Advice on upgrading G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by welshman, Apr 4, 2008.

  1. welshman macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2008

    I have both PC and Mac, and need to begin moving more of my operation onto the Mac. Looking for good advice on any modifications that can be made to the machine I have. I've spent much more time on the PC in the last several years, running programs that in most circles are done on a Mac. Graphic design is my stock in trade. Reguarly run Adobe Creative Suite 2 (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, GoLive) Acrobat Pro, MSWord, Excel, Access. Typically I am running lots of programs open all at the same time.

    Here's what I have:

    Machine Name: Power Mac G4
    Machine Model: PowerMac3,5 (QuickSilver)
    CPU Type: PowerPC G4 (2.1)
    Number of CPUs: 2
    CPU Speed: 1 GHz
    L2 Cache (per CPU): 256 KB
    Memory: 1 GB
    Bus Speed: 133 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: 4.3.3f2

    I'd love for a ship to come in so I can run out and buy a suped up G5. But in the meantime, can I do what I need to do on this machine, maybe with some modifications?
  2. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    Sure.. you've got a good machine. But if you have "lots of programs open at once," you might want to push it to 2 GB of RAM. That way you'll have some headroom. What OS are you running? You might want Tiger if you're running something like Jaguar.

    You can upgrade the CPU if you need to... up to dual 2.2 GHz, I think.
  3. Lord Zedd macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

    Oct 24, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    Buy a MacMini. It will be a far better value and much faster than any CPU upgrade for your G4.

    Your dual 1GHz scores 837
    The fastest current Mini scores 2594
    The slowest Mini currently sold scores 2368, nearly 3x faster than your G4.
    Even the slowest intel Mini ever sold (1.5ghz core solo) rates 1323, 1.5x faster than your G4.

    Even if you get a dual 1.8Ghz G4 upgrade from Sonnet (The fastest dual CPU G4 upgrade available) it will still be slower than the slowest MacMini. The Sonnet upgrade costs $499.95, for $100 more you can get a NEW computer that is easily 2x faster.

    In short, G4 CPU upgrades are a horrible value.
  4. velocityg4 macrumors 601


    Dec 19, 2004
    Since their are only 3 RAM slots you can only go to 1.5GB RAM. As far as the CPU since the Dual 1Ghz is the to for that model of G4 you would have to buy third party accelerators that are very expensive. Though you could solder a dip switch onto the CPU Module and overclock, but you risk destroying it.

    Since it is the 2002 model you can also use large hard drives. You could also supe it up with a firewire 800 card, USB 2.0, Wireless N and SATA expansion cards. You can also try ROM flashing and install a Geforce 6800 GT, 7800GS or Radeon X800XT.

    As far as the CPU upgrades and overclocking goes that Dual G4 1Ghz Module can get you $240-265 on ebay. That G4 itself would probably net around $350 then turn around and get a Dual 1.25 Mirror Drive door for around the same price or a Dual 1.42 for a little more. Some of these G4's have firewire 800 already and can use Airport extreme. Another advantage is they can hold 2GB DDR memory which is much cheaper than SDRAM. Also I just saw a dual 1.25 MDD with 2GB RAM sell for $350 on ebay, so if you are lucky you can basically do a straight swap of your Quicksilver for a maxed out dual 1.25.

    If you want to get the most for your G4 piece it out and get close to $400.
  5. welshman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2008
    Mac Pro?

    Firefly, how do the performance numbers for a Mac Pro compare to the Mini?
  6. welshman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 4, 2008
    Sorry, that was Lord Zedd who gave the performance numbers....

    I'm just starting the learning curve about Macs (guess you figured that out, eh?) so my ignorance will be flapping in the wind here, but how much better is a Mac Pro than the lesser machines? What do you get for the extra money? and just how much is that extra money?
  7. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    The Mac Pro compared to a Mac Mini is kind of like comparing a Ferarri to a Mini Cooper =)

    Mini has no graphics acceleration.... it's not really a slow computer per se.... it's faster than anything out there even three years ago, but to be honest, it's probably not what you'd want. You'd be better served upgrading your current Mac (maybe ebay an upgrade card) than getting a mini... they have zero expandability, and you can put multiple drives in your G4, as well as upgrade the CPU, graphics card, and put in all manner of PCI cards.

    Edit: On second thought, those upgrade cards are really expensive. Maybe you should just keep what you have, or if you really need more processing power, then... yeah, possibly get a new Mac. A used G5 might not be a bad idea if you don't want to spend a ton on a new Mac, but still want something expandable... or even an older Mac Pro if you want.

    Here, you can get a Dual 1.8 GHz G5 for $900...dual 2.5 for $1400, Quad 2.5 for $1800, and a Quad Mac Pro 2.66 for $1900:
  8. Lord Zedd macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

    Oct 24, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    Incorrect. The Mini has Intel GMA 950 graphics acceleration.
  9. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    I don't consider that graphics acceleration.
  10. Lord Zedd macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

    Oct 24, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    You can consider it a Pink Poodle if you want, its still graphics acceleration.
  11. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    the mini would not be an option for me...

    sorry my friend but you are dead wrong with your statements.

    This poor little chip of the mini is bad joke, it doesn't even have dedicated VRAM, the Graphic RAM is drawn from the System RAM. You can't exchange it, you cant upgrade it and you cant expand it. Because of this fact -you would actually need to outfitt the mini right away with the maximum on System ram to even be able to work satisfactory on heavy grafic work, which takes away the "cheap" price tag. All that is left over is a mediocre but castrated mac...

    Since the questioner is working heavely on graphic I would not recomend the mini. By the way, the number you stated is also not correct. The G4 1,42 MDD gets 1175 points on Geekbench and this is more then at least the early minis. Since Geekbench doesn't really measure Graphic power, this comparison is not usable for a desicion.
    Also the Firewire 800 on the late G4 model was much faster then the one used on the G5 models.
    Having this late G4 model with the 10K Raptor startup drive myself, I would never exchange it to a mini, not even a new one.

    My advice: Sell the Quicksilver, go for the G4 1,42 and soup it up.
    The early G5's were crapy, don't go for the single 1,6.
    Doing it this way, you can even connect Apples 30' screen (use ATI 9600 256MB card) which is also not possible with the mini.
  12. mrfaize macrumors member

    Sep 16, 2007
    And also CS2 on a Mac Mini is not Intel native so will run in Rosetta! I'm in the same position and have decided to keep my G4 1.25Ghz until my customers ask for files in CS3 at which point I'll get a new Intel Mac (TBD Mini or Pro).
  13. Lord Zedd macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

    Oct 24, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    Sorry, but your post is factually incorrect and misleading.

    Intel GMA 950, as crappy as it may be, IS a graphics accelerator. It is faster than the built-in ATI 9200 in the G4 mini.
  14. czardonic macrumors member

    Feb 6, 2008
    Couldn't agree more!
    But I'll give it a go anyhow (smiley face, if we must)

    I’m primarily a designer, sorta — actually coming from art direction and copywriting end, if that means anything to you. So most my work is done in my head, interpreted with 11” x 14” vellum layout pads and Pentel sign pens and Magic Markers. From there it's taken to my trusty old AGP 450, 1GB RAM, with a few smallish HHDs ranging from 20 to 80GBs, with a 250GB firewire, a 16x and plenty of Taiyo DVD-R discs. Very recently, to run CS2 stuff and Painter, the box was upgraded to 1.4GHz.
    What really gave me the greatest performance boost was trudging through hours and hours of VTC, Total Training, and tutorials, picked up on the cheap at ebay and craigslist.
    My point is simply that Design is Design, and you and your creative design sense, not the computer, are your greatest asset.
    Just stuff what you’ve got with all the RAM it’ll take, and upgrade the Video card, if necessary.
    To sum up, if you know where you’re going, what you’ve got will surely get you there.

    That said, if and when you move to Video, 3D, or Architectural work, get a Mac Pro, and stuff it to the gills. I just had to get one, but only for Final Cut and probably Cinema 4D.
  15. WardC macrumors 68030


    Oct 17, 2007
    Fort Worth, TX
    I would look into this:

    It's a dual 1.8GHz G4 upgrade for your Quicksilver. Also, max out the RAM, and run Tiger 10.4.11. Maybe even think about running dual HDs in a RAID-0 config, you could have a speed demon.

    BUT, with what has been said, you may well just get more performance out a a Mac Mini dualcore 1.83 or 2.0GHz with 2GB of RAM, might spend less money going the Mac Mini route and get MUCH better performance. Also, running on the mini you might think about upgrading to the CS3 package, which is intel-native and runs alot faster.

    Hope this helps,
  16. Firefly2002 macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    Not really. Even the Intel Core 2 processor itself has some graphic routines, so it's technically graphics acceleration... however, I doubt the GMA 950 outperforms a legitimate Radeon 9200 in an equally-equipped machine.

    Doom 3 runs all right at 1024x768 with reasonably decent settings... the X600 does it well. The GMA 950, on the other hand, can barely manage 15 FPS under 800x600.

    I suggest getting a Dual G5 1.8 GHz; performance will be considerably better, and the link I provided will get you one for only $900; upgrading to a single CPU would be pointless, even at 2 GHz, and the 1.8 GHz dual G4s available cost $500, hence why I didn't bother linking them.. you'd be better off with that Dual 1.8 which already has 2 GB of RAM!

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