice, fat, cheap, 120 GB Ultra ATA drive (*) on your internal IDE bus, like this one here, with 8MB of disk cache buffer.
    • Install on it OSX, keeping in mind that you will need to make a 1st partition no larger than 8GB in size, otherwise OSX installer won't recognize it as a suitable disk partition (due to a limitation in-built in the ATA/ATAPI-4 BIOS, on your internal IDE chip).
    • Use the rest of the disk space to record your backups.
    • Drop into one of your free PCI slots a SATA controller card, like Seritek.
    • Place two nice, fat & reliable SATA drives in the spare 3.5" expansion bays you have on the front, like these Seagates, and connect them to your internal SATA card. Place another OSX installation on one of them (the card allows bootable hard disks on it) and use the rest of the space to instal your main applications. Use the other as your main scratch disk.
    • Don't spend $400.00 + on a CPU upgrade for the Beige; IMHO, it isn't worth it. In your shoes, I would rather consider either the Sonnet Encore/ZIF G4 - EG4-700-1M-U - at $249.95, or the DayStar XLR8 MAChSpeed 500-600MHz G4 ZIFat just $199.00. In particular, the latter is even more stright forward of an upgrade than the Sonnet one and the price is right.
    • Drop a nice ATI RADEON 9200 PCI graphic in it. If you do graphics and want to use OSX, you will need that.
    • Pull your old CD-ROM and swap it with a nice Pioneer DVR 108: you won't regret it; actually, you'll soon think how the hell you've managed without one till now.
    • Download all the necessary pacthes to run DVD player with your old Beige G3 system under OSX here.
    • On the last free PCI slot, drop a USB/FW combo card, so that you can use all modern peripherals with your old Beige Machine. A good such card to consider, would be the Sonnet Tango 2.0, but there maybe others with a futher good selection to choose from.

    There... I've thrown in my 2. IMHO, should return you the best bang for your bucks.

    Now watch others contradict me and provide you with different solutions.

    All the best.

    (*) 120 GB is the maximum size hard disk you can place on your older ATA/ATAPI-4 IDE interface; larger in size HDs won't be exploited to their full capacity by the internal IDE BIOS chip.
    Last edited by TZ; 01-27-2005 at 06:16 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Mobius Strip


    Crucial does not upgrade their information on 6 yr old systems. You can use the PC100/133 we sell which are 256MB and correct for your system.

    Beige G3/All in One G3/B&W/Yikes G4. 32x4 build, 8 NS, CL2
    256 MB PC100/PC133 DIMMS H256G3-133 $62.00

    PC100 DIMM 168 pin 3.3v SDRAM low profile 32x4 build

    for 66 and 100 MHz bus G3 and G4 models Beige, All in One, B&W, Yikes-PCI Graphics G4
    Note: This is the correct 125 MHz (8NS) RAM designed to run perfectly in the Beige, AIO, B&W and Yikes .

    You can determine your RAM with DIMM First Aid:

    I can say this, to avoid problems with the new RAM, pull your old RAM. It is not compatible and you can't mix fast and slow (PC66 or PC100) with PC100 or PC133. And, they must have the same "CAS Latency (CL)" for all chips.

    There is Rev C ROM and revision 3 motherboard which was the last update to the Beige line. I have 768MB in my Rev A MT as do thousands of others as documented on Apple Beige Discussions.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Milan - Italy

    Thumbs up Upgrading RAM on a Beige G3

    Dear Erichsen (or is it "JT"?),

    I would double on all TZ wrote to you.

    However, let me summarise:
    • What Crucial has to say about upgrading different Beige G3 revision machines, is now out of date.
    • In short, whatever revision ROM/Logic Board Beige G3 you have, it will *NOT* inhibit your ability to increase/upgrade your RAM availability.
    • The ROM/Logic Board revision issue is totally indipendent from the relationship there is between your internal Memory Controller and your RAM banks. See this post of mine for further details.

    You can safely fit inside your Beige Desktop Crucial's 256MB sticks an all three RAM expansion rails, thus maximazing your RAM up to 768MB.
    I have only the following reccomendations:
    1. Make sure you buy the "LOW PROFILE" modules, otherwise you will be unable to close safely your Desktop case as the top of the modules will nock on your internal PSU metal cover. You need to choose those modules with maximum hight = 1.125 in. (or 28.58 mm.). However, Crucial knows which kind will suit you.
    2. Crucial will offer you the PC-100, CL2 (9 ns) ones, which are Micron's part # MT16LSDT3264A-10E; they will be just fine for you. Such modules will ALSO allow you, should you want so, to upgrade your CPU and do a Front System Bus overclocking up to 83.33 MHz (from the stock 66.67MHz).
    3. Remember to flash your PRAM, on first re-booting your Mac after having added your new RAM sticks, so as to let your machine "know" about the new RAM availability.
    4. If you max out your RAM up to 756MB, you will notice at first, that your old Beige will take a few minutes longer to boot into the OS splash screen: this is due to the fact that your internal Memory Controller takes a few minutes longer to performe his Memory Test thing during the booting sequence. You can disable the Memory Test at startup, if so you wish, by opening the Memory Control Pannel while you keep the Option+Control keys pressed; an extra window will open up giving you the ability to choose such disabling feature.

    If you want to know which version Beige G3 you have, even under OS 8.1 System Profiler there should be a section under the "Main System" tab, towards the bottom of the page, regarding the ROM version number: compare your numbers to the ones I have provided you with the above link to my old post.

    You should be fine with some additional RAM.

    Good luck.

    Ab ovo usque ad mala

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Mobius Strip


    I don't think 9x is an option. I have not seen anything reliable and stable much over 600. That seems to be ideal.

    I would drop the 64MB which is likely 10 ns and insure that ALL the RAM is the same nanosecond type speed.

    You should seriously study the cpu upgrade database which has the most wealth of user experiences and reports.

    It can take time, tweaking voltage, some serious theramal cooling (cooper, fans, heck, even super cooled nitrogen would help

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