My Turn

Last Chance Mac Upgrades

- July 12, 2000

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

In my previous article I talked about memory upgrades for low RAM Macs. This time I'm talking about impractical Mac upgrades.

Drum roll please....

Welcome to the world of last chance upgrades.

As usual, I was helping out in a grade school (yes, same one as last time) when my computer buddy and the person who runs the lab, Mrs. Risk, pointed out two 5260s which refused to boot. I took to them. I inserted the CD, and it booted. The rest was easy.

Later that night I thought about another computer which was broken, a 5400. The CD wouldn't work - the drive wouldn't open, for that matter. I thought, why not upgrade the 5260 to a 5400.

That's where I am now.

Only a few Macs have official upgrade path. These are the models (see list below).

  • PowerBook 520/520c/540/540c/550c
    100 MHz with 8 MB RAM (others include 167 & 182 MHz)
  • PowerBook Duo 210/230/250/270c/280/280c
    100 MHz with 8 MB RAM
  • PowerBook 190/190cs
    100 MHz 8 MB RAM
  • PowerMac 7200
    7300/7500/7600 motherboard plus daughter card
  • Quadra/Centris 610/650
    40-66 MHz PDS card, 100 MHz 1 MB L2 cache from Sonnet
  • Quadra/Performa:/LC 605/630
    ? MHz PDS card, 100 MHz 1 MB L2 cache from Sonnet for Quadra
  • Quadra 700/800/900/950
    50-80 MHz PDS card, 100 MHz 1 MB L2 cache from Sonnet
  • Some All-in-One Performas & LCs, II/IIx/IIcx/IIci/IIsi/IIvi/IIvx
    Apple/Daystar Upgrade

For others you'll have to go at your discretion. Some ideas for speed boosts:

  • LC/LCII: LCIII or any LC motherboard (such as Quadra 605) that will fit the case.
  • Color Classic/Colour Classic II: 5400, 5500, educational G3. Many others include Japanese 603e & G3
  • 7200: 7500 motherboard (cheaper than 7300 or 7600 upgrade)
  • 128K/512K/512Ke: Plus motherboard
  • 128K/512K/512Ke: Plus motherboard + Sonnet Upgrade
  • Plus/SE/Classic/SE 30: Upgrade card
  • II/IIx/IIcx/IIci/IIsi/IIvi/IIvx: 68030/68LC040/68040 Upgrade/ Cash card
  • Many others but mostly 68k Macs.

So far the only Mac without an upgrade is the Sawtooth G4. Sonnet & Newer both make upgrades for the Yikes! G4.

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