Can a Beige Desktop with a G4 ZIF upgrade run
with the "big dogs"?

© 1999 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS


So you have a Revision 1 Beige G3/266. Should you sell it or upgrade it? And if you spend hundreds updating it, will it go as fast as the Graphite G4's? Let's see...
CPU (& FPU) crunching...

Reaction: Looks like the old "bus speed" bugaboo keeps the Beige at a disadvantage. Note that
a G3/400 Blue and White takes 12.8 seconds average for the 4 Photoshop filters.


Reaction: This is all CPU and FPU going for all it's worth. Beige does okay on this.


Hard Disk speed comparison

All three machines were using the same Seagate Barracuda 20Gig 7200 rpm Ultra-ATA/66 drive. The Beige's IDE interface and bus speed keep it from utilizing the full capability of the drive. It still ran twice as fast as the original IDE drive.


2D scrolling

Reaction: The beige didn't do so bad. All three machines used either the AGP or PCI version of the 3Dfx Voodoo3 3000 board.


3D Game Frame Rates

Reaction: If your main performance need is 3D gaming, the Beige with the G4 and Voodoo3 board is plenty fast. But for ultimate frame rates, the "real" G4 minitowers are significantly faster.


Reaction: Not too shabby.


Reaction: The minimum frame rate of the Beige barely stayed above the "Jerky Threshold" but that's nothing to sneeze at. (Any frame rate lower than 16 fps appears jerky to the naked eye.)


Conclusion: Can a "hopped up" Beige DT Rev 1 run with the "Big Dogs"? Short answer, "close, but no cigar."

The long answer, "it depends." Let's add up the tab. The PowerLogix G4/350 ZIF (adjusts to 400) runs $555 at Small Dog. The Voodoo3 3000 PCI runs about $116 from Buy.Com. The Seagate Barracuda 20Gig goes for $179 from Outpost. So for about $850 you can have a G4/Beige that can almost run with the big dogs... as long as you leave your stopwatch in the drawer.

Then again, you can sell your G3/266 Desktop for $900 (MacAppraiser--sounds a bit high) and add the $850 to that money to get a G4/350 or 400 Sawtooth.

NOTE: Beta 5 drivers were used on the Voodoo3 boards since the Beta 10 version produced lower frame rates with Quake II. However, I found out after creating this page that by putting the Mesa Graphics "ref_gl.lib" back in the Quake II folder, the frame rates jumped to over 60 fps on the Sawtooth and Yikes. You can expect a similar improvement on the Beige G4.

Test Configurations & Procedures

Beige DT







Bus Speed





1MB at 2:1 (200MHz)

1 MB at 2:1 (200MHz)

1MB at 2:1 (200MHz)


192 MB

256 MB (8ns)

256 MB (8ns)


33MHz PCI slot with 3Dfx Voodoo3 3000

66MHz PCI slot with 3Dfx Voodoo3 3000

133MHz AGP 2X slot with 3Dfx Voodoo3 3000

Hard Drive

Seagate Barracuda 20 Gig 7200rpm ATA/66 drive connected to the Rev 1 IDE interface
Seagate Barracuda 20 Gig 7200rpm ATA/66 drive connected to a ATA/33 interface
Seagate Barracuda 20 Gig 7200rpm ATA/66 drive connected to a ATA/66 interface



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© 2000 Rob Art Morgan, editor of BARE FEATS
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