View Full Version : Imac video card upgradable?

02-23-2001, 11:37 AM

I have an older Imac 333 Mhz ad I was wondering if there is anything that I can do to upgrade the Video Card or increase performance for Quake 3 Arena. I have 96 MB of RAM and I think my computer came with the ATI Rage card with 6 MB, but I could be wrong. I just got my computer hooked up to a network in my house, but its Quake performance is poor compared to my room mate who has a snazzy iMac Special Edition. I'm looking for a cheap cost effective approach as I'll be getting a new Powerbook at the end of April. Thanks.


02-23-2001, 09:07 PM
Easy answer: More RAM. I have 130MB of RAM alotted to Q3A and it performs great in my 9600 Voodoo3 G3/300.

The video on the iMacs has always been a sore spot. And in yours, it came with 2MB. There is a 4MB upgrade that bring it up to 6MB, which you may have installed (not sure if APple had them already installed in some models). An easy way to check is to see if you can use 1024x768 with 32-bit color. If not, 2MB. If you, you got all 6. It will definitely help to have the 6, but more RAM will help a great deal either way. Q3A runs a lot poorer on my machines when I have virtual memory on, which I am guessing you do.

The good news is, RAM for those machines is so cheap. Just don't get tricked into thinking you need MAC-specific RAM. PC-100 SODIMM's are what you need. Hope this helps you out a little.

02-23-2001, 09:08 PM
Oh, one last detail. Your computer does not have a video card. The circuitry is built into the board, and is not upgradeable. Those iMacs were not built for upgrades. I like them a lot, but they aren't for the tweaker or the long-termer.

02-24-2001, 01:13 PM
Didnt the 333 imacs come with the 6 meg Rage Pro video ?

If you have a rev A, B, (and C) imac there is a mezzanine slot you can add a special voodoo2 to.

mad Dog


02-24-2001, 01:32 PM
According to Apple's support site, the stock was 2MB but could be upped to 6MB. Seemed wrong to me, but that is what I found. Either way, it's easy enough to find out how much is installed.

02-24-2001, 09:37 PM
definitely install more memory. I allocated over a hundred MB just to Quake the last time I ran it, which was a long while ago. And absolutely make sure that you have 6MB VRAM. It's important for textures, etc.

02-25-2001, 03:21 AM
Hey guys thanks for the response. By 32 bit color I assume you are referring to millions of colors at 1024x768 right? If so that is what I have. Any clue how I can find out if I have this expansion slot? And where can I get memory cheap? I'm going to try with Virtual Memory off. I'll see how that works. Thanks again.


02-25-2001, 03:37 AM
Your machine has no expansion slot. The mezzanine slot was removed prior to your model. Rumor has it that the motherboard has the solder-spots and traces for the connector....but Apple refused to put one there. I don't know about that. I have no iMac here that anyone will let me pop open and mess with.

Best bet is some RAM. Try here. Of course. What did you think we'd say? OK, maybe I will say eBay, but who knows what you will end up with and what is your course of action if things aren't as promised? Glad to be able to help a little. Time for bed here (NYC....tis almost 3am). http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

02-25-2001, 04:34 PM
Thanks a lot. Big problem though, I just checked Apple's website and its says the max RAM for my computer is 128 meg!? I can't believe that its that low. I knew the Imac was a short term computer, but 128 meg of RAM is really sad. I'm a computer graphics major so I plan on upgrading soon anyway. I'll be getting a Titanium Power Book in a couple months and a new G4 sometime down the road. I planned on keeping the Imac around, but I think which such a small amount of RAM I think it has to go. Anyone know were I can get some decent cash for this thing? I'll probably trade up for an Imac DV or something that I'll get a little more distance out of. Sorry I didn't realize you guys sold RAM here or I wouldn't have need to ask. Thanks for all the help.


02-25-2001, 06:39 PM
First off, I think the RAM thing is a crock. I installed 256MB into a rev A iMac this past Fall. You will need to double check other people's experiences, both here and other places, but I am almost sure you can stuff at least 256 in there.

OK, right here, it says 256MB max, and 384MB when higher-density DIMMS are available (like....now):

02-25-2001, 11:02 PM
Awesome! Why they would keep info about something like that back I'll never know. Here is the link where I got the info from so you can take a look. Man it really ticks me off that Apple doesn't tell you that.

Anyway, I guess I would need a 256 SO-DIMM and a 128 SO-DIMM right? Do you guys have any 256 SO-DIMMS or would I have to get that somewhere else? If you do have them (I didn't see them on the site) I'll order them right now. Thanks for all the help. You guys ever need any graphic work done or something like that let me know.


02-25-2001, 11:12 PM
Right here:

You will need the "improved iMac" low-pro items. But even still, it is only $115 for 256MB. Damn, I knew you guys were cutting prices! Whoa!!!

02-26-2001, 12:07 AM
Memory is one the way. http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif Thanks again.


02-26-2001, 12:10 AM
Glad we could be of service. Post a reply and let us know how the install goes...and how much of a difference things make.

03-01-2001, 12:36 AM
OK. On to the next problem. I just got in my memory and I opened up my Imac case. When I get to the memory it has a much smaller board installed then the one that I just bought. I guess I bought the wrong one? I have pictures of the inside were the memory goes if you want to see them let me know.


03-01-2001, 12:43 AM
OK. I think I know what happened. On my invoice it says I ordered PC 100 2-2-2. The memory I have received in the mail is PC 133 2-2-2. That is obviously a problem, but Is that *THE* problem? Will the size of the memory module differ between PC 133 and PC 100?

-A very confused Jeff

Big Al
03-01-2001, 01:36 AM
What do you mean by smaller. If the pins on the bottom match the slot you'll propbably be fine, if they don't match problem. If you mean smaller as in height above the pins, memory that is larger in number of megabytes needs more height to install the chips. PC133 memory works with a 133MHz bus and anything slower. PC100 memory is for a 100MHz bus. Get the picture?

03-01-2001, 02:02 AM
No. The entire board is smaller. The one I just got is twice as long as the one that is in my iMac. Is that like a non-standard thing?

Still confused,


[This message has been edited by jvisgaitis (edited 01 March 2001).]

Big Al
03-01-2001, 04:31 PM
Have you looked at the guru's logic board diagrams? There are two for iMacs depending on which model you have. Look at http://www.macgurus.com/beta/mbppcimacorig.html to make sure you are looking at the correct slots. The connectors on the bottom of the SDRAM DIMMs will look the same no matter what the size or speed of the memory is. According to the motherboard diagram, the original memory is on the bottom of the board while you would be installing on the top. Is what you are comparing? Does that diagram match your iMac?

03-02-2001, 12:39 AM
oh, boy. This one slipped past me.

it's simple. Older iMacs use SO-DIMMs, while newer iMacs use standard DIMMs. It's a form factor issue.

email deb@macgurus.com and tell her you mistakenly ordered full-sized SDRAM, and that you need SO-DIMMs. She'll handle it for you.

the correct memory is on the SO-DIMM (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/showrampage.cgi?imacsdram.html) page.