Putting New Drives in a Performa or Power Mac 6400

1999 – Two readers ask about upgrading drives in their Performa 6400, one looking at a SCSI hard drive, the other a replacement CD-ROM drive. This information also applies to the Power Mac 6400.

Will a Second Hard Drive Slow My 6400?

FG writes: I own a Performa 6400/180 and would like to add a second hard drive in the empty drive bay. I am considering a drive from a Power Mac 7200/120 (1.2 GB), since I can have it for free. I have had some people tell me that it will slow down the entire system. Will this be the case even if it is not really used that often? Also would the fact that it has to be connected via SCSI and I have an internal CD-ROM and an external Zip drive and Scanner cause problems?


Performa 6300Mac Daniel writes: No, adding a SCSI drive to your 6400 won’t slow it down. In fact, you may find the SCSI drive offers better performance than the IDE drive that came with the computer.

The 6400 has an internal drive bay with SCSI support, so installation should require nothing more than the correct mounting bracket.

I Need a New CD-ROM in My 6400

KK writes: Hi, I have a Performa 6400. The CD-ROM is shot. Can I go with a third party drive and still stay internal? I was told that this is a SCSI CD-ROM. I’m not sure what that means, but let me know if you can.


Mac Daniel writes: SCSI is one way of connecting drives and other devices to personal computers. Although Apple didn’t invent it, they popularized it by using it on the Mac Plus in 1986 and almost every Mac made since then (until the iMac).

The common alternative to SCSI is IDE (or EIDE or ATAPI), which is used heavily in the Windows world and is increasingly common on Macs. The key idea is that they are different: IDE drives won’t run from SCSI ports and vice versa.

Apple’s site doesn’t say whether the CD-ROM in the 6400 is IDE/ATAPI or SCSI. You’d better check the manual, since none of the books in my library cover the 6400.

If it is SCSI, the CyberDrive [no longer in business] makes a very nice, affordable replacement – and is one of the few drives you can boot a Mac from. (I’ve recently seen ads for a bootable 12x Sony mechanism, but it sells for about the same price as the 24x CyberDrive.)

Update: A reader has notified me that the CyberDrive will not work inside the 6400, since the plugs don’t align with those Apple built into the computer. However, the external CyberDrive will work with the 6400.

Keywords: #performa6400 #powermac6400

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