I recently bought a G4 733mhz tower, I bought it simply to try macs and see if I like it to make a full time switch from windows. I'm trying to upgrade the machine for the lowest ammount possible. So far I have an additional HD I will be putting in and I've sourced 1.5GB of RAM for it which I think is the max for the machine. My big questions are what's the max I can overclock the CPU to and remain stable. I've found an article about removing one resistor and getting the CPU up to 800mhz, but that hardly seems worth the risk of breaking the CPU. I have looked at the CPU upgrade cards on OWC and while they are a great bang for the buck, I don't want to sink that kind of money into the machine at this point. I've looked on EBay but there aren't many used CPUs for sale. Are there any other places online where I should check for used upgrade CPUs? can I swap the CPU card in my machine with another faster Apple CPU card?
I'm mostly going to use the machine at home for surfing, pictures editing, photoshop, music. Do I need to upgrade the 32Mb video card it has for this sort of use?
Will these types of applications run fine in OSX on this machine, or is it going to be too clunky?
Loc: Florida, USA
Welcome to macmod.
Macs are the Cadillac of the computer world while the PC is the Civic. Meaning you can do so much with a mac and a PC is very customizable.
Adding a bigger drive is very helpful and maxing out the memory are the main points for upgrading a mac, as I can see you have already thought of that. Theres a small handful of video cards to upgrade too and some of them are not just PnP. Some you have to flash or end up spending twice the amount for what you would pay for a video card for a PC. Flashing a card is your best bet if you know how to do it. As for the CPU the after market CPU upgrades cost a lot but they're worth it, still cheaper then dishing out a grand for a new system or end up with a system that has less upgrading options. 733MHz is way plenty to do some neat stuff on that system. Don't really need a power house of a system unless you want to play games but most popular games aren't supported on a mac. For a while there I was using a old iMac for music recording and it worked fine and the system is 10 times slower then the mac you have. If you really want to upgrade the CPU then go for it. Might as well max out the CPU. If you end up not liking the mac you can sell it on ebay and get a nice amount for it. The only program I have found to run clunky on a mac is FrontRow but I ran this on a B&W system with a 16MB video card.
My girlfriend couldn't believe I bought a mac on ebay until her PC died from a brownout and I loaned her my mac and she fell in love with it. No viruses, spyware/malware, endless open source programs to chose from and the system didn't really bog down after cramming the HD with hundreds of programs, music and videos.
You won't notice a massive difference from a better graphics card unless you are doing some hardcore stuff with Photoshop. 3D work is what benefits from the GPU, like Motion, or various 3D games. OC'ing will not likely get you much of a speed boost, but as far as I know most Quicksilvers have interchangeable CPUs. It is possible that some may not fit correctly for physical reason, or you may need to swap in the correct heatsink to go with it. You may find that some other CPUs will fit and work, but these are most likely going to be from older, slower Macs . The only faster ones are mirror doors and those chips do not fit. You ought to be able to get a dual CPU module for it if you are patient. Try local Mac repair shops in case they are parting any out.
OSX does perform better with faster graphics. More eye candy and better performance in some applications. The only way to get that performance with your machine is with a 9800 pro (maybe the 9600 with tape mod, check Apple's website). BUT, a cpu upgrade is the best performance enhancer you can buy. You didnt say if it was a Digital Audio (dark blue and grey) or a Quick Silver (silver and grey). The QS version of the 733 is the best overclocker because it has no extra cache, but its also slower. You should be able to hit 867-933 on the QS and a replacement if you break it on ebay is super cheap. The DA is a different story although 800 should be no problem. Check http://www.xlr8yourmac.com for user OC experiences. I say, if you use media apps go straight for a dual G4 upgrade of the fastest you can afford. Upgrade the video later when you have some extra cash.
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