PowerMac 8500 RAM upgrade horror

I’ve just spent about 45 minutes upgrading the RAM on my wife’s Mac. It’s a PowerMac 8500. I naïvely thought “Hey, it’s a Mac, this’ll be easy.” How wrong I was.

On my G4, RAM upgrades take about two minutes. The side of the machine drops open, and there are the slots. You don’t even have to unplug everything.

On the 8500, you have to remove the case, remove all the PCI cards, remove the CPU card, unplug the main motherboard ribbon cable, unplug five separate cables from the top of the motherboard, unscrew the motherboard fixing screw, remove the power switch, slide the motherboard forwards, unclip it, lift it out, and finally lay it down and insert the RAM in the appropriate sockets. Then you have to do the whole thing backwards to put the machine back together.

At that point, if you’re lucky, the machine powers up and has more RAM. If you’re unlucky, you get a sad Mac noise and you have to spend another half an hour taking the bad RAM out again.

I was lucky. The Mac gods were smiling on me.

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