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Power Macintosh 6400/180  Processor Upgrade Page - Performance Of Latest G3 Processor Upgrades

PowerMac 6400/180 Facts at a Glance

  • Processor: PPC 603e, 180 MHz
  • Data Path: 64-bit 40MHz
  • Drive: 1.6GB IDE
  • Expansion Bays: 1 (5.25 inch)
  • Slots: Two 7" PCI, Comm II, TV/FM, Video in
  • Installed RAM: 16MB (8MB soldered to motherboard)
  • RAM Slots: 2, 168-pin DIMM
  • Min RAM Speed: 70 ns
  • Introduced: 8/5/96
  • Discontinued: 8/97
  • Initial Retail Price: $2,400
    Special Notes
  • Included 28.8 internal modem
  • Two geoports
  • Built-in subwoofer
  • Video out capable
  • Remote control Port
  • Mac OS Supported:7.5.3 - 9.0



The Performa 6400/180 went on the market in the summer of 1996. Aimed at the consumer market, it was a departure from recent past consumer offerings from Apple. Past Performas had been fitted in a standard  desktop form factor. The 6400 sported a tower form with rounded edges giving it something of an elegant look (though it was dubbed a laundry hamper by MacWeek!). Inside the tower there is a 603e processor (Apple's low end processor at the time) and 16MB of RAM was standard (8MB soldered to the motherboard and 8MB in one of the two available DIMM slots). RAM can be expanded up to 136MB. The motherboard has two 7" PCI slots, a Comm II slot (fitted with a 28.8 modem), a video slot (designed specifically with Apple's Avid Video Card in mind - an-add on option) and a TV/FM slot for Apple's TV/FM tuner card (also an add-on option). There is a slot for adding a L2 cache - the machine shipped without one. Adding a 512K L2 cache will improve processor performance between 40-50%

The hard drive on the 6400/180 is a 1.6GB IDE and the CD ROM drive is 8x. One of the unique features of the 6400 was the addition of a dual purpose speaker located on the bottom of the machine's case.  On it's own the speaker richly reproduces all sounds. However if you plug-in external speakers, the built-in speaker acts as a subwoofer, and higher register tones are sent to the external speakers - pretty clever. Though considered a machine with a great deal of multimedia potential the 6400 was hobbled by relative limited on-board graphics. Video memory is limited to 1MB and is not upgradable, limiting you to 8-bit color at resolutions higher than 800 x 600 pixels on a 17" monitor - unless you install a higher performance video card in one of the PCI slots. Video performance itself was considered sluggish.

At the time of the 6400's release there was stiff competition from the PowerBase computers from Power Computing, which in general received positive reviews and were substantially cheaper than the 6400. 

The 6400's processor  was considered to be non-upgradable. However several clever companies have figured out how to use the L2 cache slot for processor upgrades. However Sonnet is currently the only company that has such L2 cache slot upgrades available.

For Great Prices On Upgrades Check The Vendors Below
Processor Upgrades
Small Dog MacConnection

Graphics Cards
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Hard Drives & Optical Drives
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RAM & Other Memory MacConnection

SCSI, Firewire USB Cards
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Used/Refurbished Macs
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Below you will find the MacBench 4.0 results for all of the current processor upgrades available for this machine. Results marked in blue indicate that benchmark results were done by us. All other 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.

MacBench Absolute Scores

Processor Upgrade Card MacBench 4.0 Processor Score
Power Macintosh 6400/180 184
Sonnet Crescendo L2 G3/240/125/512K 744
Sonnet Crescendo L2 G3/300/150/512K 930
Sonnet Crescendo L2 G3/300/150/1MB 1073
Sonnet Crescendo L2 G3/320/160/1MB 1120
Sonnet Crescendo G3/L2 400/200/1MB 1400

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