GeForce2 MX vs. Radeon 9800 Pro on an old Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Basics and Help' started by ChildOL, Jul 3, 2007.

  1. ChildOL macrumors member

    ChildOL

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    USA
    #1
    I currently use a Pentium D PC as my main system but would prefer to use my Powermac G4 with OS X but it is slow on many things especially flash, java, and browsing the web (my internet is 8Mbps). I am unsure as to the performance gain of upgrading the video card from the stock GeForce2 MX to a Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB video card on this old Mac.

    Here are the current specs of my PowerMac:

    CPU: Dual 533Mhz G4 ("digital audio")
    RAM: 1.25GB
    HDD: SATA 320GB Seagate
    USB 2.0
    Video: (AGP) GeForce MX 32MB

    Does anyone know how much of a performance increase I will get if I upgrade the video card while using Tiger? Also if I upgrade to Leopard later will there also be yet another performance increase? If so then in what areas? I know on some systems upgrading the video can speed up many other things in the system. How will UT2004 run? =)

    Thanks for your input.
     
  2. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816

    SmurfBoxMasta

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    #2
    With the uses you listed, the ONLY performance increase you will see would be from OS X itself. The gui/eye candy effects will be smoother/faster/less dependant on the cpu, but other than that, notta

    If you are gonna use any 3D apps and/or games, then yes, moving to a 9800/128 would be a significant improvement.

    I run a Radeon 9800/128 Pro in my QS/867/1.5GB/120GB SATA and everything is considerably faster than it was with the GF3 that came in it.......
     
  3. ChildOL thread starter macrumors member

    ChildOL

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    #3
    What about flash? Flash usually runs slow and also slows down the browser, do you think that flash will increase in performance substantially?
     
  4. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    #4
    Flash is processor dependent.
     
  5. ChildOL thread starter macrumors member

    ChildOL

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    #5
    If that is true then it is unfortunate since this is the deciding factor of sticking with a Mac, and if I can't significantly improve flash performance then I will sell it and switch to a Pentium D Linux PC
     
  6. spinne1 macrumors 6502a

    spinne1

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    #6
    The Mac's greatest feature is OS X. THAT should be your deciding factor. Windows is a dog compared to OS X. That alone should be enough to keep you from living in computer hell (Windows).

    That said, your problem is your computer is too old. You CAN fix this for $259 by buying this:

    http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Other World Computing/MEG42M1500/

    I have this exact processor in my single 533 G4 and it is a HUGE jump in performance. It has made the computer feel useable and much, much snappier. The web works basically as it should (but still not ALL websites will play friendly with Macs). Flash works generally good. Some HUGELY fancy flash sites can cause it to slow a bit, but all the normal sites work fine (youtube, etc).
     
  7. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #7
    Who was talking about Windows?

    Your computer is 9 years old. You might therefore be better served by switching to a new PC, but it seems unlikely that you'd get more than $150 for a 533 MHz Mac in a sale. So I would definitely look into processor upgrade cards, since you'll be spending the money either way.
     
  8. ChildOL thread starter macrumors member

    ChildOL

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    #8
    Does anyone know for sure how OS X v10.5 Leopard will help with browser, system, and other app performance etc? Keeping in mind this is a DUAL 533Mhz G4 system, I read that Leopard will run better on multi CPU systems than previous versions of OS X
     
  9. ChildOL thread starter macrumors member

    ChildOL

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    #9
    Also keep in mind, the flash is slow but usually both CPUs are NOT maxed out and usually about 60-80% so it must be something else slowing it down.
     
  10. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #10
    Leopard is going to be close to unbearable on a 533MHz system. Leopard makes notable improvements for modern multiprocessor configurations (that is, on the Intel platform). The G5 might see some improvements, but there's practically no chance of them optimizing for G4s, particularly low-end G4s.

    The CPU load doesn't max out just to make things faster. More resources does not necessarily mean more performance, particularly if you're referring to overall saturation and single-threaded Flash player in a non-multithreaded browser. The computer is old and slow. It's going to be rough around the edges--particularly resource-heavy Flash content. Flash bogs things down even on a 1GHz iBook which outperforms your system by a wide margin.
     
  11. ChildOL thread starter macrumors member

    ChildOL

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    #11
    Well, I know a Dual CPU helps a lot thanks to multi-threading etc. This Dual 533Mhz G4 PowerMac is much faster than my 800Mhz G4 iMac but that COULD be the 1MB CPU cache and 133Mhz bus... IDK, maybe since my video card doesn't even support Core Image if I get a Radeon 9800 which does AND Leopard that everything will be faster including flash.
     
  12. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #12
    Multithreading only works if software is written to use more than one thread. Dual processors help to split the load, but they do not provide anywhere near double the performance of a single-processor system. Flash is not going to get better with a new video card. Core Image isn't what's holding you back.

    An outdated, low-bandwidth memory bus and an old, slow CPU are your problems. The computer is fine for basic use, but Flash content on broadband pages is extremely resource-intensive, especially the newer versions which expect a CPU of >1GHz. A dual 533 is not equivalent to a 1GHz system. A dual 800 or a dual 733 on a good day is about as slow as you can go and still be able to handle broadband content and contemporary software.
     
  13. ChildOL thread starter macrumors member

    ChildOL

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    #13
    Here's the thing, I can play HD video smoothly using quicktime and be using 80% of my CPU so you would think I had enough system bandwidth to play flash video smoothly. It doesn't make much sense, I mean when I play flash video it uses less CPU than the HD video but yet is not as smooth as the HD video, talk about confusing, as if something is capped. That was why I thought maybe it would be smooth if I upgraded to the radeon 9800 which I have yet to do.
     
  14. Voidness macrumors 6502a

    Voidness

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    #14
    Flash Player under Mac OS X has terrible performance when compared to Windows, and it's bound to the CPU. A new graphics card will make no difference.Also, Leopard on an old G4 won't work well at all, even if it's dual processor.

    It's probably better to invest in a new machine rather than trying to upgrade a 9-year-old Mac. :)
     
  15. ChildOL thread starter macrumors member

    ChildOL

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    #15
    Well I can't afford a new machine (I prefer multi CPU/Core machines for multitasking performance) so I will go ahead and get the cheapest video card that supports core image and core animation (Upgrading to Leopard didn't help and in fact the UI is slower probably due to lack of core animation and core image supported video card) and reply with my results if it helped or not with regards to flash video performance. Oh and BTW if Flash video was CPU dependent then why does it have a Hardware Acceleration option when you right click it?
     
  16. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #16
    The UI is slower because your computer is too slow for Leopard. A dual 533 is not equivalent even to a single 867 for most tasks. Tiger had CoreImage, too, and CoreAnimation is not a hardware feature in the first place. Any slowdown because of CI was something you were already experiencing under Tiger.
    Hardware acceleration in Flash is for 3D components and full-screen player controls. It's also a new feature that's about 3 months old and isn't commonly implemented in any of the major Flash content on the web yet. Your GPU has nothing to do with Flash performance generally.

    Upgrading your video card will not improve Flash video performance on e.g., Youtube. None of their video content is hardware-enabled SWF encoded, with the exception of H.264 video. A Radeon 9800 doesn't have a hardware H.264 decoder, so it won't help. That's even assuming you can find a compatible video card for sale at this point.

    Don't throw your money away. Save it and apply it toward a computer that isn't 10 years old.
     
  17. ChildOL thread starter macrumors member

    ChildOL

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    #17
    I went ahead and purchased a radeon 9800 off eBay but I get these strange graphical problems when anything that uses core image it seems. Is there anyone who may know who help me figure out what this problem could be?

    The first pic is from any popup menus and buttons etc. in leopard (it doesn't do this in Tiger)
    [​IMG]

    The second pic is from safari playing video in quicktime in leopard AND Tiger (it doesn't do it when playing in firefox for some reason nor when using VLC, DivX, Flash etc. mainly in quicktime mov files).
    [​IMG]
     
  18. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #18
    Corrupt VRAM or heat-damaged GPU. You probably got sold a broken part.

    You'll note the lack of artifacts in Firefox, Flash, and VLC is because there is no hardware acceleration in videos played there. It's all CPU-bound, as multiple people informed you. At least now you can see which is which thanks to these defects.

    Did the eBay description say as-is?
     
  19. ChildOL thread starter macrumors member

    ChildOL

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    #19
    Supposedly a 60 day warranty but they are not responding to email. I think I am done with trying to use OS X and a Mac. I have a Pentium D PC that runs everything acceptedly. The future of computing is the browser anyway. Thanks for the help.
     
  20. matticus008 macrumors 68040

    matticus008

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    #20
    Give them a few days. It's the weekend; a warranty indicates a business seller, and they probably don't respond on weekends.

    It wasn't a smart purchase to begin with. Maybe this will let you get your money back, at least. Good luck with your PC.
     

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