New PPC G4 Upgrade Suggestions

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by IronLionZion, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. macrumors newbie

    IronLionZion

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Location:
    North Eastern US
    #1
    Okay, this is my first post here on MacRumors and I'm pretty excited because I just got a PPC G4 and it's my first Mac!

    About This Mac...

    CPU: Dual 1.42 Ghz PowerPC G4 - 2 MB L3 cache per processor

    RAM: 1 GB DDR SDRAM

    GPU: ATI Radeon 9000 Pro

    OSX: 10.5.8 Running OSX ML Theme

    So, this baby runs pretty well already, but there are a few stutters here and there and it seems like Office '08 takes a toll on the hardware.

    I want to upgrade/learn about this product as I do so.

    Considerations:

    - An Airport Card (I am currently tethering to my iPhone 4s with MiWi)
    - Upgrade to 2 GB of RAM (low density ;))
    - A USB 2.0 card. (Does this computer have the power to utilize that?)

    So, if anyone happens to read this and is feeling generous, perhaps they could suggest some ways to do this, or specific products that work really well with these machines, or even some upgrades that I'm not even aware of.

    Any and all help is appreciated and I thank you for looking.
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #2
    If you are running 10.5 your upgrade path is as follows:

    1. A Quartz Extreme supported video card
    2. 2GB of RAM
    3. A SATA card and a fast and modern hard drive.
    4. A USB 2 card and an 802.11n dongle.
    5. A fast/modern optical drive if you still use it regularly.
     
  3. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    Wollongong, Australia
    #3
    Hey, I have a much slower G4 tower, the single CPU 466MHz model. I've upgraded it a fair bit so I think I can help you here.

    Certainly max out the RAM. Top priority there.

    USB 2.0 card? Get one. I've got one in my G4 [link follows], it's totally worth the $10-$15 since you escape the pain and suffering [etc] that USB 1.0 brings. I did have to cut a pair or bolt cutters to remove a bit of metal on the metal framework to make it fit the PCI slot, though, but it works perfectly.

    [link]

    Graphics card. I upgraded mine from a 16MB ATI Rage Pro to the Radeon 9600 XT 128MB that came with my G5 tower. HUGE improvement. It can actually run games now since it's got the hardware, Finder animations are smoother than my 2008 Macbook when it ran Lion, it can run at beyond full HD resolutions. If you can get a Radeon 9600, got for it.

    I *did* have to use a razor sharp blade to cut through a couple of gold contact on the card though, I think there's a thread on it here somewhere...

    EDIT: Yes, once you get the USB 2.0 card, you can get 150mbit/sec 802.11n cards for less than $5, they work flawlessly, and you can also get cheap but effective SSDs extremely cheap as a boot drive [eBay search for "KingSpec SSD" - 64GB seems to the the sweet spot for value.]
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    Zotaccian

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #4
    RAM to max. it should be cheap since you need 512MB sticks and not 1GB which are sometimes pricey.

    For graphics card I would recommend flashing a PC card, Radeon 9800 PRO is very common. Of course if you are unfamiliar with flashing and generally dislike that kind of stuff then get original, "genuine" card. They tend to be pricey, considering that you are upgrading old slow computer that is. I bought Radeon 9800SE which I'm trying to flash to my Dual 1.42Ghz, first attempt failed but I will soon try again with PC motherboard etc :) When you look at the benchmarks, Radeon 9800 Pro is a bit too much for the G4, meaning that atleast in games it is the CPU (or CPU's) which limit the performance, the card itself could do better.

    USB cards are cheap so I would definently recommend getting one, I paid couple dollars for one with NEC chipset. I didn't actually plan to use it with the G4 since I bought it before I even got the machine, but since it appeared to compatible I thought why not.
     
  5. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Poland
    #5
    I believe you had Core Image on your mind :) OP's card already supports QE.

    OP, search the forum using "G4 upgrade" or "MDD upgrade" and before that check sticky FAQ for PowerPC Macs.

    You should find plenty of threads with tips and ideas, including overclocking or cooling/quieting mods.
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    El Salvador
    #6
    Office 2008 should run well on your machine. It runs well and smooth on my iMac G4 700 and on my ibook G4 1.2
     
  7. macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    #7
    Really? I can make a pot of coffee quicker than the time it takes Office 2008 to open on my ibook 1.07...I really don't see the benefit of Office 2008, I can open and edit and save .docx and .pptx files in Microsoft Office X with OpenXML (thank you Bill), which runs like greased lighting on my ibook G4. Considering it first debuted in Puma that's understandable I guess.
     
  8. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    Wollongong, Australia
    #8
    Office 2004 runs way faster than Office 2008 for me.
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

    rjcalifornia

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2012
    Location:
    El Salvador
    #9
    Excel, Powerpoint and Word 2008 opens real quick. Well, it is the Spanish version of Office, could it be that?
     
  10. thread starter macrumors newbie

    IronLionZion

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Location:
    North Eastern US
    #10
    :eek:

    Whoa! You folks are amazing, haha! Thank you so much for the input. So after a little exploration, I have decided to get the RAM maxed out first, as well as to scoop a PCI USB 2.0.

    My current RAM situation is such that I have 4 slots, each with a Samsung (can I say that here :D ) 256MB slab in it. I have found the following pieces on eBay and was wondering if brand names matter. Like is it okay to have Kingston and Samsung RAM mixed.

    Anyway; here are the links.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/261117264251?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/261117263773?ssPageName=STRK:MEWAX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1438.l2649

    Also, I just wanted to say that I know it is standard operating procedure to look this stuff up for yourself, and I am, but sometimes real world advice from people is priceless.

    Not to mention I wanted to get to know this community of legacy users a little bit and figured this would be a great way to do so. Thank you to all who have helped, I mean that sincerely.
     
  11. orestes1984, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #11
    The only issue is that the CAS latencies, timings and speed might be different. So long as you match the speed though i.e. not mixing 266mhz RAM with 333mhz RAM, I don't think its going to matter too much on your G4 and since you have 4 slots 512mb RAM sticks are fine to get your G4 up to its maximum potential. If you can get RAM cheap secondhand then do so, but do bear in mind that you can still buy DDR new and 1GB sticks of DDR RAM are about $30 a pop. It does look nicer to have all your RAM banks filled though.

    If you do have the money to invest in it do look at a faster video card with Core Image support as it will make everything a lot snappier as the video card will deal with the desktop animation instead of the CPU which is really nice on CPU limited machines. Even a Radeon 9200 Mac Edition will do this nicely.

    A SATA card and a modern drive will also be a nice edition down the road. You will be surprised just how much faster a modern drive is even rated at the same RPM spin speed. Old IDE drives are SLOW!

    As for Office 2004 vs 2008, Office 2008 gives you the new XTML document formats which you will need for document compatibility with newer versions of Office, DOCX instead of DOC, etc. It really is worth installing for this alone.

    You will be surprised as to how fast this machine can be with a few minor tweaks here and there and with the fact that if you don't need the absolute latest software it is still document compatible in just about every file format with modern machines. You just have to work a bit harder to find the solution. Certainly, it's not a power house, but it's also far from obsolete for everything you would do with a modern computer every day.
     
  12. IronLionZion, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    thread starter macrumors newbie

    IronLionZion

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2012
    Location:
    North Eastern US
    #12
    So I'm told, however, I'm also under the impression that the rig doesn't recognize anymore than 2GB, so that loading her up with 4GB will essentially be a waste of slots. I've also read that 4 512s are more efficient for this machine than 2 1GB slabs. I have no empirical data to back any of this up, as I am new to these older machines, but that's why I'm asking questions.

    Also, the 512 sticks are usually in the $10-20 range from what I have seen. And with a lot of them that includes a lifetime warranty (depending on the purveyor obviously).
     
  13. orestes1984, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #13
    You will get a little bonus from running dual channel RAM if you have two RAM sticks of the same size in megabytes in each set of banks. As I said just make sure that the RAM speed (mhz rating) is the same and you should be good to go.

    The specs for your machine are here:

    http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/specs/powermac_g4_1.42_dp_mdd.html
     
  14. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Poland
    #14
    It's time for you to buy MDD to know what you're talking about? ;)

    You can mix CAS latencies and memory speed in MDD (and in other G4s), it's no problem for it. As long as memory will be low density and non-ECC.
    Empirically proven.

    No, 9200 does not have support CI. This is also empirically proven. CI support with Mac Edition cards is starting from 9550 (mobility) or 9600 (desktop). Out of flashed ones lowest CI supporting model is 9500.

    Not in MDD. There's absolutely no benefit from dual channel in MDD. Guess what? Empirically proven :p
     
  15. orestes1984, Oct 24, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

    macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #15
    You shouldn't really mix RAM speeds, at best it will default to the slowest speed in other cases it may not work. Timings and latency are never really much of an issue, those who say they can perceive a difference in lower latency RAM are mostly lying. It's really often just a marketing trick to add more $$$ to the price of the RAM where for 99% of tasks the latency of RAM makes zero perceivable difference.

    OK I thought it was the 9200, I'm wrong.

    Benefits from dual/quad channel RAM are negligible either way you look at things in terms of most computing even in modern computers. I guess the memory bus on the G4 series at least was never optimised for DDR. Now that I remember, it was a late addition to the architecture, it's been so long I even forgot these machines even ran DDR. The first machines legitimately optimised for any performance benefits from DDR were the G5s.

    The myth of dual/quad channel RAM came from Rambus RIMMS that won't run unless they are in dual channel, or not at least without a terminator in the same sense of old SCSI terminators. It was perceived at the time that Rambus would be a more capable standard and for a short time it was... What we have seen since however is that Rambus RIMMS had no advantage over DDR DIMMs and Rambus is effectively out of business but for the console market.
     
  16. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    Wollongong, Australia
    #16
    If you want good RAM that'll work well check out Tubabug's eBay store:

    http://stores.ebay.com.au/tubabug

    I've picked up memory many times from there for my G4 and G5 towers and G5 iMac. Always worked flawlessly, the first memory modules I bought more than a year and a half ago. Fast postage, cheap prices, quality memory...
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Zotaccian

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #17
    Just get cheap PC2700 or PC3200 sticks and you should be fine. I currently have PQI, Kingston and some other brand (can't remember what) memory sticks in my G4, PQI is 400Mhz and those two were 333Mhz I think. G4 cannot make use of the bandwidth because it has only 167Mhz FSB, processors such as Pentium 4 at the time could actually benefit from having high memory bandwidth.
     
  18. macrumors 68040

    666sheep

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2009
    Location:
    Poland
    #18
    First, I'm glad you didn't feel offended, it wasn't my intention. What I wrote might sound a little bit harsh, though.
    I've mixed RAM speeds more times than I can count and it always worked without issues.
    Timings and latency are important for overclocking purposes only, but only when you have control over it and other parameters (in PC BIOS or overclocking software). But not for Macs. RAM in G4 works or not. If it works, it will work in any combination with other working sticks.
    I've tested many, many RAM sticks with various G4 and G5 models when I was buying, fixing and re-selling used Macs. I've learned one thing (other than obvious ones OFC): no name RAM doesn't work more often than it works. Well known branded RAM was working in 99%. That 1% were ADATA branded sticks.
     
  19. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #19
    Of course, I've pulled apart more computers than I can remember and that's what I said... RAM will work or it won't when its mixed with different RAM speeds (Mhz) I've had a fair share of RAM actually not work when the RAM speed is mixed, Although its more of an issue in a Mac where you can't adjust RAM speed through a PC Bios.

    It is always a good idea to buy RAM that is rated at the same speed.
     
  20. abbotkinneydude, Oct 26, 2012
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2012

    macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2012
    Location:
    Venice, CA
    #20
    Adding RADEON 9600 to a pair of MDDs

    Hello everyone,

    Will adding a Radeon 9600 to, respectively, my MDDs 2x1.25 & 2x1.42 help with the video playback under VLC 2.0.4 ? or at the very least with iTunes 10 ? (I'm aiming at a flawless 720p and a studdering 1080p).

    I run 10.5.8 with 2GB of ram in each MDD (stock Radeon 9000 in both).

    Thanks !
     
  21. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #21
    Yes, VLC uses hardware acceleration for video decoding in OS X it should make a significant difference.
     
  22. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Location:
    Wollongong, Australia
    #22
    A little bit but not *that* much, I've got a dual 1.8GHz G5 with a Radeon X800 XT etc and really, I've found that anything 720p it can play eventually, but it's just the massive number of 1080p pixels that it starts to have trouble with [at least with H264.]
     
  23. macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    #23
    On the RAM thing. I made the same experience, that frequencies can be mixed. But, there is one single incident. I don't know why, but one of my two ibook G4s I have 10.5 installed and for some reason, it got slower, when I mixed frequencies.

    My other ibook with 10.4 doesn't have that problem. The ibooks are the same model.
     
  24. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #24
    I have found that my dual 2.3ghz G5 Xserve will stream HDTV almost flawlessly with EyeTV but will studder at trying to play 1080p through either VLC or Quicktime. It's just at the limitations of whats possible for a CPU of that era, my single core Athlon 64 3500+ was the same. It would handle HDTV at 90% CPU usage. The next generation of Intel Core processors was a significant step up. Even the last generation of dual core G5s and Quad G5s was better for it. The dual CPU G5s weren't quite there though.
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #25
    It makes me smile when you say that. :)
     

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