video card or CPU upgrade

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by ctango, Jan 27, 2008.

  1. ctango macrumors member

    ctango

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Mountains
    #1
    Hey all. I've acquired a 400MHz G3 recently and have put it to use as a TV computer. It is running on 500 MB (4 x 128) of RAM on a 7200 RPM disk. It is using the VGA connection right now to drive the monitor, and it looks great. The problem is that it has the 16MB video card (stock) and videos won't play on the 32" Sony HDTV. The videos (ripped MP4's from DVD's) start, but then stop for a few seconds, catch up and then stop again. Very choppy.

    I have just won on ebay a 256 MB chip (bringing it up to 640 MB), and am deciding on what else to get next. Would a bump in the CPU (up to a 1GHz G3) or a bump in the video card do more? (A 64MB PCI Video card is easy enough to get, while the G3 CPU is a little bit more expensive)


    Any thoughts, suggestions?
     
  2. surflordca macrumors 6502a

    surflordca

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #2
    Enjoy it for what it is worth right now. Don't put any more money into it. It's not worth it. You have any idea how old a G3 is :confused:
     
  3. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #3
    Your HDD and PSU will probably also require replacement sometime soon.
    For the same outlay involved with CPU, GPU, HDD, PSU, you could just buy a new Mac-mini instead, which would be conservatively 5-10 times the speed of your G3, runs Leopard, and comes with 1GB of RAM.

    I'd recommend you enjoy what you have, and save your money for a more advanced machine.
     
  4. Lord Zedd macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

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    Oct 24, 2007
    Location:
    Denver, Colorado
    #4
    For the price of a 1GHz G3 upgrade you could buy an AppleTV.
     
  5. Kosh66 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2004
    #5
    Get an Intel Mac Mini.

    Seriously, a G3 can't handle high definition video and you'll spend more money on it than it's worth. It's not the video card that can't handle the video, it's the CPU.
     
  6. ctango thread starter macrumors member

    ctango

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Mountains
    #6
    I know I know

    I know the G3 is big, old and ugly. But I like old things. I do see what you are saying about the HD (High Def) though. That may be the deciding point. My only concern is the video capabilities of the MacMini. I've heard reports of the DVI / HDMI not being able to fill the screen on a 32" LCD. What's the point of having a big ass screen if the computer pushing it can't fill the space?

    The G3 1GHz card is only $125, still $100 cheaper than the Apple TV and it allows full web browsing and Finder usage. Mainly running it to do some web services in the background.


    So the G3 upgrade is about $130
    The video upgrade is about $50
    Added RAM will be about another $50 we'll say.

    So I would be paying the price of an Apple TV if I were to do the upgrades.
     
  7. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #7
    You could also look at 700-800mhz G4 upgrades, which should be as fast or faster than the 1Ghz G3. I remember my old 466mhz G4 Powermac blew the doors off of my sisters 600mhz G3 iMac. Heck even a 500mhz G4 CPU ought to handle DVD and MP4 video. Just use Mac OS 10.2.8, Video LAN client for playback (very efficient) and SwitchresX.

    Heck with video lan and flash player disabled you may be able to browse the web while the video plays in a reduced window. Remember the G4 can still through its weight around it will just get bogged down if you through modern software at it.

    And I would not spend over a hundred with shipping for the CPU upgrade. As for the GPU any GeForce3 or Radeon 8500 ought to work probably even a GeForce 2 MX or Radeon 7500.

    Heck I remember on my Old G4 Powermac I could run OS 10.2, with a DVD playing in DVD player while doing class work in Word and browsing the internet. This was with G4 466mhz, 640mb RAM and a 16MB ATI Rage 128 running at a resolution of 1600x1200 at millions of colors.

    So as long as you stick with older software I think you would be safe with 500Mhz G4, 512MB RAM, Radeon 7500/Geforce 2, Mac OS 10.2.8, Video LAN Client and SwitchresX ought to handle Video playback of DVD quality video (Though a nice Geforce 3/ Radeon 8500 at 64mb would be much nicer and probably cost $5-10 more)

    Heck if you where willing to convert some of your videos your current machine may work running Mac OS 9.
     
  8. ctango thread starter macrumors member

    ctango

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Mountains
    #8
    Altivec Factor

    the PowerLogix site says that the G3 1Ghz beats out the G4 500 - 600 MHz CPU's because the only difference is the Altivec enhancement. Converting the video is done on a much faster machine, the G3 is only for displaying the avi/mp4 and web surfing.

    Would Altivec be used to display videos? I see that the Altivec engine can be used in the 16bit to 32 bit video conversion, but that is a little bit to geeky for me to really understand.

    Would a faster G3 chip stream/show movies better than a slower G4 (with Altivec)?
     
  9. snickelfritz macrumors 65816

    snickelfritz

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    Location:
    Tucson AZ
    #9
    The physical dimensions of the LCD is not the issue; the pixel density is.
    For example, the 23" Apple ACD has 2,304,000 pixels.
    1080P is 2,052,000 pixels.
    DVD is only 345,600 pixels

    The problem you're experiencing with the G3, and will continue to experience regardless of what you do to it, is due to an inherent and permanent shortage of bandwidth and computing power.

    The Mac mini will absolutely trounce old G3/G4 systems in practically every performance category, due to parallel processing, more efficient architecture, and higher clock frequencies.
    We're talking about a factor of 10 here, not the incremental (and totally insignificant) clock speed difference you would see with a G3 CPU upgrade.

    Been there, done that; doesn't do what you think it will.
    Save your money for a faster computer.

    GL
     
  10. ctango thread starter macrumors member

    ctango

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Mountains
    #10
    The only problem is getting the other software to run on the older OS. While it may run slower on the 10.4 setup, it would not run at all on the Classic, and probably not on 10.2.

    I'll wait and see what ebay brings me. I already bid on a few things before posting initially. So I'll see what I win and see what it does.


    Thanks to all.
     
  11. ctango thread starter macrumors member

    ctango

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2006
    Location:
    Mountains
    #11

    If the power supply goes, then yes. It will be going to the recycling pile, and the pieces will be re-fashioned to the G4 tower.
     
  12. velocityg4 macrumors 68040

    velocityg4

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2004
    Location:
    Georgia
    #12
    I did not know other software was an issue. Rather I was simply addressing the query in regards to playing back DVD grade video on your HD Television. Since VLC will playback mpeg4 video and DVD's this was the main concern of my posts. I had assumed your intentions for this machine where purely for a Home Theater Media Hub being used for Mpeg2/4 video playback at DVD quality and possibly audio playback.

    As for classic I was thinking along the same terms just zero or near zero costs instead. Using some of the many simple programs still made by the Hardcore users unwilling to let Mac OS 9 slip away.

    If however your intentions are to play back High Definition video then I would go with the other posters and recommend the Mac Mini. Especially if you are looking to run other modern software. Though you should be able to get away with an older Core Duo depending on your software demands.
     
  13. ReanimationLP macrumors 68030

    ReanimationLP

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2005
    Location:
    On the moon.
    #13
    The processor is the reason that the videos are choppy.

    The video card really doesnt make that big of a difference. Its really all the CPU.
     

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