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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > best upgrade options for a 7500?

best upgrade options for a 7500?
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Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Jul 1999
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Oct 7, 2000, 04:04 AM
Just got the new MacAddict today where they talk about upgrading an older Mac as opposed to buying new.

I've got a 7500 sitting here doing very little, and I'd like to turn it into a G4, or at least a high-end G3, with firewire and USB.

Now, I know there are firewire/USB combo cards available for a little over $100, so I'm not as concerned with that.

What I'm more interested in is which CPU cards people can recommend. I'm not doing so much graphics work in photoshop, but I will be using iMovie and other DV apps, so I'm wavering between the G3 and the G4. Does AltiVec add much to the iMovie experience?

Also, I'm planning on getting a Voodoo 5500. Will this card work in a 7500, or would it overwhelm the poor thing?

Thanks very much for any and all advice!
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Oct 10, 2000, 11:52 AM
SCSI is the bottleneck here.
For video you need to speed up your scsi.
If you have a color card and firewire usb card trhats it no more pci slots for high speed network etc.
Also memory is relatively expensive so tread carefully add up your costs and think imac
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Oct 10, 2000, 12:16 PM
I have a PM7500 which is upgraded about as far as I can reasonably go I guess. I tried several G3 upgrades for it with HUGE problems all around until I got a Maxpowr G3 upgrade from Newer, which has never caused any problems at all. The problem upgrades came from Bottom Line (Railgun model), Sonnet, and another that I've fogotten. The Newertech is a G3 300/1MB cache at 1.5:1 (200Mhz). It was the fastest they made at the time I believe, and now they make a G4/500MHz model, although it's pricey. After such bad experiences with other upgrades, I doubt I'll ever use another upgrade for a Mac other than Newertech. I also got an Adaptec 2940UW SCSI adapter card, and an external UW 10,000rpm drive, which has made a huge difference for what I do, which is audio production stuff and multitrack recording. Adaptec makes plenty of faster adapters for the current fast drives (UW160), and that would be totally required for video production in my opinion. I also put a Rage 128 video card in it, and that helped a lot as well. There's only 3 PCI slots in the 7500. so you'll have to choose what you need wisely. I guess with a UW160 SCSI card, a better video card than the built in video, and a combonation firewire/USB card, you'll be ok. If you want to spend bucks, you could use firewire drives and skip the UW SCSI card and drives. I hear the firewire drives are superduper fast, but I've never used one. There's plenty of room for RAM in the 7500, 8 slots, so I have 352MB in mine. I think the motherboard support 768MB, or maybe 1GB of RAM, I'm not sure. At this point I guess the bottlenck is the motherboard speed itself, so I doubt I'll upgrade any further.
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Sacramento, CA
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Oct 10, 2000, 12:16 PM
After spending a year and lots of $$ trying to upgrade my 7500 to DV specs, I threw in the towel and grabbed a refurb B/W G3/300 for $1299.

I had the 7500 up to 200Mhz 604e, 256k cache, 9.1GB 7200 rpm SCSI, Firewire, ATI Rage Pro, etc. DV had some problem where it would play back in slow-mo. I spend months trying to figure things out until giving up.
The G3 captured and played back DV within 5 minutes out of the box.

I see that refurb G4's are now around the same price, like $1099. You could easily get close to that amount upgrading the 7500.
2 cents
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Oct 10, 2000, 12:25 PM
3 slots:
-Sonnet ATA66

Slap a fast G3 in there and add up the cost... might consider an older AGP G4. They're cheaper than the "latest & greatest", and still fast as National Lampoon's saucer.

I'm in the same predicament. I'm hanging on to my little 7500 until it just can't get the job done. I'm still suffering with the built-in video, but the 30Gb ATA/66 drive was worth every penny, as was $125 G3 upgrade. Not the fastest thing on earth, but $400-500 made a huge difference in my little baby.
anon coward
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Oct 10, 2000, 01:08 PM
I have a 7600 132 that's very close to the 7500' it has 112 megs of ram a sonnet ata66 controller and a usb card. with a cd burner and a printer hooked up.I don't have fire wire so I don't know how well it works with tha but for digitizing to the 30 gb 7200 rpm drive Final cutpro does an awsome job. it captes smooth and clean 30 fps 640x480. IC an only assume that imovie will caputer fine. I do plenty of photoshop work and even fine the built in video good for images up to 30 megs.
right now you can go to OWC computing and get a 233g3 for around $150. I haven't botherd yet since with the ide card the system snaps along just fine. It can do most things as fast as the B&W g4/400 I also use. With the g3 card the system should be a champ provided you have enough ram.
If you don't have enough ram(at least 100 megs) scrap it. that old ram is expensive.
also on the vodoo5500! it's crippled in the old machines only one of the two processors work. but this might be a good buy if you expect to buy a g3/g4 in the future since it would be worth putting in such a machine.

Keep in mind I stayed away fron scsi cuz of the cost
Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: Groton, CT USA
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Oct 10, 2000, 07:36 PM
Trying to upgrade my 7500 as well.

As far as CPU upgrades I'm thinking of a G-3 Sonnet 400/200 1 MB backside or the OWC combo Mercury ZIF 400/200 1 MB backside with xlr8 ZIF carrier card. Both are priced below G-4 upgrades and within my budget of $300 or less. I would greatly appreciate any other comments on other CPU upgrade options.

I have no plans for DV apps but do use Photoshop every day. Just added a Rage/Orion 128 video board (which helped even without the CPU upgrade).

A MicroOrange USB/Firewirecard is also in my upgrade plans.

Not sure what else to do with this 7500.

Currently running an xlr8 200 mhz 604e CPU, 232MB Ram (you could add up to 1 Gig RAM if you can afford it); also have a pair of internal 9.1 gig SCSI II HD's with an addition cooling fan installed.

I plan to buy a new G-4 after MacOS X is released and will use the 7500 as the heart of a second work station. At this time I do not know if an upgraded G3/G4 7500 will be MacOS X compatible --something else to consider if you planning on spending a lot on the old 7500.

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Oct 11, 2000, 12:31 AM

PowerLogix PowerForce 350/512 $179 at SmallDog
Sonnet ATA/66 card $88 at Buy.com
ATI Rage Orion $118 at Buy.com plus a $30 rebate
Sonnet Tango USB/FireWire card $123 at Buy.com
Any cheap, big ATA/66 hard disk approx. $100

RAM is the most expensive thing to come by for these machines. I solved this issue by begging, borrowing and "stealing" 16 MB modules at computer shows. With 8 slots that's 128MB. Try to upgrade in pair for a speed boost from interleaving.

You should be able to do all this for around $700, but remember, I did this for fun and over the course of a year. It's not cheap or the best value. It's a project, an experiment. It's fun to build a "Frankenmac" and to shop around for the best prices and compare upgrades.
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Feb 1999
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Oct 14, 2000, 08:51 AM
I've upgraded my 7600 3 times in the past 4 years. Never had a problem. Newer makes a great board (G3 300MHz w/1MB backside cache). I'm currently running an XLR8 Carrier Zif 400MHz, 1 MB backside cache running @ 266MHz. It's probably at its max due to bus speed but the dang machine screams its little frame off. As I understand it, OS X will probably run on a PM upgraded to a G3 but Apple WILL NOT support it. Anybody hear otherwise?
Will S
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Oct 15, 2000, 12:03 AM
Mac OS Xpb is already being used on many upgraded older PCI
Macs. The 7300,7500,7600,8500,8600,500,9600 are all running it.
I'm writing this from my UMAX J700 clone running Netscape under
Classic (OS9.04) running in OSXpb everything works just fine.
Yes, there are issues that have to be worked with and around.
It has to be installed with an Apple CD player and using the onboard
video on machines that have it and with an ATI card for machines
that don't. later Will S
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Oct 16, 2000, 06:35 AM
Here's a few... rather, many OS X questions for older Mac hardware. While these questions are aimed at Will S, any answers would be greatly appreciated.

Do you know if older PCI Macs necessarily need to be upgraded to G3 or above? Nevermind performance, I would love to try to get OS X running without buying a whole new machine if possible.
Which Apple CD-Rom drive did you use? I'm assuming that your clone didn't come with an Apple-branded CD drive....My PowerCenter 132 came with a NEC Drive. Did you need to remove your non-Apple CD drive, or could the installer handle multiple CD drives?

Are there any resources you know of that discuss OS X on unsupported machines? Also, for refernce, how much system and video RAM does your system have?
Thanks for any information you might have.
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