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Wyvernspirit
Feb 28, 2005, 12:06 PM
I am thinking about upgrading my current mac situation. I have a QS 800Mhz, with the following upgrades: 30GB+120GB HD (in addition to the stock 40GB), 16x Dual layer DVD Burner (hacked to work as a "Superdrive"), and an additional 256MB RAM (Stock 256MB).

I am considering either purchasing a Mac mini or upgrading my current machine. The problem with the mini is that when I configure it to match my machine (in areas were it is deficient) it gets to be pricy (Superdrive and RAM upgrades).

On the other hand I can upgrade my current machine to match the mini for a little less. $200 - $400 for a new processor and hopefully $100 - $150 for a Video card. My biggest question there is Video card performance issues.

ATI Radeon 9200 with 32MB dedicated DDR SDRAM over an AGP 4x bus (Mac mini Graphics)
9200 PCI card ("upgrade", how does this compare to my 7500 AGP)
9600 AGP 64MB card, OWC mod
9000 Pro 128MB Card

I can't seem to find reliable info on performance on these Vedeo Cards, particularly compared to each other. I can asume the 9200 PCI is slower than the mini's performance, but at what cost. How does the mini's performance compare to the 9000 Pro with 4x the VRAM. How does the 9600 stack up to the 9000 even though it has half the VRAM.

Are there other good options that I am leaving out. Does anyone have a better card (proc/video) that they pulled form another machine they are looking to part with that might be of use to me ;)

Thanks for any reponse.

LimeiBook86
Mar 1, 2005, 02:02 AM
Well I have a ATI Radeon 9200SE (128mb) in my PC and although it's nice I don't think it's the best series out there. Maybe go to OWC and upgrade your existing Mac, the Mini is nice but it is limited to upgrades and optional add-ons can be pricey.

A processor upgrade, maybe more RAM, and a new graphics card (at least 64mb if your into gaming) should breathe new life into your machine. Just check OWC's site and make sure all the parts are compatible with your machine, or save up a while for a G5 and sell your old machine.

Good Luck :)

CanadaRAM
Mar 1, 2005, 02:08 AM
Forget the PCI video card - your machine uses AGP. PCI would be a backwards step, unless you want to run multiple monitors.

Wyvernspirit
Mar 1, 2005, 09:09 AM
Multiple monitors are not something I need, and I already can support it with my current card (not that I would want to). I figured there would be a penalty for using PCI over the AGP, but didn't know if the 9200 was significantly faster over the 7500 to "blow past" that hit. I did not expect it to, but thought I should throw it in just in case.

My main concern is between the 9600 and the 9000. I believe the 9600 is the faster card but the 9000 has twice the VRAM. I don't know how this would affect overall performance. I am leaning towards the 9600 (even though I don't like to use hacked hardware) because it appears that it (or the 9800, too expensive) is what will handle most (if not all) tigers new capabilities. The 9000 may as well, but with what little info I have been able to find, it is not promising.

I have priced out the mini for what I would want as a minimum and its around $700 without applecare. My plan at the moment is a G4 1.2Ghz card for around $300 (+/-), 512MB of RAM (total of 1GB) for $85 (+/-), and the 9600 with VGA adapter $130 (+/-) for a total of $515 still no applecare ;) .

I think this performance should be similar to the mini, and it would have more RAM then my mini config, a faster "superdrive", and I believe, though could be wrong, faster video card (at least more VRAM). I like the small form factor but dislike the lack of expansion. Noise is not an issue with me, this quicksilver is not as niosy as my old biege G3 or Starmax. I can always put headphones on as well.

I am trying to hold off on a new computer (actaully can't get a new one, unless its a mini, for about a year) till I apsolutely have too. Plus I want to save for a G5 or the like, depending on when I get it.

Thanks for the help, and if you think of more, thanks for that as well.

baby duck monge
Mar 1, 2005, 10:59 AM
one thing to keep in mind about buying more RAM is that you might need to add 2x256 sticks instead of a stick of 512. i think i remember some issue about matching sticks, and you already have 256ers in there. but maybe i am wrong? someone back me up.

Wyvernspirit
Mar 1, 2005, 12:19 PM
one thing to keep in mind about buying more RAM is that you might need to add 2x256 sticks instead of a stick of 512. i think i remember some issue about matching sticks, and you already have 256ers in there. but maybe i am wrong? someone back me up.

Not with the quicksilver. It does not have matching pairs like the G5, infact it only has 3 slots for a total possible of 1.5GB of RAM. It came with one 256MB chip and I added the other soon after purchase. I figure 1GB should be fine for me till I get a new machine in about a century ;)

Lord Blackadder
Mar 1, 2005, 01:21 PM
I believe you should be able to stick a 512 in you remaining RAM slot. My Digital Audio (see sig) has 2 512s, with one free slot. It is possible that the G4 tower can support more than 1.5 GB (3x1GB sticks for example) , but I have yet to see any concrete proof of this. Still, my Rev.C iMac had more RAM (512MB) than it was officially able to support and it worked fine. You don't have to have matching sticks in the G4 towers AFAIK.

As for video cards, I've been through this myself (used to have a Radeon 7500) and after a lot of research and head scratching came to the conclusion that if you own a G4 with an AGP slot and are currently looking to get a video card, there are only two that you should really be looking at: The Radeon 9600 Pro (from OWC) or the 9800 Pro. The extra VRAM on the 9000 does not make up for the higher clock and newer architecture on the 9600. Plus, the 9600 and the 9800 are the only G4 compatible cards (in a tower) that are supposedly fully supported under Tiger's Core Video Technology, although this may change. I got the 9600 and am very happy with it. Happy upgrading. :D

yellow
Mar 1, 2005, 01:56 PM
I put an nVidia GeForce 4 Ti (128MB), a GigaDesign Dual 1.33GHz G4 procup in my Quicksilver '01, a DVR-108, 1 GB of RAM, an ATA/6 card, another 80G HD on the built-in ATA bus, and 2x 120GB HDs on the ATA/6 card.

I don't need no steenkin' G5!

The procup and vidcard give great performance and you should be able to get the Ti at a great price now-a-days.

Dont Hurt Me
Mar 1, 2005, 02:14 PM
As owner of Quicksilver1.4 and a mini 1.4 let me add my 2 cents. Upgrade that Quicksilver. Mini is nice but its no powermac. Get a good 1.4 G4 upgrade and a decent videocard and you are good to go. Ati's 9200 is cheapo, Forget it. My 4 year old Geforce 3 can still blow the 9200 out of the water. 9200 is garbage video and cheap. Its better then integrated graphics by a hair. Mini is nice and silent but if you want to do stuff Apple has yet to replace those Quicksilver's with any meaningful power. Heck go for broke and make that quicksilver a dual 1.8 G4. That should put you back in the game for years and years. For the price of a new Mini you can make that Powermac way more machine then Mini. my 2 cents

Lord Blackadder
Mar 1, 2005, 03:27 PM
As owner of Quicksilver1.4 and a mini 1.4 let me add my 2 cents. Upgrade that Quicksilver. Mini is nice but its no powermac. Get a good 1.4 G4 upgrade and a decent videocard and you are good to go. Ati's 9200 is cheapo, Forget it. My 4 year old Geforce 3 can still blow the 9200 out of the water. 9200 is garbage video and cheap. Its better then integrated graphics by a hair. Mini is nice and silent but if you want to do stuff Apple has yet to replace those Quicksilver's with any meaningful power. Heck go for broke and make that quicksilver a dual 1.8 G4. That should put you back in the game for years and years. For the price of a new Mini you can make that Powermac way more machine then Mini. my 2 cents

As far as I know the fastest dual G4 upgrade you can get is the dual 1.33GHz, like the one yellow has. The fastest clocked upgrade is Sonnet's single 1.7GHz upgrade - but it has no L3 cache and the xlr8yourmac people seem to think that it is really no faster than the 1.4GHz upgrades. The 1.4GHz upgrades are the best single proc performers all round (I'm getting one soon here), and if you have the cash then you can splurge and get the dual 1.33. I'm hoping that they come out with a 1.5/1.6 soon, so that the price on the 1.4s will drop.

Barefeats seems to indicate that the Radeon 9200 (PCI)'s 3D performance is actually slower than the 9000, so I'd avoid that card at all costs; it's targeted towards people with PCI-only Macs or people who need to run a second card.

From what I've seen, the Geforce4 Ti is still going for $250-$300, when you can find one. If you have one great but they're too expensive to buy used, and not fully supported by Core Image (again, this may change). Another card you might look for (and IS fully Core Image compatible) is the rarer-still Radeon 9700 Pro that was a BTO option in some late model G4 towers. It is faster than the 9600 (though not as fast as the 9800) - but good luck finding one at a reasonable price. If you do find one cheap jump on it.

yellow
Mar 1, 2005, 03:32 PM
I know that the dual 1.33GHz procup I got can be "overclocked" (pinned), and it came with directions to do so, but there was some indication that anything faster then the 1.33GHz speed it was already (over)clocked at wasn't on the stable side.. Which I wasn't willing to cope with.

I'm shocked that the Ti's are still expensive, but I guess in retrospect, there aren't many cheap 128MB video cards for the Mac. And I'm a little miffed that Core Image doesn't support the Ti. Come ON Apple, it's a good card!

Lord Blackadder
Mar 1, 2005, 03:55 PM
Slight correction: I checked ebay and the Geforce4Ti is cheaper now than when I was shopping a couple moths ago - you can pick one up for $170-$225+. However resellers are still charging insane (9800 Pro) prices, so go ebay if you must.

Still, the Radeon 9600 is pretty similar performance-wise - both support pixel shaders etc. The difference mostly comes down to VRAM size but keep in mind also that ATI drivers are currently better on the Mac, sometimes making a noticable difference in games. Most important, the 9600 is currently quite a bit cheaper. The 9700 is significantly better than both (close to 9800 performance) but very elusive. Any of the three will make you happy. :)

Dont Hurt Me
Mar 1, 2005, 04:26 PM
As far as I know the fastest dual G4 upgrade you can get is the dual 1.33GHz, like the one yellow has. The fastest clocked upgrade is Sonnet's single 1.7GHz upgrade - but it has no L3 cache and the xlr8yourmac people seem to think that it is really no faster than the 1.4GHz upgrades. The 1.4GHz upgrades are the best single proc performers all round (I'm getting one soon here), and if you have the cash then you can splurge and get the dual 1.33. I'm hoping that they come out with a 1.5/1.6 soon, so that the price on the 1.4s will drop.

Barefeats seems to indicate that the Radeon 9200 (PCI)'s 3D performance is actually slower than the 9000, so I'd avoid that card at all costs; it's targeted towards people with PCI-only Macs or people who need to run a second card.

From what I've seen, the Geforce4 Ti is still going for $250-$300, when you can find one. If you have one great but they're too expensive to buy used, and not fully supported by Core Image (again, this may change). Another card you might look for (and IS fully Core Image compatible) is the rarer-still Radeon 9700 Pro that was a BTO option in some late model G4 towers. It is faster than the 9600 (though not as fast as the 9800) - but good luck finding one at a reasonable price. If you do find one cheap jump on it.Giga has a dual 1.8 G4 you can buy and others are making 1.6,1.7,1.8 single cpu upgrades.

Wyvernspirit
Mar 1, 2005, 06:28 PM
At the moment I am unwilling to spend more then $300 for a Proc upgrade. That means 1.2Ghz. This upgrade path still prices well compared to the mini. I might look into this elusive 9700 but if its that hard to find it will probable cost more then the $150 I am looking to spend on that upgrade. I feel spending more is not a good decision for me (You need to set a cut off price, or you will go ever higher) as, if I were to go higher, I might as well wait and save for a hole new machine (not mini).

From some of the comparrisons I have seen on proc upgrades, the 1.2 seems to offer the best price/performance as well. I had, for a few seconds, thought about trying to go dual. It seems that the extra proc does little to nothing on most games and is not needed (if even used) for interent use (web, email, ftp, etc.). That brings me to Photoshop and that ilk, and my current 800Mhz baby handles that work just fine for me. Adding 50% more Mhz to the equation should give me a great boost I wasn't looking for.

Thanks all

Wyvernspirit
Mar 2, 2005, 10:55 AM
Something else I noticed:

The upgrade card includes 2MB of L3 cache while the mini does not, at least I have not found mention of this. If this hold true, well, I have seen reports that would suggest an increase in speed just for "adding" 2MB of Cache (my system does not include the L3 cache, just 256K L2 "on chip" cache.

Lord Blackadder
Mar 4, 2005, 10:57 AM
Giga has a dual 1.8 G4 you can buy and others are making 1.6,1.7,1.8 single cpu upgrades.

Good call - I've been too lazy to go to Giga's webpage lately; I've just been looking at OWC, which I guess is out of date as far as what Giga is selling.

Wyvernspirit
Mar 11, 2005, 11:45 AM
I Just received (and installed) a 9600 from OWC. Total cost: $135 after DVI to VGA adapter and shipping. It worked almost flawlessly. After installing it it changed the res to 800x600. I went to my screen menu, went and selected 1344x1008 (or something like that as its my default res), but did not see the 95Hz seting after it (its supposed to be 85hz, the max for my monitor at that res, which is what it was with the 7500 in there). My screen went blank.

I waited and waited for it to turn back (usually when you change res/hz it asks you to confirm or changes back after 15sec) and it did not. Restarted, the grey screen with darker apple in the spinner came up, good I thought. Spinner stops changes screens, booom, blankcreen. Reset PRAM. Still the same.

Finally I remember (While out of the house) that I have a VNC Server autoboot with the system. This is so I can log on when at work. I locate and install a VNC viewer on my "back up" wintel and log in and change the res to 85hz.

It works, Yay!

I haven't had any time to really play with. Reinstalled the ATI override software, as the installation I had for the 7500 did not seem to see the 9600. Ran Neverwinter Nights, no noticable speed increase (none expected) but tried it with "better" graphics with no noticable speed decrease (expected).

I don't expect to see real gaines till I can afford and purchase the CPU upgrade. But this is still nice. I was also getting this for Tiger, so hears hoping it works there as well, which seems to be the consensus.

PS Any one now how to remove or repopulate the three default screen settings in the menu bar screen menu?