Graphics Cards for Powermac G4 3,6 867MHz

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by drnebulous, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. drnebulous macrumors regular

    drnebulous

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2014
    Location:
    Salford, UK
    #1
    Hiya,
    I want to upgrade the GPU on my Powermac but I'm not sure which ones will work. At the moment I have a Nvidia Geforce MX 32MB but this isn't powerful enough. Will the Radeon 9000 64MB work? Also, which others will work in this mac?
    Thanks,
    DN
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #2
    bunnspecial has a Radeon 9600 that works in his Quicksilver with taped off pins. I have an ATI Radeon 7000 (a good all around card) and the ATI Radeon 9800 Pro in my Quicksilver G4. The 9800 Pro was the last ATI card released for the G4 at retail. It's available in 128MB and 256MB versions, but you have to be careful that you get the Mac version AND that it's the G4 version. The 9800 Pro was also released as a BTO option for G5s. The difference there is that a G5 card will be blue while the Mac G4 card will be red.

    By 867mhz processor speed I assume you have a Quicksilver?
     
  3. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Location:
    Inside
    #3
    The PoweMac3,6 is a MDD. The ATI 9000 would work, but it was the low end card of its time. What do you plan on using this machine for?
     
  4. asvensen macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2015
    #4
    Not powerful enough for what?
    I believe flashed x850 xt is good option for your g4. And 7800gs is the best option for G4 mdd agp.
     
  5. Lord Blackadder, Jan 12, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2015

    Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #5
    It all depends what you're going to do with your computer, and whether you want to flash a PC card or use an OEM Apple compatible card. If you want to take advantage of the Core Image feature of OS X 10.4 or above, you'll need a Radeon 9600 or better (ATI) or GeForce FX 5200 or better (nVidia)

    The most powerful card that will run in your machine would be an AGP version of the GeForce 7800 series, but for almost anything apart from gaming it's going to be overkill.

    Some of the most popular cards for G4 tower upgrades are (*= NOT Core Image Compatible)

    Radeon 7000*/7500*
    Radeon 9000/9200*
    Radeon 9600 PRO/9700 PRO (Apple version is quite hard to find)/9800 PRO/9800XT
    Radeon X800XT/FIRE GL
    GeForce4Ti*
    GeForce FX 5200
    GeForce FX 6600/6800/7800

    I have a "Digital Audio" G4 (originally dual 533MHz upgraded to single 1.4GHz) and I have used Radeon 7500 and 9600 PRO cards as well as an XFX brand (flashed) GeForce 6800GT.

    BUT NOTE: this is not a plug-n-play operation unless you are using an OEM Apple or officially Apple-compatible card designed for G4s (of the list above this only includes the Radeon 7000, 7500, 9000, 9200, 9700 PRO, 9800PRO, 9800XT and GeForce 4Ti). The OEM Apple Radeon 9700 PRO is rare and expensive, and the OEM Apple GeForce 4Ti is also hard to find and spendy. They were the best cards that G4s came with from the factory. There is a Radeon 9800XT that was sold as an upgrade that is both G4 and G5 Mac compatible. It is also pretty uncommon and a knowledgable seller will charge you a fortune.

    For the rest of the cards, or for PC versions of the aforementioned cards, you need to flash a PC version of the card with a Mac ROM (only certain brands work) and tape over two of the pins on the AGP connector before they will work. Sometimes you need to solder a larger ROM IC to the card so the larger Mac ROM will fit (the PC Radeon X850s had this issue, for example) It's a finicky process and you'll need to do research. The Radeon 9800 PRO was one of the most popular cards for flashing; it's easy to flash, is a good match for G4s performance-wise and supports all the most modern features a G4 can handle. It's also pretty easy to find either in Apple or PC form and pretty cheap if you look around. Lesser cards like the GeForce FX5200 can be had for peanuts and will run rings around your current card.

    Or, just buy a flashed PC card off ebay and hope the seller did it properly.
     
  6. Surrat macrumors 6502

    Surrat

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Location:
    United States
    #6
    On the Radeon cards, dont forget the 9600 PC & Mac edition. I have one and it works great in my G4 MDD, has a DL DVI too to run the 30" cinema.

    I'm curious as to how the real mac x850xt stands up to the flashed 7800gs in opengl speed.

    My G5 dual 2.7 came with the ATI x850xt. My G5 Quad, has a Quadro fx4500. In OpenGL benchmark, the x850xt wins by a decent margin, and its not even pci-e.
     
  7. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    Jan 24, 2010
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    Inside
    #7
  8. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
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    Sod off
    #8
    It's worth mentioning that the more powerful cards are big, run hot and use a lot of power. Cards like the Radeon 9600 and GeForce FX5200 run much cooler and use much less power, but for most day-to-day tasks they work great. The bigger GPUs are only useful for gaming and certain other tasks like rendering images.
     
  9. Zotaccian macrumors 6502a

    Zotaccian

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2012
    #9
    But what does it benefit to add way too powerful card next to single 867MHz G4 ? Of course prices for many old AGP cards are low and many times you might find them for relatively same price, then I can understad why someone would pick 7800GS for example and stick it to G4 machine instead of Radeon 9600 or similar... but I think that the machine cannot push enough to data even use half of graphics potential of such card...
     
  10. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #10
    A more powerful graphics card does help these old computers in that it allows OS X to push a lot of processing power for the "eye candy" off to the GPU and frees up the CPU to do other things.

    The difference isn't dramatic, but under OS X it really does make a difference. Probably the biggest difference you would notice is installing a card that supports Core Image when running Leopard(and Tiger to a lesser extent) but both of these definitely benefit from a "better" graphics card even if it doesn't support core image.

    Under OS 9, I don't notice much difference in the basic UI between a low end card like a Rage 128(or the built in graphics on a beige G3) and a high end card like a Geforce 4Ti(or a Radeon 9200 for PCI graphics machines). At least with the basic UI and in doing things that are not graphics intensive like word processing, the only real difference(I've noticed) is that a better card can drive a bigger display. It does make a difference, however, for gaming, Photoshop, and any graphics-intensive programs within OS 9.
     
  11. Lord Blackadder, Jan 14, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2015

    Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    Joined:
    May 7, 2004
    Location:
    Sod off
    #11
    Core image performance is one practical reason to upgrade.

    The problem with the 7800GS (or X800 series) is power consumption. Power Mac G4 power supplies are not the most powerful out there and might not be able to handle a 7800GS if you are also running a bunch of internal drives and other expansion cards. Or, they might run on the hot side. Plus, these machines are starting to get old - running them in a high-stress condition will shorten their lives.

    With that being said, my Digital Audio G4 ran for 6 years with a GeForce 6800GT, three internal HDDs, a SATA card, a USB 2.0 card, an extra internal fan, an internal DVD-RW and the internal Zip drive. Never had a problem. I recently put the 6800GT in storage and replaced it with a Radeon 7500 to reduce stress on the PSU. I want to keep my G4 for many years so no need to run the 6800GT when not gaming (plus, the 6800GT is useless for OS9 GPU acceleration, whereas the Radeon 7500 works great).

    Actually, that brings ups good point - if you spend any significant amount of time running "Classic" OS (i.e. OS9 or previous), you're wasting your time with one of the uber-powerful video cards. Anything newer than a Radeon 9000/9200 or GeForce 3/GeForce4 MX would be complete overkill for most Classic OS applications, and a lack of OS 9 drivers for newer cards means that you're not taking advantage of the extra power anyway. The most powerful video card supported by OS 9 is the Geforce4 Ti 4600. Everything newer operates in a generic mode sans 3D acceleration when running OS 9.

    So, for example, if you're trying to play Myth: The Fallen Lords with a GeForce 7800GS, it won't run because OS9 can't use the 7800's 3D acceleration - the generic drivers are too old to talk to a 7800 and there are no OS9-native drivers for the 7800 series. For the best OS 9 experience, you need an OS 9-era video card like the Radeon 9000.

    Of course, if you want to be totally retro, go find yourself a Voodoo 5.... ;)
     

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