[Cytometry] Replacement computer for FACScalibur?

Telford, William (NIH/NCI) [E] telfordw at mail.nih.gov
Tue Feb 18 15:46:03 EST 2014

Hi Colin...

Joanne is right, the silver G4s (733-867 MHz) are the "newest" and most stable workstations for running MacOS 9.2.1 and CellQuest 3.4. However, the somewhat older grey Mac G4s and even the green Mac G3s will work OK too.  The main issues are age and quality - the newer computers are both younger and better built, so they will last the longest.  But if you have one of these older computers at your institution, it should work fine.  We had a FACSCalibur running on a Mac G3 400 MHz with 128K memory for a long time, and ran decently (if a bit slow).

The silver G4s are the last Macs to accept the older style BDPAC cards - when BD went to MacOS 10 and the CellQuest/CellQuest Pro transition, there were several adjustments to BDPAC card design to accommodate the newer Mac peripheral slots.  So anything newer than a silver G4 probably won't accommodate your BDPAC card.

Fortunately, there are a lot of these computers on the used market.

Bill Telford

-----Original Message-----
From: Joanne Lannigan [mailto:jl7fj at virginia.edu] 
Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 2:32 PM
To: Martin, Colin H.
Cc: cytometry at lists.purdue.edu
Subject: Re: [Cytometry] Replacement computer for FACScalibur?

Hi Colin:
If you can get your hands on the old PowerMac Silver G4s, you can run either OS9 or X on those. We have three Caliburs running on these running OSX. You will have to run CellquestPro however if you run OSX. Perhaps someone on the list has an old CellquestPro dongle they can send you. BD originally told us CellquestPro was not supported for the OSX unless you bought a special interface board, but we have been successfully running these without for more than 8 years. We were lucky enough at one point to retrieve 18 of these G4s from institutional surplus and have been working off of these as a supply for replacementcomputers and parts. We still have plenty of people who just want to do simple <4 color experiments and there is no need to tie up our higher end instrumentation with these users. They cost virtually nothing to maintain and IMHO still have the most robust fluidics systems out there!
Check ebay, you might find some there.

Joanne Lannigan, MS
Director, Flow Cytometry Core
University of Virginia 
School of Medicine
1300 Jefferson Park Ave.
Jordan Hall, Rm 2011A
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0734
flowcytometry at virginia.edu
office: 434-924-0274
lab: 434-243-2711

On Feb 11, 2014, at 4:49 PM, Martin, Colin H. wrote:

> Hi everyone,
> I work at a university where our cytometer, a FACScalibur 4-color model, is used primarily by undergraduates in laboratory classes. After years of faithful service, the computer that runs our Calibur finally died. It had been running OS 9. The prices that we have found for buying a new computer to run the cytometer seem really high ($6,000-8,000) especially since the university has many old, perfectly functional computers capable of running OS 9 or OS X lying around.
> Has anyone had experience with replacing a computer for an older model cytometer? Any good resources you can recommend, other than just shelling out the $$$?
> Thanks!
> Colin Martin
> University of St. Thomas Biology
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