G4 AGP Graphics Card Upgrades:
Part 1- OS 9

“Should I upgrade my graphics card?” is an often heard question on Mac forums.
While there may or may not be compelling reasons to do so, my belief is that one cannot have too much processing power with regard to the GPU and memory bandwidth of a graphics card.

Of course, there are some restrictions due to machine type and OS version, but for the most part, an upgraded graphics card will always reward the user with an improved computer experience.

This improved user experience not only applies to game performance, but also applies to graphics and video editing software, and in the case of Core Image support in OS X Tiger and Leopard, provides the user with improved and enhanced GUI characteristics.

I will start by listing AGP graphics cards by their relative processing power and 2D/3D performance characteristics for OS 9.

OS 9 3D Acceleration Supported AGP Graphics Cards

    Radeon Rage 128 Pro OEM
    Radeon Rage 128 OEM
    Geforce2 MX OEM
    Radeon 7500 OEM
    Geforce4 MX OEM
    Geforce3 OEM
    Radeon 9000 Pro OEM and Retail
    Radeon 8500 Retail
    Radeon 9200 (Flashed WinPC)
    Geforce4 Ti OEM

 All cards listed support 3D acceleration in OS 9, which is why faster cards, like the Radeon 9700 and 9800 Pro are not included in the list.
 All cards are interchangeable in all G4 models.
 Cards with ADC ports can be used in the Sawtooth G4, but the ADC port will not function due to lack of ADC support in that machine.

Though listed as slowest to fastest, the Radeon 7500 and Geforce4 MX may be reversed in the list order, depending on the application or process.
The same can be said for the Radeon 8500 and the Radeon 9000 Pro, but, in OS 9, the 8500 is preferred.

Test results to compare the various cards (OS X only) may be found in my Benchmarks pages, or by searching Xlr8yourmac or Barefeats.

A note about flashed graphics cards:

Flashed WinPC equivalents of the above listed cards are also compatible with OS 9 and support 3D acceleration.
In the case of the Geforce4 Ti, the Geforce Ti 4600 is equivalent to the OEM Geforce4 Ti.
The Geforce4 Ti4400 and 4200 are sometimes hacked for Mac, but will not provide the same performance as the 4600.

Click the Next button for graphics card upgrades in the G4 for OS X.../Page%201%3A%20OpenGL%20.htmlshapeimage_1_link_0
Should I upgrade my graphics card?
GPU’s the name, Graphix is the game!
Friday, January 1, 2010