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Thread: iMac G3 or G4 Cube for Gaming?

  1. #1

    Default iMac G3 or G4 Cube for Gaming?

    I own two Macs and I want to know which would be better for OS 9/X gaming? A 600Mhz iMac G3 or a 450MHz G4 Cube? The Cube has a GeForce 6200 card and 1.5GB of memory. I'm not sure what the iMac has only 128MB of RAM but I can upgrade that. My gut says the G4 cube, especially for OS X stuff, but I don't know how limited the cube is for OS 9 games. I've been told that the 6200 has no acceleration support under OS 9, but I'm not sure if that's a huge issue or not for most games. I also have a G3 Beige Tower for lower end stuff, but I think it's only 300 Mhz.
    Last edited by tempest; June 17th, 2018 at 03:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    Most games I'm aware of were well established in the 030-early PPC era. Unless you got something that's doing 3D (Quake III for example) a machine running OS 9 with 128mb of ram will be more than enough for the majority of games released on the Macintosh.
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  3. #3

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    For 3D accelerated games running in OS 9, of those two systems, I'd pick the iMac G3. Depending on the model it will either be a Rage Pro (ugh) or a Rage 128 (decent for OS 9), but even the Rage Pro at least has some 3D acceleration. You are correct that the 6200 is unaccelerated (the fastest Nvidia card supported by OS 9 is the Mac equivalent of the GeForce4 Ti 4600).

    If you're going to be playing OS X-native games, though, the GeForce 6200 will be faster.

    If you want to do both on one machine, my advice is don't. :P

    EDIT: I just saw you have a 600MHz iMac G3 (that'll teach me to skim). Go with the iMac for OS 9 games full stop. It's a Rage 128 and that will do just fine for software of that era (I use a Rage Orion in my 7300+G4/800 and 3D games play pretty well). For software-rendered games, I'd pick the iMac too; most of them were not AltiVec-accelerated, even if they were native PowerPC, and even with its smaller caches the G3 will probably be faster.
    Last edited by ClassicHasClass; June 17th, 2018 at 08:09 PM.
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  4. #4
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    The only major difference between the G3 and G4 is that the G4 has an Altivec unit. Altivec is a vector processing unit similar to what SSE is to x86. Both the G3 and early G4s had a similar IPC, so applications that didn't take advantage of the Altivec instruction set would run at more or less the same speed clock per clock.

    If you're encoding video or MP3s all day, the 450 MHz G4 would do it faster with proper application support. Most everything else will run better on the 600 MHz G3.

    As for 3D acceleration, there will be noticeable performance degradation without it in 3D games. I used to have a 600 MHz iMac G3 Snow with a Rage 128 Ultra 16 MB GPU and it did alright in UT99 and Quake I/II. Quake III was mostly unplayable even at the lowest settings.

  5. #5

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    I'm mostly interested in Mac specific games as I have a DOS/Win98 box for playing cross platform games. I think most of the Mac specific stuff disappeared by the OS X era so I guess I will stick with the iMac.

    New question. How hard would it be to upgrade a G3 Beige Tower to make it comparable or faster than the iMac?

  6. #6
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    It's not possible to upgrade a beige G3 to the specs of an iMac G3 at 600 MHz.

    Beige G3s have a 66 MHz bus and support up to an 8x multiplier, so they top out at 533 MHz. Though you'll never get one of these because the fastest G3 apple sold was 450 MHz.

    There were 3rd party upgrade parts which reached 533/550 MHz, but these are almost unobtanium. When they do come on the market, they're usually in excess of $200.

    I have a 733 MHz G4 upgrade for my B&W G3, it set me back a pretty penny back in the day. It's not as fast as my G4 DA at 733 MHz because a bug in the Motorola chipset on the G3 forces the CPU to run at a 66 MHz FSB instead of the usual 133 MHz.

  7. #7

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    I guess I'll stick with the iMac G3 then. It's not as 'old fashioned' as I'd like (I have a soft spot for the beige Apple II look) but at least the iMac is iconic so it has that going for it.

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