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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > More RAM for older systems vs. New System

More RAM for older systems vs. New System
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Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: "Joisey" Home of the "Guido" and chicks with "Big Hair"
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Aug 27, 2001, 11:27 AM
At my place of work we have a few Legacy (Pre-G3) systems. Wer'e a Graphics firm in electronic pre-press. We do intensive work with QuarkXPress, Illustrator and Photoshop on a daily basis.

A co-worker of mine recently suggested to our supervisor that her 9600/300 could use more memory because it's slow. It actually has the most RAM of all our workstations (416 MB). Our other systems are all in the mid 300 MB range. All our systems run OS 9.1 and we intend on keeping all the operating systems on all systems the same. So downgrading to something older is not an option here.

I don't believe adding more memory to this system will solve the "speed" issue she's talking about. I simply believe it's due to the older architecture of the system itself. The processor and BUS speed etc., etc.

I believe that a new workstation is in order but my supervisor has other projects she's persueing which would require that budget. She's not looking at a new workstation. I simply don't think there's much point in adding more memory to this system however.

The 9600/300 mentionned could be better utilized for other purposes, but I still believe it's time for a new system.

Anyway based on what I've mentionned here, what's the vote on this issue? Would more memory increase the speed or will it simply allow for more overlapping applications to run simultaneously?

Thanks for any input.

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Aug 28, 2001, 12:48 PM
Hello Mike.

No, with 416 MB already, adding more memory will not speed things up, except for one or two possible exceptions (photoshop with whopping large files, for example). What you want to do is get a faster processor for it. Something like a 500 MHz G3 or a 450 MHz G4. Either will make the machine much more responsive and he will be very pleased. These are going for about $300-400.

Good luck.
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Aug 28, 2001, 12:52 PM
Sorry, I meant "she will be pleased."

Good luck.
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Hong Kong
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Aug 28, 2001, 03:23 PM
Down-grade the OS to 8.6 or even 8.1.
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Silicon Valley, Ca.
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Aug 30, 2001, 01:49 PM
A g3 or g4 upgrade card would add a good performance boost.
Be advised that unless the memory (which is more than adequate in terms of total MBs) is good quality stuff, some of it may have to be replaced to meet the increased demands placed on it by the new CPU.

Another speed boost would be the installation of a Miles2 SCSI accelerator PCI card and a couple of 10 or 15K Seagate LVD drives set up as RAID 0.

The existing internal SCSI bus reads and writes at a maximum of 10 MB/sec (realistically about 7 MBs/sec).
With the Miles card and RAIDed drives, writes to the HD will increase to just under 40 MB/sec, and reads from the disks should approacj 70 MB/sec.
This can be accomplished using the SoftRaid software included in the Miles2 bundle.

That is where the slowdown in graphics occurs. Moving large files to and from the disk(s).

An upgraded video card can also drastically improve things, speeding the redraws a lot (esp. if your machine is still using the OEM ixMicro (IMS) Twin Turbo that came with the machine.

The Macgurus site (above) is full of good and honest upgrade info, and the forums have many graphics pro mebers that can give you advice and recommendations regarding upgrades for your situation.

good luck
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Join Date: Sep 1999
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Aug 31, 2001, 08:28 AM
Lots of people would love to buy a 9600 like that for the 6 slots etc. A G4/500 for $475 (or G4/450 and OC it for $100 less), two X15 Cheetahs ($365 ea), ATTO UL3S or Miles2, cables, terminator, EDO 50 nanosecond RAM. I personally find the Quantum Atlas 10k II to be cheaper but close in performance to Cheetah X15s. The upgrade should pay for itself from the type of work being done in a reasonable time frame.

Small Dog has had a G4/500 SCSI Server (with ATTO and 36GB 10k drive) from Summer 2000 for $1699 (new). You can sell a 9600 for quite a bit actually.

A single X15 shows sustained writes of 40MB/s in non-RAID.

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