Pismo Upgrade to 900 G3 (worth it?)

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by PismoGuy, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. PismoGuy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Skokie/Chicago, Illinois
    #1
    Hello,

    I was looking at Powerlogix's Bluechip 900 Mhz G3 upgrade as a means to prolong my Pismo's life. I have a question reguarding as to how much faster would it be. I noticed that the 900 G3 has a Level 2 Cache of 512K running @ proc speed and my 500 G3 has a 1MB lvl 2 cache running @ 200Mhz ... would that drop in memory make a big difference?

    http://www.powerlogix.com/products/bcg3pismo/index.html

    I just want my Pismo to last another 2/3 years (for college).It must handle the usual office apps, from time to time moderate FCP/Photoshop work, and I would like it to be snappier.

    Will this upgrade help accelerate MacOS X's GUI? (I know that Quarz Extreme requires 16MB of VRam, But still would it help?)

    I would like your input on the cost effectiveness of this upgrade
    (about $350). Thanks
     
  2. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #2
    Do a search...I downloaded a hack I spotted in an issue of Macworld for my Pismo. It works with both Jaguar and Panther, and enables Quartz Extreme on the 8 MB video card used in the Pismo. I did it while I had Jaguar, and the speed increase was instantaneous (after I restarted anyway). Then I installed Panther, and it is even FASTER. I'm still using the base 128 MB of RAM though.

    I have to say that my old 800 mhz G3 was probably faster than the Pismo, but it had 384 MB of RAM. My new 12" 1 GHz PowerBook is definitely faster, though :)

    Oh yeah:
    http://pages.cthome.net/zacks/
     
  3. killapenguin macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #3
    I also own a Pismo, and have been considering a processor upgrade. Powerlogix makes a good case for the G3/900 being faster than say a G4/500 that you can get from OWC. It's important to note that some apps now require aa G4 (Toast 6 Titanium, for example). Just something to consider before investing that $$$.

    I haven't done the upgrade yet (just blew my wad on a DVD burner), but have heard that it makes a huge difference.
     
  4. BrandonRP0123 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #4
    - No. Although smaller - the cache running at the same speed at the CPU is faster
    - The Quartz Extreme with 16 VRAM is a myth only - IIRC. Works beautifully on my iBook 500 with an 8MB ATI Rage Mobility in it.


    For $350 it might be worth it. But for 500-700 you might be able to get yourself a nice used TiBook.

    Really depends what you want to do. I think the Pismo is a bit more durable than the lower-end Ti's.
     
  5. AhmedFaisal Guest

    #5
    I personally believe it is a good idea

    I actually did the upgrade and I am very happy with it. I had a G3 400 previously and under OSX it would barf at most DivX files, under OS9 it worked so so. With the G3 900 now everything plays smoothly, I noticed also about 3x faster encoding in iTunes and Office is also a lot snappier. On a sidenote though the Pismo definitely benefits from a large amount of RAM. About 2 years ago I upgraded my Pismo to 1GB of RAM with the fastest cycle length and also gave it a 40GB 5600RPM IBM Travelstar HD with 8MB Cache, those together with the recent CPU upgrade gave it a massive performance boost. I am very happy with it and I think it will definitely last me for another 3 years (until then hopefully the G5 Powerbook is out, tehee ;) ). Btw. I noticed even when I clock the CPU down to 400MHz when running on battery the overall performance is significantly better than with the old G3 400.

    Two other neato things I got for my Pismo are an MCETech Slot-In Superdrive which is patched Region Free and a 3com Bluetooth PC-Card. For this card there is now an OSX driver available and since the card works even with the retractable antenna pushed into the card I have all the features of current Powerbooks without having to use an annoying protruding USB dongle for Bluetooth or an external DVD Burner.

    I am definitely very happy with the upgrade and for what I do (which excludes gaming) its perfect. I use it for Word processing, some photoshopping and canvas, presentations and DivX mainly.
    Regards,

    Ahmed
     
  6. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #6
    I also upgraded my G3 400 pismo w/ the 900 upgrade, a 7200rpm HD, and 1G ram. I feel it to be an exceptional performer...in my opinion the best laptop apple has made...but it comes down to what you need...the ram and 7200 HD make a huge difference regardless, in regards to G3 processor upgrades, you will run into software limitations w/ it not being a G4, which is something to consider...but combined with the reasons listed in the above post, the pismo still provides elegant competition to current PBs. The dual-battery feature alone sets it apart(with extended-life batteries from OWC you can get about 8 hrs of battery life w/ both bays). Have not tried the QE hack, but if it works, that is another plus. Sounds ridiculous to suggest...but for $700 ($350 for cpu, $250 for 50G 7200rpm HD, $150 for extended-life battery) you would have an amazing laptop in 2004...you might want to max ram and update HD before you take a the cpu plunge...you might get the speed you need by just those steps...if not, I am willing to take that machine off your hands...good luck
    *edit* of interesting note (or not): there will be no more cpu upgrades to the pismo via G4, as the later G4s will not fit (pins or whatever). We may yet see further G3 upgrades available, if development on the G3 continues...
    also the QE hack does not work on ATI cards in the pismo...drag.
     
  7. PismoGuy thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Location:
    Skokie/Chicago, Illinois
    #7
    Thanks alot,

    I was thinking of buying a new comp but its too expensive. Now in college I found myself less of a gamer and more project/homework type of guy. I just need a laptop to get me through the next couple of years(I am planning on getting the dual 3 Ghz G5, so buying a new laptop is a no no.) I will take your advice on maxing out my ram and I will do some research on a better HD. Maybe after college if I have the cash I would pimp out my pismo with a better proc. Oh... if any one of you has a link to where I find the QE hack(for a Rage 128 Pro 8MB,mobility) or knows how to, please post it up. thanks again
     
  8. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #8

    you would be better off putting a G4/500 or 550 in there. why? go to the xbench site and look through the beige and blue and white G3 model sections. find the G3800/900 ones and compare them to the G4 upgraded ones. often the G4 chip will have an equal or higher score than the 900 G3.

    bottom line is if you use osx then a G4 makes a huge difference.
     
  9. AhmedFaisal Guest

    #9
    Quartz Extreme does not work on Rage 128 chips. This has nothing to do with the memory but with the architecture of the Rage Chip. Quartz only works on Radeons and GeForce 2 and up.
    Cheers,

    Ahmed
     
  10. adamjay macrumors 6502a

    adamjay

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #10
    Pismo's can fetch upwards of $500-$600 these days on feEbay
    with that in mind, you could easily find a much more powerful G4 powerbook for the same $$ as your pismo is worth after the cost of the upgrade.

    unless you have an extremely deep and meaningful relationship with the pismo, i say upgrade to another machine.

    running FCP and Photoshop you will definitely want the G4 Altivec Engine.
     
  11. AhmedFaisal Guest

    #11
    I have to say no to that. The only Powerbooks he could pick up for that are Titanium ones and those are quite flimsy and noisy compared to the good old rugged Pismo. Just for the chipping paint I never even considered to buy a TiBook. Also they TiBook doesn't allow for the Dual Battery option with the fixed drive, doesn't have bluetooth either and the ones in the pricerange we are talking about have among the crappiest G4s Moto ever made. I admit though I am biased against anything Moto anyways so I am waiting for the G5 to make it into the Powerbook before I buy a new laptop.
    Cheers,

    Ahmed
     
  12. GFLPraxis macrumors 604

    GFLPraxis

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2004
    #12
    I already posted it:

    http://pages.cthome.net/zacks/

    That hack there will enable Quartz Extreme on the 8 MB card found in the 500 MHz Pismo G3 like mine. It also enables Quartz Extreme on PCI video cards (which is why its called PCI extreme). It works, too.
     
  13. AhmedFaisal Guest

    #13
    You are capable of reading the README? Let me quote here:

    "PCI Radeon users rejoice! This hack will allow any PCI video card that is a counterpart to one that can utilize Quartz Extreme from the AGP bus. Easy, eh? The hack PCI Extreme! performs will not allow older cards, such as the Rage II, Rage 128 Pro, Nexus, or any Voodoo or nVidia cards to utilize Quartz Extreme. No Radeon, no acceleration. That is the bottom line."

    So this if for 8MB !!RADEON!! cards. The Pismo has a !!RAGE 128!! chip. You might be able to install the hack but it won't do anything.
    Cheers,

    Ahmed
     
  14. Kelvin macrumors member

    Kelvin

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    SFBA, CA
    #14
    The bluechip upgrade really is a G4 class G3. The G3 actually has altivec; it's just called a G3 because IBM makes it (750FX). On top of that it has many of the modern features developed by IBM making it run cooler and faster than a Mot G4. It's a good upgrade, well worth the price.
     
  15. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #15
    Not so sure about the altivec in the G3, or if it is the 750FX, but you are right that it is worth the price...
     
  16. AhmedFaisal Guest

    #16
    Not really

    The G3 does not have Altivec. There is plans from IBM to include Altivec in a future revision of the G3 labelled 750VX. It is more the other way around, the G4 is basically a G3 with added Altivec FPU. It is also important to notice while the G5 is sold as having "Altivec" the underlying technology is an entirely different beast compared to Motorola's Altivec. Altivec compatible would be a more appropriate label for the G5 FPU. IBM in the past repeatedly critized the Motorola Altivec Concept because it made it difficult to make faster Chips with higher Clock-Speeds (as seen in the rather minor speed bumps of the G4). So if the G3 does get Altivec with the 750VX revision you can expect it to be an FPU that is more similar to that of the G5 than that of the G4.
    What is true however is that the G3 900 easily beats a G4 500. For Pismos 550 G4s were included on a couple of occasions but proved to be unstable (I asked Powerlogix about this and that is what they told me). For all non Altivec Apps the G3 900 beats the G4 500 at least by 50% in my experience. Some may argue that the G4 has twice as much Cache as the G3 (1MB and 512kB respectively) but the Cache of the G4 is external and only runs on 1/2 clock speed while the 512kB are internal at full clock speed. When Altivec comes into play I would see a par with maybe a slight advantage on the side of the G4 however the G3 consumes less power and produces less heat than the G4 which means the fan will not come on as often as with the G4 and your battery will last longer.
    Cheers,

    Ahmed
     
  17. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #17
    http://ladd.dyndns.org/xbench/merge.xhtml?doc1=39151&doc2=53675

    I selected the highest scored pismo with a G3 900 and the fastest with a G4 500. the overall score is slightly higher on the G4 yet its almost half the MHz.

    to really make osx snappy you need a G4. in some ways osx will run better on a G4/350 than it would on a G3/900. its true that not many things realy do use altivec but osx does take full advantage of it. when you're os is flying then your whole system is pretty much. the few apps that do use altivec are all ones that matter and will give you a great experience. vlc, mplayer, imovie, final cut pro, itunes, iphoto, photoshop, illustrator, image ready and so on...

    consider a G4...

    forgot to add that the pismo with the G3/900 has 4 times the ram of the one with a G4/500. so a G3/900 with 1GB ram vs a G4/500 with just 256 and the G4 pismo wins. I think that says it all...
     
  18. AhmedFaisal Guest

    #18
    Sorry, but I personally believe this thing is fake

    If you had at least said the RAM was the same. But no, you chose a 4fold difference in RAM which is absolutely unbelievable because OSX pages like hell before you go to at least 512MB. Here is a more reliable comparison of the performance of G3s to G4s. Its done on a B/W PowerMac but nevertheless it tells you more about the actual performance of the processor than what you posted.

    http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/G3CARDS/powerlogix_G3_800/index.html

    Sorry my friend, but I trust the XLR8 review more.
    Regards,

    Ahmed
     
  19. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #19
    In response to the dual between the G4 and G3 upgrades...powerlogix has a set of benchmarks on site, while not comprehensive, support the fact that the G3 is generally faster, sometimes by quite a margin. It is of course, safe to say that the G3 is noticably faster on non altivec-apps, the G4 faster on those that are. As someone who has had BOTH upgrades in my pismo, I stand by the fact that the G3 IS faster, on an identical machine...in my experience.
    That said, in response to the original post, like I said, I would upgrade HD and RAM before the cpu. If you are going to use alot of altivec apps, go for the G4 upgrade (powerlogix has discontinued it because of demand for the G3-which should say something) by xlr8 (it comes @550 now)...if not go G3...either are worth the money (on a g3 400 like mine, on a g3 500, the G4s value is dubious)
     
  20. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #20
    there are times where the G3 900 would be faster, yes. the miracle of altivec is a wonderful thing though. I remember that it took my original G3/350 cpu about 10-11 min. to uncompress mp3 files and burn a normal audio disk. with my G4/500 this takes under 2 min. now. first time I did one under altivec I tested it in my stereo to be sure it worked as I thought it must have messed up finishing so fast.

    as I have said, osx takes full advantage of altivec so why wouldn't you want a G4?
     
  21. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #21
  22. AhmedFaisal Guest

    #22
    XBench is known to give unrealistic results

    XBench is a piece of crap. I can run XBench twice on the same comp and I get different results each time. Nobody who does serious benchmarking uses this prog. You can simply look at the results for the G5 so far to tell you that. Give me results from serious benchmarking tools like 3dmark or linpack and then we talk. Have you even looked at the XLR8 review? It looks at a ton of different programs and gives you a much more comprehensive analysis than your XBench stuff. When I look at the results from the XLR8 review I can tell you exactly why I would go for the G3 and screw Altivec. The gain on Altivec enhanced applications is too minute to justify the bigger power consumption and heat production in a laptop. As for OSX using Altivec, that is nonsense as well. It will use Altivec for certain aspects but by far not for everything. Finder for example doesn't use Altivec, since it involves nothing that could make use of an FPU. When you look at the XLR8 review you also can see that the presence of Altivec in Altivec aware Applications only gives you a minimal advantage over the G3 900 simply because the G3 can take advantage of its higher clock and cache speed to keep up. So when it comes to the Blue&White G3/G4 upgrades I would very much take a look at how much Altivec aware work I do that would justify taking the performance cut on stuff that is not Altivec aware.
    Cheers,

    Ahmed
     
  23. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #23
    you speak as if you know all and every other source of info is bull. you are right in some ways and wrong in others as is everyone in the world. I would not keep posting stuff if it was not valid info. about xbench... think as you wish about it but it is a good tool to use as a guideline. whether its a good app or not does not make a difference because it would run the same way on all systems. it lets you know how different systems work on the exact same tests. period.
     
  24. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #24
    Perhaps we can agree to disagree? While very informative (to me and the original poster probably)...a little off topic...whether the G4 or G3 is ultimately faster, they are BOTH faster than a G3 500 (stock) and good values to lengthen the life of the Pismo...again I wish PismoGuy the best of luck with his decisions regarding his machine...
     
  25. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #25
    well said! :)
     

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