Upgraded G3 or G4 for Jaguar


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 16, 2002
I'm a college student trying to save money for a DC internship this summer and am thinking about selling my Vaio R505tl slimtop to save money.

For now I'll be using an old Powermac 6100 (which I should be getting tomorrow - I bought it for $5.50 on Ebay with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse). I can purchase an old pci mac very inexpensively - which I'll have to do if I choose to update a mac.

I'd like to update a powermac to run Jaguar. Here's where I need help - would it be better to upgrade a pci powermac to a G3 400 (or possibly 450) with 1mb L2 cache or a G4 350 with 1mb L2 cache.

These are the only processor upgrades that I can afford. I'll probably have a hard drive that's between 2 and 6 gigs large and somewhere between 128 and 256 megs of ram.

I won't be using processor heavy tasks - mainly word processing, web browsing, and maybe iTunes.

Also, will Jaguar be compatible with the video capabilities of an older powermac, and is there anything that can be done to allow Jaguar to support an internal floppy? If I can't use Jaguar then I'll consider updating anyway to use os 9.

Thanks for the help. The powemac 6100, although very outdated, is my first mac - I'm sure it won't be my last.


macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2002
All up in your bidness
For iTunes, word processing, and web browsing, I would say go with the G3. A 400MHz G3 will likely give you slightly better overall performance than a 350MHz G4 at non-AltiVec tasks. I'm not sure how Jaguar has changed things vs. 10.1, but in my experience, it's tough to tell a 500MHz G3 and a 550MHz G4 apart when doing basic stuff like that in OS X 10.1. More important than the CPU for you will be the amount of RAM you have. You'll be in for a very painful experience if you settle for 128MB... even 256MB isn't all that pleasant.

As for PCI video card support in Jaguar, if your built-in video chipset isn't supported, you can always pick up a PCI video card that is for very little money.

I'm pretty sure Jag doesn't support internal floppy drives, but that's only a guess.



macrumors 68000
Apr 16, 2002
The CPU upgrades you refer to are very similar.

g4: 7400
g3: 750

The only difference between the two is the altivec, as others have pointed out. These two particular processors were built on a very similar process. Only with the advent of the 7410 did was the g4 really a superior processor than the g3.

The OS, as I've heard, can benefit from the Altivec. Altivec enhanced applications will be faster.

With the 2 choices you provided, the answer is clear: go with the g3. The fastest you can go is 500 MHz with a g3 and 450 MHz with a G4 (except for the new Sonnet 7455 based upgrades) for the PCI-based macs. The price difference isn't that much between a g3 and a g4, but if cost is the key, the g3 is the ticket.


macrumors 65816
Feb 20, 2002
upgraded my G3 to a 500 mhz G4 (zif upgrade) and altivec does make a difference,

I have lots of ram (704 mb) and a 7200 hd will make it MUUUCH faster

an older B&W G3 goes for 300-500 and can run jaguar fine (though I do a lot of graphics and sometimes just have to boot into 9 for that)


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 16, 2002
Thanks for the advice. I'm not sure what I'm going to do yet. If I sell my vaio and purchase an older mac system I'm hoping to save about $500 from the switch. So, if I get a very good price for my laptop equipment I'll only have between $200 - $300 to spend on a mac and software. I've seen some b&w g3's go for $175 on Ebay (rarely - only when people underlist the price of their machine and use 'buy it now'.

I already have a monitor and can get the small accesories needed inexpensively. It doesn't look like I'll have enough money to switch to os X - so I'll probably have to use whatever software is already installed or bundled.

I might just decide to sell the vaio and use the powermac 6100 with os 8 - unless it's painfully slow and unreliable (right now I'm running Windows ME on a Celeron 650 - it's fast enough, but I get a lot of blue screens of death). Then I can borrow a friend's computer or go to a computer lab if I need to use any other apps.

Anyway, thanks again for the advice.
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