MacCetera LLC. Unique Business and Personal Macintosh Support for Southeastern Wisconsin, Creative Web Site Design and Hosting for the World

WelcomeMac StuffWeb Stuff Marc's NotesCool LinksContact Us

Marc's Notes: Comments, Ramblings, Rants & Tips

PowerMac Digital Audio G4

Was Now

533 MHz G4 CPU

1.8 GHz G4 Dual CPU

This Mac has seen a few processor upgrades. In June 2006 I took it to the final revision with a Sonnet Encore/ST G4 Duet. The twin 1.8 GHz processors have already proven that this Mac will be useful for several more years doing heavy lifting with graphic and video processing.

See my stock 533, OWC 1.3 & Sonnet Duet benchmark results.


(3) 512 MB CL3 PC133 DIMMs

I get my memory from Other World Computing, and have had reasonably good results. I've been leaning toward their higher end offerings lately for non-stock Mac configurations rather than OWC brand. Stock memory works great in stock machines.


(1) 250 GB Maxtor PATA
(1) 250 GB Maxtor PATA
(2) 500 GB Seagate PATA

All four drives are sitting on a Sonnet Tempo ATA133 PCI card. The Seagates came from OWC and are setup as a mirrored RAID pair forming my Leopard boot volume. The Maxtors were purchased at my local CompUSA (RIP) whenever there was a particularly good sale. These two are a concatenated JBOD and form a 550 GB Time Machine data store.


Pioneer DVD±RW DL DVR-110D

Adding complete CD and DVD burning capabilities to this machine was critical to getting the most out of the latest Mac OS X "iApps". The Pioneer DVR-110 supports both the conventional "minus" standard (DVD-RW) as well as the SONY "plus" standard (DVD+RW).


IOmega Zip 100

Just because - although it's never really used anymore.


ATI Radeon 9600 64 MB

This card was modified by OWC for the G4, and fully supports 10.4 Core Graphics. It is driving an Apple 23" Cinema HD LCD display in all it's glory.


Sonnet Tempo ATA 133
Sonnet Tango Firewire/USB 2.0
Adaptec USB2connect 5100

The Tempo (see above) host all the internal HDDs, and the other two cards add extra ports for a variety of peripherals. The Tango initially added two FW400 and two USB 2.0 ports. The USB2connect added 5 more external USB 2.0 ports, and one internal port I haven't had a use for yet.

Between my display, camera, scanner, card reader, iSight, thumb drives, external FW and USB drives, Phlink, UPS, and hub, I pretty much use all of the holes on these cards.

G4 Digital AudioUpgrading a mid-range G4

Our current "top dog" desktop Mac is an upgraded Digital Audio G4.

This Mac arrived here in a coma with a box of spare parts, and it took a few days of tinkering before it came back to life. The symptoms and probable remedy are in the endnotes on this page.

While this Mac will never come close to the processing power of the new Quad Xeon processor Mac Pro tower, it does hold its own in performaing the more demanding tasks I throw its way.

The "Digital Audio" G4 was the third model introduced with AGP graphics and the fourth in the line of "Graphite G4" cased models.

There really was nothing about the "DA" that broke any ground for Apple, although it did usher in the 133 MHz data bus, which was 1/3 again faster than its predecessor.

Four standard PCI and one 4X AGP slot round out the expandability end.

Three PC133 SDRAM DIMM sockets gave it a ceiling of 1.5 GB of memory.

You could also stick an original 802.11b AirPort card inside.

As I said in the opening, this particular machine was a gift in a coma. No RAM or drives, but a spare mother board and power supply. (aside: I have reason to suspect that the G4L may have been related to the spare parts included!)

Cutting to the meat, once I got the Mac revived I took it for a walk on a continuing upgrade path.

It is currently running Max OS X 10.5 Leopard (or whatever current release that cat is at) and quit happy. Leopard does stress the G4 hardware a bit more than G5 or intel processors, but this Mac is still a viable workhorse.

It's daily use is primarily web design tasks involving Dreamweaver, Photoshop, Flash, and a fair bit of video preocessing. It also runs my invoicing software (Stuiometry), my office telephone software (Ovolab's Phlink) and is the main mail store for all my e-mail - dating back to 1994!

Endnotes: Reviving a comatose G4...

This machine arrived in a very sad state. Actually, it came with the CPU and heatsink in a seperate static bag along with a second motherboard and power supply. The machine's donor, a good friend who had no luck in resurrecting it, is a technical wizard, so this was going to be a challenge!

I started off by slipped in some memory, an AGP Rage video card, spare hard drive and CD-ROM and proceeded to investigate this mystery. Now that the box had the minimum requsite components I plugged her in and began tinkering.

Symptom — messed up power management: pressing the power button caused it to light only as long as it was depressed.

Actions — I replaced the lithium battery and reset the PMU by depressing the pushbutton on the motherboard once. Apple describes the process in Tech Note #95037. Your milage may vary.

I went through this procedure three or four times before the Mac revived, so the lesson here is that you shouldn't give up on hard firmware resets. Keep trying. because this is low level magic and all the planets must be in alignment for the magic smoke in the PMU to be regenerated.

Since then, it's been a "Happy Mac" which takes my abuse on a daily basis.

(1) The opinions expressed in Marc's Notes: Comments, Ramblings, Rants & Tips are exclusively those of Marc Wolfgram.
(2) Only one Macintosh™ computer was permanently harmed - link. (3) Any references to real people may be intentional.
(4) Don't try certain things while driving or at home without proper adult supervision. (5) Microsoft Windows—Just say NO!

Copyright © 2003-2008 by MacCetera, a Wisconsin LLC owned by Marc & Tammy Wolfgram
Mac OS, Macintosh, and other like terms are all trademarks of Apple, Inc. - 25-Oct-2009

Valid HTMLValid CSS