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Dimitris1980

Power Macintosh G3 Minitower Upgrades

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A friend of mine some years (8 years ago i think) before gave me a power macintosh computer but he didn't know if it is working. I didn't know then so much regarding the retro macintosh computers like now where i have 5 working macs (LC475, Performa 6116, Powerbook 540c, Imac G3 & Power Macintosh G4 MDD. So i checked my basement and i found that this mac is a power macintosh G3 minitower. When i find time i would like to test it and if it works i will try to fully upgrade it. So what upgrades can i do with this machine? I guess that it cannot be faster than my Imac G3 (500 Mhz, 1 gb ram, 40gb hard drive, 16mb video card) (for the G4 MDD no comments) but probably it is (or can be) faster than my performa 6116? On my performa i have installed a sonnet nubus G3 at 500mhz card, 136mb of ram, 73gb hard drive and it really flies. Also i have an apple 8100 video card with 4mb and i can connect two monitors. I use all my macintosh computers for retro gaming from games like monkey island to games like Carmageddon 2 so the good thing is that i can use the most suitable computer depending the requirement of a game. So i am asking again, what upgrades can i do for this computer to make it the fastest as possible? For instance the power macintosh 9600 is a great machine because is extremely expendable and you can also upgrade it with a sonnet g4 card and upgrade the memory to 1,5gb. I thank all in advance for the answers because i know that you will do it with pleasure.

 

 

Regards

Dimitris from Greece

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You'll be able to upgrade a beige g3 (or a blue-and-white, for that matter) so it slots in between the iMac and the G4. Whether it's worth doing and whether that will give you a discrete performance level that's worth using in games is a question that's worth asking.

 

I have a Beige G3@333 in pretty close to stock condition for that model, and it's a great machine, but it probably wouldn't be worth using if I had a working fast iMac G3 and also a fast 6100 that has been G3 upgraded.

 

The cap for the Beige G3 will be some sort of fast G3 or G4 chip, which will probably be  drop-in upgrade on the socket, 768 megs of RAM, a PCI video card (if your games need it, otherwise beige onboard video is perfectly good), and there will then be two more PCI cards for whatever specialized things you'd like, such as SATA storage, sound card, USB/Firewire, etc.

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VRAM can be upgraded to 4mb

RAM can be upgraded to 768mb

Optional Upgrades:

400mhz G4 CPU from G4 PCI if you ever find one.

There are after market G3/G4 ZIF will fit

 

Sonnet SATA card and run SATA HDDs off it

DVD burner

USB Card

ZIP Drive

 

Ive got one it has 350mhz G4 in it, maxed out memory, 4mb VRAM, AV card... just sitting there doing nothing

Cheers

AP

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In theory, it could be faster than your iMac G3.   PowerLogix sold 700 - 1000 MHz G3 ZIF cards based on the IBM PPC750FX and PPC750GX, which had clock multipliers that went up to 20X.   Finding one now days would be close to a miracle, though.

 

There are a few rare Beige G3s which act like they won't support more than 512MB of RAM.  This a flaw in the ROM module.  Apparently a few were made which tie pin 122 on the ROM module to ground.   That limits the Beige to 512MB of RAM.

 

Acard also made some PCI SATA and PATA cards for the Mac.

 

On board video is either Rage II or Rage Pro depending on the logic board revision.

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The ATI Radeon 9200 Mac Edition PCI appears to be a good choice, as it is compatible with OS 9.2.2 (probably also 9.0.x/9.1 if you can make the extensions work), and it has 128 MB of VRAM (plenty for Classic Mac OS, I would think). They also seem to be relatively cheap (there's a BIN on eBay for $25 plus shipping).

 

Other than that, I don't know....

 

c

Edited by CC_333

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Are there any games for Mac OS 9 that need more than 64 megs of VRAM to run?

 

The peak OS 9 card is probably the Rage128. Everything after that ships in systems really designed with Mac OS X in mind first, and OS X itself was a much more voracious user of graphical horsepower than OS9 ever was (as in: Quartz and CoreImage, etc).

 

It won't hurt to have a more powerful GPU, but if you can get away without it based on what you're using the machine for, then it may be a worthwhile place to cut, just depending on what your budget is.

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It is really good that you can do a very nice update on this computer. Firstly i have to test it and see if it works. I have it still at the basement and i cannot get it yet cause i had a surgery some days before.

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PCI Rage128s for Macs normally have 16 megs of RAM, at least the ones I have seen. Some Rage128s in iMacs and laptops have 8, if I remember correctly.

 

In Mac OS 9, VRAM only really starts to matter (beyond ~4-8 or so megs for framebuffer on big-ish displays) for 3d gaming. It could be worth looking at the requirements for the games you want to play.

 

The blue-and-white G3 is in kind of an awkward spot because any game that needs a lot more graphics card than a Rage128 will probably work better on a newer system where every other subsystem is faster (and often, bigger too) such as a Power Macintosh G4.

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Interesting, was Beige the entry point for a full 4MB of on board VRAM? That's the cusp of "real" graphics power to me: 2D acceleration for 1600x1200@24 bit. I don't count my 2/4MB HPV Card in that never ending race to fully realize Graphics Design level performance for built-in Mac video.

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17 minutes ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

Interesting, was Beige the entry point for a full 4MB of on board VRAM?

I think those machines support up to 6MB. (2MB soldered down + a 2MB or 4MB SIMM) For 1600x1200@24bit you'd need 6MB if the video card actually supports 24 bit color, an unattainable 8MB if it only does 32bit framebuffers. (*)

 

(Those machines used an ATI Mach64/Rage-series GPU and I vaguely remember from the Xfree86 documentation that once you got past a certain point in modernity the hardware "preferred" doing 24 bit color as a 32 bit deep frame buffer with each pixel formatted as three 8-bit color channels and an mostly-unused alpha/Z channel... or at least Xfree86 preferred that mode.)

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My bad. I was thinking my Radius Thunder IV GX 1600 was 4MB, but apparently it's 6MB? So I won't have that second big screen running at 24bit on my Radius 81/110/G3 after all? :wacko:

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On 11/20/2017 at 9:31 AM, Cory5412 said:

Are there any games for Mac OS 9 that need more than 64 megs of VRAM to run?

 

The peak OS 9 card is probably the Rage128. Everything after that ships in systems really designed with Mac OS X in mind first, and OS X itself was a much more voracious user of graphical horsepower than OS9 ever was (as in: Quartz and CoreImage, etc).

 

It won't hurt to have a more powerful GPU, but if you can get away without it based on what you're using the machine for, then it may be a worthwhile place to cut, just depending on what your budget is.

actually the peak os9 card is the radeon 9200

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42 minutes ago, boitoy1996 said:

actually the peak os9 card is the radeon 9200

 

You have misunderstood what I wrote, which is that outside of gaming activities, Mac OS 9 can't take advantage of much more graphical power than a Rage128 has.

 

1 hour ago, Gorgonops said:

I think those machines support up to 6MB. (2MB soldered down + a 2MB or 4MB SIMM)

They do. Later models came with the 4MB SIMM preinstalled, and are definitely good for Millions at 1280x1024. I haven't tested it, but I believe that they will do Millions at 1600x1200 as well. I can bring my Beige by the office at some point and hook it up to the 2007FP there and give it a go.

 

2 hours ago, Trash80toHP_Mini said:

was Beige the entry point

It is true! No prior machine was capable of Graphic Design Performance(TM) at all.

 

I believe the target for the 4MB HPV card was 1152x870@Millions on the 20-inch Multiple Scan display that launched alongside the X100 Power Macs in 1994.

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Got the G3 desktop, good that it supports IDE, the generic compaq windows xp machine with a 40GB IDE HDD and DVD burner usually pops up on gumtree (craigslist equivalent) for $0 once in a while, would a beige G3 take a normal non-apple DVD drive? I know my powermac g4, G5 and emac takes a regular DVD-RAM drive, ive installed one into all 3. HDD should work, 40GB is a great upgrade from 6GB.

 

For me, good upgrades to a beige G3 would be a DVD drive, max RAM, larger HDD, USB card and a graphics card good enough for DVD playback.

Edited by Jon183

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The Radeon 7000 is also a good card for the Beige G3's and can usually be found a bit more easily and quite a bit cheaper than the 9200.

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15 hours ago, Cory5412 said:

It is true! No prior machine was capable of Graphic Design Performance(TM) at all.

<snip>

I believe the target for the 4MB HPV card was 1152x870@Millions on the 20-inch Multiple Scan display that launched alongside the X100 Power Macs in 1994.

Nice snark! Love it. :lol:

 

You're wrong. [;)]  Onboard video was just fine for palettes and spot color in graphic design since the 13" RGB ran off the IIci's horrid video subsystem, but POWER it wasn't.

 

1152x870@Millions on a 21" Monitor was required for Graphic Design Performance(TM) for pro level work much earlier than 1994.

 

 

edit: I certainly didn't need that kind of power in my work. 1152x896 on a 19" monitor in B&W rocked that in 1990.

 

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
found the animated LOL guy

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20 hours ago, Jon183 said:

would a beige G3 take a normal non-apple DVD drive?

Yes (kinda.)  I have used several over the years.  Pioneer and LG drives seem to work well.  Others, maybe, almost everything will read discs but a lot will not write, and even fewer will write DVDs.

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1 hour ago, Brett B. said:

Yes (kinda.)  I have used several over the years.  Pioneer and LG drives seem to work well.  Others, maybe, almost everything will read discs but a lot will not write, and even fewer will write DVDs.

My g3 beige has a g5 tower superdrive installed but not tested yet.

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Forgot to mention that the other thing to keep in mind is whether or not the cover piece on the drive tray will fit through your bezel when the drive opens and if the eject button will line up.  A lot will be fine but I have a few that are just no go in all aspects. 

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Re: The drive fitting

I had a similar issue on my PowerMac G4. Since I had purchased this drive specifically for the g4, I was determined to make it work. what i ended up doing is removing the front door piece at the end of the tray. most of those come right off. They do serve a purpose, to stop dust and dirt from getting in the drive, but the G4 has its own little flap for the front. I know the Beige G3 does not, but, if you have a relatively clean environment, you should be just fine.

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