Power Mac G4 Gigabit Ethernet upgrades

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by dobbs383, Feb 15, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    I just got a used G4 tower from my university and was wondering what I have to do in order to upgrade it so I can use it to store and watch videos, pictures, movies, and music. Is it possible to put a 1 TB hard drive in this unit, I've read that I will need a sata pci card to read a drive larger than 128GB but I really have no idea. Also is 128MB the largest video card this can handle? Thanks, any advice would be great
  2. macrumors 68020


  3. macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    My recommendation would be as follows. First off, if you are going to be dealing with any HD content, abandon the project now. G4 towers simply don't have the CPU muscle to deal with HD video.

    Otherwise, I say concentrate on memory and storage. Get a 2 or 4 channel SATA card and some nice big 7200rpm drives. Then make sure you've got 1GB of RAM or more. As for video cards, I say get something with DVI for better picture quality.

    Gigabit Ethernet G4s use AGP 2x video cards, so you are somewhat limited as to what you can put in there. A 128MB Radeon 9800 PRO is the easiest option and that machine really doesn't need a better card (unless you are going to run some 3D games and want the best possible performance - but in that case you are better off investing in a newer tower...).

    As for hard drives, you need a SATA card to support drives larger than 128GB. I have an SIIG brand 2-channel SATA card in my Digital Audio and it works very well. It also provides a nice speed boost over the built-in interface. There are a large variety of cards available depending on how my drives you are running.

    For all upgrades I can recommend going through Other World Computing.

    Don't spend too much - the G4 towers are great computers but they aren't getting any younger.
  4. macrumors newbie

    thanks, will I have any issues with power supply if I upgrade the hard drive and graphics card?
  5. macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    Well, I have a Digital Audio G4 with an OWC 1.33GHz G4 overclocked to 1.4Hz, 256MB GeForce 6800GT, 2x250GB HDDs (plus the original 40GB drive), 1GB RAM, a DVD-RW, a PCI slot cooler fan and a USB 2.0 card - all running on the original power supply. It's been going for over three years without trouble.

    However, they are expensive to replace, and they are old. If you can snag one cheap as a backup it could be a good idea, especially if you are planning to keep the machine running long-term.
  6. macrumors 65816


    Where do you get SATA cards that will work in G4s?
  7. macrumors 601


    You can start here. Look around as I'm sure you can find them cheaper.
  8. macrumors 6502a

    Hi, I also have a powermac g4. If i use the card and put a larger sata 7200 rpm drive, will it be a DRAMATIC increase in speed? Will i be able to notice it?
  9. macrumors 601


    Yes. Boot times will decrease and your apps will open quicker. Read/Write times will also noticeably be quicker.
  10. macrumors 6502a

    okay thanks. If i just get a quicksilver and use an IDE drive with high rpm and lots of cache, will that also be good, or is it better to get the card for the quicksilver as well?
  11. macrumors 6502


    the card option is advised for better performance.

    a point to ponder over. with all the little bits adding in, the cost itself may be more than getting a used intel iMac or even the first gen of macbooks. please note that this is stated overly simple. weigh what u need and budget and proceed.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    sorry for double post, but will any PCI internal SATA card with with powermacs. I have a powermac quicksilver with dual 800mhz.
  13. macrumors 6502


    u'll 've to check for compatibilities.
    xlr8yourmac.com is a good place to start, likewise search around MR forums.

    if my TiPB G4 didn't move on, i would still be working with her right now.
  14. macrumors regular

    Not just any, has to be made for Mac as in Open Firmware compatible, or have mac driver support from the vendor

    Some cards have boot support (Open Firmware compatible) others only have driver level support be careful when trying to pick one out

    Expect to pay at least $50+ as any cheaper cards are discontinued, Newegg used to sell ACARD but not any more

    Quick recommendation: get the Sonnet Tempo SATA card, it has the best compatibility and it's about $65

    Also watch out, adding drives may tax your older power supply to the point of breakdown depending on how big/fast they are

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