Burned by 7200 Upgrade Options

1998 – JB writes: I have a question about upgrading the Power Mac 7200. I am rather irritated because, when I bought the machine in winter 95/96, the 7200 was advertised and promoted as upgradeable (to a 7300). Having been burned twice before with Macs that had no upgrade path, I thought I was making a wise decision.

Now it turns out that of all the Power Macs in the universe, the 7200 is the only one that is not upgradeable to G3. Every number before and after 7200 has a future except mine. And no one even talks about upgrading the 7200 to a 7300 anymore, so I assume that’s no longer possible.

Do I have any options for getting more speed and performance out of the 7200? Anything approaching G3 speed and power? And am I justified in being rather angry about the situation?

Power Mac 7500Mac Daniel writes: I can sympathize. The only upgrade Apple offered the 7200 owner was to a Power Mac 7500 or 7600 motherboard – plus a CPU daughter card. (The 7300 uses a different power supply.) However, that path is still open to you, although the motherboard may cost more than a used 7500 (US$550 and up).

In fact, it may even be possible to replace your 7200 motherboard with one from a Power Mac G3. (Nobody will tell me it’s possible, but the case seems identical – and nobody says it can’t be done, either.)

Finally, I know of no reason Vimage and others can’t take the technology that created a cache-slot accelerator for several other “unupgradeable” Power Macs (6360, 6400, 6500, 4400, and some Mac clones) and turn it to the 7200 cache slot.

The motherboard in the 7200 runs between 37.5 MHz and 45 MHz. The G3 can run at up to eight times bus speed, meaning a 300 MHz upgrade for a 7200/75 may be possible (37.5 MHz x 8). Likewise, the 7200/90 with its 45 MHz bus could theoretically support a 360 MHz G3, while the 7200/120 and its 40 MHz bus could handle a 320 MHz G3.

The market is probably large enough to justify the accelerator, whether it runs at 200 MHz or anything faster. [Update: Sonnet did it! Their Crescendo 7200 offers 400-500 MHz of G3 power using the first PCI slot and bus doubling technology.]

Keywords: #powermac7200

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