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Review: Newer Tech's MAXpowr G4/400 ZIF
G4 CPU Upgrade for AIO/Beige/B&W G3s
By Mike
Published: 12/10/99
Hardware Features/Specifications/Compatibility
Intro | Benchmarks  | Appl. Tests | Software Controls  | Installation | Specs/Design | Summary
MAXpowr G4 400 ZIF Technical Details
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(Photo Courtesy Newer Technology)

Hardware Details:

  • Motorola G4/400MHz CPU stepping 2.2 (later samples may vary)
  • 1MB of Sync. Pipeline Burst SRAM L2 Cache
    Samsung KM736V799T-50 (5.0ns cycle time) x 2
    (200 MHz rated)

Speed Settings (Bus/CPU Ratio):
To allow for use in both 66MHz bus speed Beige G3 and 100MHz bus B&W G3s without requiring changes to the motherboard jumper settings (which voids the Apple warranty), the MAXpowr G4 ZIF module has a small, 4 position dip switch that controls the Bus/CPU ratio.

This sample arrived set for a Beige G3, but it took only a minute to consult the printed manual for settings for the B&W G3. Due to warranty issues, I did not test this upgrade at higher speeds than the CPU's rating. G4s seem to have a lot less 'headroom' than many past G3 CPUs. There have been several recent G4 overclocking failure reports from Yikes G4 system owners, so I don't suggest you try overclocking a G4 CPU. As with any model of CPU, don't assume that overclocking speeds reported by others will be reliable with another sample.

Overclocking, although very common and something I have personally done for many years on literally every computer I have ever owned without any failures so far, is not recommended as it usually voids the warranty and may not be reliable. Speed is nothing without reliability and you risk your data and hardware when overclocking. See my FAQ's Overclocking Risks topic area for more information, including long term effects such as electromigration.


Compatibility: (repeated from the front page)

The MAXpowr G4 ZIF is listed as compatible with the following Mac models:

  • Apple Blue and White (B&W) G3 (tested here)
  • Apple Beige G3

Although it's not listed on Newer Technologies product page, I suspect that the Apple All-in-One (AIO) Mac might also compatible.

I know readers will ask, but I've not verified compatibility with XLR8's or PowerLogix's ZIF socketed base cards yet, which would allow using this ZIF module in older CPU card slot Macs. (Note however that no G4 upgrade is compatible with PowerCenter/Pro and PowerTower models and other Catalyst motherboard based Macs.)


B&W G3 Firmware Notes:

As most readers know, the 1.1 Firmware update prevents a G4 CPU from working in a B&W G3 (proven here back in August, 1999). Newer Tech supplies a firmware updater that removes the G4 CPU block. Newer Tech's G4 was also fully compatible with the XLR8 firmware patch I had previously applied to my B&W G3s for the G4/400Z review last month.

Although I used a B&W G3 base system for the review tests, I did verify that the upgrade worked in a Beige G3/266 system as well. (Most all aftermarket ZIF upgrades work in Beige and B&W G3s).

Test System Hardware Summary

  • Apple B&W G3
  • Firmware v1.1f4 (Patched to remove G4 CPU block)
  • 256MB SDRAM (322 clock dimms)
  • Stock 6GB IDE hard drive (5400 rpm, 512KB cache)
  • 32x CDROM drive (OEM)
  • ATI Rage128 rev2 graphics card in 66MHz PCI Slot
  • All OS 9 Altivec extensions were enabled for G4 CPU tests
  • OS 9.0, VM off, QT 4.0.3 Pro, QD3D 1.6., OpenGL 1.1.2, [No Libmoto]
  • Initio BlueNote PCI SCSI card and SCSI Travan Tape drive used for Retrospect Tests


Summary: The hardware design has proven reliable in use at the rated speeds.


The next page contains a summary and final comments on the product.

Index of Newer Tech G4 400MHz ZIF Review

Intro | Benchmarks | Appl. Tests | Software Controls  | Installation | Specs/Design | Summary

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