Upgrade Your Power Mac

By Steph Jorgl

Audiohead Interviews Tech Tips Events Goods and Gear Featured Music

Just like any other sound junkie with a less-than-G5 Power Mac hanging out, sweating itself like an old horse to keep up with the processing power of the latest dsp-intensive yet hella cool-sounding plug-ins, I longed for a faster machine. Yet I wasn’t ready to plunk down $1800 bucks just to get myself a quicker, top-of-the-line Power Mac. Little did I realize that there were easy-to-install and affordable options for upgrading my Power Mac 500 to a 1.2GHZ or 1.4GHZ machine.
Steph Jorgl

After being tipped off to this by one of my renegade audio junkie pals, I did some research online and found out that I could upgrade my old Sawtooth Power Mac — the original G4 series with the blackish gray exterior — for less than $400. I ordered the G4 processor upgrade card online and three days later, installed it into my Power Mac in a matter of minutes. When I fired it back up, it was ready to go, no software installation required.

One thing to keep in mind when purchasing an upgrade card for your Power Mac is that the processing speed on the chip is a little higher than actual performance, so my 1.4GHZ processor upgrade card runs more like a 1.2GHZ processor. However, that is smoking fast next to the 500MHZ processor that was running my machine prior to upgrade. One strange thing about the available upgrade cards is that the prices are higher for upgrading the newer, lighter gray machines. That means it actually can cost more for less of an upgrade, and less for greater upgrade (like when bringing the Sawtooth machines above 1ghz). So that’s good news for those of you with older machines, but bad news for those who have newer machines.

How Does It Work With Audio Apps?
I have to admit, I was fearful at first about upgrading. Some fellow Mac audiophiles cautioned, “Maybe the machine won’t recognize the upgrade card.” or “Are you sure these cards are actually optimized for audio applications?” The only way for me to know for sure was to test it out myself.

First of all, I found that the process of installing my Sonnet upgrade chip was completely simple and the machine recognized it right away, without me having to install any software whatsoever. And after firing up Logic 7 and running multiple instances of Spectrasonics Trilogy and Stylus RMX, PSP Audioware Vintage Warmer and other plug-ins that could never run in conjunction on my 500 mhz chip, with zero complications, I feel that the Sonnet upgrade chips are totally safe for audio. I can not speak for the other options that are out there, but Sonnet definitely came through for me on my machine.

To choose a Sonnet G4 processor upgrade card, click on one of the options in the column on the right side of this page.

Upgrade Your Mac
Super Sonnet Upgrade Cards

(click the image below to purchase)

1.2GHZ G4 upgrade card 1.4GHZ  upgrade card

Are you a Sound Junkie?

If you would like to be updated when is updated, please click the link below and sign up now:

( will not share your info with anyone)

Make me a junkie!


Richard Devine Talks Sound Design’s Steph Jorgl named Richard Devine the “Architect of Aural Mayhem” for his ability to create some seriously insane sounds that are truly cinematic. Well-known for his expertise in this area, he was contracted to design some of the original sounds in Native Instruments’ Absynth.

Devine is also an accomplished composer, remixer and songwriter. He’s pretty much done everything, from remixing Aphex Twin, to scoring commercials for Nike. Check out his article, “Sonic Considerations for Future Architects of Sound,” here.

About Audiohead.netSyndicateOriginateContact

Got a suggestion? Send us your mojo and we’ll put it in our pipe.

© 2004-2005 - - All Rights Reserved.