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Just Updated 4/24/2003

This is a pretty long update so sit back and enjoy :)

More updates to my Take Apart manual: I made more changes to the home page of my Take Apart manual. I hope you all like it :)

I now own a 6500/300!: Last weekend when I visited my family, I was told by my sister that she was given a Power Mac by her future Parent-In-Laws and wondered if I would be interested in it. Well she didn't have to ask me twice :) Since she didn't know what model it was, and I was pretty sure it was going to be old. I thought it might be a 6100 or a 7200, or something like that. Was I surprised when she opened her car trunk and there sat a 6400 type case! I jumped on it and turned it over and the label said it was a 6500/300. Wow, my lucky day :) Not only that but they gave me all the original CD's, some Apple Design speakers, an old optical mouse, an old APS external SCSI drive, a ton of cables and old apps on floppies.

I shall thank them very much next time I see them! Well that would be the first time I see them but that's another story :)

The 6500 has the 300Mhz 603e CPU, 64MB ram, ZIP drive, a 20Gig HD, and a 512k L2 cache. I wasn't able to verify the cache size but that's what Apple says these shipped with. Apple System Profiler from OS 7.6 which was installed only said "L2 cache installed". Also, I am not sure which modem it shipped with so I'll have to look into that later.

First thing I did was wipe the drive and install OS 9.1 and then OS 9.2.2 with the help of OS9 Helper. Got to love that app! Then I got to thinking "I now own a 6500 and they seem to be easily upgraded to OSX?" So guess what I did next? NO, guess again :) Yep, I installed OSX. Read on to find out how that went.

OSX 10.1.5 on a 6500!: I now had the perfect chance to try OSX on a 6500 finally. I was never able to get a compatible video card to try OSX on my 6400 so I had to just keep waiting. The 6500 has a RageII chip which makes it compatible with the OSX installer. For some reason the installer chokes if you don't have accelerated video (or possibly not enough video RAM?). So I read all the info I had posted on my OSX install info page and went to work. The first thing I did was ignore everything on that page. Big mistake but I had to do it! I wanted to see if XPostFacto 2.2.4 had made any headway with our systems. Not enough I'm afraid. I tried to install from the CD in the SCSI CDROM drive and SCSI is not yet supported by the install process even using XPF. So then I used Samy's method and it worked beautifully.

Since I had a 20G drive to play with, I made 3 partitions (1Gig, 5Gig, and the rest). I re-installed OS 9.2.2 to the third large partition. I then used Apple System Restore to copy the OSX 10.1 installer CD to the 1Gig partition. I planned on installing OSX on to the 5Gig partition.

I used XPostFacto 2.2b9 and set input=keyboard, output=ATY,64, and autoboot=false. I then told it to use the 1Gig partition for the installer and the 5Gig partition for the location to install to. I then hit install and it copied over some OSX old world support files to the 5Gig drive and rebooted.

It booted into open firmware do to the autoboot=false setting. Then you can either type "bye" to reboot back into OS9 or type "boot" to continue in to OSX. I typed boot and it continued into the OSX installer. This took about 5 minutes and then the installer came up. I finally past the crashes I had on my 6400 :) I told it everything I needed and let it run the install. I should mention that I did have a different partition setting before and only had two partitions. This didn't work because the installer wants the entire install location to be within the first 8Gig's on the HD because old Macs have issues with OSX if its not in the first 8Gig's. So I could not select my drive and then repartition to the 3 I mentioned above. After about 5 hours (yes it took that long to install!) it finally rebooted and came up to the new install assistant welcome screen.

I now started the setup process. (NOTE: earlier I tried XPF 2.2.4 and got this far with some effort but my mouse could not click on anything at this point as if it locked up. Only using XPF 2.2b9 worked past this spot). The setup assistant walked me through registering and all that but I could not send in my registration because I had no network so that was a waste of time. It should have asked me that first! Oh well. It was all setup and wanted to reboot again with the new settings so away it went. This time it booted up much quicker then before! Only took about 1-2 minutes.

I was greeted with the desktop and all was fine. I couldn't believe it. I was finally running OSX on one of these old Macs! I went through setting the System Preferences to the way I liked and noticed that is was kind of smooth for such a slow machine. I was expecting it to be glacierally slow but it wasn't. It was actually OK to use. Yeah I didn't do much but the Finder was pretty fluid. Not much spinning beach balls around here :) I even cranked up Classic to see how that would work and it warned me that I didn't have enough memory but I told it to continue anyway. Classic actually worked and not to bad. I only tested Simple Text but it worked and was responsive. So my theory of getting the fastest mother board you can for a 6400/6500 was a good assumption. I still had no idea what size L2 cache it had installed because OSX's Apple System Profiler said no L2 cache was installed. So I don't even know if it was using it or not? I might need some third party utility to clear this picture up. The CPU registered as a 300Mhz G3. Hehehehehe! I wish :) Just goes to show that no matter how new software gets, the programmers still make assumptions on certain things instead of making the program actually try to figure out what is installed. Now on to what didn't work.

The floppy drive, all SCSI devices, and sound didn't work. I wasn't expecting the floppy to work and I heard that sound might be an issue on these Macs but I was certain that the SCSI drive would work after the install. But no. I don't see the ZIP drive, or the CDROM, or the external SCSI case? Even removing the external case didn't help. So then I went to the XPostFacto web site to see if they had anything newer then what I was using and they did. Version 2.2.5 was out so I gave it a try. I set it up as before but this time I also told it to reinstall BootX and the old world OSX Extensions so I would have the latest greatest in there. It then rebooted and this time it took nearly 10 minutes to boot!

I thought I ruined it all but it did finally make it to the desktop. I then tested the floppy and got nothing. SCSI nothing. Sound, it worked! I know had sound working. This was great but at what price? Bootup and now overall system response was horrible! This is what I was expecting. A super slow OSX Finder. I decided to try XPF 2.2b9 again and hope it would get my speed back. I told it to reinstall the BootX and extensions to get the old ones back and then rebooted. Now it booted up fast again and the responsiveness was back, and sound still worked! So whatever XPF 2.2.5 installed to fix my sound, it was not overwritten when I reverted to XPF 2.2b9 :) Still I had no SCSI but I did find a freeware floppy driver. I installed it and the floppy works but it is extremely slow! A disk might take up to 5 minutes to mount. I found that if I formatted them first in OS9, they would mount much faster in OSX. Even if the disks where already in Mac format? Not sure what changed when I reformatted them but it sure helped. So now only my SCSI bus is dead.

Anyone have a suggestion that might fix my SCSI bus? Oh, I forgot to mention I also upgraded to OSX 10.1.5 without a hitch. I had to move the 10.1.5 combo updater to my IDE HD first from OS9 since I had no SCSI support for the CDROM in OSX :( Well I think that's about as far as this 6500 can go! Not bad to be able to run almost the latest greatest. I'm thinking that maybe installing OSX 10.1.5 Server might not be that bad as once the server is setup, it doesn't matter how slow the GUI might get as all the work would be in the background when serving files or web pages. I might try that if I ever get a PCI Ethernet card for this. The COMM II slot it also not seen.

Update on USB card support issues is OS 9.2.2: Its unanimous. You must have version 1.5.6 or older of the USB drivers to have USB PCI card supported. The only way to even get newer drivers is to use a full install CD of 9.2.2 as the updaters only have version 1.5.6. So this may not be a real issue for us since our Macs must use the updaters via OS9 Helper app to install OS 9.2.2. But if you are having trouble with your USB devices and Apples System Profiler sees the card and does not show any USB ports, it's time to check what version of the drivers you have. Its perfectly fine to remove all the USB drivers (installed by Apple) and then use the 1.4.1 USB card support install found on Apples web site if you like. It works just fine in OS 9.2.2 Or if you have older drivers on another Mac you can move them over to the troubled Mac. I want to thank everyone that sent me info on this subject!

TV/Video issues in OS 9.2.2: Tom wrote that he is having problems getting video to input to his system after using OS9 Helper to upgrade his system to OS 9.2.2 If anyone has a suggestion, please email me. Thanks.

[Hello Thomas.
I haven't surfed through in awhile and I was reading your forums on the 9.2.2 install to see if anything new had come along. We all know by now that OS 9 helper is definitely tried and true. I use it on all my "old word" machines now without any cliches...well just one...
After installing 9.2.2 on a 6400/200 w/ stock processor and 136 ram, I lost the video in capabilities and TV ability of the apple video player app.. I was using an old apple video in card & the TV tuner card( no out) and not the avid cards. Since watching TV was the only thing I still used the 64 for I just went back to 9.1. I finally parted the 64 out last week (see the parts forum) but I'm wondering if anyone ever resolved this issue or came up with a hack? I encountered the same issue with my 8600 after going up to 9.2.2. The video application works but it keeps telling me my machine doesn't support video or Svideo. The 8600/300 machV (aka Kansas) was at one time "the" video machine made by apple. I do have an ATI Xclaim VR card coming this week, but it seems to be a little redundant to even have to use it. Especially since I have another machine I prefer to use it with. Sorry if this is a little off topic, but I'm thinking the problem is either with 9.2.2 itself or the install on unsupported machines (or os9helper?) figured if someone found a way around it or a hack, it maybe a benefit to those of us using 9.2.2 on any unsupported PCI macs.

PRAM battery cause of system to not boot up: Anthony wrote to let me know that his 6400 refused to boot up or even power on until he replaced his PRAM battery. This is a similar issue that older Macs like the 6100 have but usually the system will power on but not find a bootable disk or just sit there at a grey screen. Well his did nothing? Thanks for the info Anthony!

[Hello Thomas,
I ran into an interesting problem with my 6400/G3 not wanting to boot or startup or anything, no noise, no voltage at the power supply outlet at the monitor plug, no nothing. I had experimented with all sorts of PCI cards in this machine. At times I ran a PCfx 12'' card, a Firewire/USB combo etc. When the 6400 refused to boot I assumed it was the power supply. I procured a power supply from Old Milt on e-bay for a very reasonable price. After installing the power supply I still could not boot the 6400. The power supply from Old Milt was a good one so I had to look some other place for the problem. I focused on the original circa 1996 Rayovac 840 Lithium PRAM battery that is velcroed to the motherboard. I found a battery at (Call 1-800-430-7030 toll-free).

After disconnecting the old very dead battery and waiting for any voltage in the PRAM to leak down I installed my new Rayovac 841 replacement battery. I reset the CUDA button on the motherboard and assembled the 6400. I know you are thinking a dead PRAM battery can cause many problems with settings and date etc., but never a boot problem. It can also prevent your Mac from booting in the case of a 6400. The Mac booted right up when I hit the keyboard switch, the familiar chimes sounded and I was greeted by a happy face on my screen.

The battery I was using had been complaining that my date was set wrong for about 6 months and I just let it go. I was secretly hoping I could use this breakdown for an excuse to buy a new G4, I guess not this time. I hope your readers find this information constructive It drove me nuts for a week or so.

Thanks for keeping your site up for Mac users.

In the past I have been told by one or two others that the 6400 is immune to this problem and to demonstrate it they removed their PRAM batteries and it still booted. Maybe the issue is not having a dead battery but just a low battery? If the battery is at a point where the contents of the PRAM cannot be stored properly but there is enough power to keep some data (possibly corrupted) there, then this may be an issue. So if you are having issues with bootup then please check the voltage of your battery! You can find instructions on removing the battery here.

Master/Slave support on a UMAX C600 does work in OSX!: Terry wrote back with more info on his C600 setup confirming that he can now use Master/Slave drives on his system but only in OSX. In fact he is now able to install OSX from a SCSI CDROM drive by replacing the stock drive with a Ricoh drive! Thanks for the info Terry.

[Hi Thomas:
It's Official. You CAN install OS X (X.1 or X.2) from a SCSI CD drive. You just need the right drive.

I wanted a CD-RW drive for my C600 so when I saw a Ricoh RW7060S SCSI CD-RW for US$20, I bought it. It is a bootable drive for OS 9. I have found Toast 5.11 to work well in OS 9.1(no virtual memory) with it but have had coasters when I use Toast in X.2.

Yesterday I tried to install X.2 from the drive using Xpostfacto 2.5 . It seemed to work. Today I put in an IDE drive I didn't care about and indeed I installed X.1 from the Ricoh drive. I then booted up from the X.1 IDE partition.

I have since tried to install X onto a SCSI HD from the Ricoh and from an Apple IDE drive. Both attempts failed. I might point out that Xpostfacto writes some files onto the target drive which are then read as part of the initial boot of the CD. This MIGHT be where the failure occurred as my target drive was a SCSI.

From previous posts of mine you know that the C600s IDE controller works with both master and slave drives. My Apple ATAPI CD-ROM also works as either master or slave on that bus. In fact I have booted an OS 9 CD from it. The shortcoming seems to be that slave support is not turned on by default and - so far - it is only turned on by OS X.

I should also point out that OS X, AT LEAST ON BEIGE G3s does not boot off of a slave IDE drive. Why not is still up for debate. It could be that the slave support code in Rev. B and later Beige G3s comes AFTER the open firmware code .

I could go on but my hands tire :) I suspect what I have written is true for 6400s also. I hope I have helped the cause of keeping these machines useful.
Thanks - Terry]

So it seems that if someone could figure out how OSX bypasses the IDE drivers that won't allow Master/Slave drives on our systems, we might be able to finally get that supported under OS9! I'm not going to hold my breath though. That sounds like a whole lot of work. Also the other problem is how to get a Master/Slave cable in our Macs?

More info on the Video capabilities of our Macs: Christopher sends more info on the different video in/out options that our family of Macs are capable of. Thanks Christopher. I'll be adding this to my previous info shortly :)

Two additional notes:
The Video In Rev. A & B had the 34 pin DAV connector on the board. (Service part #'s 661-0159, 661-1073) This was to connect to the "Apple MPEG Video Board" (Service Part #661-0995 - Not the Avid card). Rev D. was the "new" 60 pin DAV connector (Service part #661-1181) which was designed for the Avid cinema card. (Service Part #661-1165), I am not sure if there was a Rev. C? There is a 34 - 60 pin cable (Service part #944-3220) which is labeled "Cable, Video-In to MPEG, Rev D, 34-pin to 60-pin" which seems to suggest that people who have the "old" style Video In card (Rev A or B) can use this cable to connect to the "new" style Rev D Avid MPEG board.

The Video Out slot (by the battery) has two possible uses. It can be set up as a mirrored video or VGA out (as discussed here at length); or it can be used as a GIMO connector to the PC compatibility card - eliminating the need for a loopback monitor cable (allowing the PC and the Mac to share a single monitor. (For more technical specs on this than anyone should ever need: look at the PDF file: "12_7_PC_Compatibility_Cards.pdf"


The only thing I question is his assumption on the older Video in cards being able to use the newer Avid card with that 34pin to 60pin adaptor cable. I think the way its worded makes it work the other way around. A newer Video in card (Rev D) can connect to the older Apple MPEG card with this cable? Yes the cable says its 34pin "to" 60pin but the name says Video in "to" MPEG card. Also remember that the MPEG card was not made with the 60pin plug. Its for the older Rev A and B Video in cards so it must have the 34pin plug.

Mac-to-PC monitor adaptors: A lot of you probably know what these are but there are some who do not. These will let you use a PC monitor on your older Mac such as the 6400. They convert the Macs larger plug to the PC's smaller plug. Another thing they do is try to tell the Mac what resolutions are supported. The Mac gets a signal from a Mac monitor telling it what resolutions are supported which is how it knows what to present you with in the Monitor control panel. PC monitors don't all do this so you need to have a way to fake this signal. Most of these adaptor have dip switches (like the ones below) or rotary dials to allow you to custom configure them. Good ones with have instructions as you can see printed on these but others have none making them hit or miss setting up. I recommend getting one with instructions printed on it like these so incase you loose any paper work, you still have the dip switch settings available.

Mac to PC monitor adaptors

A word of caution! Just because you get your PC monitor working and you see a whole bunch of possible resolution and refresh rate settings in your Monitor control panel, does not mean they will all work! Please refer to your monitors user manual for resolutions supported by your monitor. The wrong refresh rate could damage your monitor! Most have no trouble supporting 85Hz and lower but an older monitor might not even go over 60Hz refresh rate?

Possible issues using USB 2.0 cards on the 6400: Henry sends his thoughts on why a USB 2.0 card may never work on the 6400 even at USB 1.1 speeds. I completely agree with him.

[In order to run at USB 2.0 speeds, the cards have to have no more than 1 port per PCI interface. A single USB 2.0 or Firewire data stream can almost saturate a regular PCI buss like the 6400 has (33 MHz 32 bits). At that, unless PCI is running in burst mode, it will overflow. You really need a 64 bit 66 MHz PCI interface to handle these high data rate serial interfaces. I doubt there are any single buss USB 2 compliant cards. That means we are looking for USB 1.1 cards with 2 ports, most likely. I did think that perhaps one port would work on a multi buss card - the driver binding to the first interface it discovered, but that appears not to be the case.]

The main issue is not the bus bandwidth though but the multi bus cards. I doubt there is a single bus USB 2.0 card to be found? Most USB card manufacturers stopped making those because they wanted to give the consumer more benefit out of these cards which means one port per bus. We already know that multi bus USB 1.1 cards don't work so I guess we can say goodbye to USB 2.0 cards in a 6400 (even if they would have only ran at USB 1.1 speeds).

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The 6400 Zone is created to help you gain access to useful software updates and great shareware programs that add functionality to your system. It is also a one stop road map to other informative sites for answering your questions. Most of the info here is geared towards the 6400, but it is useful for all PCI Performa models and even the 6500 and all-in-one Macs based on the same. It's even useful to other Mac systems. I will be referring to my 6400/200 clocked to 220Mhz as just 6400/220, OK.

I will keep it updated as often as I can but I don't have much free time to work on it, so I suggest you check back at least once every other week. That should be sufficient. If you don't see something you would like to see here or have your own software / web site that would benefit the Mac community, please write to me at and I will check it out.

I use a Performa 6400/Vimage G3/320 OS 9.2.2, PM 6500/300 OS 9.2.2/OSX10.1.5, two B&W G4/500's OS 10.2.2 Server, iBook Dual USB OS 9.2.2 / OSX 10.2.4, PM 6100 G3/240 OS 9.1, Dual G4 800 OS 9.2.2/OSX 10.2.4, and a PowerBook DUO 270c OS 7.5.5. If I encounter any problems, I will post them for all to read and respond to. Likewise, if you are having any problems and would like help just email me and if I can answer it I will, or I will post it here for others to read and respond to.

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This page last updated 4/24/2003

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