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Thread: Upgrade G3 Beige Desktop??

  1. #1
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    I have an original G3 and have upgraded the hard disc to 30GB and RAm to 352. I am using 9.0.4 My with has a Dual 500 G4 and I have been increasingly unhappy with the G3, my machine seems to be slow and have more freezes than I like. I have been looking at the new 867 Quicksilver, but it is pricey.

    I am not sure of my upgrade options and price trade offs. If anyone has some ideas and options for me it would be very helpful. I have a BUZZ Video card and a USB PCI card and am dabbling with Video editing using Adobe Premier LE.

    Fred

  2. #2
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    Fred,
    Are you sure that your wife doesn't want to trade? Seriously, though, You've started your upgrades and your right to look at the whole process to determine what to do next.

    Upgrade plans should include: CPU, hard drive (and its bus speed),RAM and Graphics.

    CPUs for the Beige G3 run the full range from 500mhz G3s to Dual G4s like your wifes, and are the easiest way to speed up your computer. A CPU alone will not show a great improvement without faster hard drive to feed it and faster graphics to display it though.

    I don't know what a BUZZ video card is, it may serve your needs.

    If your using the internal drive bus for your hard drive that will most likely be your choke point. Speeding up the bus with either a ATA100 or 133 host card or a Ultra160 SCSI card with a fast and current drive will do much to close the gap with the G4.

    Weigh the costs of a CPU and a faster hard drive against buying a new computer and I think you still come out ahead.

    Rick

  3. #3
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    Thanks for the prompt advice Rick. The cards that you are recommending are I presume PCI Cards that I would in turn attach to a new and improved external hard drive, or is this an internal upgrade that would replace my existing hard drive. My current drive is a 30GB Western Digital Drive, that was installed in place of the original drive.
    I am not sure of the speed rating or bus rating of this drive.

    If what you are recommending is an external drive attached through a PCI port, what makes it faster than an internal drive. I thought the bus for internal was always faster than external drives.

    PS :
    The Buzz card is an Iomega product. It is in PCI port and has a faster SCSI port and a Purple "thingy" that accepts video and RT and Lft audio in and the same thing out 6 plugs in total (RCA jacks like a stero. I can input from a video cam or VCR and output to a VCR using this tool. I can also edit the video as it is processed through my computer.

    I have not fully used this as yet, just getting in to it. I have input from Video Cam and done some editing with my Adobe Premier and this part works well, but is slow.

    Fred

  4. #4
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    Hey Fred,

    You have many options. You can add a much faster ATA controller card in your open PCI slot and add or replace your internal HD with one or two faster internal IDE drives, You could add a SCSI PCI controller card and one or two very fast internal SCSI drives. You can find RAID solutions for either of the above options. You could drop in an XLR8 dual G4 CPU upgrade. These are all internal upgrades, you can go external with SCSI if you want (but not with the very slow onboard SCSI port you already have, save that for a scanner). There is no external ATA solution unless you get a prefabbed ATA RAID or array box.

    As ricks mentions, with a rev. A G3, your biggest slowdower is the dog-slow ATA controller on your motherboard. You might also consider a combo USB/FireWire card to replace your USB card and your BUZZ. Take inputs via FireWire and get a nice fast Radeon video card for the last PCI slot.

    Regards

  5. #5
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    Fred,
    I try to do as much as I can with internal installations. I like the quiet, uncluttered desktop as well as it's usually easier to do and cheaper.

    I have a B&W G3. The upgrades I did to it for Photoshop and my Baldurs Gate addiction are:
    XLR8 500 G3 upgrade CPU.

    Acard ATA133 hardware RAID card and 2 ATA66 20gig drives. (I spent less than $400 for this setup) It's at least 5 times faster than the original ATA33 bus and drive. (at the time I built the RAID I already had 1 of the drives, I actually spent $260 for the card and 1 more drive)I would not build this with ATA66 drives if I had a choice today.

    ATI Radeon graphics card. A li'l bit under $200. Great card.

    1 gig of RAM. RAM IS CHEAP. Now is the time to up your RAM. Video loves RAM. Nuff said.

    This B&W snorts fire. It would be faster still with a G4 cpu or what will soon come out for it, the Dual 500 G4. WOW. I have a QS867 to compare with and I usually will use the B&W for gaming while I leave the QS for work and Photoshop. There are a few noticable speed shortcommings compared to the QS. The graphics on a 4X AGP motherboard and the double bandwidth memory pipeline make for a big difference. But the B&W is more than useful, it rips.

    I would not be surprised if your hard drive can only read/write 10-15 MegaBytes per second on the ATA33 internal bus. The SCSI bus built in is only good for slow devices like a zip or a scanner like MacMikester said. The 2 drive ATA RAID I installed will pass 55-65 MB/s sustained read and write. Awesome.

    A faster, and more expensive route is to go with SCSI cards and drives. Again, internally. Even an Adaptec 2940U2B Apple OEM card on clearance sale on the GURUS front page with a single drive can get you many times the performance that you currently enjoy. Remember though to plan on buying cables and terminators for fast scsi solutions and they ain't cheap.

    If you have an idea what you want to accomplish the members of this forum can help you figure out how to do it and with the right parts. Planning your upgrade will save you a ton.

    Rick

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the advice Rick and MacMikester.
    I am going to look closer at this. I would certainly like your assistance in getting the optimum solution. Price/vs performance.

    Two things I need to chek on.

    I do not understand the difference and relationship of ATA and IDE.

    When I look at my System Profiler, I see Internal ATA Drive is WD300BB-00AUA1.(30GB). http://www.wdc.com/products/Products.asp?DriveID=7 (I think this is the one I have)
    I cannot tell if it is an IDE Drive or?? Do you think the WDC Drive is slow or just the bus.

    I am sorry that I am so uneducated on the various parts of my computer. I do not understand the relationship of the parts. If a person upgrades the processer does it upgrade the busses and/ or the Ram upgrade capability. Are these ATA controller cards separate from the processors etc.
    Thanks again for working with me. I am interested in how this stuff works but have soooo much to learn

    Fred

    My limitation on RAM seems to be three 256 chips. Does this change if I get a new Processor Card?

    I am going to check and see what the cost of some of the CPU upgrades are.

  7. #7
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    alahag,
    Hey, no apologies for wanting information. All of us started out knowin' nothin' about the mac, 'cept maybe Kaye who I think was born with a scsi cable in his hand.

    Lets see, ATA vs. IDE. They are the same thing in this reference (just different naming conventions). ATA drives are a little simpler than SCSI drives, in manufacture and in use. They cost somewhat less to make and are more common than scsi drives. They also are not warrantied for as long and are not as flexible as a scsi drive.

    ATA buses are limited to 2 drives, a master and a slave. You can put up to (usually) 15 drives on a SCSI bus.

    Adding a new bus to your computer involves installing a host card in an open PCI slot (Peripheral Component Interconnect). You have 3 of those. Vitually anything can be added to your computer via these PCI slots and cards manufactured to fit them. (graphics cards, USB and Firewire bus cards,sound cards etc) And you'll run out of open slots way before you run out of different cards to put in them.

    You already have a good ATA100 hard drive in that Caviar you bought. At this point you have the obvious choice of A: Add a ATA100 or 133 host card to get the max performance out of that drive. B: Add a ATA100 or 133 Hardware RAID host card and a second 30gig Caviar to double the performance from method 'A'.

    The number that you see after the ATA is the speed specification of the device. The spec keeps moving up as they improve the devices/buses. ATA33 is a bus rated at a maximum throughput of 33 MegaBytes per second. An ATA100 device was manufactured to meet the ATA100 100MB/s spec. That doesn't mean you'll get that much, just that the specifications were met. An ATA host card will be backwards compatible with older slower drives that you might attach to it. Of course, with some loss of speed.

    MacMikster mentioned RAID in his post. RAID = redundant array of independent devices. The slowest memory component part of a computer is the hard drives. By stacking them and reading/writing to more than one drive at a time we can add their slow speeds together to gain performance. This is called striping. There are other ways of RAIDing drives but for cheap performance we'll stick with that one. With the drive you have already you can add a Hardware RAID card and a second drive and achieve the same results I showed in my last post. That will give you many, many times the performance you currently get with the ATA100 drive installed on the (to quote MacMikester) dog-slow ATA33 bus on your computer. I think he slanders dogs.

    Next, look at the XLR8 CPU upgrades and choose one to fit your future needs and pocketbook. They work great and XLR8 is a great company with wonderful support. I have bought 4 of them. If you want to read about XLR8 products go to their website, the G3 pages are at: http://xlr8.com/ProductInfo/compatib...CPU-Cat-2.php3

    Also a great resource for figuring out a accerleration plan is Mike Breeden's http://www.xlr8yourmac.com
    Best source for looking up how others have fared with a upgrade in the database he maintains. Also you usually can find an article describing issues and how-to's for virtually any of the CPU and Drive bus installations.

    Last, any changes in CPU and/or buses does not change anything on your RAM slots. The only issue can be RAM quality, faster CPUs are less tolerant of RAM not meeting spec. Not a common issue, but possible problems can come from slower or less than optimum quality RAM and a fast CPU upgrade.

    Great questions, keep at it. The Gurus main site has reference pages such as the SCSi Pages of Doom that can teach you more than you'd believe, well written and fun to read.

    Rick



    [This message has been edited by ricks (edited 27 December 2001).]

  8. #8
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    I just spent the last six months upgrading a pair of 7300's and comparing it to my B&W G3 (w/ XLR8 G4/500 cpu upgrade).

    The cheapest is RAM which you've done. A G3/500 on the cheap maybe. A G4 will get memory thruput from where it is now (66MB/s probably) to nearly 2x that. no where near G4 of today. And only $100 more ($300+). Most will say that there isn't a lot of difference, mhz for mhz. Not me. G4 processor helps move data between cpu and cache. 99MB/s memory thruput vs 66MB (GaugePro).

    ATA/133: decent 35MB/s performance for pennies. I spent the most on SCSI (cables, terminator, controller). Easiest place to sink a fortune for small return in performance better invested elsewhere.

  9. #9
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    Thanks Rick
    Now I have some thinking and research to do on pricing etc.
    I need to be convinced that IF I sink money into upgrades, that I will be happy enough to extend the life of my machine and quit coveting the new Quicksilver 867.

    I suspect part of the desire for a new G4 is the DVD write drive. Maybe I can do this type of thing on a PCI card a lot cheaper than buying new. I definitly need a comparison.

    What is the big thing that I cannot get by upgrading that MIGHT make me regret doing an upgrade?

    Fred

  10. #10
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    I have been looking and three things seem to be in order for my machine.

    It seems to me that an XLR8 G4 500(G4-Z5001250) would be a nice processor upgrade. On the XLR site for $400

    Two 256 MB SDRAM chips to go with the 256 that I have in one of my three slots would bring my RAM to Max for this machine. - seem to be here on this site for $55 each

    Lastly I need an ATA 100 card as you suggested. I have not been able to find one of these on this site. Where do you suggest that I look.
    MacWarehouse in Canada has a Tempo ATA100 PCI Host Adapter card but I am not sure if it is compatible with my machine. It has a cost of about $120.00 US.

    Please advise if these changes seem to be a good choice. Maybe I should save 100 dollars and get the G3 Card instead. I am sure the ram is a good choice and that I should get the 100ata card.

    Where is a good place to look for these products and do some more price comparisons. I definitly think I will need help and assistance to install them. I am real new to this. The only thing I have installed myself on the G3 is memory and a couple of PCI cards.

    It seems to me the internal disc is going to need to be connected to the new PCI card. It seems difficult to me since I do not understand all the workings of the machine.

    If I make these upgrades, what will be missing in the way of features and speed related to the new Quicksilver that I would be giving up.
    I think I could get a new 768 for about 1700 dollars. Then a ram upgrade to match what I am looking at for the G3 would be about another 100.

    Sooo I am guessing but the upgrade looks like about 630.00 Therefore the difference is 1100 US. Plus I could sell the G3 for a nominal sum... What do you think it would be worth?
    Just a few thoughts.
    Is EBAY a good place to consider buying some of the upgrades I am looking for or would I be risking a lot in warranty loss.

    Fred

  11. #11
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    Good plan,
    You can get virtually everything from the Gurus, and they'll support it.

    Your G4 upgrade on this page: http://www.macgurus.com/shoppingcart...8boards1z.html

    Like you, I couldn't find a ATA100 host card. Gurus need to upgrade their stock, the Sonnet ATA100's been out for quite a while. I thought for sure they were carrying it. Oh well. Try a search at C-Net.com price comparison.

    Next thing is the question of whether to upgrade or by a new G4. That's the big question that only you can answer. The new QS has literally doubled the bandwidth on all the buses from memory bus to the PCI bus. As well, the speed of the buses are double what you have in the Beige G3. That's actually as important as the speed of the CPU. The fast and wide pipelines feeding the CPU are of huge significance. Your computer is easily upgraded to useful performance levels with your chosen parts, whether you will need even more and be better off with the QS is the BIG KAHUNA of answers.

    Last, I would not often recommend buying components on eBay. I think eBay items get bid up to unrealistic high values and parts are the worst for not knowing the quality of before purchasing. The prices couldn't be more competative than they are now for new stuff, go with the customer service and warranties.(How the Gurus make their dime)

    Cheers.
    Rick

  12. #12
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    Ricks
    Please look at the following for me and see if you think it is compatible for the Beige Desktop that I own. The one I am looking at is Sonnet Tempo..... Part # TAT-100

    http://www.sonnettech.com/product/tempo_ata100.html
    http://www.sonnettech.com/product/pr....html#tempo100

    The price of 99.95 seems to be reasonable.

    If this is the one then my upgrade would cost about $590.00
    Or for me in Canada $885.00 plus I would need to pick up the parts to avoid taxes.

    This is beginning to look like a feasable thing. To make the upgrades I mentioned in my last post, is there anything else I would require?

    Fred

  13. #13
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    That's as good a deal as any. Enjoy the speed.
    Sounds like you'll have a great computer when your done. I think the cables come with the Sonnet card. You should have everything you need with the XLR8 card,ram (from the Gurus of course) and the ATA100 card. Should be easy to install. Use the xlr8yourmac.com/systems area for how-to's on installing if you need it.

    Rick

    [This message has been edited by ricks (edited 30 December 2001).]

  14. #14
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    Thanks again Rick

    I placed an order for the Sonnet ATA100 card today. I thought I would install this and see what speed increase I get. If it is as good as I am hoping then I will add the other upgrades.

    If not I can still consider a new machine not much loss of cash.

    Anyway will be back to you once I get the upgrade in a week or so.

    Fred

    [This message has been edited by alahag (edited 31 December 2001).]

  15. #15
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    Hi Again Rick

    Well I am still waiting for delivery of my sonnett card. Apparently I ordered at a bad time they were closed for Christmas and Inventory.
    Now they have a backlog of orders to send out and it looks like it will be another week before I will get my card.
    If it does not ship by next week, I may look for another place to buy.

    Fred

  16. #16
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    Hi Fred,
    Sorry to hear your upgrade got downgraded. You might try the Acard models at http://www.microlandusa.com/microland/ Acard actually makes the Sonnet ATA100 host card if I'm not mistaken.

    I'm running the Acard RAID host card, works perfectly.

    Luck to you.
    Rick

  17. #17
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    If your HD is of quality as ricks says - I think you will be very impressed.

    I added a Miles2 PCI card and 10k Cheetah (I first planned a larger HD - glad I got my card) into a 7500 that already had a G3 400MHz upgrade and WOW. . Seems like a whole new upgrade.

    The ATA 100 really should fit good.

    I know we are talking about many differences in machines but I sure saw what can happen when you get proper use from a HD.

    Good luck
    Randy

  18. #18
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    I finally have received my new Sonnet Tempo ATA100 Card for the G3.
    Now I am feeling a bit scared to start installing it.
    I read the instructions that came with it rather quickly and it seemed quite scary. I also started to have questions about what was the best way to do this task.

    I am not really sure where to start with my questions, but here goes.
    1. Installation Overview. Can anyone give me an overview of how to proceed? I know I need to have a complete back up in case anything goes wrong, but then what.

    2. The sonnet instructions seem to indicate I will need to format my drive after installation. Is this true. If so I will need to reload my system software and all my programs. (I currently have my disc partitioned into three parts) System software, My data, and Apps.

    3. Since I currenty use 9.0.4 , and do not have a CD with this version on it, Loading my new system means I need to load to the 9.0 CD and then do upgrades from the Apple Web Site. I do not think I can restore my system from my back up since it is on an ORB SCSI disc and this of course does not work without a system. I am hoping I will not need to do this reload step, BUT IF I DO, is there a way I can make a CD that would have a base system on it plus my ORB Software so that I can use it to open my computer and maybe restore.

    4. Actually making a system CD with the basic software would be useful to me for other reasons. I cannot do extensive testing with my NOrton software (which I purchased on a download). This also prevents me from using Norton to recover in an emergency situation. I am sure there is a way to make a CD having NOrton and a basic system, but I do not know how to start. I presume it can be done.

    5. I imagine there is a location on this site that may help me with the installation as well.

    6. I plan to use my wifes computer to get in touch with you people if I start running in to problems during the istallation.

    Fred

  19. #19
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    Alright, new toys!

    Backups are an important part of your day to day operations. This install should NOT require you to do anything other than;

    1: Make sure you have important data backed up, Yes.
    2: Shutdown and plug in the ATA100 card.
    3: Hookup the cables that came with the ATA100 card to the drive.
    4: Reset the CUDA button, hold it down for 15 seconds at least.
    5: Restart, this will take more time as your selected system drive is no longer at the location (bus# + ID#) that it used to be at. You will see a flashing folder with a question mark on it while it lookes for the drive. Once your up and running select your drive in the startup drive control panel and that won't happen again.

    YOU SHOULD NOT HAVE TO INITIALIZE THE DRIVE! It will change over easily as is.

    As always be careful of static, touch the power sply case while working.

    Rick

  20. #20
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    To all,
    Great discussion you have going on and I've learned a lot (still need to learn more, but this is a great start). I'm new to Macs, having inherited two Beige G3/266s from my mother-in-law last July. Both are original models (64M of ram, 4 G hard drive, OS 9.1). Only upgrade I've added is a combo USB/FIREWIRE card in one of the computers .
    When Fred started the discussion on whether to upgrade or buy new , it looks like his computer already had a fair amount of upgrades, so continuing with the upgrade process makes sense. Given where my computers are starting, would you recommend saving the upgrade money and investing in one of the new systems? I was looking at the new Imac at the Apple store here in Memphis and for $1800, it seems that I would buy more computer than my G3 Beige will ever be. Thanks and look forward to hearing your advice.

    Bobo

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