Finally! A G4 iMac upgrade that screams like a Sawtooth. I call it, "iTooth."
 The Newer Tech iMAXpowr G4 upgrade for the iMac is tested next to the G4 Sawtooth and iMac DV SE.
Also, two new "real world" tests:
iMovie 1.02 and SoundJam MP Plus 2.1.1

First posted 7/19/2000, the morning of NY MacWorld Expo 2000
Updated 7/21/2000 with results from iMAXpowr G3/466
article and "iTooth" cartoon by Rob-Art Morgan

First, four real world tests...



And two games...


Vrroom!!!! What a kick in the pants! Finally, a G4 upgrade for the iMac! And surprise, surprise: it can keep up with a Sawtooth... most of the time! The first three speed tests shown were with software that is "G4 aware," so you can see it almost doubles the speed compared to even Apple's iMac DV Special Edition. If you compare the results to the older iMac 233 rev B, it triples the speed. Newer Technology has a winner with the "iMAXpowr G4."

I'm just as impressed by the price: $549 after trade-in of your old CPU!! By the way, the price on the iMAXpowr G3 just dropped to $349. If you don't use Photoshop, iMovie, SoundJam, or any other "Altivec enabled" software, you can get just as much (or more) boost from a G3/466. Go back and look at the numbers again. If you have the iMac 233 A or B, you can get the iMAXpowr G3 and a Voodoo2 board for under $450.

Speaking of the Voodoo2, I couldn't resist trying the iMAXpowr with an iWizard board when testing it in the iMac rev B. It definitely 'pumps up' the frame rates, even without the CPU upgrade added. However, it has a few drawbacks. For one thing, it only runs games in 640 x 480 mode. And tech support is nonexistent. Thankfully, I found plenty of information in the 3Dfx section on Mike Breeden's Accelerate Your Mac.

The biggest disappointment for the buyer may be the realization that even with a screaming CPU, the graphics are not accelerated proportionately. Without the Voodoo card, the accelerated iMac is blown away by the iMac DV or DV SE on frame rates. Of course, the iMac is NOT the ultimate game machine. If you are a hard core Mac gamer, you NEED the G4 Sawtooth with a Voodoo5 board, but that's another story. (Check back on July 26th.)

These upgrades are NOT for the faint of heart. For starters, both upgrades void your warranty. Secondly, I've cracked open many a Mac. I've opened the iMac at least 10 times but it each time still makes me a nervous wreck. I was swapping memory back and forth in an iMac rev A and B in late '99 when on the last assembly, I snagged and broke a small wire in an unwrapped wire harness. It was the one going to the front power button. That made a brand new iMac into a large paperweight.

So before this round of testing, I was already traumatized. After two days of assembling and disassembling the iMac rev B and D, I had to go sit in the jacuzzi and eat pistachio nuts! READ CAREFULLY THE DIRECTIONS provided by both Newer Tech and the iWizard folk. They are illustrated and detailed. Take your time and be very gentle... like you are defusing a bomb.

If you don't mind sweating bullets, this CPU breathes new life in any Rev A, B, C or D iMac. It's too bad Apple made it impossible to upgrade the latest DV models. (Sigh.)


Related Reviews
Accelerate Your Mac has posted their test results today on the new iMAXpowr G4.

MacAddict tests the iMAXpowr G3/466

Check out the test at Insaanely Great Mac, MacWorld, MacUpgrade and MacNN.


Where to Buy

OWC has great prices on the Newer Tech products and iWizard Voodoo2

or go direct to the Newer Online Store


Test Configurations & Procedures

Test Units

CPU and Graphics

Sawtooth 400

Graphite "Sawtooth" G4/400 (1MB cache) with 256MB of RAM and RAGE 128 Pro AGP graphics card

iMac 400 DV SE

iMac G3/400 DV (512K cache) with 256MB of PC-100 RAM and VR RAGE 128 graphics chip

iMAXpowr G3 (466MHz)

CPU upgrade tested in the iMac 333 rev D

iMAXpowr G4 (433MHz)

CPU upgrade tested in both the iMac 233 rev B and the iMac 333 rev D; For some tests, an iWizard Voodoo2 board was added to the "B" model.

iMac 333 rev D

iMac G3/333 rev D (512K cache) with 192MB of SDRAM and RAGE Pro graphics chip

iMac 233 rev B

iMac G3/233 rev B (512K cache) with 256MB of RAM and RAGE Pro graphics chip


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