Archives for: April 2006

Playing with a beige G3

21/04/06 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware

Well, back playing with the Beige G3. As I last left it, it had a 6Gb HDD with 10.2.8, 6x DVD-ROM, Realtek Gigabit ethernet, VIA firewire and an A/V card.

First thing I did is connect up the Zip 100 drive and floppy drive, and install some RAM (for testing). After installing everything, I booted up, and discovered the mouse/keyboard didn't work. I removed the Gigabit and Firewire cards. After a couple of tries (and with a different keyboard/mouse), I decided to try booting from a CD. It wasn't working, and turned out that the IDE cable was loose.

Eventually, I get to the point where I am now installing the 10.2.8 update combo. I am probably going to install some internet tools.

The main reason for getting the Beige up is to test some RAM I have. I figure if it works in a Beige G3, it will probably work in a 350MHz+ iMac, Power Mac G3 and G4, and eMacs, which take SD-RAM. I have now run into the problem of not being able to get enough info about the RAM in System Profiler. It just shows you how much total you have, not how much per stick or speeds etc. I am going to see if there is some way of getting more detailed info.

I can't find this tool... back to the old fashioned ways :(

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Rebuilding the Collection Part 3 - To buy/acquire

12/04/06 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Mac, Amiga, PC

So, the Power Mac is close to complete. I need to fix the TV tuner, and upgrade the CPU. I might get a another HDD, either 120Gb or 320Gb.

The Beige G3 needs a little work. Reinstall OSX on the hard drive, and install some RAM. The 7300 is working, but I'd like a new hard drive and possibly a CPU upgrade (500MHz G3 or so), so I can experiment with XPostFacto. The 6100s are both working, but need hard drives. I'd like to get a replacement foot for the Pismo, new battery, and a 512Mb stick to replace the 256Mb. A faster CPU, and DVD burner would be nice, too.

The A2000 is okay, it just needs some software work (possible upgrade to OS3.9) and a sound card. I'd love a Toccata. The AmigaOne could benefit from a 9250 AGP card, larger hard drive/s, and maybe a DVD burner. A catweasel could be handy.

The big project is rebuilding the PC. I need a good case, motherboard (dual 16x SLI), CPU (socket 939), RAM, graphics card/s, hard drive/s, and a DVD burner.

New screens would be good, too. At the moment, there are 4+ machines on the desk (most with dual monitor support) and only two screens: a 21" and 17" CRT. A 17" or 19" LCD would be handy. I am used to 1280x960, but even that feels cramped on OSX. Eventually, I could run most of it through one box using remote desktop and VNC. That would be cool.

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Rebuilding the collection part two WiFi

12/04/06 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Networking, Mac, OSX

So, in the last post I mentioned dealings with the Power Mac and WiFi.

Once I got back, and got a Power Mac, I needed to network it with the Pismo. Since I had AirPort Extreme compatible WiFi cards in both machines (Broadcomm chipset), I decided this would be the way to go. Both machines were running 10.4.5 and AirPort was working as expected. I set up the network (computer to computer) from the Power Mac, and set up internet sharing. I initially ran in to problems because the PMac was still on 10.4.2. There are known issues with this version and 'third party' airport cards. The issues were fixes in 10.4.3.

This allowed me to use the Internet wirelessly from the Pismo by routing through the Power Mac. Very handy. I could also share the better iTunes collection on the Pismo and play it through iTunes on the Power Mac with its better Pro Speakers.

The only down side was that the range was about 3 metres. This meant that it was very slow or even not present, when I had the Pismo in front of the TV. If you recall, this was one of the aims of setting up a WiFi network.

At the moment, the Pismo isn't getting much use, so neither is the WiFi. This is because I have moved all the data over to the Power Mac and use it. The desktop is nicer, because it is faster (slightly), has a better screen (larger and clearer), and much better sound through the Apple Pro Speakers (Harmon Kardon globe type).

What this shows, though, is that it is easy to set up a WiFi network between machines, and get good data rates, even when not using official cards. It was easier with the Power Mac G4 and 10.4 than on the Beige G3 with 10.2.8. I still have to try it with the 7300 and XPostFacto.

Another note, there aren't drivers for Broadcomm under PPC linux. Terron has beta driver for Yellow Dog 4.1. I don't know how it works generally, though.

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Rebuilding the collection pt 1 - Power Mac G4

12/04/06 | by admin [mail] | Categories: Hardware, Mac

So, I went away for a month or so, and sold most of the machines before I left. I took the Pismo with me. Only to discover a battery problem in the first few days. So I didn't end up using it as much as I had thought.

When I got back, I needed to get the cash to build a desktop set up. I had parts for a Power Mac, namely a graphics card 1GiB RAM, two hard drives, a SATA card, a WiFi card, CRTs, and TV Tuner. Quite a set. So I needed a box to put it all in. I knew that the G3 would not be good enough. The Pismo had really shown me some of the short comings of slower systems, and the parts I had more or less meant a Power Mac G4. I decided on the cheapest Digital Audio or Quicksilver I could find. They have the 4x AGP slot that my graphics card needs.

I picked up a 533MHz DA with 40Gb HDD, CD-RW, and 320MiB RAM for about 200AUD. A reasonable deal. It was in pretty good physical condition, and the RAM was a 256Mb double sided chip and the original 64Mb. The hard drive was the original Maxtor aswell. It was missing a keyboard :( I got around that for the first couple of weeks by using a PC keyboard through a USB hub. The USB hub lets you plug in a PS/2 keyboard, and it shows up as a USB HID, which is handy. The downside is that it won't let you use any open firmware functions, or AHT. Which was a bugger.

So, first thing I did was fix it up with a graphics card. I got a deal on an ATi Radeon 9650 (rv351) 256Mb from a G5. It has a standard (ie not pro) AGP connector, so that it will work in a G4 with AGP 4X with a simple tape mod. I've done the tape mod a few times before, so it was straight forward enough. The 9650 is a nice card, it is about the same speed as the 9600Pro, and is fanless. It also has a ridiculous amount of VRAM.

I also swapped in a 60Gb drive with OSX Tiger already installed. I then updated it from 10.4.2 to 10.4.5. I installed the 2 512MiB sticks I had and swapped out the 64MiB for 1.25GiB total. I also put in the SATA card in anticipation.

I also set up the WiFi card. It showed up as Airport Extreme, as expected. I'll make another entry detailing this.

The TV tuner had some physical damage, so I will need to try and get it fixed. Otherwise, I might look at getting an external firewire digital tuner, or PVR.

After this I had to wait awhile until I had some more cash. Because the hard drives were full, I couldn't move over my settings from the Pismo, so I had them networked and switched between them depending on what I was doing.

Finally I got some more money. I had decided to buy a SATA drive, and possibly a USB 2 card. The day I went to buy the Hard drive, 10.4.6 was released. I knew that it was coming from reports on macnn or somewhere. I checked the feature list to check DVD-RW support. The Pioneer DVR-110 was supported. I add this to the list of things to buy.

I picked up a 320GiB WD SATA for about 175AUD. It was the lowest $/Gb. The first shop was out of USB 2 cards and Pioneer DVR-110s. They offered a 111, but obviously it wasn't what I needed. I went round the corner to shop number two. They had a Pioneer DVR-110D for about 60AUD. A nice price, since 109s were still going for 50AUD + post on eBay.

So I had the drive and DVD burner. Swapped them in. The 320GiB WD is faster and quieter than the Maxtor. The DVD showed up as Apple Supported/Shipped. Very nice. I then migrated the users from the old hard drives, and from the Pismo. After I had finished, 100GiB were full. That's a lot of data. It also meant that I could use the one machine when I was at home.

I also picked up some RAM on eBay. It was a bundle of 512MiB and 256MiB sticks, so I will be selling the extras. The DA now has 1.5GiB. Hopefully, I will be able to put 256MiB or 512MiB in the Beige G3. At the moment, the G3 is sub functional.

Also, setup at the moment is the A1, and A2000. The A1200 is near functioning. It just needs the monitor set up. But the big thing missing is a PC. I have the hard drives and PSU, and even a CPU fan, but I will need to get a case, motherboard, RAM, CPU and hard drive/s.

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Current Hardware Projects

This is all about my on going fumblings with hardware. Regular entries should provide an indication of the depths of my obsession.

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