Best G4 upgrade

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by m1stake, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Philly
    #1
    I currently own a Quicksilver G4, but when the next Mac Pro comes out I will be purchasing one and giving the G4 to my father who needs to upgrade from the G3 that he uses now. But, the G4 isn't as fast as it used to be. It's a 733Mhz single processor, 768MB of memory, a 40GB 4200RPM HDD, and a Geforce 2MX. While the G3 is still very zippy because it still runs OS9, the G4 does not fair as well with OSX.

    SO, I was wondering what upgrade would be the best to make it feel faster. I just added 512MB of memory to it, but it is still sluggish at times. I am happy with the memory at the moment, but what would give it more of a punch? A graphics card (Like the ATI 9800 PRO for $209) or a processor upgrade (A single 1.2Ghz with 2MB LVL3 Cache) for $200? Would a hard drive upgrade make a difference? For example putting in a SATA card with a new SATA drive @7200RPM? Those are relatively cheap, so I'll probably do that reguardless.

    Links to what I'm looking at are below.

    Video card:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/ATI Technologies/100435068/

    Processor:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MEG42M1200/

    Thanks for your input!
     
  2. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #2
    First question: which version of OSX is it running? For example, there was a HUGE speed bump for altivec-enabled chispets (G4 and G5) in Panther, so if you're running Jaguar or lower, upgrade the OS first, you might be happy with the results...

    Otherwise, I'd assume your dad is unlikely to be playing games, so the stock graphics card should be fine. The processor upgrade, on the other hand... $200 seems a little high for 1.2gHz in my head, but that's a good bump. If you can find them, the dual 1.3gHz are excellent, I run one in my Sawtooth, and they're relatively inexpensive (around $250-300).

    A hard drive upgrade would make a difference; with the bus speed on the G4s, I'm not sure how huge that difference will be with a SATA PCI card, maybe someone here who has one can attest to that. But a larger drive will speed things up quite a bit either way. Also, doing a clean install will sometimes make all the difference, you'd be amazed at how bloated the OS can get over time...
     
  3. m1stake thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jan 17, 2008
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    Philly
    #3
    Could you link me to this dual 1.3Ghz model?

    I just upgraded to Tiger, which runs much better (Movies in iTunes used to be a slideshow, now they're pretty watchable). If I upgraded the processor, I'd also pick up Leopard.

    Thanks for you help so far!

    I kind of feel like I could save myself some trouble if I just bought a Mini. I've built several computers and am NOT afraid of tinkering, but if a Mini would crush this thing it would be a much smarter investment.
     
  4. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #4
    No problem! I can't advise you on Leopard either way as I haven't bothered with it yet, but from what I've heard it really doesn't offer much in the way of improvements for PPC models, and if you don't want the features (some of them are pretty ok, like Time Machine, but in general nothing groundbreaking that I've heard of), I'd stick with Tiger.

    Hmm, can't find it anywhere, maybe they stopped making it? By the way, I'd probably not get the 1.2 personally; for $20 you can get the 1.4 (which also has L3 cache) or $30 more will get you the 1.6 (without L3 cache). Personally I suggest the 1.4, as in my experience the L3 cache does make a pretty big difference on the older models.

    Oh, hey, here's a Sonnet dual 1.3 (mine is a powerlogic, but same specs) new in an ebay store:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/SONNET-ENCORE-S...RADE-CARD_W0QQitemZ320272722187QQcmdZViewItem

    $299 isn't an amazing price, but IMO when compare to $199 for less than half the performance, it's well worth it if you can afford it. But honestly, if he isn't going to be using it for intensive tasks, I'd suggest going with the single 1.2, since in about 1 year Apple will abandon the PPC platform anyhow, so it likely won't need more power than that for simple tasks.

    Of course, this is all dependent on what your dad plans to do with it...
     
  5. m1stake thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jan 17, 2008
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    Philly
    #5
    My dad is a consultant. His requirements are Word Perfect (Which can be used in 10.5 via SheepShaver), and the internet, which I hear works on 10.5 as well :p

    I edittied my post above, but I was unable to find a direct comparison between my G4 and the current Mini. But I would assume that the Mini looks like a G7 next to the G4?
     
  6. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #6
    Depends on what you need it for. I've never been a fan of the mini line, they're fine for casual users and high school kids, but they're really limited in what you can do with them, how much power they have, etc. That said, yeah, they'll outperform a G4, but if you don't need more then why pay the extra money/trash a perfectly usable computer?

    And with your dad's requirements, my advice would be to just get a nice 80-120 IDE hdd, do a fresh tiger install, and see how well that works out for him (and you can always use Virtual PC under Tiger). Frankly I don't know that he needs more than that from what you've said, so why spend the money if you don't need to? I suggest trying that out (or hell, even just trying it out with the 40g HDD) and see if he needs more than that.

    Unless you're set on Leopard, in which case go with the 1.2gHz or the 1.4gHz upgrades. My $.02. :)
     
  7. m1stake thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jan 17, 2008
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    Philly
    #7
    Looks like I'm not buying anything, he's "TOTALLY HAPPY WITH IT" and doesn't want me to "WASTE MY MONEY".

    Parents :rolleyes:

    Thanks for your help anyway. I'm not so savvy with the older tech, I only started to work at this stuff when I started doing retail at a computer store.

    -max
     
  8. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

    Joined:
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    #8
    Haha, well, that's a good call if it does what he needs it to. Glad to help, anytime. :)
     
  9. m1stake thread starter macrumors 68000

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    Jan 17, 2008
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    Philly
  10. Silencio macrumors 68020

    Silencio

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    NYC
    #10
    The Quicksilver 733MHz G4 processor is really crippled, having limited L2 and no L3 cache, so it runs at times like an older 500MHz g4.

    I would consider trolling the Other World Computing "garage sales" when they have them. They sometimes have cheap, used CPU upgrades. Even getting ahold of a 867MHz processor out of another Quicksilver will make a noticeable difference as those CPUs have more cache memory. OWC has one in stock for $70 now.

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apple/AGPQS867/

    OWC also has a Dual/800MHz G4 module for Quicksilvers in stock for $179 now. The problem is since your machine is still pretty stock, I'd have a hard time justifying spending money on multiple upgrades (CPU, RAM, hard drive) right now. Better to put that money towards a Mac mini Core 2 Duo, quite honestly.

    But getting the 867MHz G4 CPU for $70, buying another 512MB PC133 DIMM for $35, and a 160GB IDE hard drive for $55 for a total of about $160 is not too unreasonable IMO. I would skip on the SATA card (unless you need more than 128GB of internal storage) and the better video card (at least the GeForce 2MX supports Quartz Extreme).
     
  11. disconap macrumors 68000

    disconap

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #11
    One note--the SATA card isn't the worst idea if planning to upgrade to another tower later, as the drives will be swappable. AFAIK there is no way to put IDE drives into a current MacPro.
     

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