View Full Version : Advice on upgrading video (8500)

03-13-2001, 02:44 PM
Howdy --

OK, I have the G3 bumped 8500. Loads of RAM. Enough disk space. New monitor. Now I need to upgrade the video card.

A big reason I want to do something is that I bought a Sony PC monitor so I have to use this huge MacLiberty adapter. When a game needs to switch resolutions, it doesnt. I have to do it manually. I'm hoping a Mac video card with a VGA connector would solve this for me.

Also, of course, I want accelerated speed. I'm not much into games but I do play occasionally.

Seems there are no more cards out there for Macs. The Radeons and Voodoo cards are worth more than the 8500 itself. The Rage Orion seems a good choice but its nowhere to be found. IS there any Mac card around $100 or less that would be satisfactory? Would I be satisfied with an old ixMicro card from eBay? (Is ixMicro dead too?) I saw a Number 9 128 card for $69. Any good?

-- tired of looking.

03-13-2001, 03:58 PM
you won't find any new mac cards worth the price of entry around $100. the rage Orion is a great card but even it cost at its cheapest around $150.the radeons/vodoos are great cards with different strengths. there's that price thing. the old ix Micro cards are no longer supported and so you take your chances. the card you're looking at was a pretty good card in its day (some guys around here still use them to run a second/third monitor) and would probably work fine for what you want. it doesn't accelerate 3D however, so it won't help you in the games department.
it all depends what you're using you machine for and how much graphic speed is worth to you. a $200 investment in a card that will significantly boost scrolling speed and graphic redraws, including the ability to play the latest games won;t seem that much, once you're using it.


03-13-2001, 04:16 PM
Well, what want it for is using standard apps like Dreamweaver, Fireworks, etc. I'm not into the 3D games (I have a Powerbook G3 to play games if I really want to). I'd like to get a decent card to drive my monitor and be able to hook a second monitor to the built-in video to hold palettes and stuff.

I guess the thing that drives me nuts are that the Mac cardds are way overpriced compared to their PC counterparts. Are any of the ATI cards cross-compatible? I know the Voodoo3 cards had unsupported Mac drivers...anything like that on ATI cards?

$200 is a LOT for a video card (taking PC cards into consideration). $180 can get you a 64MB Radeon for a PC.

I don't know about the ixMicro cards. I take it they are now defunct like everyone else.

03-13-2001, 10:40 PM
P, I've got a Rage128 card that came in my B&W that I do not use. I have used it in my G3'd 8500 and it works great there. presently there's a Voodoo5 in the 8500 and i'm happy with this situation, so... I'll sell the ATI Rage128 for $125 plus you pay shipping. if you're interested shoot me an email offline.

03-14-2001, 12:38 AM
you have identified a gaping hole in the Mac acceleration aftermarket. The Orion was running about $100 after mail-in rebates, and at that price, it was a steal. It is no longer manufactured. All ATI builds now is Radeon, in PCI or AGP flavors, at around $200 after rebate. We'll be posting them on our site shortly for around $229.99.

03-14-2001, 03:04 PM
OK, so I've done some more research and decided I might put out a bit more money. Now, I'm back to the following:

Voodoo5 5500 PCI - I've found these for $149 new and cheaper on eBay. They have 64MB of RAM but the company is defunct.

ATI Radeon PCI - You can get these for $145 to $179 on the web. Only 32MB of RAM but a compnay that exists (for now at least).

Any opinions? 3dfx card might not ever work with OS X but then again, my 8500 may never run OS X. The 3dfx card sounds super fast with the two processors and 64MB.

03-14-2001, 04:35 PM

Go here http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/Forum12/HTML/000061.html and scroll down to the first post for a comparison of V5 and Radeon PCI. Note that the latest and last software/firmware updates were done to the V5, but in the case of the Radeon PCI card, the test was done with the very first version software/firmware. There is a newer ATI updater. I have not done it yet.

Yes the V5 has DP and 64MB. The 64MB helps it for 2D over the Radeon PCI, as well as its selectable font and picture cache, but the lack of maturity of the software for DP and 3D applications hurts. In Cinebench 2000, the DP is working, but the second processor seems to contribute little, pretty much idling there and sucking electrons. The Radeon, even with first edition software/firmware and single processor, does better. I haven't done 3D games yet, so I can't comment on that. Though I like the V5, my choice would be the Radeon PCI. k

03-14-2001, 08:55 PM
Don't buy the Number 9 Imagine 128. It was a great card in its day, but Number 9 is closed. Last driver update was for OS 8.5. Formac, who built the card is no help.

03-15-2001, 01:19 PM
ATI is a healthy company that doesn't look like it's going anywhere in the near future.

03-19-2001, 01:50 PM
Thanks to everyone for your thoughts. I bit the bullet and got a Radeon PCI card. Seems like the safest choice right now.

03-19-2001, 02:50 PM
One more thing...

When I upgraded the 8500 to an XLR8 G3, I had strange video anomolies occur. If the screen redraws quickly, wndows leave behind small lines that disappear. Is this normal? Will this new video card solve that problem?

03-19-2001, 09:01 PM
You need to deactivate the Built-in Video Acelleration extension.

03-20-2001, 12:49 AM
Yes. A PCI video card will solve the problem. The onboard VRAM is too slow for a G3/G4 upgrade.

Mason Weems
04-22-2001, 08:55 PM
I've got video artifacts on 8500/150-xlr8/MPe450-OS9.1 even after disabling the Built-In Graphics Accelerator. What's the cheapest fix?

04-22-2001, 09:16 PM
It could be just slow (70 ns) or weak/bad/mismatched VRAM. However, after changing that, even if the artifacts go away, you still can't use software accelleration. A video card is the real answer. You don't know what you've been missing.

04-23-2001, 02:07 PM
I reccomend the 3Dfx Voodoo 5 5500 PCI card, it is the best looking video card, with 4x FSAA, and runs incredibly fast in games, especially Unreal Engine based games (like Unreal, Unreal Tournament, Rune, Deus Ex, etc.) and other Glide API games.The card can be picked up for $99 OEM ( a real steal considering the card was $330 just a little while ago). The card has fast 2D, and the better 3D than the ATI Radeon in my opinion. The Radeon's 32 bit mode looks like the Voodoo 5's 16 bit mode, and still the Voodoo 5 looks a lot better. Get the Voodoo 5, its practically half the price of the Radeon, and looks better, and has better drivers with 4x Full Screne Anti-Aliasing (FSAA- makes the jagged edges in games smooth out for much better visual quality). The Voodoo 5 retail version is at Outpost.com w/ a free copy of Quake 2 for $145, and still at Adamant.com for about $99 OEM I believe. Good Luck.

[This message has been edited by Mactacular (edited 23 April 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Mactacular (edited 23 April 2001).]

Mason Weems
04-24-2001, 07:46 AM
Thanks! So video artifacts will be fixed by adding a 3Dfx Voodoo 5 5500 PCI (which doesn't care which PCI slot it goes into in my 8500). I'm also assuming that the Voodoo card will work with OS9 and OSX.

While talking video cards, I'm assuming flat screens use same connectors/cards. If I eventually move to a flat screen, would this affect my video card purchase decision?


Big Al
04-24-2001, 10:11 AM
Whoa. Don't make assumptions. The new Apple flat screen displays use a different connector. The newest ones have an ADC (Apple Display Connector) that combines video signal and power in one cord. The video cards in the new G4's have a dual head for either ADC or standard VGA adapters. 3dfx which made the Voodoo cards has been bought out and those cards are no longer supported. If new drivers are needed for OSX you will be SOL with one of those. That doesn't mean they aren't good cards, because they are. Only you know your future plans and if OSX is on the horizon for you, you need to pick a different video card.

04-25-2001, 01:22 AM

all those assumptions are very risky.

note that a fellow member made that recommendation--not a Guru.

which is fine. That's part of what forums are all about. But remember that a fellow member can't really be blamed if you listen to him or her and make a poor decision based on a personal set of values and a limited base of experience.

A Guru can be blamed for bad advice, so you will find that a genuine Guru will always be somewhat conservative. The Guru will note any possible problems, or downsides, and attempt to include any known cautions. Since our Guru moderators are extremely experienced, they are not often wrong. And they are not afraid or embarrassed to note where their expertise and experience end. None of us can know everything. It's impossible. We specialize.

Just a gentle tip.

Before you jump thru hoops and spend $, I would simply disassemble the machine, pull the VRAM and main memory, and blow the logic board out thoroughly with a few cans of compressed air (make it shine). Gently rub the leads of the VRAM and DIMMs with a pencil eraser, and then carefully wisk away any shavings, ensuring that you are grounded and dissipating any residual or environmental static charge.

Make sure you use the small directional air-flow straws included with cans of compressed air to blow out the VRAM and DRAM slots. Get all the pubic hair out of there. Firmly reseat the memory and VRAM, and I mean firmly. Treat that machine like you are the boss, and make the logic board bend beneath the pressure. At this point you will have cleaned your logic board, and reseated your memory after removing any oxidation.

now, complete your assembly, installing your daughtercard into a clean PDS slot (make sure you blow it out, too), pressing FIRMLY, and fire up your machine. See if your artifacts persist, or perhaps were caused by dust or stray cat hair or whatever.


04-25-2001, 06:22 PM
I guess I'm not genuine Guru material http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

04-26-2001, 04:52 PM
I wouldn't say that.

I would say that you are entitled to speak for yourself here, but not to speak for our company. It's a simple distinction that needs to be made, particularly when we disagree with some of your opinions.

please don't take it personally--we respect your opinions, even if we don't agree with them. And anyone here is welcome to accept your viewpoints over ours, if they are a better fit for them, personally.

we just need to be clear, from the standpoint of liability, where we stand,and why. That's all. Please do feel free to express yourself! I only jumped in, in this case, to make sure that our position was clear, and I apologize if it seemed heavy-handed.