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XLR8 Information FAQ for the MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD
Also see FAQ - Nomenclature
- What is the MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD ?
The MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD is a PowerBook Upgrade program / product which will upgrade the PowerBook G3 Series (1999/Lombard) into a G4 powerhouse. Since Daystar's XLR8 CPU upgrade includes a number of performance improvements and low-power adjustments, it is installed factory-direct by Daystar at our facility in Georgia. The Daystar conversion process is completed in 24 hours using state-of-the art equipment, and worldwide respected, Apple Certified professionals.
- What machines can use the MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD ?
The MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD is fully compatible with Apple's PowerBook G3 Series. These are the PowerBook G3 systems that include native SCSI and USB Ports. Often referred to by their code name: "LOMBARD".
- What speed range is the MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD available in?
We offer 433 MHz with a large 1MB backside cache (400% larger than the 550-1GHz PowerBook G4).
- Are there any incompatibility issues with the upgrade?
Yes, one known issue does exist, sleep in some installs of OS 9 and Jaguar. Our engineers worked months to produce an upgrade that would operate transparent to the OS and the system. The MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD will run the same OS's and the same applications as before... only faster. It also allows any applications that require G4s to run without modification.
Even when running G3, the LOMBARD does have many documented 'sleep' issues. The Daystar software MAChSpeed control has eliminated these issues, in all except one case, while running the G4. The MAChSpeed Control software is required in order to use sleep in Mac OS9 and Jaguar. In these cases, sleep can only be achieved by opening and closing the MAChSpeed Control utility each time the system wakes up in OS9
- Are there any other issues to take into consideration?
Yes. Not all RAM is created equal. The LOMBARD is very specific to the type of RAM that can be used. When upgrading to G4 performance, care must be taken, to ensure that the correct RAM type is installed. PC133 will not work with the upgrade (it also causes a number of issues/crashes on standard systems). Also, RAM must have the correct CAS latentcy settings. 3-2-2 are suggested by Apple. In the best situation both installed SODIMMs will be set to 3-2-2. If at least one SODIMM is set to 3-2-2 the system usually performs well (iMac SODIMMs are typically 3-2-2). If both are set to 2-2-2, then the RAM will most likely cause conflicts and/or crashes. An application 'DIMM First Aid will report the correct settings, but is not compatible with the LOMBARD.
Note: Daystar will check and test all RAM to ensure perfect compatibility. If the RAM used in the system is not correct, the customer will be contacted. In most problem cases,
- How does the conversion process / ordering work?
It is very simple. For any order, worldwide, an order is placed for the MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD at Daystar's online store: http://daystartechnology.com/store/msg4l then, depending on the customers "3-way" shipping choices (assuming all three are used)...
- Daystar ships a custom padded shipping container to you.
- The container includes all instructions and a prepaid return label.
- The PowerBook is backed-up, packed, the checklist is completed and it is shipped by you to Daystar using the prepaid label.
- Once the PowerBook arrives at Daystar, our Apple Certified Technicians immediately test and verify your PowerBook component-by-component. You are contacted with any 'out of the ordinary' diagnostics. You can follow the status via your Daystar store account online at http://daystartechnology.com/store/login
- Then, the upgrade process begins, which includes the installation of all software, upgrading of the CPU, cache (on your CPU daughtercard), power settings, inspection and re-flow (if required) of all electronics and tuning of the system for maximum performance.
- When the upgrade is complete the system is again tested with an overnight battery of tests, then verified, cleaned and shipped back to you.
- Daystar ships the completed unit, ready for operation.
- You receive the final upgrade, open the box and power-up to G4 performance.
- Is there a faster shipment option? I can't afford down-time?
Yes. We have the "Week-ender" program. We used this same procedure back in the days of the Mac IIcx upgrades at DayStar Digital. It allows you to send your G3 LOMBARD in Thursday night, and have it back in your office as a G4 LOMBARD on Monday. The ordering process is the same just select the 'Week-ender' shipping options under product options.
- I live outside the USA. Can I upgrade?
Yes. Although we don't support the Week-ender program internationally, we do provide international based upgrades for users outside of the united states. You can choose from the shipping choice shown in product options.
Most international customers choose to save money by sending their unit to Daystar without a pre-shipment box via their local postal service. We provide all the instructions and checklists via email after they place their order.
- I don't want to send my whole PowerBook. Can I send just the CPU?
We prefer to ensure 100% compatibility. The only way to do this is to test the whole system, making sure the RAM and drive and OS are rock solid. This said, we do have some OEM resellers that sell and support card-only solutions. Please visit PowerBook Medic in the US.
- My PowerBook is dysfunctional. Can I still upgrade?
Yes! Daystar Technology is an Apple Authorized Service Provider. Your system can be repaired completely with Apple Certified components before upgrading.
Also, it is possible that if your PowerBook is having problems, the upgrade will fix it. The best solution is to complete the order for your MAChSpeed Upgrade then when sending the unit in, indicate the problem. We will provide the diagnostic at no cost. You will be contacted before any charges in additional to the upgrade are incurred. Note that Daystar can fix any problem in-house, from a "red screen", to "dead sound" or even "beeping start-ups".
Repairs are preformed at $75 plus parts. Cache error issues are repaired with the upgrade for a cost of $19, if selected in the 'System Condition' option when ordering... even if it requires a full card swap.
- Why should I upgrade rather than Purchase a new PowerBook?
Actually there are a few great reasons;
- The LOMBARD is an excellent computer. It can boot into OS9, and is far more robust in physical design than the PowerBook G4.
- Extend the life of your PowerBook. The Fast G4 CPU delivers new life to your aging PowerBook. It extends the usful life for another couple of years. Great for work, home or school.
- Wait for the next great PowerBook jump before buying new. Apple's G5 PowerBooks are coming. In short, why buy a new PowerBook G4 today when the PowerBook with G5 will coming soon? Plus, you can get fast G4 performance for OS X now and can begin using the newest "fast G4" only Apps without waiting.
- What are the advantages of the XLR8 Low-power design
The 7410 LE used by XLR8, costs over twice as much as the CPU component used by many competitors, but provides the latest in functionality, performance, compatibility and temp control.
XLR8 uses the LOW power G4 7410 LE Motorola PowerPC CPU, in combination with low-power cache components and electronics, thus extending the battery life up to 20% over other G4's. This also reduces the CPU operating temperature under the stock higher-power consuming IBM G3 while producing increased processing power over any G3, even ones with higher clock speeds.
- This is especially true if using AltiVec aware software and Mac OS X.
- Faster cooler, more battery life, software compatible, no drivers required.
- Extend the useful life of this computer. Before you buy a new G5 laptop.
- My LOMBARD has a slower system bus than today's Power Mac G4s. Will that matter for G4 upgrades?
Not as much as you would think. 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 fast backside L2 cache that is present on the MAChSpeed G4 LOMBARD minimizes the importance of system-bus speed. In fact the existence of the cache provides over 75% percent of the performance for the G4 CPU. The bus accounts for less than 10%. Most of the benefit of a processor upgrade can be achieved even with a relatively slower bus. In fact, XBench.com marks this upgrade faster than the 550 MHz PowerBook G4!
- Will I have to upgrade to new software if I upgrade to a G4?
No, but you will probably want to. If you want to take advantage of the G4’s AltiVec technology performance capability you'll need updated software that has been modified explicitly to support these features, like Adobe Photoshop and Mac OS X.
- Can I run Mac OS X?
Yes, any version of Mac OS X will install, as it does on any PowerBook G3 (with USB). Note that as on any Lombard's, in order to install Panther, you may need to remove the top DIMM during installation (it can be returned after the OS install without issue).
- Apple states that Mac OS X does not support processor upgrade cards. Is this true?
No. Actually, it is an Apple marketing 'misstatement". Technically, in nearly every case, Apple cannot tell the difference between their stock CPUs and a third party modified CPU. The installer instead looks at built in features (like USB on the Panther install). The OS itself does not discern between the speed of the CPU. The correct statement would be that "Apple does not provide technical support for Mac OS X on systems with third-party processor cards installed".
- What are the advantages of the G4 over the G3?
The G4 incorporates several new technologies that improve its performance over the G3, including:
- AltiVec "Velocity Engine" technology. This is the most significant advantage on the Mac. Apple and third parties have spent millions in programming basic functions like Quartz (Display PostScript) and its QuickTime CoDecs, to the AltiVec unit of the G4. Since the AltiVec unit is basically a superfast, mini-multiprocessing engine within the G4, this allows the G4 CPU to provide exponential performance in QuickTime and most OS X display rendering. In short, the G4 upgrade is as much a Video accelerator (in OS X) as a CPU upgrade.
- Known support by Apple's core system: Apple has made G4's mandatory on its application software releases, as can be seen on FinalCut Pro, iChatAV and iDVD, which will not install on the Pismo in its original state
- Improved FPU performance
- Support for faster and larger L1 and L2 caches
- Support for wider (128-bit) system buses
- Why don't you have speeds faster than 433?
Faster CPUs are available, for the LOMBARD upgrade. But due to ROM and thermal issues, where Apple locked out backside caches at speeds above 450, we are limited in speed to 433 MHz on the LOMBARD.
Although, re-writing the ROM with patches would allow the LOMBARD to run faster, Daystar has decided not to re-write the ROM based on future compatibility issues with changing systems (and past experience of competitive upgrades).
- How do I decide whether a G4 or a high-speed G3 is best for my needs?
Overall, independent benchmarks show that the G4 outperforms the G3 in OS X. But, they also show that the G3 actually outperforms the G4 in Mac OS 9. Realize though that most benchmarks are not real-world, because their tests fit within the G3's very small built-in cache. The G4's full real-world benefit will not be shown using benchmark testing apps. The best source of performance information is by using "real" applications using "real" files and "real" processes. In these tests. The G4 is ALWAYS faster in OSX, graphics and video in any OS.