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IronLionZion
Oct 23, 2012, 10:22 PM
Okay, this is my first post here on MacRumors and I'm pretty excited because I just got a PPC G4 and it's my first Mac!

About This Mac...

CPU: Dual 1.42 Ghz PowerPC G4 - 2 MB L3 cache per processor

RAM: 1 GB DDR SDRAM

GPU: ATI Radeon 9000 Pro

OSX: 10.5.8 Running OSX ML Theme

So, this baby runs pretty well already, but there are a few stutters here and there and it seems like Office '08 takes a toll on the hardware.

I want to upgrade/learn about this product as I do so.

Considerations:

- An Airport Card (I am currently tethering to my iPhone 4s with MiWi)
- Upgrade to 2 GB of RAM (low density ;))
- A USB 2.0 card. (Does this computer have the power to utilize that?)

So, if anyone happens to read this and is feeling generous, perhaps they could suggest some ways to do this, or specific products that work really well with these machines, or even some upgrades that I'm not even aware of.

Any and all help is appreciated and I thank you for looking.



orestes1984
Oct 23, 2012, 10:54 PM
If you are running 10.5 your upgrade path is as follows:

1. A Quartz Extreme supported video card
2. 2GB of RAM
3. A SATA card and a fast and modern hard drive.
4. A USB 2 card and an 802.11n dongle.
5. A fast/modern optical drive if you still use it regularly.

Michael Anthony
Oct 24, 2012, 05:30 AM
Hey, I have a much slower G4 tower, the single CPU 466MHz model. I've upgraded it a fair bit so I think I can help you here.

Certainly max out the RAM. Top priority there.

USB 2.0 card? Get one. I've got one in my G4 [link follows], it's totally worth the $10-$15 since you escape the pain and suffering [etc] that USB 1.0 brings. I did have to cut a pair or bolt cutters to remove a bit of metal on the metal framework to make it fit the PCI slot, though, but it works perfectly.

[link] (http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/USB-8-Port-Hub-Firewire-PCI-Interface-Card-MAC-Window-7-/220751960888?pt=UK_Computing_ComputerComponents_InterfaceCards&hash=item3365d79b38)

Graphics card. I upgraded mine from a 16MB ATI Rage Pro to the Radeon 9600 XT 128MB that came with my G5 tower. HUGE improvement. It can actually run games now since it's got the hardware, Finder animations are smoother than my 2008 Macbook when it ran Lion, it can run at beyond full HD resolutions. If you can get a Radeon 9600, got for it.

I *did* have to use a razor sharp blade to cut through a couple of gold contact on the card though, I think there's a thread on it here somewhere...

EDIT: Yes, once you get the USB 2.0 card, you can get 150mbit/sec 802.11n cards for less than $5, they work flawlessly, and you can also get cheap but effective SSDs extremely cheap as a boot drive [eBay search for "KingSpec SSD" - 64GB seems to the the sweet spot for value.]

Zotaccian
Oct 24, 2012, 05:56 AM
RAM to max. it should be cheap since you need 512MB sticks and not 1GB which are sometimes pricey.

For graphics card I would recommend flashing a PC card, Radeon 9800 PRO is very common. Of course if you are unfamiliar with flashing and generally dislike that kind of stuff then get original, "genuine" card. They tend to be pricey, considering that you are upgrading old slow computer that is. I bought Radeon 9800SE which I'm trying to flash to my Dual 1.42Ghz, first attempt failed but I will soon try again with PC motherboard etc :) When you look at the benchmarks, Radeon 9800 Pro is a bit too much for the G4, meaning that atleast in games it is the CPU (or CPU's) which limit the performance, the card itself could do better.

USB cards are cheap so I would definently recommend getting one, I paid couple dollars for one with NEC chipset. I didn't actually plan to use it with the G4 since I bought it before I even got the machine, but since it appeared to compatible I thought why not.

666sheep
Oct 24, 2012, 12:06 PM
If you are running 10.5 your upgrade path is as follows:

1. A Quartz Extreme supported video card


I believe you had Core Image on your mind :) OP's card already supports QE.

OP, search the forum using "G4 upgrade" or "MDD upgrade" and before that check sticky FAQ for PowerPC Macs (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1091765).

You should find plenty of threads with tips and ideas, including overclocking or cooling/quieting mods.

rjcalifornia
Oct 24, 2012, 12:51 PM
Office 2008 should run well on your machine. It runs well and smooth on my iMac G4 700 and on my ibook G4 1.2

Imixmuan
Oct 24, 2012, 02:26 PM
Office 2008 should run well on your machine. It runs well and smooth on my iMac G4 700 and on my ibook G4 1.2

Really? I can make a pot of coffee quicker than the time it takes Office 2008 to open on my ibook 1.07...I really don't see the benefit of Office 2008, I can open and edit and save .docx and .pptx files in Microsoft Office X with OpenXML (thank you Bill), which runs like greased lighting on my ibook G4. Considering it first debuted in Puma that's understandable I guess.

Michael Anthony
Oct 24, 2012, 03:26 PM
Really? I can make a pot of coffee quicker than the time it takes Office 2008 to open on my ibook 1.07...I really don't see the benefit of Office 2008, I can open and edit and save .docx and .pptx files in Microsoft Office X with OpenXML (thank you Bill), which runs like greased lighting on my ibook G4. Considering it first debuted in Puma that's understandable I guess.
Office 2004 runs way faster than Office 2008 for me.

rjcalifornia
Oct 24, 2012, 03:35 PM
Really? I can make a pot of coffee quicker than the time it takes Office 2008 to open on my ibook 1.07...I really don't see the benefit of Office 2008, I can open and edit and save .docx and .pptx files in Microsoft Office X with OpenXML (thank you Bill), which runs like greased lighting on my ibook G4. Considering it first debuted in Puma that's understandable I guess.

Excel, Powerpoint and Word 2008 opens real quick. Well, it is the Spanish version of Office, could it be that?

IronLionZion
Oct 24, 2012, 10:07 PM
:eek:

Whoa! You folks are amazing, haha! Thank you so much for the input. So after a little exploration, I have decided to get the RAM maxed out first, as well as to scoop a PCI USB 2.0.

My current RAM situation is such that I have 4 slots, each with a Samsung (can I say that here :D ) 256MB slab in it. I have found the following pieces on eBay and was wondering if brand names matter. Like is it okay to have Kingston and Samsung RAM mixed.

Anyway; here are the links.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/261117264251?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

http://www.ebay.com/itm/261117263773?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

Also, I just wanted to say that I know it is standard operating procedure to look this stuff up for yourself, and I am, but sometimes real world advice from people is priceless.

Not to mention I wanted to get to know this community of legacy users a little bit and figured this would be a great way to do so. Thank you to all who have helped, I mean that sincerely.

orestes1984
Oct 24, 2012, 10:16 PM
:eek:

My current RAM situation is such that I have 4 slots, each with a Samsung (can I say that here :D ) 256MB slab in it. I have found the following pieces on eBay and was wondering if brand names matter.]

The only issue is that the CAS latencies, timings and speed might be different. So long as you match the speed though i.e. not mixing 266mhz RAM with 333mhz RAM, I don't think its going to matter too much on your G4 and since you have 4 slots 512mb RAM sticks are fine to get your G4 up to its maximum potential. If you can get RAM cheap secondhand then do so, but do bear in mind that you can still buy DDR new and 1GB sticks of DDR RAM are about $30 a pop. It does look nicer to have all your RAM banks filled though.

If you do have the money to invest in it do look at a faster video card with Core Image support as it will make everything a lot snappier as the video card will deal with the desktop animation instead of the CPU which is really nice on CPU limited machines. Even a Radeon 9200 Mac Edition will do this nicely.

A SATA card and a modern drive will also be a nice edition down the road. You will be surprised just how much faster a modern drive is even rated at the same RPM spin speed. Old IDE drives are SLOW!

As for Office 2004 vs 2008, Office 2008 gives you the new XTML document formats which you will need for document compatibility with newer versions of Office, DOCX instead of DOC, etc. It really is worth installing for this alone.

You will be surprised as to how fast this machine can be with a few minor tweaks here and there and with the fact that if you don't need the absolute latest software it is still document compatible in just about every file format with modern machines. You just have to work a bit harder to find the solution. Certainly, it's not a power house, but it's also far from obsolete for everything you would do with a modern computer every day.

IronLionZion
Oct 24, 2012, 10:22 PM
The only issue is that the latency, timings and speed might be different. So long as you match the speed though, I don't think its going to matter too much on your G4 and since you have 4 slots 512mb RAM sticks are fine to get your G4 up to its maximum potential. If you can get RAM cheap secondhand then do so, but do bear in mind that you can still buy DDR new and 1GB sticks of RAM are about $30 a pop.

So I'm told, however, I'm also under the impression that the rig doesn't recognize anymore than 2GB, so that loading her up with 4GB will essentially be a waste of slots. I've also read that 4 512s are more efficient for this machine than 2 1GB slabs. I have no empirical data to back any of this up, as I am new to these older machines, but that's why I'm asking questions.

Also, the 512 sticks are usually in the $10-20 range from what I have seen. And with a lot of them that includes a lifetime warranty (depending on the purveyor obviously).

orestes1984
Oct 24, 2012, 10:42 PM
So I'm told, however, I'm also under the impression that the rig doesn't recognize anymore than 2GB, so that loader her up with 4GB will essentially be a waste of slots. I've also read that 4 512s are more efficient for this machine than 2 1GB slabs. I have no empirical data to back any of this up, as I am new to these older machines, but that's why I'm asking questions.

Also, the 512 sticks are usually in the $10-20 range from what I have seen. And with a lot of them that includes a lifetime warranty (depending on the purveyor obviously).

You will get a little bonus from running dual channel RAM if you have two RAM sticks of the same size in megabytes in each set of banks. As I said just make sure that the RAM speed (mhz rating) is the same and you should be good to go.

The specs for your machine are here:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/specs/powermac_g4_1.42_dp_mdd.html

666sheep
Oct 25, 2012, 12:24 AM
The only issue is that the CAS latencies, timings and speed might be different. So long as you match the speed though i.e. not mixing 266mhz RAM with 333mhz RAM

It's time for you to buy MDD to know what you're talking about? ;)

You can mix CAS latencies and memory speed in MDD (and in other G4s), it's no problem for it. As long as memory will be low density and non-ECC.
Empirically proven.

If you do have the money to invest in it do look at a faster video card with Core Image support as it will make everything a lot snappier as the video card will deal with the desktop animation instead of the CPU which is really nice on CPU limited machines. Even a Radeon 9200 Mac Edition will do this nicely.

No, 9200 does not have support CI. This is also empirically proven. CI support with Mac Edition cards is starting from 9550 (mobility) or 9600 (desktop). Out of flashed ones lowest CI supporting model is 9500.

You will get a little bonus from running dual channel RAM if you have two RAM sticks of the same size in megabytes in each set of banks

Not in MDD. There's absolutely no benefit from dual channel in MDD. Guess what? Empirically proven :p

orestes1984
Oct 25, 2012, 12:44 AM
You can mix CAS latencies and memory speed in MDD (and in other G4s), it's no problem for it. As long as memory will be low density and non-ECC.

You shouldn't really mix RAM speeds, at best it will default to the slowest speed in other cases it may not work. Timings and latency are never really much of an issue, those who say they can perceive a difference in lower latency RAM are mostly lying. It's really often just a marketing trick to add more $$$ to the price of the RAM where for 99% of tasks the latency of RAM makes zero perceivable difference.

No, 9200 does not have support CI. This is also empirically proven. CI support with Mac Edition cards is starting from 9550 (mobility) or 9600 (desktop). Out of flashed ones lowest CI supporting model is 9500.

OK I thought it was the 9200, I'm wrong.

Not in MDD. There's absolutely no benefit from dual channel in MDD. Guess what? Empirically proven :p

Benefits from dual/quad channel RAM are negligible either way you look at things in terms of most computing even in modern computers. I guess the memory bus on the G4 series at least was never optimised for DDR. Now that I remember, it was a late addition to the architecture, it's been so long I even forgot these machines even ran DDR. The first machines legitimately optimised for any performance benefits from DDR were the G5s.

The myth of dual/quad channel RAM came from Rambus RIMMS that won't run unless they are in dual channel, or not at least without a terminator in the same sense of old SCSI terminators. It was perceived at the time that Rambus would be a more capable standard and for a short time it was... What we have seen since however is that Rambus RIMMS had no advantage over DDR DIMMs and Rambus is effectively out of business but for the console market.

Michael Anthony
Oct 25, 2012, 04:22 AM
If you want good RAM that'll work well check out Tubabug's eBay store:

http://stores.ebay.com.au/tubabug

I've picked up memory many times from there for my G4 and G5 towers and G5 iMac. Always worked flawlessly, the first memory modules I bought more than a year and a half ago. Fast postage, cheap prices, quality memory...

Zotaccian
Oct 25, 2012, 04:33 AM
Just get cheap PC2700 or PC3200 sticks and you should be fine. I currently have PQI, Kingston and some other brand (can't remember what) memory sticks in my G4, PQI is 400Mhz and those two were 333Mhz I think. G4 cannot make use of the bandwidth because it has only 167Mhz FSB, processors such as Pentium 4 at the time could actually benefit from having high memory bandwidth.

666sheep
Oct 25, 2012, 03:49 PM
You shouldn't really mix RAM speeds, at best it will default to the slowest speed in other cases it may not work. Timings and latency are never really much of an issue, those who say they can perceive a difference in lower latency RAM are mostly lying. It's really often just a marketing trick to add more $$$ to the price of the RAM where for 99% of tasks the latency of RAM makes zero perceivable difference.


First, I'm glad you didn't feel offended, it wasn't my intention. What I wrote might sound a little bit harsh, though.
I've mixed RAM speeds more times than I can count and it always worked without issues.
Timings and latency are important for overclocking purposes only, but only when you have control over it and other parameters (in PC BIOS or overclocking software). But not for Macs. RAM in G4 works or not. If it works, it will work in any combination with other working sticks.
I've tested many, many RAM sticks with various G4 and G5 models when I was buying, fixing and re-selling used Macs. I've learned one thing (other than obvious ones OFC): no name RAM doesn't work more often than it works. Well known branded RAM was working in 99%. That 1% were ADATA branded sticks.

orestes1984
Oct 25, 2012, 10:00 PM
First, I'm glad you didn't feel offended, it wasn't my intention. What I wrote might sound a little bit harsh, though.
I've mixed RAM speeds more times than I can count and it always worked without issues.
Timings and latency are important for overclocking purposes only, but only when you have control over it and other parameters (in PC BIOS or overclocking software). But not for Macs. RAM in G4 works or not. If it works, it will work in any combination with other working sticks.
I've tested many, many RAM sticks with various G4 and G5 models when I was buying, fixing and re-selling used Macs. I've learned one thing (other than obvious ones OFC): no name RAM doesn't work more often than it works. Well known branded RAM was working in 99%. That 1% were ADATA branded sticks.

Of course, I've pulled apart more computers than I can remember and that's what I said... RAM will work or it won't when its mixed with different RAM speeds (Mhz) I've had a fair share of RAM actually not work when the RAM speed is mixed, Although its more of an issue in a Mac where you can't adjust RAM speed through a PC Bios.

It is always a good idea to buy RAM that is rated at the same speed.

abbotkinneydude
Oct 26, 2012, 02:34 AM
Hello everyone,

Will adding a Radeon 9600 to, respectively, my MDDs 2x1.25 & 2x1.42 help with the video playback under VLC 2.0.4 ? or at the very least with iTunes 10 ? (I'm aiming at a flawless 720p and a studdering 1080p).

I run 10.5.8 with 2GB of ram in each MDD (stock Radeon 9000 in both).

Thanks !

orestes1984
Oct 26, 2012, 03:13 AM
Yes, VLC uses hardware acceleration for video decoding in OS X it should make a significant difference.

Michael Anthony
Oct 26, 2012, 08:20 AM
Hello everyone,

Will adding a Radeon 9600 to, respectively, my MDDs 2x1.25 & 2x1.42 help with the video playback under VLC 2.0.4 ? or at the very least with iTunes 10 ? (I'm aiming at a flawless 720p and a studdering 1080p).

I run 10.5.8 with 2GB of ram in each MDD (stock Radeon 9000 in both).

Thanks !
A little bit but not *that* much, I've got a dual 1.8GHz G5 with a Radeon X800 XT etc and really, I've found that anything 720p it can play eventually, but it's just the massive number of 1080p pixels that it starts to have trouble with [at least with H264.]

Cox Orange
Oct 26, 2012, 12:18 PM
On the RAM thing. I made the same experience, that frequencies can be mixed. But, there is one single incident. I don't know why, but one of my two ibook G4s I have 10.5 installed and for some reason, it got slower, when I mixed frequencies.

My other ibook with 10.4 doesn't have that problem. The ibooks are the same model.

orestes1984
Oct 26, 2012, 01:16 PM
A little bit but not *that* much, I've got a dual 1.8GHz G5 with a Radeon X800 XT etc and really, I've found that anything 720p it can play eventually, but it's just the massive number of 1080p pixels that it starts to have trouble with [at least with H264.]

I have found that my dual 2.3ghz G5 Xserve will stream HDTV almost flawlessly with EyeTV but will studder at trying to play 1080p through either VLC or Quicktime. It's just at the limitations of whats possible for a CPU of that era, my single core Athlon 64 3500+ was the same. It would handle HDTV at 90% CPU usage. The next generation of Intel Core processors was a significant step up. Even the last generation of dual core G5s and Quad G5s was better for it. The dual CPU G5s weren't quite there though.

cocacolakid
Oct 26, 2012, 06:43 PM
Empirically proven :p

It makes me smile when you say that. :)

666sheep
Nov 2, 2012, 01:33 AM
It makes me smile when you say that. :)

^^^Tautology, you know ;) :p

abbotkinneydude
Nov 4, 2012, 06:48 PM
Hello everyone,

Last week, I bought a couple of RADEON 9600 Mac/Pc Edition (original cards - not flashed) and, after some troubleshooting, I was able to make them work perfect in my 2 MDDs.

Here are the improvements over the stock Radeon 9000:

- Transparent Menu Bar is now automatically enabled.
- much quicker dock animation for opening folders.
- flash playback is even faster (!) (Didn't expect this one as it's mostly CPU driven but the extra memory of the 9600 can't hurt).

When it comes to 720p/1080p, here are the results (I used the 4:3 trailer -mastered in 16:9- from Star Trek Next Generation Season 2 Blu-Ray release)

MDD 2x1.25:

720p
VLC 1.1.9 great/no frame loss
VLC 2.0.4 great/no frame loss
iTunes so-so/frame loss

1080p
VLC 1.1.9 shows only 1 frame
VLC 2.0.4 some frames shown/compression artifacts
iTunes decent attempt/shows lots of it/slow down

MDD 2x1.42:

720p
VLC 1.1.9 great/no frame loss
VLC 2.0.4 great/no frame loss
iTunes good/some frame loss

1080p
VLC 1.1.9 shows only 1 frame
VLC 2.0.4 several frames shown/compression artifacts
iTunes better attempt/shows lots of it/slow down effect/surprisingly watchable

At the end of the day, I'm amazed by 1080p in iTunes; I expected nothing and I got "something" (as flawed as it can be).

Next step : SSDs ! :)

orestes1984
Nov 4, 2012, 08:12 PM
For something else, try Quicktime 7 once you've installed Perian. Quicktime is the back end of Front Row and iTunes so will give you a lighter weight player that can still handle most formats.

It should be able to play most things with a few frame drops on 1080p content, but that all depends. If you want to get seamless playback try a few different H.264 encoding settings until you get something that plays back.

An SSD will help with getting information off the hard drive, and make things snappier, but the difference it will make to video playback will be marginal as you hit the physical hardware limits for what a G4 is capable of.

Zeke D
Nov 4, 2012, 08:24 PM
Looks like I'm a week late to the party...

Office 2004 runs consistently on my PPC machines, from my lowly iMac G3 600Mhz to my DP2.0 G5.

I have Office 2008, but I only ever ran it on my trio of PM G4 DA 700Mhz / 1.5GB RAM. I personally prefer 2004 over 2008, and now that 2004 can handle docx and the like, I just kept with it.

As for wireless, I recommend against a USB dongle. If the price is right, the Airport express it the way to go. I use em and love em.

orestes1984
Nov 4, 2012, 08:36 PM
I recommend against a USB dongle. If the price is right, the Airport express it the way to go. I use em and love em.

Your only issue is that Apple never released an 802.11n card for PPC. For browsing the internet an Airport card will be fine, however if you want to transfer files wirelessly 802.11g is not going to be fast enough.