graphics card upgrade

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Ja Di ksw, Jan 8, 2004.

  1. Ja Di ksw macrumors 65816

    Ja Di ksw

    Apr 9, 2003
    Hi all. A few friends of mine talked me out of getting a powerbook until grad school, but I would still like to have a better graphics card. Currently I'm running a 450 MHz G4, with a Rage 128 Pro (16 MB). Any suggestions for a better graphics card? I'd prefer a 64 MB, but 32 would be ok if the price dif is that much. Oh yeah, and I think it has to work with an AGP slot.

    Thanks for the help
  2. iriejedi macrumors 6502a


    Oct 4, 2000
    Nor Cal

    Hi there - Not that my 2 cents is actually worth 2 cents - but if your dealing in Euros it might be....

    assuming you mean a tower G4 - if it is PCI craphics (like mine) - I LOVE my Radeon Mac edition. If you HAVE AGP - I think you have several better choices. Your system is still your limiting factor so do not spend too much money... $300 on a new card is a chunk of the cash that could go to a $1999 G5 ($1600 if you-or any friends- have any educational affiliation). A new card for a system that old (like mine) is probably not going to be the speed fix you are aspiring for. My personal advice (which most people think is lame) is to save the money towards the new system (book or tower). Unless of course you know for a fact that what ever speed increases you need a new video card for WILL be answered by a new one.

    Another option is to consider putting the money towards a CPU upgrade from newertech or the like. G4 upgrades are quite cheap. dollar for dollar this will be you best sped fix.

    I hope this helps or seems like something to ponder....

    Now my qestiuon to everyone: I pan on buying a G5 when the speed bumps happen.. next month... or god forbid, next year... but assuming it was TODAY.... is the Radeon 9800 pro the best card available for the G5 and is it worth the $250ish extra price.

    Given buying another card at some future point later on means throwing out the stock card due to one AGP slot...I feel the price is worth it... unless there are better cards on the market.

    Just curious.

  3. Invizzible macrumors regular

    Feb 9, 2003
    I put the ATI Radeon 8500 in my G4 AGP Powermac 400Mhz, and I love it. However, since I upgraded the CPU around the same time (to 1.4 Ghz - from Gigadesigns) I can't say that I ever noticed a performance boost that I can attribute to the video card. In fact, something that still puzzles me is that even with the new card, when I run the mouse arrow over my Dock (with the magnifying-glass effect enabled), my cpu meter still shoots up to around 85-90%, just like it did with the old card. I was under the impression that a Quartz Extreme qualified video card (like the 8500) would handle stuff like that, so the cpu wouldn't work as much to run the eye candy.
    Oh, I should also mention that the reason I love the 8500 is because it allows me to have dual monitors, which I desperately need for the audio and graphics apps. that I use.
  4. MacBandit macrumors 604


    Aug 9, 2002
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    On a 450MHz G4 you will see very little increase in overall video performance with a faster graphics card. The limiting factor is your CPU. Upgrade your CPU and the graphics and everything else will run faster.
  5. krimson macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2003
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    the Radeon 9000 Pro might be your best bet, unless you can find a 8500 for the same or less.. otherwise, a 7000 Pro is cheaper but only has 32Mb.
  6. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    Re: BEST CARD?

    The Radeon 9800 Pro is the best video card on the market bar none (IMO, and a lot of other peoples) for games etc. You can't go wrong with it.
  7. hugemullens macrumors 6502a


    Dec 15, 2002
    I'll chime in and say don't do it. The performance gain won't be enough to justify the cost. The cpu and bus are too slow. If you do go through with it, the radeon 9000 mac edition is good, cost a ton comared its pc counter part tho. The 9800 is worth nearly as much as the machine, so thats no good. But in the retail world, either get a 9000pro (agp) or 7000 (pci).
  8. zeebee macrumors newbie

    Aug 20, 2003
    I also have a G4 AGP 400Mhz tower (sawtooth) with the crappy 16MB ATI video card that doesn't do Quartz.

    I've looked far and wide for ways to upgrade this box as performance under OS X is horrid to say the least (and I have 1GB ram).

    First and foremost, I would not suggest getting the the Mac editions of the Radeon 9000 or 9800 Pro as previously suggested. Why? Cost, these cards will almost cost you as much as your current system is worth. So if you're going to spend that much money on an upgrade that isn't even going to result in much performance increase, might as well sell the G4 and buy a new iMac or iBook for a few hundred more.

    Best bet IMNSHO is to look for a used Quartz capable card. I've looked and most of these used cards are still selling used for $100USD on EBay. Still not as cheap as it should be IMO.

    Cheapest alternative is to find an Nvidia GeForce 2MX|4MX (pc version) and flash it with the Mac bios for use in your G4. For details, go read xlr8yourmac
    for details on how to do this. PC versions of the same card have always been cheaper than their Mac brethren. :( disclaimer: flashing the bios voids any warranty and is not guaranteed. do so at your own disgression

    I myself have decided to buy the cpu upgrade (1.25Ghz) and then take my time looking for a cheap geforce MX card to flash (they aren't as readily available as one might think).
  9. kettle macrumors 65816


    May 12, 2002
    England, Great Britain (Airstrip One)
    #9 did a test for the sawtooth and explained the long and the short of what performance gains were possible utilising the bus speed and clock speed available.

    I too opted for the Radeon 8500 in my Sawtooth 450, it is really good.

    If you still use early OS 9 (9.0.4 & 9.1) you can still get the extensions from 9.2 to work, you must have Quicktime 5 as a minimum though.

    say it again, lovely card.

    frame rate in quake is limited by the CPU not the GPU with this set up. you can turn up the effects and screen res in quake III without too much of a hit in FPS .

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