QuadServer: Quadra 605 or 650?

“Which is the better server for my home network, the Quadra 650 I’ve been using or the smaller Quadra 605?”

Quadra 605

Quadra 605

The Quadra 605 has a couple strikes against it: It has a slower CPU (25 MHz vs. 33 MHz) and a slower, narrower data bus to the ethernet card (16 MHz 16-bit vs. motherboard ethernet on the 650). Of course, we’ve using 10Base-T ethernet, so even a 16 MHz 16-bit bus should be able to handle data more quickly than this network can handle it.

Both machines are comparably equipped with 32-36 MB of memory, and I moved the same hard drive between the units when running my tests. Both systems were running Mac OS 8.1 with the disk cache alternately set to 128 KB and 1 MB. I used Personal File Sharing and connected to the QuadServer from my Umax SuperMac S900. I was the only user on the network when these tests were run.

Throughput was measured with TimeDrive 1.3. Results are the average of four runs.

computer  cache  write   read
Q650      128 KB  291K   266K
Q650       1 MB   342K   247K
Q605      128 KB  241K   193K
Q605       1 MB   274K   150K
Quadra 650

Quadra 650

The Quadra 605 clearly loses the throughput sweepstakes, probably due to its 16-bit ethernet card. It ran at 83% of the speed of the Quadra 650 on writes with a 128 KB cache, but only 80% as fast with the larger 1 MB cache. Read results were even worse, with the 605 reaching only 73% of the 650’s throughput on reads with a 128 KB cache and just 61% with the larger 1 MB cache. (For the record, the theoretical maximum throughput of 10 Mbps network is 1250 KBps – or closer to 1000 MBps factoring in network overhead – a level with neither of these Macs approached.)

So why would I even consider the Quadra 605 as a file server? Well, the first reason is power consumption. The 605 has a small 30W power supply, while the heftier 650 has a 230W power supply so it can support several NuBus cards. When you’re running a computer around the clock, that difference is the equivalent of leaving two 100 watt light bulbs burning. (The monstrous Quadra 950 has a huge 303W power supply – ten times the power capacity of the Quadra 605!) Thanks to the 30W power supply, the 605 should also run a lot longer on a UPS than the 650 with it’s higher power consumption.

Other advantages of using the 605 as a file server are its small size and the greater expandability of the 650, which a server doesn’t need. However, I do want those NuBus slots in the 650 for testing video cards, Radius Rockets, and other NuBus cards.

Fortunately network throughput isn’t the biggest factor on a small home network. We mostly use the server to shuttle small files between computers and rarely have two computers connected to the server at the same time.

In the end, I’m going to use the Quadra 605 as our family file server unless I can find a better low cost, low power draw solution.

Keywords: #quadra605 #quadra650 #quadserver

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