View Full Version : Upgrade Apple Powermac G4 'Sawtooth'

Feb 3, 2010, 05:31 AM
I've recently purchased a G4 'Sawtooth' from eBay at an amazing price. It is the 400 Mhz model, and contains 1.25 GB RAM (2x512 + 2x128). I can imagine that how powerful it must have been back in the day, but under Mac OSX Tiger it even struggles with playing Youtube videos, despite the all the RAM, so I want to upgrade the processor. 3rd Party CPU upgrades are very expensive, so I was looking for original Apple Parts when I came across this on eBay:
It is a bundle that includes a 'Digital Audio' motherboard, a dual 533Mhz CPU, a few ram pieces, and a 64MB graphics that I assume is the Geforce3. If I got a hold of this, not only would my processor become over twice as fast as my current one (220% the speed of the 'Sawtooth' 400 Mhz, according to benchmarks I found on the internet), the RAM would slightly increase to 1.5 GB (by combining my current RAM pieces and the ones I would obtain with this bundle), and the Geforce3 would simply put the Ati Rage to shame. Moreover, the motherboard is also a lot faster.

My question is: will this be possible? As in, will I be able to fit the DA motherboard into my Sawtooth case (which I think is the same size), plug in my current drives (DVD-ROM + 2xIDE hard drives + ZIP drive), and swap some RAM around?

Feb 3, 2010, 05:52 AM
OK, I can answer your question since I used to have a sawtooth I upgraded.

Simple answer: it's not worth it.

Two years ago I replaced the processor from 450mhz to 1.2ghz. While it was snappier, it was far from being a new mac. Youtube would still struggle and Myspace was horrid.

My opinion? Leave it like it is and use it as a media server or use it for really simple day to day tasks like simple browsing and word processing. The bus is really slow on that machine and is a huge bottleneck.

Feb 3, 2010, 06:14 AM
Well if I did undertake these ugprades, it would not really be a Sawtooth anymore, but a 'Digital Audio' with a 133Mhz FSB and 4x AGP bus, as well as a much faster processor and graphics card. Now I understand that these upgrades won't really turn it into a new Mac, but I'll only buy these if they are for really cheap, and I believe it might make the computer much faster.

My question simply is: are these upgrades technically possible?

Feb 3, 2010, 11:18 AM
Your drives will work fine with the DA mobo. You RAM probably won't, the DA requires PC 133 and the Sawtooth probably has PC 100. The DA most likely won't boot at all if any PC 100 RAM is in, if it did boot the PC 100 would overheat and cause a KP. Swapping the motherboards is possible but you may need to cut out part of the back of the Sawtooth case because the rear ports are laid out differently. You might instead consider maxing the Sawtooth RAM with 2 more 512 sticks and upgrading the video card. The Sawtooth can take a Radeon 9800 or a GeForce 6200, 256 MB video RAM will help your video playback.

Feb 4, 2010, 07:24 AM
Thanks for your reply,

All the RAM I have is PC133, and if I also use the RAM that will be included in the bundle (which must also be PC133, as it comes with a DA logic board), I can max it to 1.5 GB (3x512). Like I said, the video card included in the bundle is a Geforce3, which would make a massive difference compared to the ATI Rage. However, it is mostly the CPU power that I'm after, and the dual 533Mhz is 2x faster than the single 400Mhz (according to Geekbench).

So you say I may have to cut out the back of the case, that's good to know. Thanks.

Feb 4, 2010, 08:31 AM
EDIT: Oops, I have just found out that the Power Supply connectors for the 'Sawtooth' are 20-pin, and the ones for the 'Digital Audio' are 22-pin, therefore the DA logic board would not work in the 'Sawtooth' case. Glad I didn't bit, but can you believe the whole bundle (dual 533Mhz + about 1GB of RAM + Geforce3 + motherboard) went on eBay for $12+shipping ($20 international)??