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Topic: Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

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  1. #1

    Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

    Okay, so it's starting to occur to me that my 450 Mhz dual G4 Mac is a little underpowered for GPO. I can't afford another computer right now, not even a used one. The most cost-effective way to more speed seems to be a Giga Designs dual 1.4 Ghz CPU upgrade. I've heard mixed opinions about the performance gains that these CPU upgrades deliver. Have any of you used these, and if so, how much of an improvement do they offer specifically for GPO? Is it worth the money? Or should I hold off a little longer and save up for a new machine? Oh, and I have plenty of RAM, so it's not that. Thanks.

  2. #2

    Re: Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by lontas
    Okay, so it's starting to occur to me that my 450 Mhz dual G4 Mac is a little underpowered for GPO. I can't afford another computer right now, not even a used one. The most cost-effective way to more speed seems to be a Giga Designs dual 1.4 Ghz CPU upgrade. I've heard mixed opinions about the performance gains that these CPU upgrades deliver. Have any of you used these, and if so, how much of an improvement do they offer specifically for GPO? Is it worth the money? Or should I hold off a little longer and save up for a new machine? Oh, and I have plenty of RAM, so it's not that. Thanks.
    Hi lontas -

    You've got me curious about the CPU upgrade thing.

    I know zip about tech stuff but I went from running Sibelius/GPO on a 1 Ghz/1GIG RAM to 1.8 Ghz/2 GIGs RAM(both single processor) and it was a big difference in performance. I know that's not necessarily helpful for your situation - but it seems like anytime you ask the poor machine to run 2 apps simultaneously the more power you have the better.

    My guess would be that there may be somewhere else in an older machine where there's a bottleneck to slow things down, and also I don't have the impression that dual is even that useful with GPO as Kontakt isn't yet optimized for for dual Macs. If I'd been able to constrain myself I'd have waited for the next(presumably faster) iMac G5's to arrive and stick 2 GIGs of RAM into it. The single 1.8 Ghz is pretty good already.

    If you do take the leap on that one it would be great to know the result - I have an older machine that I might want to try that with.

    Happy Chinese New Year

  3. #3
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

    I would wait for Powerlogix and Sonnet to release their 1.7 ghz boards and for sites such as barefeats.com to test these against each other and also maybe the Mac mini. See just how much of a boost you are going to get.

  4. #4

    Re: Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

    The bus/memory speed on the old G4 is going to hold you back, any G5 based Mac would be a better choice than an upgrade. Save up and buy a G5 tower, isn't it about time Apple release a new G5? So hold out for a new one.
    Aaron Clark, C/C++, J2EE, Flash, Perl and PHP programming.
    Logic Pro 7.0.1, G5 1800x2, 3 Gig ram, GPO and GOS lite.
    My site: http://www.clarkaudio.com
    Where I work now: http://www.blinex.com/

  5. #5
    Senior Member fastlane's Avatar
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    Re: Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

    These third part upgrade boards do work and usually have money back warranties if you experience problems that they can't fix with a patch. If you have a dual 450mhz Mac and invest in a 1.4 to 1.8 dual board you should see a pretty fair speed increase.

    Personally I would go G5 because they are 64 bit and Tiger will be out soon which will be a 64 bit OS. Then eventually developers will recode for 64 bit and the G5 advantage should be substantial. The next PowerMacs will probably be announced at Apples W.W. developers conference. They will probably get a modification of the new dual core IBM Power5 chip. There is also the new IBM/Sony/Toshiba cell processor but it's architecture looks a bit incompatible with what Apple is aiming for right now.

  6. #6

    Re: Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

    I agree that a G5 would be the best choice, but I have to say that the processor upgrades work VERY well and you would see a marked improvement in CPU speed. Weigh the pros/cons of the costs and see if the value is really there for you. If you're happy with your system, it runs well, and all you need is a little more "juice" I think this is a fine upgrade. If all of your components are getting older and showing their age...it maybe worth saving up a bit more and getting a single CPU G5.

  7. #7

    Re: Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

    I think the processor upgrades are pretty good. I have a G4/400 and I ran Xbench on it and got a score of 61. I put on a Sonnet G4/1.2ghz (about $260 now) and got a score of 128 ...more than twice! Later I ran it on a G5./1.8x2 and only got 181..but at several thousand dollars more.

    I suspected that GPO was crashing because of the upgrade board, however, when I got the G5 and installed everything, the first crash came from using GPO. So GPO is not stable on either. But the processor is well worth the money.

  8. #8

    Re: Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by gregohb
    I suspected that GPO was crashing because of the upgrade board, however, when I got the G5 and installed everything, the first crash came from using GPO. So GPO is not stable on either. But the processor is well worth the money.

    GPO crashing? I have never had a GPO crash on my Powerbook G4 867 mhz or my iMac G4 1mhz. That is weird. Perhaps there is another software installed causing it?
    Jess Hendricks
    DMA Student and Teaching Asst in Music Theory/ Composition at the University of Miami
    Personal Website

  9. #9

    Re: Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

    How much RAM do you have?

    I have had Logic Pro crash many times - and I am pretty sure GPO is to blame in many cases because the crash occurs when unfreezing or freezing a GPO track, or the problems start after loading GPO.

    I am glad you have had such good luck, but on the Logic Users group there have been many complaints about the Kontact player. One guy traced his crashes to NI stuff - in fact several people. And someone who is a music magazine editor defended the full version of Kontact but said the player is bad.

    I don't know but I save very frequently when using GPO in Logic, lest all is loss in a crash at any minute. I have not used it with the G5 that much yet, but the very first crash on my new G5 occurred just after choosing a single instance of GPO with a single violin section patch.

    I wish he would port the samples to EXS24 format.

  10. #10
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    Re: Mac processor upgrades--worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by lontas
    Okay, so it's starting to occur to me that my 450 Mhz dual G4 Mac is a little underpowered for GPO. I can't afford another computer right now, not even a used one. The most cost-effective way to more speed seems to be a Giga Designs dual 1.4 Ghz CPU upgrade. I've heard mixed opinions about the performance gains that these CPU upgrades deliver. Have any of you used these, and if so, how much of an improvement do they offer specifically for GPO? Is it worth the money? Or should I hold off a little longer and save up for a new machine? Oh, and I have plenty of RAM, so it's not that. Thanks.
    Lontas,

    I would discourage you from building a "Franken-Mac". I tried that and it was a disaster for me. There will be bottlenecks in the bus, possible incompatibility with OSX and some older components, and you may be asking for problems.

    For just a little bit more you can get a new Mac MIN,I or better yet save for a G5.

    Gary Garritan

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