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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > Sonnet G3/500 & PPC 9500 and 9600 ?

Sonnet G3/500 & PPC 9500 and 9600 ?
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Join Date: Dec 2000
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Sep 1, 2001, 03:33 PM
Of course after reading this post I'm a little "freaked" post
Hopefully it's just a product defect.

I'm trying to get an idea of speed improvement from adding a Sonnet Crescendo G3/500 to older PCI based 9500 & 9600 systems.

At my place of work we've got one of each needed for semi heavy graphics work (some Illustrator and Photoshop, but mostly 99% QuarkXPress work). Both of these systems have a decent amount of RAM (at least 320 MB or more).

I'm trying to give my supervisor some options, short of purchasing a brand new workstation to replace one or both of these.

So the real questions:

1.) Is there a very noticable speed jump from adding this sort of upgrade to such systems? (and I mean something that'll make our Mac Operators say "wow!" and have them "feel" like theyr'e using a whole new system compared to the way they currently run).

2.) I am aware of and accepting of compatability issues with Mac Operating Systems, but are there any compatability issues with applications, such as QuarkXPress, Illustrator or Photoshop?

3.) Are there any bugs, glitches, or hazards in terms of day-to-day operation and useage from adding these upgrades to these systems? These systems are generally needed to perform at thier best 16 hours a day or more.

4.) Is there anything else that I should know about adding such an upgrade to such systems?

My understanding is that the system won't be as fast as a Mac that was actually manufactured with such a processor, but have heard that it "should" be a noticeable speed jump.

So far I've only asked about ZIFF upgrades (or G3 to faster G3 / G3 to faster G4 / G4 to faster G4). I've never inquired about PCI upgrades and how well these improve performance on older PCI based systems.

Thanks in advance for any help here.

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Sep 1, 2001, 05:39 PM
I'm the one with the Kaput L2 Crescendo. From what I gather this one was just a defective one, can't wait till my replacement comes in. As for performance, it's very noticealbe. The G3 400/1mb turned my sluggish PM5500 into a machine that easily hangs with the iMac 350 I run at work(with the exception of games....less video ram).

For the quirks: The only thing I really noticed is that periodically during bootup, at about the time the Sonnet extension loads, the system will restart itself. Granted this could have been due to a defective processor. It's still worth the price being that it only caused a few second delay for this to take place.

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Sep 2, 2001, 03:05 AM
Compatibility is 100%, and your particular machine is a decent architecture (not a lower-end machine to begin with).

You will notice real-world improvements with a G3/G4 upgrade that will make your users happy. The bottlenecks after such an upgrade are usually RAM (which you have enough of), video (which you may want to upgrade) and drive speed (also a potential upgrade).

I have an 8500 (originally a 180mHz 604e) that is upgraded with a G3/400 mHz and a 7600 (originally a 200mHz 604e) upgraded to a 450mHz G3. Both machines have enough RAM and perform very well. I can even coax a decent OSX performance from them (its NOT supported by Apple ).

Personally, I don't know how great the G4 will improve your performance over a G3. Quark won't use the altivec, and I'm of the thought it really doesn't make sense in the upgrade market much, because the architecture is already a bit slower than a real G3/G4 machine. Slower RAM access and slower bus speeds. I think you'll get the greatest bang for your buck from a G3 upgrade (as fast as you can get).

But, for most users the speed of the videocard can make a noticeable 'feel slow' sort of experience if they have a high resolution set for their screen size and the card isn't fast enough to display to quickly. This will often show itself when redrawing large portions of the display (like when moving a window) and the screen refreshes slowly by drawing the window from top-to-bottom. I've noticed it most often with a video card that doesn't have its proper drivers loaded and its simply running with some generic settings. Once loading the proper drivers the display runs much smoother (in my case I was using an iXMicro128 that was night/day difference just by using their drivers).

If you notice a slow screen scrolling or refreshing of the graphics on-screen, by upgrading to a faster PCI video card you can have faster scrolling of windows and display. For your use in Quark, the scrolling will be the most noticeable, for others when in photoshop or illustrator it would be more noticeable in all screen movement and refreshing (and I'm not talking the screen frequency refresh rate, just a visual speed of being able to move the data from the card to the display not how quickly the actual monitor is displaying it).

The hard drive upgrades are by replacing the standard SCSI drives from your 9500/9600s with a fast/wide or ultra scsi card and getting faster speed drives 7200RPM or 10,000RPM drives. If you get two drives like that and use a striped-RAID formatting on them, that helps TREMENDOUSLY with disk access times. This type of upgrade will help photoshop users the most, and if you are in a lower memory situation where you are paging information to the hard drive. But simply getting a fast drive with a new faster version of SCSI will help tremendously.

Good luck. Vive la Macintosh!


Oh, one last thing... the 9500/9600s should have the same upgrade type cards. DONT just buy a ZIF upgrade or a PCI upgrade. You need a specific upgrade for your machine. the 7600/8500s I have use the same upgrade cards (and I assume your two types would use the same as they are of the same vintage and class machine). It all depends on the motherboard types.

Normally the ZIF upgrades were for the beige G3s that had a socket and the processor just dropped into the socket in much the same way PC processors would be upgraded. If you got an upgrade ZIF card for your model (there are a few vendors you can get these cards from), it would replace your current processor card and NOT be in a PCI slot. If you go to the site: www.macgurus.com they have a ton of information about processor upgrades and are very helpful and friendly with every order I have had from them.

Here's a direct link to their suggestions for upgrade cards.

I wouldn't bother with a ZIF card upgrade for your machines, just get the upgrade card with the processor soldered to the upgrade card which is probably a bit cheaper and don't worry about the ability to put faster processors in at a later date. In real world sense,a single upgrade makes sense, but after that you simply won't get the performance benefit unless you get a new machine (that's my opinion). And just get the G3 upgrades, I don't think you'll see the performance value from the G4s.

[ 09-02-2001: Message edited by: bluedog ]
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Sep 4, 2001, 02:36 AM
I bought a 7500 that came with a dual 200MHz 604e card. That was alright but I eventually got a MaxPowr 500MHz G3 to replace it with, and that bad boy BOOTED. I only had 128MB of RAM but it was still hella fast, I did many different speed tests with my friends dual 500 G4, and in the non altivec, non MP stuff, mine was actually FASTER! (but that had to be because he probably had lots o' junk in the system folder). 9000's are sweet, I want one, and for what you wanna do, a 500MHz G3 sounds like its the best bet.
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Sep 7, 2001, 03:01 AM
Only downside may not be the g3 card's fault.

If you have any "cheap" RAM installed it may cause random crashes due to the innability to handle the increased demand placed on it by the g3/g4, especially if the RAM is 70ns FPM. The g3 upgrades really prefer 60ns EDO for RAM intensive operations, and the g4 almost requires it. High quality 70ns FPM may work fine. But if you get crashes, that's the place to look.
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