View Full Version : help:MT G3 Rev A upgrade for audio

06-21-2001, 03:50 PM
I have a beige MT 266 Rev A. I have 640megs of RAM and 6mgs of VRam. I use this computer exclusively for music making as that's all I do.

I do a lot of digital audio using Cubase 5.0, Motu 1224, an opcode serial interface, and a lacie 12X ssci CDR. I have managed to use this set-up quite well for the past two years but it is finally starting to show it's age when i use VST instruments and plugins. Also my slow little hard drive is completely filled up and I need more storage space.

I have been going over my upgrade options and I am throughly confused. I'd like to add at least one more hard drive (7200 RPM) and possiblely accelerate the processor with a ZIF upgrade (maybe G4/400 as Cubase can use Altivec).

I gather that my having a REV A makes upgrading my hard drive more difficult because I can't just add a second ATA drive and the REV B Roms are no longer for sale. I also worry about my PCI bus speeds, I believe they are 33Mhz as opposed to the onboard bus which is 66Mhz.

I have been thinking about different PCI cards, either a firewire/usb combo or an ATA/IDE card. Not sure if the firewire card will be good smart to use to hook up a hard drive for audio recorded/playback although it might be useful to add firewire/usb to my mac.

What are my best options for bringing my 20th centrury G3 into the 21st century.

Thank you so much in advance for any advice you can give me.

06-21-2001, 04:25 PM
FireWire and USB will be useful for their own sake, but I would not use either as an interface for storage media. Both are still too glitchy, and often too slow, though FireWire is getting pretty usable since the Oxford chipsets were released (used on all EZQ FW drives on the main site, for example).

I would recommend an IDE PCI card, and one or more IBM IDE drives. That will give you good affordable yet relatively fast storage. I see no need, in your case, to spend bigger dollars on LVD SCSI stuff. Not for plain-jane audio mixing.

For your processor upgrade, get a 500MHz G4 ZIF. It is the fastest, and you will like it longer than anything else. It will stave off obsolescence longer. XLR8 upgrades are compatible with all audio applications and solutions I am aware of. These, also, are sold on the main site.

as I see it, you will spend under $500 for an XLR8 G4 500Mhz ZIF (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/showrampage.cgi?xlr8boards1z.html) MPe, and three to four hundred on your IDE storage solution (http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart/showrampage.cgi?idepagesofheck.html), depending on the size of the drive you select and the IDE PCI host.

others here may have other guidance, but this should get you started.


06-21-2001, 05:53 PM
right on Mag,

I think FW is great for occasional storage and even a second 'quick' backup. It really has not hit prime time though. I'm sure that there will be 1394 IEEE audio equipment soon, if not already. USB is nice for keyboards and things that do not need bandwidth and low latency. With MacOS 9.1 FW is almost fully support (yet still glitchy). This may change with 9.2 or 10.1?

The Oxford911 FW chip is the fastest thing out right now. I've heard of issues with filesharing, but who knows? The older chip would only push about 15MB/s off an IDE/ATA drive that could push 30MB/s - so if you really want speed FW is not the way to go, right now.

Just about ALL PCI is 33MHz. The Yosemite had one 66Mhz/32bit slot and then 3 64bit/33Mhz slots, but is still limited by the bridge chip. Most PCI card do not yet take advantage of 64bitPCI. 64bit/66Mhz PCI is rare, expensive and not needed - esp in an audio system.

You could replace your existing drive and run with a ATA/100 on the stock bus. You should still see a nice speed gain. A PCI card would probably be safer though. You could also get an 18GB Narrow Cuda, but on the 5MB/s stock bus that is almost a waste.

The G4/450MPe or faster will bring your system into the 21st century. CPU and HD are probably the biggest issues with your speed. You probably arent even touching the bandwidth of the 33Mhz PCI or the 66Mhz main bus - with that pokey 266 http://macgurus.com/infopop/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

The G4 MPe will allow you to run a second CPU (dual CPU setup) down the road - to REALLY push that old system. The IDE/ATA card will allow for a total of 4 drives. This is probably more than your case can hold. http://www.macgurus.com/ubb/cool.gif

I've found that when upgrading systems its best to get QUALITY parts as they work the best and have the least headaches.

06-21-2001, 11:37 PM
acrosome, I thought that I need to point this out to you. Stick with Cubase and MOTU.

Do not attempt to run any digidesign software on your particular machine, as they DO NOT OFFICIALLY SUPPORT BIEGE G3's.

Sorry about that, but since I'm mac, music cat myself (and use digi stuff) I was compelled to read this thread, and I had to throw out this warning.

Mag and Dragon are hooking ya up, but I felt that was needed in case you had any insane ideas about blowing dough on any avid/digi stuff.

Good Luck


"I made a conscience decision in a semi-conscience state"

06-22-2001, 05:31 PM
thanks for all the advice.... i wouldn't think of switching from cubase and my motu- they have served me very well. I will go with an ATA PCI card and an IMB drive for my upgrade. As for the processor- I don't think i can justify the $$$ for a Dual MPe card, at that price i think i'd sooner buy a refurbished G4. Right now i am thinking about going with Sonnett for the card and Zif upgrade as I noticed they are offering a rebate through Motu right now. Again, you guys have been great and i really appreciate your help. Can't wait for my next paycheck!