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Review: Powerlogix's Series 133 Dual 1GHz G4 Upgrade
Tests vs Original Dual G4/533 and Dual 1GHz MDD G4
By Mike
Published: 12/24/2002
= Links to Review Topics Pages =
Intro | Benchmarks  | Apps Tests | Game Tests | Installation | Specs/Design

Pros: Only Dual G4 upgrade for AGP Macs currently available. Performance close to that of a new Dual 1GHz MDD Mac tower (with less noise). No software required for L3 cache enabling. No errors of any kind seen during testing (incl. tests of wake from sleep in OS X and OS 9).

Cons: Expensive. List price is almost half the cost of a new MDD Dual 1GHz system. (Update As of Feb. 7th, 2003 PL dropped the list price of the Dual 1GHz model from $1199 to $899 and added other models - see below.)

Introduction
Powerlogix is the only company currently offering a dual G4 CPU upgrade for G4/AGP Towers. Powerlogix provided a review loaner of their PowerForce G4 Series 133 Dual 1GHz model for testing in my Digital Audio Dual G4/533 Tower System. (They also offer a PowerForce Series 100 for the Cube and 100MHz bus G4/AGP towers.) For full details on the test system's hardware and software, see the system details listing below.

Expensive CPU upgrades give many G4 Tower owners pause, although complaints over the new G4 Mirrored Drive Door model's fan noise has been fairly common and one reason why many have avoided them. (There's also been some compatibility issues with PCI audio cards in the MDD systems, but a revised motherboard may have solved that.) Although this upgrade in my Digital Audio G4 didn't quite match the performance of a Dual 1GHz MDD system, in actual use it felt just as fast with significantly less noise. Selling the original CPU module (on ebay for instance) can help offset the cost and you can compare prices of new systems, refurbished, etc. (i.e. selling your existing mac and pooling the upgrade fund towards a new/used/refurbished later model) when making an upgrade decision. If you gave a single G4 currently, the dual 867MHz upgrade lists for $400 less than the dual 1GHz and is another option to consider.

This review compares the performance of the original Digital Audio Dual G4/533, the same system with the Powerlogix Dual 1GHz upgrade and a Dual 1GHz MDD system. (See system details below.) If you have a single G4/466 (or even single G4/733), the performance delta with the upgrade would be higher, as the dual 533 (7400/7410 CPU based) was considered superior overall to the single (7450) G4/733 model.

Series 133 Pricing This can change at any time so check the vendor's/dealer's site for the latest pricing. (Updated Feb. 7th, 2003 for latest PowerLogix Pricing/Model changes)

  • Single G4/800MHz: $329
  • Single G4/1GHz: $489
  • Single G4/1.2GHzL: $619
  • Dual G4/867MHz: $749
  • Dual G4/933MHz: $799
  • Dual G4/1GHz: $899
  • Dual G4/1.2GHz: $1099

(Of course the above prices/models could change at any time.) The OWC site specials page sometimes lists CPU upgrades for a discount and ships world/wide.


Review Table of Contents:

  1. Benchmark Performance: Includes XBench, Altivec Fractal demo and CineBench 2000 test results.

  2. Applications Performance: Tests with QT to MPEG4 conversion, iMovie2 (OS X), iTunes3 MP3 encoding, multitasking, and Photoshop 7.0 (50MB image/21 filter tests).

  3. Games Performance: Tests with Quake3, Unreal Tournament X, and Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

  4. Installation: Comments on installing the upgrade, links to manuals/installation guides and upgrade kit contents. Also includes comments on heat and noise.

  5. Specs/Design: Details of the upgrade's CPU and Cache.


System Compatibility:
The PowerForce G4 1GHz Series 133 is compatible with the following Mac models:

  • Apple G4/AGP "Digital Audio"
  • Apple G4/AGP "Quicksilver"
  • Apple G4/AGP "Quicksilver 2002"

Powerlogix also has a Series 100 for the 100MHz bus Cube, G4/AGP Sawtooth and Gigabit Ethernet Tower models.

    OS Requirements:
  • OS 9.2.1 or OS 9.2.2
  • OS X 10.1 or later

Other Owner Experiences: For owner ratings of most every CPU upgrade for any upgradeable Mac, search the Rate Your CPU Upgrade database.

Test System Details:

  • Apple Digital Audio G4 Tower
  • Dual 533MHz G4 CPUs (7410) w/1MB SDR L2 cache per CPU
  • 133MHz (SDR) bus w/1GB RAM
  • Western Digital WD120JB 120GB (20% free space) Hard Drive w/OS 9.2.2 and 10.2.3 installed
  • Onboard ATA/66 hard drive controller
  • Pioneer OEM DVR-103 Superdrive
  • Retail ATI 8500 AGP 64MB graphics card
  • Quicktime 6 (Pro)
  • Virtual Memory Disabled in OS 9
  • Airport active for all tests

For comparison to a new Mac, the following system was used:

  • Mirrored Drive Door G4 tower
  • Dual 1GHz (7455 rev 2.1) CPUs with 1MB DDR L3 cache per CPU
  • 167MHz bus (SDR) with 768MB DDR memory
  • OEM IBM 80GB drive (60% free space) w/10.2.3 and 9.2.2
  • Onboard ATA/100 hard drive controller
  • OEM ATI Radeon 9000 Pro 64MB graphics card
  • OEM Pioneer DVR-104 superdrive
  • Quicktime 6 (Pro)
  • Virtual Memory Disabled in OS 9
  • Airport active for all tests

Display used was a Sony 19" F400. The hard drive was not optimized. All the OS/driver updates to date had been applied. For MP3/CD tests, a Lite-on 40125S (40x12x48x) CDRW in a Pyro Firewire case was used.


You can follow my preferred path through the review by continuing to the next page, or use the links below to jump to a specific page.

Index of PL Dual 1GHz Upgrade Review Pages

Intro | Benchmarks  | Apps Tests | Game Tests | Installation | Specs/Design

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