Power Mac G4 Upgrade ChroniclesAfter the upgrades I've installed in my Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio - 2001) today, the Mac should now have reached its end-of-life as far as upgrades are concerned and I don't think I'm going to alter any more of its insides.
Originally, it started out thus:
466MHz PowerPC G4 processor with 1MB of L2 cache
256MB PC133 SDRAM (factory-upgraded from 128MB)
ATI Rage 128 Pro graphics with 16MB of VRAM running on AGP 4x
30GB ATA/66 5400-rpm hard disk drive
8x/4x/24x CD-RW drive
2 USB 1.1, 2 FireWire
Modem, Gigabit Ethernet, Audio Out, Digital Audio Out
17" Apple Studio Display CRT (flat screen) at native 1024x768
Apple Specifications Page (first column)
By 2005, it had a few changes:
1GB PC133 SDRAM (512+256+256)
nVidia GeForce4 MX graphics with 32MB of VRAM running on AGP 4x
120GB ATA/66 7200-rpm hard disk drive
48x/32x/40x//16x/8x/16x//16x/16x/16x//8x//4x LaCie DVD±RW drive *
4 USB 2.0 ports
Today, it has been changed a little bit more:
1.467GHz PowerPC G4 processor with 256KB of L2 cache and 2MB of L3 cache
ATI Radeon 9600 Pro graphics with 64MB of VRAM running on AGP 4x
80GB ATA/66 7200-rpm hard disk drive
17" Dell 1707FP LCD monitor at native 1280x1024
If you're keeping track, which I doubt you are, the only component that has not been altered or added to in this computer is the motherboard (and other boring things like the power supply). The fact that its core components - the CPU, GPU and HDD - all have been replaced or added to, says a lot about how upgradeable this system is (quite unlike the Mac mini, actually). Here is an article that talks more about upgradeability in Apple's newer computers as compared to the older ones.
However, today is also the day that, along with gaining around 3x the performance (Source: Xbench) on my lovable G4 (a.k.a. Grandpa Mac), I lose the convenience of the Apple Studio Display. You see, although the ASD was big and bulky (about 30 kilograms), it was extraordinarily beautiful for a CRT monitor, had a flat screen and used only a single cable to transfer video, power and USB from the computer. This was the Apple Display Connector, lovingly known as the ADC. Believe me, anything that reduced cable clutter was a big deal (still is, actually), and originally I used my computer with just three cables - power, modem and display. The mouse plugged into the keyboard and the keyboard plugged into the monitor. Also, there was a power button on the monitor which could be used to turn the computer on and put it to sleep or wake it up. For my PC-using friends back then, this was a phenomenon unheard of!
Unfortunately, Apple abandoned this type of connector in its next generation of displays in an effort to go for industry standard displays. Today, I mourn the loss of the ADC because now I have three cables running out of the back of my monitor even though the monitor now supports USB 2.0 and has 4 USB ports instead of 2. This realization was all the more emphatic because, while I packing up the monitor (I still had the original box stashed somewhere), my mother asked me where the power cable was and said to her, "There isn't one."
Fare ye well, Apple Studio Display!
* that's CD//DVD+//DVD-//DVD+(DL)//DVD-(DL) in Write/Rewrite/Read order return