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Old Oct 29, 2006, 07:30 PM   #1
TheEdisonEffect
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Deciding on processor upgrade for Sawtooth

So it's getting to be time to upgrade my old Sawtooth. Right now it's a 550mhz (overclocked 450), with 1gb ram, ATA133 PCI card, USB2 PCI, and an LG multiformat DVD burner. I plan to keep this thing in some form or other for awhile, and eventually putting in bigger hard drives and 2gb ram, but first comes the issue of the slow processor. Doing Photoshop and Illustrator work with 550mhz pretty righteously sucks.

But I'm having trouble deciding exactly what upgrade route to take. This is one of the older revision boards which will only suport a single processor, which complicates things a bit more, too.

Here's what I'm looking at:
Powerlogix 1.2ghz for $179
933mhz Quicksilver board on eBay for ~$100, overclocked to 1ghz, or,
newer logic board and dual processor setup, prolly ~$180-200.

I see advantages to each route, and I'm looking to keep the upgrade under $200 simply because it's a 6-year-old computer, so I'm really looking for the best cost-benefit. Would a Powerlogix 1.2ghz upgrade really be much faster than a 1ghz Quicksilver processor? I know the Powerlogix has twice the L3 cache, but the QS proc has twice the L2 cache... Even if the Powerlogix is faster, is it $79 worth of faster? The install difficulty isn't an issue here... I'm an electronics nerd and like doing that sort of thing.

Then I have the dilemma of going the SP route, or just replacing my logic board and getting a DP setup. I wouldn't need nearly as fast processors if I had two of them, so I could conceivably go even for a cheap set of dual 533s and overclock 'em to 650mhz. Then I'd also have the option to upgrade again later if I wanted to keep this as a second computer. But, logic boards are pretty expensive still, so I'd probably have to stick with another Sawtooth or Gigabit Ethernet board to keep the cost down, leaving me with the 100mhz bus, 2x AGP and such.

So, any recommendations? I'm not looking or a supercomputer here, just something that'll last me a couple more years. I've also considered just putting it off until I can afford a new Mac, but I want to stick with PPC until Adobe gets their ****** together on a working Intel build of CS2, and there's no sense in getting a G5 when I could just spend another $200 to have my G4 suffice for another couple years.
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Old Oct 29, 2006, 08:06 PM   #2
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Your speed increase is probably not going to be significant enough to justify the cost or trouble if you choose to go dual 533 or if you go to 933. The 1.2 card would be a good boost if it is the older chip with the 2mb L3 cache. In that case I would consider that. But, I would seriously consider dumping the old dog and buying a 533 G4 off ebay (Digital Audio) so that you could get the benefit of a 4x AGP slot and because you get a 133 Mhz system bus, and because it supports fast dual processor upgrades (but not for under $200).

You could sell your G4 for close to what a single 533 G4 would cost on ebay, thus the difference in cost would be more than made up for in advantages (even considering the shipping).

The better bet altogether is to save for an Intel-Mac or a used dual 1.8 G5. But I understand finances may not allow this. If you are hell-bent on upgrading, your best performance by far will be will a dual G4 of either 1.33-1.4Ghz of the old-style chip with the 2mb L3 cache, or with a dual 1.7Ghz or higher of the newer style upgrade chips. Expect to pay at least $300 for such an upgrade even on ebay.
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Old Oct 29, 2006, 09:26 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spinne1 View Post
Expect to pay at least $300 for such an upgrade even on ebay.

I've seen some processor upgrades rocket up to 600 dollars.

Pretty ridiculous. For a G4.
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Old Oct 29, 2006, 09:58 PM   #4
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I think that a lot of things are overpriced on ebay. It's hard to find a good bargain, but then again I did find my current computer there for an amazing price using buy it now.

For this user, I think a used g4 mini could hold the tide over till CS3. I've seen some go for about $300 which may be the cost of a new processor. Just food for thought.
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Old Oct 30, 2006, 06:38 AM   #5
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Photoshop, Illustrator AND OS X utilize dual processors very well, so I would go that route, as well as bump the ram to 2GB......which will also provide a significant performance boost

Same setup I use everyday, plus I have SATA Raptors too !
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Old Oct 30, 2006, 06:50 AM   #6
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With your choices listed, the best options is to go with the Powerlogix 1.2 GHz upgrade. The QuickSilver processor needs a 12V feed that is not offered on the Sawtooth motherboard. You would have to solder a power feed to the card before it would work.

If you want to look at dual processor upgrades then you may want to check and see if you computer already supports them. This program, UniNorthASICChecker, will tell you if your system supports dual processors. If it does, then you have to worry about finding a card that fits your budget.
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Old Oct 30, 2006, 11:57 AM   #7
TheEdisonEffect
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Maybe I didn't emphasize these points clearly in the original post, but:

Selling the whole computer is *not* an option at this point, considering the other upgrades I have in it and some cooling/cosmetic mods to the case. The best I could do on that is maybe find a DA logic board to swap into the case.

$300 for a DP upgrade is *not* an option, since my budget goes up to about $200, maybe with a little leeway, but I see no point in putting much more into such an old computer.

I don't care about the extra work to install a QS processor, I already know how to do the ATA connector thing and the 12V mod... take me about 20 minutes max to do.

And I've already checked, the computer has the Revision 3 ASIC and will not support dual processors in its current form.

So, back to my original question... all other things aside, is the Powerlogix chip that much faster than a QS processor overclocked to 1ghz, that it would justify nearly twice the price?

And if I went for the logic board swap and an OEM DP set, what sort of speeds would I need to give me an edge over a 1-1.2ghz SP? Running some 533's at 650 or so would be my low-end I think, and I'd try to find the fastest ones I could within budget.

And, not intending to sound like an ******* here, but unless there's some amazing cure-all option that I haven't thought of yet, I have already weighed my cost-benefits through a great deal of research and narrowed it down to the three options I stated, and I only want real-world advice on what would be the best of the three, considering both speed and cost.
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Old Oct 30, 2006, 05:10 PM   #8
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I suggest going with the 1.2 upgrade. I ran one of those for a while (well, an overclocked 900mHz, but still) and it did all my CS2 work pretty effortlessly. I only went dual because I usually have 5-6 apps minimum running at a time, and usually 2-3 are Adobe, so the single was getting a little bogged down.

Also, upping the RAM to 2gb will make a DRAMATIC difference on a Sawtooth. I can't recommend it enough.

EDIT: The main difference I would say between the Powerlogix and the overclocked quicksilver is you won't have to mod your case for the Powerlogix, you have a higher ceiling for RAM (I believe) with your original Sawtooth board, and 1.2ghz is, I've found, a current base point for a lot of software I've been messing about with, so 1.0 would not only lag, but wouldn't run some things. Plus the upgrade will be newer hardware, so it will likely run cooler and more efficiently.
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Old Oct 30, 2006, 09:40 PM   #9
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Hmm, I think that I would go with the 1.2GHz PowerPC G4- I would not want to go through the hassle associated with the eBay option.
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Old Oct 30, 2006, 10:28 PM   #10
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There are alternatives

May I suggest something other than PowerLogix? I hear they are not that great. Checkout Accelerate Your Macs' Reviews and get the gist of who is good and who is completely crap.

I myself would recommend Other World Computing's processors, good warranty, good price and excellent reviews. I'm planning to get either the 1.2 Ghz or 1.5 Ghz.
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Old Nov 1, 2006, 01:49 AM   #11
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I'm running one of their dual 1.3s right now. Amazing, faster than my friend's single 1.6 G5 by far.
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