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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...




Mix-n-Match AirPort Networks, Video Cards, & SCSI Drives
June 16th, 2000

Well, surprises certainly can happen! Here I am sitting in Austin-Bergstrom Airport settling in to write my column, when I noticed the AirPort "signal strength" meter on my PowerBook was active. I opened up my web browser, and sure enough, I'm sitting here in the airport surfing the web with AirPort! Best I can tell, it's all thanks to a company called Wayport. Anyway, today's column is certainly fun-filled! We talk about upgrading an older Mac (with migration in mind), sharing a cable-modem connection via AirPort AND Ethernet, and we talk about the name for that mysterious symbol next to your space bar. Anyway, if you have a question of your own, feel free to e-mail it to me or ask away in the Forums. For now, read on!

Joe Cabigas writes, "I have a 200 MHz Performa that I would like to add another monitor to. I have an extra 13" apple monitor and was told by an acquaintance that the cool setup for PhotoShop is to have all the tear off menus on one monitor leaving the main monitor for the picture your working on. My current configuration only supports 256 colors with my 17" apple monitor. I would like to have millions of colors on the 17" for the PhotoShop work and thousands of colors for the other monitor. I figure that just plugging the 13" monitor into my stock Performa will give me the thousands of colors. Any suggestions on video cards that would work in the PCI slot of the Performa and that could make the transfer to a G4 when I up grade?? Can I add memory to or replace the stock video card??

Also, I would like to add another internal hard drive to this machine, as well. I understand that there is another SCSI connector inside the case that I should be able to plug into. Trouble is, with all the hard drives available, which is the correct one to buy that will plug into the extra plug and will the power supply handle this extra load??"

Well, since I'm stuck in the airport I figured I could answer both your questions today. Lets talk about the first one. There's a *chance* that your Performa will support thousands of colors on your 13" monitor. The way to test it would be to set your resolution to 640x480 and see if you can increase your colors. With 2 MB of video RAM, you should be ok. But if you only have 1 MB of video RAM, you will only get 256 colors with the internal video. You didn't mention which model Performa you had, so I can't tell you for sure. As far as upgrade cards, any PCI-based video card should work for you. My recommendation would be the 3dfx Voodoo3 series, as it's well support by many games, both directly and through their OpenGL drivers. It is also one of the cheapest PCI cards you can add to your system right now, especially considering the power it offers. Lastly, it offers 2D support, but it doesn't do QuickTime acceleration. There are also products from Formac that offer QuickTime, 2D and 3D acceleration.

As far as your hard drive, the bus inside your computer is a "narrow" bus -- that is, it uses 50 pin "normal" density connectors. Get any "non-wide" SCSI drive and you should be OK. Chances are that the bus is SCSI-1, which means a max throughput rate of 5 MB per second. However, you probably won't get that rate with a standard SCSI-1 drive. I would recommend a "Fast Narrow" or "Ultra Narrow" drive, both of which have theoretical maximums much higher than your bus supports. They will, however, make the most of your bus and get you closer to that maximum of 5MB per second. Power shouldn't be a problem (as long as you don't have anything else in there you haven't mentioned!), so I wouldn't worry about that.

Laurence E. Bruge, Sr. writes, "I have a Beige G3, 96MB true RAM, 6GB hard drive, and an iMac 350. My G3 is connected to the Net by a cable modem. I would like both computers to use the one cable modem. My cable company will allow this but will neither install nor support the network. Since the Mac's are on two different floors of my home, I would like to avoid running cables through walls. Is it possible to link the two Mac's using AirPort so that both can use the cable modem?"

Yes, Laurence, it is possible. Your iMac 350 should have an AirPort slot in it, which will make this all possible. The easiest way to do this would be to buy an Ethernet hub, an AirPort Base Station, and an AirPort card. Plug the cable modem, the Base Station, and the G3 into the hub. Then put the AirPort card in the iMac. Once the card is in the iMac, you should be able to run the AirPort software on that machine and configure your Base Station (make sure you've updated to AirPort v1.2). Set the Base Station to assign addresses to Ethernet (there's an option in the AirPort Admin Utility). This should actually do it for you. The Base Station will get its address from the cable modem. It will then "share" that address with both the iMac (via AirPort) and the G3 (via Ethernet, because you told it to). This should do it, assuming you have the iMac within range of the Base Station.

Jerry Kennelly writes, "What is the 'real' name for the icon on the command key. Not the open apple. I can print it using a lower case 'z' in the Wingdings font, in case you didn't know - that will be the day."

Thanks, for the advice, Jerry. I'll put that Wingdings knowledge in the library here for the next time someone needs to know! :-)

As far as the name, my memory tells me that it's a "clover." It's a four-leaf clover, to be sure, but a clover indeed.

That's it for this week, folks. I need to get back to waiting for my flight, if it ever leaves!

P.S. Have a Nice Day!

is President and CEO of The Mac Observer, Inc. He has worked in the computer industry as a consultant, trainer, network engineer, webmaster, and a programmer for most of the last 10 years. During that time he has worked on the Mac, all the various Windows flavors, Be, a few brands of Unix, and it is rumored he once saw an OS/2 machine in action. Before that he ran some of the earliest Bulletin Board systems, but most of the charges have since been dropped, and not even the FBI requests that he check in more than twice a year.

Ask Dave is here to answer all the Mac questions you have. Networking, system conflicts, hardware, you ask it, he can answer it. He is the person from whom all Mac knowledge flows....


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