PowerBook G3 Wallstreet "PDQ" Appreciation

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by AphoticD, May 25, 2018.

  1. AphoticD, May 25, 2018
    Last edited: May 25, 2018

    AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

    Joined:
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    Australia
    #1
    Macintosh PowerBook G3 Wallstreet "PDQ"

    What an absolute beauty of a Mac!

    DSC_0081.jpg

    I had a pleasant surprise in the mail on my Friday afternoon to find delivery of this near perfect example of a September 1998 Macintosh PowerBook G3 Wallstreet Series II or "PDQ".

    233Mhz PowerPC 750 "G3" with 512K L2 cache, 32MB of PC66 RAM, 2GB 2.5" HDD. Sold as "untested" due to a missing power supply for a total of AU$50 (+ shipping).

    When I first plugged it in and powered it on I was greeted with a MIGHTY boot chime. Is it just me or does this old Mac sound more GRAND than it's more youthful siblings and cousins?

    Honestly though, the first thing that struck me is the absolute weight and girth of the beast. Weighing in at 3.3KG, it is heavier than even the last generation of PowerBook G4 17 inchers.

    The PDQ feels so SOLID. It makes my Pismo feel cheap and skinny (which is a mighty feat in it's own right). Everything is finished with a glorious matte texture. The keys have travel unlike any other Mac I own and the trackpad click has a deep, but responsive "clunk". It's hard to describe, but it's not the typical hollow click as found in most portable Macs. This clicker takes me back to my early experiences with PowerBooks like the 170 or Duo 230, which I was fortunate enough to have spent some time with as a kid.

    DSC_0084.jpg

    The separate volume and brightness controls are a nice touch. The entire machine captures such a distinctive 90's design quality and to top it off, we have a pretty little Apple logo bleeding in all 6 original colors below the display.


    DSC_0086.jpg

    From what I can see, the PDQ (and Lombard) may have been the last to carry the "Macintosh" label, before it was officially shortened to just "Mac".


    DSC_0087.jpg
    We are reminded of the architecture here with the little "PowerPC" badge below the display latch.


    DSC_0088.jpg
    I've set both the PDQ and the Pismo side by side here to spot the difference. I know my Pismo is well worn, but everything about the Wallstreet / PDQ just feels more "generous". Even the lip of the display bezel has a substantial depth.


    DSC_0090.jpg
    It's hard to get a feeling for this with photos, but the thickness of the PDQ is quite striking "in the flesh". The curves are designed to diminish a lot of this thickness at a glance though.


    DSC_0091.jpg

    So on first boot we were dropped into the previous owner's Mac OS 8.5 installation, which with 32MB was a very smooth experience. I then did some reading up on XPostFacto 4 and decided I would try Tiger on my now lowest-spec Mac. To begin with, I hunted around for some more RAM and came across 128MB + 64MB PC100 SO-DIMMs to install.

    I initially installed 256MB PC133 + 64MB PC100 and it caused the machine to crash on boot. I then removed the 64MB SO-DIMM and it booted with the single 256, but only recognized it as 128MB. I figured I would stick to PC100 sticks and settled on the 192MB total config, returning the 256MB stick to it's place in one of my TiBooks.

    To combat the noisy 2GB "angle-grinder" HDD, I dug out the 6GB HDD which shipped with my Pismo (and fortunately had a fresh installation of Mac OS X 10.4.6 + Mac OS 9.2.2 pre-installed). Getting inside the PDQ is great. It has been so thoughtfully designed. Everything is so easy to get to. I especially enjoyed finding the hidden keyboard release latches inside the expansion bays.

    Initially it wouldn't boot Mac OS 9.2.2, so I had a thought that maybe 9.2.2 wasn't supported (due to the New/Old World ambiguity). So I booted off a Mac OS 9.0.4 CD and did a fresh install of the classic Mac OS on top of the Tiger installation. I then rebooted into OS 9.0.4 and launched XPostFacto, which made it dead easy to boot into OS X.

    Tiger ran through everything as expected. And just like any other Mac I have, I was able to install all of the software updates, pulled down from Apple' servers via the 10mbit Ethernet port. This brought it up to 10.4.11. I then installed a series of apps, albeit HDD space is limited, even with 6GB, so I didn't install my usual Xcode 2.5 configuration (or MacPorts / Tigerbrew).

    I let Geekbench start before I went to bed and when I woke up, the machine was sleeping and had paused the benchmark. Once it finishes, I'll post the results.

    Unfortunately, the PDQ is "pretty damn slow" in Tiger. I think if I were to get the right 256MB SO-DIMMs to max it out to 512MB, then it would be much more comfortable. That and installing a small SSD (or CF) in place of the HDD would speed things up quite a lot. I understand OS X must be installed on the first partition less than 8GB in size to boot.

    In comparison, my Pismo (G3 400Mhz, 1MB L2 cache, 1GB RAM, 32GB mSATA SSD) flies through Tiger and my usual array of apps, including Photoshop 7.

    I'll let the PDQ run with Tiger for now, but once I get a better/faster internal storage solution for it, I think I'll play around with either Jaguar (supported) or Panther (XPostFacto) to get a smoother OS X experience from it.

    Now I have to go about rebuilding another WS/PDQ/Pismo battery to make this a portable "heavyweight".

    -AphoticD

    :apple: :apple: :apple:


    P.S. Screenshots to come once Geekbench finishes.. maybe by lunchtime on Sunday? o_O
     
  2. redheeler macrumors 604

    redheeler

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    #2
    Mine has the maximum of 512 MB RAM, and runs Mac OS 9.2 very well. Never tried to install Mac OS X on it, but I can imagine how it would struggle compared to how smoothly it runs OS 9.
     
  3. swamprock macrumors 6502a

    swamprock

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    #3
    My first Powerbook, and still one of my favorites. I wrote about one that I purchased 10 years ago for Low End Mac that can be read here: http://lowendmac.com/myturn/0805my/deuel-wallstreet.html

    It'll actually run Tiger decently as long as the CPU and memory is maxed out, and you keep the concurrent app count low. Having a 7200 rpm drive helped tremendously with the one I wrote about.
     
  4. redheeler macrumors 604

    redheeler

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    #4
    The boot chime in the later old world ROM Macs is a slightly different pitch from the one introduced in the iMac G3. You can also hear the older chime with the Beige G3.
     
  5. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #5
    A bit of a long shot, but can the PDQ take a Pismo's CPU card?
     
  6. swamprock macrumors 6502a

    swamprock

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    #6
    Unfortunately, no. They have different connectors. In fact, all three of the "black tuxedo" Powerbook G3s have unique CPU card connectors between the models.
     
  7. AphoticD, May 25, 2018
    Last edited: May 26, 2018

    AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #7
    I thought as much. I spotted the twin connectors on the underside of the CPU card in the PDQ and couldn't recall if the Pismo had the same connection.

    I imagine @LightBulbFun or @dosdude1 could probably get a G4 CPU installed with their BGA skills :)
     
  8. LightBulbFun macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

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    #8
    very nice find! your system looks to be in very nice shape

    I still need to get a Wallstreet/PDQ myself some day :D

    from my experience with 266/512K G3 beiges, 10.2.8 actually runs worse then tiger does, just a heads up incase you think Jag may run smoother.

    as for Geekbench taking 300 years to finish, thats because GeekBench tests both the CPU and the RAM and with less then about 512MB of RAM it pages out to disk and slows down A LOT and can artificially worsen your score. notice how the memory scores are all super low on my kanga here https://browser.geekbench.com/geekbench2/2622693

    and once you upgrade the RAM tiger should also run much better :) the RAM you need to max out at 512MB are 2 256MB Low Density SODIMMs this is important they must have 16 memory chips total. if they only have 8 then they are high density and will be seen as 128MB RAM sticks in a PDQ (or any Grackle/XPC106 based Mac), you can also use 512MB RAM sticks but they will be seen as 256MB but work just fine (I have done this myself with my G3 BW/Beiges, and while it is a waste of half a RAM stick its a quick and easy way to max out a Grackle/XPC106 based based mac since the correct 256MB Low density RAM sticks can be hard to find at times)

    the PDQ is also one of the best laptops for running Rhapsody based versions of OS X :) Mac OS 8.1 should run very well too.

    also any plans to stick an SSD in there? remember that OS X has to be on the first 8GB of the drive. (on my G3 beige I have an 7.9GB or so partition for leopard then the rest of the drive is dedicated to Mac OS 9)

    and finally may I recommend picking up a USB 2 CardBus card? its a good way to get some fast and current IO on a legacy laptop like the PDQ :) make sure to get an NEC chipset based card so it works with OS X/Classic Mac OS, they will work fine in Mac OS 9 but at USB1.1 speeds, just make sure you have the 1.4.6 USB drivers installed first (which can be found on the Macintosh garden here http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/usb-adapter-card-support-146 )
     
  9. swamprock macrumors 6502a

    swamprock

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    #9
    There is a way to use XPostFacto to use a larger partition as a helper partition and to be able to install OS X on a partition larger than 8gb, but it's a bit of a pain in my experience. For instance, you can split your drive equally (say, a 60 gig drive into two 30 gb partitions), install OS X on the first partition, and set XPF to use the second partition to install bootx and other extensions so that the 8gb limitation goes away. It's a bit of a kludge, though, and I had some issues with switching between OS 9 and OS X, where I had to reset the PRAM to get back to OS 9.

    Jaguar runs terribly on the Wallstreet, and has the dreaded backlight/dead PRAM issue, where the backlight won't come on and you have to boot to OS 9 and back to OS X to fix it. Even Panther is pretty bad on the Wallstreet. Puma or Tiger are your best bets for OS X.
     
  10. AphoticD, May 25, 2018
    Last edited: May 25, 2018

    AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #10
    Thanks! Come to think of it, Jag was a bit slower than Panther.. Maybe 10.3.9 will be the way to go, but I do like Tiger, despite the current lag.

    I thought as much. The CPU testing stage was quick and painless and then Memory testing brought it to a grinding halt.

    Good to know. It may be easier and cheaper to buy up 512MB PC133 SO-DIMMs than 256MB PC100.

    Now you're talking!

    Due to recently buying up quite a few older portable Macs which arrived without hard drives (or with DOA drives), the 6GB HDD from my Pismo was the largest capacity 2.5" working HDD I had in my supplies. I will probably buy up some more mSATA SSDs (and JM20330 adapters) later in the year to upgrade some of the higher-end PowerPCs (like the two 15" DLSDs) and then I'll have some larger capacity hand-me-down HDDs to play with.

    Great thanks! I have been just using my little PCMCIA/PC Card CF adapter with a 1GB card for transferring files around. The twin-PC Card bay is a nice touch on this Mac. So in theory, I could put a Wifi card + a USB card in there at the same time.
    --- Post Merged, May 25, 2018 ---
    Gotta love the quirks of these old Macs. Even installing an OS feels like hackery :)

    While I had the OF command prompt up, I dev'd into the via-pmu and spotted the backlight-on backlight-off commands. Our lucky "wink" command was missing though. ;)

    Good to know. I guess I should be eating my own dogfood on this one. I'll CC the Puma installation I wrote about (from the iBook G3 700) across to the original 2GB HDD and swap the drives out for a bit of a play.
     
  11. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #11
    My 292mhz with 384mb does decent with Tiger, as has every 266mhz/512mb PDQ I've used. The 292mhz somewhat makes up for having less RAM by having a faster bus than all the PDQ models(and lower end Wallstreets).

    The only OS X slow-poke I have is my "Mainstreet"-it's honestly best plugging along with 8.6 rather than OS 9.x
     
  12. AphoticD, May 25, 2018
    Last edited: May 25, 2018

    AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #12
    I imagine getting more RAM into this PDQ will definitely make it a smoother experience. In all honesty though it's far from terrible, just slow compared to the Pismo.

    Booting Tiger isn't too bad, maybe 3 minutes. I imagine Jaguar would take 5 mins+

    I can easily Remote Desktop into the PDQ from my Mac Pro too. Onyx has been used to switch off superfluous Finder and Dock animations and set the display of sheets to "Fast". I can used my Shadowless command line toggle to switch off the window shadows, speeding up redraw / movement.


    PDQ-Demo.jpg

    Here's an action shot... Browsing is actually pretty responsive with OneWindowBrowser and there is no stuttering audio from iTunes (v8.2.1) while I browse the MR forums here.


    Picture 1.png
    Geekbench 2 finished it's run.. here are the results :)
    --- Post Merged, May 25, 2018 ---
    PDQ-YoutubeDemo.jpg
    And a little Youtube playback on the PDQ in OWB with a performance from 1998.. a few months before the release of this Mac. Cargo pants were everywhere!

    Audio plays without stuttering (for the most part), but the video stream play at about 3fps. Still not bad :)
     
  13. weckart macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #13
    One other thing, the PDQ supports booting from Cardbus. Usually a bit simpler to get working than USB and handy for troubleshooting.
     
  14. LightBulbFun macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

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    #14
    do you mean booting from cardbus cards, like a PCI card in a Mac aka loading a PCI option ROM etc?

    or booting from PCMCIA via a CF card in a passive adapter? because if my 3400/Kanga are anything to go by they wont see Cardbus cards in OF but OF and the TBXI will see (via a passive PCMCIA adapter) my CF card just fine and happily boot from it...

    (my Pismo wont see any PCMCIA/CardBus cards at an OF level for all thats worth IIRC)
     
  15. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #15
    I noticed that. I have a valid 9.2.2 system folder on my CF card and it booted off it. Strange that it won't boot from a copy of the same system folder when installed (copied) onto the main HDD partition.

    I tried using Drive Setup (OS9) to update the hard disk drivers in case something on the OS9 boot side was corrupted, but still no go for 9.2.2. 9.0.4 boots fine though. I will update this to 9.1 next and just leave it at that for now.
    --- Post Merged, May 25, 2018 ---
    Strange. My Pismo boots from the CF card in a simple PCMCIA adapter.
     
  16. weckart macrumors 601

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    #16
    Really? It has never worked for me. Apple seemed to remove the booting from CF functionality with the advent of New World ROMS, i.e. Lombard. Must give this another try.

    I have never tried with an option ROM but support seems to be there in OF for seeing the Cardbus slot as a bootable data carrier like an optical drive or a hard drive. As long as it sees a System Folder in HFS(+) it can boot from it by holding down Cmd+Opt+Shift+Del after the chime to bypass whatever was the last selected boot volume if it was something else.
     
  17. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #17
    What is the correct way to eject the Cardbus slot? it doesn't have the usual eject push-in button that I am familiar with, but there are two little buttons on top which seem to indicate an eject motion, but don't actually do anything..
     
  18. AphoticD, May 26, 2018
    Last edited: May 26, 2018

    AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #18
    Hmm... At least I thought it did. I don't know what I did before, but it's definitely not working now.

    The only OS9 bootable Macs I owned which have PCMCIA slots were the Pismo and TiBook. I had copied the "Applications (Mac OS 9)" and "System Folder" across to the card and booted from it. I am pretty sure it was on the Pismo, prior to installing the SSD (Just after I bought the adapter, as mentioned on my Pismo Power thread).

    I can definitely recall seeing a portable Mac booted from this CF card, but I can't figure it out. Maybe I'm losing my mind with all of these old PowerPCs!
    --- Post Merged, May 26, 2018 ---
    In an attempt to accelerate the graphics on the PDQ, with it's 4MB ATI Rage Pro LT GPU, I tried using both XPostFacto's PatchedRagePro.kext first and then tried manually patching the ATIRagePro.kext by adding the "0x4c501002" model identifier to the kext's Info.plist file.

    Both patches resulted in the same behaviour;
    At "Millions of Colors" I get purple discolored patches throughtout the display and graphics redrawing is not much better than the non-accelerated version (if any different at all).
    Picture 5.png


    At "Thousands of Colors" drawing is definitely accelerated, window movement is smooth, but unfortunately, this is the result..

    Picture 6.png

    This is the kext from 10.4.11, so maybe there is an older version which can be loaded in which will accelerate without the glitched color.

    Another oddity is that with or without the ATI kext loaded, the VRAM size is reported by System Profiler as 16MB.
     
  19. galgot macrumors member

    galgot

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    #19
    Usually dragging the cardbus volumes on the trash should pop the card out. If it doesn't the button are there to eject it too, but think it's better to eject the volume from the desktop first.

    Wallstreet/PDQ are cool too cause you can swap the extension bay modules from one side to the other, for example you can put a extension bay hard drive on the left and still have the cd drive on the right. Or even have hard drives in both bays, that makes an laptop with 3 internal HD :p
     
  20. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #20
    So it should mechanically eject? I did find a black elastic band loose inside the bay and figured it wasn’t supposed to be there... but maybe it was?
     
  21. galgot macrumors member

    galgot

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    #21
    Oh yes it does if it works, it "clonks" out the card. Never dismantled that mechanism, indeed the elastic maybe comes from it.
    It doesn't spit out the card like a 3400c or a Kanga, these you have to put your hand in the way of the card to prevent it falling on the ground.
    --- Post Merged, May 26, 2018 ---
    Edit: in doubt I've checked on mines. that black elastic must come from one on the two PCMCIA doors, these are maintained close by these kind of elastics. The ejection card mechanism must be spring loaded... I do have some Wally/PDQ with one of the ejection mechanism failed. the card works fine , it just doesn't eject... have to pull it by hand.
     
  22. Slix macrumors 65816

    Slix

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    #22
    I have a PowerBook PDQ that currently has 9.2.1 and 10.2.8 and 233 MHz and 128 MB of RAM. I hardly have used it, but the stock software runs pretty good. :p I think the batteries that I have still hold a charge actually.
     
  23. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #23
    I have a 512MB PC133 SO-DIMM which I had marked as faulty because it would fail memory testing (in Gauge Pro) on my Pismo and Titanium, but the module works flawlessly in the PDQ!

    It was failing toward the end of the tests in the other Macs, so I took a chance and fortunately that higher range must be blocked out from the PDQ’s access.

    Now with 384MB, Tiger runs much happier - no more long delays launching apps.

    I spotted another PDQ for sale at a low, low price and it includes a floppy drive module, charger, USB 2 card, mouse and carry case (for a total less than what I paid for this unit). So I bought it!

    I don’t know the specs of the incoming unit, but I know it has a 14” display and requires a replacement HDD.. I’ll put my Puma 2GB drive in which I prepared earlier and compare Puma vs Tiger on the old G3s.

    There’s another unit closing in a few days which appears to be a BTO Wallstreet series I with a 13” display. The unit is selling as untested and I read there were problems with the 13 inchers. There are no specs on it but as it is BTO, it is theoretically better than the base stock standard unit. The serial doesn’t reveal much about it other than being built mid-May ‘98.

    Should I take a stab at this third unit or is it one to avoid?
     
  24. LightBulbFun macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

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    #24

    the only major thing the Wallstreet might have over your PDQs is the fact it has an 83Mhz bus as apposed to the 66Mhz bus on the MainStreet and on the PDQs... this is on the CPU card so you could in theory move the CPU card over to another machine (say a PDQ) if you wanted to but keep in mind the BootROM is on the CPU card not the motherboard, otherwise AFAIK the WS is a generally more buggy machine then the PDQs, although I sadly dont own any OWR PB G3s apart from my Kanga so i cant verify all the claims (rumour has it that PDQ stands for Pretty damn quick from Steve saying "Fix it Pretty damn quick!" in response to the Wall streets issues) :)

    otherwise it comes down to how cheap is it exactly? if its 5 quid with free shipping why the hell not :D but if its 50 quid with 15 shipping then I would avoid

    (BTW another reason the 512MB stick might be playing ball all of sudden is, because its only being ran at 66Mhz in a PDQ rather then the 100/133Mhz it would be in a newer machine, a good way to verify this is to pop it into a clamshell and run some memory tests and see what happens since all 512MB will be exposed but only ran at 66Mhz)
     
  25. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #25
    I do like playing with these old machines.. I’ll take a punt and stay under about AU$50 - that’s about 5 quid or so right? :)

    I tried this and it failed at the same spot in the iBook as the Pismo and TiBooks (always on the first run).. the PDQ passed 10x runs A OK. So it could be just a bad RAM chip which is beyond the PDQ’s reach?
    --- Post Merged, May 28, 2018 ---
    On a different note (for @LightBulbFun), the cacheless 233mhz wallstreet model (is that the Mainstreet?) is listed as a PPC 740 in Mactracker. If this is correct, would that make it the only 740 CPU Apple shipped?

    It might be a good candidate for transplanting into a 4400...
     

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