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View Full Version : Sonnet vs. PowerLogix G4 Upgrades


Dave Marsh
Oct 7, 2002, 06:52 PM
Well, it has been a couple of weeks now since Sonnet released its new 1Ghz G4 upgrade daughtercard. I've been looking around for some user comments on the new card, and what the general feeling is about it vis-a-vis the PowerLogix 1Ghz upgrade. XLR8YOURMAC has a couple of postings from last week, but no one seems to have run a side-by-side comparison yet. So, my question is: Which is better? The Sonnet requires no software or special power connectors, but the PowerLogix does. The Sonnet uses DDR L3 cache memory, but PowerLogix chose SDR L3 memory, saying it makes no difference. The Sonnet uses the upgraded Mac's old heat sink, the PowerLogix provides a new one (and needs the power connect to run its fan). On the face of it, the Sonnet would seem to be the better technical solution, especially since they cost the same.

I'm also wondering whether I should be looking at PowerLogix's dual CPU 800Mhz solution instead. It's a bit more expensive, but I understand MacOS X 10.2.1 now makes full use of both processors, so it may be a more robust, longer lasting upgrade.

I just want to stretch out the life of my 450Mhz G4 Sawtooth with 896MB RAM until the GPUL Macs hit the mainstream a year from now.

Your thoughts?

Thanks.:cool:

vniow
Oct 7, 2002, 06:57 PM
I would say go for the dual since OSX already supports it.
But I wouldn't be suprised if Sonnet came out with a competing dual-card soon.;)

Fezwick
Oct 7, 2002, 07:20 PM
Originally posted by Dave Marsh
Well, it has been a couple of weeks now since Sonnet released its new 1Ghz G4 upgrade daughtercard. I've been looking around for some user comments on the new card, and what the general feeling is about it vis-a-vis the PowerLogix 1Ghz upgrade. XLR8YOURMAC has a couple of postings from last week, but no one seems to have run a side-by-side comparison yet. So, my question is: Which is better? The Sonnet requires no software or special power connectors, but the PowerLogix does. The Sonnet uses DDR L3 cache memory, but PowerLogix chose SDR L3 memory, saying it makes no difference. The Sonnet uses the upgraded Mac's old heat sink, the PowerLogix provides a new one (and needs the power connect to run its fan). On the face of it, the Sonnet would seem to be the better technical solution, especially since they cost the same.

I'm also wondering whether I should be looking at PowerLogix's dual CPU 800Mhz solution instead. It's a bit more expensive, but I understand MacOS X 10.2.1 now makes full use of both processors, so it may be a more robust, longer lasting upgrade.

I just want to stretch out the life of my 450Mhz G4 Sawtooth with 896MB RAM until the GPUL Macs hit the mainstream a year from now.

Your thoughts?

Thanks.:cool:

I'm in the same boat your in. I would also like to upgrade my G4 450 Sawtooth, but unsure of what processor upgrade to get. I'm leaning towards the 1 GHz one from Sonnet.

Dave Marsh
Oct 7, 2002, 07:22 PM
I'm actually beginning to think along these lines. However, it concerns me that PowerLogix went the software-enabler route, even though they did think ahead and created a card that permitted two processors to be installed on it. I think I'd be more comfortable with an upgrade that did NOT require any questionably-compatible-with-some-future MacOS X build software enabler. I'd hate to have Apple come out with 10.3, and find PowerLogix's cache enabler no longer worked, or worse, with the OS upgrade. I'd much rather have a clean piece of hardware with no special software to install.

Actually, Sonnet does have an older (I believe 500Mhz dual CPU) solution, so I am looking for some hints about a dual 800Mhz+ card from them, as well.

I'm still very much on the fence with this decision, but leaning towards Sonnet's solution. If they came out with a dual CPU solution, with no software enabler required, I'd probably buy-in quickly.

Thanks for the reply.

vniow
Oct 7, 2002, 07:29 PM
The software enabler is a concern, but I wouldn't worry about it too much. After all, they do want to stay in business right?;)
So I think it would be a good idea for them to keep the software updated for future OS upgrades.
And if they don't, they'll have a lot of angry customers and somebody will make one sooner or later.

Plus it all depends on what you do with your Mac.
If you do a lot of say, Photoshop and Final Cut Pro, I'd go for the dual, but if you're going to stick wih the iApps, a dual isn't worth it.

But unless you can't stand 450 Mhz any longer, I'd wait to see what Sonnet is up to.
I don't think they'd let Powerlogix have the upgrade crown for very long.;)

Dave Marsh
Oct 7, 2002, 07:39 PM
That's what I'm starting to think. I just fired an email off to my Sonnet contact to see if there's anything he can share.

I'd still like to see someone do a side-by-side comparison of the current offerings, however. Say, the Sonnet 1GHz, PowerLogix 1Ghz, PowerLogix Dual 800Mhz, and a reference Mac, say a 450Mhz Sawtooth stock box with 896MB RAM and an ATI 8500 video card.:D

bousozoku
Oct 7, 2002, 11:42 PM
The software enabler will probably be a part of life at one time or another for cards that don't come from Apple. Since Apple would rather sell a new machine, they certainly aren't thinking about processor upgrades or going too far to help those who are.

Remember the problem that's been discussed here recently with the dual processors and system contention (small straw)? Your machines have slower system throughput so putting dual processors into the mix may not be as fast as, or only marginally faster than, a single.

Dave Marsh
Oct 8, 2002, 12:05 AM
Thanks, another good thought/comment. I'd still like to see a comparison before I buy, however.

Dave Marsh
Oct 8, 2002, 05:52 PM
I've just heard back from Sonnet. It's their opinion that PowerLogix can't be making much money on their new duals. My contact hasn't heard anything from Sonnet's engineers about whether they're even considering a dual CPU daughter card upgrade. However, he did comment that he doesn't understand why PowerLogix is also selling a different card for the 100Mhz and 133Mhz systems. Sonnet's 800Mhz and 1Ghz cards work with both bus speeds.

It sure sounds to me that Sonnet's engineers have spent a bit more effort getting their card right. Now, all I have to do is save up the $700.:p

vniow
Oct 8, 2002, 05:59 PM
Now you should e-mail Powerlogix and see what they say about Sonnet's chips.;)

Just to hear from both sides.

Good luck with whatever you choose.:D