| Supported Models
|Apple: 7300, 7500, 7600, 8500, 8600, 9500, 9600
Power Computing: Power Tower/Pro, PowerWave, Power Curve,
UMAX SuperMac S900 and J700.
Overview: A few weeks ago we looked at Newer Technology's
G3/500 and G4/350 upgrade cards. This time we put their G3/400
and G4/450 cards through their paces. The G4/450 represents
Newer's fastest PCI G4 card as of this writing but It is safe
to assume that a G4/500 isn't too far off. The G3/400 is a
step or two back from the top of the line G3/500, a fact that
is reflected in its price. How do these two cards stack up
against Newer's other offerings? Read on to find out. As the
installation process is virtually identical to the one we
went through for our G3/500
& G4/350 review, we have simply reproduced that section
here. If you have read our previous review feel free skip
Installation: Installing both cards is a breeze thanks to
the well written and clearly illustrated instruction manuals.
The G4/450 has no dip switches or jumpers to adjust, further
streamlining the installation process. The G3/400 on the other
hand has a row of 4 switches, all set to the "off"
position. This setting will work for most users with the exception
of folks who own 8500 and 9600 Power Macs. For installations
in these machines, switches 1 and 4 will need to be flipped
on for the card to work properly.
In the process of conducting a previous review, we damaged
one of our ZIF processors by not taking appropriate static
precautions. After this last experience we gained a renewed
appreciation for the included grounding strap and extension
bar on the card itself. The latter gives you a safe place
to grip while nudging the card into place and the former will
help you avoid our unpleasant experience. Use the grounding
The installer places several items on your hard drive including
an extension, control panel, and the Gauge Pro software. Unfortunately,
this means that information on the operation of your card
is divided between these two latter locations. The control
panel, for example, doesn't include information on the card's
operating temperature, processor version or system bus speed,
relegating these details to the Gauge Pro software. I would
like to see this information centralized, but this is a relatively
Stability/Performance: Both cards were rock solid during
their brief tenure in our aging 9500. As expected, the G4/450
bested the G3/400 in all of our tests. In tests where the
G4's AltiVec instruction set could be employed the performance
difference was striking. The G4/450 managed to trounce the
faster G3/500 from our previous review. Both cards sport a
full MB of backside cache running at a 2:1 ratio. We tried
to push the backside caches to a faster 3:2 ratio but both
cards refused to budge. Your mileage may vary. If you are
able to get 3:2 out of your Newer card, post a note on our
Newer Tech forum and let
With a price tag of $699, the G4/450 is closing in on iMac
pricing. It is also $170 more than their G4/400 and G3/500
cards. If you use a lot of AltiVec
enabled applications, go with a G4 but I would recommend
the more economical G4/400. If you don't plan on running many
AltiVec applications and want to get the most bang for your
buck the G3/400 is your best bet. Our benchmark
scores below include AltiVec and non-AltiVec tests so
you can gauge the difference. You should also bear in mind
that in the competitive upgrade business, card prices are
always dropping. Last year around this time, for example,
the G3/400 was going for around $700! It is safe to assume
that the G4 prices will follow a similar pattern...
Test Machine Configuration: Our test machine was a 9500/200
with 96MB RAM and OS 9.0.4 installed. We tested with an extension
set comprised of all OS extensions plus those installed by
Newer. For the MacBench tests virtual memory was turned off
and disk cache was set to 512k. These settings are consistent
with those used on the MacBench base reference machine, a
beige G3/300. For the real world tests we turned virtual memory
on and set it to 97MB.
|Estimated Street Price:
||Best performance for your $$$
of all the Newer cards we tested, stable, well written
& illustrated manual, extension bar on cards helps
||Blazes on AltiVec enabled tasks,
stable, well written & illustrated manual, extension
bar on cards helps during installation.
||Processor and backside cache can't be overclocked.
Control panel lacks comprehensive information.
||Expensive, $100 more gets you a low end
iMac. The G4/400 is a better buy. Processor and backside
cache can't be overclocked. Control panel lacks comprehensive
MacBench 5.0 Results
The scores below are from MacBench 5.0. MacBench 5.0 is a
subsystem-level benchmark that measures the performance of
a Mac's processor, disk, and graphics subsystems to name a
few. MacBench normalizes all scores relative to the base machine,
a Power Macintosh G3/300. The base machine receives a score
of 1000. For all MacBench tests, higher numbers mean better
performance. Be aware that MacBench 5.0 was released before
the G4 and AltiVec hit the scene and, consequently, does not
take advantage of, or reclines, the extra instruction set.
For more detailed information on MacBench click
here. Out of interest, we ran one test with "write
through" mode enabled on the G3/400. Write through is
a slower, and supposedly more stable, cache mode where the
contents of the L2 cache are also written to main system memory.
The "Newer G3/400/200/1MB WT" scores reflect testing
in this mode.
"Real World" Tests
(Shorter bars are better)
Time to Scroll a 574 page AppleWorks document
from top to bottom. Font
smoothing was turned off.
Using the same document as above we did a
search/replace command to replace the word "the"
with the word "macbench"
Photoshop 5.5 "Real World" Test
Render Boy 2.2.0
Time to render "Pool Table" Example
SoundJam MP3 Encode
Time to encode a CD track 4 minutes 29 seconds
Log File Analysis
For this test we used FunnelWeb Enterprise 4.0 to analyze
our web server's log file. The file was 17MB and contained
1.8 million lines to be processed!
Variable/Fixed Clock Rate
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