PowerMac G4, recommended AGP card?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by e5frog, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. e5frog macrumors newbie

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    #1
    So, a friend has this G4 I was going to help him with as the Ati Rage Pro 128 (Apple 630-3075) and/or OS9 doesn't seem to like any of 7 tested monitors. Full HD resolution is only active with VGA hookup, when using the DVI connector there's even less usable resolutions even if using the same monitor and despite what monitor is used.
    So the problem is that the screen isn't stretched to the full width of the monitor and gets annoying vertical patterns because of it when displayed graphics is pushed together.

    I have tried another graphics card from another Mac but that didn't help and there was the same difference in available resolutions.

    I'm thinking another supported graphics card with some extra memory as well perhaps might be a solution.
    As I know near to nothing about these nice machines I need a recommendation about what to get that fits the machine and works in OS9. Maybe someone even has one for sale?

    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

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    #2
    For pushing 1080p in OS 9, a Geforce 4MX is a reasonable choice. They're usually $10 or less on Ebay in the US.

    The only issue is that most don't have a true DVI port-they only have an ADC port(and VGA) but ADC can "become" DVI with a simple passive adapter.

    The Radeon 9000 works well also, and the Mac edition does have a DVI port in addition to ADC. Be sure you track down and install the drivers for it before installing the card, as otherwise it will lock up as soon as the desktop loads. These should be about the same price as a Geforce 4MX.

    A good but somewhat harder to find(and more expensive) option for OS 9 is the Radeon 8500. I THINK OS 9 will handle this fine without the ATI drivers, but it's also not a bad idea to install them.

    The "king" of OS 9 cards is the Geforce 4Ti. I've picked up a couple over the years for $30-40(no, none of mine are for sale) but you often see them for $50 on up...I've seen them sit on Ebay and eventually sell for $100...
     
  3. e5frog thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Thanks!

    So a Geforce 4MX works "out of the box", no need for extra drivers?
    I saw a "GeForce 4 MX440" is that it? Cause it has composite, s-video and VGA...

    ... and a "NVIDIA GeForce4 MX440" 128MB that has DVI, s-video and VGA.

    It's not used for gaming but more "desktop" work so I guess there's not much value in using the most badass card.


    EDIT: I now recall why I needed to ask here... there are loads of various cards called the same.
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #4
    You have to be careful when shopping for video cards. They need to be "Mac" versions, or a card that has been flashed to work on a Mac.

    Buying a video card for a PC won't work.
     
  5. e5frog thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    I understand.
    Seems they should have their own model number then and not just "GeForce 4MX"?

    Found a couple of those, DVI and that Mac connector.
    They have that wide extra "MAC tab" on the card after the AGP port - but the "Apple 630-3075" card doesn't have that, don't think there's a mating connector for that extra tab in the computer (don't have it in front of me now).
     
  6. velocityg4 macrumors 601

    velocityg4

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    #6
    If I recall correctly. Don't the flashed cards also have to be modded? Didn't they need one of the AGP pins taped because Apple used a non-standard AGP pinout for 24v or 28v to power the Cinema displays.
     
  7. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #7
    Yes, that's true. Thanks for mentioning that.
     
  8. timidpimpin, Nov 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018

    timidpimpin macrumors 6502

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    #8
    The Geforce 4MX isn't the best card at all for a G4 tower IMO. It's really quite gutless. And it also doesn't support core image.

    The best all round card for G4 towers is the Radeon 9800. It supports quartz extreme, core image, and is a very decent gamer also.
     
  9. e5frog thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #9
    Probably don't need "the best" card, it's not to be used for gaming, just want to try and get proper HD resolution which the current "Ati Rage Pro 128 (Apple 630-3075)" with OS9 doesn't seem to handle properly.
    The "Radeon 9800" is something like 10x the price of a "GeForce 4MX"... will I notice 10x difference?

    A fan-less version would also be preferable.


    Still wonder about that wide extra edge connector part after the AGP edge connector, will it work in a G4 that doesn't have a mating connector for it?
     
  10. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #10
    The 9800 has a Molex connector (I used to have a 9800). And no, the system won't boot without that plugged in.
     
  11. timidpimpin macrumors 6502

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    #11
    A Geforce 5200 or 6200 would be the best fanless cards. Both support core image, which will speed up your system a bit because a core image capable GPU will take desktop graphics off of the CPU's hands. Leaving the CPU with more available resources.
     
  12. e5frog thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    GeForce 5200 seems to have an odd row of connectors and all adds I could find say G5.
    A GeForce 6200 looks alright but I can't find any Apple specific models.


    Current board has what looks like a plain AGP-connector and there's no extra tab for power or whatever it's used for. If I remember correctly the G4 motherboard doesn't even have a connector for such a tab.

    Here's how the current card looks:
    https://www.picclickimg.com/d/w1600/pict/272344502196_/16MB-Apple-630-3075-ATi-Rage-128-VGA.jpg

    To me it looks the same edge-connector-wise as a plain PC AGP card, like this ATI RADEON card:
    https://www.picclickimg.com/d/w1600...912-920-ATi-Radeon-7000-32MB-AGP-Graphics.jpg

    I believe I tried a plain PC AGP card I had in the "good to have"-box and it worked but didn't help with the screen resolution (it was worse).
    --- Post Merged, Nov 28, 2018 ---
    Found this information elsewhere:
    ATI Radeon 9000 Pro- OS 9.2.1+
    ATI Radeon 8500- OS 9.2.1+
    ATI Radeon 7500- OS 9.2.2
    ATI Radeon 7000- OS 9.0+ (Open GL 1.2.2 required)
    Nvidia Geforce3- OS 9.1+
    Nvidia Geforce2 MX- OS 9.1+

    I'm guessing any of these is better than the current ATI Rage Pro 128?
     
  13. timidpimpin macrumors 6502

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    #13
    All those cards are better than a Rage 128 for sure.

    If the main thing you desire is the ability to run a higher resolution, then you need 64mb or higher card. In my experience even a 32mb card struggles a bit with 1080.

    Out of the cards you list above the 8500 and Geforce 3 are the best. The Geforce 3 is actually a lot better card than the 4 MX, but the 3's are hard to find.

    Whatever you get... just be sure to get at least 64mb vram. The main reason your rage 128 struggles is that it only has 16mb.
     
  14. AphoticD, Nov 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018

    AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #14
    FWIW, I flashed a standard PC Radeon 9700 (128MB) AGP Card in my PowerMac G4 Sawtooth. It required additional power in the form of the smaller 4-pin “PC floppy drive” connector which I just spliced from a standard molex plug.

    I flashed it with the NDRV-inclusive ROM and it booted OS 9 and 8.6 perfectly fine. I tried it with 2 different LCD monitors and a small LCD TV. I found they would boot at their native resolution and allow resolution selection in the Monitors Control Panel.

    The original Rage 128 would always boot at a lower stretched res.

    The 9700 is Core Image capable and made the 350MHz Sawtooth feel zippy [in Tiger]. I ended up putting in a 700MHz CPU which was not compatible with Mac OS 8.6, but runs perfectly (fast) with OS 9.2.2.

    That machine is now tucked away in the garage with a few of his brothers, but it is a solid performing Mac.

    You can read all about my Sawtooth adventures on this earlier thread. :)
     
  15. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #15
    There's an adapter for that…I've had one since my very first PC in 1990 (when I was 19). :)

    [​IMG]

    Less than $2 US.
     
  16. for this macrumors 6502

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    #16
    But the OP is interested in OS 9. The 9800 doesn't support graphic acceleration in OS 9 while the 4MX does. Move a window and I will see the window being redrawn. BTW, there is no card that supports both graphic acceleration in OS 9 and CoreImage.
     
  17. timidpimpin macrumors 6502

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    #17
    Guilty! I totally lost sight of the fact that the OP plans to use this card with OS 9.

    That being said... Radeon cards are certainly the best choice for 9 IMO. A Radeon 8500 64MB would be the perfect card.
     
  18. bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

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    #18
    The 4MX can trade blows with a Radeon 8500 and the latter is a lot harder to find. I basically consider the Radeon 9000 the equivalent to the 4MX, and it has the disadvantage of making the system useless unless you track down and install the drivers before fitting the card.

    I'm not saying the 4MX is a great card-far from it. I've run it in OS X, but there are better choices(personally, my go-to cheap and easy to find Core Image card in G4 towers is a Radeon 9600XT or 9650 from a G5) What it is, though, is a good plug and play OS 9 card with dual display support and support for 1080p displays.

    Also, I'd disagree with the general statement that Radeon cards are "best" for OS 9. If there is a better OS 9 card than the Geforce 4Ti, I'd certainly like to know about it.

    BTW, I'm saying this from a standpoint of someone who owns multiple examples of every "official" OS 9 compatible AGP card, and has intentionally stressed them with the most GPU-intensive games I could find(most of the time, I find them CPU limited and not GPU limited, but that's another story).
     
  19. timidpimpin macrumors 6502

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    #19
    I owned a 4 MX 64MB about a decade ago and wasn't impressed at all by it. I went from that to a 9000 (which is an under-clocked 8500) and had a better experience overall. This is what I based my advise on. The 9200 is also based on the 8500 (and is even more under-clocked than the 9000) and I also have had better experiences with that GPU than the 4 MX.

    Also... most benchmarks I have seen over the years put the 4 MX just a hair above the 2, and well below the 3.
     
  20. bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

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    #20
    There again, the 4MX isn't a great card(yes, it is a modified/tweaked/overclocked 2MX twin view) but none the less I suggested it because it will at least do a good job of 1080p without being difficult to find(like an 8500, or heaven forbid a Geforce 3) or expensive(before the floodgates opened and I had the chance to buy two Geforce 3s within a week of each other, and paid about $50 each, I flirted with the idea of buying one on Ebay that was up for $100).

    Once again, the 9000 is okay too but in my experience it's at best only a slight improvement over a 4MX and like I said you have to deal with the driver foolishness.

    I've run a bunch of Radeon 9200s(in PCI form), but mostly save them for OWR Macs or for PCI based NWRs that I intend to run OS 9 on. If I'm doing OS X on a NWR Mac, that's where flashed Geforce 5200s or even 6200s come into play. For that matter, my current "hotrod" NWR PCI system, a B&W with a 1ghz G3, has a Voodoo 5 5500 :)

    Still, though, I'd still contest the statement that "Radeons are certainly the best choice for OS 9." No OS 9 compatible Radeon card can touch the Geforce 4Ti, and were it not for the fact that it doesn't support core image I'd say it could easily trade blows with Radeon 9600(which is a TERRIBLE option for OS 9). There's not really a scenario where one would do this, but if possible I'd take a 4Ti 4600 over a Geforce 5200 despite the latter having CI support. I've never used a 6200(I have a WANG that I bought for Cube use but have never gotten around to flashing) but would be interested to see how that compares...I do have the Quadro equivalent in PCI(a dual DVI card) that I also need to get around to flashing.
     
  21. XaPHER macrumors regular

    XaPHER

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    #21
    The 9000 is still a cut above the 4mx; (especially)memory perf-wise but also gpu perf-wise. Though personally I think it's ultimately not worth the upgrade on Mac OS 9(also, Nvidia drivers are better organized in the extensions folder).

    @bunnspecial I'm not sure I follow you if you can't boot without 9000 drivers, weren't the non-oem 9200 and 8500s the only ones concerned? I can reach the desktop with no trouble in a basic framebuffer using a 9000 driverless.

    I would certainly choose a TI4600 over an FX 5200. Seriously.

    I don't use my 4mx right now as my G4s that boot classic have a 9000 in their slot and Mac OS X ones have a G5 9600, but if it's for classic only I'd go with the first that comes up at a lower expense. Don't bother with GF 4 TI or radeon 8500s, they dissipate significantly more heat, have a fan for cooling and likely won't change the experience on Mac OS 9. If it eventually comes to mac os x you'll also find better at lesser expenses.
     
  22. bunnspecial macrumors 604

    bunnspecial

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    #22
    The build of OS 9 that came with MDDs had properly integrated drivers for the Radeon 9000. Presumably, a few other special "late" system-specific builds of 9.2.2 for systems that had a 9xxx series GPU had it too(i.e. the last gen TiBook).

    The retail OS 9.2.1 disk and subsequent 9.2.2 upgrade do not have Radeon 9xxx drivers. They're also missing from the 9.2.2 build that shipped with the GigE, Digital Audio, Cube, and Quicksilver. I've not really used it, but I'd assume the OS9 Lives universal install does have them.

    If you install a Radeon 9xxx card without having the drivers installed, 9.2.1 and later will boot to the desktop but it will be completely unresponsive. This can be quite disconcerting the first time it happens. Booting with extensions off will restore functionality, but you also can't install the drivers. Thus, if you do make that mistake, the only solution is to reinstall your old card and then install the drivers.
     
  23. weckart macrumors 601

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    #23
    Yup. Been there and freaked out a little too. Because it actually booted to the desktop, it didn't occur to me that it was a driver issue and I wasted a bit of time rebooting and tinkering before googling for help.
     
  24. Project Alice macrumors 6502a

    Project Alice

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    #24
    Literally anything you put in there will be better than the Rage 128, which was already a paltry GPU when the PowerMac G4 was released. I've got a G4 cube that came with one, and I stuck a Radeon 7500 out of a quicksilver in it. Much better, and it is indeed hooked up to a 23" 1080p screen. Now the Radeon 7500 isn't the best card out there I know but it works awesome. I wouldn't be too picky about this. Coming from the rage 128, he'll be happy with anything.
    My cube is a 450Mhz model. With the Radeon 7500 in it, Tiger runs 10x smoother. I actually tested out Unreal Tournament 2004 on it, it played beautifully on Medium/Highish settings without single drop.

    Basically the point I'm making here is that you don't need to be as picky as everyone in this thread is suggesting... You see a good deal on a card, pick it up. If its a Geforce 4mx, great. If you find even just a Radeon 7000, you'll still be happier over the 128.
     
  25. timidpimpin macrumors 6502

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    #25
    For the sake of concentrating on what the OP actually needs improved to use their Mac @ 1080p... they need more VRAM more than anything when it comes to 2D computer use.

    Their Rage 128 only has 16MB which is far too little for 1080. And even the 32MB cards I have used over the years struggle with 1080. They do it, but things like fullscreen video or slideshows often suffer.

    Bottom line... getting a card with at least 64MB VRAM is the most important thing. Whatever GPU it may be.
     

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