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Thread: G4 upgrade path...

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2004
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    2

    Default G4 upgrade path...

    Hello MacGuru's,

    I've been searching these forums to gain knowledge in upgading my G4. I'm posting this thread to confirm what I've read. It seem's my 'new' computer ain't so cutting edge anymore, it's time to update the OS and add more HDD space. I would appreciate your input before I dive in.

    Please keep in mind that I live in a 'remote mountain location', running down to the local computer store for parts isn't an option. I want to make sure that I have all the parts required for this upgrade before I head home.

    Here's what I have:

    PowerMac G4 (Gigabit Ethernet)
    Codename 'Mystic'
    Gestalt ID 406
    400 Mhz CPU
    20 GB HDD
    OS 9.1

    Here's what I plan to do:

    Upgrade to OS X v10.3
    Add a second Seagate 160 Gb HDD

    From what I've read online the HDD controllers currently installed will not allow me to access the new hard disk beyond 128Mb's. To circumvent this I'll be picking-up a Sonnet 'Tempo' ATA 133 PCI controller card on Friday.

    To perform this upgrade it's fair to assume that I'll first have to upgrade the OS, (and the firmware if neccessary). The next step would be to install the PCI controller card and HDD. This is where I'm kinda fuzzy. I intend the new drive to be the 'slave'. Given this Master-Slave set-up do both drives have to be on the same bus? would installing a second drive on this new bus require that the original 20 Gb HDD be moved to the same Bus connection as well?

    Before I overwhelm you with more questions I'll upload this thread and fill you in with more details where required.

    Thanks in advance,
    <D>

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Grangeville, ID USA
    Posts
    9,119

    Default

    Fun project. The GigaEthernet is great machine. Between upgrading the hard drive and its bus you'll get loads of fun and enjoyment with CPU upgrades and upgrading the graphics card in the future. YOu can probably get that machine within 10% of a current G4!

    I would never recommend an ATA133 host card today just to get larger drive capacity. If you only needed larger capacity then just purchase Intech's utility for upgrading the bus on your computer for large drive sizes. Here's the link for that: http://www.speedtools.com/ATA6.html

    If you want to accomplish that as well as add performance then SATA is the way to go. SATA is the newest ATA bus and it is 150 MB/sec, basically twice as fast as you currently have. It costs $65 for a SATA host card and the drives are just about the same cost as ATA. Here's the page with the SATA host card:
    Firmtek SATA Host

    And here are the SAA hard drives: SATA Hard drives

    That is the very best way to accelerate you storage and gain large capacity support as well.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    1,317

    Default

    Mystic,

    welcome, you'll find a wealth of advice from the 'Gurus here, I'm not one of them but since none of the usual suspect has replied yet let me give you a heads-up on a couple of points if you're not already committed to the Sonnet host card. There's the $25 Intech ATA Hi-Cap Support Driver solution for the big drive at http://www.speedtools.com/ATA6.html, but if you want something better check out the MacGuru's Store for a SATA host card and drive, not to mention the GigaDesign CPU upgrades. Could be a one-stop shopping trip which means you won't have to come down from the mountain for a loooong time! I get all jealous just thinking about the prospect. Good luck.

    biggles

    edit: Mystic, must have been replying slower than Rick. He's the bull-goose Guru 'round here!
    "illegitimis non carborundum"

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2001
    Location
    Grangeville, ID USA
    Posts
    9,119

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    The faster I get, the worse my spellin'. But I do get faster.

    R
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Location
    NW Montana
    Posts
    8,197

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    Welcome Mystic Mac

    Looks like I am late but....

    I understand about living in the sticks. I live in Western Montana and 2nd Day Air is non-existent driving to the stores to check things is a hour+ drive each way and nobody carries much Macintosh equipment anyway. So everything I own has been bought via mail-order and I have lived here 25 years. Lots of puters and software.

    You did not mention what you were going to use your computer for. Simple internet/Email or intensive things like games, heavy graphics, video?... is a speedy CPU or storage more of an issue. Do you need a machine to really crunch data/info/graphics if so consider a CPU upgrade. But still the weakest link in the chain or slowest is the older hard drive. I guess it depends on your budget can you afford a CPU, host card and hard drive. If so well Cool. I could not. So ... I went with a host card and drive first waiting for CPU prices to come down.

    I have a Quicksilver G4 733 and needed a new drive as I had 10.3.2 sitting in a box and wanted to leave my 10.2.8 untouched for a while. I just put a SeriTek host card and a 120 GB Seagate SATA Drive in. At first I was not as impressed as I expected to be but after bouncing back and forth into 10.2.8 and 10.3 I realized how much faster it was. The combo of 10.3.3 and the card + new drive was nice.

    I ran some X-Bench tests and it confirmed things.

    -->Oh yeah. Keep your 20 gig on the current bus and add the new drive to the host card. Both will be "master" they are each on a separate bus then. Faster to access.

    Randy
    Last edited by rwm; 05-19-2004 at 04:47 PM. Reason: added info

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Posts
    2

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    Thanks ricks, biggles and rwm for your prompt and informative replies.

    I should have mentioned that this machine is used for rendering high resolution image and graphic files using Adobe products, right now storage is a priority, the CPU can wait.

    Regarding the Speed Tools option, by installing this driver I'll gain 48 bit addressing support, however if a ATA-66 and ATA-100/133 HDD are attached via the same cable will the maximum (external) transfer rate of the slower drive be the default transfer rate for both drives?

    It has been suggested that I consider stuffing the new HDD in a FireWire box. The Mystic Mac came outfitted with 400Mbps Firewire ports, It'd be fair to guess that this option would be noticeably slower than if the HDD were connected via a ATA 133 card. One advantage to the FireWire set-up would be portability of the drive when annual 'voyages to civilization' are made. I made a quick glance through the 'FireWire' fourm, seems to be a lot of issues with OS X and FireWire, would you recommend this option? It's my impression that at this time it is too unstable.

    Once again thanks in advance for your patience and input.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
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    NW Montana
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    Do you mean the ATA/66 bus or an ATA/66 HDD? As far as I know *not a lot* if you had an ATA/66 on the same cable as a ATA/100/133 it would not slow down if you were/are using just the ATA/100/133 drive. Now if you had Systems/Apps on a drive and your data on another drive then both of the drives would be reading/writing data via the same cable and yes speed loss resulting.

    >.rendering high resolution image and graphic files using Adobe products

    Then I would not hesitate to get a quality host card and drive WITH the 8 MB cache/buffer.

    The SeriTek and any SATA Drive with an 8 MB Cache would boost your machine a lot and really help out with graphics.

    You can then keep your System/Applications on one drive and data on the other this way your computer can access the data on both drives at full speed rather than bottle necking them on the same bus/channel/cable.

    Randy

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Grangeville, ID USA
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    Glad you mentioned the need for storage acceleration. And that makes it easy. As Randy said, hooking up a new drive to a SATA host card will be faster and less costly than an ATA133 host card. SATA is a newer specification and has several advantages over ATA133.

    ANd you are also correct that hooking two drives to an ATA66 bus will be slower than hooking your new drive to a host card. I can guarantee you will get better performance from a SATA host than the older ATA host. There is no reason today to go with ATA at all unless you already have ATA drives in hand.

    When you are looking for performance later you'll be able to add another SATA drive as a dedicated scratch disk. A 10k Raptor on a Firmtek SATA host card will rival SCSI in performance and improve your Photoshop performance dramatically. All you'll need to add a Raptor would be a second data cable, cost less than $8.

    Rick
    molṑn labe'
    "I am a mortal enemy to arbitrary government and unlimited power. I am naturally very jealous for the rights and liberties of my country, and the least encroachment of those invaluable privileges is apt to make my blood boil."
--Ben Franklin

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