The SuperMac S900 (known as the Pulsar in Europe and Asia) was Umax’s first Mac clone and would remain Umax’s most powerful, most expandable computer and the last production Mac clone with 6 expansion slots until the S910 arrived.
The S900 in unique in that it has a second CPU slot, but only accepts a Umax SuperMac secondary processor card. You cannot use any other type of card in that slot, and the second CPU must match the speed of the first.
The primary CPU uses the same daughter card connector as Apple’s Power Macs of the same era, providing lots of processor upgrade option to the S900 owner.
Umax was the only clone maker to acquire a Mac OS 8 license from Apple, and the version 5 installer CDs shipped with Mac OS 8.
- Got a SuperMac? Join our SuperMacs Group.
- Got a PCI Power Mac? Join our PCI PowerMacs Group.
- Got a multiprocessor pre-G3 Mac or clone? Join our Old Mac MP Group.
- S900/150 (Pulsar 1500). 150 MHz CPU, 50 MHz bus
- S900/180 (Pulsar 1800). 180 MHz CPU, 45 MHz bus
- S900/180 DP (Pulsar 1800 DP). Two 180 MHz CPUs, 45 MHz bus
- S900/200 (Pulsar 2000). 200 MHz 604e CPU, 50 MHz bus
- S900/200 DP (Pulsar 2000 DP). Two 200 MHz CPUs, 50 MHz bus
- S900/225 (Pulsar 2250). 225 MHz CPU, 45 MHz bus
- S900/233 (Pulsar 233). 233 MHz CPU, 46.67 MHz bus
- S900/240 (Pulsar 2400). 240 MHz CPU, 48 MHz bus
- S900/250 (Pulsar 2500). 250 MHz CPU, 50 MHz bus
- S900/250 DP (Pulsar 2500 DP). Two 250 MHz CPUs, 50 MHz bus
- S900Base with G3. 250 MHz G3 processor bundled with system
- S900/150 introduced 1996.05.06, discontinued 1997.02.01
- S900/180 introduced 1996.08.01, discontinued 1997.07.01
- S900/180 DP introduced 1996.10.02, discontinued 1997.02.01
- S900/200 introduced 1996.08.07, discontinued 1998.08.31
- S900/200 DP introduced 1996.11.18, discontinued 1997.08.01
- S900/233 introduced 1997.03.17, discontinued 1998.08.31
- S900/240 introduced 1997.01.07, discontinued 1997.03.01
- S900/250, S900i/250, and S900/250 DP introduced 1997.03.17, discontinued 1998.08.31
- S900Base with G3 introduced 1997.11.03, discontinued 1998.08.31
- requires System 7.5.3 through 9.1
- CPU: 180-250 MHz 604e, upgradable with standard daughter card
- second CPU: ASPD slot for adding second CPU, allows for dual processing (see Second Processor for SuperMac S900/910 for more details)
- bus: 45-50 MHz
- RAM: 16-64 MB (16 MB on motherboard), expandable by an additional 1024 MB to 1040 MB total using 8 DIMM slots and 70ns 5 volt EDO or fast-page DRAM; memory can be interleaved
- Video: ixMicro Twin Turbo Graphics Accelerator standard with 4-8 MB VRAM, resolutions to 1920×1080, 24-bit color to 1152 x 870 with 4 MB, to 1920×1080 with 8 MB
- L2 cache: 512k
- hard drive: 2 GB or 4 GB SCSI-2, Ultra SCSI, or RAID
- CD-ROM: 6.7x (150 MHz), 8x (180-233 MHz), or 24x (250 MHz, G3)
- Zip drive: optional
- Internal and external Fast SCSI busses (upgradable to Ultra Wide SCSI-3 with E100 card)
- ADB: 2 ports for keyboard and mouse
- two miniDIN-8 GeoPorts on back of computer
- DB-25 SCSI connector on back of computer with SCSI-1 support
- PCI slots: 6
- ethernet: built in, upgradable to 100Base-T with E100 card
- size (HxWxD): 17.25″ x 7.0″ x 17.5″
- weight: 28 lb.
Accelerators & Upgrades
- Low End Mac’s Compleat Guide to Mac OS 9, 2008 edition, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.05.12. Mac OS 9 remains fast and stable, but Classic software hasn’t kept up with the changing internet. Which Macs support OS 9, where to buy it, and how to update to 9.2.2.
- Leopard on Pre-AGP, MacTech, 2008.09.03. How to get OS X 10.5 running on a Yikes! Power Mac G4, G4-upgraded Blue & White or Beige Power Mac G3, or PCI Power Mac (or clone) with a G4 daughter card.
- Purposeful reincarnation for old Macs, Phil Herlihy, The Usefulness Equation, 2008.08.26. The key is to avoid spending more on upgrades than the final use of the machine can justify.
- PCI Power Macs great for Mac OS X 10.2 and 10.3, Jonathan Haack, My Turn, 2007.10.30. Thanks to XPostFacto, you don’t need a modern Mac to run OS X, just a Power Mac with a G3 daughter card.
- Hacking Mac OS 7.6.1 so many Mac OS 8 apps will run, Max Wallgren, Mac Daniel, 2007.10.30. With a little ResEdit work and a second copy of your System Folder, you can run a lot of OS 8 apps with Mac OS 7.6.1.
- Mac System 7.5.5 can do anything Mac OS 7.6.1 can, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2007.06.04. Yes, it is possible to run Internet Explorer 5.1.7 and SoundJam with System 7.5.5. You just need to have all the updates – and make one modification for SoundJam.
- Format any drive for older Macs with patched Apple tools, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2007.04.25. Apple HD SC Setup and Drive Setup only work with Apple branded hard drives – until you apply the patches linked to this article.
- SATA and PCI Power Macs: No OS X joy, but you can boot OS 9, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.11.17. Weeks of experimention find that while you can’t seem to boot a pre-G3 Power Mac into OS X from a SATA hard drive, you can at least boot OS 9 from it.
- Musings on low-end SATA cards in PCI Power Macs, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.11.06. Thoughts on why the inexpensive SATA card might almost work in a pre-G3 PCI Power Mac.
- Old Power Macs and SATA not a marriage made in heaven, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.11.03. The PCI SATA card said blue & white G3 or newer and Mac OS 8.6 or later, but maybe it would work in an older pre-G3 Power Mac….
- System 7 Today, advocates of Apple’s ‘orphan’ Mac OS 7.6.1, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2006.10.26. Why Mac OS 7.6.1 is far better for 68040 and PowerPC Macs than System 7.5.x.
- Mac OS 8 and 8.1: Maximum size, maximum convenience, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2006.09.11. Mac OS 8 and 8.1 add some useful new features and tools, and it can even be practical on 68030-based Macs.
- Installing Linux on a PCI Power Mac, Part 1, Larry Stotler, Linux on the Low End, 2006.09.05. Preparing your PCI Power Mac (or clone) for Linux and getting openSUSE Linux installed.
- Customizing Mac OS 9, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.08.01. Fiddling with themes, picking a browser, and making the Classic Mac OS work just the way you want it to.
- The ins and outs of booting Linux on the Mac, Larry Stotler, Linux on the Low End, 2006.07.31. “Old World” Macs can’t boot directly into Linux. They need to boot the Classic Mac OS first, then pass control over to Linux.
- Preparing your PCI Power Mac for Linux, Larry Stotler, Linux on the Low End, 2006.07.26. How powerful a CPU do you need? How much memory? Do you need a faster drive controller? Are some video cards better than others?
- Getting the Mac digital jukebox up and running, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.05.08. Connecting your PowerPC Mac to your rstereo and remote control options for running a headless digital audio jukebox.
- System 7.6.1 is perfect for many older Macs, John Martorana, That Old Mac Magic, 2006.03.24. Want the best speed from your old Mac? System 7.6.1 can give you that with a fairly small memory footprint – also helpful on older Macs.
- Web browser tips for the classic Mac OS, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.01.03. Tips on getting the most out of WaMCom, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, iCab, Opera, and WannaBe using the classic Mac OS.
- The best browsers for PowerPC Macs and the classic Mac OS, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2005.12.16. Two browsers stand out from the pack: iCab 3 is modern and remains under development, and WaMCom brings Mozilla to older Macs.
- How Big a Hard Drive Can I Put in My iMac, eMac, Power Mac, PowerBook, or iBook?, Dan Knight, Mac Daniel, 2005.10.24. A lot of older Macs don’t know how to deal with drives over 128 GB in size. We look at three options.
- Sonata SD, Sonnet Tech, 2004.06.01. First new PCI video card for the Mac in ages sells for just US$99, supports OS 7.5.3 and later plus OS X 10.1.5 and later, works with VGA or old Mac monitors, 16 MB VRAM.
- SuperMac Insider
- Installing OS X on a SuperMac S900, Bill Rose, Unofficial SuperMac Support Site, 2002.01.29. The trials and tribulations of installing Mac OS X on an unsupported SuperMac.
- The ultimate S900!
- SuperMac, Seagate, and USB, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 11/13/00. Hard drive nightmares, but a new USB card installs like a dream.
- The SuperMac S900 Letters, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 9/28/00. Tips on dealing with slow startups and computer noise.
- More SuperMac S900 adventures, Charles W Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 9/11/00. The S900 is working fine, but still hasn’t seen a lot of use.
- Umax E100 card compatibility reports, Accelerate Your Mac!.
- The S900 Chronicles, Mac Metamorphosis, 1/7/00
- Upgrades: SuperMac S900, MacSpeedZone
- Mac OS 8.5 Issues on Umax SuperMac
- Umax S900 Tips, Accelerate Your Mac
- SuperMacs email list
- Pulsar profile on IMC site (UK)
- The J700 and S900 have a PCI bridge chip controlling all PCI slots except the first two, which use the normal Apple chip. As a result, only cards that are PCI 2.1 compliant can be installed in slots 3-6 (3-4 for J700). Problematic cards are usually older SCSI cards, and, for some reason, ixMicro cards such as Ultimate Rez (but not the older ixMicro Twin Turbo cards). There are claims that even ixMicro-branded cards have slot preference, and in a multiple-card setup at least one has to be in slot 1 or 2, while the other can be in slot 4 or 5.
- Newer Tech recommends against using EDO memory in the J700 and S900, because these models have “occasionally exhibited some problems when running with EDO memory. These problems tend to become more pronounced when updating your machine with a G3 card. . . . Therefore, we are recommending people to stick with FPM (Fast Page Memory) in these machines. If you are already running EDO memory without apparent problems, we certainly don’t mean to imply that you should be having problems, merely that you could have some.”
- Umax suggests updating the J700 and S900 to version 2.0.2 of the Licensing Extension if you’re using Mac OS 8 or 8.1. <http://www.kennedybrandt.com/supermac_insidersupport/2013/mac-software-links/>
- The version of FWB Hard Disk Toolkit that ships with most SuperMacs is not compatible with Mac OS 8 or later. You must use version 2.0.6 or later, available on the Umax software updates page. Be sure to install the new drivers on your hard drive before you run the OS 8 installer. Also, you must be sure that you do not update the driver on your hard drive during OS 8 installation. Using an older version of FWB HDT or the Apple driver on the SCSI drive that came with the SuperMac may so botch the hard drive structure that you will need to reformat it and reinstall everything. (As always, you should do a full backup before installing new drivers or updating your operating system.)
- If your monitor is coming up green with extensions off or until the entire system is loaded, you can adjust the TwinTurbo card to change this behavior. Be sure the computer is off, disconnect the monitor, remove the cover, ground yourself by touching the power supply, the carefully remove the video card. Next to the video ports is a jumper marked JP4. Remove it from the two pins it’s on and move it to the other end (it must still be on the middle pin). Reinsert the card, connect your monitor, and do a quick boot with extensions off (hold down the shift key while starting). If it’s not green, shut down the computer, seal it up, and go back to work. If the green should persist, put the JP4 jumper back where it was. (According to Sync on Green Returns on Restart, the 8 MB card does not have a JP4 jumper.)
Short link: http://goo.gl/LR3lFY