Just got a PowerMac 7500/100... Have a few questions. (Pics Included)

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by tsice19, Jul 20, 2008.

  1. tsice19 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2008
    Ok, so my neighbor graciously gave me a PowerMac 7500/100. It's running OS 8.6, and is loaded with Adobe applications and other graphic design programs from it's era (he said install discs will be on the way).

    It's running a G3 processor, has a 9GB HD, and runs pretty much like it probably did when it was new.

    However, while I really want this Mac to have a use in my house, I have a few question about it.

    It has 3 slots, for what I think are PCI. It also has video input.

    1) How can I get wireless internet? Will a PCI card work?
    2) Can I add USB support by installing a PCI card?

    3) The monitor seems to only want to work with my Dell 17" LCD (VGA) and not my 17" IBM CRT from '99 (VGA). I don't like to have to keep switching the monitor from my PC every time I want to use it. How can I fix this?

    4) Is it safe to leave on 24/7 since it is old?

    I plan on upgrading to OS 9 and re-installing all the software once I get them from him.

    And finally, what would you guys think are some practical uses for such an old machine?

    Thanks for reading this,

    For pictures, check out my PICASA album here
  2. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    Due to the age of the machine, odds are you aren't going to get a lot of usability out of it. It's hard to say for sure what you can do with this computer, but it's 13 years old and won't play nice with newer hardware. Might I ask how you know the processor is a G3? Does it tell you that it is? There's really not a lot of use for it nowadays... perhaps you can have it sit around and act like a big electrically inefficient clock.
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    That would be an aftermarket upgrade, such as a Sonnet card.
    Uses SCSI narrow hard drives (50 pin). Hard to get ahold of.
    In theory, yes. Finding one that is OS 8 or 9 compatible is a different whole story. In this case, stringing cable is likely LESS trouble.

    Yes. It will support USB 1.1 only however, regardless of the card.
    There are some cards made specifically for Macs that you could look for on eBay -- the Sonnet Tempo Trio is a good one to find, it has USB, Firewire and an IDE hard drive interface so you can add internal IDE/ATA drives.
    The machine relies on certain pins being shorted together in the Mac 15-pin connector, in order to initialize the screen resolution. This is done with a hardware adaptor called a MacSync or MacSense adaptor, which has switches on it to select the desired resolution, and the VGA output for the monitor.
    I wouldn't. Your inviting overheating, and the machine consumes a fair bit of juice.
    One thing I would invest in is a new PRAM battery -- 3.6V 1/2 AA Lithium cell -- should be about $10 - 12.

    Mostly for amusement value. Last machine of this vintage I used wasn't suitable for Internet, let alone productivity apps. But, with the correct vintage software, it will run the Adobe suite as it was back in the 90's

    Just you are going to hit roadblocks at every turn if you want to upgrade any software or use anything developed this century.
  4. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    It's not a Mac 128K, it's a G3 upgraded 7500. It won't play the latest games or run the latest versions of any software, but it's a perfectly productive machine if you play by its rules. A 9GB hard drive is probably plenty of space for the kinds of apps you're running on it. And as others have stated - you'll be limited to USB 1.1, but it's doable.

    The video-in is pretty handy - you can use it to display any video source in a window, which is good for watching TV, etc. I had a 7500 in college, and in small dorm rooms, the space saved by not needing another TV was nice.

    Get some good late 90s apps, and I think you'll be surprised by how useful the machine can be. And I think it'd be fine turned on 24/7. If you don't mind the electric bill, the machine can handle it.
  5. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    These are great systems, and contrary to those who know little about them, they still have quite a lot of potential left in them even today. The only reason I don't still use mine is that the two areas I would use it for are totally covered by my two 8600s.

    On the other hand, if I had to start all over again (no computers or money). the 7500 would be the foundation for getting back to making money using a computer for me. Think about it, for the price of a couple pizzas I would have a system that could handle most of the late 90s era graphics, web and video apps (all of which are being sold on ebay these days in the $20 or less range). While it may not be as fast as today's systems, speed doesn't effect the quality of the stuff it can produce.

    This era of Macs were great video systems before most of the rest of the industry had even considered it a possibility (this is, after all, a 1995 system). Out of the box, the system was great for displaying video from an exterior source (cable or VCR)... specially with the right software. With Strata DVbase 5.0 I can watch full screen television on one of my 8600s (which has similar video abilities).

    Taking this a few steps further, and you can capture video at 320x240 at full frame rate on your system. The trick is to upgrade the onboard video memory to 4 MB and not use the onboard display port to support a monitor (put the monitor on a video card). I've been using such a set up to capture all of my VHS movies so I can play them on most of my systems (including in iTunes on my G4).

    You would be better off finding a first generation AirPort BaseStation and using it as a wireless substitute than attempting to put hardware inside and find pre-Mac OS X drivers. With the BaseStation set up as a wireless hub, it'll supply (via it's ethernet port) the connection your 7500 would need.

    Yes, and older cards for Macs are cheap on ebay. But you should make sure you have a good reason for adding the card first.

    Frankly, it is easier to just get a Mac video card with built-in VGA support. I have a ton of these types of cards (and there is still an ixMicro TwinTurbo 8 MB video card in my old 7500 that supports both Mac 15-pin and VGA displays).

    I've set these up as servers which have seen 24/7 duty for years on end... they are designed to be on all the time.

    On the other hand, if you are using a CRT display with it... I would suggest turning that off when not using the system (it takes up more power and produces many times the heat of the 7500.

    Why? :eek:

    Ask yourself this... you have a working system, is there a good reason for someone who doesn't know a lot about this system to make it non-functional?

    If you are new to Macs and working with current Macs, then you have tons of people you can turn to for help. But if you are new to older Macs, very few people know anything about these and so if you end up in trouble you'll be sitting with a system worse off than when you got it.

    So before braking this system, you might want to get used to it first.

    Why go to Mac OS 9? Newer is not always better. Mac OS 9 was specifically designed to be run as Classic within Mac OS X (verses Mac OS 8.x which was designed to be run as Blue Box in Rhapsody and Mac OS X Server 1.x). I own just about every version of operating systems put out by Apple since the Mac was introduced, and 8.6 is a perfect fit for a 7500 with a G3 upgrade and apps that started to make use of Carbon. It is by far the most stable version of the original Mac OS I've worked with... my PowerBook 3400c has been running on 8.6 without a restart since February.

    I give this advice to anyone moving to any new system for them... before screwing with things, learn the lay of the land. If you are unfamiliar with this system, take a few weeks to really get to know how it works before turning it into something that doesn't.

    Knowing how things work first is the best way to know when things don't, and you have (currently) a working system.
  6. tsice19 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Feb 16, 2008
    Thanks for the replies.

    I've decided that I'm not going to put money into this machine, and that since it's currently working right now, I'm just going to leave it the way it is now.

    I might use it to convert some old VHS tapes to digital for use on my MacBook.
  7. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Everymac.com for more info on old computers.

    To encode videos on such old computer would be extremely slow.
  8. mustang_dvs macrumors 6502a


    Feb 9, 2003
    Durham, NC
    The outrigger case has a fairly high degree of expandability -- a while back, I had one that I had frankensteined into a reasonable media server.

    Sonnet makes 1.0GHz G4 daughtercards that will slot into a 7500, for $99 MSRP. You might be able to get a few bucks for the G3 on eBay, to reduce the out of pocket cost, further. Of course, once you add an Aria wireless card ($99) and a Tango USB/FW400 card ($49), it starts to get pricey -- especially considering the 50MHz system bus bottleneck.

    Echoing consultant, using it to re-encode/handbrake media will be painful.

    I'd say, throw in a cheap 1000base-T enet card and use it as a low-processor-demand file or web server.
  9. RacerX macrumors 65832

    Aug 2, 2004
    Just out of curiosity... have either of you guys even attempted anything like this with this type of equipment?

    I mean, generally speaking, I avoid giving advice unless I have direct, practical experiences to back it up. In the last 4 months I've converted 24 movies and 8 television episodes from VHS tape to quicktime. So when I say this can be done, I'm not making an educated guess... I've actually been doing it.

    But I'd point out we aren't talking about re-encode/handbrake type of stuff here... this is video capture from VHS tape, which was never encoded (like the MPEG2 encoding used on DVDs) to begin with. So if any of your advice is based on this type of erroneous assumptions, I think it is safe for everyone to dismiss it. :eek:
  10. jodelli macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2008
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    ^^^I will chip in here. I had a 7600 with a 400mhz G3 Sonnet in it and an AV module, along with a dual USB 1.1 card and Mach 64 video. Analog video capture was a snap with around 512 mb ram and using low resolution. This went for either VHS or TV. The capture was in realtime, not like ripping discs.
  11. dpaanlka macrumors 601


    Nov 16, 2004
    Judging by the quantity of BS in this thread, I'd say no.
  12. dmr727 macrumors G3


    Dec 29, 2007
    Back in college, I used my 7500 to make a Christmas present to my parents/grandma. Essentially the goal was to take some of the best moments from our collection of old 8mm tapes, edit them together, put it all to music, and export it all back out to VHS so they could view it.

    About an hour's worth of various video was recorded to a pair of external 9GB hard drives, and pulled from a Hi-8 video camera via the S-Video port. All the original footage was standard 8mm. It was recorded at 320x240, and Premier 4 was used to crop the video clips, arrange them, do the transitions, and put the music over the top. The result was then exported to one large Quicktime movie (I believe I used Cinepak to encode it, but it's been awhile) The resulting movie was about 40 minutes in length.

    Since the 7500 only has video in and not out, I used one of those presentation devices that convert VGA to NTSC, connected a VCR, and recorded to tape as I played the Quicktime movie full screen (scaled 2x to 640x480) on my 7500.

    It worked great - and the output was pretty good given the consumer hardware I was using. Encoding was slow - it took all night and much of the next day to generate the Quicktime movie. But that wasn't a big deal - as I was building the movie, I'd just encode small pieces to ensure I got the cuts, transitions, compression levels, and audio levels where I wanted them. So the big encode at the end only needed to be done once.

    I don't know what my point was, other than to illustrate that I used a 7500 to put something that I thought was pretty cool together. Like I said before, you just need to work within the limits of the hardware, use a little imagination, and you'd be surprised what you can do.

    EDIT: I should also mention that this was a stock 7500, and it had no trouble recording at 320x240 at 30fps.
  13. Hrududu macrumors 68020


    Jul 25, 2008
    Central US
    Since I don't have a DV camcorder or DV converter box at my house, I use a Powermac 7600 with a 333MHz G3 and 320Mb of RAM do digitize video for youtube and whatnot. It works pretty okay, but uses a hefty amount of HD space. The trick I discovered was to use very little encoding while importing the video to get the best quality. It takes up a ton of hard drive space, but for short clips it actually works pretty well.
  14. madmax_2069 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2005
    Springfield Ohio
    altho not a 7500 my Beige G3 AIO upgraded to a G3 466mhz (with a 450mhz G3 CPU) 768mb ram 120gb HDD and a Wings Personality card and a Radeon 7000, 4mb sodimm Vram upgrade for the onboard (6mb total after upgrade), PCI Belkin wireless G+ (only worked in OS X 10.4.8 and above) and a dual 1.1 USB PCI card. i used it to capture TV and other video related things with BTV Pro for OS 9 and it did a great job doing it. what ever codec you have installed to Quicktime (since it uses Quicktime) you can encode the video with.

    it always did a great job at it and never failed to capture good quality video and sound. i encoded a video with the divx codec on the fly for 30 minutes recording a PS2 game which only took about 150mb.

    i would imagine that a 7500 upgraded with a G3 CPU upgrade would be like my AIO. you just have to be a little careful about your video and audio settings cause it can choke if you set things to high.

    Racer X also used a old Mac to make star trek ship models and short videos of them flying in space.

    also upgrading a old system can be a real good way to begin learning about the inside of a computer. thats why i upgraded my AIO to learn about it and to get the performance boost
  15. dj2big macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2008
    7100/ 80 av

    I own one runs perfect and its online 7.1.1 OS
    G3 upgrade!

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