Charles Moore's Mailbag

200 MHz Production Work, OS 9.2 and CD-ROM Drivers for Clones

Charles Moore - 2002.08.26 - Tip Jar

A 200 MHz 604e for Production Work?

From William J Plowman

I noticed your recent column on Low End Mac about your S900. I thought I'd drop you a line and mention that I recently upgraded my J700 with a PowerLogix G3/400 1 MB, another OWC 128 MB DIMM, and I also put another small SCSI hard drive in, all this from Other World Computing.

Basically, the whole thing went great, once I got the cache profiler installed it was up and running at 400 MHz, which gave me a very nice speed boost. I did overclock it to 467 MHz a couple weeks after I got it and have now been running that configuration for over a month without a hitch. There are two things the computer crashes on that I know of, the SETI "attention" screen saver and Myth II, which I've never been able to get to work right (it freezes up solid every time you exit a level in any way under 3Dfx video; I'm thinking maybe 9.1 will fix it, but I don't have drive space or a bootable CD to install it). The only disappointment is that the CPU's onboard thermal sensor doesn't work; it reports a temperature that is almost always below ambient and never changes. I called PowerLogix about it, and they said that there are a few out there that do that; this was confirmed by Mike Nelson at

Hardware crashes are nonexistent as far as I can tell, even now when I have it clocked to 467 MHz. I will probably buy an ATA card and a larger hard drive, maybe a CD-RW, eventually, but I'm very happy with the rest of the hardware and probably won't be doing any more upgrading.

I hope to keep and use my J700 for a long time to come, it's been a great computer so far and should stay that way.


Thanks for the report Will. Sounds like the upgrade went well for you.


Re: A 200 MHz 604e for Production Work?

From Matthew


Nice article.

I've been pondering the past few months on "how fast does it need to be?" In my current stable of various low-end Macs, I primarily use one of them, my 7300/180. Along with my B/W 300 upstairs in my bedroom. My 7300 resides downstairs, next to my roommate's PC(a pretty formidable machine; I think he's running a 1.2 GHz processor or something). But every morning, my low-end Mac boots up, I look at your website, drudge, xlr8yourmac, check my email, and browse a little bit. No real problems.

Specifics. Well, currently on my 7300, I'm saving for a G3 upgrade, but the 180 is working well enough. It has twin 9.1 gig/7200 Western Digital's from OWC, A Rage Orion, Farallon 10/100, 196 megs RAM (1-128, 4-16's). Other than that, stock. Oh yea, I'm using XPostFacto to run X on drive #2.

I could probably get away w/o using the Rage card, and even skipping the ethernet card, but I like the fast x-fer speed between it & the B/W. Soon I will get a FireWire/USB combo card as well, to use newer printers, scanners, etc. I am limited on my PCI slots, so we'll see. In terms of a monitor, I'm using the Sony 100es that I bought in Feb 99, along with my b/w. It's a great little monitor for most things (earlier this year, when MacResQ had a deal on the 17" b/w Mitsubishis, I got that to match the G3). I was using it in tandem with the Orion card for a little bit, upstairs, but currently I haven't done anything that needed two monitors, so it's down here.

Overall, I'm impressed with its browsing speed. It reminds me of when I was using the GV internal 56k modem with a fast connect speed, because I have Roadrunner, so the data is there fast, but to crunch the numbers takes a bit longer with the 180 MHz processor.

I guess my question after all my blabbing of all the pieces and components is How fast does a machine need to be? What is a real world example of 100 MHz bus vs. 50 MHz? Does x-ferring files take a lot longer? Encoding MP3s? Burning a CD? Although the MP3 example is processor heavy task, isn't most of the other tasks lean heavy on the PCI cards, the burner, etc.? I'm not a "Gamer," so I may be missing out on really pushing the machine, I don't intend to do video work or music production. Maybe some Photoshop or things like that that.

For my $20 investment in the 7300, $150 for the two HDs, $65 for the video card, and $25 for the ethernet card, and finally 25 bucks for the 128 DIMM & utilization of already owned components, I think it works fine.

Any comments would be appreciated.


Hi Matthew,

If you're satisfied with the performance, it's fast enough. ;-)

I found my 233 MHz WallStreet quite satisfactory for most things other than dictation. My 450 MHz Cube and this 500 MHz Pismo did/do dictation nicely, especially in OS X. On the S900 200 MHz, Web surfing is great, but scrolling is frustratingly slow, and processor intensive stuff like running HTML conversion AppleScripts is unacceptably slow as well. Graphics for anything bigger than thumbnails is also slow, and dictation is all but hopeless.

It really depends on what you want to do with computers.


How Hot?

From Kady Mae

Hi Charles,

Sorry to hear that your WallStreet bit the dust. (I've not yet come across an epithet that quite expresses the level of frustration and dread that 'puter death causes.)

Anyhow, I'm calling upon your knowledge of all things Mac. I'm trying to find out how much hotter a 200 MHz runs than one at 132. I'm thinking of upgrading the processor in my PM 7600 to a 200 MHz, but in my home office, heat is an issue. So far the question has defeated my web-fu. (I'm not planning to do more than web surfing and low end word processing, so no need for a G3.)

PS. OS 8.1

Hi Katherine,

Yes, I was fairly well prepared for backup, but it's still a trauma to have a major hardware failure (this was my first).

Re: your question, I don;t think you have anything to worry about heat-wise. I have run my Umax 200 MHz machine with the case open by times, and I never noticed a lot of heat coming from the processor.


Apple CD driver for clones


I read the letter about the person trying to help get a StarMax CD to work correctly (which you mentioned to be beyond your experience). While I haven't owned a StarMax system, I imagine that they suffer from the same situation that other clone systems do, in that they don't usually come with an Apple ROMed CD drive.

I have had great success on my clones (two Power Computing and a Umax) using Apples old 5.3.1 CD driver.

Here is a working link:


The user will need to install this driver and disable the current CD driver. After a reboot, the drive should work correctly and even allow booting from CD (something that never seemed to work right for me using the FWB drivers).

As a reminder (which I am sure you are aware of), the best place I have found to get serious and helpful answers for all sorts of Mac issues is by subscribing to the Low End Mac mail lists. There is the PCI Mac list and also an exclusive StarMax list as well. You may want to pass the information onto the person, in case they were unaware.

On a completely different topic:

I have been attending a Traditional Anglican Church here in my town. I know that you are Anglican, and I would be interested in any information that you may want to send my way. I am sorting through things such as the Affirmation of Saint Louis and the different jurisdictional provinces (Province of Christ the King, the ACC, etc.) Also, I am looking for more information on Objective Grace through the sacraments. Objective (as opposed to subjective Grace) is an entirely new concept for me, as I come from an Evangelical background (we don't even have the Sacraments). Again, any information or Web links you would like send my way would be great.

Thanks and take care,
Aaron Oechsli

Hi Aaron,

Thanks for the tips re: the CD-ROM drive issue. You're probably right about the Apple ROM thing. I have an 8x Apple CD-ROM drive in my Umax, and it works great.

As for the TAC, welcome. You already have the Affirmation of St. Louis, which should answer a lot of questions. I would also encourage you to get hold of a copy of the Catholic Catechism, which explains issues related to Objective Grace quite extensively in layman's terms.

I am also a former Protestant evangelical - was brought up Baptist and accepted Christ through a pan-denominational campus ministry 31 years ago. I guess it was a growing conviction that the concept of Sacramental Grace filled in a missing piece in my Christian life that drew me to the Catholic, Apostolic faith, as well as the beautiful Book of Common Prayer liturgy. I still consider myself evangelical - I don't think evangelism and Catholicism have to be mutually exclusive.

Here are the TAC US and Canadian homepages:


OS 9.2 on Clones

From David Klaus

To your answer on running OS 9.2 on clones, I would add that OS 9.1 is much more stable than OS 9.0.x and a free upgrade from Apple. Also, all the information about running 9.2.2 on older Macs can be found <> along with software to make it very easy to do.

David Klaus

Thanks, David. I've indeed found OS 9.1, my all-round favorite Classic OS version more stable than 9.0.


Umax S900 internal CD-ROM

From Chris Wissmann


You wrote me awhile back re: my problems with my Umax S900 internal CD-ROM (a Matsushita, which works only once in a while) and suggested sticking on an Apple-brand drive, which apparently you've successfully done. I thought Apple drives required proprietary PRAM and some other stuff that clones don't have. Anyway, I wondered what model drive you're using so I could replicate your success.

Thanks for your many attempts to help me with this pain in the ass!

Chris Wissmann,

Hi Chris,

I've used standard Apple 2x, 4x, and 8x CD-ROM drives pulled from Apple PowerMacs in my S900, and they have all worked fine. Just plugged 'em in.

I also have a 2x Apple drive stuffed in an old SyQuest SCSI enclosure, and it works great there too with a standard SCSI hookup.


StarMax 4000 CD Driver

From Gary

Hello Charles,

I read your column on 8/14 - the StarMax 4000 should use the Apple CD driver, unless the original CD-ROM has been replaced. I've done clean installs of OS 9 to both of the 4000s I own, and I've never encountered any problems booting from CD or having the device available. Inasmuch as the stock CD-ROM is "only" 8x, perhaps it was replaced at some point. I believe it's possible to use an older CD-ROM driver (from 7.6? I can't remember for sure, though no doubt someone on the StarMax mailing list will email you with that info) to at least access the drive once the OS is up and running.

Re: 9.2 for Mac Clone

From Dan

Dear Charles:

Thanks for the info. I was finally able to get our tech support guy, who just confirmed your info about 9.2, and he also suggested I run 9.1 which shall be done promptly.. Thanks again.


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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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