Upgrading a 400mhz G4 digital audio...

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Kingsly, Feb 27, 2006.

  1. Kingsly macrumors 68040


    My mom's power mac G4 (400mhz, I believe its the "digital audio") is extremely slow. Also, her HDD has about 11mb left on it. I was wondering what upgrades would add speed the most. She is a photographer, so photoshop is the major "speed test"
    I was thinking first off I would add a 7200 RPM 100Gbyte HDD.
    Next would be an upgraded video card (up from the stock one w/ a whopping 16Mbytes of VRAM)
    I was thinking this one:http://shop3.outpost.com/product/4054382?site=sr:SEARCH:MAIN_RSLT_PG

    Thats AGP, would PCI be better?
    Anyway, to top it all off I am thinking the compaq USB 2.0/Firewire PCI card would be nice, for $29 and being that her camera uses USB 2.0
    Anyone have any suggestions?
  2. briangig macrumors regular

    May 16, 2005
    First off, if she only has 11mb left on her HD, that right there is hurting her performance. Computers use a certain amount of the HD for virtual memory, what it doesnt need in the RAM, it keeps on the hard disk, ready to use. But since there is only 11mb left, there is no room for anything, so the OS is cramped.

    If all she is doing is photography work, I would do something about the USB, HD, RAM (whats in there now?), and processor. In that order. I dont think the video card would be worth the money spent, just for 2D images, what she has should suffice.

    As for memory, 512 minumum. The processor would be a good upgrade too, but if you're on a budget, just do the USB card, HD, and at least 512MB RAM, more if you can afford it. If a good deal comes along on a 800Mhz+ G4, or any dual G4 (dual 450s go for around a hundred bucks), drop it in there at a later time.
  3. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    I'd suggest upgrading to a Radeon or GeForce series video card at least. At 7500 or GeForce 2/3 would be fine. Secondly, AGP AGP AGP. I can't emphasize that enough.

    The hard drive is the most glaring issue though. You need free space for virtual memory.


    The Digital Audio never came in a 400 MHz model. It's either a Sawtooth or a Gigabit Ethernet. Don't spend too much money on this machine. It'd be a bit more cost effective getting a Mac Mini.
  4. mr.know.it.all macrumors newbie


    Feb 27, 2006
    Their are a few makers of drop-in processor upgrades for the G4, but here are the ones that people usually trust.



    Also, Newegg.com or Outpost.com are really good for hard drives.

    But after you add up all the time, effort, and money installing it all, it's actually cheaper and a smarter move to just drop the $400-$500 on the Mac Mini. It will run better out of the box, then trying to get a 400mhz to catch up.

    I too was hanging on the same thought about my 533mhz Digital Audio. But I actually ended up getting a Dual-Core 2.3ghz instead of trying to upgrade my old rig. I had already pushed my 533mhz to the limit essentially.

    It can be fun to put the work in yourself building up a Mac. But in this case my recommendation is to get a Mac Mini.

    But before you buy ANYTHING. Wait to see what the announcements are from Apple come this Tuesday, February 28. Some new and very surprising things are said to be announced. And if the Mac Mini Intel is one of them, it's probably worth it to get one, or grab a PowerPC model Mac Mini when their price drops on their way out.

    If you have the 400, it's only AGP compliant.
  5. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2005
    I'm only really here at night.
    DO NOT waste money on a video card. It wont make ANY difference in 2D photo work. At best you might get a little smoother GUI responsiveness, but thats about it. And the card you linked to is an overpriced PCI card anyways (slower spec), but your system uses an AGP video card (faster spec).

    Max da ram & HDD first, and the USB card if the budget allows. It wont speed up your system per se, but it will enable faster image transfers from the camera.

    And if you REALLY wanna speed things WAY up, get a CPU upgrade. A dual 500 or 800 would make a huge speed difference. However, after that & the other upgrades, you will close to the costs of a faster, newer machine , so consider your options carefully :D
  6. Kingsly thread starter macrumors 68040


    Thanks. She is planning on getting a new machine, but not until april at the latest. I figured upping the HDD will at least let her get some work done between now and then.
  7. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    How much RAM does she have? The hard drive issue is the biggest one if she only has 11 MB left. 512 MB of RAM is fine as a start.

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