Using PC Parts On Your Mac II, The Return of Macinstein
October 5th

Randy: Wow, it looks like we stumbled onto another gold mine with last week's column.

Gary: Boy, I'll say. I have been meeting some pretty daring ladies in the chat rooms since we posted the column last week.

Randy: No, not because of your chat room jokes, but because so many people have written us about their experiences with adding standard off-the-shelf PC components to their Macs.

Gary: Oh, that too! In fact, we have once again been trumped by one of our readers who answered a question we had been wondering about, but more on that later.

Randy: Since Gary has a beige G3 with onboard IDE connections he took advantage of the killer prices for HUGE fast IDE drives and swapped out his stock 6 gig Apple ATA for a 27 gig Mama Jama 7200 RPM Ultra ATA drive from Western Digital for only $275.

Gary: The new drive is more than twice as fast as the old one, and now I have tons of room. But there is weird side-effect. If I restart the machine, I get the flashing question mark. However, if I shut down and then start the computer, it works great. I have tried different jumper settings, to no avail. If anyone has any ideas why this is the case, please drop us a line.

Randy: In fact, one reader offer his experiences with a whole bunch of IDE drives he has tried in his Mac.

Dear Idiots,

I have been experimenting with the same stuff for a while. As an ex-trainer for CompUSA, I had access to a lot of parts and discounted equipment. I have tried a number of PC HDs in my Beige G3 233, The IDE models I have tried are: IBM, Fujitsu, Seagate, Western Digital, Quantum, and currently a 13gig Maxtor. The SCSI models I have tried are: Compaq, Fujitsu, Seagate and Quantum. I have yet to get working three Micropolis drives I picked up. They have all worked fine with exception to the Micropolis drives.

Thanks for the great read,

B. Drew Moynihan
Austin, TX

Randy: Good info to know. Drew, thanks for the skinny.

Gary: But Drew's letter wasn't the most interesting piece of information we received.

Randy: Absolutely. We found out Gary used to be a woman named Garita back in the Ukraine a few years ago.

Gary: Hold still while I kill you.

Randy: But besides that, I had been wondering about how I could get an IDE drive in my Umax s900, which currently is completely SCSI-based.

Gary: Sure enough, a well informed reader sent in this letter.

Dear Idiots,

The only control card I have seen advertised for the Mac cost a little over a hundred dollars (Promax Turbomax IDE), but with a click scroll to I found PC PCI IDE/ATA control cards for a little over twenty. Do you know if there is a way to get these cards to work on a Mac so I can take advantage of high performance, low cost hard drives?


Randy: Oh yeah, Patrick! You da Man! I am now on the quest for one of these PC PCI IDE/ATA control cards. Patrick, I'll let you know!

Gary: But in case you Observers want the convenience of a Mac specific card, including drivers, we got this info about the ProMax card Patrick mentioned.

Dear Idiots,

I just put a Promax Turbomax card and a 10.2 GB Maxtor EIDE drive in my upgraded to G3 PM 7500. Initialized it with Apple Drive Setup and it works like a charm. Card cost $109 and the drive $119 at an Office Depot. Cheers!


Randy: Okay, I have to agree with Gary on this one. The ProMax deal is just worth it. Besides making my life easier when I install the card, I have to admit I just feel better supporting a company that supports the Mac.

Gary: You may not burn in hell after all, Randy.

Randy: Who are we kidding? I'm doomed.

Gary: So doomed. As doomed as doomed can be. Next letter.

Dear Idiots,

In the column, you said that you bought an Apple branded CD-ROM drive because VGS won't work on the third party CD-ROM which your UMAX clone came with. I'm just wondering if you visited ResExcellence before doing that? They have a patch that allows you to use the Apple driver on any SCSI CD-ROM drive.

Julian Hsiao

Randy: Actually, Julian I have been using the hacked version of the Apple CD-ROM driver for a while now. While it has freed me from the agony of third party CD drivers, unfortunately it didn't make my old CD drive work with Virtual Game Station.

Gary: And one of the team who wrote VGS dropped this letter to explain why certain drives and drivers don't work with VGS.

Ola, (Spanish for Dear Idiots)

I was one of the three engineers that wrote Connectix Virtual Game Station. The reason why we don't support other CD drives besides Apple's boils down to driver features and performance. Many third party drivers do not have the performance capabilities or do not support some of the esoteric ATA/SCSI commands that we utilize in order to make gameplay enjoyable. Apples drivers work very well on both counts.

Doug Watkins

Randy: Great letter, Doug. Thanks for the inside info. It just goes to show that Apple always tries to put the best components in their machines.

Gary: While we don't know if this next reader's experiment will work with VGS, he did find a CD drive that works with Apple's standard drivers.

Dear Idiots,

I popped one of those Kenwood 52 True-X 7 laser CD-ROMs in my Beige G3 tower. It's really fast and works just fine with the Apple CD/DVD Drivers under 8.6 and 9.

Wyatt Earp

Randy: Thanks, Sheriff. Gary, it's amazing who you find out uses Macintosh.

Gary: Really, man. By the way Wyatt , I thought Kurt Russell bit as you in Tombstone. What was up with that Jethro Clampett Mountie hat?

Randy: Okay there Mr. Movie, save it for the DVD review column. As for more off the shelf components for Macs we just have to mention this Observer's experience with a PC VooDoo 3 card. I just love those folks at 3Dfx.

Dear Idiots,

I picked up a voodoo 3 2000 card for 70 bucks (including a $30 mail in rebate). I downloaded the drivers from 3dfx's site. The ROM flashed perfectly, and I was running under voodoo 3 acceleration within 15 minutes. The beta drivers are rock solid and work flawlessly. The real treat came when I tried Unreal and Q3A. These games are awesome and run at 40-50 fps at 1024x768 resolution. Also, there has been some argument over whether or not it accelerates QuickTime. It does, and I can run video w/ no dropped frames at full screen. When you consider that a Rage 128 card costs $250, (that is 3 1/2 times as much) and runs games at much slower frame rates WITH disgusting artifacts), the Voodoo 3 2000 gives the best possible Mac performance at the lowest price of all Mac graphics cards -- It is a must have purchase.

John Colby

Gary: Damn fine work, readers! Any other must know facts we should pass on, Randy?

Randy: Uh, don't drive nude during the summer months 'cause vinyl seats can kill you?

Gary: Uh yeah…well, while that's good to know I was really referring to facts our readers passed on to us, you bizarre freak.

Randy: Well someone known only as "the Wolf" did mention…

You guys forgot to mention the 6200 and 6300 series Performas. They have an IDE HD bus as well!

Gary: Right you are Mr. Wolf…guy…person…thing…sir.

Randy: And of course one alert reader, Mr. Avelino Santa Ana Jr. did bust us on an incorrect reference.

Logicware didn't do the Tomb Raider Gold port. It was the good people at Westlake Interactive.

The Idiots: Doh!

Gary: You are correct, Avelino. We suck, and our deep apologies to Mark Adams and the crew over at Westlake Interactive.

Randy: Here is one last letter. I didn't notice it earlier.

Dear Idiots,

I think that you are the greatest, Gary. It is also very nice the way that you have decided to partner up with such a loser just so he might have a chance to be successful. You are such a kind and sexy man. Will you please come to my house and make passionate love to me? Don't bring that fathead partner of yours, either.

J. Lopez

Randy: Hey! No way did Jennifer Lopez ever write that letter!

Gary: It says it right there.

Randy: Do you want to have the pants sued off of you?

Gary: She doesn't have to sue me to get my pants –

Randy: Don't finish that sentence!

Gary: Okay, okay! I wrote the letter. But I bet she still thinks I am cute.

Randy: Here's a beer. Please return to your alcohol-induced state of delusion.

Gary: Can do!