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Old Apr 1, 2004, 09:07 PM   #1
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G4 sawtooth processor upgrade- some info please?

Hi...excuse my ignorance on this topic. I would like to buy a powerbook g5, but will certainly wait for rev. B which is very far off. However, my dual 500 mhz. sawtooth (996 RAM) runs out of processor steam frequently with heavy Pro Tools files. My question is: for the 6 or 700 dollars, are 3rd party dual processor upgrades reliable and worthwhile? I was looking at the dual 1.4 ghz processor (forgot what brand) to space the 1-1.5 year gap from now until the g5 rev B P-book. Are there any significant chances that the processor will fail and I won't have any computer? Do I need extra fans etc.? Is the processor going to make that much of a difference with the older system architecture? Are there some brands I should avoid? For the record, I am handy with electronics. Any help would be much appreciated! Thanks!
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Old Apr 1, 2004, 09:27 PM   #2
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Having had a Cube and upgraded the processor, I can answer some of these questions. You could get a significant performance boost. Ventilation in the Sawtooth should be adequate without additional fans. Yes, the slower bus will be a concern. Because you have a dual, you won't find many upgrades which will actually improve your performance. My upgrade was a PowerLogix, and it was easy to install and worked perfectly.

But my suggestion to you is, don't go that route. CPU upgrades don't add significant value to the machine. You may love your Sawtooth dearly, but to increase its performance significantly you'd have to spend at least $600. After spending that money, you'll have a fast G4... But the Apple store has G5 1.6GHz refurbs for $1399. That slowest G5 is faster than your Sawtooth can ever be -- it has an 800MHz bus and serial ATA hard drive. And it has a Superdrive. IMHO, you'd be far better off selling the Sawtooth to someone for $600 or so (it is a dual!), and then taking that and the other money you'd spend and get the 1.6.
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Old Apr 1, 2004, 09:33 PM   #3
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Depends how much legacy stuff you have in the machine, if it's full of 5v PCI cards, video cards, ATA/SCSI drives.

If you're not too tied up in it, you might even check into a $700 eMac, if the machine hasn't been too upgraded, the eMac may feel snappier due to the video card -- since the newest versions of OS X are so tied to the graphics card.

Last edited by Sun Baked; Apr 1, 2004 at 09:51 PM.
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Old Apr 1, 2004, 10:38 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by cubist
That slowest G5 is faster than your Sawtooth can ever be -- it has an 800MHz bus and serial ATA hard drive.
This is not necessarily true. In the test's i've looked at using Protools and Logic, with TDM and VST plugins respectively.. a single 1.4ghz Upgraded Sawtooth outperforms the 1.6ghz G5, and is on par with the 1.8ghz. This is thanks to the 2MB Level 3 cache, and in realtime audio processing cache performance usually outweighs front side bus performance. And a Dual G4 Processor of at least 1ghz would certainly out perform the single G5 in realtime effects processing. Its the whole "it depends on what you are doing" saying.

Protools is a Cache hog (as are most professional sequencing and audio recording applications), not a FSB hog, where as Photoshop is a 64-bit and FSB hog, etc. etc. (better on the G5).

Also, Powerlogix is making G4 upgrades that also bump their 256k L2 to 512k L2 (and still maintain the 2MB L3).

being an audio producer myself, i've done alot of research and am about a month away from upgrading my Sawtooth to 1.4ghz.

It really depends on how good of a price you can get on a dual CPU upgrade. if you can get one for 1.25 - 1.4ghz that is below $700 then, matched with the resell value of your stock Sawtooth it would be a good investment to hold you over for a year or two. But if the upgrade is going to run you upwards of $800-$1000, then you are certainly stepping into G5 territory where the 64-bit system and SATA drives will definitely be the better investment.
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Old Apr 2, 2004, 11:36 AM   #5
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I agree, better to buy a new computer with all the added perks than to spend that much for a speed bump. I upgraded my 450/sawtooth to a Gigadesign 1.4 six months ago for about $440 us, great move, this will keep me going til I can afford that g5.
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