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Power Macintosh 8500/150 Upgrade & Information Page - Performance Of Latest G3 & G4 Processor Upgrades

PowerMac 8500/150 Facts at a Glance

  • Processor: 604, 150 MHz
  • Bus Speed: 50 MHz
  • L2 Cache: 256K (Max 1 MB)
  • Installed RAM: 16MB or 32MB (Max 1 GB*)
  • RAM Slots: 8, 168-pin DIMM
  • Min RAM Speed: 70 ns
  • Installed VRAM: 2MB (Max 4 MB)
  • Drive: 1.2 or 2.0 GB SCSI
  • Internal SCSI: Fast SCSI 10MB per sec
  • CD Drive:4X or 8X
  • Removable Drives: Floppy Driv
  • On-board AAUI and 10baseT
  • Slots: 3 PCI
  • Drive Bays: 2 (5.25")
  • Additional Ports: ADB, 2 Serial - Printer & Modem , SCSI, composite and S-video ports, audio ports
  • Supported MacOS: 7.5.3 - 9.x
  • Introduced: 4-22-96
  • Discontinued: 9/96
  • Initial Retail Price: $4,700
  • Current Price


  • *128MB DIMMs can be used, but have not been tested
  • Has composite and S-video ports

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January 22, 2002

The Power Macintosh 8500/150 represented a speed bump for an already existing Macintosh model. Part of the second generation PowerMac family it was released in the spring of 96 when there was a great deal of competition from the then existing Macintosh clone makers, such as Power Computing.

The 8500 was considered a good, if expensive, performer and was a mid-level machine aimed at in-house publishing, media authoring and technical market segments. It distinguished itself from other machines in its class by having near broadcast quality video circuitry built-in. The machine is capable of 24-bit video input/output and has both composite and s-video connectors.

The 8500/150 sports a 604 PowerPC processor which was the fastest PowerPC processor at that time. The 604 processor would lastonly a relatively short time, to become replaced in successor machines by the 604e. The 8500's processor resides on a separate daughter card making it easily upgradable to a faster processor.

The machine has 3 PCI slots, an extra drive bay (internal Fast SCSI - 10MBps) and 8 memory slots for a total possible capacity of 512MB of RAM. Adding PCI cards or drives is relatively painless. However adding RAM requires almost a total dismantling of the machine.

The 8500 shipped with 2MB of video RAM and the ability to add 2MB more. It also had a 256K L2 cache.


The Mac8500-l User Group Support Page and Mailing List - Mac8500-l is a majordomo mailing list forum created to discuss and share common problems and solutions in using Apple Power Macintosh 8500/8600 computers. Mac8500-l promotes positive awareness to the benefits in using and supporting the 8500 and 8600

Profiles in Networking - From a networking perspective, the 8500 is ready out of the box with built-in AAUI (transceiver) and RJ-45 (twisted-pair) Ethernet ports. Faster network speeds come via PCI cards, but the regular Ethernet¨s 10 megabits per second (about 1 megabyte) capacity is a heady improvement over LocalTalk¨s 230 kilobits (which the 8500 still supports through its serial ports)

Optimizing the Power Mac 8500 for Media How to get the most from Apple's ultimate media machine - The Mac 8500, with its fast SCSI buses, even faster PCI expansion slots, and enhanced audio- and video-capture features, has captured the hearts of audio and video producers. The 840AV and the Power Mac 7100/80AV and 8100/100AV remain workhorses for producers who own NuBus-based hardware, but the 8500 wears the AV crown. Some quirks and subtleties behind the 8500's AV skills, however, are documented poorly if at all. Here's a guide to optimizing the 8500's built-in AV features, and a road map for when the built-ins aren't enough

8500 Series Logic Board Removal Procedure

Optimizing Video on the 8500/8600, Version 2.0 - I purchased my 8500 to do video. It seemed easy, but I found there were parts of its use which were confusing and poorly documented. My machine could capture nearly 30 fps at 320x240 sometimes. Using what I'd read, benchmarking information, and months of trial-and-error, I slowly found what was necessary to maximize my video performance

8500 and 8600 Benchmark Results, Version 1.0

Installing OS X On a G3 Accelerated Power Mac 8500 - I had eagerly anticipated the (twice-delayed) date for several months. This was the day that Sonnet made the world of Mac OS X accessible to my G3-upgraded Power Mac 8500. The installer was available as a $29.95 download from Sonnet's web site. It was posted for all of 24 hours before I decided to take the plunge

Quadra 8xx Series, Power Mac 8100/8500 - This model is one of the hardest models to open. To get the case off, first remove the 4 screws from the back panel. Next, use a screwdriver to pry the back apart from the top. You can then slide the case off

Welcome to Apple Manuals - Here you can download Apple manuals and other instructional materials

Surviving the Upgrade - A Day in the Life of Marion - It should have been fairly simple and easy to upgrade my 8500 with a G3 card. I had been dreading the task because it was my understanding that I would have to remove the cache card from it. For those who don't know, getting to the business end of the motherboard on a Power Mac 8500 is not a simple task. The computer needs to be almost completely disassembled in order to put in (or remove) cache, vram or main memory.

Power Macintosh: Difficulty Using Floppy Disks - I have a Power Macintosh 8500/180 computer, and recently I have been having some difficulty using floppy disks. For example, when initializing or erasing floppy disks, an error message occurs stating that the disk is damaged

The Apple Online Museum - Power Macintosh 8500

Recording the Macintosh Screen to Video Tape - All decent computer monitors today refresh all pixels on screen at a signicantly faster rate (72 hertz or so). These factors combine to make computer monitors appear to flicker when recorded onto video tape via a video camera and also to make most computer video routed to NTSC devices like VCRs look very bad. 1. To overcome this limitation, you need a device which allows you to display computer video directly to NTSC and to compensate for the lower quality of NTSC in an intelligent manner. The best method I have encountered is the built-in Video out on Power Macintosh 8500 & 8550 machines. This is the method I will outline below

Additional Resources

Apple Reduces Prices on High-Performance Power Macintosh Computers - Consistent with its strategy to offer high-value, competitively priced personal computers to the corporate and professional marketplace, Apple Computer, Inc. today announced that it is lowering prices to its United States authorized resellers for most of its flagship line of Power Macintosh computers. The price reductions, effective Nov. 2, 1996, range from 9 percent to 30 percent on these Power Macintosh computers

Project: Power Macintosh 8500 - Anyone who has been inside of an 8500 know what a physical pain these machines can be to work on, but I kind of like the fact that I have to tinker with it for a hour just to get at the RAM. The slick new Apple machines just don't feel as good when you work on them because you're not diving into the guts of a machine unless you disembowel it like you have to do to an 8500. For a tech-geek, an 8500 is a perfect machine, and you can find used ones for pretty cheap around the Net

Below you will find the MacBench 4.0 results for the current processor upgrades available for this machine. The bar graphs below express results as a percentage of improvement over the base machine, which receives a score of 100%.

** Note that MacBench does not take advantage of the Velocity Engine (AltiVec instructions) of the G4. For AltiVec accelerated applications you can see a 0 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

And what about dual processor upgrade performance?