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Author Topic: last macs to be able to access 800K floppy discs  (Read 4349 times)

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Offline chrisNova777

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last macs to be able to access 800K floppy discs
« on: November 11, 2015, 10:36:58 PM »
macintosh(7500, 8500, 9500, 7600, 8600, 9600)

Puddle Jumping
Sometimes it is much easier to just use an intermediary system than to try to find a way to get directly from a very old Mac system to a very new one.
What to use here will depend a great deal upon what is readily available. At some future point, either on this page or a separate one, i hope to have an extensive diagram showing what connects to what else successfully. For now, i leave you to your own devices and searches to discover if what you have will interoperate.
If you do not have an intermediary Mac, or perhaps you expect this may come up often in your life and want to have the most flexible Mac for this purpose, there is one series of Vintage Macs which i find to be especially “golden” when it comes to being a file transfer intermediary: the PowerSurge family of PPC desktop Macs.

These are the “G2” PCI-based PowerPC Macs, and include:


Why are these so special?
They have a built-in SuperDrive floppy drive, capable of working with 400k, 800k, and 1.4 MB Mac floppies, and (with proper OS support) floppy disks from other platforms.
They can run off of OS 7.6.1, so that MFS floppies (usually 400k) can be read (and written, i suppose).
They have built-in serial ports which can LocalTalk[6] with older Macs back to the very earliest.
They have built-in Ethernet which can network directly (or on a LAN) with the latest Macs i know of as of spring 2008.
Most/many of the x600 models shipped with a built-in Zip 100 drive.
There are at least 3 standard PCI slots for adding USB and/or FireWire and/or other options for making interconnection as direct and easy as possible.
While i do not recommend it, given a sufficiently robust configuration, it is possible to run XPostFacto on these systems to get at least some flavor of OS X on them, if that matters to you.
There are other models of this era which may or may not strictly be part of the PowerSurge family, yet may be close enough in abilities to be equivalent in most or all ways. I am thinking specifically of the 7200 and 8200, models with which i have not had enough experience to precisely recall their suitability. Given the choice and the low/free price of the actual for-sure PowerSurge models listed above, i recommend the latter.

With my 9600/350, i can directly transfer to/from floppy, Zip, USB flash memory, an external FireWire or USB or SCSI drive, CD, DVD, or network in any number of ways to any arbitrarily older or newer (so far as of the date this was originally written) Macintosh. Appropriately configured, the same applies for the other models listed.

I give mine one or more PCI cards for FireWire 400 and USB 1.1, and partition the internal hard drive so there is at least an OS 9.1 startup volume for general use and an OS 7.6.1 startup volume for accessing those old MFS floppies. The floppy drives are clean and ready to go!

These machines have been priced at/near “doorstop”/giveaway value for the last couple of years…
get ahold of one (or more) and hold onto it/them before they all disappear in e-waste!