PowerMac G4 Video Upgrade Help

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by someguy, Mar 21, 2008.

  1. someguy macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #1
    I recently acquired a PowerMac G4 533Mhz for pretty cheap, upgraded the RAM to 768MB and I am thinking of using it as my primary machine for a while. It's surprisingly fast for what it is, and I enjoy using it just as much as my PowerBook G4 1.5Ghz.

    The only problem is that the video card in this thing stinks. It's an ATI Rage 128 PRO (AGP, 16MB VRAM) and I'm not thrilled with it. It fails at Exposé and other GUI animations, web-based flash animations, and full-screen iTunes videos.

    Now I know the CPU in this machine is not necessarily the fastest around, but am I wrong in thinking that an updated video card would help out a great deal? Even the ad at the top of this page is causing a delay when I type.

    So, what is the best Mac compatible AGP card I can get for not a lot of money, and will it be enough to remedy the issues I described earlier in my post? I'm hoping to spend only $40-50, as I don't want to invest too much in my dated machine (which is also for sale if anyone is interested ;) ).

    Thanks for any help you guys can provide. :)


    EDIT: Oh, and if it matters, this PowerMac is the "Macintosh Server G4" edition and the AGP slot has a separate small black connector in front of it that the current card also plugs into (power adapter?). I'm not sure if that means I need a card with that connector or not. Hope someone can help!
     
  2. Guiyon macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2008
    Location:
    North Shore, MA
    #2
    You could probably pick up a Mac Radeon 8500 (64MB) off of eBay for around $40 or $50. the next step up would be the Radeon 9800 IIRC. A GeForce 5200 (one of the OEM Mac ones) will also work but would need some hardware mods to fit properly:

    Mods to OEM G5 FX5200

    I think I have one of these lying around from my old G5 that I could let go for cheap if you wanted to try the mod. If you wanted to go really cheap you could also flash a GeForce2 MX-400. The only downside is anything prior to the 8500 (maybe even the 9800) lacks support for things like the accelerated CoreGraphics, etc. I haven't kept up too much with the backwards compatibility of most of the card on the market right now so there may be a few other options.

    I believe the slot in front of the AGP port is the power supply header for the ADC port on the card.

    Update:
    It looks like the minimum requirements for CoreVideo, etc. is an FX5200 or later nVidia card, or a 9600 or later ATI card
     
  3. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #3
    Though it isn't the fastest Video Card I just saw a GeForce2 MX 32mb with a 733Mhz G4 CPU go for $45 including S&H, pretty nice combo. The higher end cards would be more powerful than that 533Mhz you have could really take advantage of.

    You can even get faster G4 CPU's from Quicksilver G4's for cheap to give that baby new life. Though you will need to run a 12volt line to the CPU's fourth post to run a Quicksilver G4 in your Digital Audio.

    http://homepage.mac.com/josephk/G4_mod.html
    All you would need to do is the 12volt mod since the DA and Quicksilver use 133mhz buses, unless you want to overclock. I am considering doing this mod with Dual 800's on my sisters 466mhz DA.

    Otherwise the best value would probably be a Radeon 8500 for $50. Unless you want to flash a Radeon 9600 or go Uber fast with a Radeon 9800.
     
  4. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #4
    So it would be wise to spring for at least the 9600?

    What is the fastest processor I could install in this machine? Also, what do you mean by "your Digital Audio"? Is that a type of PowerMac? Is it similar to the Server model or do they have nothing to do with one another?


    EDIT: Could I install this?
     
  5. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #5
    Since your machine has a 533mhz processor I assume it is a Digital Audio G4 since that is the only Powermac to have shipped with that speed of processor.

    That CPU can work with the 12volt mod but you would need one with a heatsink since it is from a Quicksilver G4 like this. However for a 733Mhz look for one from a Digital Audio G4 since it was the top of the line for the DA it has L3 cache while the one from the QS has no L3 Cache since it was the low end QS.

    You can go up to Dual 1Ghz from a Quicksilver but those CPU's are rare and an auction I just watched saw the CPU go for over $200. From the auctions I have been watching on ebay here are some of the prices I found with shipping.

    DA Dual 533Mhz $50
    DA Single 733Mhz $40
    QS Single 733Mhz $12
    QS Single 800Mhz $25
    QS Single 867Mhz $70 (leopard support)
    QS Dual 800Mhz $130
    QS Dual 1Ghz $240-270

    Make sure it is a Quicksilver or Digital Audio CPU and not Mirror Drive Door (MDD) they are not compatible at all. I am still not sure if I will just put a high end DA processor in my sisters computer or mess with a QS CPU. If you can find a similar third party accelerator (Sonnet, Gigadesigns, Powerlogix, OWC, Newer) for around the same price as those by all means go for that instead but they are usually more expensive.

    I would only do this for the fun factor though:D. In most cases you can buy a working stock configuration Quicksilver for $40-60 more than the CPU's including shipping except for the single 733 and 800 models. Such as this one. Or one with everything except say a hard drive like this.
     
  6. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #6
    So, I could install the 733Mhz G4 you linked to (first link in your post) for sure, as long as I did the 12v mod? Would I also need to do the mod for an 800Mhz CPU?

    Also, the 12v mod, why is it required to run? I'm just curious how it works.

    Thanks so much for the help so far, btw. :)
     
  7. m1stake macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    Location:
    Philly
    #7
    Watching movies in iTunes relies on the processor, not the graphics card. GUI things should be sped up a bit though :)

    My 733Mhz Quicksilver doesn't really get along with iTunes movies (Very choppy), but it could just be the lack of memory.
     
  8. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #8
    The fourth mount point on the Quicksilver G4's provided a 12volt power line to the CPU's (I assume some of the higher end CPU's needed the extra power). The DA did not have this as it was not needed. So for the CPU to power up it depends on 12volts to the fourth post necessitating the mod when using older powermacs.

    While that G4 CPU should work the Quicksilver 733 lacked a L3 cache so the speed boost would be quite modest, while a Digital Audio 733 has L3 cache so it would be more noticeable. This difference is since the DA 733 was the top of the line model while the QS 733 was the cheapest model. If you still want a relatively cheap upgrade I would suggest looking at either a DA 733, DA Dual 533 or QS 800, then again for a measly $10-15 just going to a 733QS may be worth it.

    The only reason to get that 733QS, since they are so cheap, is for use as a test platform before plunging into one of the more expensive CPU's like the dual 800/1ghz.
     
  9. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #9
    I see. I would like to get whatever will be the most bang for the buck (in terms of both CPU and video card upgrades).

    You mentioned dual processors, is that an option for me then? Also, would either of these work in my machine, and if so, how big of a performance gain do you think the dual 500Mhz chips would be?

    Dual 500Mhz
    Dual 1Ghz
     
  10. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #10
    In addition to my last post, would this video card work in my machine?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Mac-ATI-Radeon-...ryZ25449QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    I ask because it does not have that extra connection beside the AGP slot (power?) that my current card has. What is that for, and is it required?

    Will that card work? And if so, is it a fair deal if I were to buy it or could I get a better compatible card for the money?

    Or, would this card be better?

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Apple-OEM-Nvidi...ryZ25449QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    Sorry about all the questions! :p
     
  11. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #11
    Yes dual processors would be an option for you.

    That dual 500 probably would not work, at least unless you soldered on a dip switch to change the clock multiplier. Since the dual 500 is from the previous generation of G4 "Gigabit Ethernet" it expects a 100mhz system bus while your computer has a 133mhz system bus. So given it's current 5x multiplier it would try to run a Dual 665mhz probably greatly overheating the processors.

    What you would need is a dual 533 like this.

    As far as the best bang for your buck the Dual 1Ghz may be too expensive since they are much rarer and most sought over, unless you get lucky. Rather I would look for a Dual 800Mhz if you want speed since they go for much less, $140 versus $240. The easiest route is the dual 533 since it was designed for your computer, but from what I have found in my researching posts on xlr8yourmac.com that the Quicksilver CPU mod works quite well.

    Now for the video card either of those should work fine. Though I am not certain I think the GeForce 4mx is better than the 7500. Personally if you can get a Radeon 8500 for near the same price I would take that. I used to have one and it was great, I got great quality from Wolfenstein, Warcraft 3 and Diablo 2.
     
  12. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #12
    Thanks for all the info! I forgot to bid on some things today while I was at work, so I'll have to wait a little while longer I suppose.

    I'm going to post a WTB in the Marketplace and see what I can find here at MR.

    Thanks again! I'll post back here if I have anymore questions. :)
     
  13. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
  14. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #14
    Thanks!

    Another question for ya. :)

    Would this card work in my system? I'm assuming it's a PCI card, but the connections on the bottom look different (short-long-short) than the ones beneath the AGP slot in my PowerMac (long-short-long). :confused:

    ...and do you think it would perform well enough for what I'm going to be using it for?
     
  15. shu82 macrumors 6502a

    shu82

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Location:
    Rocket City, AL
    #15
    It won't do quartz or core, you need a 9600 for that.
     
  16. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #16
    I see. Well just for informations sake, I guess, will the card I linked to in my last post work in my system? What connection is that and why does it look so different than the slots on my PM's motherboard?
     
  17. shu82 macrumors 6502a

    shu82

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Location:
    Rocket City, AL
    #17
    It is an AGP card and it will work just fine. Actually I have a 4MX card in my parts MDD. I am using a ATI 9000 AGP in mine right now, with a rage 128 for my 3rd monitor I just have itunes up on. The 4mx is a good card and I would recommend it over the PCI 9600. I would get them both :)

    Actually if I put my GeForce4 MX card up on the Marketplace would you be interested?
     
  18. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #18
    Let's put it this way. I'm very interested in any card that will work in my system without any mods and doesn't cost an arm and a leg.

    How much would you let me have it for? I have PayPal and am looking to buy something immediately.

    P.S. Dibs. :D
     
  19. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #19
    I would not pay more than $50 for that card, since it is an actual Mac card. If it was a flashed PC card I would pay much less.

    No one seems too interested in this 64mb GeForce 4MX. Though if you are still using a CRT or an LCD with no DVI you will need this adapter. Possibly $35-40 for this card and you would leave all PCI slots available.

    If you don't particularly care about leaving those slots available then go for that 9200 it will probably be a little faster than the GeForce 4.
     
  20. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #20
    Thanks for the information! I'm not too concerned with leaving all of my PCI slots open. That said, I still may bid on either one.

    shu82, PM me if you want to sell your GeForce 4MX card. I am still interested. :)
     
  21. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
    #21
    Can anyone tell me if this would work in my system, and if so, would I need to purchase a different heatsink than the one I have now in order for it to work?
     
  22. yippy macrumors 68020

    yippy

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #22
    That last one will NOT work. It is a MDD card and has a completely different socket.
     
  23. someguy thread starter macrumors 68020

    someguy

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2005
    Location:
    Still here.
  24. macz1 macrumors 6502

    macz1

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #24
    for the video I would recommend the radeon 9800. I have one in my G4 and it works very well and waaay better than the Rage128. you have to flash the ROM of the card if you get a PC version from ebay (get one whith the reference design). But that's not very difficult to do.
     
  25. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #25
    As Yippy said it will not work. It must be from a Digital Audio (DA) or Quicksilver (QS), not the Mirror Drive Door/Firewire800 (MDD).

    I was not sure if you were still thinking about doing this.
     

Share This Page