Monday, August 21, 2006

Power Macintosh 7100 A/V

Manufacturer: Apple Computer
Model: Power Macintosh 7100 A/V
CPU: PowerPC 750 (G3), 400MHz
RAM: 384MB
Release date: March 1994 (80MHz A/V version introduced January 1995)

Souped up and ready to rock... This ain't your father's 7100... It's *MY* father's!

The 7100 A/V was certainly a diamon din the rough. The standard 7100 (and the 6100 I wrote about last week) share the system RAM with the on-board video. This can be fixed by adding an aftermarket video card, but the 7100 A/V came with a Mach64-based SVGA card already installed. To top that off, the A/V comes with composite A/V out, just like a VCR. This system started life looking a lot like the 6100 in a more modern case. Performance wise, there wasn't a lot of difference aside from more RAM and a slightly faster PPC 601 CPU at 80 MHz. I purchased a 400 MHz G3 upgrade card from a friend of mine, and packed as much RAM into it as I could muster up. I think it goes without saying that this is far from your average vintage 1994 Mac.

Sadly, even with the G3 upgrade processor, the 7100 is incapable of running OSX. I handed it off to my dad to use with his NTSC telescope eyepiece, which basically turns any telescope with moduar eyepieces intoa really huge telephoto video camera. During the day, it sees occasional use as a TV in his office. Using the built-in A/V inputs and the software that came with MacOS, he's able to take full motion video or digital stills of the cosmos or from the cable box. NTSC resolution (US TV quality) is kind of crappy and lower resolution than even the 640x480 VGA standard, but the detail through the A/V input is excellent, especially when paired with a high-quality telescope. You won't be getting high-res desktop wallpapers out of it, but they're the perfect size for web galleries, YouTube videos or e-mail attachments.

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