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XLR8 Information FAQ - MAChCarrier G4 & CarrierZIF
Also see FAQ - Nomenclature
- What is the difference between the MAChCarrier G4 and the Carrier ZIF?
The difference between the MAChCarrier G4 and the Carrier ZIF is the MAChCarrier comes with an XLR8 ZIF module onboard, as the Carrier ZIF is only the adapter.
- What does the MAChCarrier G4/Carrier ZIF offer me as opposed to the many other upgrade cards on the market?
The MAChCarrier G4/Carrier ZIF offer maximum compatibility with applications and peripherals. With XLR8's exclusive Smart Control with Virtual Firmware and utilization of the ZIF socket introduced on the Power Macintosh G3 systems, the MAChCarrier/Carrier ZIF offer unparalleled upgrade options.
- What systems will accept the MAChCarrier G4/Carrier ZIF?
The MAChCarrier G4/Carrier ZIF will work with the Apple Power Macintosh 7300, 7500, 7600, 8500, 8600, 9500, and 9600 series. They also work in UMAX SuperMac S900 and J700 systems, PowerComputing PowerTower, and the Daystar Genesis MP 720 and up and the Millennium series.
- My current Mac has a slower system bus than todays Power Mac G3s. Will that matter for G4 upgrades?
No more than for G3 upgrades. Of course, any processor will perform better on a system with a faster bus than it will on a system with a slower bus. On the other hand, the backside L2 caches present on G3s and G4s minimize the importance of system-bus speed. Most of the benefit of a processor upgrade can be achieved even with a relatively slower bus.
What is more important is that your Macs system bus speed sets an upper limit on how fast a processor you can install in it. The maximum processor speed supported by a system is the product of two factors: the computers rated system-bus speed multiplied by the processors maximum CPU multiplier.
For example, consider an old (pre-G3) Power Mac or Mac clone with a 50-MHz bus, upgraded with a G3 processor. Until recently, the maximum CPU multiplier on G3s was 8x; this limited to 400 MHz (50 MHz x 8) the speed at which these older Power Macs could run. Even if you installed a faster G3 in such a system, it would not reliably be able to run faster than 400 MHz. Recently, however, IBM began shipping G3s that support a 10x CPU multiplier. This makes it possible to push systems with 50-MHz buses to run at 500 MHz (50 MHz x 10). Motorola has not yet announced what the G4s highest CPU multiplier will be.
- How fast will it go?
In theory it is limited only by the CPU multiplier, 7400s (G4s) are limited to a 9 x multiplier so the speed is limited to 450 MHz (9x50). A 7450 has a 16x multiplier, (600 and up MHz) but no one has a 7450 form factor that fits.
The speed of the MAChCarrier G3 and Carrier ZIF can be adjusted by a set of switches on the Carrier daughtercard and a set of jumpers on the ZIF module. A complete chart for all possible settings is included in the manual.
- What ZIFs work with the Carrier?
XLR8 and Apple are guaranteed to work. OWC's are pretty much copies of Apple's, so they work as well. PowerLogix does work, but has a number of version problems. We have had mixed resultes with Sonnet's due to their attempt at "auto" setting the CPU.
- What ZIFs work with the Carrier?
- What are the advantages of the G4 over the G3?
The G4 will incorporate several new technologies that will improve its performance over the G3, including:
- AltiVec "Velocity Engine" technology
- full support for multiprocessing
- improved FPU performance
- support for L2 caches up to 2 MB
- support for wider (128-bit) system buses
- Will I have to upgrade to new software if I upgrade to a G4?
That depends. Although there will no doubt be a few wrinkles to iron out, software that works well on a G3 processor should continue to work on a G4 processor. But if you want to take advantage of the G4s AltiVec technology and multiprocessing capability youll need updated software that has been modified explicitly to support these features.
- How do I decide whether a G4 or a high-speed G3 is best for my needs?
This is a tricky one. No one answer will work for everyone. Here are some points to
- Are the applications that you use most often AltiVec-enabled or make heavy use of FPU computation, or do you do a lot of work with video? If so, you may be best off with a G4 upgrade.
- What is the rated system-bus speed of your computer and, at the point in time when youre shopping for an upgrade, what processor speeds are available for G3 and G4 chips? If your computers bus speed is high enough, you may be able to install a G3 chip that outperforms the fastest available G4. Although even a super-fast G3 chip probably wont speed up AltiVec-enabled apps as much as a G4 would, it will definitely speed up everything else you do on your computer more than a G4 would. If you dont plan to use many AltiVec-enabled applications, a faster G3 may be a better choice.
- What do they cost? Until pricing is set on G4 and fast G3 upgrades, it wont be
possible to determine how much bang each alternative offers you for the buck.