Upgrading Powermac G3

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GEOS's picture
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So I am planning on selling my MacBook Pro very soon so I can buy a faster refurbished one off Apple's store. However, refurbs are not always readily avalible so I may have to live without my speed machine for a while. Since I got rid of my Mac Mini when I got the MBP, that leaves my next fastest computer as my trusty old Powermac G3 B&W. Now I got this machine a long time ago and always liked it a lot (am using it right now actually) and do not mind investing a few bucks in it. The plan would be to max out the RAM and get a new graphics card. Currently it has 768mb of RAM, a 20gb hard drive and a 160gb drive (seeing 130 of it) 450MHz, 16mb RAGE 128 graphics card and DVD-ROM. Seeing as this may end up as my main Mac again, I have been once again looking at buying a new graphics card for it off ebay. They sell those ATI Radeon 7000 cards with either 32 or 64mb of memory for Mac in PCI form. A 32mb card will run about $25 and a 64mb card around $45. My question to you is if it would be worth the $20 more for the card with double the memory. Both are the Radeon 7000. Would there be much advantage to the bigger card? I'm running 10.4.9 and I do use Dashboard and the iTunes equalizer as well as would like to be able to watch online video. Like I said, this is not going to remain my main Mac for long, but I do use it pretty frequently even with my MBP. I don't want to spend too much on it (no G4 upgrades and Superdrives) cuz It really isn't all that necessary. Let me know what you think about the graphis card, and if you have upgraded yours, what advantages did you see? Thanks a lot guys.

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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The 64mb versions are all fla

The 64mb versions are all flashed PC Radeon 7000's. There's some soldering involved to get the ROM larger, so you'll want to get it from someone who sounds like he knows what he's doing. I've got one in my B&W. Never had a 32mb version, so don't have experience to compare, but I doubt the gain is significant enough if you're in the mood to be frugal. The Mac 32mb 7000 came in two versions with one supposedly better than the other. I'd probably save the $20 and put it toward an ATA controller card instead. I watched a Sonnet ATA100 sell for $11 last week at auction. That would be the combination for speed and efficiency--32mb Radeon and ATA controller. More RAM is always nice, but if you've already got 768mb, that would be third on my list. But with Tiger, you'd definitely do best with all three in a B&W. Might as well live comfortably if it's going to be awhile. If it's probably not going to be too long of a while, then perhaps you should just live with what you've got. But it sounds like a lot of the motivation is from some renewed affection for the old Yosemite. Understandable--I've got three of them--but that affection could wear off fairly quickly. Going from a MBP to a 450 B&W--that's really gotta hurt. The B&W has unfortunately reached that age in the market when any investments in upgrades have become financially questionable.

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Yah, I suppose the RAM can pr

Yah, I suppose the RAM can probably wait. So you'd say the difference between the 64mb card and the 32 probably wouldn't be enough to make it worth the money?

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Between the processor and the

Between the processor and the bus speed, I don't think you'll notice a difference in the Radeon cards. Go cheap, and save up for the new toy Wink

Also, as noted in recent threads, watch what type of ram you get. Higher density ram may not work: I've got 512 and 128 PC133 dimms that show up in my B&W G3 as 256 and 64 repsectively.

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Alright cool. Looks like I'l

Alright cool. Looks like I'll shoot for the 32mb card. I'd rather have an actual Mac version rather than a flashed PC card anyway I think. And since neither one is going to support Core Image or even Quartz Extreme anyway, I think the $20 is better spent on something for the MBP. Thanks for the advice guys.

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Re: Alright cool. Looks like I'l

GEOS wrote:

And since neither one is going to support Core Image or even Quartz Extreme...

Oh! Contraire!:
PCI Extreme!!

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GEOS's picture
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Re: Alright cool. Looks like I'l

coius wrote:
GEOS wrote:

And since neither one is going to support Core Image or even Quartz Extreme...

Oh! Contraire!:
PCI Extreme!!

Hmm, that would be nice. I'd really like to have Quartz Extreme on the Powermac, but It looks like a lot of people are having some issues with newer versions of 10.4 running. We'll have to see what happens.

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coius's picture
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Never had a problem with it

Ran fine for me under 10.4.9 with my B&W w/ Radeon 7000. Worked like a charm. People reported slow downs in media. I never had that problem. Then again, i upgraded the CPU to a G4 400 from a Yikes!

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Re: Never had a problem with it

coius wrote:

Ran fine for me under 10.4.9 with my B&W w/ Radeon 7000. Worked like a charm. People reported slow downs in media. I never had that problem. Then again, i upgraded the CPU to a G4 400 from a Yikes!

Wait! You were able to just drop in a CPU from a Yikes? I had always wondered about that seeing as they are both ZIF processors and are VERY similar machines. What speed of G3 was it before the upgrade? I might consider doing that if there is much of a speed upgrade. My G3 runs at 450MHz, so I wasn't sure if a 400MHz G4 would really out perform in much. Have you ever benched it on XBench or something similar? I would really be interested to see what all you can tell me about your processor swap. A G4 processor from a Yikes is pretty cheap.

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coius's picture
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yeah, i did. same pinouts

however, you need to do the 3rd Party patch. usually, a 3rd party CPU Upgrade Maker has it. Don't be fooled, it works with the Yikes! too. it just patches the Firmware in it so the board will accept the G4 CPU. You will need to have the G3 in it at the time. When you do it, you hold down the programmers button at the startup, then release it right after the beep ends.

This is the CPU Uprade patch:

B&WG4Enabler.sit

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Apple made the B&W G3's knowi

Apple made the B&W G3's knowing they would soon come out with the G4's. They didn't want B&W owners to simply buy G4 upgrades so they designed a G4 block in the B&W firmware. Nice, huh? They weren't so farthinking with the Beige G3, so there's no patch needed with the Beige's. The third party processor makers finally designed a patch for the firmware block. You can only put a G4 processor in a B&W after putting the patch in while the G3 processor is still in the ZIF socket.

G3 and G4 speeds are the same. You will only see the significant increase in processing if the software you are using incorporates the Altivec engine.

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Re: Never had a problem with it

GEOS wrote:

Wait! You were able to just drop in a CPU from a Yikes? I had always wondered about that seeing as they are both ZIF processors and are VERY similar machines. What speed of G3 was it before the upgrade? I might consider doing that if there is much of a speed upgrade. My G3 runs at 450MHz, so I wasn't sure if a 400MHz G4 would really out perform in much. Have you ever benched it on XBench or something similar? I would really be interested to see what all you can tell me about your processor swap. A G4 processor from a Yikes is pretty cheap.

You would see a decrease in general computing speed by replacing the 450MHz G3 with a 400MHz G4. The loss in MHz probably will even out the altivec advantage for apps like Photoshop. RAM and a better video card will do a lot for a B&W. An ATA or SATA PCI card will help more but the RAM and VRAM are critical for running OS X smoothly. The best CPU upgrade for a B&W is the 500MHz G4 you can get for about $150.00 or less. But you can get a 500MHz AGP G4 for about $150.00 too.

My better half has a 450MHz B&W with a Radeon 9200, 768MB of RAM and it runs Tiger fairly well. I found my 9200 on eBay a while ago for about $80.00 shipped brand new, which is a lot better than the MSRP of $129.00. The 9200 is maybe a little overkill but I wanted the best I could get and it's basically made to max out the B&W G3's video capabilities. The 9200 is a really good card for the B&W. I also have a Mac Edition Radeon 32MB in my old clone and it is noticeably better than the Radeon 7000's, but they sell for about twice as much as the 7000 version too.

It all depend on your budget.....

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Re: Never had a problem with it

MacTrash_1 wrote:
GEOS wrote:

Wait! You were able to just drop in a CPU from a Yikes? I had always wondered about that seeing as they are both ZIF processors and are VERY similar machines. What speed of G3 was it before the upgrade? I might consider doing that if there is much of a speed upgrade. My G3 runs at 450MHz, so I wasn't sure if a 400MHz G4 would really out perform in much. Have you ever benched it on XBench or something similar? I would really be interested to see what all you can tell me about your processor swap. A G4 processor from a Yikes is pretty cheap.

You would see a decrease in general computing speed by replacing the 450MHz G3 with a 400MHz G4. The loss in MHz probably will even out the altivec advantage for apps like Photoshop. RAM and a better video card will do a lot for a B&W. An ATA or SATA PCI card will help more but the RAM and VRAM are critical for running OS X smoothly. The best CPU upgrade for a B&W is the 500MHz G4 you can get for about $150.00 or less. But you can get a 500MHz AGP G4 for about $150.00 too.

My better half has a 450MHz B&W with a Radeon 9200, 768MB of RAM and it runs Tiger fairly well. I found my 9200 on eBay a while ago for about $80.00 shipped brand new, which is a lot better than the MSRP of $129.00. The 9200 is maybe a little overkill but I wanted the best I could get and it's basically made to max out the B&W G3's video capabilities. The 9200 is a really good card for the B&W. I also have a Mac Edition Radeon 32MB in my old clone and it is noticeably better than the Radeon 7000's, but they sell for about twice as much as the 7000 version too.

It all depend on your budget.....

Yah, low end G4's unnaturally cheap these days. I really love Powermacs. My MacBook Pro is great, but I'm a desktop guy. I have considered buying a MDD just to have a nice fast desktop computer, but I think I can live with what I've got with a fast MBP. I think i'm gonna go for that Radeon 7000 32mb.

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Re: Never had a problem with it

GEOS wrote:

Yah, low end G4's unnaturally cheap these days. I really love Powermacs. My MacBook Pro is great, but I'm a desktop guy. I have considered buying a MDD just to have a nice fast desktop computer, but I think I can live with what I've got with a fast MBP. I think i'm gonna go for that Radeon 7000 32mb.

I know exactly what you mean. I bought a new Aluminum G4 PB about 2 years ago and sold it after 6 months. Now I'm running a Gigabit G4 and very happy with it. I just like to open them up and play with hardware I guess. The G4 PB was nice but I couldn't tweak it as much as I can a desktop. And I always have a spare B&W sitting around for emergencies or potential Windoze switchers to try out. It's like having a spare tire. But having a Powerbook is addicting and still had the need/desire for one so I use a Lombard that suits my needs just fine, and if it gets stolen or I break it there's no big loss.

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Re: Never had a problem with it

GEOS wrote:

I think i'm gonna go for that Radeon 7000 32mb.

Just to toss in a dissenting voice, if you haven't bought one already... I have an Apple OEM Radeon 7000 in my B&W and honestly if you're just using the computer as a stopgap measure save your money. Unless you're mucking around with PCI Extreme (which I wouldn't) upgrading to the 7000 nets you essentially zero speedup on desktop applications. And the 7000, despite the "Radeon" name, is really weak 3D accelerator. (It's missing most of the hardware that makes a "Radeon" a "Radeon", making it essentially just a Rage 128 that can take arbitrarily-sized textures.) Swapping the card in made my "GL Quake" framerates go from somewhere in the high teens to the mid-twenties compared to the stock Rage 128, but that's nothing to write home about. If I hadn't gotten the card for free I'd probably be feeling some buyer's regret.

If you see a used G4 ZIF for what Radeon 7000s are going for get that instead. OS X uses AltiVec extensively enough for that to be a better investment. But if you can't get one for less then $30 skip that too.

--Peace

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Re: Never had a problem with it

Eudimorphodon wrote:
GEOS wrote:

I think i'm gonna go for that Radeon 7000 32mb.

Just to toss in a dissenting voice, if you haven't bought one already... I have an Apple OEM Radeon 7000 in my B&W and honestly if you're just using the computer as a stopgap measure save your money. Unless you're mucking around with PCI Extreme (which I wouldn't) upgrading to the 7000 nets you essentially zero speedup on desktop applications. And the 7000, despite the "Radeon" name, is really weak 3D accelerator. (It's missing most of the hardware that makes a "Radeon" a "Radeon", making it essentially just a Rage 128 that can take arbitrarily-sized textures.) Swapping the card in made my "GL Quake" framerates go from somewhere in the high teens to the mid-twenties compared to the stock Rage 128, but that's nothing to write home about. If I hadn't gotten the card for free I'd probably be feeling some buyer's regret.

If you see a used G4 ZIF for what Radeon 7000s are going for get that instead. OS X uses AltiVec extensively enough for that to be a better investment. But if you can't get one for less then $30 skip that too.

--Peace

Now thats interesting. Not many people have told me results would be minimal. If what you say is true, then yah that $25 could be better spend on gas or something.

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Actually, I don't think most

Actually, I don't think most people even really think about the difference between an actual Radeon and the Radeon 7000, specifically the R100 (original Radeon) vs the RV100 (Radeon VE/7000). The RV100 gets beat by a super cheap GF2MX. I can pick those up for $5 each (in AGP) 5 days a week locally. The difference between the R7k and the Radeon shows why the Radeon Mac Edition is actually better, but might not be enough to be worth the money.

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So how about the 9200? Any va

So how about the 9200? Any significant value there over the others? There's only so much you can do with PCI video. The B&W, like all PCI Macs, hits low ceilings on most upgrades, unfortunately. You can only squeeze so much out of the well, or some such metaphor like that.

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[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/

It seems to be a decent chip vs the GeForce 4MX 440 AGP 8x (which is what I have in my P4 machine) and for the R200 series, is about as good as it'll get for PCI. I don't think there were any PCI 8500 variants, were there?

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The prices I see on eBay for

The prices I see on eBay for a Mac 9200 PCI card are around $100. The cost for a 550mhz G4 ZIF goes for around $100 on the auctions I've watched recently. Ok, spend the $200 and put them in your B&W and you've got the equivalent of...?

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Re: The prices I see on eBay for

Hawaii Cruiser wrote:

The prices I see on eBay for a Mac 9200 PCI card are around $100. The cost for a 550mhz G4 ZIF goes for around $100 on the auctions I've watched recently. Ok, spend the $200 and put them in your B&W and you've got the equivalent of...?

I'm not interesting in investing that much into this computer. Like I said, I have a MacBook Pro that can run circles around basically anything. The idea was to spend $50-$75 or less just for nostalgia sake more than anything since I have a pretty stong attachment to this machine, and I still use it regularly. Before I invest that much, I would spend a few hundred more and pick up a Powermac MDD that has faster ATA, MUCH faster processors, faster and more RAM, and more expandability.

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My last post was a hypothetic

My last post was a hypothetical "your," not specifically your B&W. I know you aren't thinking of spending that much. Like E says above, if you're ready to spend $50-$75, you'd probably be better off with a G4 upgrade rather than all the other options since X generally runs much better with a G4. I do a lot of Photoshop, and the difference with a G4 is exceptional. As for the $30 or less part, well, I've never seen a G4 ZIF sell that low. The lowest I've seen a 500mhz G4 sell on eBay for was $55. Don't remember the slower cards, but never less than $45.

When I was primarily using my 21" CRT, the better video cards were noticeably better, but now that I'm working more on a smaller LCD, the different cards, including the 16mb Rage 128, don't exhibit much difference. I guess it's all has to do with what your intentions are. I originally chose a Radeon when I was back in OS 9 and wanted to watch DVD's, but the picture quality and speed didn't change much from my 32mb Nexus Rage 128 I had in the B&W previously. OS X then made the DVD problem obsolete. X's DVD player works with any Rage 128 and better card. Might even work with the earlier cards, I don't know.