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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Hardware Hacking > G4 Sawtooth Upgradeability

G4 Sawtooth Upgradeability
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THE MAC GOD
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Oct 27, 2004, 12:27 PM
 
I know there are other sawtooth threads, but they have all died... and my group of questions are more specific to my machine. If this is a problem, close the thread. Thanks.
I just recently purchased a 400Mhz Sawtooth (Bluish graphite pinstripe G4 tower - and, yes, it has an AGP slot) and it came with a 17" Apple Graphite (same color) CRT monitor. I mostly bought this because I knew I could upgrade the hell out of it, although, I'm not sure of all the possible upgrades. I know gigadesigns has a dual processor upgrade for it (along with several others). I've also heard that the Radeon 9800Pro is the best graphics card you can put in this machine.

So, I guess what I'm asking is:

1) Has anyone had first hand experience with a sawtooth, and what have you upgraded (or what do you know)?

2) What processor upgrades do you suggest or have experience with (I'd like to get a dual processor)?

3) Is the 9800pro the best graphics card that will work (And what kind of real expectations should I have of it)? I've seen that maybe the 8500 or the GeForce 4Ti is better in real world tests. Any personal experience?

4) Anything else?

Thanks in advance.
( Last edited by THE MAC GOD; Oct 29, 2004 at 02:45 PM. )

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traktimino
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Oct 27, 2004, 03:45 PM
 
I have done the exact thing that you're planning to do. I bought a sawtooth off ebay for under $500. At the time it was 400 mhz, 512 megs RAM, and 70 gigs. First thing I did was boost the RAM a bit to 640, then I bought a gigadesigns dual 1.2 gigahertz processor upgrade with 4 mbs of L3 cache. This was a great upgrade, installation was easy, it booted on my first try, and the performance improvement is phenomenal. It is also very stable and has not overheated or anything to date. I know that they now have dual 1.4 ghz upgrades that use the cooler and somewhat faster 7457 chip (as opposed to 7455b that I have). Next I bought a PC flashed radeon 9800 on ebay. I debated over buying this card since i knew that due to the sawtooth's slow AGP it wouldn't be used to it's full potential. In the end I decided to go for it since it would be significantly faster than the next best thing (radeon 8500) and it had pixel shader support. It is a very good card, much faster than the old rage. Some games work better than others, newer games like call of duty and UT04 play well with their settings up pretty high, however some like medal of honor and battlefield 1492 aren't as good as i thought they would be. Once the funds become avaliable I plan to install an SATA card and stripe a couple of fast drives together to make things even faster. All in all it is a very fast machine and will probably last me for another 4 years or so.
     
THE MAC GOD  (op)
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Oct 27, 2004, 04:18 PM
 
that's awesome... thanks for your input!

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yukon
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Oct 27, 2004, 06:08 PM
 
RAID on the desktop is out of style, not enough benefit.

I'm going to buy the next SATA card that comes out, one with NativeCommandQueueing, wanted to get rid of the 120gb barrier on ATA100 but the current cards are just as expensive as when released, and NCQ would actually help what I do.

Wanted a new videocard, but I don't play games on the G4 anymore. CPU upgrade in the future, I wanted dual but I suppose the 100mhz bus wouldn't handle it well (I could overclock that to 133, dunno if the upgrade daughtercards can handle that), double the cost and all. The next generation of Freescale G4s should be interesting. Everyone seems to say the videocard upgrade is somewhat noticable, but the CPU changes everything, hopefully I'll start seeing <50$ 8500's for sale.
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tr
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Oct 27, 2004, 09:59 PM
 
i have a single 450, and have been slowly (hindered by lack of funds, of course) upgrading. i maxed out my ram to 2gb, put in a superdrive, replaced the stock hd with a 120gb, and added 4 additional hd's: 1 on internal IDE, 2 using a SIIG/Acard ATA RAID PCI card, and 1 using an IDE to firewire bridge and the internal firewire port found on sawtooth motherboards. as yukon pointed out, RAID "ain't all that". i had a couple of drives striped, but there's not much benefit. as soon as i get some stuff off the drives, i'm just going to set the card to normal, and maybe stick in two larger drives, maybe a couple of 160gb's. i find that you can never have too much hard drive space!

i put in a flashed PC Radeon 8500 to replace the stock Rage 128. despite what some people might say, it did offer much improvement, and it works with quartz extreme. i was thinking about flashing a 9800, but i had the same reasons for hesitation as traktimino (slow AGP). maybe i will do it if i can get a good deal on one.

the next thing i want to do is the processor, which i'll probably get a gigadesigns 1.4. if you are considering a processor upgrade, and are looking at duals, i would make sure your sawtooth can support it. duals will only work on sawtooths with a Uni-N rev. 7 chip or greater. use the app on this page to find out if your machine is compatible. unfortunately, i have a Uni-N rev. 3, so no duals for me.

i will chime in on your 802.11g question, since no one has touched that. i never bought an airport card, but decided that i wanted wireless-g speeds on my sawtooth, just for kicks. so i picked up a Motorola 802.11G PCI card (WPCI810G, P/N 498467-001-00). works with airport right of the box. i got mine at walmart for $35. cheaper and faster than an old airport card, although it uses up a PCI slot.

the sawtooths have a lot of life left in them. if you are strapped for cash, i think the best and cheapest upgrade to do is add more RAM.

tr
     
THE MAC GOD  (op)
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Oct 28, 2004, 12:13 AM
 
So, this card would work?

http://www.macmall.com/macmall/shop/...CNETSHOPPERMAC

I guess I'd have to get a vga converter, right...

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tr
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Oct 28, 2004, 09:13 AM
 
yeah, that card will work. it is rather pricey, though. but i guess you're gonna have to upgrade the video sometime, why not upgrade to the best one out there?

OWC has some interesting tests comparing various video cards running on a sawtooth. they tested each card on a stock 400mhz, then one upgraded to 900mhz, 1.2ghz, and 1.4ghz. they used 4 different games and what framerates they got as the test. quite an interesting read, especially if you play any of those games frequently. you can sort of 'fine tune' what you want to do to your system by looking at the results. i was surprised that in one case, the 8500 got higher framerates than the 9800.

tr
( Last edited by tr; Oct 28, 2004 at 09:18 AM. )
     
THE MAC GOD  (op)
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Oct 28, 2004, 10:20 AM
 
Originally posted by tr:
yeah, that card will work. it is rather pricey, though. but i guess you're gonna have to upgrade the video sometime, why not upgrade to the best one out there?

OWC has some interesting tests comparing various video cards running on a sawtooth. they tested each card on a stock 400mhz, then one upgraded to 900mhz, 1.2ghz, and 1.4ghz. they used 4 different games and what framerates they got as the test. quite an interesting read, especially if you play any of those games frequently. you can sort of 'fine tune' what you want to do to your system by looking at the results. i was surprised that in one case, the 8500 got higher framerates than the 9800.

tr
I don't mean to sound questioning... but how do you know it will work? I'm mostly curious for myself as to how to tell which graphics card will work. Thanks!

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traktimino
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Oct 28, 2004, 03:36 PM
 
no! that card won't work!!!! There are several different versions of the radeon 9800 pro card that work on the mac, and the one you are looking at is the "special edition." It uses AGP pro and only works in a G5. The card that will work for you is the regular radeon 9800 mac edition. it has a red PCB as opposed to the SE's blue one.

http://eshop.macsales.com/Catalog_It...m=ATI100435050
     
THE MAC GOD  (op)
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Oct 28, 2004, 03:39 PM
 
So, a 9800 Pro will work, but a 9800 Pro SE won't.

So this one from BUY.com is the right one to get, then? Thanks...!
( Last edited by THE MAC GOD; Oct 28, 2004 at 04:06 PM. )

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Weezer
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Oct 28, 2004, 05:03 PM
 
So between the $700 for the dual processor upgrade, $250 for the vid card, $100 for RAM, and the couple hundred the stock machine probably cost you, it seems like you are getting very close to the $1500 that a single 1.8 G5 goes for.

Imac Core Duo 1.83/1.5 GB/20 inch cinema, ibook G4 1 ghz
     
THE MAC GOD  (op)
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Oct 28, 2004, 05:08 PM
 
Yeah... but here's the thing... I can't do it all at once... This is going to be a gradual thing... Plus, I got a monitor with the whole thing... Plus... I have many legacy things that I've upgraded... Sure I want a new Dual 2.5... but can't afford it... I hear the 1.8 is good, but the day I buy a g5 is the day it's the top of the line... It's just wierd how I am, I know... Like I would LOVE to get my hands on a cube and upgrade the hell out of it. Just because I love them.

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yukon
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Oct 28, 2004, 05:37 PM
 
Heracy, but I don't like the G5 much. It's not the ATX-derived design I loved so (the G3, ATX plus the "duh" improvements that make it way better (BTX, has intel learned nothing from Apple?)), questions about processor upgradability, and certain other problems, I like my G4.

I'm at 768mb as my sig says, that's enough RAM for now....if I overclock the bus, 256mb PC100 goes to another machine and I'll upgrade by another 512 to 1gb total PC133. I'm stuck at two 120gb drives, haven't bothered with firewire or a PCI card yet, I just want SATA-II features like NCQ and a Seagate 7200.8 300gb drive ;-)

I tried upgrading the video back when I was playing games like RTCW to the 8500, never came through, now everyone flashes the cards and sells them everywhere, so I'll get one later. The 9800 sounds like overkill, especially on AGP2x, unless you really want new games (and can't stand Windows or a console, and have money to burn) then avoid it.

The CPU, I'm told duals are way more enjoyable, I do have the correct UNI-N revision (thanks for mentioning it TR, I neglected to), but such a difference in cost, I'll concider it....I'm very interested in what's rumoured to come out of Freescale, dual core G4s and all that, interested because the Sawtooth has lost so much in value, when new G4s are used in upgrades it'll be like a machine from the store.

Other than that, not much else needs to be changed. Maybe the Panaflo fan mod, gigabit ethernet when routers are available...I could really use a multiformat DVDRW/CDRW dual-layer drive but the ones on sale locally aren't mentioned anywhere for mac compatibility (Sony OPTSON-DWD18A preferably, LG OPTLGE-GSA4120B also, any help?)
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THE MAC GOD  (op)
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Oct 28, 2004, 07:44 PM
 
Originally posted by tr:

i will chime in on your 802.11g question, since no one has touched that. i never bought an airport card, but decided that i wanted wireless-g speeds on my sawtooth, just for kicks. so i picked up a Motorola 802.11G PCI card (WPCI810G, P/N 498467-001-00). works with airport right of the box. i got mine at walmart for $35. cheaper and faster than an old airport card, although it uses up a PCI slot.

the sawtooths have a lot of life left in them. if you are strapped for cash, i think the best and cheapest upgrade to do is add more RAM.

tr
Went to walmart and picked one up... about 3 minutes of installation... start up, and the g4 acted like nothing changed! Bam... right back online! Thanks!

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traktimino
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Oct 29, 2004, 03:42 PM
 
sorry that radeon won't work either as it's the PC version, it has to say mac edition on the box, like in the link I sent you. The cheapest place to get this card now is really ebay . If your feeling adventerous and want to save a buck or two, flashing the 9800 is pretty simple, no soldering or anything invlolved.
     
THE MAC GOD  (op)
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Oct 29, 2004, 05:27 PM
 
Which radeon? Also, when I bought a PC version of a VOODOO3 card (back in the day), I flashed it for the mac... But, it's been a long while since then... how would I go about that with a PC 9800 pro?

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Weezer
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Oct 29, 2004, 07:58 PM
 
Originally posted by yukon:
I'm very interested in what's rumoured to come out of Freescale, dual core G4s and all that
tell me more

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yukon
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Oct 29, 2004, 10:54 PM
 
Motorola spun off their processor unit, which is rebranded as "Freescale". I've seen very little about them seperate from Motorola, except for an advertisement in Time magazine....had an animal as the central focus, a tiger under a white sheet AFAIR, and said to "Expect great things".

They are supposedly going to sample ~1.7ghz G4s in the second half of 2005, planning on dual core G4s soon after, and (unannounced) working on even a 64 bit G4 (this must have been how the G4 archetecture was to carry on). Hopefully it'll live on like the G3 did, maybe even develop past that (as Freescale may depend on it), rumours are that these G4s may outperform the G5s, that if Freescale sees fit they could be made to outperform all, x86 and (other) PPC. Apple seems to want to move away from the G4 as soon as IBM can make a G5 where the power usage and heat changes more linearly with clockspeed changes (read: they want a mobile G5 that isn't like a P4 "mobile", the 970 is a modified server processor, the G4 a high performance embedded), but even without Apple at least there are other companies with an interest in seeing the G4 continue on. It was once rumoured that Apple had agreements with Motorola, that M wouldn't sell the processors to third parties, or that Apple would get all they needed that was produced, lacking this Freescale processors would go to our good friends in the upgrade market. Apple isn't stupid though, if the G4 continues on competitively with the G5, we'll probably see them remain in the iBooks.

A dual core G4 would be interesting, being on-die with no slow G4 bus interconnect to get in the way, at least on the sawtooth (I can't add their dual 667MHz DDR-II controller and PCI-E to my G4)
( Last edited by yukon; Oct 29, 2004 at 11:14 PM. )
     
tr
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Nov 2, 2004, 09:39 AM
 
Originally posted by THE MAC GOD:
So, this card would work?

http://www.macmall.com/macmall/shop...,CNETSHOPPERMAC

I guess I'd have to get a vga converter, right...
Originally posted by traktimino:
no! that card won't work!!!! There are several different versions of the radeon 9800 pro card that work on the mac, and the one you are looking at is the "special edition." It uses AGP pro and only works in a G5. The card that will work for you is the regular radeon 9800 mac edition. it has a red PCB as opposed to the SE's blue one.

http://eshop.macsales.com/Catalog_It...m=ATI100435050
OOPS! sorry about that! i totally missed the top of the box in that pic. you know, where it says G5 VERSION!

but glad to read the 802.11g card is working great! nothing like an OS X 802.11g card for $35.

tr
     
THE MAC GOD  (op)
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Nov 4, 2004, 03:45 PM
 
Would this drive work? Or do I have to get a card for SATA

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applicati...CCODE=WEM780CT

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Aranamac
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Nov 4, 2004, 09:50 PM
 
I don't know if I should be starting a separate thread for this, but this thread seemed like the right place.

I'm essentially looking at doing the same thing as The Mac God. I've got a 400 MHz Sawtooth with the stock 128 Rage card, 1.12 GB of RAM, and the same ADC Apple CRT (17") as TMG. I have very little money for my upgrades, so the high end video cards aren't really an option for me. What I want to do is add a Sonnet Encore processor upgrade to 1.0 GHz (~$225), and the Radeon 9000 Pro 128 MB (~$140). The total cost is less than $400--the most I can afford, and then only in piece-meal. (I could maybe push to $450/$500... but not likely).

Now I've heard some potentially scary reports that the Sawtooth G4 400, when combined with the Radeon 9000, will not let ADC monitors work because there isn't enough power (or something like that). Has anyone else heard of this? I can't get a new monitor... if the Radeon 9000 isn't an option, what video card can I get that will support my ADC? Will the Sonnet processor upgrade help there at all?

I've checked out several upgrade sites (like xlr8yourmac...) and see plenty of reviews for Gigabit systems, but not many for my Sawtooth.

--EDIT. I feel a little silly. I just checked on LowEndMac.com and realised that I have a Gigabit Ethernet G4. I guess that answers all my problems, eh? Boy, don't know how that one slipped past me... darn Apple and all their virtually identical G4s! Now I wonder how The Mac God is running an ADC crt on his Sawtooth...
( Last edited by Aranamac; Nov 4, 2004 at 09:57 PM. )
     
hpence
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Nov 5, 2004, 02:34 PM
 
only very hevily modified sawtooths will suffer from lack of power while using the 17" ADC CRT -- very very few.

To put it in perspective, ive seen g4 cubes run a 1.2ghz 7455 processor, geforce3 (uses more power than r9000), 1.5gb ram and the 17" CRT just fine off the original power brick.
Cube only has a 205watt power supply. I'm positive the sawtooth supplies have more - i think it's 300 watts (correct me if im wrong).

GigE would use the same or more powerful power supplies. I wouldnt worry about over working it. Just check to be sure its fans are spinning nice and fast - it will certainly get much warmer in that case.
UltraCube: 1.4ghz - Radeon9800pro - 1.2
GB ram - 120gb/8mb HD - 24x Combo Drive
--- all running off an external 400watt MDD
power supply.
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candykane
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Nov 7, 2004, 08:13 PM
 
You know you can use a atx power supply They can be verry low noise and cheap! Sawtooths don't support ADC!! they have no 28 volt DUHHH!
oke i have a dual 1,3 GHz agp sawtooth among other things
and deal in flashed vidcards among the 9800 Pro's and upgrade processors
take a fastmac/owc 1 Ghz @ 1,2 Ghz upgrade there fast, cheap and you will not be dissepointed! the 1,5 ghz are faster but not the 200 buck's wourth
a flast version of the 9800 pro or a 9700 pro will work in your mac. you just have to use 2 verry tiny pieces of tape.
dont take a 9800 pro if you dont upgrade the processor.
the processor will be the bottle neck and you will be better of with a 9000/gf3 ti 500
the geforce ti 500 are cheap great and verry fast you see them on ebay a lot flashed and ready for use faster than de ati 9000-9200 and the gf 4 mx440

any questions if not maybe you can help me with a xserve g5 that i'm building for less than 1200 dollars LOL
Building a xserve g5 for a 1000 euro's(1280 dollar) ;)
     
THE MAC GOD  (op)
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Nov 7, 2004, 08:20 PM
 
I would like to know more about your 9800 Pro 128 meg cards... And I'll definitely be upgrading the CPU.

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candykane
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Nov 8, 2004, 03:42 AM
 
The ati 9800 pro 128 mb will work great in a agp even doh you have only 2x agp games do run smooth if you have a processor upgrade.
you can also run dual head (connect 2 monitors)


You want a flashed a 9800 pro?
you can get them from ebay ready to use , the go for 200-275
or you can do it your self then they go for 125-175

check out www.cubeowner.com
the roms are there and they write in great detail about how to flash.
what cards are compatible.
al you need is a pc with agp poort or
you can flash it in a mac but you will need a pci videocard and macosx
you will also beneeding 2 piece's off tape verry small.
Building a xserve g5 for a 1000 euro's(1280 dollar) ;)
     
traktimino
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Nov 8, 2004, 06:21 PM
 
my 9800's flashed, great card. I bought mine that way, however that was before the reduced ROM was avaliabe.
     
THE MAC GOD  (op)
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Mar 17, 2005, 10:35 PM
 
So, then, what would you suggest to be the best, cheapest, Tiger quartz enabled graphics card that I could use?

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