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Apple Desktops Discussion of Apple's desktop machines including Mac Pro, iMac, Power Mac, and mini

PowerMac G3/G4 video card upgrade...


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SuB8HaVeN

 
Member Since: Aug 29, 2006
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 217
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Mac Specs: Powerbook G4 12" 1.5GHz

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I apologize in advance for being a n00b, but I just ended up with a couple of PowerMac G3 towers for cheap and a PowerMac G4 466MHz (Digital Audio). I may also be ending up with a G4 500MHz dually. I'm going to be doing extensive rebuilds on the systems and plan on ending up with one G3 and one G4 when I'm finished. I have cr*ploads of spare SDRAM lying around so I'm going to max that out on both systems and also upgrade the drives to some 7200RPM 8MB drives I have lying around. When that's all fine and dandy I'm going to hit the dip switches on the G3 and fire up my soldering iron on the G4 to see what I can overclock them to after adding some aftermarket cooling that I have planned. I also have a ton of visual mods to the G3 in my mind.

I just had a few questions about upgrading the video card. I'm very, very experienced in computer hardware as I've been doing this all my life and I am an IT manager. BUT, this has only led me to learn about the x86 side of things in Linux and Windows. I grew up on a Mac Performa when I was really young and I had used a 12" G3 iBook through the first 2 years of college (which I sold when I got in a financial bind). I tore the iBook apart and had upgraded the memory and hard drive (what a pain!). I used my iBook more than my Windows laptop, but I had to part with it since I needed my laptop for remote access to Windows Server 2003, etc.

Anyways, can I throw in a normal video card into these PowerMacs or do I have to buy a Mac edition one? For the G3 I'm looking at a Radeon 9200 PCI or similar, and for the G4 (AGP 4X) I would like to go 9500/9700Pro or GeForce3/GeForce4 Ti. Does anyone know if these cards would work in the Digital Audio G4? I know they have to be 4X AGP compatible since the DA G4 is only 2X/4X. Is there anything special I have to do? I'll be running OSX 10.4, so will I need drivers or anything?

If you have to have a special Mac edition video card, can I flash the firmware on a normal video card so it will work on the Mac? If I have to have a Mac edition period, then where would be the best place to purchase a graphics card?

I've searched high and low but can't answer any of my questions. Thanks in advance!

12" Powerbook G4 1.5GHz/512MB/Superdrive/100GB Seagate Momentus 7200.1
PowerMac G3 B&W 350MHz/1GB/DVD-RW/Adaptec 39160 2X Seagate 36GB 15k RAID0
Dell E521 AMD X2 4600+/2GB/7600GT/320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
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dtravis7

 
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You can flash a lot of PC cards to work in the Mac. Straight PC cards however will not work unless they are flashed. I did an old Voodoo III 2000 once and it worked great in my B&W G3 Tower. For the Digital Audio you would be better off going on Ebay and looking for a Non Flashed Mac Edition ATI 9800 Pro. I have one on my DA and it's the fastest card out there for the older Macs.

Also just in case you do not know this, the IDE controlers on all the older Macs can only handle a 120GB Hard Drive. Anything higher will still show up as 120GB. The way around that is to get a PCI IDE controler card then you can install any sized IDE drive.

Good luck with your upgrades. If I can help any down the road, let me know. Upgrading the Digital Audio was a lot of fun. Mine has 1.5GB PC133 Ram, ATI Radeon 9800 Pro, Giga Designs 1.8Ghz G4 and soon HDD's in Raid.
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SuB8HaVeN

 
Member Since: Aug 29, 2006
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 217
SuB8HaVeN will become famous soon enough
Mac Specs: Powerbook G4 12" 1.5GHz

SuB8HaVeN is offline
Where can I get these BIOS firmware updates that work with Macs? Does Apple provide this?

12" Powerbook G4 1.5GHz/512MB/Superdrive/100GB Seagate Momentus 7200.1
PowerMac G3 B&W 350MHz/1GB/DVD-RW/Adaptec 39160 2X Seagate 36GB 15k RAID0
Dell E521 AMD X2 4600+/2GB/7600GT/320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
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baggss

 
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No, the flash updates for the cards would be provided by the cards vendor/manufacturer...


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SuB8HaVeN

 
Member Since: Aug 29, 2006
Location: Tampa, FL
Posts: 217
SuB8HaVeN will become famous soon enough
Mac Specs: Powerbook G4 12" 1.5GHz

SuB8HaVeN is offline
I found these forums:
http://strangedogs.proboards40.com/i...rd=experiments

They have tons of information on modifying PC cards by using custom flash ROMs to do so. I have an ATi Radeon 9800SE 128MB 256-bit so I'm going to give that a try and see what happens.

Thanks for your help guys, if it weren't for you I'd be trying to plug random video cards into my G4 and be scratching my head at the artifacts and goofy colors on my monitor.

12" Powerbook G4 1.5GHz/512MB/Superdrive/100GB Seagate Momentus 7200.1
PowerMac G3 B&W 350MHz/1GB/DVD-RW/Adaptec 39160 2X Seagate 36GB 15k RAID0
Dell E521 AMD X2 4600+/2GB/7600GT/320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
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