Project Blog: Installing Leopard and a PC GeForce 5200 AGP-PowerMac G4 MDD 1.25ghz SP

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by MrCheeto, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. MrCheeto macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    OK, as some of the MacRumors frequents may attest to, my fiddling with my PowerMac (and subsequent affection gained by it) is no secret.

    The entire story of the PowerMac can be found on these forums simply by searching.

    The Story, if you're interested:A few years back, I purchased 5 complete Dell systems for $100 total, thanks to a local business updating their systems! I sold four for $50, doubling my investment within two weeks, but the last I posted on Craigslist as it was a Celeron and thus worth just a bit more than the...ehem...Pentium 4's.
    Luckily a guy bit and decided to see if a. I could fix his PowerMac or b. he would trade for the Dell. He brought it over and I fumbled around with it, removing components one at a time and testing the power supply by shorting the Power On, nothing. The man eventually figured "Well, a broken computer for a working one? Sounds ok to me!" Oh how lucky I am to be a Mac, these people really have no idea the worth and usefulness of these machines even with age!
    I immediately got to work trying to find the reason for this beauty's demise. Stepping into this, I hated PowerMacs and PowerPC in general. I had repaired two Quicksilvers and a AGP before, and all crashed after a fresh install on a new hard drive and everything reset, so I figured they were just horrible systems. As a matter of fact, I had NEVER held a PowerPC Mac in my hands that didn't crash right before me!
    I, at first, figured I would fix it up cheap and dump it for as much as I could as fast as I could.
    I posted on these forums saying that my PowerMac was dead and immediately people brought up the PSU plague. I checked inside the PSU and the fuse was blown, so I bought eight fuses online, and within three days I had only 4 after trying to clean and repair the PSU. At this point I was still unsure if the computer itself worked or not!
    A few weeks after obtaining the computer, a man who was hoping to develop for the iPhone brought his Dual 1.25ghz PowerMac MDD for me to reinstall Leopard to get a fresh start. In that time, however, I pulled the PSU from the working Mac and plugged it into mine. *GOOOONG!* It works! Great! Now we just do something about the PSU!
    So I spent nearly a year, I would say, with this thing a pretty decoration at the foot of my bed with a repair price I simply couldn't pocket.
    After pulling my hair out trying to profit from this machine, I listed it everywhere I could in its current state. Nothing, not one inquiry. It was then I had enough! I marched to Best Buy and demanded their cheapest power supply! I left with a 300+w (not sure) Dynex that was just right, it had a large fan and long cable to connect to the motherboard.
    That was it! I rearranged the pins and it worked perfect for HOURS! After this initial test, I wanted to install the power supply inside and put it to work! The process can be found in this instructional video that I made documenting the process. I spent a total of 10 hours trying to fit it into the case! But oh, was it worth it!
    After using it for several months, I am simply in LOVE with the PowerMac G4 and PowerPC for being so ahead of their time! The thing is wonderful! I did hit a snag when it started randomly freezing, but found that replacing the hard drive took care of that!

    Now, the present.

    I have fallen in love with this machine and it has so much potential I'd be torn to sell it.

    Just a few days ago I picked up a Rage XL and found a person that would gladly trade it for an nVidia GeForce 5200, AGP. So in a few days I will have the card in my hand.
    I found several instructional forums online specifying how to flash this card, specifically.

    As well, I've ordered a retail copy of Leopard that will be here in a short time.

    The Plan: After installing Leopard, I will install the video card. I'm going to flash the video card using my PC, backing up the original ROM to floppy disks, just in case. I, then, plan to tape contact 3 and 11, as this Mac supports the ADC and the slot is 4x, thus the pins will cause a short if not taped to insulate them.

    I'll keep you posted.

    Question: Do I need a separate card to monitor anything after installing the new AGP card? Or do I simply plug the flashed card in and use it right away?
    Also, my power supply does not have a 25v pin, as I replaced it with a regular ATX power supply. Do I still need to tape these pins?

  2. MrCheeto thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    OK, I've been told the exact specs of the card.

    It's a 128mb (twice the memory I have now) nVidia GeForce 5200 with a fan installed rather than the original heat sink (great, because I hear they run hotter if flashed for MacOS).

    It has DVI, S-Video and VGA, greatness!

    Anybody here have experience with this card? I simply can't live without good Quake III and Doom II performance.

    Leopard will be here tomorrow! I hope it's not a crate from the Congo with the remains of a Jaguar in it like so many years ago, damn eBay.


  3. TheSVD macrumors 6502a


    Sep 3, 2008
    The Jolly Ol' Midlands, England
    ah thats looks so damn cool man :)
    i wish i had some old computer to fix up, that looks awesome!
    good luck with it man :)
  4. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    If you have searched (i.e. replace power supply powermac g4), there are plenty of instruction to put after market power supply for PowerMac G4. No need to reinvent the wheel.

    Mine runs 24/7 as a server with 6 harddrives (with SATA card).
  5. MrCheeto thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    What do you mean? I've already replaced the power supply. As far as I know, the only difference is the absence of the 25v pin.
  6. MrCheeto thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Well, it's been some time testing Leopard and it SCREAMS (As Steve would say) on this system!

    I honestly believed that Leopard was heavier and would slow it down! Sure it adds close to 10 seconds to start up and 10 seconds to log on, Tiger did these things so fast I couldn't explain it. But Flash is faster! iTunes is faster AND now I can display the iTunes visualizer without a problem. The visual effects like dock magnification, stacks, minimizing and user switching are all seamless, even without Core Image support.

    Under the System Profiler>Graphics/Displays it says "Core Image: Software". I'm not sure what that means or what it WILL say when I add a Core Image capable card to this machine. Anyone?

    I ran Xbench and will post the before and after results once I've installed the new GPU. Strangely it surpasses the baseline PowerMac G5 with Core Image capability in about five measures.

    Leopard is spectacular, more and more I'm impressed with this machine and it's still feeling relevant in a modern setting even after seven years. I'll be adding a USB 2.0 card and currently have a CNet wireless card that uses a Ralink chipset. This was a mistake, I should have saved my money and bought a Broadcom chip because it would then act as an airport device whereas Ralink needs its own badly written software and drivers. The most I can say is, at least it's Wireless G and it works. Does anyone know of a good reliable card that can be used as airport or to make a RT2500 Ralink chip act as airport? I've searched the net and can't find a good cheap Broadcom card.

    I have two hard drives installed, both IDE. The 200gb drive is the main boot disk and the 80gb drive is my Time Machine disk. Time Machine works just swell on this machine, no hang ups when backing up or restoring or using the visual interface to Time Machine.

    So far, it's just wonderful! I am re-addicted (??? better word, anyone?) to Doom II and Quake III Arena, and I notice these games run COOLER on this after upgrading to Leopard! :eek: Playing these games, it never surpasses 40ºc, whereas before it would average 46ºc.

    As well, people complain about the heat of these machines. The air that comes out the back is cool and free flowing, as well it has NEVER surpassed 48ºc.

    One thing I did to ensure good airflow is point the new PSU so that it would blow air directly out the back, and it blows HARD.

    As for noise, I attribute the sound level to the hard drives. Running the machine with ALL drives unplugged, it's quieter than any tower I've owned, as well the sound is no problem WITH the disks.

    More to come soon!

    USB 2.0 Card
    GeForce 5200 AGP
    Probable Broadcom wireless card
  7. MrCheeto thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Damn, I won't have a card for about a week so this is bound to get more stale.

    As a semi-update, I've been playing more with Leopard and found that it manages memory MUCH MUCH better than Tiger! With only 768mb of memory I have about 25% in the green and about 40% of the graph is green and blue, which can be considered "free". As well, after playing Doom II for an hour and using Safari with Flash and opening the entire first season of The Simpsons in Quicktime, my page outs are reading a whopping *drumroll* ZERO!

    Quicktime was only able to play one of these iPhone sized MPEG4 files at a time with smooth framerates and was taxing the CPU pretty heavily and brought the temp up to 42ºc. Does anybody know if the new Core Image and Quartz enabled GPU will help here and what file format is the most efficient?
  8. MrCheeto thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Ok, the GeForce is in my hands and it's just swell.

    Problem, I just sold my only AGP PC. How can I flash it using my PowerMac?

    As well, I just acquired a Blue & White PowerMac G3 with a 1ghz Sonnet G4 installed. Ideas?

    I've installed a USB 2.0 card into the G4. It is an Ali M5271 and required NO additional software.
  9. happyfrappy macrumors 6502

    Oct 14, 2007
    Location eh?
    You can flash AGP cards if you have a Mac supported PCI video card(ex: Blue & White G3/G4 Yikes era Rage Pro 128).

    As far as video format, stick with Quicktime or 480p(SD) MPEG4, anything more than that will be choppy on a G4 w/GeForce FX 5200(if you had a Radeon 9600, you could push 720p). I'm basing this on my two Alu PowerBook G4s but keep in mind I have 1.25GB of ram(12" PB) and 1GB/1.5GB(15" with a flakey lower memory slot).
  10. MrCheeto thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    Well, I'm running off of the PCI card from my new G3.

    I'm trying to flash the AGP card, but NVFlash says "IOIteratorNext returned NULL" so I have no idea what is going one!

    Anybody have a better software recommendation?
  11. MrCheeto thread starter macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2008
    What are the odds of using DOS BOX to flash the card?

    Is the command allowed? Will it be able to manipulate a card?

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