G3 to G4 Real Performance Jump

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by cromm, Dec 30, 2004.

  1. cromm macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2004
    Hi all,

    How much of an improvement in performance, measured in terms of overall user experience, could I expect when going from a B&W G3 300 with 128 MB of ram and a 16MB video card to, say, a G4 500 with 512 MB of ram and a QE enabled card?

    Some of the deals for older AGP G4s on EBay are tempting!
  2. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    That G4 500 is probably the one my friend's trying to get rid of... but seriously, he is ditching one for 2 reasons:

    1) Doesn't run Panther comfortably even with 2gb RAM.

    2) Limit on the size of ATA hard-drives it will run.
    It will only 'see' 128gb even if the drive is larger. However, this can be sorted with a PCI ATA card but that's more money spent...

    In terms of performance, it may offer an obvious improvement but may turn into a white elephant if you need to keep spending money on it...
  3. caveman_uk Guest


    Feb 17, 2003
    Hitchin, Herts, UK
    My understanding is that, unless altivec code is involved. G3s and G4s are pretty similar clock-for-clock. Having said that altivec is pretty widely used. If you're running OS X increasing the RAM would help a lot.

    Do you need to get a whole new machine? You can get 500MHz G4 processor cards for your machine for $139 and 1GHz G3s for $259. 1GHz G4s are $397.
  4. cromm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2004
    Hmm, interesting. A big factor is also the lack of Quartz Extreme capability. My B&W only has a PCI slot, and from what I have seen, using the PCI hack doesn't always make much of an improvement, even if you upgrade to the latest 128MB PCI radeon.

    This is impotant because of all things, it seems like the screen redraws are the biggest thing that makes this box slow. It just feels a bit sluggish.

    You thing a 1GHz G3 upgrade would help much?

    What to do, what to do...
  5. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    It all depends on what you want to do with it... and whether you can see yourself being able to afford another machine within the next 3 years or so.

    Any machine that old will prob. need the hard-drive replacing for data integrity peace-of-mind...
  6. cromm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 16, 2004
    Thanks for the advice. I actually inherited this machine when a relative upgraded to a new G5. I'm normally a Linux user on x86, so I am learning what my options are.

    To be honest, I'm not likely to be buying a new mac any time soon, but I want to either sell this one (I also have a Bondi-blue iMac to sell) and use the proceeds to fund a used G4, or I want to get the most out of what I have. I want to make it comfortable enough in Panther to use it for my daily tasks... web development being the primary of those.

    It really is an awkward situation, becase a G4 500 can be had for less than 500$, but upgrading the G3 would be running less than that, but not far from it.

    What would *you* do? ;)

    Thanks again for the comments,

  7. Blue Velvet Moderator emeritus

    Jul 4, 2004
    What would I do?

    Hmmm... not being a web developer but a print designer I would always go for the maximum grunt I could afford with a little help from some credit...

    But in your case, then see if you stretch to the 733mhz Quicksilver era-type machines. We've still got a couple of these at work and they run Panther pretty smoothly albeit with 1gb+ RAM & new HDs in them.

    If that's out of your range, then get a lower spec machine with maxed RAM & new hard-drive would do.

    If it was me, I def. would not skimp on a new HD regardless. You just never know how close a second-hand one is to collapsing... just replaced a friends G3 iMac HD before Xmas. She bought the machine 2nd-hand, never backed up and has now lost everything.
  8. maxterpiece macrumors 6502a


    Mar 5, 2003
    i'd wait around and see what this sub $500 machine that is rumored for MWSF is. If it really exists then that is most definitely your best option.
  9. jyumibe macrumors newbie

    Jul 17, 2002
    Someone recently gave me a G4 AGP 400 ghz and after I upgraded the video card to a QE supporting one, I have to say it did run Panther much better than I expected, with only 386 RAM. It was definitely useable for surfing, word processing, even a little photoshop

    I've since upgraded it with a SATA card and new harddrive, a 1000 ghz sonnet processor card, 256 more ram, and a dvd burner. Probably spent $500 on it, and I'm happy with machine as is. I basically wanted something to burn dvd's on and use as a back up server, and I'm happy with it.

    That said, I'm not sure that I would recommend spending $500 or so on a G4 500 ghz, without much modification. For around $800 or $900 you could get a new iBook from Amazon after rebates. And there're rumors of that headless iMac coming out soon. So basically, I would recommend waiting and spending more on an iBook, or hopefully the iMac, either of which would in the end would be faster machines.

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