SCSI on a PowerMac G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by g4vx, Nov 22, 2008.

  1. g4vx macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2008
    Hello all, I'm new here and this is my first post.
    I just bought a PowerMac G4 400 Mhz AGP Graphics (M5183 family) with OS 10.3.9 installed). I also purchased today at a high school yard sale, Mac OS 10.3.7 and OS9 cd's.
    I still have my old Mac IIVX (68k ~1992 vintage) with peripherals.
    My question is: What type of SCSI card do I need for my G4 so I can use my VX peripherals? The VX has a 25 pin SCSI I think. I know there are many different type SCSI's out there.
  2. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base

    SCSI is a great thing and its really fast. It's also a lot faster compared to the old ATA standards of that day. That being said, you need to be aware of a couple things.
    I assume you want to have some speed gains over other options you might have. The good news are that there have been plenty SCSI options available around the early G4 times. However the standards have been the 50 pin and 68 pin versions, but not the old stuff you are talking.
    I would NOT go with the old drives from your ancient mac.

    In terms of the SCSI controller you need to look up the old G4 history and look what Built to Order option the G4 had. This way you can find out the SCSI cards they used. But if you go this route, you would still need a SCSI drive of that time.
    You will find many SCSI controllers on ebay. I really like that one:

    However I am not sure if I would do that, -it would be better to go with SATA card and a fast Raptor 10k start-up drive.
  3. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a


    Oct 8, 2008
    For what it's worth, I have an Adaptec 2906 SCSI Card in my G4 500 Mhz AGP.

    The specs are DB 25-pin external, 50-pin internal.

    Works for me with system OS 10.3.9 and 10.4. Didn't work for me in OS 9.

    Works with old (about 12 years) scanner and zip drive, but I don't know about VX peripherals.
  4. g4vx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2008

    thanks for the info.
  5. g4vx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2008
    That sounds interesting, but I was hoping to use it with OS9 (under the 68k emulator, just to see if I could load some old programs for fun). I understand the drivers are loaded onto the Adaptec board itself, so that's probably why it recognizes only OSX.
  6. g4vx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2008

    Well, after some searching, I found a "Orange Micro Grappler+" SCSI card that reputedly works under OS9 (but not OSX) for $14 w/shipping on ebay. It also has the old style serial ports on it (hence the + designator). So if/when I get some time to load OS9 (I assume I can also run OSX on the same computer), I'll see how (or if) it works.
    The Adpatec SCSI's seemingly work best with OSX.
  7. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a


    Oct 8, 2008
    It is a pre-OSX SCSI card and was supposed to work under OS9. To be honest I didn't know how to get it to work. A few years later I upgraded to OSX. I read somewhere that the new system had something about SCSI built-in so I tried it and it worked.
  8. SWLinPHX macrumors regular


    Nov 11, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    SCSI card compatibility with PowerMac G4/500 (AGP)

    I have kept my 1999/early-2000 PowerMac G4/500 AGP as an office computer only because it has a huge 21" CRT Apple Display, and a number of internal cards and drives and memory & DVD-RW upgrades (plus I couldn't get much for it nowadays). I upgrade my laptops instead (now selling my iBook G4 after just purchasing a new MacBook Pro unibody).

    The PowerMac can take a combination of either two ATA + two SCSI internal drives, or three SCSI internal drives in its bays. I already have two 40GB Maxtor ATAs I added years ago (which run very slowly as I now find that Mac doesn't support more than 27GB ATA well) and the 18GB Ultra2 SCSI Cheetah drive BTO upgrade option from Apple. I've determined it doesn't support more than 36GB SCSI drives well. Since all cards and bays are full except one, I want to fill the remaining SCSI bay with a cheap or refurbished Ultra2 Cheetah, same as one I have but twice as big at 36GB.

    To make a long story short (too late, I know!) I have been researching to figure out a few things I didn't know. I kept my PowerMac at OS X 10.3.9 for the last few years and my iBook G4 at Tiger (and new MacBook Pro at Leopard). However, I read the PowerMac can support up to Tiger, so I finally upgraded the OS to 10.4.11 just a couple weeks ago. At first everything was fine (except for the oversized 40GB ATA's) but then I kept having trouble mounting not only those drives but the shipped SCSI drive. I spent so many days troubleshooting, reformatting, wiping, running numerous pro utility tests, etc. for nothing it seems. The Adaptec dual Ultra2 PCI card that Apple shipped (right before they switched to ATTO) does not support 10.4 (some say not even 10.3 but I had no problems with it then). In fact, Adaptec stopped supporting Macs a while ago, so ATTO is the best bet if I want to stay w/Tiger on that machine (I may just downgrade back to Panther and keep that card). I spent over 30 min. with a nice guy from ATTO on the phone yesterday, trying to determine which cards would both match the maximum my machine can take (Ultra2 or 160 SCSI) but also run on 10.4 and have the right 68-pin connectors (I need dual channel because I am running an older SCSI 50 Centronics external drive on the first channel and don't want to slow the ultra drive down).

    I can find a cheap Cheetah Ultra2 or 160 easy enough online or eBay, but I still am not clear what ATTO card to get, or else stay with the Adaptec and Panther. ATTO's UL2D line (ultra2 dual) would seem right, but some say it might not run Tiger. Their UL3D's are 160 and should work, but still not sure of Tiger and if it I need "VHDCI" or not (or whatever) connecting pins. I definitely don't want to have to get a new drive and card and more internal and/or external SCSI adapter cables too!

    LOL, okay.... sorry, guess I had to vent. :D Can anyone give me a clue or advice on what card to get or what will work for sure with Tiger, or just revert to Panther on that machine? I did a lot of research and found a lot of good documents on these PowerMacs and SCSI cards on Apple's site and elsewhere, but determining the correct third-party cards and drive capacities to buy now for a 9-year-old machine is not easy, especially when you also have to take any necessary updated drivers for the Mac OS into account. It looks like the poster here also has the PowerMac w/AGP too though, so thought I'd post. Thanks to whoever made it through this post! :p
  9. g4vx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2008
    I would stick with Panther, I think compatibility issues wouldn't be such a hassle.
    Sorry for the late response as I have been side-tracked with work.
    I had a chance to work on my 'hybrid' OSX/OS9 and OS7 era hardware.
    My OSX Panther now has OS9.2 loaded and it runs seamlessly. I've also installed the SCSI and plugged in a Floptical drive (you probably never heard of it, it's one of those drives that didn't go mainstream but hey, mine still works!).
    I booted in OS9 and wow! It reminds me of OS7 - just as I remember it!
    I have lots of OS7 software so I popped in some cd's and floppies and they all worked great! And with a larger monitor now makes it better.
    One issue I have yet to resolve, it won't mount my external Spin 1 GB SCSI HD. I tried Charismac Anubis and even it couldn't mount it.
    Any ideas?
  10. g4vx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 22, 2008
    Well, I think my Spin HDD isn't mounting is because I haven't loaded the extension (init) for it. And that is on a low-density floppy which the G4 cannot read. I'm trying to avoid pulling the old Mac IIVX from moth-balls for floppy access so I'll check online if I could find this extension. I think it was from a company called RedLine?

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