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spiky_dog Oct 13, 2002 01:10 AM
On the utility of old machines
Sorry to brag, but I'm very pleased with myself today, for the oddest reason. I have a nice machine on my desktop, fresh from the Apple presses last spring. Yet picking up a discarded yet functional PowerCenter Pro from work and bringing it back to life has been more rewarding than observing the smooth operation of the new machine on which I type now.

Here's the tale: it was handed to me in functional condition, but with very limited utility. OS 7.6.1 is fast and stable, but doesn't run IE 5, which is the kiss of death as far as I'm concerned (since Netscape has been horrible imo since version 1.12 ;) ). Wow, I'm full of opinions tonight. Anyway, through the wonderful XPostFacto and a few aborted attempts -- having an OS 9 system folder that won't rebless itself is a pain, let me tell ya -- I managed to wrangle OS X 10.0 and then 10.1 onto its meager 2.0 GB hard drive. I was amazed that the installers ran as smoothly as they did, considering the box only has 96 MB of RAM in it. (My parents' 233 G3 w/64 MB ram completely refused to proceed past the initial screen in the OS X installer.)

As it sits tonight, it is only a display piece upstairs, as 500 MB free space isn't enough to store, and eventually serve up, my files. Come next week, however, the friendly UPSanta Claus (actually, it's Airborne Express, but that doesn't lend itself to bad jokes as well) will deliver a lovely new set of RAM and hard drive guts for the beast, and the old Catalyst will scream along as it once did long ago. See this link for some nostalgia:

Anyway, I have no real reason for posting this to this underutilized forum, but I thought that perhaps someone would be interested in what I'm doing to this box. Here's how it will be after the upgrade bits arrive:

604e at 180 MHz, just as when it left the PCC factory -- a G3 is a needless luxury for the thrifty ;)
352 MB RAM (128, 128, 64, 32 chips in the four slots)
the original 2.0 GB and a fresh 36.4 GB drive, all on the slow (yet cheap, once again) built in SCSI-1 bus. NB: I would have bought a IDE controller since IDE drives are so much cheaper, but I don't anticipate upgrading the hard drive in this machine again, or swapping the drive to my G4, so the expensive-SCSI-hard-drive route was the easiest and among the cheapest
OS X 10.1.5 via XPostFacto
17" Dell Trinitron monitor running off the built-in 2 MB video

Total system cost: ~$180 for the hdd and RAM, $0 for everything else :D .

Old Macs are great.
bradoesch Oct 13, 2002 08:30 AM
Right on! Why people give away such treasures is beyond my comprehension...but it's sure great for us collectors! ;)

bluedog Oct 13, 2002 10:51 AM
I've done the same with an 8500, a 7600, setup a 7300 and gave it away with OSX on it and have another 8550 I set up with Linux.

These machines are GREAT for basic web use or for a backup server or lightweight serving!

If only SCSI hard disk prices would drop to the levels of their comparably-sized IDE cousins.

Enjoy your 'new' machine.
drjoe Oct 13, 2002 05:06 PM
You betchum Red Rider. As a gift for installing and setting up OSX a friend of mine gave me an 8500 120/2/250 stock. A 450 Mz G3 , a additional 256 meg ram, and an 18 gig scsi IBM HD cost me $300. I had an antique USB 2 port card, an old Orion class video card and the machine came with an Initio Miles that cost me $30 to upgrade from the E to the F version. Total cost of upgrade - $350. It is now running OSX 10.2.1 and is happy as a clam as a file/print/web/mail server. For a server supporting two or three people the client version of OSX 10.2.1 with file/printer/web sharing turned on is more than adequate. I almost refused to take it feeling that it was sort of unfair - taking candy from a baby. But I convinced myself to do it :-). Do people actually junk these things? Unbelievable.
mac-at-kearsarge Oct 13, 2002 11:23 PM
Spiky-dog, please tell me where you where able to get a SCSI drive of that size Under $300 to $400? I know RAM's cheap (especially if you know where to look ie: but I have some old lagacy machines I've been wanting to put some bigger SCSI HDs and the only prices I've seen have been astronomical (and they were used too, largest size I could find was 2-3GBs)! Is this 36.4 Gb HD you're getting actually Under $200!?!?! (yes expensive comapred to IDE, but sounds cheap for SCSI) and is it actually(dare I ask, drool approaching the corners of my mouth) Internal 50-pin SCSI-1???? Oh please say yes and tell me where! I've looking for a SCSI-1 drive of that size for (litarely) years!
spiky_dog Oct 13, 2002 11:38 PM
Ah, Other World Computing is your savior in that case. , then click on Hard Drives, then 3.5" SCSI Narrow 50-pin... it's adapted from a modern (in the sense that 40 GB hard drives simply didn't exist a few years ago) 80-pin UltraSCSI drive, but since it saves me the $30 that I would otherwise have to spend on an UltraSCSI card, I'm pleased well enough. 5 MB/sec max throughput is fine when you're on a 10 Mb/sec network anyways... $125.99 plus shipping.

Make sure to check out their RAM prices, too -- I thought that ~$26/128 MB for 5V DIMMs that specifically list the PCP as being compatible was a fine deal.
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