New Tinker Toy: Power Mac G4 MDD

gavinstubbs09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 17, 2013
1,386
247
NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
Going with the "tinker toy" cause I think it's a cool thing. So, I've never owned a Power Mac G4, and this past week I had an urge to get one, just like I did when I got my G5. Was looking through eBay and came across one for $49 plus a calculated shipping of $47 for me, sent an offer for $35 and got it. So I'm happy, and finding a old mac like this locally or even on CL is impossible in the portion of the state I live in.

Anywho, it's a DP 1.0GHz 2002 model (no FW800) with pre-maxxed out ram at 1.5GB, CD/RW drive, 80GB HDD, and a Radeon 9000 Pro. If anyone has seen ItsMyNaturalColour's videos he has a 1.42GHz MDD with some beefy parts and maybe this one will get to that point. We'll see! I have a 22" ACD, all I need now is the Apple Pro Keyboard, the one-button mouse, and the H/K speakers and I'm set!

The plan is to attempt at being a daily rig for a while (I use my Mac Pro heavily so this will be interesting) and after the fact it'll become a storage server (much easier on the power compared to running a DP2.0 G5 24/7) and be loaded with some TB hard drives. Oh, it'll also be getting a 64GB SSD, cause, why not :D
 

Attachments

Last edited:

robertdsc

macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2014
202
5
pre-maxxed out ram at 1.5GB
The MDD can take up to 2 GB of RAM in 4x 512 MB modules.

If you are interested in a storage option, you can remove the CD drive and mounting cage and use an extra MDD hard drive cage to add two IDE drives to your available disk space.

I did that with a MDD FW800 (in fact, the very Mac I'm writing this post on) and it works without any issues.

This MDD can dual boot Mac OS 9 and OS X up to 10.5.8. It also has an Apple Speakers jack for the Apple Pro Speakers. Those speakers rock the house and I'm very happy running my MDDs with them.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,182
13,025
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
You can add SATA very easily. I got a $10 PC SATA card and flashed it. My Quicksilver's main drives are SATA.

You can also get USB 2.0 by dropping in another PCI card as well.

Nice machine you have there. Have fun with it.
 

Goftrey

macrumors 68000
May 20, 2011
1,844
70
Wales, UK
You can add SATA very easily. I got a $10 PC SATA card and flashed it. My Quicksilver's main drives are SATA.

You can also get USB 2.0 by dropping in another PCI card as well.

Nice machine you have there. Have fun with it.
How much of a boost have you noticed since going SATA (Over ATA/66)?

I recently picked up a DP 1.42 MDD (knackerd PSU, swapped the one from my DP 867 and now it works!) and have been considering popping in a SATA card - but I noticed I'd only see a maximum 33mbps difference between the ATA/100 bus & the SATA PCI bus (PCI @133mbps). Do you reckon it's worth it given the fact I could save a heap of money by just buying an ATA to SATA adapter (for an SSD)?

To the OP - nice Mac! First thing anyone needs to do with an MDD in my opinion is get a USB PCI card (the 2 in mine was just simply not enough, got a gorgeous Sonnet Allegro in there now).
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,182
13,025
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
How much of a boost have you noticed since going SATA (Over ATA/66)?

I recently picked up a DP 1.42 MDD (knackerd PSU, swapped the one from my DP 867 and now it works!) and have been considering popping in a SATA card - but I noticed I'd only see a maximum 33mbps difference between the ATA/100 bus & the SATA PCI bus (PCI @133mbps). Do you reckon it's worth it given the fact I could save a heap of money by just buying an ATA to SATA adapter (for an SSD)?
Honestly, I would have to say it's about the same, perhaps slightly faster. Or maybe that's just my perception.

However, it SEEMS faster. I'm averaging about 40-50MBps depending on file sizes. Personally, I'd just go for the SATA card, but just my opinion. The adapters are cheap and work of course, but you might have to account for the clearance of the adapter to the logicboard when you close the door. Don't know.

Someone with more experience on the adapter hopefully can chime in.

For me, this was something I wanted to do from the perspective of not having to use an adapter. I don't have to worry about that now. And I can use almost any SATA drive. Of course, with an adapter you can too, but it's just an extra piece you have to make sure gets connected.

I think it just comes down to preference.
 

harrymatic

macrumors 6502
Dec 30, 2013
331
20
United Kingdom
Personally, I'd just go for the SATA card, but just my opinion. The adapters are cheap and work of course, but you might have to account for the clearance of the adapter to the logicboard when you close the door. Don't know.
Using a 32-bit PCI SATA card won't offer any improved performance over the onboard ATA controller, but it opens the door to larger, cheaper modern drives which themselves may have faster access times.

Before settling on a flashed SATA card, I tried using one of the PATA-SATA interfaces. Not only was it too large for the door to close, but when it was working it was hopelessly unreliable. Disk utility could see the drive, but would always crash when trying to format it. The same drive now works perfectly as my boot drive, connected to a SATA card.

Do you reckon it's worth it given the fact I could save a heap of money by just buying an ATA to SATA adapter (for an SSD)?
SATA cards are really cheap if you buy a generic PC SIL3112 card and flash it with the Mac firmware. See http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1690231 for step-by-step instructions.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,182
13,025
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
I endorse this thread! :D
SATA cards are really cheap if you buy a generic PC SIL3112 card and flash it with the Mac firmware. See http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1690231 for step-by-step instructions.
The card that harrymatic shows in the thread was on the UK eBay of course. So for me, I simply copied the pertinent details of the auction header and pasted them in to Google for the US version of eBay. Found one right away for $10.
 

Goftrey

macrumors 68000
May 20, 2011
1,844
70
Wales, UK
SATA cards are really cheap if you buy a generic PC SIL3112 card and flash it with the Mac firmware. See http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1690231 for step-by-step instructions.
I have come across that thread & can't go down that route as I don't have a old PC w/ floppy & PCI unfortunately.

And thanks for the reply, eyoungren! It doesn't seem like it makes a huge difference then, especially considering you are running of ATA/66 & me 100. I guess I'll hold off the stupidly expensive ones that are always on eBay (usually come from Australia or HK), and wait for a local one to pop up (or if I can get my hands on an old PC, go the flashing route).
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,182
13,025
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
I have come across that thread & can't go down that route as I don't have a old PC w/ floppy & PCI unfortunately.

And thanks for the reply, eyoungren! It doesn't seem like it makes a huge difference then, especially considering you are running of ATA/66 & me 100. I guess I'll hold off the stupidly expensive ones that are always on eBay (usually come from Australia or HK), and wait for a local one to pop up (or if I can get my hands on an old PC, go the flashing route).
Yeah, unfortunately the state of PowerPC now seems to be getting to a point where the sellers on eBay are far more saavy then they used to be.

Sonnet SATA cards seem to be like KitchenAide mixers. No matter where you buy one (new) KitchenAide mixers are rarely if ever sold for anything less than $200. Likewise, I have yet to see a 'Buy Now' price for a Sonnet SATA card for anything less than $80. And they are fetching more at auction. Unless you're willing to go deep at auction you'll never win one of these cards. Too many snipers.

Fortunately I had (have) an old PC so going this route saved me $70.

Sure hope you can find a PC to do this for you.
 

gavinstubbs09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 17, 2013
1,386
247
NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
Yeah, unfortunately the state of PowerPC now seems to be getting to a point where the sellers on eBay are far more saavy then they used to be.

Sonnet SATA cards seem to be like KitchenAide mixers. No matter where you buy one (new) KitchenAide mixers are rarely if ever sold for anything less than $200. Likewise, I have yet to see a 'Buy Now' price for a Sonnet SATA card for anything less than $80. And they are fetching more at auction. Unless you're willing to go deep at auction you'll never win one of these cards. Too many snipers.

Fortunately I had (have) an old PC so going this route saved me $70.

Sure hope you can find a PC to do this for you.
Just bought one of the cards from the link you posted in the flashing a SATA card post, and hope that gets here soon! Thank goodness I have a few old PCs with PCI!
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,182
13,025
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Just bought one of the cards from the link you posted in the flashing a SATA card post, and hope that gets here soon! Thank goodness I have a few old PCs with PCI!
That vendor ships pretty fast. You may have to wait a bit though as the vendor uses DHS Global Mail. Adds a few days. I think the vendor is in Northern Cal though, so it may shorten the time (maybe) for you.

Flashing the card is real easy once you get the PC to boot off the floppy. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
 
Last edited:

gavinstubbs09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 17, 2013
1,386
247
NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
That vendor ships pretty fast. You may have to wait a bit though as the vendor uses DHS Global Mail. Adds a few days. I think the vendor is in Northern Cal though, so it may shorten the time (maybe) for you.

Flashing the card is real easy once you get the PC to boot off the floppy. Good luck and let us know how it goes!
Excellent! Hope it gets here before Thursday so I have time to flash it and stuff.

Really excited to use the MDD for a bit to see if it's really that bad going from a 8 core mac pro, and then after I'm done with that challenge it'll become a Mac Server! Just cause it will be a bit more green than running my G5 24/7!
 

Zotaccian

macrumors 6502a
Apr 25, 2012
637
2
Offtopic:

eyoungren, I see you now have that Powerlogix (?) upgrade processor, have you tried running Geekbench -test to see what kind of scores you get? Those CPU's I believe are the same revision as in later PowerBooks meaning that they will have 512k L2 cache per core, if so then they are bit more than just more mhz compared to fastest official dual G4, the 1.42GHz. As far as I know having more L2 cache means more than having L3 like in FW800 and some others.... Not as high FSB on other is not a good thing...


But anyways it must be faster than that 1.2Ghz single.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,182
13,025
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Offtopic:

eyoungren, I see you now have that Powerlogix (?) upgrade processor, have you tried running Geekbench -test to see what kind of scores you get? Those CPU's I believe are the same revision as in later PowerBooks meaning that they will have 512k L2 cache per core, if so then they are bit more than just more mhz compared to fastest official dual G4, the 1.42GHz. As far as I know having more L2 cache means more than having L3 like in FW800 and some others.... Not as high FSB on other is not a good thing...


But anyways it must be faster than that 1.2Ghz single.
I actually have two 1.6ghz processors. But the first one would not fit (heatsink not oriented right). Another member sent me the one I have now which is a Giga Designs 1.8Ghz dual. But it's downclocked to 1.6Ghz. Once I downlocked it (via the jumper settings) it's been rock solid stable.

The old 1.2Ghz Powerlogix was great but now I can actually view some MP4 movies I've had without much of an issue with the new dual. And everything seems to be faster.

I haven't done any Geekbench testing. Not really my thing, but I can tell you it's been a considerable step up. Bit of a hassle to get it going but that was only because I had to hit on the right combination of things.

Once I can get a hold of some DVI to ADC converters it's going to be a very nice system.
 

gavinstubbs09

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 17, 2013
1,386
247
NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
I actually have two 1.6ghz processors. But the first one would not fit (heatsink not oriented right). Another member sent me the one I have now which is a Giga Designs 1.8Ghz dual. But it's downclocked to 1.6Ghz. Once I downlocked it (via the jumper settings) it's been rock solid stable.

The old 1.2Ghz Powerlogix was great but now I can actually view some MP4 movies I've had without much of an issue with the new dual. And everything seems to be faster.

I haven't done any Geekbench testing. Not really my thing, but I can tell you it's been a considerable step up. Bit of a hassle to get it going but that was only because I had to hit on the right combination of things.

Once I can get a hold of some DVI to ADC converters it's going to be a very nice system.
What I like about CPU upgrades is for the most part when you upgrade it you get better performance, and you can do more things than you had thought! Like in my Mac Pro jumping to 2x quad cores makes this thing handle 4K YouTube videos without an issue, where before it was a struggle.
 

repentix

macrumors regular
May 26, 2013
205
2
Itsmynaturalcolour has spent a lot of money on his ppc macs, so you can probably say that he will be doing the ppc challenge this year. He's got a g3 with 3hdds and an ssd as a boot drive via a sonett sata card I don't think that any other person really spends that much money on a 15 year old machine it's now nearly fully maxed out. He's also seriously upgraded his MDD which probably cost 100s of pounds. He really loves ppcs and i hope that he will be doing the ppc challenge this year.

wonder if he'll ever manage the 'Power PC promise' he's been talking about for a year or so!
He's been talking about the ppc challenge for about 2-3 years!
 

G4fanboy

macrumors 6502
Mar 9, 2013
261
125
Andalucia Spain
Itsmynaturalcolour has spent a lot of money on his ppc macs, so you can probably say that he will be doing the ppc challenge this year. He's got a g3 with 3hdds and an ssd as a boot drive via a sonett sata card I don't think that any other person really spends that much money on a 15 year old machine it's now nearly fully maxed out. He's also seriously upgraded his MDD which probably cost 100s of pounds. He really loves ppcs and i hope that he will be doing the ppc challenge this year.


He's been talking about the ppc challenge for about 2-3 years!
He recieved most part from massives donations. He gives huge thanks to donnors. But the SSD for the first PowerPC 2013 he took to his IntelMac before benchmarking and doing "the challenge". I emailed him to make at least a raid 0 challenge with the ide drives he recieved with his MDD but never did. Later he upgraded the G3 and made some cool videos but never did "the challenge".

There are allot of persons on this forum who do the PPC Challenge every day, including me! :D
Most Macrumors-PowerPC users make it daily. Just we don't record it!
 

repentix

macrumors regular
May 26, 2013
205
2
I agree with you, he gets most of his parts from generous donors. I do however still believe in him doing the PPC challenge this year his g3 is virtually fully upgraded and his MDD too. He says that he wants to do it "professionally" and that thats the reason why he didn't want to do the challenge before.
 
Last edited:

And

macrumors 6502
Feb 23, 2009
389
1
92 ft above sea level, UK
I guess these days it just depends on whether your computing needs happen to be able to be supported by a powerPC. I use a G5 Mon-Fri, but not exclusively.