Upgrading a Power Mac G4 "Sawtooth"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by p0intblank, Apr 30, 2007.

  1. p0intblank macrumors 68030

    Sep 20, 2005
    New Jersey
    So I got a "Sawtooth" from a friend for 20 bucks and I'm wanting to upgrade it to use as a fairly fast (for a G4) deskop. Its specs are as follows:

    350 Mhz G4
    576 MB PC133 RAM
    ATI Rage 128 Pro 16 MB VRAM
    10 GB Ultra ATA HDD

    Surprisingly the RAM is more than 512 MB, which is great as it will save me money. So the first component I would like to upgrade is the graphics card. 16 MB of VRAM isn't nearly enough and would like at least 128 MB. I don't want to spend too much, but I'm totally open to recommendations.

    I can handle the hard drive since that's pretty easy. I do have one question, however: everymac.com states my model can only support up to 128 GB drives. If this is the case, could I easily install a workaround and still rely on my data being safe?

    So the biggest worry of mine is the processor. 350 MHz is actually a little better than I expected, but I would like a boost while saving money at the same time. What's the highest CPU speed I can get using this logic board? Or do you suggest installing a different logic board (if cheap enough) that supports greater CPUs?

    I'm totally open to suggestions and am very comfortable with working in open computers. I've done upgrades in the past so I am experienced enough to try difficult tasks.

    Oh and one more quick question: since this logic board uses USB 1.1, can I still get USB 2.0 speeds if I install a separate PCI card?

    I appreciate all the help. Thanks in advance! :)
  2. Lovesong macrumors 65816


    Sep 15, 2006
    Stuck beween a rock and a hard place
    Back in the days (OK, so less than a year ago), I used to have a G4 digital audio. That thing was suped up to the gills. I had a GigaDesigns CPU upgrade (Dual 1.8 Ghz) (~$450), an ATI Radeon 9800 (128Mb, ~$150 from ebay), a SIIG 4-channel SATA PCI controller running a pair of Maxtor Diamondmax 10 (250GB each), a PCI USB 2.0 controller, 1.5 gigs of RAM from Crucial, and a SIIG FW800 controller. That thing simply flew.
    The 128GBs is true for running OS 9. You'll probably want to have OSX on there anyway.
    Pretty much given enough time, and upgading this thing over time, can result in something truly nice. I highly recomend the GigaDesigns chips (their service is excellent too), and the SIIG SATA controller (you'll need at least OS 10.2 to run it). Have fun.
  3. p0intblank thread starter macrumors 68030

    Sep 20, 2005
    New Jersey
    Thanks for the quick response! I actually have Tiger running on it right now. Yeah I know, I only have a 10 gig hard drive right now. It was only to test things out.

    One important question, though: are the chips swappable in the "Sawtooth" model or will I have to replace the logic board in order to gain support for newer chips?

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