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Power Mac G4 Processor Upgrade Help!!!

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Full-Throttle, Jun 22, 2007.

  1. macrumors member

    I have a Power Mac G4 "Sawtooth" and would like to upgrade the processor (it currently has a 450Mhz G4). Buying a new computer is not an option, I just want to upgrade this machine and I would like to get the upgrade from Sonnet. Could someone please put these processors in order from fastest to slowest?

    1.0 GHz G4 with a 256KB L2 cache and a 2MB L3 cache

    1.4 GHz G4 with a 256KB L2 cache and a 2MB L3 cache

    1.6 GHz G4 with a 512KB L2 cache and no L3 cache

    I am not new to computers (I have been using and upgrading PC's on my own for years) but am newer to Macs, so I understand that the 1.6Ghz is the fastest because it has a higher clock speed but the L3 cache is confusing me. I read somewhere that a L3 cache can sometimes be more important than clock speed. Would the 1.4 or even the 1.0 be faster than the 1.6 because they have L3 caches and the 1.6 does not?

    I would prefer to get the 1.0 because it is the least expensive, but if it is a lot slower than the 1.4 or 1.6 models then I will get the fastest of the two.

    Here is the link to Sonnets web site: http://www.sonnettech.com/product/encore_stg4.html

    Any advice you can offer I would really appreciate,

  2. macrumors 6502


    something you want to look at...

    Hey Dude,

    In my opinion I would not go with a CPU without L3 Cache! The L3 Cache originally was intendet for expensive server applications only. Because of the transition from the Powermac G4 xserve CPU to the mainstream, customers had a chance to get there hands on these CPU's for the first time. However you also want to look at the question Dual CPU yes/no. The decision denpends on the applications you run. Maybe you could work with your G4 for another 2 years easily with a good upgrade.
    In my case I did some upgrades to mine and I still don't access the power yet.
    Here are some options:


    A word about CPUs and my recomendation: No matter if you go for a dual CPU or a single CPU, I would always pic a CPU with L3 cache.

    Here is also an article you need to read:


    good luck.:)

  3. macrumors member

    Thank you for the information. One question though, is the 1.4Ghz Sonnet with the L3 cache worth the extra 80 dollars over the 1.0Ghz that also has an L3 cache? All I do is web design with Dreamweaver, image editing with Fireworks, and I sometimes use Adobe Illustrator.
  4. macrumors 6502


    Look for the bottlenecks

    If I would have to decide, I would ask myself: What will be the expected lifecycle of the CPU upgrade you are going to buy. If you go for a new mac in a year from now anyways, well then I would go for a less expensive upgrade. However, if you want to get the most out of your machine, and you are not willing to pay big time for new machine anytime soon, I would not try to save money on the upgrade. In my opinion its absolutly worth the 80$ and go for 1,4G. Even Leopard would most likely work on the machine if you desire the new OSX, so you can use the CPU even longer or sell it better because of this reason.

    Also there is one other thing to consider. Do you have other bottelnecks in your machine? What graphic do you have, how fast is your HD and how much Ram do you have. In case you have a very old Graphic card and low ram you would like to think about that too. Ram is not very expensive any more, so that would get you where you want to be.

    good luck

  5. macrumors regular

    If you can...

    The latest and greatest are the 7448 G4s from NewerTech. However, they are more expensive than what you are looking at. This 1.8GHz 7448 should be awesome, but the price is $359. I also think that OWC is a great place to buy.
  6. macrumors member

    Thanks again for your help, I guess I will go for the 1.4 Ghz upgrade.

    As for bottlenecks I don't think I have any that are serious. I have a ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, 768 MB of ram, and a 40 GB 5400 RPM hard disc (probably one of the slower components in my system). I have only upgraded the ram and the video card (I have only spent $90 so far, I had the extra ram laying around from an old PC and I got the video card used at a great price). When I run the Activity Monitor, I usually have lots of free ram and hard drive activity is usually low, but the processor is running at 100%. I am pretty sure the main bottleneck in my system is the processor.

    Thanks for the info jwdawso, but I would rather not spend over $250 for a processor if I can help it.
  7. macrumors 6502


    You will like the upgrade

    Oh, this is great! The graphic is the fastest possible you can scweeze in. You will be delighted, the 1,4 will rock. Let us know once you have the CPU put in.

  8. macrumors 65816


    I know you don't want to spend the extra money, but I was a G4 sawtooth owner. I upgraded mine with a 1 Ghz Sonnet card, 2.5 megs ram, hard drive and Ati 9800 pro card.

    I ended up selling it a year after and buying a 2nd hand G5 Powermac for $700. The G5 just blows away that G4 mostly because of I think bus speed. So I'm just saying, maybe a used G5 would be a better investment.
  9. macrumors 6502

    Yup, the bus is the big bottleneck.

    Or should that be small bottleneck, har.
  10. macrumors G5


    I also owned a sawtooth until last year. The CPU upgrade will blow you away. It's a huge difference, especially since your video card is already upgraded. No matter what you choose, you should be happy.
  11. macrumors newbie

    HI, I'm in a similar position - trying to squeeze a bit more life out of my AGP 400mHz model. I was considering a processor upgrade but must admit to not really understanding how bus speed/cache affects overall performance.

    I am running with 1.2 GB RAM; ATY Rage128Pro card; L2 Cache is 1 MB and Bus Speed = 100 MHz. I do run intensive apps like Adobe CS1 (soon to be upgraded) and obviously things are pretty slow.

    Will a 1400/1600mHz CPU and a bit more RAM make a noticeable difference? Or does my bus speed, original graphics card etc limit any speed increase? Any advice appreciated.
  12. macrumors 6502




    you'll need to ask yourself a view questions regarding this. How much longer you want to use your tower? How much more power you would need to use your machine for another 1-2 years? How much would a new machine cost you? How much cost the upgrade? How does the performance of the upgrade compares to other options like a Mac Mini, Mac Pro of maybe a used G5 from E-bay. How big is your budget?
    In your case you are in a good position because of several factors. #1 The upgrades for your G4 are very attractive priced. #2 The possible upgrades you could do would rock your house. However this depends how many bottlenecks you are able to get rid off.
    400 Mhz is not enough for todays standards, however you where able to work so far - this indicates to me that your requirements are not too big. This is also the Nr.1 argument why you should go with an upgrade and a new MacPro would be an overkill for you.
    In order to get a great performance, you will need to adress three things.
    Get a faster CPU with L3 cache if possible. If your budget is bigger I would go with a dual CPU. Ram memory is cheap these days for you machine, - max it out to 1,5 Gig. And then go for a faster graphic card with more memory - also cheap on e-bay. Thats what I would do first. You will find a great improvement that last at least a year to work fine. However if you have an even greater budget you may go for a faster harddrive too. A SATA card goes only for 50 bucks and a bigger faster SATA HD is standard these days with up to 16MB cache these days. ( here you want to go with the 10K Raptor drive)
    In this case you will end up with a great and fast system ready for at least another 2 years in my opinion. The only thing you cant upgrade is the memory bus of 100/133 mhz. That is a problem and actually the only reason why you can't kick the G5's butt, however your system then would be fast for "my standards". :apple:

  13. macrumors 68000


    To Full Throttle,

    yesterday I ordered the PowerLogix PowerForce Dual G4 Series 100 processor (dual 1.0 GHz G4 with a 256KB L2 cache and a 2MB L3 cache) to drop in my 500 MHz Sawtooth. I'll let you know how it turns out.
  14. macrumors 68030


    Ghost, you're better off hunting a used G4 tower on eBay, say, a Quicksilver or MDD, preferably Dual.

    I used a while back have a machine equipped similar to your G4 currently, but it had 1GB of RAM and a 466 MHz processor, and its speed hindered me, so I sold it to buy my X1950Pro card for my PC.

    I recently scored an awesome deal on a second-hand G4 Quicksilver, it was about 260 shipped. It didnt have any RAM or a hard disk, but I had both on hand already, and it runs like a champ, with 1.5 GB of RAM dropped into it, and it even came with a better video card (9000 Pro instead of the 4MX), that was apparently a pull out of a MDD G4.
  15. macrumors 65816

    I upgraded an AGP 500MHZ with a dual 1.8GHz Sonnet Duet processor and I can definitely say it was a different machine. Better in fact than my off the shelf G4 MDD dual 1.25GHz. Any single core processor upgrade would still lag behind the MDD dual 1.25. I would maybe recommend Newer Tech's 7448 processors rather than the Sonnet 7447 versions as the 7448 chips run faster and cooler (they came out after I already bought my Sonnet 7447 - two days after in fact!)

    What you need to do though to really do the upgrade justice is max out the RAM to 2GB and upgrade the hard drive to a much faster SATA which means buying a new SATA drive and a Sonnet SATA PCI card as well (you can add 2 x 750GB drives!). And also the best 2x AGP graphics card available, which is the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB.

    I did each of these things incrementally, and with each addition I saw very noticeable performance enhancements each time.

    You can get the graphics card and RAM off ebay to save a few dollars. Be sure to get the correct type RAM though as the AGP and prior models takes a different type to later G4s, if I recall correctly.

    Price it all out first though. As Foxglove mentions above, you may be find a second hand G5 to be a better and cheaper alternative.
  16. macrumors 68000


    Hey everyone,

    just received my new processor for the 500 MHz Sawtooth. I ended up upgrading to a dual 1.3 GHz Power PC G4 with a 2MB L3 cache per processor. Install took only 3 min 20 sec power-down to power-up.

    With 2 Gigs of RAM running too, all I can say is HOLY ****,

    For ~ $250 you can't beat it.

    I'll be upgrading my current 64 GeForce4 MX soon as well for the Leopard switch.

    I highly recommend this cheap upgrade for anyone with an older G4 tower.

    - BSL4 Guy

    p.s. I think my Safari is snappier too :D
  17. macrumors 68000


    You made an excellent call! I bought the same processor last year, and my box still flies; it even keeps up with my 2X2.0 G5 in a lot of instances. Enjoy your rig, it should last you a few more years. :)

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