THE POWER MAC 9500/132
This is my most recent acquisition and has been quite challenging. Another lousy seller on E-Bay with no respect for these old machines, packed it in a tissue paper box half filled with Styrofoam beans and chunked "the box" into the box. What an idiot. Good thing this model has a metal case. The box looked as if the Samsonite monkeys had been playing with it. I am truly surprised it still works.

Here we have quit the behemoth. I can understand why the later G2 Power Macs went to a different structure and abandoned this architecture. It is one of the first Power Macs to have the card style chip. Although it is only a 132 MHz, it seemed quit stable and made its functions fairly smoothly when I first got it. It came with a 2X or 4X CD-ROM, a 2 GB Seagate Hawk 5400 RPM hard drive and a 2 MB video card. I promptly added two more video cards and a Sonnet ATA-66 PCI device controller card with a 20 GB IDE drive plugged into that, and a Sonnet G4 400 MHz 1 MB/200 MHz cache PCI processor card. Once I got it to boot up, the freezes and problems were constant. I worked my way down to understanding that, with Old World Computing's help and OS 9.2.2 installed, the system was working OK for a while. But I would still have really quirky errors and the CD-ROM would not run a system disk or start from one. I had good success, however, with an old external Apple CD 300 CD-ROM drive through the scsi port. I eventually replaced the internal CD-ROM with an internal 24X IDE 40 pin type drive by plugging it into the sonnet device controller card. I had to modify the computer's analog sound plug so that it would fit the new one, but it was actually pretty easy.

However, I was still having freezes and weird events, so I began looking for solutions through various extension sets and virtual memory. It got good for a bit, but began again with the freezes. Eventually I was even having problems with copying over the network from other computers. I knew that, when using a sonnet card, you are supposed to remove the cache card. But alas, the cache (512k) is fixed on this system's board! Design flaw for sure. So I decided to disable the sonnet cache enabler extension.

It was about this time in this debacle that the 2 GB stopped being recognized at start up. I tried installing the system over and over using the system 9.1 disk while booting from the other hard drive. It looked like it completed the task, but on restart the computer would select the other drive automatically, and the 2 GB drive on the built in scsi bus was still not there. Now this computer is not very user friendly when it comes to dismantling and changing in and out parts. So, reluctantly, I decided to switch the belt to another bus. I had to completely remove the pci cards and processor (not easy on this machine), and then get to the mother board and switch the plug. After putting it all back together (little bits of antique broken plastic everywhere - the fan is now held down to the base with masking tape), I was pleased to find that it worked! This is the second Power Mac I've had to do that with. I put back only the 16 MB ATI Rage card and it works quite well. Both drives (had to redo the 20 GB drive as well) are playing happily under OS 9.1 with no freezes or crashes. I can play Unreal Tournament and Duke Nukem without a problem, decent speed, and decent graphics.

THE UPGRADES

  • Sonnet 400 MHz G4 1 MB/200MHz cache processor upgrade card
  • ATI Rage Pro 16 MB video card
  • Sonnet ATA-66 device contoller PCI card
  • 20 GB ATA IDE second hard drive
  • 24X internal CD-ROM drive
  • New battery - already had more than 200 MB of RAM

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