|Looking at the new G4s from Apple and drooling? Can't afford to buy one or don't want to wait for availability? Powerlogix and XLR8 have both announced G4 upgrade cards that will work with PCI PowerMacs and Clones. We are including information from both companies (in no particular order):
PowerLogix R&D, designer of the best-selling PowerForce G3 line of processor upgrades, today announced plans to produce PowerForce G4 upgrades for PowerMacs.
The PowerForce G4 brings the power of Motorola's AltiVec Technology (called "Velocity Engine" by Apple) to earlier PowerMacs and clones.
The PowerForce G4 will be available in 350, 400, 450, and 500 MHz versions with 1 Mb or 2Mb of backside cache. The G4 processor is a derivative of the PowerPC 750 ("G3") design. The Motorola G4 design changed from the 750 only where required to gain "compelling multimedia performance," to quote the Motorola hardware specification.
These changes include:
- AltiVec instruction set
- Improvements in memory bandwidth
- Hardware based multiprocessing capability
- Copper process technology
- Improved floating point performance
- Additional bus ratio options
- Additional backside cache ratio options
For full benefit of G4 technology, software must be written to utilize AltiVec. Graphics processing such as used in PhotoShop, and multimedia tasks such as video will all benefit from AltiVec technology. Any software not utilizing AltiVec will perform at levels comparable to G3 processors, unless a 2Mb backside cache is enabled (G3 supports only up to 1Mb.)
"Initial MacBench CPU scores are impressive, reaching over 1630 on a PowerMac 9500 running at 500 MHz with a fairly slow 166 MHz 1Mb cache," said Marc Reviel, VP of Engineering.
The PowerForce G4 will be compatible with the standard set of Apple PowerMacs from the 7300 to the 9600; Power Computing PowerWave and PowerTower Pro; UMAX S900 and J700; and beige and some B&W PowerMac G3s. Power Computing Catalyst-based computers (PowerTower, PowerCenter, PowerCenter Pro) at this point are not compatible with the G4 processor chip.
The PowerForce G4 ships with G4 Cache Profiler software. G4 Cache Profiler reports clock speed and cache speed settings; allows easy configuration of backside cache; offers compatibility settings (speculative addressing); dynamic power management, and even support for configuring the backside cache when using Linux. These features enable functions in older Macs that are built-in to the latest Apple G3 and G4 products.
G4 Cache Profiler offers an intuitive interface and the most complete feature set of any competing product, including software compatibility for Adaptec SCSI cards, Media 100, and other cards that are usually finicky when used with G3 or G4 processors.
Pricing and availibility will be announced at a later date, with shipments expected to start in 4th quarter 1999.
On the shoulders of Apples introduction of G4 with its AltiVec velocity engine, XLR8, the award-winning leader in Macintosh performance and peripherals, announced the availability of its newest upgrade, XLR8 MACh Carrier G4. This new technology builds on XLR8s patent pending designs with plug and play performance for all beige Power Macintosh systems from the Power Mac 7300 through the Power Macintosh G3 and clones. XLR8 enhances this package with custom G4 and AltiVec utilities, and additional AltiVec performance enhancements for the leading graphics application, Adobe Photoshop .
XLR8 MACh Carrier G4 - The 2-for-1 Upgradeable Upgrade
The MACh Carrier G4 builds on the XLR8s award-winning technology. It replaces the existing CPU card and is easily upgradeable by simply swapping its ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) daughtercard for faster speeds. Users can also get a 2-for-1 value by splitting its cards, then upgrading a G3 system to G4, and using the G3 ZIF card on the Carrier in the older Mac. It uses the standard MACh Speed Control and includes AltiVec utilities and performance extensions.
MACh/G4C400/1....... 400 MHz MACh Carrier G4 ............ Intro SRP: $999
MACh/G4C450/1....... 450 MHz MACh Carrier G4 ............ Intro SRP: $1,299
MACh/G4C500/1....... 500 MHz MACh Carrier G4 ............ Intro SRP: TBA
XLR8 MACh Speed
G4z - Supercomputing for the PowerMac G3
The MACh Speed G4z is a ZIF based daughtercard that allows beige Power Macintosh G3 owners and XLR8 CarrierZIF owners to upgrade instantly to G4 performance. The board simply replaces the standard G3 ZIF daughtercard.
MACh/G4Z400/1 ....... 400 MHz MACh Speed G4z.......... Intro SRP: $879
MACh/G4Z450/1 ....... 450 MHz MACh Speed G4z.......... Intro SRP: $1,199
MACh/G4Z500/1 ....... 500 MHz MACh Speed G4z.......... Intro SRP: TBA
XLR8s MACh Speed Control 1.4, w/ PowerPack Software
Building upon its exclusive compatibility and automated interface, this release adds new benefits including full AltiVec and G4 compatibility, full support for G3 PowerBooks and upgrades, a low-power cache mode, a motherboard cache switch, with continued interface optimization, and AltiVec enhanced PowerPack software tools.
XLR8s Performance Trade-Up Program
XLR8 continues its dedication to customer value with emphasis on its Performance Trade-Up Program announced last month. Full plug and play G4 compatibility allows XLR8 to upgrade its customers to the latest performance standard, including G4, by providing aggressive Trade-Up discounts directly from XLR8. The Trade-Up program allows users to Purchase inexpensive G3 upgrades today, then move up to G4 when its price is not at a premium.
The MACh Carrier G4 and MACh Speed G4z are currently being prepared for manufacturing. Orders are being accepted by XLR8 and its authorized resellers.
The Mac Observer Spin: The race is on for G4 upgrades. Older PowerMacs will not be as fast as Apple's new G4s simply because of the older motherboard designs and other limitations. That said, for those that can not afford a new G4 will still welcome the performance. We expect these products and any other to be announced to be very popular.
It seems the jury is still out on upgrading Blue & Whites to a G4. Rumors have circulated that Apple added code to the most recent firmware updates that make Blue & Whites not function if a G4 is detected. However, sources within the upgrade market have told us they have not experienced any problems.
Powerlogix - XLR8