Power Mac upgrades

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Ghostbuster386, Apr 2, 2015.

  1. Ghostbuster386 macrumors regular

    Ghostbuster386

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    #1
    I picked up two more Power Mac's yesterday on Craigslist. I got a 300MHz G3 and a 450MHz G4. It got me thinking about upgrading them to the best of their ability. So I was just wondering if someone could point me in the direct of where to purchase these upgrades or is just keeping an eye out for them when they pop up the best options? I also have a 450MHz G4 Cube that I would like to upgrade as well.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #2
    craigslist or eBay, thrift stores, recyclers or just friends. Some people have scored huge dumpster diving and others have picked Macs up off the side of the road or off someone's front lawn because it was put out for garbage.

    You just have to keep an eagle eye out.

    What kind of upgrades are you looking for? CPU upgrades are the hardest to find because it was a small third party market that made a limited number of different model units before the market dried up.

    Video cards are relatively easy, depending on how cheap/willing to work you are. Actual Mac cards are somewhat more expensive but you can go the route of a PC video card and flash it. Some cards were intended to work in G5s, but if you tape the pins (3&11) you can get them to work on almost any model.

    SATA cards are harder to come by and tricky to use if you go the PC flashing route. Some will boot, some will not. I'm lucky - my SATA PCI card boots. Along with that you can get SSDs if you wish to go that route as well.

    There's also USB 2.0 cards, additional FW400 cards or combo cards. Those are usually easier to find and generally cheaper.

    Usually finding stuff is just diligent searching and a lot of being in the right place at the right time.
     
  3. Ghostbuster386 thread starter macrumors regular

    Ghostbuster386

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    #3
    I was mainly inquiring about CPU upgrades but thank you for the additional information. I will just have to keep an eye out and see if I run across one. The rest of the stuff will come with time.
     
  4. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #4
    +1 on Eyeyougren for the USB 2.0 and FW400 cards. Also CPU upgrades are very worthwhile, but can be cantankerous depending on the brand(buy Sonnet if you can) and can also cost a bundle. You will need a ZIF socketed upgrade for the G3, and depending on the brand you may or may not have to tinker with jumpers on the logic board to get it to run at the rated speed. Additionally, Apple "locked out" the firmware on these from actually recognizing G4 processors, so if you buy an upgrade be sure you get the install CD with it-this should "unlock" the firmware.

    Your G4 looks to either be a Yikes!(PCI graphics) or Sawtooth(AGP graphics) model. A Yike! uses the same ZIF CPUs as the G3, and many upgrades that will work in a B&W G3 will also work in a Yikes!. The Sawtooth uses a totally different CPU socket, so you will need to look for Sawtooth CPU upgrades.

    Unfortunately, you're a bit limited in terms of GPU upgrades for either of these.

    For PCI graphics models(both the G3 and the Yikes! G4), the best "official" Apple CPU upgrade is a Radeon 9200. This is a great card, but does not support Core Image. Core Image improves the performance of Tiger, and especially Leopard, although getting Leopard on one of these systems is not overly easy(and the G3 will need, at a minimum, a G4 upgrade). The nVidia FX 5200 is available in PCI versions and supports core image, although you will need to buy a PC version and flash it as there is no official Mac PCI 5200.

    If you have a Sawtooth G4, the GPU upgrade paths are a bit more numerous although the 2x slot locks out many of the cards that Eric and I have been experiment with in later G4s. The GEForce 4Ti is the best "official" option for this computer, but is hard to find and often expensive. The stock card is a probably a Rage 128, and(in increasing order of performance) a Geforce 2MX, Radeon 7500, Geforce 4MX, and Radeon 9000 are all pretty readily available in Mac editions and will give you some increase in performance. It's probably debatable whether the 4MX or 9000 is better-they are actually pretty close, and I'd base the decision on whether you prefer having a VGA or DVI port.

    To my knowledge, there is one Core Image card available that will work in 2x slots-the nVidia 6200. Unfortunately, this was not made in an official Mac edition, so will need to be flashed. I don't think you need to tape pins for it to work in a Sawtooth, although I could be wrong on this and taping it certainly won't hurt anything.

    Much of above is also true of your Cube, although you also are limited by space constraints. The only cards that will "drop in" to the Cube are the 2MX, GeForce 3(rare-I've been looking for one for about 2 months) and Radeon 7500. The 2MX can use the same faceplate as the stock Rage 128, so is the easiest upgrade for a cube. It runs HOT in a cube, though, and you need to at least consider a base fan if not a fan directly on the card. A flashed 6200 will also work in the Cube with the pins taped.
     
  5. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #5
    You have four major vendors.

    Sonnet. NewerTechnology, Powerlogix and GigaDesigns.

    Of those four, Sonnet is the best with NT being a close second. Sonnet basically is just like a native Apple CPU only enhanced. Unless all you can find is a GigaDesigns I would avoid them – I speak from experience.

    Your first hurdle is FINDING a CPU upgrade. Not such a difficult thing for a G3 or the Yikes (although the upgrades do not tend to be in the GHZ range), but more difficult for Sawtooth and later G4s. Prices for these CPU upgrades are rarely below $299. Even dead CPUs can still get about $100.

    The next issue is the model. Single CPUs are more numerous while dual CPUs aren't, so they come up less often. You are more likely to find a single CPU upgrade than you are a dual.

    Then you have speed. There are CPUs, both single and dual, that can achieve 1.6 to about 2.0Ghz, but in general you'll find single 1.2 to 1.6 CPU upgrades.

    If you do get a dual, be prepared to deal with heat. The thermal design of the G3/G4 case is not the best and a dual 2.0 will produce an unbelievable amount of heat. You're going to have to invest in fan upgrades as well as installing additional fans to deal with it. I personally, knocked a hole in the bottom of my Quicksilver case to install a 120mm fan. My hard drives have HD coolers on them and I've got two extra fans (an 80mm and another 120mm) installed as well. This is after upgrading the case, PSU and intake fans on my QS.

    I'm not trying to discourage you, but you should be aware of what you may be getting in to.
     
  6. Ghostbuster386 thread starter macrumors regular

    Ghostbuster386

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    #6
    Thank you guys very much. The G4 is definitely a Sawtooth that does still have the Rage 128 in it. Everything looks stock except for the ram. Installed Panther on it and everything works fine. The G3 I haven't even tried since it only has a VGA port which I don't have anything to connect it to at this time. It still has its original 6gb HDD. I just have to keep an eye out on upgrades and try not to spend to much on them. This gives me a pretty good idea what to look for now.
     
  7. weckart macrumors 68040

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    Nov 7, 2004
    #7
    If you have a Sawtooth with the stock Rage 128 Pro AGP then you will want to ditch it and swap it with a Radeon if you want to use a HD monitor. I have been messing with the Rage on mine and the best it can manage is 1920x1080 from the VGA port with the screen display heavily offset to the right on OS9 or only 1280x1024 under OSX or from the DVI port.

    The same card in a Quicksilver had no problems displaying 1080p correctly, so it seems to be some funky firmware/hardware glitch in the Sawtooth that doesn't play nicely with this card - at least for me. Luckily, Radeon 9000s are cheap and plentiful on eBay.
     
  8. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #8
    One other thing about the Radeon 9000-

    If you plan to use it in OS 9, download and install the drivers first. I just about had our department chair shoot me when I installed one in his DA and it would cause OS 9 to freeze at loading the Finder on booting. I replicated the problem at home with my own DA and a Radeon 9000. Installing the drivers(I did it at home with my own DA/Rage 128 and just brought him the hard drive) fixed it.
     
  9. Ghostbuster386 thread starter macrumors regular

    Ghostbuster386

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    #9
    Well my first upgrade will be to upgrade the GPU's. I found a couple cheap Radeon's that I will try to order tomorrow.

    I do need to get a new foot and front panel for the G3 as well but will just keep an eye out for those.
     
  10. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #10
    The cosmetic parts do turn up. I picked a bezel for one of my B&Ws in trade with a member here. It cost me an MDD logic board, CPU, and heatsink, but I got the bezel and a couple of high-end NuBus video cards(rarer than hens' teeth) in exchange.

    Another member here sold me a bezel for my GigE G4 for $15 or so, I think.

    Put out a feeler on the LEM Swap, and you'll probably get responses. These machines(unfortunately) are hard enough to sell anywhere but locally that many guys resort to parting them out. This is especially true if they have other, more serious problems.
     
  11. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #11
    Another CoreImage card that works in AGP 2X Macs is the ATI 9800.
     
  12. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #12
    Good to know, and thanks(even though now that you say that, I seem to recall you having mentioned it before).
     
  13. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #13
    It's probably in the same post where he mentions that iBooks don't have PRAM batteries. ;)
     
  14. ctmpkmlec4 macrumors 6502

    ctmpkmlec4

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    #14
    I think I have a front foot. Yours for the cost of shipping. Just PM your address. I'm assuming you're in the U.S.
     
  15. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #15
    iBooks don't have PRAM batteries? :eek: :) :)
     
  16. Ghostbuster386 thread starter macrumors regular

    Ghostbuster386

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    #16

    Hey awesome. I sent you the pm.
     
  17. Ghostbuster386 thread starter macrumors regular

    Ghostbuster386

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    #17
    Which way should I go for hard drives? Should I go with just regular 3.5" IDE drives or should I try for an SSD? I prefer to go the SSD route but IDE ones look to be more expensive then SATA ones.
     
  18. ctmpkmlec4 macrumors 6502

    ctmpkmlec4

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    #18
    If I were you, I would just find get a 7200 RPM, IDE hard drive. They can be had for cheap enough, and with the ATA controller, you're limited to 128 GB anyway.
     
  19. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #19
    If OP gets a PCI SATA card for $10 and flashes it to Mac he can ignore the limit.

    Or if OP wants to stay IDE OP can always try the HiCap driver from Intech. A software solution that some here (not you) do not like – but it is a solution.

    The 128GB barrier is not that big of a deal any more when there are multiple ways around it.
     
  20. Ghostbuster386 thread starter macrumors regular

    Ghostbuster386

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    #20
    To flash a card needs to be done in windows correct?
     
  21. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #21
    I've never flashed a SATA card, but have done several video cards and always do it in DOS.
     
  22. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #22
    Yes.
     
  23. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #23
    As indicated previously, yes. But just about any old crappy PC will do. As long as it's got a functional PCI port and the ability to boot from a Windows floppy you're good.

    There's a thread on it here, but I'll have to go find it.
     
  24. Ghostbuster386 thread starter macrumors regular

    Ghostbuster386

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    #24
    Just got a new toy in yesterday. It's a Dual Processor 2.0GHz G5 with original packaging.

    . [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
     
  25. jbarley macrumors 68030

    jbarley

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