Apple Store

BARE FEATS - real world Mac speed tests

MAIN INDEX of latest speed tests

REVIEW: Daystar 1.9GHz Upgrade
for the iMac G4 Flat Panel

Originally posted November 18th, 2005, by rob-ART morgan, mad scientist

Remember "Luxo" Mac? I'm speaking of the January 2002 through July 2004 "Flat Panel" iMac G4. I really dug that chrome articulated screen arm. It even inspired the reenactment of the original Luxo Jr. animation.

I had a chance to grab the last model (20" G4/1.25GHz) for a great price so I added it to our Mac "museum." Being who I am (heh, heh), I'm thinking to myself, "Too bad there's no way to upgrade it." Then Daystar announces a CPU upgrade with speeds up to 1.92GHz. Whoa. That's a clock speed only slight slower than the two most recent 20" iMac G5s. Hmmm. I feel a shootout coming on.

Graph Legend
iMac G4/1.25 = iMac G4/1.25GHz with GeForceFX 5200 Ultra (4X AGP, 64MB)
iMac G4/1.92 = The above iMac with DayStar 1.92GHz upgrade
iMac G5/2.0 = iMac G5/2.0GHz with Radeon 9600 (8X AGP, 128MB)
iMac G5/1.9 = iMac G5/1.9GHz with Radeon X600 (PCIe, 128M)
iMac G5/2.1 = iMac G5/2.1Ghz with Radeon X600 XT (PCIe, 128MB)

CPU CRUNCH TESTS

GRAPHICS INTENSIVE TESTS

ANALYSIS
The Daystar upgrade gives the "Manapua"* iMac G4 Flat Panel a new lease on life. We saw 39 to 100% gains in speed with productivity apps when comparing the original 1.25GHz processor to the 1.92GHz upgrade. You'll see even bigger gains if you have a 1GHz processor in your iMac G4 Flat Panel.

On CPU intensive tasks, it is nipping at the heels of the iMac G5. (We don't have full results on the iMac G5/1.9 "iSight" -- it went into convulsions -- kernel panics -- halfway through our testing -- we'll try again next week.)

It certainly runs quieter and cooler than the iMac G5s when flogged. This upgrade deserves serious consideration if you have an iMac G4 Flat Panel.

The only possible downside of upgrading your iMac G4 "Flat Panel" CPU is inability to upgrade the graphics processor. It was especially apparent with Core Image "aware" apps like iMaginator and Motion that the GeForceFX 5200 Ultra was no match for the Radeon 9600, X600, and X600 XT of the G5 iMacs.

IS IT HARD TO INSTALL THE CPU UPGRADE?
Yes. Other than adding memory or AirPort card, the iMac G4 Flat Panel is NOT user serviceable.
But Daystar has made this upgrade as easy as pie. If you don't have the original box to ship it to them, they will send you a box. Backup and pack up your iMac. Send it to them. They upgrade it, then put it through a 21 point test. Within 48 hours, they send it back to you. You should be able to complete the whole transaction within a week.

At the same time they are installing your CPU upgrade, they can upgrade the hard drive, optical drive, and memory.

*"MANAPUA"?
In Hawaii, one of our favorite snacks was Manapua, which is a white steamed bun with sweet pork or some other "surprise" inside. (Actually, the correct Hawaiian spelling is "Mauna Pua'a" which means "mountain of pork.") These yummy, gummy buns were dome shaped with a flat bottom -- just like the base of the iMac G4 Flat Panel -- hence, Manapua Mac.

WHERE TO ORDER iMac G4 FLAT PANEL UPGRADE

Visit the Daystar website to read all about the CPU upgrade for your iMac G4 and place your order. Double your speed for $449.

Today, Daystar announced the 1.92GHz upgrade for the 15" Aluminum PowerBook. We hope to test that soon.

For those more interested buying a new iMac G5, visit the Apple Online Store. Click HERE when you order an iMac helps support Bare Feats. (European readers click HERE.)

You can do the same if you order from Small Dog Electronics. For refurbished, reconditioned, open box (as well as new) iMac G5s, check with Small Dog and Power Max. Check also at the Apple SPECIAL DEALS section for factory refurbs and other specials.

If you live in the San Diego area, visit my good friends at CryWolf. They not only do special orders but have great training events.

Has Bare Feats helped you? How about helping Bare Feats?

2005 Rob Art Morgan
"BARE facts on Macintosh speed FEATS"
Email , the webmaster and mad scientist