PMG4s, heat and badass video cards

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ziggy29, May 26, 2015.

  1. ziggy29, May 26, 2015
    Last edited: May 26, 2015

    ziggy29 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    Location:
    Texas
    #1
    So I got hold of a good, working ATI Radeon X800 Pro with 256MB of VRAM, to put in my G4/1.467 upgraded Digital Audio. (Scored about 15750 on the Openmark test, don't remember the exact number.) The CPU is an OWC upgrade rated up to 1.5 GHz, but based on the multiple of the bus speed on the G4DA (this was originally 667MHz), 1.467 was the top usable rated speed.

    The problem I was having for a while was that some apps, mostly TenFourFox, were frequently crashing on me. I wasn't sure why but I explored a few avenues, and at one point I decided to *open* the side of the computer and run it that way. The crashes seemed to stop! Well, I figured at that point it might be heat.

    I shut down, moved the two PCI cards I had (a USB 2.0 card and the original SCSI card, which in reality I can probably remove) to the two slots farthest from the video card which was belching out a lot of heat. I rebooted. It worked for a while without any slowdown or crashing. Then I decided to close the door and really test it.

    Stable, smooth, fast. Before moving the PCI cards I could actually feel the slowdown, the beachball and know a crash was coming. I'm actually TRYING to crash it with activity now and I can't.

    So here's at least one data point -- if you have a PCI-based Power Mac, and you have a badass video card, if you have random freezes and application crashes.... move all the PCI cards away from the graphics card and let it breathe! It may not always work, but it's worth trying.
     
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #2
    One of the big issues is when you combine a hot video card with a CPU upgrade. The G3/G4 case just wasn't designed to deal with that kind of heat(the MDD case is better in that regard).

    Many of us with CPU upgrades end up adding extra fans to get more air moving through the case. Some folks put a big hole in the case bottom for an extra 120mm fan. I have a P4 Blower-type fan in the Zip bay of my Quicksilver, which moves a ton of air.
     
  3. ziggy29, May 26, 2015
    Last edited: May 26, 2015

    ziggy29 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Texas
    #3
    Yeah, and if need be I have room for a PCI fan card now. And in reality I can also remove the SCSI card since I don't need it. Right now I have the SCSI card and a Belkin USB 2.0 card in the two leftmost PCI slots, the next two are empty and the overpowered behemoth video is in the AGP slot.

    I'm going to see if this is good enough, but so far -- knock on wood -- I can't get TFF (or anything) to crash now. If it's not I can probably remove the SCSI card, move the USB card to the far left slot and put a fan next to it. I'm also thinking about adding more ventilation somewhere, perhaps where the unused PCI slots are covering openings. But I'm not sure I need to. I could actually "smell" a crash coming when it got too hot inside, and I'm not smelling it now.
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #4
    You're dealing with the same issue I've had for quite a while.

    Apple seemed to have designed the G4 cases with an average load out assumption. Once you start packing them with after market mods and loading all the PCI slots though is when you find out that inside is a very poor thermal design that was not rectified (at least partially anyway) until the MDD.

    My Quicksilver (which is internally the same as your DA) has every PCI slot filled and generates a lot of heat with a single Sonnet 1.2Ghz CPU. It was even worse when I had a dual GigaDesigns 1.8Ghz processor installed (it's since been acquired by another member here).

    You will find however the difference in quality between aftermarket CPUs. bunnspecial has a dual Sonnet 1.8Ghz processor that he's running AT 1.8Ghz (both CPUs) at has no issues with heat as compared to the GigaDesigns he bought from me which he still cannot get over 1.6Ghz dual.

    In my own situation, I knocked a hole in the bottom of my QS and installed a 120mm fan. My case fan, PSU fan and intake fan have all been replaced with higher CFM models and I have HD coolers on my hard drives and some additional internal fans.

    All of that keeps my Mac at around 100º to 108º for my hard drives. I still think that's a little high but it's the best I've been able to get considering the three video cards, SATA card and USB/FW combo card in my PCI slots and the poor thermal design of the case.

    P.S. Here we go…
    http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1848051
     
  5. for this macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2014
    #5
    Hehe, actually MDDs have another nick name: video card killer.

    Because the AGP slot is right over the CPU heat sink. And the optical drives cage made it lack of enough space to install a decent GPU cooler. After it killed a Radeon 9800 Pro (already equipped with a Vantec ICEBERQ 4). I figured I had to do some mod since video cards for it were discontinued and would be tough to find.
     

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  6. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #6
    I guess there's no such thing as a free lunch. I've always thought that the MDD kept the CPU cooler than the earlier case design(with the huge heatsink and 120mm fan blowing right over it), but hadn't considered the video card issue. My dual 1ghz has an X800(flashed in it) although admittedly it's not used much. What you say makes perfect sense, though.

    I'd thought about putting a 4Ti in the single 1.25 I'd planned to set up for OS 9 gaming, but think that I'll stick with a somewhat more expendable(and cooler) 4MX or Radeon 9000.

    One would have thought that Apple could have left the AGP slot at the top, although I guess it's in roughly the same position on the board as other models.
     
  7. for this macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2014
    #7
    I don't know if the 4Ti need a better cooler in the MDD.
    But I've seen people remove the optical drive cage to make space
    for a huge cooler like Arctic-Cooling's VGA Silencer.
     
  8. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    #8
    Interesting since some version of TenFourFox my ibook gets very hot, when I browse more than two hours or open several tabs. With version 31.5 or 31.6 I don't remember, the RAM also filled up, till it freezed. the next update version made away with the RAM and freezing issue. But my ibook still gets very hot.

    There is an ICeberg cooler on Ebay currently http://www.ebay.de/itm/2-Pack-ICEBE...orce-und-Radeon-Grafik-neu-OVP-/191583776085? don't know, if it fits in the MDD or if the seller will ship to the US.
     
  9. ziggy29, May 30, 2015
    Last edited: May 30, 2015

    ziggy29 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
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    Texas
    #9
    Well, it's a lot better since I gave the GPU more room to breathe and for the fan to move air. I took out all the PCI cards except for one USB 2.0 card, moved the USB card as far away from the GOU as possible, and the other three PCI slots between the USB card and the GPU are empty. The sudden crashes seem to mostly be a thing of the past, though at some point I may look for some additional cooling. Not sure if adding a PCI fan card would help or hinder the cooling; it might move more air but it might also blow hot air back toward the GPU or the CPU and would also inhibit air flow.

    And for what it's worth, TFF virtually never crashes on my G4/550 Pismo, and also rock solid on my stock 12" 1.33 AlBook. It was only in my DA, and with both an upgraded CPU and GPU.
     
  10. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #10
    Funny about your problems with the TFF crashing.

    I have a DA with a 1.8 Sonnet Duet and a 4Ti, and have no issues with TFF. I also have a QS with a Giga dual 1.8 running at 1.6 along with a 9600 and likewise have no trouble.
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #11
    I think there is a point here though.

    A while back I had some issues with T4Fx on my QS. It was not stable. It would take two or three times to get it to open or it would bomb when browsing.

    With 31.6.0 that seems to have stopped.

    At the time I checked the logs and they were getting hit with RAM errors. Now, in my QS I seem to have one loose ram slot and so I chalked it down to the ram having worked loose a bit (at the time I was moving the Mac around a lot) because reseating the chip "fixed" T4Fx crashing.

    But as some others seem to be experiencing this AND Cameron Kaiser's documentation on his blog of the things he's been dealing with I have no problem in suggesting that versions below 31.6.0 probably have a ram issue.

    As to why others are not experiencing that, well we are all usually quick to upgrade T4Fx and those that are not using 31.6.0 or above may have some other issues that allow their Mac to weather any hits from the browser. IDK.

    But I do suspect there is an actual memory issue here.
     
  12. ziggy29 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    Location:
    Texas
    #12
    I've thought about the RAM. This model holds 3 sticks up to 512 MB each. Two of them are off-brand, generic stuff. If I can find some better PC133 RAM for cheap, I may do it. For now, moving the PCI cards away from the GPU seems to be doing fine.
     

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