Maxing Out A Powermac G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Mac OS X User, Mar 25, 2012.

  1. Mac OS X User macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2011
    Hi all,

    I am wondering what components whorls be best for upgrading a Powermac g4 to near max specs. I have my eye on a sonnet encore st 1ghz 7455 CPU upgrade on eBay. While I know that it is not the best CPU upgrade out there I think it offers very good performance for the price. Do you need any discs to use this in a agp Powermac g4 because the one I am watching does not come with any discs as it is a pull from a working system?

    For the graphics card I am stuck between a pc nvidia GeForce 7800gs or a pc nvidia GeForce 6200. Which one would offer the better performance.

    I also need to buy an actual Powermac g4. What Powermac g4 model would offer the best reliability/performance. Whatever model I choose to get I will definitely max out the ram.

    Thanks in advance:)
  2. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502


    May 30, 2011
    What PMac exactly ??

    Cos MDD/FW800 needs different kind of CPU-modules than QuickSilver and older.

    Max RAM is 2GB for the MDD/FW800 and some of the real old ones, while a QuickSilver will only take 3x512MB.

    Depending on the exact model you might also run into extreme IDE-slowness and limitations on HD-size (a SATA-card might come handy here).

    Depending how cheap that 1GHz Sonnet is (this will only work in QuickSilver and older) you might also find a bargain on an MDD (these have faster CPU stock even for the base model).

    And offcourse some hints about your budget and your planned useage-pattern might be helpfull.

    My advise:
    Wait for a QS with CPU-upgrade >=1.6GHz included or hunt down a stock MDD/FW800.
  3. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Aug 9, 2007
    lol at the graphics card question :))). the NVIDIA 6200 is weak, and the 7800 is immense (i.e. awesome). personally I've got a flashed PC ATI FireGL X3 (identical to a Radeon X800 XT), it's awesome, cost me $160 and it came brand new, got it from a seller on ebay.
  4. Mac OS X User thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2011
    I know that an mdd will be faster but I already have a dual 1ghz MDD and I am interested in a project.

    I am leaning towards the Powermac g4 sawtooth for the extremely good reliability. At the moment my budget does not permit a sata card. I think I'll get along fine with the on board ata bus.

    Thanks Jethryn Freyman, I'll definitely get a 7800.
  5. zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    The MDD's are not faster when you have a Sawtooth with a 7448 CPU. The MDD cannot take these upgrades. Sadly though the 7448 are very rare and very expensive even when they can be found. The 7455 is the next best choice. I have a Sonnet 1 GHz 7455 in my 2nd Sawtooth and it's a great CPU. The 2MB L3 really helps with a lot more than people realize.

    The Sawtooth are not only the most reliable but also one of the cheapest to buy. I see them these days for 40-80. Cheap enough that I have 4 and keep 2 just as parts machines although they run perfectly.

    I actually switched from computing with 2x MDD (dual 867 and 1.42) to 2x Sawtooth in 2009. Just be warned that a Sawtooth takes a bigger investment to get it up to MDD levels of performance.

    Although I agree the 7800 is much better than the 6200 I would hardy call a 6200 "weak". When it comes to gaming the 7800 will be up to 3x faster but for everyday use or even running most professional content creation apps the 6200 will be just as fast. Have you ever used a 6200 on a G4 Mac? Since I'm not really a gamer other than older games I went with the 6200 over a Radeon 9800 as it saved me about 70. The 6200 is a very solid and capable card for average GPU needs and it fully supports all the GPU technologies in OS X like Core Image, Core Video, Core Animation and Quartz Extreme.

    So to sum up.. the 7800 is far better for many things but a real overkill and waste of money if you won't actually use it's benefits. You're clearly a gamer so it makes sense for you to get an x800 or 7800.
  6. Mac OS X User thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2011
    Does anyone know if you need a disc to get the sonnet cpu upgrade working correctly in a sawtooth?
  7. zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    Nope. Just plug and play. Only the 7447 and 7448 upgrades need a firmware patch in G4 towers.
  8. Mac OS X User thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2011
    Thanks, thats great to hear :D

    Is there any way of flashing a graphics card without using a agp equipped pc as I do not have a pc with agp?
  9. zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    Not that I have done or know of. I bought my 6200 pre-flashed on ebay but it turned out to have a ROM for the G4 Cube. This Cube ROM lowers the GPU speed from 350 to 300 so I re-flashed it with a standard 6200 Mac ROM so I could get the full GPU speed. I had to use a friends old Wintel box that had an AGP slot.

    An ebay seller named "local338" sells pre-flashed video cards for Mac if you want to avoid doing it yourself. I have bought from him twice. Great seller.
  10. 666sheep macrumors 68040


    Dec 7, 2009
    7800 won't physically fit in Sawtooth/GE's AGP slot, not to mention too weak PSU in Sawtooth.
    GE/Sawtooth can only accept 3.3V (or 3.3 + 1.5V) keyed cards (see below)
    7800 is 1.5V only.
  11. Mac OS X User thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2011
    Ah, thanks for informing me.
  12. zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    Good that you pointed that out as I was concentrating more on 6200 vs. 7800.

    The only Sawtooth capable cards that will support all the Core GPU features are the Geforce 5200 and 6200 or the Radeon 9700 or 9800 (not the 256MB version). If you go with a 9800 though as I plan on doing at some point it's better to modify a 20-pin ATX PSU of 400 watts or higher. I know there is a 550watt Thermaltake PSU that fits the Sawtooth almost perfectly. Even the exhaust lines up.

    Here is the wiring info:

    The Geforce 4 Ti or Radeon 8500 are also great cards but only support Quartz Extreme.
  13. Mac OS X User thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2011
    After a bit more research I have decided on just getting a pre-flashed 6200. I didn't really want to change power supplies or anything like that. Besides, I only want a graphics card that is a bit more powerful and has CI support for better performance on the leopard interface.
  14. zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    I have a 6200 256MB and am quite happy with it. For the card it is it's an OpenGL monster. Before it I used a Radeon 7500 32MB (now in my 2nd Sawtooth) and the difference is massive in 2D and 3D. In 10.5 if you don't have a Core capable card it puts the OS in "Software" mode for Core Image which slows down the CPU as it has more to crunch all the time. Because of this if you do have a Core capable GPU it acts pretty much like an extra CPU and at a greater level than in Tiger.

    I play games like Battlefield 1942, Quake 3 and 4, Halo 1.5 and 2.0, Command and Conquer Generals and Zero Hour and get very acceptable frame rates at medium quality settings. Quake 3, Oni and SpiderMan 2 can all get 200+ FPS.

    Eventually I will upgrade to a 9800 Pro and modify an ATX PSU but for now I'm very content with the performance.
  15. Mac OS X User, Mar 27, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2012

    Mac OS X User thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2011
    Zen, how much faster do you find your 7448 compared to your 7455
  16. zen.state macrumors 68020


    Mar 13, 2005
    Quite a bit faster. My single 1.8 7448 equals about a dual 1.5GHz 7455. I base that on my Sawtooth being a bit faster than the dual 1.42 MDD I used to run as my main machine.

    Try not to get your hopes too much into getting a 7448 though as they are very rare and expensive. My single 1.8GHz was $375 in 2009. Duals are $600+

    It's not really fair to other G4's chips to compare them to a 7448 though as it's far more modern and advanced. 90nm vs 130-200nm kind of explains it all. The 7455 is 180nm.

    The 7455 is the next best chip so I would get the best dual you can find. It may not keep up with a 7448 but it's much cheaper and you can still get great performance.

    I would classify the G4's in 3 categories:

    1. 7448
    2. 7455
    3. The rest..

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