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Buying a G3 upgrade card is still less expensive than replacing a first-generation Power Macintosh, particularly if you've invested in legacy NuBus hardware that's incompatible with current PCI-based Macs. Two options for upgrading 6100/7100/8100-series Power Macs, Sonnet Technologies' Crescendo G3 266/1MB and Newer Technology's Maxpowr G3 PDS 240/1MB, boost performance dramatically; the only significant differences between the two cards lie in their architecture and fit-and-finish.
Each accelerator plugs (with some difficulty) into the slot occupied by the stock VRAM or AV display card in the 7100 and 8100; an optional adapter lets you continue using the stock video card. The Maxpowr includes a sturdy metal caddy, whereas the Crescendo's flimsier caddy forces you to bend the video-connector bracket. Unfortunately, the location of this connector prevented us from using our AppleVision 750 monitor with the Crescendo (this isn't a problem with the 6100 version, which doesn't use a caddy).
The Crescendo's CPU speed is tied to the bus speed of the host computer; in a 7100/80, it runs at 260MHz. The Maxpowr runs at 240MHz regardless of the computer it's installed in. But because the Maxpowr's backside cache is 19 percent faster than the Crescendo's, the Maxpowr's graphics score is 7 percent higher (see " Photo Finish "). Overall, the Maxpowr runs neck and neck with the Crescendo.
If you have a Power Mac 6100, you'll find either card a solid performer. For 7100 or 8100 owners who need to use the video card that came with their machine, the Maxpowr offers better placement of the video connector and a sturdier feel than the Crescendo.
RATING: PROS: Good performance. CONS: Difficult to install in 7100 or 8100; monitor connector can be problematic. COMPANY: Sonnet Technologies (949/261-2800, http://www.sonnettech.com ). LIST PRICE: $559.
RATING: PROS: Faster backside cache; better compatibility with legacy NuBus cards. CONS: Difficult to install in 7100 or 8100. COMPANY: Newer Technology (316/943-0222, http://www.newertech.com ). LIST PRICE: $649.
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