My first Macintosh was a Performa
630CD. That's not
really something to be proud of, but history doesn't care about
such things. As a result I've always had something of a soft spot
for its siblings, even in the face of the horrifying x200.
So with my unreasonably large collection of weird old hardware
I set about overcoming the Performa's limits to see if a good
machine was hiding inside.
The 630, along with the 580, began a series of machines with
apple's second gen slide-out motherboard design. Desktop, tower
and all-in-ones shared the same basic design and many of the accessories.
I'm partial to the desktop case myself since the AIO is the size
of a bar fridge and the tower just doesn't do anything for me.
But while it's quick and easy to move boards around, the later
ones required a 3.3v power line which wasn't present in the earlier
machines. So right off the bat I set aside the 630 and picked
up a Performa 6360CD
Now we're talking.
(Some of you are no doubt crying "But that's not even a
630 any more! You said you were going to upgrade a 630 and that's
what I expect you to do!" To which I respond, "Shut
The 6360 was already the finest desktop cased machine in the
series, with its 6400 inspired 603e motherboard. The sins of the
6200 had been abolished and the world finally saw what the machine
was capable of. But I still wanted more. I started digging through
my boxes of mac circuit boards in search of upgrades.
First thing I found was a PowerMac
6500/275 motherboard. This was the final evolution of the
Performa slide-out board. By swapping the rear bracket with the
6360 it became a drop in replacement. The 6360's revised power
supply happily got it going.
Next was the Apple TV/FM kit. The TV kit is an easy one to find,
but the version equipped with an FM tuner is much rarer. I'd been
keeping one hidden away for just such an occasion. It even includes
On the other side of the board I socketed in a Commslot ethernet
card. It's not the nicer Faralon 10/100 card, but it'll do for
Now things started to get interesting. The 2 slot PCI riser from
the 6500 is too tall to fit in this case, but the single slot
riser from the 6360 was just low enough to scrape by. That meant
I had but one slot to place a PCI device in. I was initially thinking
of a video card, but decided against it when I realized the 6500
motherboard already had an upgraded graphics chip over the 6360.
In the end I went with an Orange Micro OrangePC 620 DOS card.
And of course it would be only fitting for me to upgrade that
too while I was at it, so I swapped out the stock 233 Mhz Pentium
MMX for a 400 MHz AMD K6-2+.
Both the PC and the Mac got 128 megs of RAM each. The PC in the
form of a single 128mb PC-100 DIMM and a pair of 64 meg EDO sticks
for the Mac.
By luck I had finally found the elusive L2
G3 upgrade card from Sonnet mid way through this project.
I eagerly socketed it in place of my 512k cache module upgrade,
finding only a hairs gap between it and the DOS card's RAM module.
This left me with only a single slot left unused. J16. The Video
out port. To my knowledge it was only used by a composite/s-video
output board, which occupied the otherwise disused rear panel
opening next to the network/modem card. I'd only seen it once
in my life, 6 years earlier in the back room of The
Mac Market. I began checking eBay with even more fanaticism
Another stroke of luck. A seller
listed a handful of the Focus branded video out boards. I submitted
an offer of $15 and waited.
When it finally arrived in the mail I went straight for the 6360-turned-6500
and tore into it. I had to take nearly everything off the board
to reach the rear opening. I imagine the card was designed for
the earlier PDS-based Performas, as the board was big enough to
press against the PCI riser in the later machines. This made the
difficult task of hinging the DOS card into place all the more
complicated, as I had to co-ordinate 4 separate boards and a half
dozen catches. But on the third try I had it. The board was complete.
There you have it. A fully upgraded Performa. Even
the PRAM battery is new. The only way up from here would be the
faster 10/100 ethernet card or the 500 MHz version of the G3 upgrade.
If you have either of these things and would be interested in
parting with them, please contact me.
You can see where the PCI riser touches the video
out card, and where the G3 upgrade bumps into the RAM stick.
And here we have the view around back. Not a single
slot remains to be filled.
I find it remarkable how cool the whole system runs.
I had stripped it apart for a thorough cleaning at the start,
and replaced the 40mm CPU fan with a new one as the bearing was
getting sticky, but that's all. Even the mighty K6 is puttering
along at an entirely reasonable temperature. In fact the hottest
thing in the entire machine is the graphics chip on the motherboard.
I'll probably attach a small heatsink with some arctic
epoxy the next time I open it up for peace of mind.
Page created August 1st 2010
The man in the mac said you
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