Advice please for hardware upgrade: Sawtooth G4

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by elvirav, Jul 4, 2007.

  1. elvirav macrumors member


    Jun 29, 2006
    California, off and on.
    I've made a bold move and have purchased a Sawtooth G4 off of eBay, in part so I can "practice" upgrading it. I am a complete coward about upgrading computer hardware. I once upgraded some RAM in my other G4 (533 MHz Digital Audio) but that was it.

    I'd like to add a hard drive to this G4, as well as add RAM. I'm pretty sure I know what kind of RAM to get (I'm hoping to find it on eBay) but I'm unsure of what kind of hard drive. It doesn't have to be a fantastic hard drive (or very large—40 GB or so is more than fine), but I just don't know what kind to get! I'm hoping that any of the generic IDE hard drives I see on eBay will do, but just want a little reassurance. I'm going to use this tutorial to help me install the hard drive. Anything else I need to know? Anything else I should buy?

    I can't emphasize enough what a complete chicken I am about upgrading. I really hope that working on this Mac will help me overcome my fear. If I can get it upgraded properly, I think it'll make a nice little back up machine for doing light audio/video work. (Garageband, iMovie, or an old version of Final Cut Express.) Any advice or help you can give me will be most appreciated!
  2. iBookG4user macrumors 604


    Jun 27, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    The hard drive type you need is Ultra ATA-66 and Apple also says you can use SCSI. The RAM you need is PC133. You might consider upgrading the processor, although it's pretty expensive.
  3. MikeTheC Guest


    Apr 26, 2004
    Gallifrey -- Capitol City, Prydonian Sector
    Two things NOT to buy used are RAM and Hard Drives. Well, and Optical drives. Oh yeah, and chewing gum. Now that's just nasty.

    Check out Crucial or Kingston for RAM (either buy from them, or buy their RAM through other online dealers).

    Your call on HDDs, and they can either be sourced locally or online. If I were you, I'd probably use to check pricing on anything you buy for a computer.
  4. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    You cannot use a hard drive larger than 137GB in this Mac. If you buy a hard drive larger than 137GB, it'll just show as 137GB. Any PATA hard drive will work-- those are the hard drives with the big ribbon connectors. Pretty easy to install.

    RAM is also easy to install, according to MacTracker your computer can take PC100 or PC133 RAM (these aren't DDR), but only up to a max of 2GB under OS X and 1.5 under OS 9.
  5. TDM21 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2004
    When you shop for RAM, make sure you buy low density. A lot of the RAM on eBay (especially the 512MB PC133 sticks) were high density that came out of servers. This RAM will not work in the PowerMac.

    Like mentioned above, any PATA hard drive will work in the system, but the onboard IDE controller will only see up to 137GB per drive. If you want to use larger hard drives you will have to buy an ATA or SATA card.

    The final two major components you could upgrade are the video card and processor. If you look on ebay at video cards for mac, you need to know that most are actually PC cards with a Mac ROM. Most work, but a few can be a little unreliable. Just be careful. Processors come in two varieties: Apple OEM and after market upgrades. If you want to go way up on speed, you will have to buy an after market processor. They can get up to 2.0gHz.
  6. elvirav thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 29, 2006
    California, off and on.
    Thanks for the tips, guys! This has been really helpful. :) I'll let you know how I do!
  7. Silencio macrumors 68020


    Jul 18, 2002
    Sorry, but I think it's a waste of money to buy an old machine like a Sawtooth with the express intention of buying more upgrades to sink into it.

    Let's run the numbers, shall we?

    $130: Sawtooth 400MHz, 128MB RAM, 20GB hard drive, stock video, DVD-ROM
    $240: OWC 1.4GHz G4 CPU upgrade
    $65: 120GB ATA/100 hard drive
    $35: Pioneer DVR-112 DVD burner
    $130: Two 512MB PC100 DIMMs

    Total: about $600, and you'll still be running the dog slow original Rage 128 video card.

    For that kind of money, you are much better off getting a used or refurbished Mac mini Core Duo.

    If you've got a lot of spare parts lying around that you can sink into an old tower like that, that's another story. I acquired a free, fairly bare bones Sawtooth tower myself a couple of months ago. I gathered up some spare PC100 RAM, an 80GB hard drive, and Combo drive, and a Radeon Mac Edition AGP card that were sitting around the office and installed them in the box. I gave the machine to a friend so he can try out Mac OS X for a while.
  8. elvirav thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 29, 2006
    California, off and on.
    I appreciate your opinion, (and you'd be right in different circumstances) but I got this Sawtooth because I wanted to learn how to upgrade. I'm a complete and total coward about upgrading and avoid it at all costs. So, I bought a cheap "guinea pig" machine (the Sawtooth) to be my first "victim." If I mess it up while trying to upgrade it, oh well, it was cheap!

    I paid much, much less than that on eBay.

    I wasn't planning on upgrading the CPU, I don't think it needs a new optical drive (I can attach a spare firewire external DVD burner if necessary), and I'm not overly ambitious with my plans for RAM or hard drive. (512 MB RAM would be okay, maybe eventually I'll get it up to 1 GB.)

    That's sort of my plan too. I might let my sister use it, or else use it as a "back up" machine. I'm not sure. All I know is that I need to overcome my phobia about upgrading, and I'm not willing to use a faster machine as a guinea pig.

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