Upgrades for a Centris 610

1999 – ME writes: So, my Centris 610 . . . (I can hear you already. Hopelessly outdated; buy a 7500.) Okay, fine. Anyway, my Centris 610 cost me $30. (University surplus store; it’s raining G3 towers on campus right now, so they’re dumping these things like mad.)

Quadra 610What would you do with the thing? Not necessarily upgrade advice; what would you do to bring it into the late 90s in terms of add-ons. It’s stock with ethernet. What’s the most I can expect it to do without replacing the motherboard (which I am more likely to do than buy an accelerator card; I hate “Frankensteining” machines. That eventually leads to the computer’s vapor lock and subsequent death.)

Be advised, incidentally, that some of the most prominent sources of those $550 7500s seem to be practicing a bait-and-switch. One of my coworkers went through an endless dance with a vendor advertising that unit at that price, only to have him eventually quit answering her phone calls.

Mac Daniel writes: C’mon, I’m not going to look down on someone who uses a Centris 610. Shoot, I was using one myself until this past June.

What you can do to update the 610 just a bit:

  • Increase VRAM to 1 MB for higher bit-depth.
  • Increase RAM to at least 20 MB – more if you can afford it. You can go to 36 MB or even 68 MB.
  • Consider a newer, faster (and larger) hard drive. Lots of dealers are selling Apple 1.2 GB drives for US$99 these days.
  • If you can find it, consider a 128 KB Level 2 cache, which improves performance 15-30%.

I would be hard pressed to recommend an accelerator, since they cost more than the entire computer is worth these days.

As for the $550 Power Mac 7500s, I only know one dealer with that price (no, I’m not naming names here – email me privately if you want that information). They tend to be sold out of a lot of computers, at least that’s what I see comparing their Web listings to their Macworld adds.

But that’s not necessarily bait-and-switch. Magazine ads are usually due two (or more) months before publication, making it impossible to know what inventory will be when the magazine appears. I have purchased from this dealer, as have several others I know. Service has been prompt, prices have been as published, and sometimes the used Mac has more equipment than quoted (I got lucky with a slightly larger hard drive and a bit more memory).

As for the phone calls, they can cut deeply into the profits of a small operation, particularly one with a very low margin. It’s possible the dealer your coworker is having problems with decided it couldn’t make money due to the phone calls and decided to cut its losses. Still, that’s no excuse for leaving people hanging – integrity says you at least explain why you’re not calling back.

Reader Feedback

BS writes: I have a Centris 610 that I bought about 7 months ago as my first computer and my first Mac. I bought it solely for use on the Internet. I started off using Netscape Navigator 4.0, but an unfortunate accident while trying to upgrade it forced me to replace it with whatever I could find. What I could find was Netscape Gold 3.0, a prerelease beta, I believe. It was the best thing I could have done. It takes up less hard drive space than Navigator 4.0, plus I get the features of Communicator like email and news. Oh, and it does Java, too. Not well, but much better than Navigator 4.0 would (which is not at all with a 68040)

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