The Twins
I own two Power Macintosh 8600/300 systems (Riemann and Whitney). Part of the reason for this is that I've always loved this design. The 8600/300 was sold with an IBM PowerPC 604eV processor running at 300 MHz with a dedicated 100 MHz bus leading to the 1 MB of level 2 cache. Along with the other last generation 8600 and 9600 series systems, this set up provided a dramatic speed improvement over all previous 604 based Power Macintoshes.

The 8600 also has room for three drive bays, and additional room for three internal hard drives (one above the power supply and two along the floor of the case). It has 8 DIMM slots allowing for up to 1 GB of memory, and when DIMMs are added in identical pairs memory interweaving is provided. And it comes with AV ports (composite video in/out, s-video in/out, RCA audio in/out) that make use of the on board video memory (the system ships with 2 MB and is expandable to 4 MB).

Unique Personalities
That foundation is where the similarities between my two 8600/300s ends. I got these two systems for very different reasons, and they were configured based on what their final tasks would be.

As can be seen by my Rhapsody Resource Page, I happen to love Apple's Rhapsody operating system.

Originally (back around 1999) I was only running Rhapsody (version 5.1, the second developer release) on a DEC Celebris 5133 (Pentium at 133 MHz, 48 MB of memory and an 800 MB hard drive). By 2000 I replaced OPENSTEP 4.2 on my IBM ThinkPad 760ED (Pentium at 133 MHz with 256k L2, 80 MB of memory and a 6 GB hard drive) with Rhapsody (I would have done this earlier, but I needed an external floppy drive to do the installation). By the end of 2001 I had put Rhapsody (version 5.6, aka Mac OS X Server 1.2) on an Apple PowerBook G3 Wallstreet (G3 at 266 MHz with 1 MB L2, 512 MB of memory and an 8 GB hard drive).

The PowerBook was by far the best Rhapsody system I had ever used and I loved it. But with the release of Mac OS X v10.2 in the summer of 2002 I ended up removing Rhapsody in favor of Mac OS X. For a while this pushed me back to using the ThinkPad for Rhapsody stuff (the DEC had already been mothballed), but this proved to be painful for graphically intensive tasks. Fortunately I came across a 7500 (604e at 225 MHz, 80 MB of memory, 4 GB hard drive) which would provide a nice speed boost over the ThinkPad (and let me run the later Rhapsody apps that were PowerPC only). Because the 7500 still wasn't the PowerBook, I continued to make upgrades... first adding memory (512 MB total), then a new hard drive (9.1 GB), more video memory (4 MB total), a level 2 cache (256k) and finally two ixMicro TwinTurbo 128M8 video cards (with 8 MB of video memory each) connected to two 17' displays.

While this was a very nice system... I really wanted a system that was more along the lines of what the developers were thinking of back while making Rhapsody. While Apple made the public versions of Rhapsody "G3 only" systems, Rhapsody had originally been aimed at the PowerPC 604e. So at the end of 2004 I traded an 8500 with a G3/300 upgrade for an 8600/300.

After trying out a number of configurations with parts I had on hand (including parts I had in the 7500) I ended up with a pretty stock system. This 8600 uses the original PowerPC 604eV at 300 MHz, has 416 MB of memory, 4 MB of video memory on the logic board, a 9.1 GB hard drive and I added an ATI Rage 128 (with 16 MB of video memory) to the system from a Blue & White G3.

Needless to say, I now have (in my opinion) the perfect Rhapsody system. it is not only very good at graphic design tasks, it runs older Mac apps great in Blue Box and the dual displays make for a perfect working environment.

I've always kept an older system on hand for running classic Mac apps. Of my four Mac OS X systems only one has a working version of Classic, and of my three Rhapsody systems only one has a working version of Blue Box.

Originally (back in 1999) my 7100av was my main Mac system. It had 72 MB of memory and a 2 GB hard drive, plus a G3/266 upgrade. In 2002 I replaced the G3/266 with a G3/500 I had been given and in 2004 I replaced the 7100av with a 8100av with 200 MB of memory (putting the G3/500 and 2 GB hard drive from the 7100 into the 8100) and I added a 24-bit video card. The system had two Apple 16" displays (both have a native resolution of 832x624) and I later added a SuperMatch 20" display (1024x768) that had it's own Nubus video card.

Still, that system was a little on the weak side and their was only so much that a Nubus based system could handle. I had always thought that an 8600 would make a great classic Mac system... but there was no way I was going to take down my favorite Rhapsody system for the task.

At the end of 2005 I was given a nice PowerBook 3400c/200. I thought this would be the perfect replacement for my aging Rhapsody ThinkPad... I was wrong. It took less than a week to realize that Rhapsody just doesn't work at 800x600. And added to that the fact that you can't use Blue Box on a PowerPC 603e (which ruled out a bunch of my math apps) and I quickly moved that system back to Mac OS 8.6. I started filling it up with all the classic Mac apps I owned (it literally has the ability to do any thing that one could want, even though it does it slowly) and I started realizing that there was a lot of functionality I could still get from classic Mac apps.

I loaded the most important of these apps into Blue Box on my 8600 (as it still seems to be a better system than my 8100av), and started thinking about what would be a good replacement for the 8100av. I still had a 8500... but I was never a fan of the 8100/8500 case design and wanted to get away from that. Plus I no longer had a G3 upgrade for the 8500 (as that had gone with my other 8500 in trade to get my 8600).

Well, as luck would have it, someone was giving away an 8600/300 with a G3/450 upgrade card on one of the forums I frequent. A friend had expressed interest in making a system like my Rhapsody 8600, so I was going to give him first shot at it. He didn't jump on it, so I did.

This system already had 256 MB of RAM and 4 MB of video memory, plus I got a ixMicro Pro Rez video card (8 MB of video memory) with the system. I had an ixMicro TwinTurbo 128M8 (with 8 MB VRAM) and a Ultimate Rez (with 8 MB VRAM), and as I wanted to free up that 4 Mb of on board video memory for video capture, I started looking to see which two of the three cards would be best for running the two 16" displays. From what I found going through old MacAddicts and articles on the web I decided on the Ultimate Rez and the Pro Rez.

When testing out the system, I was able to capture video at 320x240 at full frame rate (29.97 frames per second)... which is more than adequate for web based video and should help out with my main capture system, my SGI Indy (which can capture at 640x480 at full frame rate).

Additionally I put in a 10/100 ethernet card to speed up networking and connected a SCSI CD burner.
Power Macintosh 8600/300 (Riemann)
System: Mac OS X Server 1.2 (Rhapsody 5.6)
Processor: PowerPC 604eV at 300 MHz (1 MB L2)
Memory: 416 MB
Drive Space: 9.1 GB
Optical Drives: Apple CD-ROM
Other Drives: n/a
Video Cards: ATI Rage 128 with 16 MB VRAM
Displays: two 17" Displays (both at 1024x768)
Other Cards: n/a
Power Macintosh 8600/300 (Whitney)
System: Mac OS 8.6
G3 at 450 MHz (1 MB of L2)
Drive Space: 9.1 GB and 4.5 GB
Optical Drives: Apple CD-ROM and Yamaha CDR
Other Drives: Internal Zip
4 MB
Video Cards: ixMicro Ultimate Rez and Pro Rez (8 MB of VRAM each)
Displays: two Apple 16" displays (both at 832x624)
Other Cards: Asante 10/100 ethernet card

This page was made on Riemann.

Stone Design's Create(tm)
2006-07-20 23:36:05 -0500