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Reader Report:Turbomax ATA/66 PCI IDE Card in a 6500 Mac
By Jarod Wilson
Published: 6/2/2000

Jarod Wilson sent a detailed report with some tips on installing a PCI IDE card in a 6500 Mac. (Note: a reader mail from a few years ago linked on the Systems page has some tips for opening the 6400/6500 case.)

" Mike-
I wrote you a few days back about my purchase of a TurboMax ATA/66 card to put in my Power Mac 6500...

Here's the bad part first: it took me about 2 hours of removing case components, feeding the supplied cable (which is way too short for easy use in a 6500) through the machine, attempting to connect the cable to the card, finally having to connect the cable to the card while the card was not yet on the motherboard plate, but the motherboard plate was part way inside the machine (I'm not sure if you are completely familiar with the design of the 6500 case and motherboard, but it has to be one of the worst ever...) and then putting the card into the PCI slot.

After all that, the machine would just freeze when I tried to start it up. I though maybe it needed something connected to the on-board IDE, so I hooked up another drive I have. No dice. So I booted off the on-board IDE with nothing hooked to the TurboMax. The machine boots just fine. I was able to verify that the system did see a SCSI device (the TurboMax) using both Charismac's Anubis and the Apple System Profiler.

I figured maybe I needed to update the firmware. Since you can't download the firmware directly from ProMax, I went with downloading it from Acard [], which I read was identical on your site (the card also shows up as being an Acard in System Profiler). I ran the firmware update and tried to boot off the TurboMax (now with Acard v3.01 firmware) again. Same results. I checked all the jumpers on my hard drive (which by the way is a Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 27gb), everything was set correctly.

Now for the good news: After a few hours of working on it and a good night's rest, I decided to try one more thing. The TurboMax card has two connectors on it, one labeled IDE1, the other IDE2. I had the cable hooked up to IDE1, figuring that logically, that would be the one you should use for only one device.

Guess again! I hooked the cable up to IDE2 and viola! Success! The machine booted off of my OS 9 CD, I threw in a Zip disk with Hard Disk Speed Tools 2.7 (I just downloaded 3.0...) and launched it. My hard drive showed up just fine as a SCSI disk, I had it update the driver and my hard drive mounted, all data intact. I rebooted off the hard drive and went on to some testing.

Here is just a sampling of the speed differences:

On-Board IDE
TurboMax ATA/66
HDST2.7 Benchmark:
6.5 MB/sec
23.77 MB/sec
Norton SI Disk:
MacBench 5 Disk:
MB5 Pub Disk:
Seq Read 512:
(Macbench 5)
911.4 KB/sec
1218.54 KB/sec
Seq Read 1024:
(Macbench 5)
8882.33 KB/sec
17912.66 KB/sec
Random Read 512:
(Macbench 5)
68.74 KB/sec
72.74 KB/sec
Random Read 1024:
(Macbench 5)
8882.29 KB/sec
18011.27 KB/sec
Seq Write 512:
(Macbench 5)
2238.51 KB/sec
4235.64 KB/sec
Seq Write 1024:
(Macbench 5)
8973.32 KB/sec
10905.69 KB/sec
Random Write 512:
(Macbench 5)
135.66 KB/sec
148.17 KB/sec
Random Write 1024:
(Macbench 5)
9099.75 KB/sec
11186.21 KB/sec

With it all said and done, I can say that the TurboMax card does work in a 6500, but is VERY hard to install and note that I had to use the IDE2 connector on the card to get the machine to boot. Later, I will try to add another drive to the IDE1 connector and see if the machine locks up or does support another drive on the TurboMax...

For any 6500 owners attempting to install one of these cards, you might want to get an IDE cable longer than the one provided with the card. Otherwise, getting the cable connected is a bit tricky. [Note- make sure you do not exceed the ATA/66 design limits - 18 inches is standard, 24 inches long is max and may violate the ATA/66 cable length spec. Apple's longer CD/ZIP drive cables in new systems do not run ATA/66 ultraDMA mode, for those that are wondering.-Mike]

On the bright side, I don't have a single problem with mp3 playback or QuickTime playback, as some users of TurboMax cards in older Mac's had noted. I have yet to try video capture, however...

In summary, here is my complete setup, all of which works PERFECTLY with one another.

-Power Macintosh 6500/250 tower
-Sonnet G3/L2 cache slot 500MHz upgrade card
-128MB of RAM
-Comm Slot II Farallon Fast Ethernet Card
-Apple Video Input card
 (not a PCI card, but some custom slot...)
-Voodoo 3 3000 PCI video card
-TurboMax ATA/66 PCI IDE card
-Maxtor DiamondMax Plus 7200rpm ATA/66 27GB Hard Drive
-a custom, hand-painted black case w/red Apple logo

Also note that the Voodoo 3 and Sonnet card get along, even without the presence of a 2nd monitor on the motherboard video, a problem that came up for some users in the past... I now have a system that cooks along pretty good, and may even outperform low-end G4's at the moment. Granted, I've dumped a lot of time and money into this clunker over the years, but oh well. It works. Unfortunately, I did have to give up my USB PCI card for this upgrade, but I wasn't using it much anyhow since getting my iBook, but that's another story.

-Jarod Wilson "

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