Loc: San Francisco, CA
So, last month I bought a Dual 867 MHz Mirror Drive Door PowerMac G4. It has 512MB of RAM and is pretty much stock all around (it has an AirPort card in it already, which is good, since I share internet service with my neighbor via wi-fi). In general, this machine is great. It's my way of finally upgrading from a 400MHz G3 iMac DVse (and to a lesser extent, a 700MHz G3 Dual USB iBook (16MB video)). Naturally, I want more...
I have big plans for this machine as it's my first Mac that's a) actually mine AND b) not an all-in-one or a laptop.
In addition to simple changes like more RAM and a new video card and a couple other expansion cards, I'd like to make cooling modifications (more and new fans), overclock the processors, and overclock the system bus speed (which will inherently overclock the processors, apparently).
Now, after doing a great deal of research on this matter, there are still a number of things I'm in the dark on. I'm not some kind of computer science wiz so I won't pretend to know how resistors truly work (I get the general idea), or even what the ones in my machine are rated at (if that's even the right way to say it). I don't understand a lot of things about electronics*, but slowly I'm changing that (and happily, because learning is so much fun when there's no school involved).
I guess I should give an exact list of what I'd LIKE to do, and then explain where I'm confused.
1) (This step is already done) Add a bigger, better hard drive (for a total of two HDDs) - I put in a Maxtor 200GB 7200RPM ATA133 drive with a 16MB buffer. It runs great so far... The other drive is a 60GB IBM, presumably 7200RPMs with a 2MB buffer (ATA100). I may eventually reformat the 60GB (it's unused right now) and give it a partition to install Linux on (not sure which distro yet...) for fun and maybe development testing purposes.
2) Max out the RAM (2GB unless the max can be overcome somehow) with low-latency RAM (I have my unfounded reasons :teeth:) with heat spreaders on 'em. I won't do this until all overclocking is done due to the higher bus speed requiring PC2700 DDR SDRAM (or faster, really, but it won't run faster than the system can use - which I'm sure you all know). By low latency I mean, preferably, CL2. I figure, why not? (If that 2GB cap can actually be overcome, I'd very happily put in 4GB and start doing some audio and video work.)
3) Overclock the system bus from 133 MHz to 167 MHz. I've read this requires buying the processor daughter board (can we call those dabo's?) from a 167MHz bus'ed MDD/FW800 machine. I don't want to do that. The difference is, what, one resistor on the dabo (heehee)? So why not just make that change?
4) With the bus OC, the processors will jump up to 1.25 GHz, right? I don't know what my 867's are actually rated at (apparently many were 1 GHz models, underclocked to meet demands for the 867 models), but I might not be comfortable with a massive OC, so dropping them down to an even 1.0 GHz might be my ultimate course of action. Naturally, I can run at 1.25 for a bit and attempt stress tests. If neccessary, I'll up the voltage a bit, too. Hopefully some day there'll be an MDD dual processor upgrade in the 1.7-2.0 GHz range. That'd be rockin'!
5) Fans! The fans in the machine are, apparently, the ones from Apple's replacement program, but they're still loud. My dad came by shortly after I got this MDD and said it's quieter than his Digital Audio 733 MHz G4. It's louder than his Dual 2.7 G5, so that's kind of sad to me... Actually, when more fans in the G5 kick in, it's a lot louder than my MDD! First and foremost then, is replacing the PSU fans, side door fan, and main, large fan. If possible, I'd like to put one of those pretty copper heatsinks in to replace the stock, finned aluminum one. QUESTION: Can you actually put the copper heatsink on non-FW800 series MDDs? In addition to that, I'm willing to add more fans (quiet ones) if it actually reduces noise by keeping the whole system generally cooler. Fans on top of the heatsink? A-OK by me. Fans at the bottom of the front of the case? Cool (it looks neat from the underside of the machine too). A PCI card fan? Sure! Why not? I'm probably going to take the speaker off and mount it into the top of the case to allow air to pass through the speaker grill. (I have a pair of Apple Pro Speakers and they sound great to my ears.) The goal here isn't so much heat - my room rarely ever gets hot. Even with three or four people hangin' out watchin' movies on my giant bed (or playin' video games), the room stays pretty cool. Good ol' San Francisco property located near Lake Merced... Woah, I got WAY sidetracked. The goal here isn't so much heat reduction, but noise reduction. I often find myself using my computer while my wife is sleeping. Oh, and putting the tower under my desk isn't a good option (It'll get kicked... a lot). Oh, this leads to one more QUESTION: Is my power supply strong enough? It's an AcBel (?) with a lot of Chinese characters on it. API1PC36? AC Input 100-127/200-240V~,7.0A/3.5A (some Chinese characters) 50-60Hz. DC Output it notes for +5.0V and +3.3V that there's a 108W Max.
6) Expansion! I'd like to add a USB 2.0 card, a second optical drive (for disk to disk copies and so I can put my external burner back with my old iMac DVse), and uh... I guess that's it. I suppose a video card upgrade could be considered expansion (it does go in card slot, after all). The USB 2.0 card I looked at (a Keyspan model, 4 ports) has an internal port. QUESTION: Could I then use that internal port to, say, power something inside the case? As far as graphics cards, I'm a bit lost. While I'm sure an ATI Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition (128MB) would be great for what I do (which includes playing World of Warcraft and VERY few other games), they cost a lot. And, if I'm going to spend over $250, I might as well spend closer to $300 and shoot for something better. This might require flashing a card (time to buddy up with some PC users...), or hacking apart the pins on some card to make it fit in the AGP4x slot. Yay!
So, I hope my post wasn't too confusing. Please bear with me - I'm a newbie to stuff like overclocking and fan mods. Soldering? I might outsource that job to my dad (who, conviently, lives very close to me).
I'd also like to pretty up the machine's guts by changing ribbon cables to braided cables and, well, cleaning the parts. Computers get so dusty!!!
Thanks in advance to all of you and to whom it concerns, I really appreciate this site even existing.
Oh, PS: When I start working on all of this, I'll document it all and make a mod guide/article (which I'll also put on my own site).
DP 1.08GHz PMG4 MDD, 1GB PC2700 DDR, 200GB ATA (16MB, 7200RPM), Radeon 9800 Pro (256MB)
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