Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
itsvince725

G5 Video Card Options

Recommended Posts

My G5 (2.3GHz dual processor) currently has a Radeon 9650 video card with 256MB of VRAM. My question is...was that the best you could do for a "Early 2005" Power Mac G5 like mine? If there's a 512MB upgrade, I'd love to chase it down, but I don't know a thing about PCI-X video cards.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First of all, you don't need to worry about PCI-X since the video is AGP.

 

The only 512mb option is a very rare flashed Gainward Bliss nVidia 7800GT.

 

In terms of retail/BTO options, the best was the Radeon X850 XT. The X800XT is a lot easier to find and nearly as good. I actually have an 850, but unfortunately it's decided to show something resembling a Van Gogh painting... I'm using an X800 instead in the dual 2.7 I'm running until I can figure out the issue with the 850.

 

The Geforce 6800 Ultra is also a great choice. These are a bit slower than the X800/X850 but are easier to find. In addition, the 6800 is dual DVI while the X800/850 are DVI+ADC. If you want to run a 30" Cinema display, the 800/850 on have one dual link DVI port, while both 6800 Ultra ports are dual link. Of course, if you want to run an ADC monitor, a card with an ADC port makes like easier. One potential downside to the 6800 is that it is a dual height card.

 

The Radeon 9800 is a good choice for the somewhat more budget conscious G5 owner.

 

My current set-up is a 23" Acrylic cinema display(ADC) along with a generic Dell 17" Ultra-Sharp. My plans very soon are to use a 30" Cinema along side the 23", although I need to find a way to make room for it on my desk.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So what you're telling me is that the 9650 wasn't very good? I mean, I figured it was merely okay, but you make it sound like just about every other option my era of G5 could have is better.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only dual 2.3ghz G5 is the last gen dual core PCIE model.

 

•Video: Nvidia GeForce 6600 LE. Nvidia 7800 GT with 256 MB and Nvidia Quadro FX 4500 with 512 MB optional

 

Prices are crazy because a mac ROM PCIE videoc ard is kind of rare, plus the 7800 series is flacky.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There have been very few performance-oriented AGP graphics cards with more than 256MB VRAM. Even fewer can be flashed with a PPC Mac ROM- the very specific model bunnspecial has noted is the only one I'm aware of.

 

If you search for 512MB AGP cards on eBay and the like, you'll mostly find entry level cards with slow and narrow memory interfaces- these would be inferior to your existing card. (If a suitable PPC Mac ROM existed)

 

If you want more performance for 3D gaming, a higher end 256MB card such as a Radeon 9800 Pro or X800XT (either Mac Edition retail or a suitable flashed PC card) would be my first choices. Bunnspecial does a nice job outlining the options above. I saw Mac ROM flashed 256MB X800XT cards for US $140 on eBay when I searched for "G5 AGP".

Edited by rsolberg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just to show off a bit, from left to right here's a Radeon 9650, Radeon 9800, Geforce 6800 Ultra, Radeon X800XT and Radeon X850XT. These are all Mac edition cards.

 

IMG_3653.jpg

 

The PC Radeon FireGL X3 actually flashes beautifully into a Mac edition X800. These were at one time cheap and plentiful on Ebay, although someone has been buying them up recently. They are easy to find pre-flashed. Unlike the Mac edition, these have dual DVI. They also require external power-you will need to snake a molex splitter up to the optical drive to use one. They work great, though. A friend of mine recently soldered a 128K Mac ROM chip onto one of these and was able to flash it with the full X850XT ROM(most PC cards only have a 64K ROM chip, which requires a reduced ROM and brings its own problems).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh! Just out of curiosity...could I put the 9650 in my G4? Sure 256MB of VRAM is kinda extraneous for a G4, but if it works, I might as well give the card a new home.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh! Just out of curiosity...could I put the 9650 in my G4? Sure 256MB of VRAM is kinda extraneous for a G4, but if it works, I might as well give the card a new home.

 

I maintain a pretty heavily used PPC system for both legacy software and legacy peripherals. For about two years-up until last week-that system was a dual 1ghz PowerMac G4 Quicksilver(I've since replaced it with a dual 2.7 G5, something I'd been planning for a while but just hadn't take the time to do).

 

In any case, I ran a G5 Radeon 9600XT in the Quicksilver. This is a very similar card to the 9650, except that it has(I think) 64mb of VRAM and has ADC+DVI. The 9600 gave me CI support in Leopard, and I wanted ADC to be able to drive my 23" Cinema

 

The 9600 and 9650 will both work in 4x G4s(Digital Audio, Quicksilver, MDD) provided that you tape pins #3 and 11 on the back side. Once this is done, the card is drop in. On the ADC 9600, I had to do a bit of additional work to get ADC working since the power tab is in a different location(I lost the ability to boot the computer from the monitor button, but retained USB support). This, of course, isn't that relevant to you.

 

The 9650 I picture above is currently taped and was that way when I received it exactly because it had been used in a DA G4.

 

This series cards is one of the best to "hack" into a G4 for core image support. In fact, a later retail card from the series-the 9600 Pro PC&Mac-drops into a 4x G4 without taping. ATI officially quit endorsing them for use in pre-MDD computers, although both the ones I have(which I bought in shrink wrapped retail boxes) work fine in Quicksilvers.

 

If you plan to boot into OS 9 on your G4, though, forget it as you will get no hardware acceleration.

 

Also, I'll just mention that my Quicksilver had a short "retirement." It's now running OS 9 exclusively(although I'm going to reinstall the OS X hard drive pair) and has a Geforce 4Ti. It's getting set up as a "gaming machine."

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In addition to what was mentioned here, just about any of the cards mentioned here will all be overclockable quite significantly especially the ATI ones. So if the price difference is quite substantial from one card to the next, you can always find a solid guide on volt modding (which is unbelievably easy on these old cards). Then go ahead and use something like ATIccellerator and max out the clock on it. I mean realistically if you can get an extra ~30-40% for simply putting some pencil lead over a resistor on the Voltage Controller and dragging a slider, it might be a good try instead of spending a couple hundred for a card that's only the same bit faster.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The PC Radeon FireGL X3 actually flashes beautifully into a Mac edition X800. These were at one time cheap and plentiful on Ebay, although someone has been buying them up recently. They are easy to find pre-flashed. Unlike the Mac edition, these have dual DVI. They also require external power-you will need to snake a molex splitter up to the optical drive to use one. They work great, though. A friend of mine recently soldered a 128K Mac ROM chip onto one of these and was able to flash it with the full X850XT ROM(most PC cards only have a 64K ROM chip, which requires a reduced ROM and brings its own problems).

There's one (unmodified) on Ebay right now for about $30 after shipping. Item number 272437805013. There was a period a few years ago when some kind of sales channel was full of them for about that price. Replacing the Flash chip is definitely the way to go in my opinion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Outside flashing, there are four options for PCIe G5s. The factory options were the 6600, 7800GT, and Quadro FX4500. There was a retail Radeon X1900GT.

 

The Quadro is the "sexy" card that everyone wants, but for most folks the Radeon is the better card. 

 

BTW-with regard to the above comment on overclocking cards-proceed with a bit of caution on single height Radeons(including the FireGL). They can put out a lot of heat. The stock cooler is fine for stock clock speeds, but rob a dual height cooler off a PC version of the card if you want to push things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×