Upgrading Power Mac G4 MDD

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by cave12man, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. cave12man macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2007
    avalon, nj
    I am upgrading my Power Mac g4 MDD (Mirrored Drive Doors), and wanted to see if anyone has some suggestions on what components i should replace/add first, ie adding/upgrading memory, video card, HD, etc. Thanx for the help!
  2. shu82 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 10, 2007
    Rocket City, AL
    The first thing I did was slap a $10 usb2 card in there. The drives are standard, ddr ram is more expensive.

    What I am trying right now is to find a cheap sata pci card. It seems you have to pay 60 for a 2 port version, when I can get a 4 port for 20 in a pc.
  3. robrose20 macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2007
    What are your specs now?

    For improving performance (without replacing the processor) I would max out the memory first. Memory is cheap. Check out OWC at macsales.com.
  4. ReanimationLP macrumors 68030


    Jan 8, 2005
    On the moon.
    Yeah, memory, then the video card would be your first and best choices.

    Processor upgrades are expensive for these models, with a Sonnet Dual 1.6 GHz CPU module coming in at 449.99.

    Sonnet makes a hella good product though.
  5. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    A view hints...

    It all depends on what do you want to do with it later on. I went all the way to the limit on mine and I would do it again. (The G4 had the fastest Firewire 800 port then every G5 later on by the way)

    1. Max out the ram
    2. Put in either a Radeon 9600 256MB for the big 30' display or two 23'
    3. If you are a gamer use the 9800
    4. Buy a SATA card two port and use the Raptor 150G / 10K as a start disk
    (with a 4 port card, you can not use a SATA as a start up drive !!)
    5. Buy the enhanced noise reduction cooler from Verax if you still can find them
    6. In case of external HD's, use only Firewire 800 Drives, do not use the slower USB 2 for external HD's on the G4
    7. If you have an early G4, buy only a CPU upgrad with L3 cache or instead, sell it and get the latest model, (G4 1,42G Dual, -the last and fastest model with L3 cache)
  6. Lord Zedd macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

    Oct 24, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    The wad of cash you will dump into a G4 could buy you a dual or quad core G5 with the awesome X1900 card. Even if you max out your G4 any generation dual 1.8GHz or higher G5 would still be faster.
  7. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2005
    I'm only really here at night.

    eeehhhh....a somewhat incorrect answer :p While this may be true for SOME cards, if you get a 4 port card from SIIG or Firmtek (2 of the better ones, IMHO) you can start up from any drive(s) connected to any of the ports......my QS has booted from my Raptors & SIIG 4 port card everyday for almost 3 years now nottaproblemo :D
  8. Lord Zedd macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

    Oct 24, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    I boot my old 450MHz G4 directly from a SATA drive through a Seritek card, its the only way to get more than 128GB to work. I only have the DVD drive connected to PATA.
  9. robrose20 macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2007
    For the amount of money you would spend doing that it would be about 50% of what a new Mac Pro would cost. I wouldn't dump that much money into something that old.

    Maxing the memory and putting in a larger hard drive would be the extend of what I would do with a 6 year old computer.
  10. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

    May 7, 2004
    Sod off
    Here's my suggestion, numbered in order of importance:

    1. Install 1-2GB memory (max it if you can)
    2. Get a nice, big SATA drive (or two) and SIIG-brand SATA controller card
    3. USB 2.0 card

    Middle-of-the-Road (Basic + the following) - getting into new Mac Mini/used G5 tower territory
    1. CPU upgrade, the models with L3 cache are desirable.
    2. DVD-RW (if it doesn't have one)
    3. Radeon 9800 PRO video card

    Hardcore (Middle-of-the-Road + the following)
    1. Maxed RAM if you haven't done it
    2. Flashed Radeon X850XT, or, if you will use DVI, a flashed GeForce 6600GT

    Extreme (silly, but it's been done)
    1. Some cooling hardware.
    2. Flashed GeForce 7800-class card, possibly with overclock
    3. Dual CPU upgrade
    4. 4-port SATA card with RAID 0 boot plus a big, fat data drive or two
    5. A smack upside the head

    Remember to always keep your eye on how much you're spending...early PowerMac G5s are getting down below $500 these days and are much better investments...and then there's the Mac Mini, which is faster than even most upgraded G4 towers AND provides BootCamp goodness...it's a little weak at 3D gaming but so is the G4, even with a good video card.

    I enjoyed upgrading my G4 tower, but that project started a couple years ago - if I was looking to do it again now I'd go get a used G5 tower...and if you do, make sure to get one of the models with 8 memory slots if possible, the ones with four slots have a crippled FSB and lower-rated PSU.
  11. cave12man thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 26, 2007
    avalon, nj
    awesome info....im glad someone addressed whether or not it would be pocket savvy as i forgot to ask earlier. ill probably just go with a used G5 or mac mini than spend the money to upgrade. now i just need some info on how to get all my data from one to the other buuuut im thinking that might be another post altogether....:)

    thanks again for the posts

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