B&W G3 - Upgrade Advice

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by drewdle, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC
    #1
    Hey everyone. I wanted to know what you thought I should do with my PowerMac. As I have posted elsewhere on this site, I have an iMac G4 and MacBook that are my regular workhorses, so I'm not sure what to do with this machine, but say I wanted to use it for my desktop, I'm not really sure if there would be a return on investment for souping it up.

    I would need 1Gb of memory (which I tried to buy, but the silly thing only sees half of the memory). I'd also go with a better graphics card (probably a Radeon 7000) and I'd look into a processor upgrade (anyone tried the PowerLogix 1Ghz G3 upgrade on these machines?). However, we're looking at hundreds of dollars that I could instead spend on a G4 tower, that would have the following benefits:

    - QuartzExtreme capable (no Mac without AGP can do this)
    - No limitation on internal hard drive sizes
    - Hardware that is half as old (6-8 years vs the G3's 11 at present)
    - Faster, cheaper memory
    - Leopard capable (no G3 can run Leopard easily or reliably, I've read)

    All that being what it is, I still don't want to get rid of it unless it's to someone who wants it. I've tried selling it locally, but haven't had any offers (I thought a word-processing and internet ready tower could at least fetch $50, guess I was wrong). In it's present state it's not much use to me, and I don't think the upgrades would be worth the cost (but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong).

    Or the final option: anyone looking for a B&W G3 Yikes tower with Rev 2 motherboard? :D
     
  2. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #2
    Just want to clarify something first. What you have is not a Yikes. It's a B&W G3. The Yikes is very similar inside but has a G4 CPU as stock and grey plastics. It's the first G4 tower and only exists because the Sawtooth boards and specific CPU socket daughter cards were not ready on time. So what apple did was take the insides of a B&W G3, add a G4 chip and use the new grey plastics.

    On to your dilemma.. to look at your options objectively it would really be better to invest in a G4 tower with AGP. Not only are there many more cpu upgrades available but they also run at much higher clock speeds. Also, the data throughput (ie. RAM and BUS) is much faster on AGP G4's even with the same 100MHz bus speed. The Sawtooth (first AGP G4) has the same speed bus as your system but will move data through RAM around 3x faster just because of more advanced onboard technology.

    I am in a hurry now and will add more thoughts later..
     
  3. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Poland
    #3
    My 5 cents:

    1. Quartz Extreme on PCI: http://www.macupdate.com/info.php/id/8979/pci-extreme! - little outdated, OS limited but possible ;)
    2. PCI card
    3 & 4. undisputable ;)
    5. With G4 CPU upgrade should work: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=507316

    ZIF G4 upgrades: http://lowendmac.com/ppc/g4zif.shtml - most now aftermarket only.

    Best graphics card: http://www.macfixit.com.au/shop/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=214 - don't look at the price, linked for reference only. Or you can try to flash PC FX5200 PCI.

    Is it worth it? From financial point of view certainly not :) But that is not the reason why we do bother with old hardware. If you'll find needed parts in reasonable prices, you'll get a nice franken-B&W-G3/G4-Mac ;)

    Edit: in matter of graphics card i've forgotten to mention about GF 6200 PCI. This should be most powerful and CI capable card.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Rodus

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    #4
    You can actually put in a G4 Sawtooth mobo and psu into a B&W tower (I've done it) which gives you a bigger range of CPU and AGP GPU upgrades to choose from. Not exactly a good return on investment but certainly fun.
    Your G3 is only seeing half the RAM because G3's have big problems with dual sided RAM chips.
     
  5. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #5
    So how exactly did you mount the sawtooth board in a B&W case? There are 6-7 screws to secure the B&W board and only 1 on the Sawtooth. As you know I am sure the sawtooth board has to be put in at an angle to get it under that little metal nub that along with the one screw helps it stay in place.

    Other thoughts on the upgrade process:

    If you want to upgrade the B&W then go for it but your options are much more limited with it. The fastest chip you can put in one is a Sonnet G4 1GHz. To function properly though that upgrade has to lower your system bus from 100MHz down to 66MHz. Sonnet claims that is the only way it will run stable on the aging B&W board. That really slows down the RAM and the general I/O speed.

    The real world fastest CPU you can put in one is a G4 600MHz I bought once in the past from Fastmac. It is actually about 5-15% faster than the Sonnet 1GHz because it keeps the bus at 100MHz. I also only paid 150 for the chip. So to help break it down for you after owning 3 B&W towers.. they only fit 1GB RAM, slow I/O vs. G4 tower and PCI graphics.

    You can enable quartz extreme on PCI with certain cards as 666sheep mentions above. After doing this with 2 of the 3 B&W towers I can tell you that quartz extreme needs AGP for a reason. The only thing it really speeds up is expose. Everything else actually gets slower and sketchy.

    In the end you would get much more out of a G4 and maybe even spend less for a faster system because parts are more readily available.

    Let me know if you decide a G4 and I can help a lot with specific advice on which exact G4 tower to get and why.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Rodus

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2008
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    #6
    There's more then one screw hole on a Sawtooth mobo if you remove some of the small metal 'poles', some of the board screw holes line up fine with the mounts on the case and I just electrical taped over the mounts that didn't match, didn't need to put it in at an angle and it works just fine.
     
  7. thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2010
    Location:
    Nanaimo, BC
    #7
    Forgive the noobish question, but how do you discern a dual-sided RAM module? I've always thought it had chips on both sides, easy-peasey, but the modules I bought for the G3 are 256Mb a piece, chips on one side. Full specs are as follows:

    Infineon - 32M x 64 SDRAM, PC133-333-520, "Sync 133 CL3". I think they were pulled from an IBM system as they have an "Approved By IBM" sticker on them and a barcode (internal part number?).

    zen.state: I'll probably seek out a newer G4 tower, so advice would be cool. There are a lot of MDD models on Ebay, so what to look for specifically would be cool. I'd prefer a dual-processor one.
     
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Location:
    ohio
    #8
    Powerlogix offers this 1.1GHz chip http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/accelerators/PowerLogix/PowerForce-ZIF/. I use it in my home unit. It runs fine, almost on par with my eMac 1.25GHz unit, only 100 pts behind according to Geekbench tests. It is limited to OS 10.4.6 though and probably will never go beyond that. I added a ATI Radeon PCI 9200 vcard, that doubled my fps in Unreal Tournament. Added a PCI USB 2 card with 4-ports. Have 1GB of RAM, 2-80GB HDs and a 12GB. Is it worth it, depends on your needs and disposable income. I like my B/W, does everything I ask of it.
     
  9. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #9
    Dual sided means there are memory chips on both sides of the stick of RAM. Single sided only have chips on one side and a blank board on the other. The B&W can work with some double sided but only specific ones. In experiences the B&W is the most fickle mac ever when it comes to RAM. The issue is said to be the on-board memory controller not being the best.

    On to the G4:

    An MDD is a good choice. Keep in mind though that they tend to have faulty PSU's and sometimes a sketchy PMU (power managment unit). It seems the most trouble free models are the dual 867 and dual 1.25. The MDD is for sure the fastest of all G4 towers.

    For me there are only 2 choices when it comes to G4 towers. The Sawtooth and MDD. My reason for this is that the Digital Audio and Quicksilver only allow 1.5GB RAM vs 2GB in the Sawtooth and MDD. The Gigabit Ethernet model allows 2GB also but tends to have a less reliable PSU and board. Although the DA and QS have a 133MHz bus vs. 100MHz in the Sawtooth and GE I see the extra 512MB RAM (33% more) as much more of a benefit in my real world experiences. OS X loves RAM more than anything else as we all know.

    The MDD's have either a 133 bus (dual 867 and single 1GHz) or 167 in all other models. I used to own a dual 867 and dual 1.42. The dual 867 was a super solid machine but my dual 1.42 was a bit sketchy at times. Apple has a history of the high end model in each powermac series being the most troublesome. I find the Sawtooth to be the most robust and reliable PowerMac ever made.

    If you look at the "Post your Mac timeline" thread here you will see I have owned every single PowerMac G4 and used all but maybe 1 of the many revisions of the G4 chip.

    So to sum up my long experience I would say a Sawtooth with a 7448 upgrade and maxed RAM is the best possible hardware combo to achieve a great balance of stability, longevity and performance. This is the very setup I use also and use for a reason. A single G4 7448 beats any dual G4 other than a dual 7448. It's the bleeding edge G4 and didn't come out till after Apple stopped using the G4.
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    Hrududu

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2008
    Location:
    Wichita KS
    #10
    Odd, I've had one of those bookmarked for a long time just in case I decided to upgrade my trusty old B&W. Only difference is the bookmark I have seems to be the same product but for $10.24 less. http://eshop.macsales.com/Item_XLR8YourMac.cfm?ID=6849&Item=PLGPFZGX10001M
     
  11. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Location:
    ohio
    #11
    I actually bought my current G3 from the Marketplace here on Mac Rumors. I still have my original G3/300 Rev A, it serves as a backup unit now for music files, but it runs great.

    I like the little extra boost my chip offers via its controlling software. I don't like the fact it is stuck at 10.4.6. It runs OS 9 so fast, switching to OS X flavors seem slow. Everything opens fast, runs fast, screen redraws are fast too, especially in Illustrator.

    What I find interesting is the interest in PowerPC chips. It must be the Intel crowd finally realizing that there are more than just x86 chips.

    Back in the late 90's, I ran my original B/W/300, 24/7, I was into SETI at the time and never shut it down. It served me as a public game server for UT GOTY edition for about a year. It could handle 4-5 players without slowing down.

    Too bad Apple opted for Intel, it was the difference in chips that made Macs unique. Now they are common PC hardware units with a kick-ass OS. Just not the same feeling.
     
  12. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #12
    That is exactly right!
     
  13. macrumors 6502

    Dave H

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #13
  14. macrumors regular

    R.R.Mac

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Location:
    Guildford, England
    #14
    wow, a definite flashback from the past!!
     
  15. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #15
    sorry to hijack this ancient thread but does anyone know if i can get just any PCI NVIDIA 6200 card to work in my B&W G3? Or do i need a specific model no?
    trying to get a card that will let me have core image/quartz and run Desktop effects on my ppc linux boot!
    :)

    doing this mostly for kicks , i got a CF-IDE adapter and ive ordered an 8gb compact flash to install OSX and another one for UBUNTU ppc..
    ram is already maxed out , as well i ordered a g4-500mhz chip for 20 bucks on ebay and a gigabit ethernet card... trying to get max out the video now.. to keep this thing alive as a web dev server / web browser
    it was given to me for free so hey why not keep the little sucker alive!
     
  16. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #16
    Never heard of a 6200 PCI working. Many though have successfully flashed and used 5200 PCI cards. When it comes to standard PCI graphics (even 66mhz PCI like the B&W G3 and Yikes G4) you won't see much of a difference if any between a 6200 and 5200.

    The only 6200's I have seen on Macs are the XFX 6200 AGP that many use now in the G4 Sawtooth to Quicksilver and also the Cube. I have this card in my Sawtooth.
     
  17. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #17
  18. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #18
    Hopefully the 5200 works as it supports core image and core video in OS 10.4+. The 9200 only supports quartz extreme.
     
  19. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #19
    ok i just got the radeon 9200 in the mail and i tried to put it into the pci slot and the card wont even let me insert it into the slot.. the graphics pci slot looks like backwards from normal pci slots meaning the small part is at the front not the back in terms of the notch seperation.. I cant believe i never noticed this im kind of bummed coz i just wasted 25 bucks ordering this card which cannot physicaly be input into the machine..!!
     
  20. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #20
    Card keying

    Typical PCI cards present either one or two key notches, depending on their signaling voltage. Cards requiring 3.3 volt have a notch near the front of the card (where the external connectors are) while those requiring 5 volt have a notch near on the other side. So called "Universal cards" have both key notches and can accept both types of signal.

    apparently the notches have to do with power requirement by the card. hope the nvidia has the slot at the front! :/ so much for my redundant plan:)
     
  21. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #21
    Keep in mind that the B&W G3 and Yikes G4 use a very specific type slot for graphics. It's a 32bit 66MHz PCI slot which effectively is AGP 1x without being an AGP slot. It's shorter than the main 33MHz slots just like AGP though.

    Try the 9200 in one of the three 33MHz slots below.

    As I already mentioned though the 5200 is the one you would want to work of the two. Nvidia cards whether 3rd party or not are easier to flash in general.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Portugal
    #22
    I recently updated my gigabit g4,and I can tell the things that make real difference are:

    1) USB2.0 cards - choose one with NEC Chip, i had one with Via and it made my G4 slow as hell,and freezing it.You can find them on ebay for about 5eur.

    2)RAM - OSX Loves ram,even if you don't use it all..going from 1Gb to 1.5Gb seemed to make a lot of difference.I paid 10eur for each 512mb pc133 double sided ram.

    3)HDD's - read a little more about realistic values here.SInce you have a G3 with ATA33 a good 233X+ CF will be more than good.

    4)Graphic Cards -newer technologies, things get faster :)

    I didn't mess with the Processor, so I can't tell nothing about it :D
     
  23. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Poland
    #23
    They work (custom ROM needed, available ROMs won't work). I have one. And the best is, that it has functional DVI. Unlike 5200.
     
  24. macrumors 68020

    zen.state

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #24
    Nice! Good to know. I love how flash friendly Nvidia chipset cards are.

    My 6200 AGP is made by XFX and was very easy to flash.
     
  25. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    #25
    im starting to regret what ive done here coz i spent like.. 80-90 dollars on an 11 year old computer lol..

    but.. i havent received the items yet.. i wouldnt have done it if my logical brain didnt say.. hmm i got this computer for 20 bucks.. i could make it usable for under 100$.. creating a compact flash SSD from an 8gb 233x CF Card will add alot of speed for sure, the processor upgrade from g3/350 to g4/500 has got to make a difference.. rage128 to FX5200 nvidia has got to make a difference..
    wired 100baseT to wired gigabit Ethernet.. will def make a diff..
    lets hope im not regretting this by the time i get all of this stuff in the mail and configured!!

    really hope the 5200 fits in the slot! Lol
     

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