View Full Version : minimum gaming rig

10-01-2004, 05:13 AM
What are your opinions on decent configuration for playing games. Assuming a B&W G3 tower as a base to work with. What processor upgrade and video card will allow for playing such titles as the upcoming F/A-18 Operation Iraqi Freedom, XIII, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, Call of Duty: United Offensive AND some of the older OS9 only games from my misspent youth like A-10 Attack.
I have browsed the system requirements for the games mentioned above and most state: "PowerPC G4/G5, 867 MHz or faster, 256MB of RAM, 1.6 GB free disk space, 3D Graphics Acceleration required (ATI Radeon 7500/nVidia GeForce 2 or better, 32MB of VRAM)" or similiar. I wonder why a game needs a G5 processor, or a G4 for that matter. Is the game engine accelerated for altivec? Lots of RAM and VRAM I can understand, and I used to have a Radeon 8500 with 64MB of VRAM that I bought mostly just to play games, so I have experienced the difference a good video card can make. But wouldn't a 1.0 GHz G3 provide better gaming performance than a 500 MHz G4? Perhaps it's more a question of price vs value when a 1.0 GHz G3 ZIF and a 700MHz G4 ZIF are about $250, but a 1.0 GHz G4 can be had for $400. Anybody got any thoughts?

10-01-2004, 05:48 AM
I don't have any experience playing video games - just looking at X-Plane on MDD 1.25/SP with Radeon 9800 and I realized I didn't have enough to have full 2D background detail and textures. I would buy a later model, a G4 QS or something. The video on B&W is like AGP 1x. Find a 6 yr old game, and stay with that. :rolleyes:

If you MUST upgrade a B&W:

www.xlr8yourmac.com compared G3 vs G4 on B&W.
The G4/500-600 w/ L3 cache? and $199 would help.
Do you want to rely on PowerLogix?

Only choice in video is the Radeon 9200 or flashing a PC 9100.
Not a lot of PCI video card options.

Disk drive - Probably want 8MB cache drive and controller. The B&W maxes out @ 53MB/sec so you can't get the full benefit of fast drives on its 33 MHz PCI (the 66 MHz video slot would but).

Bandwidth. Games will always push the envelope on the high-end. If you turn on all the bells and whistles you can bring a G4 MDD 1.25DP to its knees with Radeon 9800 w/ 128MB, 2GB RAM.

You could buy a gaming PC in a box. Or a Cray. Or POWER5 with 16x AGP and dual-core :D

10-01-2004, 06:17 AM
I was surfing MacFixit and found an interesting article (but it wasn't on www.osnews.com today, which does have a lot of linux, mac, unix, windows articles of interest).
In some areas, such as gaming, the PC so dominates the market that Mac ports look like utterly contemptuous attempts to scoop up free money by applying little more than a custom makefile to a standard code base -- a code base that usually contains hundreds of Windows and x86 specific optimizations, most of which become bottlenecks when dropped on the Mac without change. Linux Insider - are Macs faster? (http://www.linuxinsider.com/story/But-Macs-Are-Slower-Right-36964.html)

10-01-2004, 10:36 AM
Thanks TZ,
I will try to find the comparison article on xlr8yourmac, it is probably just what I was hoping to discuss, ie., G4 vs G3 in gaming. Otherwise, the lack of AGP is surely a show stopper considering the needs of future games. Why invest in a machine that has nearly reached the end with video cards? -hadn't thought of that! I'm even thinking that I could do almost as well with my 7500, at least it already has 512MB of RAM.
I was just wondering what to do with my BW, and I am concluding that further upgrade, at least as a gaming rig, might be a fools errand. Also, one is wise not to think too seriously about powerlogix.

10-01-2004, 11:05 AM

I don't know if you check or use eBay any. I have been watching prices of the first AGP Sawtooth's 400-500 MHz and have been selling for ~300 - 400+ But a better deal looks like the Digital Audio's the 466/533 I don't think people in general know this has the 133MHz bus, 4X AGP - they are just looking at the MHZ


10-01-2004, 11:26 AM
But a better deal looks like the Digital Audio's the 466/533 I don't think people in general know this has the 133MHz bus, 4X AGP - they are just looking at the MHZI have to agree. If you can swing it, get a DA instead like me. :D Then you can take your time and upgrade it if you want -- CPU, graphics card, etc.

10-01-2004, 11:58 AM

I left this out.... but I have seen the DA's go for 400-500 bucks. Thats a deal. Modern technology for most part. - Randy

10-01-2004, 12:14 PM
Many of the games in OSX need both a fast CPU and a 3-D accelerator card to run well. 3-D accelerator cards are designed specifically to do high-speed graphics, so they work many times faster than your CPU ever could. Most 3-D accelerator cards are OpenGL hardware accelerated and many games require OpenGL.

The faster your CPU, the better the frame-rate as well as taking care of other things like sound. Other things that help speeding up the game is enough RAM and fast RAM, sufficient disk space and a fast drive, even a fast CD-ROM drive for those games that require a CD in place for accessing some things not on the hard drive, and lots of VRAM on the graphics card. Insufficient VRAM for the game means that the system must offload to main memory which can mean slower than the VRAM of late cards. Even the speed of the monitor can have an effect.

Some of these, and probably others, items have a small effect, some large. BTW, X-Plane was developed, and still is, made on a Mac and ported to PC to increase sales. k

10-01-2004, 12:34 PM
The game market will always suck up all the CPU and video available for eye candy. It seems to really drive the market.

I play Ghost Recon and MOH on my BW with a G4 550 and a Radeon 7000, new SATA drive and 512MB. Both will play smoothly with all the detail turned down to almost minimums....except for a very few spots where too much is going on, then it will get just a little chunky. I don't mind the lack of perfect deatail, but I know alot of real gamers do, and would scoff at what I see for detail.

These games are a several years old now, and the specs keep climbing... You gotta get at least an AGP G4 if you want any chance of keeping up with what is current. If it were me I would try really hard to get a 4X AGP box with 133 bus or better (466 is the first model I believe), as opposed to the earlier 2X AGP w/ 100 bus. Stretch it a little farther, cheaper in the long run.

Problem is, after you add up the upgrades, I bet ya a low end, close out, or refurb G5 is about the same price, and newer/faster/quiter.

10-01-2004, 01:35 PM

FYI - I tested my stock 32MB GeForce 2 MX against my newer 64MB ATI Radeon 9000 Pro in my QS with same configuration. I used xBench, CineBench, and OpenMark. The R9000 was only slightly higher - lower is a few spots.

Kaye loaned me a 64MB GeForce 3 and after I install it re-test all three I'll post the results some where.


10-01-2004, 01:42 PM
Something like this DA 533 http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=5720690307&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT

Or a Sawtooth http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=5721438069&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT

Stock would kick the G3. After adding some RAM, a HD, or CPU down the road - still not a bad price.

The DA is really a nice jump - faster everything, 133 fsb, CPU, RAM, Video.

10-01-2004, 01:47 PM
Take a look at how 2D & 3D are handled.

Graphics accelerators boost speed

The POWER 275 supports the latest evolution of IBM 3D graphics technology: the POWER GXT4500P and GXT6500P Graphics Accelerators. These high-performance graphics accelerators can deliver up to a 20 percent performance boost compared to the previous generation of IBM graphics adapters, and at a lower price.

Both the GXT4500P and GXT6500P feature analog and digital output, a 128MB Unified Frame Buffer, 24-bit double buffering with resolutions up to 2048 x 1536 at 60 Hz and application programming interface (API) support for OpenGL 1.2.1, graPHIGS and X11. Advanced 3D features include a 24-bit Z-buffer, 4/8-bit overlay, 8-bit double buffered Alpha, 8-bit stencil, Texture Mapping with up to 110MB texture memory, dual texture and 3D texture. The GXT6500P incorporates an additional geometry and lighting processor that helps to further increase performance.

The POWER 275 workstation supports a full range of graphics input/output devices including the Spaceball® 3D and Magellan XT 3D input devices, the L200p 20.1-inch TFT flat panel monitor, the C220p 20" viewable CRT and other keyboard and mouse devices.

Advanced POWER technology

The IntelliStation POWER 275 harnesses the advantages of POWER4+™ microprocessors and AIX 5L™, the high-performance UNIX® operating system from IBM. It features highly reliable 64-bit processors running at 1.0GHz (one) or 1.45GHz (one or two), with 8MB of L3 cache. The POWER 275 incorporates the POWER4+ microprocessor, which showcases the latest innovations in copper and silicon-on-insulator (SOI) chip technology from IBM. This chip is among the fastest 64-bit processors in the world2. In addition, 64-bit addressing contributes to top performance by supporting large amounts of memory—allowing applications to keep more information accessible in high-speed memory, and enabling them to run faster by reducing the need to retrieve data from online storage.

Memory can be expanded from 1GB to 16GB.

An internal Ultra320 SCSI controller also can offer high performance and direct access to internal storage and media devices. The integrated controllers can eliminate the need for additional adapters, which saves space and costs.

The system provides one of the highest levels of internal expandability in this class of workstation. The compact deskside package features seven bays: four front-accessible, hot-swappable disk bays that can contain up to 587.2GB of disk storage.

ntelliStation POWER 275 
from $5,491.00 IBM Web price*
Monitor not included
IBM's newest, fastest UNIX workstation delivers twice the graphics performance of the popular RS/6000 Model 170 at a lower price!

Speed & reliability that will help you get those graphics intensive projects completed quicker, so you have more time to be creative.
Š 1-way SMP with 1.0GHz or 1 or 2-way 1.45GHz POWER4+™ microprocessor
Š 1.5MB L2 and 8MB ECC L3 cache
Š Up to 16GB of ECC SDRAM memory with Chipkill
Š Up to 4 Ultra320 SCSI hot-swap 10K or 15K RPM disk drives
Š Six PCI-X adapter slots
Š Gigabit Ethernet and 10/100 Ethernet standard
Š Select from 2D and 3D graphics accelerators
Š IBM's CATIA V4 performance leader.

PDF manual here. (http://www.ibm.com/common/ssi/fcgi-bin/ssialias?infotype=pm&subtype=sp&pdf=yes&appname=STG_IN_USEN&htmlfid=PSD00422USEN)
IBM pSeries workstation (http://www-1.ibm.com/servers/eserver/pseries/hardware/workstations/intellistation_275_desc.html#note2) Note, this was 2003 technology. And this is the low-end of the IntelliStation.

02-07-2005, 09:54 AM

I don't know if you check or use eBay any. I have been watching prices of the first AGP Sawtooth's 400-500 MHz and have been selling for ~300 - 400+ But a better deal looks like the Digital Audio's the 466/533 I don't think people in general know this has the 133MHz bus, 4X AGP - they are just looking at the MHZ


I also have to agree. I bought a DA 466 on eBay 2 months ago for $375. I was initially looking at MHz ratings but then started comparing models at everymac.com (http://www.everymac.com) and quickly differentiated the DA's from the previous generations. Even the MDD machines are only marginally better. I would set your sites on a DA 466 at the best price you can find. I upgraded mine with a Giga Designs 1.2GHz G4 DP, 1GB RAM, Radeon 9800, and a Firmtek 1S2 SATA card with two Seagate 7200.7 200GB drives. And I still have lots left over for a G5 sometime in the next 2 years. Instead of buying new this is what I decided to do and continue to wait. My signature shows you what I upgraded from. Still a good dependable machine for file serving but it could no longer keep up with what I want to do.