Need help upgrading some Powermacs I bought for next to nothing.

funkymunky65

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
15
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This is my first time posting here, so please tell me if I do something wrong.

Last week I acquired several Apple computers for $2-5 a piece.
Yes, you read that right, $2 to $5 each.

All of them worked too, but were missing a few easy to find parts. (HDDs, RAM sticks, etc)

Here's a list of all the macs I got and their technical specifications:

Powermac G4 500MHz
896MB RAM (512+256+64+64)
10GB HDD
Nvidia GeForce2 MX 32MB
DVD-RAM drive
ZIP-100 drive
Mac OS X 10.4.11

Powermac G4 400MHz
128MB RAM
8GB HDD
ATI Rage 128 16MB
DVD-ROM drive
ZIP-100 drive
Mac OS 9.2.2

The HDDs I put in the Powermacs were spares I happened to have. Both Powermac G4s are completely functional.

Powermac G3 266MHz beige desktop

That's really all I know about this one, it doesn't have a VGA card so I can't check anything, and it's missing the HDD. I'm thinking of either buying a PCI card compatible with this system or building a DA15->VGA adapter.
I noticed it had a weird card in it with composite and s-video inputs/outputs though.

So, with all that said, I need some tips on upgrading these computers.

What would be a good, bootable, SATA PCI (PCI-X preferred) card that the Powermac G4s could use? The IDE HDDs I have don't have a lot of life left in them, and they are fairly slow, especially when playing Quake 3. I don't think the GPU, CPU or RAM are at fault, because it only lags when the HDD is being accessed.

The fastest CPU upgrades I've found are the dual 500Mhz cards, which go fairly cheaply on eBay. The hard part is finding the larger heatsink for it. Unless there is a faster CPU upgrade card I haven't heard of, does anyone know where I can go to find the heatsink that doesn't cost an unreasonable price?

What would be a good AGP GPU to use in the G4s? The GeForce2 MX and Rage 128 are very sluggish.

As for the beige G3, I was thinking about getting a cheap ATI Rage 128 Pro PCI card and using that. Or should I just build a DA15->VGA adapter and use the onboard video chipset?

Any help would be appreciated.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
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G4's don't have PCI-X. They have 64-bit PCI. This thread details what PCI SATA cards to get: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1690231/ The dual 500Mhz is the fastest OEM CPU for those machines. The fastest ever made is a dual 1.8Ghz G4. Those cost about $300-$400 depending on the exact model. There are also many speeds in between that will offer a good boot in computational abilities. The best video card for the G4's would be an ATI 9800. You can flash a compatible PC version, sourced from eBay for less than $20. A good starting card for the G3 would be the ATI 7000 or the ATI 9200, both are flashable from a PC version.
 

funkymunky65

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
15
0
G4's don't have PCI-X. They have 64-bit PCI.
Aren't those the same thing? Googleing 64-bit PCI directs me to PCI-X.

This thread details what PCI SATA cards to get: https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/1690231/
Thanks.

The dual 500Mhz is the fastest OEM CPU for those machines. The fastest ever made is a dual 1.8Ghz G4. Those cost about $300-$400 depending on the exact model. There are also many speeds in between that will offer a good boot in computational abilities.
I guess I'll stick with trying to get a dual 500MHz G4 and the heatsink.

The best video card for the G4's would be an ATI 9800. You can flash a compatible PC version, sourced from eBay for less than $20. A good starting card for the G3 would be the ATI 7000 or the ATI 9200, both are flashable from a PC version.
Thanks, sounds like a good idea.
 

funkymunky65

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
15
0
So I just went and looked on newegg and found the "ADATA Premier Pro SP600 64GB SATA SSD" for $39.99 per unit. Not bad, and according to the SATA card thread that was posted, you can boot from the SATA card. Would this be a good SSD to put in the G4s?
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
That card would be acceptable. 64-bit PCI and PCI-X are two different things, although they don't look overly different.
 

funkymunky65

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
15
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So about the Beige G3, I heard there was a G4 upgrade. Any idea where I could find one?
 

funkymunky65

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
15
0
If you are interested in Leopard in your Beige, see this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=su8zWpFOkAM
I'm not really interested in running anything other than OS 9.2.2 on it.
Mainly due to the fact that gathering all the parts to make the beige capable of running Leopard at a slightly decent speed would take about the same amount of cash as a low to mid ranged G5.
Honestly I wonder if Debian will run on it.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
There is a G4 upgrade. You can use either the Apple OEM G4 that came in the PCI PowerMac G4 or a ZIF upgrade card. They go for about $30-$50 on eBay. One of those, at least 256MB of memory, and an ATI 7000 will get you the ability to run Leopard.
 

funkymunky65

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
15
0
There is a G4 upgrade. You can use either the Apple OEM G4 that came in the PCI PowerMac G4 or a ZIF upgrade card. They go for about $30-$50 on eBay. One of those, at least 256MB of memory, and an ATI 7000 will get you the ability to run Leopard.
The only G4 ZIF I could see on eBay is $40, and I can't justify the price when I have two newer Powermacs in need of upgrades. I think I'll do the SATA+SSD upgrade first as the HDDs are very slow, worn, loud and small in capacity. Second I'll upgrade the RAM to the max, then worry about CPU and GPU upgrades.

Does anyone happen to know where I could find a DA15 to VGA adapter that won't cost me an arm and a leg?
 

DZ/015

macrumors 6502a
Mar 23, 2003
875
21
New England
I wouldn't bother with a G4 upgrade for the beige unit. The slower memory and graphics won't be as good as your 500MHz G4 with AGP graphics.

The best card for the G4 depends on whether you want to use OS 9 or X. The best resource for this info is on japamac's site. Look around there, he has quite a bit of good information.
 

funkymunky65

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
15
0
So I did a little digging on eBay and found a used ATI Radeon 9600 128MB AGP. It's even the apple version so there will be no need to flash it.
However, I don't know if the AGP connector it has is compatible with my Sawtooth G4. The P/N for the 9600 is 631-0081 630-7150 if that helps.

I just want to make absolutely sure the card will work before buying it, because VGA on an LCD is terrible and the only other card I have with DVI, the Rage 128, only goes up to 1280x1024. (Which oddly enough the Rage 128 handles Quake 2 a bit better than the Geforce2 MX, can anyone explain this part?)
 

Anonymous Freak

macrumors 603
Dec 12, 2002
5,237
588
Cascadia
That card would be acceptable. 64-bit PCI and PCI-X are two different things, although they don't look overly different.
Or, more accurately: PCI-X is the successor to 64-bit PCI, and the two standards are 100% forward-and-backward compatible. A PCI-X card works perfectly in a 64-bit PCI slot (and, in fact, in a 32-bit PCI slot as long as there is nothing on the motherboard that the extra card edge connector would bump in to,) and a 64-bit PCI card works fine in a PCI-X slot.

PCI primer:
There are two main numbers to be concerned with in PCI.
[ul][li]Bit-ness: 32-bit or 64-bit. The vast, vast, vast majority of all PCI cards are 32-bit. When you look at "a standard PCI slot", you're looking at a 32-bit slot. A 64-bit slot is much longer. The two are (again, barring physical issues such as components on the motherboard physically blocking,) completely compatible. When I worked at Intel, we would even sometimes cut the 64-bit extension off the card edge connector to make it work on a motherboard that only had a 32-bit slot and had obstructions on the motherboard. (For internal-use only, of course.)
[li]Speed: The first PCI slots were 33 MHz (well, technically 33-1/3 MHz.) Later standards increased it to 66 MHz, 100 MHz, 133 MHz, 266 MHz, and even 533 MHz.[/ul]

There were systems available in both 32-bit and 64-bit at 33 MHz and 66 MHz. The first generation of G4 had one 32-bit, 66 MHz slot for the video card, plus three 64-bit, 33 MHz "general use" slots.

AGP started out as a 32-bit, 66 MHz PCI slot with a few extra pins added to allow for direct access to the memory controller on the Northbridge. There were bridge chips to convert an AGP connection to a 32-bit, 66 MHz PCI slot. (Some of Intel's early-AGP-era server boards used these.)

"Conventional PCI" covers 32-bit and 64-bit up to 66 MHz.
PCI-X is just the marketing term the PCI Special Interest Group (aka: marketing organization,) used to refer to 64-bit PCI at speeds greater than 66 MHz. PCI-X 1.0 had both 100 MHz and 133 MHz available. PCI-X 2.0 added 266 and 533 MHz, although I never knew of a single system that came with a 533 MHz slot.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
The ATI 9600 is an AGP 4x-8x card and cannot work in a Sawtooth's 2x AGP slot. I believe the ATI Rage 128 our performs the GeForce 2MX at one or thing things. It's possible that Quake 2 is using those things that the GeForce 2MX is not as good at.
 

funkymunky65

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
15
0
Or, more accurately: PCI-X is the successor to 64-bit PCI, and the two standards are 100% forward-and-backward compatible. A PCI-X card works perfectly in a 64-bit PCI slot (and, in fact, in a 32-bit PCI slot as long as there is nothing on the motherboard that the extra card edge connector would bump in to,) and a 64-bit PCI card works fine in a PCI-X slot.

PCI primer:
There are two main numbers to be...
Thank you for that info, I didn't know that.
 

funkymunky65

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
15
0
Sorry for the delay in posts, I got kind of busy over the past couple of days.

I know the Sawtooth only has a 2x AGP slot, and I keep hearing that it won't take 4x/8x cards, but from what I know AGP cards are backwards compatible. I have a 4x/8x card in a different Athlon box and it only has a 2x slot, which is what makes me think this.

So I followed the compatibility guide for GPUs here:
http://themacelite.wikidot.com/compatibility

Out of everything on that list, the FX 5500 seems to be the only decently priced one on eBay with good performance. However, it is also a 4x/8x card.

If I were to buy an FX 5500 4x/8x AGP card, and flash it using the guide here:
http://themacelite.wikidot.com/nvidia-general-flashing

Would it work in my Powermac G4 sawtooth 500MHz?
 
Last edited:

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
AGP cards are backwards compatible to a point. If the card required 1.5 volts, but the slot provides 3.3 volts, it'll burn out the card. There are of course different gaps in the AGP slot to prevent this. If the card has a slot nearest the video out ports, it has the ability to accept 3.3 volts from an AGP 2X slot. If it has a slot farther away from the video out ports, it is will accept 1.5 volts from an AGP 4X or 8X slot. Some cards will accept both voltages and work in 2X/4X/8X AGP, such as the ATI 9800. You can try to force an AGP 4X or AGP 8X card into an AGP 2X machine, but it simply won't fit. I suggest getting and flashing an ATI 9800. They can often be had for less than $20.
 

funkymunky65

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Sep 23, 2014
15
0
AGP cards are backwards compatible to a point. If the card required 1.5 volts, but the slot provides 3.3 volts, it'll burn out the card. There are of course different gaps in the AGP slot to prevent this. If the card has a slot nearest the video out ports, it has the ability to accept 3.3 volts from an AGP 2X slot. If it has a slot farther away from the video out ports, it is will accept 1.5 volts from an AGP 4X or 8X slot. Some cards will accept both voltages and work in 2X/4X/8X AGP, such as the ATI 9800. You can try to force an AGP 4X or AGP 8X card into an AGP 2X machine, but it simply won't fit. I suggest getting and flashing an ATI 9800. They can often be had for less than $20.
The cheapest ATI 9800 on eBay at the moment seems to be a worn out Dell card with a broken fan for $40.


This was the card I had in mind, it has two of the slots you mentioned. Would it work in the G4?
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,897
407
Inside
They generally don't mind, so long as it isn't your auction. My question is more like, are you searching ebay.com, ebay.co.uk, ebay.ca, etc.
 
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