Beefing up a G4. I need advise!

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by Ghost Horese, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. Ghost Horese macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    #1
    OK first I have know idea what I'm doing, but I want to boost my performance of my old G4. I use music programs a lot and they are starting to slow down and not play when I'm adding effects and so forth. My question is this, I would like to (over the course of time) add things to my G4 to eventually get the most peak performance out of it. What all would you guys suggest I do?

    Here what I'm working with:

    ATY,Rage128Pro:

    Type: display
    Bus: AGP
    Display Type: CRT
    Slot: SLOT-A
    VRAM (Total): 16 MB
    Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
    Device ID: 0x5046
    Revision ID: 0x0000
    ROM Revision: 113-72701-125

    Display:

    Resolution: 1280 x 1024 @ 75 Hz
    Depth: 32-bit Color
    Mirror: Off
    Online: Yes
    Main Display: Yes

    Memory:
    DIMM0/J21:

    Size: 128 MB
    Type: SDRAM
    Speed: PC100-222S

    DIMM1/J22:

    Size: 512 MB
    Type: SDRAM
    Speed: PC133-333

    DIMM2/J23:

    Size: Empty
    Type: Empty
    Speed: Empty

    DIMM3/J24:

    Size: Empty
    Type: Empty
    Speed: Empty


    Driver:

    Capacity: 27.96 GB
    Available: 837.14 MB
    Writable: Yes
    File System: Journaled HFS+
    BSD Name: disk0s9
    Mount Point: /


    Any advise would be great as I'm lost when it comes to this stuff, but I do want to learn.
     
  2. tersono macrumors 68000

    tersono

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    Rather than spending lots of dough on video cards, processor upgrades etc, you'd probably be better putting that dough towards buying a Mini or refurb iMac, either of which will leave your G4 for dead....

    Don't forget that G4's are still fairly saleable on eBay...
     
  3. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040

    CmdrLaForge

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2003
    Location:
    around the world
    #3
    I would really think about getting a new Mac. It will not cost much more but brings much more. E.g. 20" iMac.
     
  4. Ghost Horese thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    #4
    Yeah I thought about that, but 1.I'm short on cash. and 2. I've read you can save a lot of money by upgrading your old mac. Of course it wouldn't be as fast as a new one...but still...wouldn't I make out better that way, rather than shelling out thousands of $$$$ for a pretty new one?
     
  5. stevegmu macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2008
    Location:
    A stone's throw from the White House.
    #5
    The cheapest, easiest way to get improved performance would be to max out the RAM.
     
  6. eric55lv Guest

    eric55lv

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Las Vegas,NV
    #6
    First I would say get a bigger hard drive 30 gb does not seem like much
     
  7. StealthRider macrumors 65816

    StealthRider

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Location:
    Yokosuka, Japan
    #7
    It's slowing down because you have so little space left on your disk. You need at least 10% (preferably more) free for the system to use for swapping operations. Get a bigger drive (you're limited to 128GB on that system) and look into processor and memory upgrades.
     
  8. Ghost Horese thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    #8
    I scoped out the 1.83GHz: combo drive and I might be able to swing that. Could I still work on project that I have on my G4 if I link them together? An upgrade OS would be a nice change if I did get the Mini!!!

    How much would I spend if I maxed it out?

    How much am I talking if I maxed out everything? Would it be cheaper/better to get a Mini? Can't I link the two up? Would I be able to work on old projects w/ better performance that way?
     
  9. iMpathetic macrumors 68030

    iMpathetic

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Location:
    IMBY
    #9
    One option would be to purchase 2 120GB drives and RAID 'em so they would show up as one 240GB drive.

    Get a CPU upgrade! For $300 you can have a single 1.6GHz processor upgrade! Zoom!
     
  10. motulist macrumors 601

    motulist

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2003
    #10
    The bottle neck is NOT the hard disk space. Adding effects to a channel is almost solely reliant on cpu power. I suspect that your machine is slowing down more when you add effects now than it used to because now you are adding more of them and or more demanding effects than you used to.

    It's rarely cost effective to go the upgrade route. I suggest you pose this question in the music forum to get better informed info on this topic.
     
  11. eric55lv Guest

    eric55lv

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2007
    Location:
    Las Vegas,NV
  12. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Location:
    I'm only really here at night.
    #12

    3x 512mb PC100/133 should run you around $60-$100, depending on where/when/from whom you buy it & new or used......

    That would max you out to 2GB, and will be like nite & day difference in performance......

    BUT you HAVE to get more free space on your boot drive also.........837mb free on a 27gb drive will cause OS X to run like a sick 3-legged dog, no matter what else you do......

    You'd be well advised to either delete a bunch of stuff, or get a larger drive asap ! they are cheap nowadays too.......(<<$100)

    However.....another thing to consider in this situation:

    If you get a new/refurb intel mac, how much (if any) will it cost you to upgrade your old PPC music apps to universal versions, so they will run natively on the new cpu's, or will you be forced to run them under Rosetta emulation, and what will that do to their performance ?

    Do the math, and then decide on whether keeping & upgrading that old G4 would be more feasible, or NOT.......
     
  13. ReanimationLP macrumors 68030

    ReanimationLP

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    Location:
    On the moon.
    #13
    Powermac apparently.

    iMac G4 never shipped with a 16MB Rage 128 Pro.
     
  14. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #14
    Well, I upgraded my 533 Digital Audio to a 1.4 Ghz 2mb cache processor and while it smokes the original configuration, I was kind of shocked at how much faster my few months old 1.83 Ghz Core Duo Mac Mini is. Granted it has limitations, but for pure speed it smokes my G4. I notice when I am using the web. The G4 is good enough, but the Mini scrolls smooth, fast, and snappy.

    There are other considerations however. With my G4, I have a 9800 Pro video card which is certainly better than the integrated video of the Mini especially if I was a gamer or video editor or 3d modeler (all of which I am not). Also, the mini's hard drive/optical drive are noisy when being pushed. The hard drive of the mini is slow. With my G4 I have a SATA card with 300gb and 320gb hard drives hooked to it, along with 128gb and 30gb hard drives hooked to the regular IDE bus. Try that with a mini. (Although with a mini you could simply buy a huge external firewire HD.)

    At this point if I was in your shoes, I would sell the G4 for what I could get (be grateful if you could get $50-$100.) I would then buy a mini used off ebay or craigslist and then get a used iMac or Mac Pro a few years from now after you have gotten good use of the mini. I think the mini will do fine for audio recording with modest effects/software synths. Heck, my G4 will do that especially if I make sure to convert the finished tracks to audio ("freeze" or whatever they call it now.)
     
  15. Ghost Horese thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    #15
    Thanks everyone for the help!!!!

    I have deleted pic, MP3s and other big files taking up a lot of room. Still have the same problem.

    My whole problem is I'm painted in a corner w/ this project. I can't really upgrade to a new Mac because it's not help me w/ my current
    problem/project on my present Mac. I'm to far in it w/ hours and great tracks/takes to stop working on it, scrap it and then start all over on a new Mac. I've to much invested in it.

    I do have a Power Mac.

    Hmmm...this might be the best thing for me at this point. I like that idea! Now would that be a internal or external HD?




    Any other advise?

    Once again THANKS!!! You guys have been a GREAT help!!! All of you!!!
     
  16. bartelby macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    #16
    Depends which model G4 it is. The System Profiler on my 2001 Quicksilver says there are 4 slots. There aren't, there's only 3.
     
  17. Ghost Horese thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    #17
    OK...so I guess the only way to find out is open it up? Where do I look and what am I looking for? (remember, I'm a greenhorn w/ the stuff):D
     
  18. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Location:
    I'm only really here at night.
    #18
    Maybe not for his music apps, but for OS X it WILL slow down when swap file/VM space is so limited. This has been an extremely well-documented and well-known fact for a long, long time :p
     
  19. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

    Joined:
    Nov 24, 2005
    Location:
    I'm only really here at night.
    #19
    look for the 2, 3 or 4 rows of thin, narrow plastic connector slots that are grouped next to each other on the surface of the logic board, they have small plastic locking levers on each end of the connectors and will have a narrow channel in the center of each connector.......the ones you have ram in already will be obvious, since the ram sticks will be rising upwards from the connector. I can take a pic & post it if you cant find them :p
     
  20. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #20
    You can add an internal PATA 120 Gb hard drive cheaply
    One more 512 Mb RAM DIMM would give the most boost (the second one would be a marginal improvement.
    Separating your data files away from the System drive and onto the new hard drive will help.

    Yes, motulist, tracks and plugins are largely CPU-bound, but IDE hard drives require CPU management, and lack of RAM forces lots of swapfile activity = drain on CPU cycles (compounded by an overfull hard drive running on the slowest, internal tracks). Since upgrading the CPU is the most expensive option, investing a bit on improving the other areas comes first.

    As usual, trim down your system so that you don't have extra processes running (Dashboard Widgets, background programs) - or set up a separate User for music only, which you can turn of almost everything, including Software Update, Acrobat, firewalls, internet / Ethernet / bluetooth, camera and scanner drivers, iTunes, everything you can eliminate will help give you more CPU cycles for the tracks. Increasing the latency of the system could help when you are not doing live input and sync is not an issue. Freezing tracks, printing plug in effects to a track rather than running 'live' effects, all are other ways to reduce CPU load.

    One drawback with the Mini and notebook machines for music is you have a slower, smaller diameter 2.5" hard drive. Smaller diameter = lower GBs throughput from the drive.
     
  21. Ghost Horese thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2008
    #21
    I've talked to a friend who has some RAM in a Mac that he has in storage. He said he would give me two for free!!!! Not sure how much MB were talking but hey free is good!!

    So I'm learning stuff now! That's good! I know where the RAM goes, but there are some slots that I would love to know what they are. I've got a link to a pic of the inside of my Power Mac. Anyone who could tell me what these slots are for would help me a lot as I DO want to learn about this stuff. I feel like a dweeb asking dumb questions. Anyway, I've labled the areas 1 - 6 I know 1 & 2 is where my new RAM will go. If anyone could tell me what the other slots are for I would be grateful!!!

    http://i44.photobucket.com/albums/f45/sucramable/MAC.jpg?t=1202104139

    6 is my hard drive no?

    I know this is kinda silly, but I like to know where these places are when ppl tell me to this or that and add this or that...
     
  22. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #22
    3-5 are your PCI slots. Any PCI cards go here. PCI cards could be extra video cards, SATA or PATA controller cards, audio interface cards, SCSI controller cards, USB 2.0 cards, etc. etc. Only Mac PCI cards will work and only if they are for your kind of PCI (newer PCI is not the same as old PCI. There is PCIe and such that is different). Yours is good old standard PCI.

    Yes, 6 is your hard drive. Feel free to add more by buying one or more off craigslist or ebay. (Stick to 120gb or so if you use your current machine.)

    And your concern about your project being tied to your machine is unfounded. You can transfer your files to any machine and run the same application and pick up where you left off.
     
  23. Ghost Horses macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    #23
    Yeah, I would like to go the cheap route to justify updating this old machine.
    i.e. craigslist or ebay.


    How do I go about doing that? Burn the proj to disc w/ the tracks?


    Thanks for the help btw!
     
  24. Ghost Horses macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2008
    #24
    So I scoped out what I think is a good deals. Tell me if I'm wrong...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Maxtor-120GB-13...ryZ64461QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Maxtor-120GB-13...ryZ64461QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem
    Then their's this one...

    http://cgi.ebay.com/120GB-SATA-HARD...ryZ11150QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    Of course w/ other ppl bidding the price will go up, so what would be the highest I should pay for it to be worth it?

    Then I'm looking into a new possessors and found this...

    http://www.zipzoomfly.com/jsp/ProductDetail.jsp?ProductCode=80143-1&prodlist=shopping

    Is this compatible w/ a Mac?

    So if I got a 1.6GHz Processor then it would be 4x faster then my current 400 MHz right? Also would this would max out my machine to full potential?

    Any more info/help would be great! You guys have been a BIG help and have lifted a huge weight from off of me and I'm starting to learn something here!!! Thanks so much!!!!
     
  25. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2005
    Location:
    Hermitage, TN USA (near Nashville)
    #25
    You physically copy the files that contain your project over. Then reopen the project on your new hard drive. (File-->Open)

    As to your other questions, I did not take the time to look at your ebay links.
    Why? You need to much more research yourself before buying too many things. You don't yet have enough understanding what to buy and why.

    For example, your link to the processor is for an AMD. No, you cannot use that with your Mac or any Mac ever created. For older Macs (PowerPC) you can only upgrade using processor upgrades made by a few specific manufacturers that make Mac upgrade processors. Some examples include Sonnet, OWC, PowerLogix, FastMac, and Gigadesigns. A good place to go to get an idea what upgrading a G4 would cost would be here:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/MyOWC/Upg...ype=Processor&TI=5455&shoupgrds=Show+Upgrades
    (but keep in mind that every model of G4 is potentially different. There are families of the same type but the upgrades are not necessarily cross-family compatible) To select your model, go here:
    http://eshop.macsales.com/MyOWC/Models.cfm?TI=5619

    And you do not get automatic increases in performance based on clock speed. There are too many variables for that.
     

Share This Page