PowerMac G4 - what benefit will I see from this upgrade?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by minusten, Aug 21, 2009.

  1. macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    #1
    I've been offered a Power Mac G4 Quicksilver from a friend who's buying a new Mac. I know it's been well looked after and I think it's either the single 800mhz or 867mhz with around 640mb of RAM, 40gb HD. If I do take it off his hands, is it worth upgrading and what benefit will I see?

    I figured I could get two 512mb RAM chips and also perhaps a larger HD (though believe it would need an additional component to handle an HD larger than 120gb - is this correct?). It takes 1.5gb RAM max.

    So how much of a performance lift will almost tripling the RAM give me - will it be worth the $140 (approx)?

    Is it best to replace the existing HD or fit a second internal one? Do I need some sort of adapter if fitting a larger drive to any of the internal bays?

    I wouldn't consider updating the processor as I don't think that would be cost-effective.

    I am aware that this system won't run SL, but am interested for nostalgic reasons (even though it's only around 8 years old).
     
  2. macrumors regular

    Lukeyboy01

    Joined:
    May 15, 2009
    Location:
    Birmingham, UK
    #2
    Putting in th 1GB Ram will give it better multitasking capabilities and make it better handle tiger ( the OS i recomend) you could put two 120GB HDs in and then use it as an itunes server? to get over 120 you need a device that lets the powermac see the drive as several drives though i can't remember the name of the product someone else could probably tell you.
     
  3. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2009
    #3
    I have this machine with 1.5GB ram. You can put up to 4 drives inside the case of any size, but the board will only recognize up to 128GB. The drive sleds and power plugs are included. I have upgraded mine to a 1.8Ghz proccesor and Leopard OSX. Leopard and the latest Safari seem to have to much overhead for this combo as Photoshop has become extremely sluggish and even surfing the web is getting the same. Previous versions of OSX were much better. I would also upgrade the DVD drive, if you use CD's or DVD's, as it makes a world of difference. They are dirt cheap these days. Hope this helps.
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #4
    Also remember you need your OS disk if you want to make another HDD your main bootable drive. Does your friend have it or do you have to buy one?
     
  5. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    #5
    Might just start with the RAM if I do get the machine, see how that goes and then consider what you guys suggest. Is $140 good value for two 512 chips? I've heard good things about Crucial, would most of you go for them rather than Kingston? Any problems with Crucial?

    Back to the HD, does the PowerMac contain the cables for extra HDs or will that come with replacement HDs? And will it take 128gb per bay or in total across four drives?
     
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    #6
    You will see a lot of speed improvement by replacing that old 40GB drive with a new one!

    The cables for all four drives are in there (4x MOLEX-power, 2x IDE with two connectors each) if your friend didn't take them out for some reason.

    At least that was the case with my Power Mac 2x1.25GHz G4 MDD...
     
  7. macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #7
    Crucial is good but you can also check with OWC. They are great to deal with.
     
  8. macrumors 65816

    300D

    Joined:
    May 2, 2009
    Location:
    Tulsa
    #8
    Get a SeriTek SATA card, IDE just plain sucks.
     
  9. thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2009
    #9
    Just checked with him and it's the 60gb HD in there. If plenty of space is left on it (say at least 25gb) will there still be a benefit in speed overall by replacing with a larger drive?

    Is SATA much quicker than IDE? What is the difference?
     
  10. macrumors 68020

    michael.lauden

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2008
    #10
    so let me just total your upgrades

    PowerMac: 200$
    RAM: 40$
    Leopard: 129$
    Processor? 50$
    DVD drive 40$


    = 459$ total right?


    i'd rather have a Mac mini 2.0GHz Core 2 Duo with 4GB of RAM for within 100$ of the same price (used)
     
  11. macrumors 65816

    CubeHacker

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2003
    #11
    Upgrading the HDD will give you moderate speed improvements in things like launching apps or booting OSX. But it isn't going to make anything render faster, make your internet browsing smoother, or make your games run better. All that is limited by the CPU in the system, which is getting slow by todays standards. Yes, if you stick a good 1gb of RAM in there and run Tiger, it will still be a nice machine for browsing the web and doing simple things like word processing and listening to music. Don't bother with SATA, the CPU is your bottleneck.
     
  12. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    May 20, 2004
    #12
    I have the same machine running 10.4 server

    I have the same machine. I upgraded the RAM to 1.5 gigs, dropped in a $22 FW800 card from OWC, upgraded the internal drive with an IDE I had laying around, attached two FW800 external enclosures from OWC and set them up as a mirrored RAID, and bought a copy of 10.4 Tiger server off of eBay for next to nothing.

    For not a lot of money at all I have a great server for the home. I'm running only the file sharing service and every mac in the house has access to our family data, movies, music, etc.
     
  13. macrumors 68000

    drewsof07

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    #13
    IDE is still very capable in those machines. They aren't powerful enough (stock) to notice a faster transfer speed anyway. Save your money from the SATA card to upgrade the RAM and buy 1 or 2 120gb IDE drives, you will have a capable machine. I would suggest sticking with Tiger though, I run leopard on my dual 800, but it is a dual and that helps tremendously.
     
  14. macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2008
    Location:
    KY
    #14
    If you don't mind an "off-brand," here's a great deal:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16820609468

    512MB with lifetime warranty for $24.99 and free shipping - so that's less than $75 (if you need three, that is - $50 if you've got one 512 already).

    And Newegg is GREAT to deal with, too... and Super Talent usually isn't a terribly bad cheapie brand. Should work, but if it doesn't, then Newegg will easily accept the return.

    EDIT: And they have the crucial memory for a bit cheaper, too, if you really want it.
     
  15. macrumors 68030

    Darth.Titan

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    #15
    Not all Quicksilvers suffer from the >120GB hard drive limit. I have a 160 GB as well as a 200GB drive in mine and both show full capacity with no additional drivers involved.

    In fact, even though Apple states only Mirror Drive Door (MDD) G4 towers and Xserves have native bootrom support for large IDE drives using the onboard IDE interface, I've never encountered a Quicksilver user who couldn't use large drives.

    Just FYI
     
  16. macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #16
    Before you buy a SATA make sure that there is a connector for it on the motherboard as it is different then IDE...
     
  17. macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Location:
    Kreplakistan
    #17
    As peeps said here,be carefull with the "updating". It will end up costing as much as the said mini..

    I got rid of my old G4 about three years ago,untill that it was my photo editing machine... :)
    It worked actually quite ok with 8bit images around the 50-70mb sizes.

    Nowadays,if I were you,would allocate the machine for a email reader/surfer/itunes server. Maybe up the memory to 1 gig and get a external fw/usb hdd for the music,(as they dont have the size limit),but thats it.




    Or you could make a minibar out of it...
     
  18. macrumors 68000

    drewsof07

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    #18
    The 2002 and above Powermacs could use larger drives. This would include the 867 and dual 1ghz models intro'd in 2002. My 2001 dual 800 does NOT support >120gb. I tried :(
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    lannister80

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2009
    Location:
    Chicagoland
    #19
    I'm surprised there's not some kind of LBA kext to make that work.
     
  20. macrumors 68000

    drewsof07

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2006
    Location:
    Ohio
    #20
    Yeah I'm fairly certain it's a hardware limitation on part of the ATA controller.
     
  21. macrumors 6502

    Dave H

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Location:
    California
    #21

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