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Speeding up my G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Hughm, Jun 1, 2010.

  1. macrumors member

    I'm told that the speed bottleneck in my G4 is the hard drive, specifically the read/write speed.

    I've got 1.5 GB of ram (out of a possible 2) and still find the machine slow, particularly when doing things like synching my iPhone and when copying files.

    So . . . would replacing the HD with something newer be a better investment than just topping up the RAM?

  2. macrumors P6


    You could find a SATA card for it and put a SATA drive in it and use it as your main drive.
  3. macrumors 68020


    Maxing out the RAM and adding a Western Digital Caviar Black HD will help a lot. I use a WD Black with 64MB buffer and it really helps performance.

    What CPU speed do you have? There are still a few upgrades on the market for G4 towers.
  4. macrumors member

    It's 1.25

    It's a great machine, great for most things. But as I said, I'd like to squeeze a bit more oomph out of the old girl.
  5. macrumors 65816


    I'm not sure what speed USB came with a 1.25ghz G4 Powermac, but if its 1.1 spec USB, then that would account for the slowness. You might want to go into system profiler to check. You can get a USB 2.0 PCI card for about $20 today which would speed up transfers significantly.

    Also, it depends on what your mac is doing WHEN you transfer. Do you have iTunes do any kind of transcode to AAC when transferring? That would take a significant amount of time.
  6. macrumors 6502


    All G4 towers were saddled with only USB 1.1 from the factory. Good news is that PCI USB 2.0 cards are cheap and readily available. Getting one for my Quicksilver was a no-brainer.

    Adding a fast SATA hard drive and a PCI SATA card are also really good ideas for speeding things up.

    Additionally maxing out the RAM and upgrading the video card are never bad ideas, but it's up to you how much you want to spend on an older machine.
  7. macrumors 68040


    Dude, unless you have an absolute need for PCI slots, then it's completely not worth it to spend any money upgrading a G4. Even the oldest, slowest intel mac mini will destroy the speed of any G4 powermac.


    fastest G4 PowerMac = 1212 -Power Mac G4 (Mirrored Drive Doors) PowerPC G4 (7445/7455) 1.42 GHz (2 cores)

    slowest intel mac mini = 1390 -Mac mini (Early 2006)Intel T1200 1.5 GHz (1 core)
  8. macrumors 68020


    Speak for yourself. Many people (myself included) feel it's very worth while to invest money in older towers.

    Someone who thinks it's all about raw performance really has no grasp of what computers are really about. For me (and many others) it's about running hardware you're comfortable with. Do a few google searches and find out the horrifically high amount of intel macs that die after just 2-3 years.

    I guarantee I can get more done on my upgraded G4 tower than a typical guy with a new intel mac who doesn't know how to truly harness the power.
  9. macrumors 68030


    For the last time (though I know I'll have to say this to somebody else very soon):


    Keep the 1280mb you have, I was cruising on only 768mb.

    Syncing is slow because your mac has USB 1!!! If you want faster transfers, get a USB 2.0 PCI card, assuming it's a PowerMac. Otherwise, not a chance of helping that.

    Install Leopard, it's so much faster on G4's.
  10. macrumors 6502

    Dave H

  11. macrumors 68040


    OP, like written above, get PCI USB 2.0 card, an if you love your MDD, then give her SSD (regardless of the $$$). You can connect it via SATA->IDE adapter or SATA PCI card and you'll get completely new machine.
    If you got soldering skills, you can OC it to 1.5 (easy, only remove few resistors) or 1.67 GHz (little harder, reguires resistors bridging). All about it is here.
  12. macrumors 68030


    No matter what you do to it, don't expect it to ever be capable of playing Youtube videos smoothly or encoding videos and music with any efficiency.

  13. macrumors 68020


    My G4 plays youtube videos just fine. No lag or choppiness at all.
  14. macrumors 68040


  15. macrumors 68040


    Too small cache for me, and frequency also not too impressive in this Sonnet.
    While playing YT only one CPU will be utilized and performance will be slower than 1.67 PB.
    Sonnet cards are mostly non overclockable, so i'm not a big fan of these. But ofc they are better than any stock QS CPU :)

    Best trick i know about "little lag" is Click to Flash and it's Play in Quicktime option.
  16. macrumors 68020


    That Sonnet dual cpu upgrade is no longer made (says so on the site) and it uses the 7447 G4 chip. I have seen a few benchmarks where a single 7448 will perform as well or better as a dual 7447. The 7448 also has double the L2.

    Newertech/OWC is the only company that still makes G4 upgrades and I have their single 1.8GHz 7448. Any xbench results I have seen of my mac vs a dual 7447 is always won by mine.
  17. macrumors 68020


    You must not multitask much if at all if you're getting by fine with 768 MB on Leo. I had 1 GB in my tower when I first started using Leo and soon after I upgraded to 2GB and for sure saw an improvement in smoothness.

    The real truth about RAM is if you need the extra it will help performance if you never open more than 1-2 apps at a time though then upping it will not improve anything.

    The best way to tell if you need more RAM is do a reboot first then do what you would normally do on our mac for 15 minutes. After that 15 min is up check your memory stats and if you have over 1000 pageouts then you need more RAM. My system has 0 pageouts when I do this test.
  18. macrumors 68030


    How'd you manage that? I've got a 1.25ghz SP MDD G4 that can only do so with 360p Youtube vids...

    I don't multitask on old computers :p Though it's perfectly well at running iTunes, Safari and iWork apps at the same time.
  19. macrumors 68020


    I have a 7448 G4 1.8GHz. The 7448 is by far the most powerful G4 chip ever by leaps and bounds. It is actually newer than all the G5 chips. Freescale didn't really have it on the market till 2006 and introduced it in late 05. Since it did not come out till after Apple stopped using the G4 it is mostly an unknown CPU to all but PowerPC enthusiasts like myself.

    As I said above my single 7448 trumps most dual G4's.

    I can even play 720P HD video just fine in VLC etc.
  20. macrumors 68030



    Gimme gimme!

    I had wanted the dual 1.8ghz. How do they compare to the single?
  21. macrumors 68040



    i know that sonnet does not make them any more , i needed a month to source a card , found one in austria , and i did need one as originally it was a dual processor mac and i did not want to change that as the newertech are single processor cards faster yes but also more expensive i payed just £50 inclusive shipping for the sonnet card ;)
    the newertech 7448 is better no doubt,
    but i use it to play the old OS9 games and i guess the sonnet dual 1.6 is fast enough for that and makes my mac mini g4 1.42 look like a kids play computer :D the only thing is the mac mini is more quiet so i try to change some fans inside to get the noise down , the powermac just sounds like a hoover under my desk :D
  22. macrumors 68020


    There are no 7448 upgrades for the MDD. The best thing for you to do is buy a dual 1.42MDD daughtercard off ebay. They sell for around 100-130.

    The dual 1.42 with 2MB DDR2 L3 on each chip would increase your system CPU capability at least 60% if not 65-70 over your single 1.25. The L3 helps most when dealing with large files like video etc. The dual 1.42 7455 is pretty much the only dual G4 that will beat a single 7448. So you would actually have a system a bit faster than mine.
  23. macrumors 68030


    Eh, well I sold my G4, and I'll stick with Intel.

    Maybe when I'm all rich and stuff from stacking boxes I'll cram a Core i7 into an MDD and it will once again be the supercomputer it was always meant to be.
  24. macrumors 68040



    better cram in a board with a ibm power7 processor and it will make a i7 powered intel machine look like a cheap pocket calculator ;)
  25. macrumors 68020


    You will find this mod very interesting: http://www.flickr.com/photos/47388109@N07/sets/72157623298191439/

    There are 3 pages of photos. He painted his very similar to the way mine is but used spray paint rather than car paint like I did. He uses some pretty sick intel hardware in it and has dual video cards.

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