PowerMac 6100 Graphics Upgrades

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This section describes various aspects of the video subsystem of the Apple PowerMac 6100 and related machines, including upgrade options and some test results.

The default video configuration of the 6100 series is very limited, but fortunately there are upgrade options. They are very poorly documented by Apple, but they exist. You can increase the graphics performance, get more resolutions, more colors or add video input and output by adding a video card. The following table describes the options you'll have with each of those options. The column entitled "None (640K)" describes what's provided by the built-in video which is always available, whether or not you've added an additional card:

Optional card/
frame buffer size:
PDS cards Nubus
7100 HPV 8100 HPV AV Card
(2 MB)
1 MB 2 MB 2 MB 4 MB
Maximum resolution 832x624
8 bits
8 bits
16 bits
16 bits
24/32 bits
16 bits
Data path64 bits64 bits64 bits64 bits64 bits32 bits????
Hardware accelerationNoNoNoNoNoNoPossibly*
Dual monitorsNoYesYesYesYesYesYes
Video I/ONoNoNoNoNoYesPossibly*
Compatible w/most recent Mac OSYesYesYesYesYesYesUnknown**
Compatible w/MkLinuxYesYesYesYesYesYesNo
Compatible w/Newer G3 cardYesYes***Yes***Yes***Yes***YesNo
Compatible w/Sonnet G3/G4 cardYesMaybe****Maybe****Maybe****Maybe****Yes****No
Compatible w/DOS cardYesNoNoNoNoNoNo

* Depends on the specific Nubus card. There are several.
** Requires non-Apple drivers which may break under recent OS versions.
*** Not officially supported, but it generally works quite well. See Newer's unofficial statement on HPV compatibility.
**** Sonnet previously advertised AV card compatibility in the 6100, but this has been removed from their product description page. Via email, Tech Support has confirmed that the AV card is supposed to work anyway. I've had mixed email response on this one. The HPV card was never officially supported, but did work in certain configurations. See Sonnet's various statements.

Each of these options has different features and tradeoffs, so this section of the site is quite a bit longer than the other sections. Thus, it's broken out into sub-pages:

Sidebar: All PDS cards are not the same

There are two different types of Processor Direct Slots (PDS), despite the unfortunate fact that Apple has used the same name repeatedly. The only two PDS video cards that will work in a 6100 are the Apple AV and the Apple HPV card. Other "PDS video cards" such as the Micro Conversions Inc. 1724PD PDS Graphics Card were made for the other Macs (Performa 6200 and 6300, plus the LCIII/630 series of non-Power Macs) only. These video cards will not work in a 6100.

Back to the 6100 Upgrade Page

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Last updated: 5/11/99

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