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It's only a tool, and doesn't provide definitive answers, but you might want to try and run xBench and also check out the forums and processor results; you will find your machine with processor upgrades listed there almost certainly.

Take a few moments, though, and see what other steps people use to speed up their Macs. Compare memory, video and disk tests; it's not all in the CPU and might save you some money.

xBench Results

xBench Application
 

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hahaha gordguide, talk about coincidence!
I have recently upgraded my G4-400 sawtooth. I went through quite a debate before making the decision to upgrade rather than going G5.
the upgrade enabled extra workload and perform tasks quicker. i also want to stay on top of current software to benefit from new functionality.
with a new mac comes improved hardware architecture like system bus (non upgradable), but at a smaller cost my upgraded G4 is solid, reliable and definitely much snappier.
Timing was also another factor cause i like to wait for the 2nd or 3rd generation G5 to become more mature.
I suggest if an upgrade is to be done it should be all the way. the processor is only a part of performance improvement.
I upgraded from a stock G4-400 sawtooth to 1 Gz with 1 Gb ram, 2 extra 40 Gb 8 mb hard drives, 32 mb video, bluetooth and 4x superdrive. running panther on 20" cinema display. I get to keep soundsticks, airport and the internal zip 100. one thing is after all the work, the surround sound from DVDs and music (CDs & itunes) sounds the same, just as good (rock the pants off)!
i am hoping this investment can last me another couple of years until i am ready for the 3Gz dual G5.
with a little help over the net and macdoc, i have had so much fun putting it together myself, this was the best. rollee



[ February 13, 2004, 03:12 AM: Message edited by: rollee ]
 

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Boy, I've been there and back on this issue lo these past couple of months! :rolleyes:

I write music on my Mac, and was using Logic Platinum 4.x on OS 9 (everything else I do in X). I wanted to finally upgrade to Logic 6 for OS X. I also had been using Emagic's EXS24 virtual sampler (where the Mac loads sounds into its RAM and you play them. It's a pro-level Garageband) and, as Logic 6 allows for WAY more instruments, I wanted the most RAM a pre-G5 can take, and anticipated (correctly) that my G4/450 couldn't take much more pounding than what it was getting with Logic 4.8.1. PLUS, in OS 9, my RME Hammerfall Light audio card could handle some of the load of performing all the realtime midi -- but in Mac OS X, that on-card capability IS NOT UTILIZED! :eek: It's all handled by the processor, or completely "host-based". I've been told it's a Coreaudio issue; not a driver issue -- but I was told this by the card maker, so who the hell knows? Bottom line is that the G4/450 was taking a pretty hard beating :(

I can't afford a dual G5 yet. So, do I sell my Sawtooth 450? Upgrade it? Buy a newer used? Buy that "unbelievable" G5 deal in Montreal (that came housed in newspaper and is toasted :mad: )?

The specs of the Sawtooth plays on my mind, too: 100MHz FSB, ATA 66 drives and 2X AGP. Friends thought that pouring money into this Sawtooth was not the best way to go, and I should find a good used G4 deal. But, finding just the right package within my budget is difficult, adding to it to meet my requirements would cost more as well AND my Sawtooth is already upgraded a fair bit. So, here's what I found and ultimately decided upon:

So, with the used Mac approach, I had about $1,000.00 to play with, plus whatever I could get for my Sawtooth (maybe $700.00?) -- but I preferred a dual 1GHz or faster. That would be ideal (a Superdrive was not critical). That's hard to find within that price range, and cheaper G4 systems weren't right for me. For example, Mac OS X can read 2GB of RAM, but the Digital Audio and Quicksilver Macs only have THREE RAM slots, with a maximum of 1.5GB of RAM. PLUS, some Quicksilvers (like the 733MHz ones, I think), don't have an L3 cache. So, for those reasons too, they were out of the question. Really, I was looking at MDD G4s, and they were just out of my reach -- especially if you factor in any RAM increases to 2gig I'd have to buy.

There were other issues that took some of the luster away from newer used G4 systems. Both Rob Morgan at barefeats.com and Mac Addict had found that the G4 motherboard was a bottleneck to the DDR RAM and cache memory from being fully utilized. In his test conclusions, he found the results "Depressing. Scandalous!" And he tested again and again and again... with the same results. Yes, the 4X AGP, 133MHz FSB and ATA100 drives will make a difference when compared to a Sawtooth for some functions -- but NOT the type I do. I load up huge banks of samples when setting up a song and play them within RAM. I do very little realtime disk streaming. So, the AGP and drive bus doesn't factor into my scenario. The memory bus speed might, however. I need a fast processor and lots of RAM, but will a super-fast processor upgrade saturate the memory bus??

Well, I'm about to find out, because I decided to go with a processor upgrade.

My G4/450 already has an internal CDRW, a serial port (for my old midi interface), 1GB of RAM (halfway there) and 92GB of internal drive space. Oh, and because I just couldn't see clearly at great distances in Medal of Honor (damned snipers!), a few months back I bought an ATI Radeon 9000 Pro card at Clickon Mac solutions for $189.00. Man, that was a FANTASTIC price! So, much of what I need I already have. And ya know, I feel like upgrading this old puppy to the max just to see. Besides, I see this Sawtooth serving the family as a second computer when I eventually do get a dual G5, so the investment will stay in the family and I'll drive it into the ground over the next four or so years (even if I get a G5 in two).

So, my first stop was at Barefeats, but Rob hasn't kept up testing processor upgrades like he used to. So then it was onto XLR8YOURMAC, where they maintain A GIGANTIC user report database. There are A LOT of reports on all the upgrade makes available! I waded through dozens of posts and eventually gave up. I also read tests results at Mac Speedzone, and reviews here, here, and here.

Remember, i want a dual G4. not only OS X but Logic loves duals.

What I found is that -- not surprisingly -- all the different makes of upgrades are equally powerful at identical clock-speeds. No one maker has an advantage in this aspect. Strangely, Sonnet has failed to keep up in the dual upgrade arena, however. The other three (Mercury Extreme, Powerlogix and Gigadesigns) offer dual upgrades.

The Sonnets are passively cooled, as are the Powelogix (I forget about the Mercury Extremes). The Powerlogix cards, however, have a bit of a "gotcha": their dual G4 upgrades require a special firmware revision AND only ONE of the dual G4 processors work when running on Mac OS 9. I didn't like relying on a third party for such a crucial element as firmware. Like, what could possibly happen down the road as Apple upgrades their STOCK firmware and a Mac OS X revision needs it?! I gotta wait?! Plus, people were having some problems with Powerlogic's duals made of the hotter running (and older) 7455b G4 processors. Apparently, things have cooled down with the newer 7457 G4s. BTW, the 7455 uses single data rate RAM in their cache, and the 7457 uses DDR RAM. But again, the throughput on that processor doesn't really take much advantage of the DDR bandwidth. Having MORE cache memory -- regardless of RAM type -- is a good thing, however.

SO! (this post long enough for ya?) Just what did I do? Well, I bought a gig of used RAM from a fellow ehMacer, checked the prices at Carbon for processor upgrades, promptly fainted, then hit Otherworld Computing's website in the states. Yes, I bought American. Sorry guys, but Jeez for the price of the fastest upgrade at Carbon -- a single 1.2GHz for $800.00-- I ordered the Gigadesign's DUAL 1.2GHz for CAN$900.00, including shipping (and no tax) -- but not including duty (if they catch it). It left Chicago (and the USA) via US Postal Service around 3pm on Wednesday. So, I hope to get it, tomorrow. Otherworld has a great website, showing LOTS of products!

The bummer about the Gigadesigns is that, although it is a dual 1.2GHz with 2MB of L3 cache per processor, it is fan cooled. On the one hand, I appreciate the dependability of active cooling, but on the other hand, it'll be noisier :(

I will let you know how it goes!
 

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Just reading through page two of the Macspeedzone link I gave. Even between an 800MHz and 1GHz upgrade on the same 100MHz FSB Powermac, there is an increase in performance. Ditto with the 1.2GHz cards on page three. I was concerned about the system bus getting saturated, but at least with the singles, it doesn't seem to be happening. If it was, I think there'd be more even numbers across the clockspeed range of these cards. regardless, one processor is one thing for the bus to handle; another processor is literally another story. We'll see!
 

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Given that there is more to a machine than just the CPU how good will an older MAC (say a sawtooth G4 400) really perform with 1.2 ghz upgrade compared to a new 1.25 ghz machine...

Any informed opinions out there... I am sure the answer to this would help more people than just me
 

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I would think that the major consideration would be what you have invested in your current machine and what you need it to do.

If you have 3 or 4 PCI cards in a tower Mac, or more than a Gig of RAM, or it's set up in a certain way that is perfect as far as function goes, you have to think about what it costs to get that same functionality in a new machine.

That alone can add more than the cost of a processor upgrade, and you have to buy a new Mac to boot. It may make good sense to get another year or two out of it (at decent performance levels) than to buy new; in essence it allows you spread the cost of those cards over a longer period,

If your Mac is essentially stock, or if (for example) a G5's sound in and out is as good as the card you bought for audio, then it's easier to buy a new machine; the overall speed is worth consideration.

Personally I don't consider upgrading until new machines are 3x faster than what I have, and even then I have pretty good patience with a nicely working system; it's really all I expect from a computer.

If a processor upgrade can put me where it will be another year or two before I see that 3x increase, it's worth it. For people with systems that aren't packed with RAM and cards, it's actually a tougher decision, because the upgrade cost to a new G5 is less, comparatively.

I've never tried a processor upgrade but may be looking to do so in 6 months or so. I want to get at least another 18 months out of the QuickSilver. I can say that so far it's fast enough; I don't wait on it much. It's really the best Mac I've ever owned.

Certain Macs are at a 'sweet spot" where processor upgrades just take them where they should have been in the first place. Others have slow I/O that isn't particularly helped by a fast processor.

Your best bet is to ask about your particular machine and whatever card you are thinking about. Do the whole thing: your video card, how much RAM, what else, what you do with it.

Someone here has probably upgraded the very machine you own.

[ February 13, 2004, 12:59 AM: Message edited by: gordguide ]
 

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The overall speed improvement will be noticed with that kind of upgrade. However, I would not buy the 1.2GHz but stick with the 1Ghz upgrade and save some $ or invest in the 1.4Ghz upgrade.

I agree with gordguide on his post with regards to upgrading. If you have invested in memory and other upgrades into that machine of yours then an upgrade is worth it. But if you have a stock machine and want to upgrade it to something faster, then perhaps a brand new Mac would be wiser in the long run.
 

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My upgrade arrived, this morning! Will install in late afternoon.
 

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Visual-Q, I have posted about my installation of a dual 1.3Ghz G4 upgrade on my Sawtooth here.
 

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I'm in the process of upgrading my G4 450Mhz.

I have put in a Superdrive Pioneer A106D which works awesome, picked it up brand new for $160.00. I have upgraded my video card from the stock 16MB to an ATI Mac Radeon 32MB brand new for $60.00. So I have spent only $220.00 taxes inc. My next step is to put in a 120GB HD 7200rpm and keep my 40GB hd now as a secondary. That will cost me under $140.00 for the 120GB brand new, plus I will add in a processor card of 1Ghz or 1.4Ghz by summer. By the time I'm finished I'm looking at around $1000.00 for my upgrade costs. Which is not bad compared to the used systems at some of the local retailers which are a lot more for a little faster system then mine. I'll be good for another 2-3 years, which by that time I will have enough saved up for a brand new whatever machine at the time :D
 

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Nice goin' Urban_Legend!
 

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This is SUCH a timely thread macaholic! :cool:

I am currently wrestling with the question of whether to upgrade my rock solid Sawtooth G4 400 AGP or to buy something newer.

I have a gig of RAM and 220gigs of HD space in this older G4. I do a lot of DV editing and the 400 won't even load GarageBand or Soundtrack...which I want to use for background music on my videos. It is dog slow on FCP4, as well.

After reading your very informative post...I'm thinking of upgrading, instead of selling (This is SUCH a good machine. No grief, ever! I love it!)

Tell us more! Please! ;)
 

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hey macnutt


The weak link in the Sawtooth chain is the ATA66 drive bus. For ME, and the work I do, it's not an issue, as I do little disk-based multitrack recording.

Your work, on the other hand, requires fast drives to keep those high-res video files streaming in off disk. But I'm surely telling you what you already know, and can determine the Sawtooth's ability to serve you in this regard, yourself. But hey, if you got a PCI slot open, you can pop an UW SCSI card in there or whatever. Replacing all your ATA66 drives would be expensive, however. In this case 9pardon the "case" pun), maybe a more current Mac with faster drive bus and large stock or added drives would be a viable option?

All I tested was the Export command in iMovie and not any effects or titling. But if the times for exporting are any indication, you can expect FAST renders with this system -- and I bet even still impressive times if FCP had to cache to your ATA66 disks in the process. If i can render out of iMovie in less-than-realtime, I'm happy.

The trick with replacing the Sawtooth with a better used one is finding the right used G4 system AND getting your Sawtooth sold money-in-hand and coordinating the two procedures. Cash flow. For some, cash flow may not be an issue, and for others a G5 was a financially viable decision. it wasn't for me, and a system as fast or faster than my Sawtooth as upgraded would come by very rarely. It's faster than any Quicksilver and most MDD models in almost every usage scenario, and Quicksilvers can only handle 1.5GB of RAM. And many MDD G4s being offered up for sale would cost more than two grand, or would need enhancements to suit my needs (mainly maxed RAM). The bonus with these models is coming across one with a Superdrive. Some may also come with a monitor, but that may not be relevant to your needs...

ANYWAYS, on the whole I'm happy with my decision and think that I got the best bang for the buck. YMMV
Certainly, I think the stigma of upgrading the old Sawtooth's architecture is overblown. Not irrelevant; just overblown.
 

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Funny you should mention upgrades, I was thinking of getting
a G3-900 mhz Zif upgrade from OWC, But held off thinking
that they'd always have them and maybe I should get the Midi
keyboard and software I wanted first while I've got the credit.

Well...Guess what?
I just noticed today that OWC doesn't have the G3-900 Zif
anymore, All they have are G4-500ish Zif's for Beige.

Looks like all those CPU starved G3 Beige users that wanted to
run Garage brand have bought out all the chips.

Oh well...It's just my luck, I should have bought the chip first
and then the Midi keyboard, But then the sale on the Midi
keyboard is over now.

I just can't win in a poor mans economy.
(Maybe eBay'll have something when I get my income tax return)

Dave :cool:
 

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Dolawen, I wouldn't upgrade a beige. They're dead. Apple isn't supporting them anymore. UNLOAD IT ASAP and at least move onto a Sawtooth.

My 2¢ -- not that you asked for it
 

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Dolawren, check out Powerlogix Direct
-inventory clearance right now-don't see the G3/900 right now, but it was the same price as OWC-they have the 800 for US $199. Also some great deals on Powerforce 100 series- 1.4ghz for about US$400-great for upgrading Sawtooth, Gigabit machines. I have a Powerlogix 900 in a B&W (tried it in a Beige as well, nice boost-but have a G4/500 in that box), and a Gigadesigns 800 (at 900) in a Gigabit. You could probably spruce up your Beige with a processor upgrade, a PCI-ATA 133 card, a fast ide drive, etc. for much less than any Pentium...
ATA card and drive(s) can be transplanted into whatever later...
I just helped a friend upgrade his beige with G3/500, Radeon 7000, fast drive for not much more than $300 (CDN)-he installed Panther, and it zips along... though if you find a good deal on a basic Sawtooth, it may be a better investment with more upgrade possibilities later. The Sonnet G4/1000 upgrade costs as much(or more) as some Sawtooths I've seen listed here lately...
 

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It's cheaper for me to just buy a Pentium for a music studio
and keep the Beige as an Internet work horse.
a decision you would regret for a very long time!

i just helped a friend of mine set up their brand spanking new Super Pentium 7.23 Ghz machine and guess what....the thing's only good at surfing the net, INMHO. they called me in a panic because they couldn't figure out how to burn a CD, and their machine didn't have sound, and they couldn't set up their email because when they tried to click on the icon for outlook express, windows asked for the serial number for microsoft word (!). when we did get on the net, we were instantly bombarded with warning messages about computer security that we had to analyse in minute detail to figure out which ones were legit and which were false....i found i couldn't log into my webmail, i'd just get redirected to the login screen...

boy, they sure did save money though


incidentally, the only easy way they could play mp3's was after i downloaded iTunes for them....
 

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Thanks for the info,
I'll try looking at the other options.
I may just add a 500 mhz Zif CPU to my 7300/G3 carrier card
and use that as a music studio until I can afford a Sawtooth.

$149. "Brand new" isn't that expensive.
Well...Maybe it is after shipping.

Dave :cool:

[ February 19, 2004, 10:09 AM: Message edited by: dolawren ]
 

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I personally here great things about processor upgrades. I have not experienced a machine first hand with one, but I had a topic on here a while ago to ask if a B&W 350 would do good with a processor upgrade for what I was doing (Mac OS X server). But someone on here said that Mac OS X server does not support processor upgrades.
 

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apart from being a 'tad' more noisy (cause my mercury extreme processor has a fan attached to it), my upgrade experience has been very favourable.
the platform is very stable, all my usual apps were running smooth and fast, however i have yet to install and use idvd (ultimate test) when i get ilife. changed parts were immediately recognized by the system, just plug & play.
i figure by the end of its useful life i can still keep this sawtooth in the house as a dvd-hd-tv recorder/email-internet machine.
ps. a standalone (dvd hdd recorder) from sony/panasonic is over $1000 now.
 
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