Will a PCI Radeon 9200 help with 3rd monitor in Power Mac G4?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by stvcmty, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. stvcmty macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2007
    I use a Power Mac G4 Gigabit Ethernet, OS 10.5.6. It has 2GB of ram, and the processors have been upgraded to a dual 1.8GHz G4. I use 3 monitors with it. My main video card is a Mac ATI Radeon 9800 128mb AGP. I am using the DVI and VGA ports to drive 2 1680 by 1050 LCD's. For the third monitor, I am using a Mac ATI Radeon 7000 driving a 3rd 1680 by 1050 LCD with the VGA port. The Radeon 7000 is in the middle PCI slot. The screens connected though the Radeon 9800 are great. Everything moves smoothly. The screen connected though the Radeon 7000 is slow. Video in iTunes is choppy, as well as the iTunes Visualizer, tasks on it in general are not smooth.

    Would replacing the Radeon 7000 with a 9200 improve the performance of the 3rd monitor? Is there a better PCI video card than the 9200 available for Mac's?

    Is the performance of the 3rd monitor limited by the Radeon 7000 or the PCI bus?

    Also on the PCI bus is a 64-bit PCI 4-port SATA/eSATA card connected to 4 drives, and a 64-bit PCI Firewire 800/USB 2.0 card. (Since the other 2 PCI cards are 64-bit, how do they share PCI bandwidth with the PCI video card?)

    Thank you for your help,

  2. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2007
    Based on my own G4, I'd say odds on end are it's the 7000 that's the biggest problem there, rather than the PCI Bus. I don't know if you're running Leopard or not (you didn't say), but the 7000 doesn't have Core Image support (I think it does at least have Quartz Extreme). I know my User Interface rating in XBench with Leopard running is HALF what it is under Tiger so that might have an effect too. I've had to move to Leopard full time, though as too many new applications aren't supporting Tiger, especially to do with media (e.g. Meta-X, iLife '09, etc.) and first and foremost my upgraded PowerMac Digital Audio is my whole house media server (still probably gets more general computing use than my MBP or my Windows machine, though since it's on 24/7 and so it becomes the DeFacto Internet/Shopping/Chat machine as well), but even so 10.5.6 does pretty well here. 3D games seem almost as fast as under Tiger now (Jedi Academy for example).

    I don't think those cards you mention function as 64-bit cards in a G4, even though they are backwards compatible so I doubt that matters. I'm sure there is a saturation point on the PCI bus with multiple cards sucking down bandwidth, but I get 100MB/Sec transfers with my new Seagate 1.5TB Barracuda drives and my 2-Port Sonnet Sata card and now that I'm using Leopard my USB 2 card works as fast as my MBP (Tiger was about 60% the speed of Leopard with USB 2 support). But then I'm not trying to push graphics ON TOP OF those two items. Even so, those items have intermittent use on average. So while it might not run smoothly 100% of the time with a 9200 installed in a PCI slot, it's almost certainly going to run better than the 7000 regardless.

    I've thought about adding a PCI graphics card to mine, but to use on my monitor's 2nd input for when I boot into OS9. The 9800 has no acceleration under OS9 and I have some older games that would be cool to play full speed. Unfortunately, I have a sound issue since getting the NewerTech 1.8GHz 7448 G4 CPU upgrade...namely I don't get sound in OS9 unless I do a PRAM reset first and then reinstall the NewerTech pram settings. At that point, I get working sound until I reboot and then it stops working again. I've not been able to find a solution to the problem. NewerTech had no clue and doesn't care. I might try a USB sound card under OS9, but I don't want poorer sound in OS X so I'd either need some kind of a switch or a good enough model that would sound fine in both operating systems. There's a great Turtle Beach USB card out there, but it doens't work in OS 9. Most of the models that DO work in it are poor quality. I've seen conflicting reports about whether the current iMic model works in OS9 or not. They no longer advertise that it does. For all I know, sound might not work on a USB card either (given I don't know why I get no sound with the internal driver since it shows up but produces no sound unless I do the aforementioned reset which is a PITA over time). So unless I solve my sound problem, there's no point in me trying a PCI graphics card for OS9 use.
  3. MacVidCards Suspended

    Nov 17, 2008
    Hollywood, CA
    If you are running 10.4.6 or later, there are 6200 PCI cards on Ebay which offer Core Image & Quartz Extreme.

    Infinitely better cards than either 7000 or 9200.

    I miss the OS 9 games. "Marathon"....now that was a game....that was OS 9, yes?
  4. MagnusVonMagnum macrumors 603


    Jun 18, 2007
    The Nvidia 6200 might be great for the original poster, but it has no acceleration under OS 9 either, so it wouldn't do me any more good than the 9800 already does. I guess I need to find the last/best card with full OS9 support that won't somehow drag down OS X just being installed (not even sure if that would be an issue or not).

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