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Optimizing G4 for 001

Discussion in 'Recording' started by SonOfSmawg, Feb 9, 2002.

  1. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    I'm running 001 on a G4-400 AGP, 320Mb ram, ATI Rage 128, 2 Maxtor harddrives, Yamaha SCSI CDRW 24x4x8, Adaptec 2906. I've been researching ways to beef it up.
    I've looked at replacing the CPU with a bigger one, but none of the upgrades are compatible with my G4. Go figure ... if I had a G3 I'd be able to upgrade to G4-500, or even G4 DUAL 500s!
    Ram is a different story, though. My G4 can run up to 1.5Gigs of ram, and you can get 512Mb sticks for $80 each now. Would it be prudent to max-out the ram, or after a certain amount would it be overkill?
    I've just started learning about RAID, and it looks like the new ATA133 RAID cards/system which are made by Sonnet and Acard may be a way to get a lot more out of my puter, without the MAJOR expense of a SCSI raid system. I've discovered that the 2 internal harddrive limitation in a G4 is untrue, and that 4 will fit in there: 2 in the supplied vertical bracket, 1 to the left of it, then 1 more to the left of that.
    My problem is that RAID can be done in many ways, each way having it's own purpose, and since I've just started learning about it, I'm not sure what would be best for my situation. From what I've learned so far, I believe that a 1/0 configuration is probably the best bet, using 4 harddrives. However, in order to achieve that using an ATA133 card, the 0/1 configuration is achieved through a combination of hardRAID and softRAID (?). Or ... maybe I don't understand this whole RAID thing enough yet to have any idea what the ^#$% I'm talking about ... :confused: ... any help with this area would be GREATLY appreciated. And, yes, I understand that the 4 harddrives must all be ATA133 in order to get full benefit from the system.
    Next ... the CDRW. I bought my SCSI card when i bought this G4, when I was a total newb, and never gave it another thought. When I was on the Adaptec site a few days ago, I discovered that my damn SCSI card is only fast SCSI (10Mb). My Yamaha CDRW is capable of transfering at 20Mb...Duh...
    So, given that the CDRW is my only SCSI device, I'm thinking that my best solution is to buy a firewire case instead of a better SCSI card, thereby freeing-up a PCI slot. Wise move?
    Last but not least ... the graphics card. The two cards that I'm looking-at are ATI Radeon Mac and ATI 7000 Radeon. They both have 32Mb DDR memory, and they're both relatively inexpensive. Appian is not an option here ... lol. The Radeon Mac is a great card, and will go right into the AGP slot. On the other hand, the Radeon 7000 Mac would give me dual monitor support, but it would require me to use a PCI slot. If I go with my firewire idea for my CDRW, as previously mentioned, it will leave me with only the 001 card on the PCI bus, with 2 PCI slots open, so even if I go with the Radeon 7000 Mac, I'd still have a PCI slot open. KEWL! But, will having the video card on the PCI bus as opposed to the AGP slot affect my performance negatively? If so, would the adverse effect outweigh the benefit of having dual monitors?
    In conclusion, as you can see, I have been doing a lot of homework to try to figure-out how to get the most out of my G4. I just wish that I had more technical knowledge to be able to know the best way to go about it. Any and all help and advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. As a hard core Mac user since '84 I think the investment you're thinking of making in that particular G4 would not be money well spent.

    I run a number of G4s for high-end graphics and a couple of them as digi 001 DAWs, I also have a B&W G3/400 that I run a digi 001 with.

    First off you might want to check the cost of RAM. It's going up, I dought that you're still able to find 512s for $80. Not that it isn't still very affordable.

    A good amount of RAM is neccessary for very high track counts when laying things down and for using a large number of plugins when mixing, or if you use them when tracking. But processor power comes in to the equation very quickly too. A disproportion of one over the other can leave you with a DAW that drops the ball and your money not being put to good use.

    RAIDs of ATA drives are seldom as good as a couple of good old 10K RPM ultra 2 scsi drives. They're typically designed for higher sustained writes, have a larger cache and make fewer errors while correcting for heat. Plus with the bus on your G4/400 any speed above ATA 66 won't be realized anywhere except in internal data swaps on the drives themselves. This is actually true on almost all workstations out there, the potential of ATA133 is just that, potential.

    My B&W G3 with the factory ATTO scsi card in it is just as capable as my G4 733 when it comes down to track limits and plugin strength.

    Video on any of the newer G4s would be more than needed, the cards you mention would be another instance where you just don't need it for that particular Mac and a digi 001.

    Oh and the CD-RW speed is something you won't likely use if you want to master on that machine, the best masters are written slowly.

    It would be my suggestion that you run with what you have until you find it's limits and then if needed you move up to a newer G4. The blowout deals on the G4 733s right now are an incredible deal.

    Oh I forgot to mention my little iBook 500 mhz with 320MB of RAM. I use it to track live gigs with a Midiman Quattro, a presonus Mp20 pre, an external FW drive and a pair of Earthworks SR-77s. I've bounced pairs and mixed 8 tracks without a hitch. It just chugs along with PT free and sounds great. Bigger isn't always better.
     
  3. ednaroma

    ednaroma Guest

    I would utilise all the RAM you can. I have 384 Meg, and its just enough for my liking with my 001, bit if I could afford to I would have the 1.5 gig of RAM :)

    David
     
  4. SonOfSmawg

    SonOfSmawg Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the help. I'm just trying to squeeze everything that I can out of the old G4 until I can afford my $10,000 DAW upgrade, then I'm switching to PC.
    I'll forget about the RAID for the G4 altogether. To do the IDE thing would have only been about $350, but upgrading to an ultra160 card and buying two decent-sized SCSI harddrives is easily in the $1000 range. That's totally out of the question in this circumstance.
    The reason that I want to upgrade my graphics card is because I also use the mac for web surfing and some gaming, plus I'd really like to have dual monitors. If you could please look over my original concerns with regards to the graphics card, your advice would be a big help. I really would like to go with the Radeon 7000 Mac, if it isn't going to put a drastic load on my PCI bus. I have an Appian card on my PC, so I'm spoiled. Otherwise, I will go with the Radeon Mac.
    As far as the CDRW, it would be great if I can get more speed out of it. Sure, mastering is at 1x, but I do a lot of other burning. The added benefit of freeing-up a PCI slot makes the firewire idea even more attractive.
    And you were indeed right about the memory prices! They shot-up fast! $130 NOW! If I just put one 512Mb stick in with what I already have, I think that will be plenty.
    So, all-in-all, that's pretty cool. For a few hundred bucks my old G4 will be in much better shape!
     
  5. Well it's obviously a different story if you're going to use the G4 for gaming. The upgraded video card will make tremendous difference. Running dual monitors is the way to go.

    Don't forget a SCSI card and drives could easily up to a new DAW, on either the Mac or PC platform, if you buy the right card.
     

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