Power Mac G4 Upgrade Chronicles

After 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.

Before today, this is exactly what my computer setup looked like, albeit not in line art

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 

Comments (7) Posted on at  

  • » Good for reducing clutter, and bad for just about everything else. It was non-standard, further isolated Apple from selling its displays to PC users, prevented Mac users from using standard graphics cards, put even MORE stress on the computer's power supply, didn't have the bandwidth necessary for larger displays, etc.

    Saved a couple cables, and hobbled the Mac and its displays for years. Good riddance.
  • » I so loved ADC

    > It was non-standard,
    mac are not standard
    EFI apple is not standard. it's EFI with apple extension

    >further isolated Apple from selling its displays to PC users
    dvi to adc converters.
    expensive I know
    and whatever, Apple displays, even know, cannot be totally controlled by Windows or linux without exotic hacks.
    Apple don't care at all.

    >, prevented Mac users from using standard graphics cards
    always the case.
    macpro macbook and so one use EFI.
    nvidia and ati card in shops are BIOS based
    yes it matters.
    it REALLY matters
    maybe in _years_ all the PC industry will forget bios
    it's not the case with windows Vista
    so yeah, you are still "isolated". (I totally don't care, I need a computer, not a thing I tinker, even with my pc linux for works)

    >put even MORE stress on the computer's power supply,
    computer's power supply has to many stress
    but apple could sell hardware with power needed.

    >didn't have the bandwidth necessary for larger display

    of course they would 'invent" ADC-2 :)
    as DVI is..

    (soon you will see a NEW dvi, it will not be HDMI for computers, but a new kind of DVI ).

    not, ADC was a very good idea and technology
    it was "we IMPROVE computer to SERVE humans"

    not "Accept Cable because Computer is your Master!"

    but yes it was expensive, it was naturally, logically, economically, industrially forced to be more expensive than Common VGA or DVI-D.

    but ho boy ! it was just that good to connect a mac cube and a 20" Apple Cinema display 20".

    a couple cables and ONE electrical outlet , in my house, my works it was pratical gain. I bought apple computers for that kind of convenience.
    if you removed everything is "convenience", I could simply buy a HP or Sony or whatever crap in the shop down my street.

    no. I miss ADC.
  • » "even know"
    replace by
    "even now"
  • » I agree with the first poster, it really opens up the displays to the PC Market. And I'm not entirely sure how the displays are incompatible, as I've seen them running with numerous Windows and Linux PC's at my brother's workplace.

    As for some of the little things, like turning the computer on with the display power button, that still somehow works with the newer displays.
  • » What've you decided to do/done with your old Apple Studio Display??
  • » It's lying in the garage waiting for a prospective buyer.
  • » I've had no success running a G4's video out the ADC on an ATI Rage 128 Pro into the the Apple Studio CRT. VGA works fine, though.

    I would love any ideas/recommendations.