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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > Upgrading to G3or G4 with add on card

Upgrading to G3or G4 with add on card
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Fresh-Faced Recruit
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Feb 12, 2001, 05:19 PM
Ive seen these add on card that will upgrade to g3 or g4 by such companies as Newertech and Sonnet(Crescendo) www.sonnettech.com
As they as good as they claim?

Anyone with experience would be appreciated

Clinically Insane
Join Date: Apr 2000
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Feb 13, 2001, 03:49 AM
I think one of those companies shut down... Newertech? One of the upgrade makers did...
Well, they do make a difference. BUT, they will never be as fast as a machine designed for the particular processor you get - the speed the computer runs at will be limited by factors such as bus speed, RAM speed, etc.
You may be better off getting a new computer - what kind of comp are you looking to upgrade?

Mac Enthusiast
Join Date: Jan 2000
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Feb 14, 2001, 11:21 AM
I'd just get a new computer, then you get all new stuff (big hard drive, dvd or cdrw, more ram, USB, firewire,etc) and can run OS X for sure.

I wouldn't upgrade your mac unless you have a really big tower decked out with a lot of cards or peripherals you need to keep (9600, 8500, etc.).

Anything else is probably too old/not worth it.
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Feb 14, 2001, 12:26 PM
There's no absolute rule of thumb for upgrading, but you do need to consider which components you'll need to upgrade in the grand scheme of things. The upgrade cards will certainly reinvigorate older machines, but they will undoubtedly start a torrent of upgrades (RAM, hard drive, video card) which will end up costing you plenty. Also bear in mind that your mobo bus speed will be a bottleneck.

Having said all that, the ugrade cards generally perform as advertised. What machine do you have?
Senior User
Join Date: Feb 2001
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Feb 24, 2001, 12:02 PM
Hi. I've had good luck and bad luck with sonnet. I'm writing to you on a Power Mac 5400/120 that has a G3 400mhz/1mb L2 upgrade on it and it simply flys! I've never had a problem with this particular card and the performance enhancement is tremendous. The price was onle a few hundred and it's stopped me from getting a new machine for at least a couple years. A week ago I tried to upgrade a 6116CD that I got from work in the same manner, and have had no success. Also, the sonnet G4 upgrades for the PCI macs apparrently have some BIG problems--the software patch doesn't prevent the agressive predictive procsessing that the AltiVec causes, and crahes the old pci poermacs. I would go for a g3, depending on what kind of power mac you have.
Charlie Boy
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Mar 9, 2001, 03:59 AM
Just and FYI.. I've been beta testing a new product from XLR8, its a Dual Processor upgrade for the Pulsar (they have one for everything 7300 up to B&W I believe. I have to say its so fast I cannot beieve it, and I only have dual G4/400's. Take a look at http://www.xlr8.com/mp, my Photoshop and SoundJam performance is at least 3-4 times what it was. I'll post the results when I finish testing.
Great to see someone looking after us clone guys!

Charlie Boy :-)
Mac Enthusiast
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Mar 12, 2001, 12:14 AM
I upgraded my 9500 with the 500MHz G3 from Metabox and it was much faster than my Beige G3. If you have a computer that has everything you need but a little lacking on speed I think it is a good idea. I have upgraded my 5300 to 333 G3, 9500 to 500 G3, and 9150 to 350 G4
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Mar 12, 2001, 04:47 PM
A CPU upgrade is OK if it is the only thing you need but not else. A G3-400 is yours for 200-300 dollars. But 256 MB of RAM that cost about 80 dollar for a new Mac is 300 dollars at least for a 7500. A ATI radeon is 150 and then perhaps some fast IDE drives and aPCI IDE card and a USB Firewire and you have suddenly spent 1000 dollars or more.
The nubus Macs are allmost pointless to upgrade.Firstly they can not get decent graphichal performance. Secondly they will never be supported by OS X. It seems like the PCI PPC will get support from the manufactures of upgrade cards.
So ask yourself. Is it only the CPU boost I need? or do I need a graphical card and more RAM as well...

Moderator Emeritus
Join Date: Dec 2000
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Mar 17, 2001, 07:22 PM
If you run pay to process programs, just tank your processor.
I upgrade old machines, but I also buy new ones.
When you don't need massive hds and stuff like that, a ram and processor upgrade will keep you covered.
I bought 192MB of ram for my PM8500 on ebay for $150.

Why I don't just get an iMac as a secondary machine?
Easy. AppleVision 1710AV. Cost me $900+ when I bought it, and I'm not parting.
Love it too much.

I can't wait until I get the money for a G4 upgrade for my G3, cuz the G3 is going in my 8500.
My website
Help me pay for college. Click for more info.
Grizzled Veteran
Join Date: Jan 2001
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Mar 18, 2001, 09:28 PM
Just my 2 cents worth here. I got a new Powerbook 1400 in 1998 and 18 months later it was starting to show it's age so I purchased a Newertech (rest in peace) G3-250mhz card with 1mb of L2 Cache. They claimed about a 600% speed increase and it did every bit of it! I ran that machine until just a few months ago and it ended up extending the 1400's life by 18 more months. Well worth the money, if you ask me.

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Mar 20, 2001, 07:42 PM
I have had very good success with the Sonnet G3's. I have seven PM9500's with the 400 mhz PCI machines and three PM6100 260 mhz NUBUS machines. What you have to do is decide what it is you are trying to acomplish. If you are looking for an affordable speed increase but plan on using the existing software available now, an upgrade might be what you want. If you're into the hi-tech stuff, you would be better off getting a new machine that is going to support OSX. All my machines are servers doing a very specific task. The G3 400's are a perfect mariage for the PM9500's I have. The PM6100 work great for dinking around at home, getting e-mail and such. I will get a new machine once I have the need to take advantage of OSX and supported software.
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