1999 – SB writes: I have the opportunity to purchase from a friend either a Power Mac 6100/60 or a Performa 6300/100. I know the 6300 is a Road Apple, but it does have the 603e processor. So should I buy the 6100 and add cache and RAM – or stick with the 6300
I know I’m stuck with the internal modem on the 6300 because of the serial port limitations. I have a 24x CD-ROM drive I can stick in either one.
Neither machine is expected to be a top of the line system, just something for general home use. I do all my really cool stuff at work, of course.
Mac Daniel writes: Ouch. Is there a third option?
The 6100/60 was a decent computer in 1994, but it was introduced almost five years ago. It uses slow system memory for video, can’t support video past 832 x 624 resolution without a separate video card, is poorly ventilated, and is simply s-l-o-w by today’s standards. Unless it’s really, really cheap, I’d pass.
The 6300/100 should be about one-third faster than the 6100/60. Although it uses the newer PowerPC 603e processor, there are other design compromises, as noted in your reference to it as a Road Apple. Like the 6100, it has limited video settings, limited expansion options, and is still pretty slow by today’s standards.
I wouldn’t pay more than US$200 for either, although current asking price is usually in the $300 to $400 range.
That said, if you’re able to buy either for $200 or less and know the limitations, either one will make a decent computer for the next year or two. Both can run Mac OS 8.5, take lots of memory, and do all the basic things you want a computer to do.
AT writes: As a 6100 user I beg to disagree! Given a choice between a 6100/60 and a 6300/100, I would go for the 6100 flat out.
Without either an AV or HPV card, motherboard video on the 6100 just sucks – however, even that is not much worse than the built-in video of the 6300. Furthermore, with the purchase of a secondhand AV card (quite rare and expensive, $100-150) or an HPV card (much more common and cheap – about $50-80), the video performance will knock the socks off the 6300.
The 6100 also has built-in ethernet, a big plus for future cable modem use.
The 6100 also has full speed serial ports, either of which can support a GeoPort.
Future G3 expandability is also a plus. I know you mentioned that it does not make sense to add this $499 upgrade now, but in a few months when the prices drop and the card should be available either NOS or second hand for around $200, it will be a viable upgrade – and it is good to know that the machine would have the bus and support systems to at least keep up with the G3 upgrade.
SK writes: I’d go with the 6100 for sure. Although the 6300 benchmarks better, the 6100 works better in everyday use. It also is G3 upgradeable, and there’s a really good trade going on right now in used PDS video cards that can be used simultaneously with the G3 upgrade cards from Sonnet and Newer.
I’ve got a page on the 6100 at <http://www.kan.org/6100/>
I use my AV version to make QuickTime VR object movies with my video camera!
AJ writes: You said that the 6100 is just plain slow, which is entirely true. You also said the 6300 is probably a better deal. However, the real killer reason to go 6100 over 6300 is the G3 upgrade path. Spend $150-200 on the 6100, and invest the $200 difference plus $100 on that Sonnet (or Newer Tech) G3 upgrade.
- Mac Daniel writes: Although the G3 upgrade makes a fine addition to the 6100, buying the computer for $250-400 and planning $500 more for the upgrade isn’t terribly cost effective. I’d hold off for something more powerful than either.
Keywords: #powermac6100 #powermac6300 #performa6300
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