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Daystar's G-Celerator G4 CPU upgrade

Volume Number: 22 (2006)
Issue Number: 4
Column Tag: Review

Daystar's G-Celerator G4 CPU upgrade

by MacTech Staff

One downfall to using a PowerMac G4, rather than a newer machine, is the processing power. With an application like Retrospect, that has to do gargantuan amounts of processing for its matching of files and sets, a CPU upgrade is a great way to go.

In our scenario, the PowerMac G4 was a 450MHz AGP machine, so any upgrade was going to be helpful. We chose the mid-range single 1.8GHz G4 upgrade that Daystar sells as it was an economical solution ($330).

This product made everything in Retrospect run better and faster. It was especially helpful when Retrospect was trying to match sets, and go through the catalogs that it had -- normally a daunting task on the G4 450MHz machine. Even opening the log window was much faster.

The end result is that the entire machine ran far better than using the built-in 450MHz processor, and we strongly encourage you to look at what you can do with your older machines with this type of solution.

Of course, the brand that has been around seemingly forever in the Mac market is DayStar, so we took a look at the solutions they stand behind.

The G-Celerator

Daystar's G-Celerator G4 MHz CPU upgrade card 1.8 GHz is designed for all PowerMac G4 systems. The higher end upgrades for some of the models can go up to 3600 MHz. The G-Celerator Dual G4 MHz CPU upgrade card is powered by two Freescale 1.8 GHz PowerPC 7447a (G4) processors (1.42 GHz overclocked to 1.8 GHz) with an AltiVec "Velocity Engine" vector processing unit, and a 512k on-chip level 2 cache operating at the same speed as the processors. The bus speed of G-Celerator Dual G4 MHz CPU upgrade card is 100 MHz. This upgrade card is designed to support adjusting of bus and backside cache ratios.

Daystar's solutions have great compatibility all the way from Mac OS 9.2.2 through Mac OS X 10.4.5. Daystar has options for a wide variety of the PowerMac G4 and other machines including: AGP (Sawtooth), G4 Server, Gigabit Ethernet, Digital Audio, QuickSilver, and QuickSilver 2002. The G-Celerator upgrade does not support sleep mode on the Power Macintosh, but as a server we didn't care. Sleep mode needs to be disabled for using G-Celerator Dual G4 MHz CPU upgrade card and it cannot boot from Mac OS X disks before 10.3.5. Again, not a problem for our installation.

G-Celerator upgrade cards feature multi-level power settings and "super-cooling" technology. Installation of this upgrade card does take a bit to do, and requires updating firmware and replacing old CPU and heat sink with G-Celerator Dual G4 MHz CPU upgrade card with built on fans and heat sink. It took us about 30 minutes everything said and done.

One interesting thing to note is power consumption. Regardless of the answer, we wanted to upgrade the CPU on this, but we were curious as to how much more electricity this machine would consume compared to a base 450MHz G4 machine. In the end, the upgraded machine used close to 50% more electricity. In real terms, this is about $5/month (we're about $0.25 per KwH in Southern California) ... well worth the benefits from this machine working faster.

This is an enjoyable upgrade. Well worth $330 if you need the processing power as we did in the backup solution.

G-Celerator G4 MHz CPU upgrade cards come with 3 year manufacturer limited warranty and Daystar has solutions starting at $299 for the 1GHz+ solutions.

MacTech Staff


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