Mucho Macs 'n stuff
Friday, March 28, 2008
My old CRT Apple Studio Display that I picked up at a university auction 3 years ago finally gave up the ghost last week so I've been in the market for a new monitor. I guess I got my $10 out of it. I really didn't want to fork over a lot of cash for a new monitor and I was seriously considering a used 17" Apple Studio LCD. I was talking to the computer repair guys about my monitor situation and they informed me that the university shop might have some new old stock LCDs like the one I was looking at. After a quick chat with the manager he pulled one from their stock room and presented it to me. "$100", he said. The price floored me. I was amazed that I could purchase a monitor that originally retailed for $599.99 in 2004 for $100. He offered me a 22" for $350 but I had to pass. I don't know why, but for some reason I've always been fascinated with new old stock items. I finally got my chance to unbox a piece of my own. I forgot to upload the pictures last night but I will later. So far I love it!
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
I've typed the code in openfirmware to overclock the bus speed like 15 times and it still doesn't work! Does anyone have any advice or alternate code to use? I swear, I can't be that stupid. I tried the magic code into the openfirmware of my Dual 500mhz Gigabit multiple times but it made no difference on each restart. The system profiler still reads 100mhz and nothing changes. I even tried the code to overclock it to 167mhz. I think the issue might be the particular models I have. I wonder if certain revisions were able to do it and others not. Or maybe I'm just not that good at typing in code.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Well I've done CPU overclocking so now it's on to other types, like front side bus overclocking!! I've found various articles on www.XLR8yourmac.com and other places on how to change the bus speed on older 100mhz systems (like the Power Mac G4 Yikes!, PCI Graphics, Gigabit Ethernet) and I've really been wondering if that truly works. Basically you boot into open firmware (Apple-Option-O-F) and you type in a bunch of code. (I'll have to posts the links later as they're on a different computer). The code basically tells the computer to run a script to bypass the ROM and read from it to adjust the bus speed. Since I really wanted to try this but didn't want to mess up the Gigabit Dual 500mhz that my wife always uses I decided to give it a shot on my already modified Digital Audio 800mhz. But since this system is already running a 133mhz front side bus I decided to go to 167mhz, like what's found in later Mirror Door models. So I opened things in openfirmware, typed the code in, rebooted and crossed my fingers. It started fine, everything looked good. I opened system profiler for the moment of truth and.....it still read 133mhz. HMMM. I ran Geekbench and Xbench to be sure it just wasn't registering. Sure enough, no difference from previous runs. But I have to say, and maybe it's just a mental thing, it did feel a little faster. But that might also be the difference from the 733mhz to 800mhz overclocking. I haven't had much use with it since I modified it. But we'll see. Maybe later this week I'll change the bus speed on the Dual 500mhz Gigabit. I think I might have better luck with that. I have a feeling the modified Digital Audio doesn't register the changed bus speed because the memory isn't fast enough (SDRAM 133mhz). Problem is, the next step up is DDR RAM which won't physically fit in the slots. Maybe, maybe not.
update: I talked with the apple repair guys and they believe this might be try. They think it's plausible.
Helpful links if you want to try this (for 100mhz-133mhz):
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Well tonight I tried my hand at overclocking, with mixed success. I've been looking up a lot of info on the internet on how to overclock the 733mhz Quicksilver processor that I put in my Digital Audio. Since it doesn't have an L3 cache, it needs it. There's a lot of info out there on how to boost it to anywhere from 800mhz to 933mhz. The best info I found was on this site.
It took me a while to wrap my head around it but it's pretty easy. Basically you need to pull off one of the connecting tabs between two of the lines on the processor. Depending on which ones you modify, by either pulling it off or soldering one shut, you modify the multiplier which in turn modifies the speed. Since I knew I wanted to make the 733mhz processor the end product I decided to practice on the stock 533mhz that came with it. I got a little greedy on this one and went for 667mhz. This also was the easiest modification to do, just clip off one resistor. Well I clipped off one resistor and booted it up. IT RAN!!! For a while. After I put Geekbench on it froze and had to be restarted. On each subsequent restart it would think for along time, then flash a message saying it needed to restart. Rats. So I decided to back it off to a more reasonable 600mhz. This required soldering a resistor bridge. Well my soldering skills aren't the greatest and I ended up making a big mess. I still put it all back together and gave it a shot. Nothing. Wouldn't even boot. I think I soldered it to another resistor.
So with this failure under my belt I decided not to get greedy and keep things simple with the 733mhz. Although I've seen these processors on ebay clocked to 933mhz I decided that a modest boost to 800mhz would be safe enough. I desoldered the resistor and, after putting things back together, it ran! Surprisingly the extra 67mhz DOES make a difference. I ran xbench and geekbench in both Tiger and Leopard. Below are the scores. I'm really surprised that there's almost no difference on the geekbench scores between Leopard and Tiger. I think if I ever try overclocking again it will only be in cases where removing a resistor is necessary. Soldering sucks.
800mhz Quicksilver (in Digital Audio) 768MB RAM
Leopard - 22.02
Tiger - 28.56
Leopard - 433
Tiger - 430
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Here's proof that you CAN get Leopard running on a non-supported machine. I think the easiest way to do it is open the computer in open firmware, type in a few lines of code that make it think there's a bigger processor inside and bam, you've got Leopard. Here's the link to the procedure I used from Lowendmac.com
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
As promised, here are the benchmarks for my G4s, including the scores using Leopard. One thing I should note is that the 733mhz Quicksilver processor in the Digital Audio machine DOES win out over the original 533mhz processor. I posted previously that the 533mhz won but it doesn't look that way after I reviewed the numbers. I also included the numbers for the 733mhz QS processor in the DA board with a cooling fan (from a a Quicksilver). That seemed to make a difference in performance. I should note that there really doesn't seem to be a big difference in subjective performance ratings between Tiger and Leopard. Leopard occasionally takes a little longer to load Safari or Firefox but I think this is more due to low system memory (768MB). I haven't had much time using Leopard on the Gigabit Dual to see if it's an issue with greater memory installed.
One other thing about running Leopard on these machines is that I haven't experienced any problems so far. I've read some people using unsupported Macs are having trouble with DVD playback, Front Row, etc. So far I haven't found any issues. My guess is the people who are having trouble are the ones using the old ATI Rage Pro 16mb video cards.
Gigabit 500mhz Dual Processor (1GB RAM)
Xbench Tiger - 34.66
Xbench Leopard - 24.74
Geekbench Tiger - 504
Geekbench Leopard - 455
Digital Audio 533mhz (Single) (768MB RAM)
Xbench Tiger - 28.95
Xbench Leopard - 16.33
Geekbench Tiger - 368
Geekbench Leopard - 317
Digital Audio w/733mhz Quicksilver (768MB RAM)
Xbench Tiger - 26.63
Xbench Leopard - 16.42, 20.97 w/fan
Geekbench Tiger - 414
Geekbench Leopard - 357, 380 w/fan
Monday, March 10, 2008
Last week I was finally able to get a copy of Leopard. To be completely honest I was less than impressed at first glance. I didn't feel like it was performing as well as Tiger did and the new theme didn't feel right. But after a while the new look seemed to grow on me. I also decided to do a complete erase and install set-up rather than the upgrade I had previously done. The re-installation made a HUGE difference. Things definitely felt faster and more to my liking. I would highly recommend the erase and install method. After getting my Macbook Pro squared away I decided to try to get Leopard to run on my old graphite G4s (Gigabit Ethernet 500mhz dual, Digital Audio 533mhz/733mhz QS processor hack). I'll write up a post on exactly how I did this but the end of the story is a happy one, I got it to work :) So is Leopard worth the upgrade? That's debatable. Tiger was rock solid and really didn't have too many issues by version 10.4. It certainly wasn't perfect but there weren't many compelling reasons to make the change. For what I do, the upgrade is mostly cosmetic and to say you have the latest OS. Features like time capsule, stacks, expose, etc. aren't things I'll use every day but it's nice to know they're around.