G4 Upgrade Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by MacRohde, Jan 2, 2007.

  1. MacRohde macrumors regular

    MacRohde

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #1
    Hi you guys,

    I've just bought a G4 PowerMac: 350 Mhz AGP (ATI RagePro 128) with 192 MB SDRAM.

    I'm looking to upgrade it. So, my question is what would be some good upgrades to get? A processor upgrade, a new graphics card or more RAM? Of course all of it would be nice but I don't think that's economically feasible right now.

    I would like to hear from all having experience and/or advice on upgrading a G4 PowerMac.

    Thanks :) :)
     
  2. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816

    kalisphoenix

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #2
    If you're going to be running OS X, you need to do something about that RAM.

    Worry about the proc later (although that's a good one too).
     
  3. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #3
    I have taken my AGP G4, identical to yours, to 2.0ghz, 1gb of RAM, and a hacked 256mb Radeon 9800. I also had a SATA card, and attached to it a 160gb drive.

    My advice?

    Sell it and buy an Intel. All those upgrades new cost about the same as several variants of Mac mini... If this is your first Mac experience, you'll want something with an Intel and more than one processor (core).
     
  4. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #4
    i would say go for ram first.
    the problem about graphic card is you need to find a compatible one, which might not be easy for an old mac.
    cpu, maybe get the Max clock G4 which is compatible with your mainboard.
     
  5. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #5
    What do you mean by "compatible?" If you mean compatible with Quartz Extreme and Core Image, it's incredibly easy to find a ton of cards for that system.
     
  6. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #6
    compatible means
    1. it can be plugged into that machine's mainboard and
    2. it will be recognized by system
    and OP was asking for upgrade, so I don't know why you brought up the Rage 128 he already have in there.
     
  7. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #7
    Well, then you're mistaken. The Rage 128 is 100% compatible with a G4 AGP and Mac OS X.
     
  8. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #8
    he has rage128pro already, and he is looking for an upgrade. plz read OP's question
     
  9. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #9
  10. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Location:
    I'm only really here at night.
    #10
    Yep, with the Radeon 8500 being about the best price/performance ratio ($50 for a 64mb AGP 2/4xcard). I had one in my old Sawtooth and it was great (at least until I found a 9800 for <$100)

    The GF2mx also works, but is way slower than the 8500.

    But by the time the OP spends all that money on upgrades, he could easily get a faster G4 tower, or even a refurb intel mini :p
     
  11. MacRohde thread starter macrumors regular

    MacRohde

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #11
    Wow, that was fast :)

    Thanks for all the good replies. I think I'll get some RAM and possibly a better graphics card as well since it seems I can get that pretty cheap; then I can play around with the system 'til summer where I can afford a better Mac.

    Thanks again!
     
  12. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #13
  13. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #14
    Yes, he certainly will. I was well aware of what the OP was asking, I wasn't clear about your "compatible" statement - it sounded like you were suggesting the Rage 128 was not compatible and so he should first find a card specifically because of that reason.

    Anyway, the OP may also enjoy these:

    Processor Upgrades

    RAM Upgrades

    SATA Cards and SATA Drives to go with them...

    Optical Drives
     
  14. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #15
    oh, interesting, hope op understand my first reply, :)
     
  15. MacRohde thread starter macrumors regular

    MacRohde

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #16
    Yes I understood :)
    And thanks to dpaanlka for the nice links. You're all very helpful.
     
  16. apple_iBoy macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    #17
    As I was just saying in another thread, I cannot extol the virtues enough of getting a PCI wifi card with a Broadcom chip. Though you might have a tough time finding picking one of these cards up off the shelf somewhere, you can order a Buffalo AirStation card (model WLI2-PCI-G54S) for $35 from CircuitCity. Much cheaper than the usual going rate for an original, slower Airport card from eBay or elsewhere.

    You'll have 802.11g speed, and best of all, your Mac will treat the card like a real Airport (no drivers needed, controlled from the Airport menubar icon, etc.).

    I just put one of these cards into a MDD G4 that I'm used for years, and am now giving to folks. I wish I had done it a long time ago!
     
  17. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #18
    The PowerMac G4 is still a good choice for the right price due to its expandability.

    You need 1GB RAM, 512 at the absolute minimum for Panther. That should be priority number 1.

    For video card upgrades, your best options IMHO are a flashed Radeon 9800 Pro or a flashed GeForce 5200/5500, in that order. These cards will give you Core Image compatability and decent to good 3D performance given the G4's architechtural limitations. You can get these cards from Newegg for cheap. Make sure to read the strangedogs video card flashing forums thoroughly. There are other video card options but many of them are overkill unless you are into gaming on a regular basis.

    Like the poster above mentioned, there are some decent wireless cards that can be had for a reasonable price.

    CPU upgrades can be very expensive, especially the duals. I'd recommend not spending much over $225 on a CPU upgrade; that will get you a 1.4-1.5GHz CPU.

    Keep an eye on the money you plan to spend - you don't want to spend more money than a Mac Mini would cost you, unless you plan to upgrade in stages over a year or so (like I did with my G4, which I bought before the Mac Mini was released).
     
  18. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #19
    Whenever someone posts about upgrading a G4, there is always a few posters who say, "buy a new computer" or "get a Mini." All this is well and good but in the real world of poor man's economics, these options are not feasible. For the many who live paycheck to paycheck (like myself) it is often not possible to save money for a computer, even one that costs $600-$700. Yes, in theory we could save for a year or two, but we would be without a computer that whole time (assuming you don't even have the old G4 yet). By getting a used G4 dirt cheap, and then by slowing upgrading, one can afford to get a decent working computer in an affordable manner. I have been building up my computer for over a year, gradually adding to it. For my 533 Digital Audio I now have a USB 2.0 card, a 1.4 Ghz processor upgrade, 1.25 gb ram, three hard drives, a Radeon 9800 Pro, an ATX power supply, a SATA controller (one hard drive is SATA), and better monitors than I used to have. I buy everything very cheap. I can't afford anything new. I can barely scrap together $100-$200 every few months. For me and those like me, buying a Mini is not really an option. I don't want to put it on a credit card either. Also, while the new Mini may smoke my system in some ways, my system is fast enough for what I do, and also very capable in many different areas. With a Mini could I run two giant CRT monitors (I don't really know the answer)? Could I do gaming? Could I have three hard drives with OS 9 (bootable) on one, and a complete backup on another? Could I have a capable Mini without spending a bunch more on external hard drives (or at least one), an external USB hub, extra ram, and a means to run two monitors independently (again I don't know much about the Mini's capability here)? When you get down to it a good Intel mini loaded with all you really need to add to get a setup you want gets over $1000. Once again, great if you got it. Also, if I had $1000 to spend right now on a computer, I'd get a dual 1.8 Ghz G5 Powermac off ebay. I saw one go for about $714 two weeks ago. They are almost always under $1000. For my purposes, a dual G5 is much better than an Intel Mini.
     
  19. dpaanlka macrumors 601

    dpaanlka

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    #20
    I can see how you would think slowly building a G4 into a mega-G4 would be a good option, but I did this myself - and it's not really worth the money at all. At the end, when it was time to get rid of my 2ghz G4 with several video cards, several hard drives, and all kinds of upgrades... I got nowhere near as much as I spent on it, and it wasn't enough to buy something new.

    You're better off just sticking with whatever computer you already have and saving for a long time. If you can scrap together $200 every two months to buy some other upgrade, you can't tell me you are unable to just save that $200 every two months until you have $1200 at the end of the year. Heck, that's a new MacBook or iMac right there!

    All you've just said is, it's impossible for you to save money, because if you have it you'll spend it unwisely.
     
  20. 8thMan macrumors regular

    8thMan

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    #21
    Let's not overlook how much fun it is to upgade G4 Powermacs. In the long run it is certainly more cost efficient to buy a G5 or Intel, but G4s are remarkably expandable and responsive to upgrades. I'm sure I'm not the only one who delights in keeping his old G4 a genuinely serviceable machine.
     
  21. Lovesong macrumors 65816

    Lovesong

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2006
    Location:
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    #22
    About a year ago I had a sawtooth that had a Dual 1.8Ghz chip from Gigadesigns, 1.5 GBs of RAM, and an ATI Radeon 9800. However, the one thing that made that machine scream was the SATA card. I had a SIIG 4-channel SATA card, which gave me faster read/write speeds than my current G5 or, my MBP. They are only a ~$100 (OWC makes a model with eSATA as well), and that will make a world of difference. Then go for the RAM and upgrade card. One thing to note, is that you can't run OS 9 with one of these. Have fun...oh, almost forgot.... Be careful how much crap you put on there. I had to srap in a second power supply, and some of these aren't regular- that AGP and the Digital audio I had, have proprietary PS's. As I was saying...have fun.
     
  22. MacRohde thread starter macrumors regular

    MacRohde

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    Location:
    Copenhagen, Denmark
    #23
    Hmm, I read a lot about SATA cards and disks - do they really make a difference from regular (P)ATA?
     
  23. Xeem macrumors 6502a

    Xeem

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #24
    Speaking in the context of a 350 MHz Powermac G4, no. Adding SATA is not something that you should worry about on a Sawtooth G4; more RAM and a faster video card are really the only things that will help you out without blowing a good amount of money. I've been tempted to get a processor upgrade for my 450 MHz G4 Cube in the past, but when I added a better video card recently (replaced the stock Rage 128 Pro with a somewhat less outdated 32 MB Geforce2 MX) it sped things up much more than I thought it would, and I'm pretty happy with its performance right now.
     
  24. worriedmac macrumors regular

    worriedmac

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    #25
    I'm with spine1. Its always a balance between having the money and creating a computer that runs at a bearable pace. Accepting that your old sawtooth can't keep up with modern processors is one thing. Smaller applications become a greater pleasure to use if you spend some of that cash thats for a new computer on instead an upgrade. Also when you don't have the money taking things into your own hands is fullfilling.

    Your computer would benefit from more ram they always do, after that the HD. Upgrading a GPU will show little advantage because the processor will not provide the information to the GPU for it to be worth it. Its all about making the apps that it can run, do so with annoying the hell out of you. use the rest for a new computer when you can.

    The new computers I've bought have always put me out of pocket and I've never been able to get one that runs the latest apps. Present computer is a 17inch powerbook, I decided to take advantage of the g4's lack of regard. despite it not being an intel only HD trailers have caused a problem.

    upgrade and buy second hand! stick with a pata HD a sata won't do a great deal more.
     

Share This Page