Apple PowerExpress Prototype
aka PowerMac 9700
This is a prototype of the PowerMac 9700 which was known as PowerExpress during development, and was cancelled just before going into production. It was intended to be the 6 slot G3 Mac that Apple never released. I have had this one for several years since it was sold as surplus by Motorola in Austin, Texas. When I obtained it, there was no processor card and no hard drive. It did have a couple of sticks of memory, which made it easy to figure out that it required 3.3 v EDO memory, the same memory used by the PowerMac 4400 and Starmax clones, and an ix3D video card. I added the rest of the memory with what I had on hand bringing it up to its current 272 MB. Not knowing that it was supposed to be a G3 at the time, I installed a 604e 250mhz processor card and put in a hard drive with OS 8.6 loaded, pressed the power button and it started up without a hitch. I learned later that it should have been equipped with either a 275mhz G3 processor card or a 604 350mhz dual processor card. I have also successfully booted it from 50 pin SCSI, Ultra SCSI, and IDE drives as well as CD-ROM.
After looking at the differences between my machine and others that have been documented, I think this one may be a near final version before production was to start. Many of the unique chipsets that were present on other PowerExpress prototypes have been eliminated (Nine99, Radacal, Control, etc.) , along with the VCI slot, possibly for cost reduction. The motherboard locations are still there and labeled, but no chips. The Lauren chip is there. The ODD and EVEN ROM chips are soldered on rather than socketed as on other prototypes, possibly indicating that they had been finalized. There is a part number on the logic board which I have not seen on any pictures of other prototype boards. It is also as stable as any other similar Macintosh indicating that it is probably a prototype from late in the development process.
Here is my experience with various System versions on this computer:
8.0 - from retail CD starts booting, then a dialog box "The Finder could not start up because the following system library could not be found: AppearanceLib"
8.1 - from retail CD starts booting, then a dialog box "This startup disk will not work on this Macintosh............."
8.5 - boots from the retail CD, installs from CD, and then boots from the hard drive with 8.5 installed - no problems
8.6 - I don't have a CD, but a hard drive with 8.6 loaded pulled from another computer works without a hitch
9.0 - boots from 9.0 CD, but would not install - "Mac OS 9 installer does not recognize this computer............"
9.0.4 - boots and works fine from a hard drive pulled from another computer
9.1 - from CD or hard drive - happy mac then after a couple of seconds hangs with blank screen
9.2.1 - same as 9.1
9.2.2 - same as 9.1
It is possible that OS X 10.0 or 10.1 could work, but unfortunately, I do not have either one to try.
I am including reports from tattletech and Apple System Profiler below. Apple System Profiler does not correctly see all the memory in the machine, possibly because there are twelve slots or perhaps one or more SIMMs are defective or of the wrong type. I will try to figure that out later. The Finder does report the correct amount of memory.
Apple System Profiler Report
I also tried a G3 Powerlogix processor card at one time, which didn't work at all, no attempt to power up or boot at all.
I will be adding more information as I have time. If anyone has a spare Motorola Goleta 275mhz processor card, I am looking for one. I would also consider reasonable offers if anyone is interested in buying this computer..
Email me here
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