View Full Version : G4 MDD Upgrade Advice

May 6, 2008, 11:36 AM

I recently got a MDD G4 second hand with the intention of creating a home server that in theory should kick ass when compared to what you I could do with the same money.

I was thining about getting a time capsule but in the end decided that for the same money i should really be able to do what time capsule does and more.

I now have the G4 arrived today :)

So ive installed leopard client atm although i am thinking of getting the server edition down the line if its needed.

I have a few issues with it that i am hoping to solve .

#1 I can seem to get 1650 x 1080 resolution to work - My monitor is a 22" Acer with VGA connection and i am connected via DVI - VGA adapter.
My monitor resolution is not listed at all :(
I have a the Radeon 9000 Pro in the system which should really beable to output that res.
Listed are much higher resolutions which are supported.

So far i have tried a third party programme to enable the res ( cant remember what it was called, but i found it during my initial search for answers )
This actually crashed my mac and i had to reinstall leopard.

So i am thinking maybe its somthing to do with the ROM version on the card?
I am really struggling to find ANY information regarding the latest ATI 9000 Pro ROMS on apples site or ATI's site.
So its a bit of a problem.

#2 I need to get USB 2.0 in this machine so i can connect external hard drives and other USB 2.0 gear to it.
I really want to make sure i get the right one as i hear that some chipsets via?? might be problematic with the G4

#3 I would like to get SATA II into this machine so i can add some SATA and SATA II hard drives to it.

Any advise you could offer would be very helpful :)

May 6, 2008, 12:05 PM
Okay... obviously the issue isn't your video card, it's probably the fact that you've got it hooked up via a DVI-VGA adapter. Some adapters have display res limits, VGA doesn't officially support resolutions like 1680x1050, so there's a good bet your adapter doesn't either, and your monitor might not support it in the first place.

You ran it at a resolution something didn't support, and screwed it up. You probably could have just zapped PRAM and not had to reinstall 10.5, but oh well.

As for USB 2.0, it sucks, especially on a Mac. Don't use it. You already have FireWire 400 ports, and possibly FireWire 800 ports depending on your model.

With USB 2, you'll top out at around 20 MBps with any hard drive. You'll get 35 MBps+ with FW800, and you can hit 60 MBps with FW800, obviously quite a bit better.

As for SATA II, I don't think there are any PCI cards that have that.... the only ones that have SATA II are PCI-E and possibly PCI-X; it really doesn't matter though, since no drive yet saturates the original SATA interface. Just get an SATA PCI card from OWC.

You also might want more RAM, especially if you're only running on 512 MB.

May 6, 2008, 12:35 PM
ok cheers for the useful info

My monitors native resolution is 1680 x 1050 with only a VGA connection, so there is no option for DVI.

I am using an apple adapter to change the DVI to VGA ( it might be ADC to VGA ) not to sure.

Yeah i NEED USB 2.0 for compatibility with the many USB 2.0 accessories i have, hard drives, sound cards stuff wont be buying again just for this old mac :)
from what i have read you can have fully functional USB 2.0 with zero issues if only you buy the right card.

May 6, 2008, 01:53 PM
I have an Adaptec USB 2.0 4-port PCI card in a PowerMac G4 Gigabit Ethernet and it runs just fine. Also have an Adaptec FireWire 800 2-port card in the same machine, also working quite well. The PowerMac is also upgraded with a 1.4GHz PPC7447 upgrade card.

There are several SATA cards to choose from - check out OWC at http://eshop.macsales.com for a good selection.

Not sure why the Radeon 9000 is giving you issues with your monitor, other than perhaps a firmware upgrade was required for certain widescreen resolutions. You might need to do some Google detective work. I have a Radeon 9800 in the Gigabit G4 listed above, and a Radeon 8500 before that, and can verify that widescreen resolutions work fine.

May 6, 2008, 02:23 PM
Oh, you already have accessories. Okay. Well the above advice is good, then.

But if you're buying new HDDs, use FireWire.

And I'm sure it's your DVI-VGA (or ADC-VGA). I think it might be especially unlikely to work if it's ADC-VGA, though that's just a guess. Try hooking up a DVI LCD if you have one to test.

May 6, 2008, 04:32 PM

well i tried a different adapter i had ( original was DVI - VGA by apple )
second one just a bog standard DVI - VGA adapter

Still the same problem :( its really pickling me noggin now

edit - exactly the same with both adapters

May 6, 2008, 06:48 PM
Well, I said you should try it with a legitimate DVI display..

May 6, 2008, 08:27 PM
o wait - let me just rush out and buy one ... gezz

May 6, 2008, 08:35 PM
Did you flash the PRAM?
You might try doing the NVRAM reset.

Restart, hold down the Command-Option-O-F keys until you get the white OF screen. Type - reset-nvram - hit return,
Type - reset-all - hit return, it will restart.

I have an Acer 22" and I'm pretty sure it worked via the 9000 Pro and VGA. That was a while ago though...

May 7, 2008, 08:48 AM
I'll second the mention of Adaptec for a USB 2.0 card. I put one in a MDD dual 867 and had no problems.

I picked up the card for around $20 at a local computer store.

The card was later used in a Power Mac G5 1.6.

May 7, 2008, 07:57 PM
Tbarr - I tried resetting the bios button inside the machine i think thats called the pram on the mac

also tried your command codes lines wil not joy :( really beginning to think that its not going to happen

Yeah i shall be keeping my eye out for that adaptec card. :)

May 7, 2008, 08:53 PM
update - found out how to reset the pram and it didnt work :(

May 7, 2008, 09:31 PM
Must be something wrong somewhere, cause mine works. I have an Acer AL2223W, the native resolution is 1680x1050. It has a DVI & VGA port. I decided to give my TiBook a break and use the unused SawTooth for Azureus. I removed the 9800 and installed the 9000 Pro that came in my FW800 G4. I placed the SawTooth near the Mac Pro and connected it to the VGA port on the AL2223W via a DVI-VGA adaptor. After seeing a scrunched spinning clock, the SawTooth displayed the desktop at 1680x1050 using the 9000 Pro.

After further thought, I'm pretty sure that the first time I connected the 9000 to the AL2223W, back with the FW800 G4, I had to reset the NVRam to get 1680x1050. The SawTooth now has a cloned copy of the Leopard system that was in the FW800, so, it set the correct resolution automagically.

The articles are here;



To reset in Open Firmware;
1) Restart
2) Press and hold the Command-Option-O-F keys. You must press this key combination before the gray screen appears.
3) At the Open Firmware prompt, type: reset-nvram
Press Return.
4) At the Open Firmware prompt, type: reset-all
Press Return.

Worked for Me.

May 8, 2008, 11:51 AM
ok more news on this -

Flash FX5500 to OSX firmware - its now shows up in OSX as an FX5200

now am i right in thinking this is a much better GFX card?

the new card has a VGA connection and guess what - SAME problem :(
no 1680 x 1050

this is defiantly the monitors native resolution. I am so confused

i have tried resetting everything but still no luck

May 8, 2008, 11:56 AM


many thanks to everyone who contributed especially Tbarr

- the monitor wasn't plugged in all the way at the monitor connection end.
it was plugged in enough to get a signal but not quite enough for the mac to detect it and display the correct resolution.

I am a happy man :)

So know i have the FX 5500 / 5200 in there and its working fine, I am guessing that the old GFX card would have also worked had the monitor end been fully plugged in!

So which GFX card should I use?

Radeon 9000 Pro
FX 5500