Optimize my Power Mac G4 FW800

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ste, Sep 11, 2008.

  1. ste
    macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2008
    Hi new to this forum.

    I've take home an unused, unloved Power Mac G4 FW800 from work and would love to hear any suggestions anyone may have to get it running @ its optimum without forking out for a new Processor. I wont be doing any gaming on it, plan using it for Media and Design like Final Cut Express4, Photoshop and Illustator and for music and movies.

    Its has a Dual 1.25Ghz Processor, 167Mhz Bus, ive installed a new ATI 9600PRO Graphic Card and bumped the RAM up to its 2GB max and have an external 500GB 7200RPM Iomega FireWire HDD. I also got a Philips 19in Wide LCD 1440x900 for cheap.

    This is turning into a nice little hobby so any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated .

    Can it run on Leopard and would this be beneficial?
  2. macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    I think you might have the last fastest G4 powermac made.

    I think they made a 1.42ghz single processor at the same release but yours is the better machine.

    The only thing I can think of you have not tried is a faster better video card.
    Not sure what the best ones for PMG4 are, but you've already done a lot on it.

    I guess you could set up a raid and get a bit more speed out of it?

    Nice machine. I wonder if you can put bluetooth on them? I think you can...

    Video card upgrade, raid plus possibly non essential bluetooth and airport cards. Outside of CPU processor upgrade, it's all I can think of.

    If you put Leopard on it, disable Dashboard, it eats a lot of CPU. I did it on my Powerbook G4 and it runs a LOT faster.
  3. macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

    Oct 24, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
  4. ste
    thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2008
    Cool didn't think of Raid mirror and will look into Video Cards.
    Not at G4 now but yea think it is bluetooth compatible.
    Will also get my hands on leopard, 'if i can catch him'(drum roll)
    Nice1 for the quick responses.
  5. macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2006
    some thoughts...

    I have the dual 1,42G, the last and greatest G4 of the MDD series.
    One thing you can do, is to eliminate the slow ATA harddrives and get a SATA controller card. Not only this, if you use Western Digitals 10.000 rpm drives (WD Raptor 150) as your start up disc, -then you really increase your
    overall system speed! I did that and it worked out great - my speed increase was better then the new graphic card.
    The Radeon 9600 of yours sounds pretty good because its already a aftermarket card. The usual 1,25G came with a Radeon 9000 or worse. Since you dont go for games, I would not change the graphics.

    The other thing what you could do is to improve your system on the cooling & noise side of it. The FW800 was the late model with the improved power supply, however there has been a real nice system on the market to make the machine realy quiet.
    Check out this


    This is however a german link, you would need to search for it on US pages. There have been versions for Dual CPUs, Single CPUs and for the PSU only.
    Its expensive but it works great on my system and I had a blast to install that thing....

    Have fun buddy

  6. macrumors 65816


    Mar 17, 2007
    The best you can get is a 7800GT which is rather expensive to buy if you can find it flashed with the Mac rom so your doing pretty good with your 9600 you have already got.



    Say idea here I have a PC version of the 9700 Pro that I am going to flash with the Mac rom coming along with the ram to max it out for my dual 1.42 model. I replaced the 120gb HD in it with an internal 500gb which sped up the disk access considerably it runs Leopard pretty well. One thing you may want to do is take off the heat sink and put some new thermal paste that got me from running high 50'sC down to mid-low 50's. Adding a fan to the outside of the case to get some actual air flow got that down to the high 40'sC I'm hoping the SilenX 60mm I am going to put on the inside behind the heat sink will get it even better. I haven't tried the nap mode you can use to lower it further as I have read it can cause problems with dual machines.

    What model of card did you get and is it SATAII? I have SATA HD's up the jing-jang here in external cases that are shortly to be replaced with 1tb ones once they come down a few more dollars.

    I seen that as well mine while not extremely quiet is not that bad certainly better than most PC's I have seen/used.
  7. macrumors 65816


    FWIW, a simple USB Bluetooth dongle will get you that capability for about $20 nottaproblemo......

    check out the later versions (rev 3) of the D-Link DBT-120 or similar units that support EDR 2.1 and go for it if you need it :)

    And yes, with your set-up, Leopard will run fine as is........as it has been since release day on my QS 1.6/1.5GB/9800Pro/Raptor machines :eek:
  8. ste
    thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2008
  9. macrumors 6502


    Aug 15, 2006
    Some things to look at

  10. ste
    thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2008
    decided to go a deferent route and partition two 500GB seagate HDs, ive only bought the 1 so far, replaced and old ATA Drive and copied my bootable back-up onto it, it boots up fine, but in system profiler theres nothing showing up under Serial-ATA ?
  11. macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2007
    It can run Leopard, but IMO it's not beneficial. Other than Handbrake, there's no software I have that won't run under Tiger and Tiger is noticeably faster than Leopard at pretty much everything. I have an upgraded PowerMac Digital Audio (1.8GHz 7448 G4, 1.5GB ram, ATI 9800 Pro, Sonnet USB 2.0, 18x Pioneer DVD-RW drive, Sonnet SATA plus two internal 500GB Sata hard drives and an internal USB 2.0/Firewire Hub where the Jazz drive used to be). I have OS 9, Tiger and Leopard all installed on 3 different partitions with the 2nd 500GB hard drive as a bootable backup drive (made with Carbon Copy Cloner). Because of the lack of improvements in Leopard and the LOSS of Classic Mode and slower performance overall, I still use Tiger on a day-to-day basis. The only reason to boot into OS9 is older games that don't run well in Classic. But using Leopard means Classic Apps don't run at all, graphics performance is 20-30% slower than Tiger despite the 9800 Pro having full Leopard Core-Image support and frankly, Tiger 'feels' more stable so far (although 10.5.5 does seem much improved over earlier releases). If/when iTunes isn't updated for Tiger any more, then I'll probably move to Leopard full time (I use my PowerMac to run my whole house audio system 24/7 using multiple AppleTV units and iTunes8).

    The main things you could do to improve things without upgrading the CPU would be internal SATA drives (I completely ditched all my PATA drives which were slow and had hard 120GB type limits anyway on size; the Sonnet SATA card was like $60 and I now get 80-102MB/sec transfer rates. If you really need improved graphics performance there are some hacked NVidia 7600 cards out there that will run in an AGP G4, but you'd probably need a 1.8GHZ-2.0GHz CPU upgrade to really notice much benefit and then mostly just from games running at higher resolutions compared to a 9800 Pro. You could get a 9800 Pro for that matter (like $20 for a PC version now if you can flash it yourself or about $90 from a guy on Ebay flashed for you). It'll be somewhat faster than the 9600.

    As for Bluetooth, the best dongle for Macs is the D-Link DBT-120 for around $20. It has full headset support under Tiger (only one that does to my knowledge) and has no issues in either Tiger or Leopard. I had another brand dongle that worked for file transfers under Tiger, but had no headset support. In Leopard, it wouldn't transfer files properly, but headsets worked...go figure. I use it on my PC now instead and got the D-LINK one for my PowerMac which has no issues at all.
  12. macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2008
    On an ancient G4, yes. On a G5 or Intel, Leopard is faster.
  13. macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2007
    Ancient? Sorry bub, but a G5 is 'ancient' too by computer terms. And sorry, but Tiger is faster on all PPC processors. You only have to check some XBench specs to see that it's all too true in the graphics department. Leopard MIGHT only faster on Intel because Tiger was never really optimized for Intel to begin with and the newer machines won't even work with Tiger so there's no way to tell.

    And before you go off half cocked, ask yourself WHY Leopard would be slower on an upgraded G4 with a 9800 Pro. There's simply no technical reason a G5 would be faster other than its faster CPU or some bus bandwidth, neither of which are critical to Leopard when doing the usual Mac 'nothing', which is to say Macs aren't gaming machines to begin with. There is no excuse for Leopard being slower other than laziness on Apple's part. It's why Snow Leopard is being developed, to make up for the total crap storm Leopard has been since it was released half-baked and is only now becoming stable.

    In any case, this guy is talking about an "ancient" G4 FW800, so your G5 comments are completely irrelevant anyway. If you don't like ancient computers, stay out of ancient threads.
  14. macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2008
    How about a completely different CPU design with far more registers, cache, bandwidth and overall goodness?

    Yessum massa, I's do as yous says now.
  15. macrumors 601


    Jun 18, 2007
    I already mentioned a faster CPU. That doesn't explain why Leopard would be faster relative to Tiger on a G5 versus a G4, only why a G5 would be faster than a G4 in general.
  16. macrumors regular

    Oct 11, 2008
    I already explained that. The G5 is a very different architecture that has more features and optimizations Leopard takes advantage of.

    Its the same reason Leopard doesn't support the G3 even though there are several G3 models above 867mhz.

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