Upgrades for a Performa or Quadra 630

1999 – ABV writes: Please give pros and cons for the upgrading my current Performa 630 CD. I have System 7.5, 8 MB of RAM plus RAM Doubler, the TV and video tuner, a 250 MB internal hard drive, a 500 MB external drive, and an HP DeskWriter 550C. I’m trying to upgrade the system to run programs such as Photoshop, Avid, ClarisWorks, and surfing the Net (I’m using Global Village 14.4k modem).


Performa 630Mac Daniel writes: To turn your Performa 630 CD into a Photoshop, video, and Web surfing machine, you need lots of memory – real RAM, not virtual memory or “doubled” memory. (Photoshop doesn’t like RAM Doubler or virtual memory.)

Apple only designed the 630 to take a 32 MB SIMM, so you’re limited to 36 MB of RAM. That’s plenty for the Internet or ClarisWorks. It may be adequate for Photoshop and Avid, but it may also be less than you want. That depends on your work.

Now that 56k modems have come down in price, you should seriously consider one. (See my No Hype 56k Modem Page for more modem information.) Between the modem and memory, you’re probably looking at around US$125.

For serious video work, you may want a larger hard drive. Go external. You can pick up a nice 4 GB SCSI drive for under $300. And that about takes you to the end of the line without the expense of a new motherboard.

The only real downside of all these upgrades is that not a single one of them makes your 33 MHz processor run any faster. That will remain a bottleneck.

Reader Feedback

MP writes: I’ve got a Performa 637CD, which is still my main computer, although I will probably be buying a new G3 sometime this year because it is so slow, but I have done a bit up updating along the way. I started with System 7.5, 8 MB RAM, and a 350 MB hard drive. I now have System 8.1, 36 MB of RAM, and a 6.4 GB internal IDE hard drive. I have the hard drive partitioned into two parts, a 1 GB HFS partition and a 5.4 GB HFS+ partition. It boots off of the small partition because of the limitation that the 68040 chip has with HFS+.

For many of my CDs that I use frequently, I have used Disk Copy to make images of the CDs on the large partition and created AppleScripts to mount the image and then run the application and put an alias of the script on my launcher for one click mounting and running. This allows me to run my CD applications at hard drive speed since I haven’t gotten a faster CD-ROM drive – it’s still the old 2x one. For Internet access I use a 28.8 modem, since I don’t know how much it will matter if I upgrade it to the 56k because of the serial port limitation. It’s a bit slow, but very adequate.

For expandability options that I haven’t done and have thought about, I have seen 64 MB and 128 MB RAM chips that will work on this computer – they are a special high-rise version, but I don’t remember where I saw these offered. They were a bit to pricey for me, I’m thinking maybe $2/MB. As for other upgrades, you can swap out the motherboard and put in a motherboard from a 6300 series Performa, which is G3 upgradable. The 6360 is the best of this series. I’ve seen the motherboards for sale at some online shops and at auctions, ranging from $300-500. You can also find the 601/60 card that fits in these computers sometimes, usually for around $300 or so used.

Keywords: #performa630 #quadra630

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