Mac users: looking to upgrade my Sawtooth G4, advice needed!

First time posting in this forum, I hope you mac gurus can help!

I have a Sawtooth AGP G4 that is a great machine. 1.5 GB RAM, 2 MB L3 cache. I upgraded to 1 GHz with a Giga Design upgrade card 2 years ago, which gave it new life. Since Panther though I have been encountering that damn spinning beach ball more and more, and with Tiger it’s even more evident.

I run Onyx and Cocktail regularly, keep drives clean with DiskWarrior, repair permissions, so I’m confident the software side of things are in order. I need more power it seems.

Typically I have Entourage, EyeTV 1.8, Safari, Unison, MacPAR and/or UnRAR running simultaneously. Occasionally I’ll pop open VLC or DVD player, and usually something freezes up, so I have to force-quit.

I’ve invested A LOT in this G4 as far as drives, accessories, etc. so I do not want to upgrade to a G5, so please don’t suggest that I do so.

So my questions are:

  1. Should I look at a single-processor upgrade or dual? (Giga Designs just announced a 2 GHz upgrade.)
  2. What kind of performance boost can I expect with a 2 GHz card? Or a 1.6 GHz dual?
  3. Since my memory is maxed out, are there any other hardware upgrades I can do?

thanks for your help!

(Incidentally, if you think Entourage is a memory/CPU hog, any suggestions of a versatile e-mail program would be appreciated…)

as you’ll note from my post count, this actually isn’t my first post in GQ. As you can figure I’m cutting and pasting to many forums…

I have had a PM Blue and White G3 upgraded to 550MHZ G4 for about 6 years now. It still runs like a champ. I do video editing with Final Cut Pro without a hitch.

Your sawtooth g4 has a 233 Mhz Front side bus, so a 2 GHZ upgrade is just gonna make your GUI faster and that’s about it. I’m talking serious bottleneck.

Reset your PRAM by rebooting and pressing OPTION + COMMAND + P +R until it chimes about 4 or 5 times. If you haven’t done this since Tiger, you should have.

Restart and press command+S to get into single user mode
then type:

fsck -y -f

This will run permissions better.
Tiger should have improved performance by a a large percentage, because you have an older system. That’s system is a rock, so you shouldn’t be getting a spinning wheel. The only other thing I can think of is that Tiger is indexing Spotlight, which will take 2 to three weeks depending amount of data on your harddrive.

You still have a lot left in that machine believe it or not. I wouldn’t spend anymore money on it. If your gonna get a 2Ghz machine get an iMac or PM G5, they utilize the cpu power much better with much wider buses. PowerMacs G5’s always have a 2:1 CPU to FSB ratio. That equates to awesome bandwidth, allowing you to do more much faster.

if you want to spend less than $500, get a Mac Mini, and run synergy between both computers. That’s what I do. Much more productive.