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MaxPowr G3/400 And MaxPowr G4/450 Two Newer Tech Upgrade Cards Benchmarked & Reviewed

Supported Models
Apple: 7300, 7500, 7600, 8500, 8600, 9500, 9600
Power Computing: Power Tower/Pro, PowerWave, Power Curve, Power Center/Pro
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 ahead.

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.

For Great Prices On Upgrades Check The Vendors Below
Processor Upgrades
Small Dog MacConnection

Graphics Cards
Small Dog MacConnection

Hard Drives & Optical Drives
Small Dog

RAM & Other Memory
Crucial.com MacConnection

SCSI, Firewire USB Cards
Small Dog

MacConnection


Used/Refurbished Macs
Service & Parts
ebay Small Dog

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 strap!!!

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 minor quibble.

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 us know.

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.


Product: MaxPowr G3/400/200/1MB MaxPowr G4/450/225/1MB
Company: Newer Technology Newer Technology
Estimated Street Price: $349.00 $699.00
Rating: (5 possible)
Rate this card!
(5 possible)
Rate this card!
Hits: Best performance for your $$$ of all the Newer cards we tested, stable, well written & illustrated manual, extension bar on cards helps during installation. Blazes on AltiVec enabled tasks, stable, well written & illustrated manual, extension bar on cards helps during installation.
Misses: 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 information.


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.


Processor

FPU

Disk

Graphics

"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 Results


*AltiVec enabled

 

 

 


*AltiVec enabled

Render Boy 2.2.0

Time to render "Pool Table" Example file

SoundJam MP3 Encode

Time to encode a CD track 4 minutes 29 seconds in length.


*AltiVec enabled

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!

 


-Card

Type

Cooling System

Variable/Fixed Clock Rate

Tech Support

Warranty

Price Information

Newer Technology
MaxPowr
G3/400/200/1MB
PCI Heat Sink Fixed Web Based
Toll Free Phone
1-888-656-8324
E-mail
2 Years

OtherWorldComputing

Newer Technology
MaxPowr
G4/450/225/1MB
PCI Heat Sink Fixed Web Based
Toll Free Phone
1-888-656-8324
E-mail
2 Years

OtherWorldComputing



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