Question about PowerMac G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by p3ntyne, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. p3ntyne macrumors 6502

    p3ntyne

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    #1
    Hi Everybody,

    While digging through my garage, I discovered a PowerMac G4 (3,1). After a good clean, I decided that I will use it as my desktop machine for simple things such as web browsing, e-mails etc. So... I have some questions.

    1. The AGP Graphics card in there is on its last legs so I was wondering about a new (very cheap) graphics card that will be compatible.

    2. I am planning to put a USB 3.0 PCI-E Card in there and was wondering if the PCI-E slots will let the card run at its full potential. Would it be the same speed with a USB 2.0 card?

    3. I am also planning to replace the 20 Gb hard drive with a 320 Gb drive from a macbook pro. Would it be best to use a: IDE to SATA adapter, SATA PCI-E card, SATA to FW400 adapter or SATA to USB 2 or 3 adapter

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816

    gavinstubbs09

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    #2
    I have a G5's Radeon 9600 in my G4, however I have no clue if it would work with the 3,1 G4. You won't be seeing USB3.0 with this mac due to the fact the late 2005 G5's were the ones to first use PCIe which is what all the USB 3.0 cards use. Everything before that model uses normal PCI and the best we can get is USB2.0/FW800. Now for the hard drive, you'll best be off by following this guide by harrymatic to flash a PC PCI->SATA card as it's a much better alternative to using the onboard IDE.

    Hope this gives you a bit of guidance to get that G4 in good shape :)
     
  3. p3ntyne thread starter macrumors 6502

    p3ntyne

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    #3
    Thanks. Would a PCI to SATA card be faster or slower than the internal FW400?
     
  4. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #4
    In most, it not all, cases a PCI SATA card is faster than FireWire 400 and 800. For a cheap yet powerful video card look into a Nvidia 6200. You'll have to buy a flashed one or flash it yourself as they were all PC only cards. A G5's 9600 won't work in the model you have. They require an AGP 4x slot while your machine is only a 2x slot.
     
  5. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

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    #5
    FW400 is 400MBit/s, SATA1 is 1.5GBit/s so in theory it should be much faster.

    I would also guess that SATA will create less overhead on the CPU compared to FireWire.

    As for the GFX-card, your PMac should be 450 or 500MHz (unless someone added a 3rd party CPU), a Radeon9600 sure sounds like overkill here.
    IMO it would much smarter to search for a Radeon9000pro/64MB as these are quite common and cheap even as orginal Mac-versions.
     
  6. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #6
    It will be slower. You;'ll get somewhere between 50-75mbps transfer rate. You are limited by the bus.

    Your Mac originally came with a Rage 128 video card. Since you want cheap, I'd try and find another one of those. They are about the cheapest (both in price and quality) cards you can get for this machine. You'd be overcharged if someone wanted $10 for one.
     
  7. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #7
    FireWire has very little to no CPU overhead. That's why it is better than USB 2 on slower systems. PCI cards require some CPU cycles, but not as much as a USB device.
     
  8. AmestrisXServe, Mar 1, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014

    AmestrisXServe macrumors 6502

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    #8
    Sorry mate, but in this instance, you're under a bit of a misconception:

    The expected maximum throughput on PCI-33 is roughly 133MB/s, which is the highest DRT possible with ATA-6 (ATA/133), although the ATA bus on the G4 systems is ATA/100, which is 100MB/s, not 100Mb/s (it's 800Mb/s, or the same speed as FW800).

    Firewire 400 has a DRT maximum of 400Mb/s, or 50MB/s, which is dramatically less than using the PCI bus, via either a SATA or a PATA controller. Now, you won;t see the full 133MB/s DTR in most cases, but you can expect at least half of that in any given instance, or roughly 67MB/s (536Mb/s), which still outperforms the maximum DTR of Firewire 400.

    Then, you need to calculate that FW400 loses some total bandwidth in exchange through various bus controllers (latency). A SATA or PATA card should outperform FW400 in most cases, unless there is significant latency on the PCI bus, as the entire bandwidth of the PCI bus is shared with all devices connected to it.

    You would see an improvement with a SATA card, over FW400, but not much of a difference in contrast to the internal PATA bus with ATA/100 drives. What you can achieve with PCI-33 and SATA is eSATA, with nearly identical performance to the internal HDDs, but the more drives that you add to it, the more you hamper the performance.

    The main problem is that all PCI devices, all FW devices, and all ATA devices are routed through the same Southbridge, so the more you add to a system, the more you hinder the performance of the entire bus architecture. AGP is via the Northbridge, so systems with AGP video cards do not suffer the same problem, but systems with only PCI or PCI-X do. (Ethernet, and USB are also routed through the Southbridge controller.)

    I don;t know what the maximum throughput is, on the Souhtbridge on this system, off hand, but I would expect that it has the capability of driving the PCI bus, and the other systems routed through it at roughly equal speed, and with equal bandwidth; however, I cant be certain of that without testing it.

    You want to avoid a PCI graphics card, and use an AGP card, tro maximise the amount of bandwidth available to PCI devices, and avoid unnecessary use of the FW and USB buses to lower the load ont he Southbridge. That will give your on-board ATA, and PCI buses a marked improvement; especially if you want to use any PCI cards, such as an eSATA card.

    You will need PCI-33 cards, and you will not find a USB 3.0 card in that format. Locating a PCI-33 SATA card is not difficult, but most will not boot the system. You can modify the firmware on some, to allow them to boot the system, however if you are not concerned with booting the system, a decent PCI-33 SATA card is useful for adding additional volumes.

    You also needn't worry if the card has a header for eSATA, as you an always buy an eSATA header, mount it in an empty slot, and attach it with a cable to a port normally used for an internal SATA device.

    If the HDD from the MBP is SATA-II, it would work on PCI-33 SATA cards, however if it is SATA-III, it may not. In any event, a PCI SATA card is not much of an improvement over the on-board ATA/100 bus, and you would not see the full potential of SATA/150 mechanisms, as they would be hampered by the PCI-33 bus, down to the same level of performance as ATA/133 devices, and further, due to shared bandwidth.

    The only advantage is that SATA devices are easier, and less expensive to obtain than PATA devices, especially in capacities =>500GB. The largest PATA drives were 750GB, and those are both quite rare, and expensive; and of course, are likely to be used, with a limited lifespan.
     
  9. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #9
    Ah, thanks man! I have never understood the difference betweeen megabit and megabyte and this always trips me up!

    And here I was under the impression that my SATA card was slower than firewire when it wasn't.
     
  10. AmestrisXServe, Mar 1, 2014
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2014

    AmestrisXServe macrumors 6502

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    #10
    No worries mate: Many people have that problem, as it isn't explained outside of technical literature. In simple terms, one megabit is always 1/8 of one megabyte, and conversely, one megabite is eight megabits.

    The only breaking of this rule occurs with the expressions Mib, and MiB are used, as this represents Millions of bits, and Millions of Bytes, respectively. Mega (as well as Peta, Giga, and Kilo) are always an expressions in powers of two for computing; but not for Telcom. In the computing industry, they represent the closes value in powers of two to 1000 (Kilo), 1,000,000 (Mega); 1,000,000,000 (GIga); and 1,000,000,000,000 (Peta).

    In Telcom, the terms Megabit and MegaByte refer to Millions, using standard Base-10 values, as Mib/MiB, which means that the numbers differ from true values used in computing. One Megabit in computing is (1024^2) bits, and a MegaByte (1024^2) Bytes (i.e. 1024^2*8 bits).

    (For reference, one bit is the smallest value of information, one Nibble is composed of four bits; one Byte is composed of two Nibbles, or eight bits; one Kilobit is 1024 bits and one Kilobyte is 1024 bytes; one Gigabit or Gigabyte is 1024^3 bits/Bytes; and one Petabit or Petabye is equal to 1024^4 bits/Bytes.)

    In telcom, one Megabit is 1,000,000 bits, and this is (1000^2) bits; and Megabytes is not generally used in the telcom industry. This can be misleading, as one megabit of computer datum is not sent in a one megabit (telcom) transmission. One (binary, computer industry) megabit is 1,048,576 bits, which is 48,676 bits greater than the telcom megabit. One telcom Gigabit is 1-Billion (Base-10) bits, which when compared to a binary/computing Gigabit leave a 'staggering' difference of 73,741,824 bits (70.33Mb, or 8.8MB). :D

    This is useful when doing calculations involving sending binary datum over a telcom line, as the values are different, for the same expressions of value.

    That is why the computing terms Mib and MiB are used in some calculations, as these match the telcom Megabit and the telcom equivalent of MegaByte, for Mib and MiB are millions of bits, and Bytes, respectively, using the same formulas as in telcom (e.g. 1000^2). Some operating shells, and data tools, will express datum values in this way, and it can be crucial to know the difference.

    What really matters to you at present is that your internal ATA/100 bus is faster than FW400 protocol connections, and in fact, most FW400 drives used ATA/100 drives internally. It wasn't until around 2004/2005 that companies started using SATA mechanisms, and by that time, FW800 was more abundant.

    Th rest of that, you can keep under you hat, until useful. :)

    P.S. The term baud, once synonymous in the industry to with data transfer rates over telcom lines, is similar to b/s, but not quite the same. For binary code, b/s is generally equal to baud, but in non-binary situations, baud can be extremely variable, and actually means modulations per second. The telcom industry hasn't used the baud term after the rise of the 'Megabit' connection, when they learnt that they could use, and abuse, the prefix 'Mega' as a form of marketing spin. Everything was Mega-something for quite a while.

    I expect we shall see the same thing again when fibre becomes available everywhere, and Gigabit connections become possible at an affordable rate.

    One of the primary reasons that 'Megabit' is used instead of 'Megabyte', is because the numbers are eightfold larger, making the average consumer believe it is bigger/faster/better. People look at raw numbers, without realising the difference between Mb/MB/Mib/MiB/baud. Technically, the term mB is also a valid expression, meaning microByte, so pay careful attention to the term being used, as a 100,000mB memory unit wouldn't hold a single bit of datum, but a 125,000mB volume would hold one single bit. :D
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #11
    Thanks! Took a bit to read for me. Math and I do not have the best relationship. In fact Math hates me. But anyway this is all good to know.

    I'm familiar with baud though, or at least the terminology. My first modem was a rather large brown plastic box that plugged in to the back of my Commodore 64 in 1985 (I was 15 then) and allowed me to explore the world of Bulletin Board Systems at 300 baud!

    Oh, the days of ASCII BBS systems, full or half duplex, 40 or 80 character displays and X or Y-Term downloads.
     
  12. AmestrisXServe macrumors 6502

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    #12
    My fault entirely: I transposed MiB and MB (MebiByte is 1024^2 bytes, and MB is 1000^2 bytes); as well as Mebibit and Megabit (Mib and Mb respectively).

    The standard was different prior to the end of the 1990s, with the terms used by telcom, and the IT industry differing in value, or the same term being used for different values. JEDEC still recognises MB/Megabyte to refer to 1024^2, but the IEC does not.
     
  13. p3ntyne thread starter macrumors 6502

    p3ntyne

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    #13
    Thanks for all your help guys. I am about to order a new graphics card, a USB 2.0 PCI card and SATA card and some RAM.

    I was just wondering, if there is anywhere that I could pick up a really cheap CPU since the single 450mhz is kinda lacking.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  14. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #14
    eBay is about the cheapest and one of the few places you can get them. They're not exactly cheap, but a faster OEM CPU can be around $20.00. A really fast aftermarket upgrade CPU can be about $75+
     
  15. AmestrisXServe macrumors 6502

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    #15
    I ordered one of these adapters to try on a TiBook. I hope that it works without many problems.

    If you suggest any other conversion kit, please tell me. I selected this due to the frame, which should add stability to placement inside the enclosure, assuming that it conforms to the standard for 2.5" PATA devices.
     
  16. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #16
    That's the only mSATA adapter that will fit in a Powerbook. They use the Jmicron chip and it works well. I've seen read speeds of up to 75MB/second in an ATA/100 Powerbook.
     
  17. p3ntyne thread starter macrumors 6502

    p3ntyne

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    #17
    I can't seem to find an AGP compatible one on ebay (apart from 350mhz and 400mhz ones which are no use.) Would you be able to link to me one, or tell me what you searched for?

    EDIT: Just found this: http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Processo...0779030595?pt=CPUs&hash=item5afc3ecc43&_uhb=1 - Any idea if it would work?
     
  18. Intell macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #18
    That one will not work, it is from a Quicksilver. Compatible ones include Sawtooth models (your model) and Gigabit Ethernet models. The fastest OEM drop-in is a dual 500Mhz from a Gigabit Ethernet model.
     

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