* - Versions made after 3/14/97 are compatible with virtual memory,
and RamDoubler. Software introduced 4/1/98 is compatible with MacOS 8.1.
Radius' Nubus accelerators have several drawbacks. Since they are in the Nubus slot, data transfers aren't quite as fast as they are from the PDS slot. Because of the relatively slow data speed between Nubus and the rest of the system bus, these accelerators must have their own RAM simms. Also, they are limited to System 7.1, and have absolutely no sound support. On the plus side, they allow you to do asymetric multiprocessing.
PDS accelerators can access your existing RAM at full speed. In addition,they have the option of a level 2 cache (usually 128k). Daystar's PPC accelerators come with a 256k L2 cache. Remember though, the IIci's bus runs 32 bits wide at 25 Mhz, so there's only so much accelerating your CPU can do. A fast video card and hard drive will help, to a point. Check out David Engstrom's benchmarks of a IIci upgraded with a Sonnect '040 and a Daystar PPC 601 accelerator. Rob Art Morgan's Hot-Rod Lincoln versus Mustang page compares a IIci/Daystar 601 PPC with a PPC7500.
Sonnet accelerators are compatible with systems up to 8.0 (so says Sonnet). Sonnet cards with older ROMs are not compatible with virtual memory and RamDoubler, much like other PDS accelerators. Daystar's PDS accelerators work with up to 7.5 (that's all Daystar will say). Some people have used Daystar's PPC accelerators with system 7.5.5 and 7.6; check out the unofficial Turbo 601 page for details. I've also wondered about the stability of Daystar's two PPC accelerators (especially early versions) because of the mass (used) sell-off about twelve months ago. I asked why they were selling, but owners weren't talking.
The compatibility of all accelerators, however, has been brought into question by an Apple tech report. It states, generally, that computers running with a step-up processor (ie. an 030 machine with an 040 accelerator) may be unstable, especially with system 7.6. Using a faster processor of the same type (ie. a 50 Mhz 030 on a IIci) is OK, according to Apple. However,word on the newsgroups is that an PDS-type 040 in a IIci is perfectly stable with system 7.6.
All in all, not much choice left as far as the new market goes (1 Sonnet and 1 Micromac card). Many places still have stock of the discontinued stuff, however. They are also for sale via the internet news groups and eBay all the time.
a - Radius tech support claims the software for the PrecisionColor cards (Quickcolor) is compatible with MacOS 8.
Radius' PrecisionColor line of Nubus video cards is probably the most common in recent times. The XP, XK and X support millions of colors at a maximum of 17", 19" and 21" resolutions, respectively. The old PrecisonColor line has been replaced by the PrecisionColor Pro line, which support the same amount of colors and resolutions, but have faster QuickDraw acceleration. They are also all shorter, at 6.5" in length, but this is not an issue for Mac IIci owners. Memory is VRAM, but is not upgradable. Thunderboard has a bigger color pallette and built-in Photoshop acceleration. I've heard that Radius' entire Nubus line of cards has been discontinued, but haven't seen any indication from Radius.
Older Supermac (Spectrum 24 series I-V) and E-Machines (Futura series) cards are now handled by Radius - although there is little in the way of specifications for these cards. Radius is still "working" on this part of its web site.
RasterOps appears to be out of business, although they still support their products and have a nice table of features for all their cards setup.
Most important when buying used cards for the IIci is check compatibility with newer versions of the MacOS. Also, check the ROM version in case you have or are thinking of purchasing a PowerPC accelerator. For most videocards, ROM is upgradable via software or a physical swap for a small fee from the original manufacturer.
a MacOS 7.1 or higher
The PAS-16 is basically a 16-bit SoundBlaster for the Mac. It sure looks impressive though (it's a 12" card, and every inch is covered in chips, resistors and capacitors). It comes with a handy patch-panel with 4 line-level inputs, 1 output, mic input, headphone output, midi input and output and an IBM-standard joystick port.
The limitations as far as sound manipulation are that 16 bit 44kHz sound samples can't be manipulated with filters like flange, echo, etc. It has to be converted to 8/22kHz first (I think 16 bit drivers were never written). Haven't found any programs that can access the midi ports (all want to use the IIci serial port). The joystick port works, but it slows the system down a lot when a joystick is plugged in.
Otherwise, sound quality is very good, and it helps the CPU out a little for games by doing all the music and sound calculations. The boards are cheap and can often be found brand new (stock that was in hibernation or something).
The Audiomedia II is a different story. It's a professional-level board with digital and analog inputs and outputs. I don't see how the software to utilize this beast can run on a IIci, but I guess it does (their ad shows a IIci).
If anyone has any information about the Numedia sound card, please drop me an email.
Nubus ethernet cards of the 10Mbps variety are still very common and very cheap. When you finally retire your IIci, make sure you have one of these cards so you can use it as a file server on your very own LAN!
Farallon is now called Netopia (as of Nov. 7, 1997).
Copyright © 1996-2005 Al Brower
Last Updated October 08, 2001