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Power Macintosh 8600/250 Processor Upgrade And Discussion Page - Performance Of Latest G3 & G4 Processor Upgrades

PowerMac 8600/250 Facts at a Glance

  • Processor: 604e, 250MHz
  • Bus Speed: 50 MHz
  • L2 Cache: 1MB In-line (100MHz)
  • Installed RAM: 32MB (Max 1 GB*)
  • RAM Slots: 8, 168-pin DIMM
  • Min RAM Speed: 70 ns
  • Installed VRAM: 2MB (Max 4 MB)
  • Drive: 4GB SCSI
  • Internal Fast SCSI up to 10MBps
  • CD Drive: 24X
  • Network: On-board AAUI and 10baseT
  • Slots: 3PCI
  • Drive Bays: 2 (5.25") (Zip drive occupies one)
  • Introduced: 8/5/97
  • Discontinued: 12/97
  • Original Price: $3,700
  • Current Price
  • Notes:

  • *128MB DIMMs can be used, but have not been tested
  • Video in/out capable
  • In-line cache
  • Internal Zip Drive


February 15, 2001

The 8600/250 was put on the market in the late summer of 1997. It sported two innovations related to processor performance. The first was a reworking of the Processor itself, the venerable 604e - shrinking it down in size. This reengineered chip was the short-lived Mach 5 version of the 604e.

Shrinking the chip down substantially, made is possible to run it at higher clock speeds. To take advantage of these higher clock speeds, however, another innovation was necessary in the L2 cache structure - so that the processor would get data fast enough. To achieve this Apple used an in-line cache scheme with a direct 100Mhz bus between the L2 cache and the processor (twice the system bus speed). This in-line cache scheme appeared only on the high end 8600 and 9600 machines and also some UMAX clones. It died out however soon after the appearance of the G3 machines, as did 604e Mach 5 processor based machines themselves.

The processor and cache sit on a separate daughter card and thus are easily replaced with any of the many new G3 upgrades made for this machine. The 8600/250 has 3 PCI slots, 8 RAM DIMM slots, built-in Ethernet and internal Fast SCSI support. It came with 32MB of RAM, 2MB of Video RAM (expandable the 4MB, for more colors at higher resolution, using 1MB modules) and 1MB of in-line cache. For drives, the machine has a 4GB SCSI hard drive, 24X CD-ROM drive. The 8600 is also video in/out capable having both composite and S-video connectors. Getting to the machine's upgrade slots is very easy.


The 8600/250 was considered a good solid machine, and its innovations were lauded. However, at the time clone makers were already previewing G3 based machines and certain Mac publications, while praising the 8600 highly, suggested you give them a pass and wait for the G3 clones to arrive. It is not hard to see why, given this kind of advice from many influential Mac sources, that Apple pulled the plug on cloning only a short while later.

Below you will find the MacBench 4.0 results for the current processor upgrades available for this machine. Results marked in blue indicate that benchmark results were done by us. All other processor card results were provided by the upgrade manufacturer. The bar graphs below express results as a percentage of improvement over the base machine, which receives a score of 100%. Further down the page you will find a table with the actual MacBench score.

** Note that MacBench does not take advantage of the Velocity Engine (AltiVec instructions) of the G4. For AltiVec accelerated applications you can see a 1.5 to 4 times performance improvement over the G3, depending on the application and the functions you are trying to perform.

For G4 Application specific scores - Click Here


"But I thought that the G4 was so much faster than the G3?" In some cases it is! For G4 Application specific scores - Click Here

MacBench Absolute Scores

Processor Upgrade Card

MacBench 4.0 Processor Score

Power Macintosh 8600/250 677
Sonnet Crescendo G3/375/187/512K 1100
PowerLogix G3/350/175/1MB 1107
NewerTechnology MAXpower G4/350/175/1MB 1118
XLR8 MACh Speed G3/333/222/1MB 1150
Sonnet Crescendo G3/400/200/512K 1173
PowerLogix G4/400/200/1MB 1239
XLR8 MACh Speed G4/400/200/1MB 1259
PowerLogix G3/400/200/1MB 1265
NewerTechnology MAXpower G4/400/200/1MB 1278
Sonnet Crescendo G4/400/200/1MB 1290
Sonnet Crescendo G3/400/200/1MB 1294
XLR8 MACh Speed G3/400/200/1MB 1294
NewerTechnology MAXpower G3/400/200/1MB 1327
XLR8 MACh Speed G3/450/225/1MB 1370
PowerLogix G4/450/225/1MB 1394
XLR8 MACh Speed G4/450/225/1MB 1417
NewerTechnology MAXpower G4/450/225/1MB 1436
Sonnet Crescendo G4/450/200/1MB 1451
PowerLogix G3/500/200/1MB 1462
PowerLogix G4/500/250/1MB 1549
XLR8 MACh Speed G4/500/250/1MB 1574
Sonnet Crescendo G3/500/250/1MB 1617
XLR8 MACh Speed G3/500/250/1MB 1618
NewerTechnology MAXpower G3/500/250/1MB 1642