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View Full Version : PowerMac G4 - what benefit will I see from this upgrade?




minusten
Aug 21, 2009, 04:46 AM
I've been offered a Power Mac G4 Quicksilver from a friend who's buying a new Mac. I know it's been well looked after and I think it's either the single 800mhz or 867mhz with around 640mb of RAM, 40gb HD. If I do take it off his hands, is it worth upgrading and what benefit will I see?

I figured I could get two 512mb RAM chips and also perhaps a larger HD (though believe it would need an additional component to handle an HD larger than 120gb - is this correct?). It takes 1.5gb RAM max.

So how much of a performance lift will almost tripling the RAM give me - will it be worth the $140 (approx)?

Is it best to replace the existing HD or fit a second internal one? Do I need some sort of adapter if fitting a larger drive to any of the internal bays?

I wouldn't consider updating the processor as I don't think that would be cost-effective.

I am aware that this system won't run SL, but am interested for nostalgic reasons (even though it's only around 8 years old).



Lukeyboy01
Aug 21, 2009, 06:30 AM
Putting in th 1GB Ram will give it better multitasking capabilities and make it better handle tiger ( the OS i recomend) you could put two 120GB HDs in and then use it as an itunes server? to get over 120 you need a device that lets the powermac see the drive as several drives though i can't remember the name of the product someone else could probably tell you.

JCOA
Aug 21, 2009, 06:42 AM
I have this machine with 1.5GB ram. You can put up to 4 drives inside the case of any size, but the board will only recognize up to 128GB. The drive sleds and power plugs are included. I have upgraded mine to a 1.8Ghz proccesor and Leopard OSX. Leopard and the latest Safari seem to have to much overhead for this combo as Photoshop has become extremely sluggish and even surfing the web is getting the same. Previous versions of OSX were much better. I would also upgrade the DVD drive, if you use CD's or DVD's, as it makes a world of difference. They are dirt cheap these days. Hope this helps.

surflordca
Aug 21, 2009, 07:31 AM
Also remember you need your OS disk if you want to make another HDD your main bootable drive. Does your friend have it or do you have to buy one?

minusten
Aug 21, 2009, 08:34 AM
Might just start with the RAM if I do get the machine, see how that goes and then consider what you guys suggest. Is $140 good value for two 512 chips? I've heard good things about Crucial, would most of you go for them rather than Kingston? Any problems with Crucial?

Back to the HD, does the PowerMac contain the cables for extra HDs or will that come with replacement HDs? And will it take 128gb per bay or in total across four drives?

flatfoot
Aug 21, 2009, 09:44 AM
You will see a lot of speed improvement by replacing that old 40GB drive with a new one!

The cables for all four drives are in there (4x MOLEX-power, 2x IDE with two connectors each) if your friend didn't take them out for some reason.

At least that was the case with my Power Mac 2x1.25GHz G4 MDD...

surflordca
Aug 21, 2009, 09:57 AM
Might just start with the RAM if I do get the machine, see how that goes and then consider what you guys suggest. Is $140 good value for two 512 chips? I've heard good things about Crucial, would most of you go for them rather than Kingston? Any problems with Crucial?

Back to the HD, does the PowerMac contain the cables for extra HDs or will that come with replacement HDs? And will it take 128gb per bay or in total across four drives?

Crucial is good but you can also check with OWC. They are great to deal with.

300D
Aug 21, 2009, 10:18 AM
Get a SeriTek SATA card, IDE just plain sucks.

minusten
Aug 21, 2009, 10:24 AM
Just checked with him and it's the 60gb HD in there. If plenty of space is left on it (say at least 25gb) will there still be a benefit in speed overall by replacing with a larger drive?

Is SATA much quicker than IDE? What is the difference?

michael.lauden
Aug 21, 2009, 10:50 AM
I have this machine with 1.5GB ram. You can put up to 4 drives inside the case of any size, but the board will only recognize up to 128GB. The drive sleds and power plugs are included. I have upgraded mine to a 1.8Ghz proccesor and Leopard OSX. Leopard and the latest Safari seem to have to much overhead for this combo as Photoshop has become extremely sluggish and even surfing the web is getting the same. Previous versions of OSX were much better. I would also upgrade the DVD drive, if you use CD's or DVD's, as it makes a world of difference. They are dirt cheap these days. Hope this helps.

so let me just total your upgrades

PowerMac: 200$
RAM: 40$
Leopard: 129$
Processor? 50$
DVD drive 40$


= 459$ total right?


i'd rather have a Mac mini 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo with 4GB of RAM for within 100$ of the same price (used)

CubeHacker
Aug 21, 2009, 10:54 AM
Upgrading the HDD will give you moderate speed improvements in things like launching apps or booting OSX. But it isn't going to make anything render faster, make your internet browsing smoother, or make your games run better. All that is limited by the CPU in the system, which is getting slow by todays standards. Yes, if you stick a good 1gb of RAM in there and run Tiger, it will still be a nice machine for browsing the web and doing simple things like word processing and listening to music. Don't bother with SATA, the CPU is your bottleneck.

Moof1904
Aug 21, 2009, 11:13 AM
I have the same machine. I upgraded the RAM to 1.5 gigs, dropped in a $22 FW800 card from OWC, upgraded the internal drive with an IDE I had laying around, attached two FW800 external enclosures from OWC and set them up as a mirrored RAID, and bought a copy of 10.4 Tiger server off of eBay for next to nothing.

For not a lot of money at all I have a great server for the home. I'm running only the file sharing service and every mac in the house has access to our family data, movies, music, etc.

drewsof07
Aug 21, 2009, 11:18 AM
Get a SeriTek SATA card, IDE just plain sucks.

IDE is still very capable in those machines. They aren't powerful enough (stock) to notice a faster transfer speed anyway. Save your money from the SATA card to upgrade the RAM and buy 1 or 2 120gb IDE drives, you will have a capable machine. I would suggest sticking with Tiger though, I run leopard on my dual 800, but it is a dual and that helps tremendously.

js81
Aug 21, 2009, 12:18 PM
If you don't mind an "off-brand," here's a great deal:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820609468

512MB with lifetime warranty for $24.99 and free shipping - so that's less than $75 (if you need three, that is - $50 if you've got one 512 already).

And Newegg is GREAT to deal with, too... and Super Talent usually isn't a terribly bad cheapie brand. Should work, but if it doesn't, then Newegg will easily accept the return.

EDIT: And they have the crucial memory for a bit cheaper, too, if you really want it.

Darth.Titan
Aug 21, 2009, 12:33 PM
Not all Quicksilvers suffer from the >120GB hard drive limit. I have a 160 GB as well as a 200GB drive in mine and both show full capacity with no additional drivers involved.

In fact, even though Apple states only Mirror Drive Door (MDD) G4 towers and Xserves have native bootrom support for large IDE drives using the onboard IDE interface, I've never encountered a Quicksilver user who couldn't use large drives.

Just FYI

surflordca
Aug 21, 2009, 01:42 PM
Just checked with him and it's the 60gb HD in there. If plenty of space is left on it (say at least 25gb) will there still be a benefit in speed overall by replacing with a larger drive?

Is SATA much quicker than IDE? What is the difference?

Before you buy a SATA make sure that there is a connector for it on the motherboard as it is different then IDE...

Macinposh
Aug 21, 2009, 02:03 PM
As peeps said here,be carefull with the "updating". It will end up costing as much as the said mini..

I got rid of my old G4 about three years ago,untill that it was my photo editing machine... :)
It worked actually quite ok with 8bit images around the 50-70mb sizes.

Nowadays,if I were you,would allocate the machine for a email reader/surfer/itunes server. Maybe up the memory to 1 gig and get a external fw/usb hdd for the music,(as they dont have the size limit),but thats it.




Or you could make a minibar out of it...

drewsof07
Aug 21, 2009, 02:37 PM
Not all Quicksilvers suffer from the >120GB hard drive limit.
I've never encountered a Quicksilver user who couldn't use large drives.


The 2002 and above Powermacs could use larger drives. This would include the 867 and dual 1ghz models intro'd in 2002. My 2001 dual 800 does NOT support >120gb. I tried :(

lannister80
Aug 21, 2009, 03:34 PM
The 2002 and above Powermacs could use larger drives. This would include the 867 and dual 1ghz models intro'd in 2002. My 2001 dual 800 does NOT support >120gb. I tried :(
I'm surprised there's not some kind of LBA kext to make that work.

drewsof07
Aug 29, 2009, 06:17 PM
I'm surprised there's not some kind of LBA kext to make that work.

Yeah I'm fairly certain it's a hardware limitation on part of the ATA controller.

Dave H
Aug 29, 2009, 06:50 PM
If the Boot ROM version is 4.33f2 or higher, it has built-in support for drives above 128GB in OS 10.2 and up.

In recent versions of OS X, the Boot ROM version is listed under Apple Menu -> About This Mac -> More Info -> Hardware.

For more details on the Quicksilver and Quicksilver 2002 models:
http://lowendmac.com/ppc/quicksilver-power-mac-g4.html
http://lowendmac.com/ppc/quicksilver-2002-power-mac.html