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Thread: Power Mac G4 - can i upgrade the agp card?

  1. #1

    Member Since
    Nov 07, 2007
    Power Mac G4 - can i upgrade the agp card?
    i have a 450mhz power mac g4 w/ 512 mb of ram. i have it now running tiger smooooothly. The only problem i have is that when i try to play a full screen video it will be choppy. i spoke with a mac rep and he said that on g4's you have to use mac branded agp cards. What could i upgrade to? why can i not go buy a decent to todays standards video card for agp?

    here is my current video card...


    Chipset Model: ATY,Rage128Pro
    Type: Display
    Bus: AGP
    Slot: SLOT-A
    VRAM (Total): 16 MB
    Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
    Device ID: 0x5046
    Revision ID: 0x0000
    ROM Revision: 113-63001-110

    edit: would a

    Apple ATI Radeon 7500 AGP 32mb Video Card be a better card?

  2. #2

    Member Since
    Jul 14, 2007
    SF Bay Area, CA
    You have to use an Apple compatible video card regardless of whether it's going in a G4, a G5, a Mac Pro, a G3 or even an old 9600 or something. You can't use a PC card (unmodified, anyhow) because the video bios is different and is not compatible with the Mac board or its firmware.

    There are PC cards that can be modified, but it is not necessarily something that I would recommend you do. You need either a PCI video card for your mac (in addition to the card you want to modify), a separate computer that you can remotely log into your mac from, or a pc with a pc compatible pci video card that has a different chipset manufacturer than the card you're flashing. Some cards also require soldering and/or taping or modification of the AGP connector.

    In short: If you've never done serious modifications to a regular PC, the Mac is not somewhere you want to start.

    There are, however, flashed cards (some of questionable quality) available on eBay.

    The Radeon 7500 is better than the Rage 128, yes, but it is still an underpowered card that does not completely support all of the hardware accelerated features in OSX (quartz extreme, core image)

    Also, you may find that upgrading the video card doesn't fix your problem. It will help, but your machine is very underpowered, to say the least. I had a 450MHz G4, it was not a powerful machine by any stretch of the imagination. Even with a Radeon 8500 (a solid 2-3x faster than the 7500 you're looking at, maybe more) AND twice the RAM that you've got, it was laggy and slow. I'm not saying that upgrading the video card isn't a good idea. Just don't be disappointed if the machine still struggles with full screen video playback... a lot of the decoding for that is done on the CPU.
    Notebook RAM Buyer's Guide- How much, what type, what brand, where to buy, etc.
    MBP: 17" WUXGA/2.4/4GB/160GB 7.2K
    G4: Heavily modified Dual 533 DA

  3. #3
    Problems that can cause choppy video playback: slow CPU, slow hard drive and slow video card. I'd put them in that order of importance.

    So if you did manage to upgrade your CPU, you'd probably find your hard drive was still too slow.

    Sometimes it's just not the best option to soldier on with a seven or eight year old machine I'm afraid.

  4. #4

    Member Since
    Sep 11, 2007
    Durham NC
    There are plenty of upgrade video cards compatible with the 2X AGP slot in the Sawtooth Mac. It's actually easier to upgrade than later models.

    I've upgraded my Sawtooth (500MHz) twice. The first was a Radeon 8500 (for sale) in order to get Quartz Extreme support. The current card is a flashed NVidia 6200. The NVidia isn't really any faster than the ATI 8500 at basic stuff, but the NVidia does add Core Image support. With Core Image, I am able to use Front Row and iMovie 7.

    I don't game at all, so I can't comment about that. I've also upgraded my machine with a 1.4GHz CPU, a RAID card and 1.3GB of RAM, so it seems pretty usable for most things.


  5. #5

    Member Since
    Nov 07, 2007
    what i did to this computer, since the 20gb hdd was old and REALLY loud, i just bought a 160gbhdd, well knowing that i would only see 127gb. i installed, a dvd-rw. i transfered all of my files by connecting the old hdd, mounting and copy and paste to appropriate locations.

    i build computers.....

    i looked and found that the card i would use required a 350watt psu. the current power supply is 237. too much money to pour into a old pc.

    i have 50.24gb of files in itunes and my computer lags when itunes is loaded. i only have 512mb ( 128x4dimms)

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