Pathetic newbie with G4 Quicksilver upgrade questions

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by elvirav, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. elvirav macrumors member


    Jun 29, 2006
    California, off and on.
    I am not new to Macs (it's almost been ten years!) but I am new to doing the upgrading myself. Except for adding some RAM, I have always stayed away from upgrading since it terrified me. (I was always worried that I'd break something.)

    Well, I picked up an old Quicksilver G4 (867 MHz) on eBay, and I'm going to be brave and upgrade the thing. I'm not afraid to upgrade the RAM, but it's the hard drives and to a lesser extent, PCI cards which are new territory. I have done some extensive Google searching, but would appreciate some comforting words and advice from other Mac people.

    Okay, so I went a little crazy and got several hard drives and PCI cards.

    I got a PCI USB 2.0 card from Otherworld Computing ( ). I saw a video tutorial they had on adding a PCI card, and I think it doesn't look too difficult.

    Also, got the ATI Radeon 7000 64MB PCI Video Card. (I want to connect to a DVI monitor.) Should there be anything I should know about this? Is it just a matter of sticking it in the PCI slot and putting the screws in the right place?

    And lastly, I got an Ultra ATA 133/100 controller card (PCI) off of eBay, to add two more hard drives. (This is my biggest area of concern.) All the hard drives I am getting are ATA-100. (I was led to believe this is what the G4 supported.) My first plan was to add a cheapo little 40 GB HD on top of the factory shipped hard drive. (I have seen tutorials on YouTube on how to do this. Stick it in, screw it to the brackets, and put in the power and data cables, right?) Then using the Ultra ATA controller card, I have two larger drives (250 GB and 320 GB) which I want to put in each of the other two free bays. I've also purchased 40-pin connectors (those ribbon-looking things) to connect them to the controller. And I am led to believe that there are some additional free power cables inside the Mac that I can connect to each of these two additional drives.

    Will this all work? Am I missing something? And my biggest concern—will this make everything toasty hot inside? If heat is an issue, what can I do to avoid it? Just have one drive connected to the ATA controller card? Not have a drive piggyback on top of the factory drive?

    This will be my secondary Mac (I use an Intel Mac primarily) so this isn't life and death, but needless to say I don't want to mess up this old G4 if I can help it, and I do plan on using it at least a little.

    Thanks for any help you can give me!
  2. PaulD-UK macrumors member

    Oct 23, 2009
    More or less, yes.
    Touch some earthed metalwork from time to time whilst you're handling the PCI cards, and avoid touching any exposed contacts or components.
    OS X will work with inbuilt drivers for any run-of-the-mill USB 2 card that is OHCI compliant.

    As its got a x4 AGP slot it will work much better with an AGP video card. PCI cards were designed for dual monitor setups before Apple routinely supplied a dual-capable AGP card as standard - which subsequent G4 Macs mostly had.

    The card will need a driver - not all manufacturers provided them for OS X.
    You need an ATA 133 card to overcome the early Quicksilver Mac's lack of support for hard drives larger than 128GB.
    An ATA 100/133 setup needs 80-pin ATA cables, not the older 40-pin ones that were for ATA 66 (or ATA 33).

    You probably need either OS X 10.3 or 10.4, but even with Tiger its going to be fairly lethargic compared to an Intel Mac...
  3. elvirav thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 29, 2006
    California, off and on.
    Thanks Paul! This is very helpful! I'll look into the 80-pin cables, and the ATA controller card I have specifically says it'll work with OS X, so I should be okay there. I intend to use Tiger and/or Leopard. (Edited to add, the auction says it'll support "big drives" and also specifies 40-pin cables. I guess I'll wait and see what it looks like when it arrives and then order 80 pin if required?)

    I know that the G4 will be slower than my Intel Mac, but I look forward to playing around with it, upgrading it, and seeing what can be done.

    And I appreciate the info about the USB 2 cards. I did get some cheaper ones on eBay (for some older G4s I have laying about) and they said they would work in Macs.

    As for the AGP card, I am just too timid at this time to replace my existing AGP card! I guess that's silly, but I feel it's a major accomplishment to just do the PCI cards and the hard drives. LOL.

    Thanks so much again. :)
  4. Alanbee macrumors newbie

    Dec 4, 2009
    If its in your budget, don't forget at the RAM. That can make a huge difference when running the later OSX variants.
  5. elvirav thread starter macrumors member


    Jun 29, 2006
    California, off and on.
    Oh yes indeed, Alanbee! Thanks! I had not forgotten the RAM! It's up to its maximum of 1.5 GB.

    Right now I am updating Leopard on the Quicksilver Mac, and so far everything appears to be okay. I had some trouble getting the USB PCI card to go in (and I have to check and make sure it's actually working), but the RAM is installed and recognized, and Leopard and Tiger both installed (I partitioned the drive).

    The vendor didn't get into much detail about what was inside the Mac. They said "Combo drive" but it's a Superdrive. They didn't specify which video card, so I was assuming it was the 32 MB version, but it's the 64 MB version! I won't be installing the PCI video card. I got the PCI video card because I believed that the Mac had a 32 MB card, but since it's 64 MB and AGP, it would be insane not to keep it! Fortunately my monitor supports both VGA and DVI. I'll put the video card in another Mac.

    Still waiting for my PCI controller card to arrive, and then I'll see how that goes! :D

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