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Thread: Beige G3 Guru View Point Please

  1. #1
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    Confused Beige G3 Guru View Point Please


    System 7 left me behind, eventually I followed up with system 8 and my Beige G3 MiniTower. Now my tax software requires system 10.2.8.

    I've placed a sonnet G4 1Ghtz upgrade in my old Beige G3 MiniTower, along with firewire/usb pci card, ATI 128 Rage pci card, which has brought me to the realization that I might be better off getting a used B&W G3 450htz. I could then move the ziff to the new used B&W and have something that would last a little longer, since the tax software next year may need 10.3 next year.

    I only do basic computing, no video editing or high demand tasks

    So here's the question.
    Do I:
    1. keep the Beige G3 MiniTower, get sata set up, and more ram?
    2. Buy the B&W G3 450htz move the Ziff, get sata set up, and more ram,
    Put the old sonnet G3 500htz ziff in the Beige G3 MiniTower and sell it.
    3. Look for a G4 Dual 533htz, sell both the G4 1Ghtz Ziff and the old Beige
    G3 MiniTower with the G3 500 Ziff.

    Which would be the best solution for my time and $$$.
    Thank You for any wise advice.

  2. #2
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    Welcome to the forum.

    As someone who was using a Beige G3 as recently as a couple weeks ago i'd suggest option #3.

    There's really no advantage to a B&W over a Beige IMHO. They both have their issues, but the Beige is a better machine overall. I was running Panther 10.3.9 on my Beige with a 466 G3, a Radeon 9200, DVR-109, and a Tempo Trio. It was very stable considering all the tweaks, cool, and quiet.

    I wouldn't trade my Sawtooth G4 for it though.

  3. #3
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    I have to agree with brane about the B&W. Been there, done that and it isn't any substantive gain over the Beige. Same chipset actually and most of the same weaknesses.

    Worse yet, to run that 1 GHz Sonnet G4 you have to turn the RAM down to 66 MHz, same as the Beige. That would negate the one thing that is actually faster. The rest of the motherboard is virtually identical:

    slow ATA33 bus that is more buggy on a B&W than any other Mac

    Grackle Memory Controller in both. With a 1 GHz G4 in them there is quite literally no gain over the Beige, not one little bit.

    B&W has native USB and Firewire, both of which were beta at the time and they do NOT work well at all. Your Beige is more reliable with its PCI card based USB and Firewire.



    Now the Digital Audio is just about twice the computer. Solid, mature, fully OS9 and OSX capable. Fast RAM, CPU up to DUal 1.8 GHz, ATA66 motherboard is not bad. AGP 4X Graphics is REALLY not bad. ALl ou of the box. Cheap RAM as well.

    My vote is the DA even if you don't do any upgrades and MacGurus never makes a dime.

    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

  4. #4
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    Agree with brane number 3. Around x-mas my QS mobo blew up. So for 3-4 weeks I looked and searched. I was looking at the first Sawtooth 2X AGP 450/500 MHz and the G4 DA's 466/533 MHz's they sold for similar amounts. I bought a DA still waiting for it. (it's worth it - GREAT up grade optioins too) and am moving the goodies in my QS and some new X-Mas drives (unused still) Minimum the first AGP G4 - not all of these support a Dual upgrade. - Randy

  5. #5
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    Not to make it seem like I'm joining the herd on this one, but I have to agree with M.Brane, Rick, and Randy on this.

    I'd recommend option 3, sell what you have and get (at least) a used DA. As far as AGP G4s go, DA is really the lowest you should go since it it was the first with a 4x AGP slot (easier to upgrade the graphics card) as well as sporting a 133MHz FSB and memory.

    Like Rick, I went down the B/W upgrade path -- so did TZ who I'm sure will chime in. A bit quirky, PCI ATA cards for the rev. 1 ATA chip problems, FW and USB not always the best. Bugs in the bus that's bound to hurt performance with PCI cards, unless you use the faster slot intended for the graphics card. I had an XLR8 G4/500 upgrade in mine, which was great and kept the competitive for awhile.

    But when I heard about the fast Sonnet ZIF requiring a downclocking of the FSB to 66MHz, and the fact that software was coming out that required an AGP slot/graphics card, the writing was really on the wall. There was really not much else to do upgrade wise, and I'd already sank quite a bit on upgrades: Radeon 7000, Acard ATA cards, CPU upgrade, DVD burner. And the buggy FW was rearing it's ugly head -- plus you can't boot off a FW HD anyway with a B/W.

    I got lucky and got first dibs on a used DA 733MHz (and the owner of the store took my B/W in trade in). It's been a great machine for the roughly 2 years I've had it, and the upgrade options are more abundant, cost effective, and I think worthwhile. Of course, I'm not saying that you should buy it and immediately upgrade it. Rather, just that those options are there if you decide down the road to go for a speed bump.

    Check the link in my signature, that's my DA that's still going strong. Only differences now are a 15K Cheetah SCSI drive on a ATTO UL3D (instead of the stock 60GB), a Dlink USB2 card, and a Pioneer 110.

    Trading in the B/W for the DA, I think was the right long term solution. No regrets.

  6. #6
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    I have an updated DA too, which I am very happy with.

    But I would suggest you consider option #4: Buy a new mini.

    Heck, 10.4 and the ilife suite are worth over 200 bucks alone, and I believe it comes with the current version of Quicken. Would have to buy a keyboard and mouse too, but third party USB stuff works just fine, and can be had for less than half of the cost of Apple stuff.

    Do the math on upgrades and a mini is a sweet deal for general home use.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  7. #7
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    Lightbulb

    I wasn't going to chime in, nothing to add to what's been said, but for 'basic' needs, the Mac-mini can do everything quite well. Comes with lots of good software, too, like iLife and Tiger 10.4.4. just needs 1GB RAM and off you go. We were expecting to see the Mini be one of the early MacIntels - maybe one will still show up in the next months.

    Only downside is no PCI slots, but I think they still have FW800.

  8. #8
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    About the mini, good suggestion. Guess I got 'tower-mentality'.

    I like the footnote on the bottom of the mini page at Apple:

    2. ESPN scores, hula girl and movie listing widgets are not included with Mac mini, but available from third parties via free download.
    Of course you can change to hula girl to the hula Homer. doh!

    TZ wrote:
    Only downside is no PCI slots, but I think they still have FW800.
    Nope, mini has 1 FW 400 port, but two USB2 ports.

  9. #9
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    Hello,

    As far as you don't want it for a server the B&W has no advantage over the Beige. The B&W has a 66MHz slot which is a leap in performance when using with a 66MHz SATA or SCSI card. I was very happy with my B&W as far as I discovered that the PCI limit is still there (on the 33MHz) slots.

    So with other words the 64Bit 33MHz slots are non improvement.
    Rev 1 B&W have a buggy ATA-Chip, Master/ Slave setup is not working correct and bigger HD's connected (8GB+) results in data corruption.
    Buggy FireWire ports, 53MB/s write limit via 33MHz PCI bus and so on.

    I had no problems at all with my two Beiges I had, 300MHz MT and 266MHz DT. With the first B&W I had only trouble, now I have a B&W Rev 2, 400MHz (sold as Server) and this thing is rock solid.

    The Mini is a good piece of hardware, nearly zero noise, great performance vs. older G4s and a great price.

    If you need SCSI for older scanners and stuff you can go with a FW>SCSI adapter, for storage use FireWire.

    I have to state, like Eric, I am also more a "Tower" guy because of the option to add a new interface (like SATA) using a PCI/X/e card.


    IMO Mac Mini or a DA G4.


    Regards

    Nicolas
    Custom Configurations! Rad Hacks and Mods!

  10. #10
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    I would be tempted to wait too, to see when the Intel version ships. Could have some nice hardware bumps like the imac, could be a whole new design (rumored) to be a media center. Either way, assuming the same price point, it will likely be a great machine at a great price. Don't know how to wait, but my prediction is no later than April 1. Just a WAG.

    If on the other hand you need something now, there are some deals out there.

    Check this outthis . Only 256 - current minis come with 512. This means it is an older model, which may only come with ilife '05 instead of the new '06. But if you want to install that single stick of 1 Gig of RAM as TZ suggested, this is a great deal.

    Agreed that you either need a tower to tinker with, or you don't. No middle ground here. If you don't know, then you don't need a tower.
    "Imagine if every Thursday your shoes exploded if you tied them the usual way. This happens to us all the time with computers, and nobody thinks of complaining." -- Jef Raskin

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeungfeng
    ...I only do basic computing, no video editing or high demand tasks...
    Dear yeungfeng,

    I still have my "pumped-up" Beige Mini Tower "Artemis" at home, together with my old Sawtooth; but it has been a looooong time since I've last turned it on. I am still debating weather keep it as a home server, or sell it.

    However, given you computing needs, I can only agree with Unclemac and the others. A new Mac MINI would suite your needs without having to depart from large amounts of cash, returning you the following minimum advantages:
    • You get yourself a new machine with all the most recent "bells and whistles" which enable you to use the most recent OSX versions & softaware.
    • You won't be needing to mess around with CPU upgrades, PCI cards, video card upgrades, core image, etc... Everything you need for your basic computing activities is already packed in that little box, ready for you to use it.
    • In the event your future computing needs may call for steepear machine specifications, then you may well be able to consider even better machines than the PowerMac G4 DA from eBay, as time goes by, prices for what goes today a 2nd hand Quicksilver or even an MDD, will have come down even further.
    • As others have posted, you don't need to have an Apple keyboard, mouse or monitor to use it. Third party stuff - or even much of the stuff you may well have now - will do nicely and at a much more convenient price, most of the times.

    IMHO, it would be your simpliest and more stright forward solution.

    You can always sell your old MiniTower on eBay together with the CPU expansions to compensate on the MINI expense.

    Hope the above may be of some help to you.

    Your milage may vary.
    Costa
    ________________________

    Ab ovo usque ad mala

  12. #12
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    Smile The Beige Debate

    Thanks for all the helpful information.

    I guess that #1, was, what I thought would be most economical, at least, in the short term. The "new"#4 is just a bit more that I can afford right now. Plus I do like the tower tinkering. Makes me feel like I know how to do something.

    I didin't really notice all that much increase in speed, at least not 2X, with the G4 1Ghtz CPU over the old G3 500mhtz. I was also thinking of OS 10 with the G4 CPU, but didn't know all that much about bus speed, and hard drive speed limitations at the time. As this came to light recently, I thought about the SATA PCI card with a SATA hard drive.

    With all the options running around in my head it was hard to put it all in to perspective. All the opions were very helpful in clearing the muddle.

    The Dual 533 seems like a good place to start.
    I'll start the process of finding a good one........Thanks Again

    P.S. Any idea about what a Beige G3 with a sonnet G3 500 mhtz and all the rest might bring on the low end?

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