PMG4 Upgrades

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ddeadserious, Oct 20, 2008.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #1
    Just picked up a Powermac G4 from Craigslist with a 21" CRT monitor(I swear this thing weighs 75 pounds) with a pro keyboard and mouse all for $100. I really wanted to wait and get a MDD G4, but this will do, especially being 1/4 the price of the MDD ones I've been watching.

    It's got a single 450mHz Processor, 1.5GB(512x3) RAM, ATI Rage128 Video Card, Airport Card, a 110GB Seagate and 20GB stock boot drive, a DVD-ROM drive, and a ZIP drive.

    I've got a few questions....
    1. I'd like to upgrade the video card to better handle watching videos, what kind of options do I have?
    2. I'd like to upgrade the processor and I think this looks alright, what do you think? It seems reasonably priced.....
    3. I'd like to replace the DVD-ROM drive with a DL DVD-RW, are there any limitations on what kind of drive I can use?
    4. I believe this system can take 2GB RAM max, is this correct?
    5. And lastly, the zip drive is really useless to me - does anyone offer a USB/Firewire thing to put there? I'd like to have those ports on the front. If not, can I put a second optical drive there?

    My current plans(in the near, attainable future) are to bump up the ram to 2GB, and get a SATA controller card and 2 500GB SATA drives for it.

    The intent of this machine is for general Internet use, occasional light photoshop or illlustrator work, torrent/downloading, listening to music when I'm hanging around the room, and watching videos/movies when I'm sitting next to it on my MBP.

    Thanks for the help!
     
  2. macrumors 65816

    jodelli

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Location:
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    #2
    Make sure of which 400 G4 model it is before upgrading. The 400s came in different flavors, the main difference being no AGP slot in the first model.

    The AGP and above can use these as well. I have the 1Ghz model and have had no problems with it.

    My Sawtooth is only good for 2Gig ram.

    The Zip slot is PATA, and you can add another drive that runs on this, although you'll have to mod the slot to get a drive in it. Likewise an optical drive. Video wise you'll have to check around to find one that will drive on this machine.
     
  3. macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

    #3
    jodelli....if dead's machine is truly a stock 450mhz, it is an AGP "Sawtooth"......the Yikes machines only came stock up to 400mhz :)

    ddS: as long as you plan to run at least 10.3.5, then

    1. You can use just about any of the ATI Radeon series (7500, 8500, 9000, 9800) of cards, however the 2x AGP slot in your machine will limit the performance somewhat on the higher-end ones like the 9800. There are also some nVidia MX2/3 series cards that will work too, but their drivers of that era were flaky at best, so only go there if you absolutely cant find anything else :)

    2. Yes that processor will work, but thats aLOT of $$ to drop into an antique machine :)

    3. swapping the optical drives is ok, although I would recommend staying with either Pioneer (most compatible) or Sony (alot work, but not all)

    4. mAxDaRam 4 sure ! regardless of what else you do with it.

    5. Zip drive...worthless ? naw, surely not :D That bay is perfectly sized for 3.5" wide drives, and there are temperature monitor-displays/fan controllers out there made for peecees that will work with a little dremel-tooling....

    6. The sata card & drives will add lots of sppeeed & capacity for small $$.....thats one of the 1st things I did with my 1st Sawtooth years ago !

    please keep us posted with your progress :p

    BTW, if you need case parts/components, pm me, I have extras :)
     
  4. macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #4
    god damnit. i wish australia has sites like these!!! (apart from ebay).


    that is an AWSOME find!!! congrats
     
  5. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #5
    Thanks jodelli and smurfbox! You were a huge help.

    I'm running 10.4.11. If I do upgrade the processor somehow, it'll be running Leopard.
    1. I think I'm gonna go with this video card, it should work right?
    2. The more I think about the processor upgrade, you're probably right. Is there a processor unit I can drop in from another stock G4? Or is that not possible? jodelli, that processor upgrade is definitely more affordable than the one I posted, maybe I'll go with that if there's not a stock upgrade I can do.
    3. Sounds good, I'll stick with Pioneer.
    4. Good stuff, ram will be going to 2GB as soon as I can find a cheap, compatible 512 stick.
    5. In regards to zip drives, I actually used them quite a bit ~5 years ago. There's a crap load of 100mb zip drives floating around my house somewhere. I think I'll pass on the little temperature display thing, although it would be cool - this will be hidden next to my desk all the time. I suppose maybe I'll just slap another hard drive in there.
    6. Will any PCI SATA controller work, OWC's seems a little pricey? How about this?

    First order of business though - find a 19-24" LCD for less than $200 so I can run this thing. The monstrous CRT won't even fit on my desk.
     
  6. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    #6
    Nope, not OOTB. You'd have to flash it to a Mac compatible version.


    Again, no, any PCI controller card for a G4 Mac has to have Open Firmware compatibility to run reliably, especially if you want to boot off the SATA drive. That's also why they're pricey since the G4 hardware market is much smaller than the (cough) PC hardware market.

    If you want something cheaper:

    http://www.wiebetech.com/products/pci.php

    The TCS2-0 only costs $40..
     
  7. macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #7
    If you want to upgrade to a stock processor, try looking for a dual 500mhz one. I had a gigabit ethernet g4 with dual 500 and 2gb ram and an ati 9800 pro 256mb(pc card flashed with mac rom) and I was shocked about how well it ran, I had it hooked up to my TV for a while to play all my movies and music through my stereo. For what you are describing what you want to do with your Mac, I think the dual 500 would be enough for you since the 2gb really makes that sucker come alive. Adding the PCI SATA card with SATA drives will definetly wake up that machine even more.

    I'm not 100% sure but I think the Quicksilver dual processor cards might work in the Sawtooths as that could be another option. They go up to dual 1ghz. It's alot cheaper then buying a OWC or Sonnet upgraded processor.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #8
    Thank you!

    And thank you! How do you flash the video card with mac rom?
     
  9. macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #9
    The Quicksilvers G4's will work with some modding (not Mirror Drive Door).
    1. A power lead has to be run to the CPU card. 12v if I remember correctly
    2. QS used 133FSB while Sawtooth used 100 FSB, the CPU will drop in frequency unless you solder on a dip switch to modify the speed (I forget if the switch is used to change the multiplier or overclock the bus speed)

    The easiest would definitely be grabbing a the Dual 500mhz you mentioned from a Gigabit Ethernet G4.

    As for the video card I would look at flashing a PC Radeon 9x00 series since the used PC ones are dirt cheap. Make sure to buy one with the higher grade square not rectangular memory chips.
    The Mac Elite
     
  10. macrumors newbie

    way77

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2006
    Location:
    Chronos
    #10
    Upgrade

    The video card I upgraded to is a ATI Radeon 9000 Pro and it works great. Just make sure its the Mac version. I put the 1.2GHz processor in mine and it does fine in 10.4. I also put in a Pioneer DVR-109 and added a USB 2.0 PCI card. Runs like a horse, albeit a slightly older and grayer one.
     
  11. macrumors 65816

    jodelli

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2008
    Location:
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    #11
    I got one on eBay a while back for less than that. Made sure of the seller, working pull, etc.

    I have Kingston 512 in mine.

    The drive bay is the right width, but there's a metal plate across the rear of the bay that will have to be removed for a HDD. I'm running a third drive on that connector right now.
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

    #12
    A) Yup, video & sata cards have to have Mac firmware to work.The video card will only really help with gui effects & a bit of the movie stuff, but the sata will really sppeed up I/O data movement and app loading. I have been happily using a SIIG 4 port card in all of my macs for several years now neveranottaproblemo :p

    B) Ram: has to be low-density type, with chips on both sides of the module, otherwise no workie in your machine

    C) for your uses, a dual 500 would be an excellent and much more affordable upgrade, and would add a considerable sppeeed boost to your machine.


    D) flashing a video card requires: 1) a flashable card 2) the correct ROM files 3) a well-running windblows machine (if such a thing exists) 4) alot of patience & determination
     
  13. macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

  14. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #14
    I just found that this thing has an M-Audio 1010LT PCI card in it. Does this mean this is the "Digital Audio" model of the PMG4?

    edit: The Wiki site on Powermac G4's says that the slowest processor that came in the "Digital Audio" ones was 466mHz. Under System Profiler, for Machine Name, it says Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics), and for Machine Model, it says PowerMac3,1.

    So I suppose this means that the M-Audio card was added by a user? These seem to be going for a pretty penny on eBay, and it looks just like the M-Audio 1010LT that's being sold currently....
     
  15. macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

    #15
    yep, mAudio is an aftermarket supplier, so that card was added in.....

    the DA model you speak of had onboard sound just like all other macs, but also had a digital amplifier designed to drive USB-powered speakers.......
     
  16. macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #16
    Yeah that card does go for quite a bit. Does it have the cables for it? You can just sell that sucker on ebay to pay for the costs of the processor upgrade, memory, and dvd burner you want.

    You got a really good deal on that Mac from Craigslist. That M-Audio card is alone is worth what you paid for the entire setup. :D
     
  17. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #17
    Ahh I see, thanks.

    Unfortunately, I don't have the cables for it. I put it up on Craigslist for $150 and had someone respond this morning. Hopefully they'll buy it, and then I will have made profit on this computer:eek:(at least until I buy an LCD for it). I wish I could put all the money toward computer upgrades, but that 21CRT is too big for my desk!

    I'm gonna leave it on craigslist for another day or two and if it doesn't sell, then I'll throw it on eBay.

    Are these cards platform specific, or will this one work on a Winblows machine, etc?
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
  19. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #19
    [​IMG]

    So I sold the 21" CRT to my boss(photography studio) for $50. I then went to Best Buy, and bought a 19" Westinghouse LCD, as seen above for less than $200. I had a hard time finding a 19" that had a better than 1440x900 resolution, but this one has a 1680x1050 resolution. :D It also has the option for 1920x1080, but I like to actually be able to see what I'm doing.

    I've got the M-Audio card up on eBay, which will get me enough money to buy a dual 450 or 500mhz processor card, if it sells. I've also got my iMac G3 for sale as well. So I have this thing all upgraded before too long!

    Thanks for the help guys.

    Once I'm running dual processors, it'll be at least 900mHz combined if I get the 450mhz one, would Leopard be okay or would you recommend against it?
     
  20. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #20
    Just installed Leopard on it using LeopardAssist. It runs unbearably slow(although, spotlight is currently indexing) right now. Fortunately, I partitioned my bigger drive, and installed Leopard on a separate partition, so I'll be running Tiger until I get that processor card.

    I just won an auction on eBay for a dual 500mHz processor card, so that should speed it up quite a bit.

    And depending on how much that M-Audio card sells for, I may be able to bump the ram up the rest of the way and upgrade the video card.

    The SATA card is in the more distant future, although not too far away.
     
  21. macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

    Joined:
    Jun 11, 2007
    Location:
    Singapore
    #21
    just remember that spotlight will kill that computer, give it some time and it will start to perform better.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
    #22
    Yeah, it did get better after Spotlight finished indexing. But it's still pretty darn slow. I'm going to stay in Tiger until I get that dual processor in here. I'm happy that I put Leopard on a separate partition rather than upgrading it from my Tiger boot disk.
     
  23. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ddeadserious

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Location:
    Plymouth, MI
  24. macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

    #24
  25. macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2004
    #25
    The Radeon 7000 AGP is definitely the bare minimum video card you can buy; you'd be better off getting an nVidia FX 5200/5500 and flashing it yourself to Mac, then at least you'd get Core Image / OpenGL acceleration in Tiger/Leopard.

    Bought an FX 5500 (it's just an upclocked 5200) flashed it and put it in a dual 500 MHz G4, it actually runs pretty good with OS X 10.5. It's like the OS the machine should have had seven years ago. Leopard wrings every bit of speed possible from those twin babies. It's not going to play DOOM 3 but it makes a great 'general purpose' machine.
     

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