1998 – JW writes: I have a Power Mac 7600/120 with 96 MB RAM and a 2 GB hard disk. I intend to upgrade it in order to use it as a video editing machine for freelance work.
Is it worth it to upgrade at all? What kinds of upgrades are viable: graphic card, video card, processor card, G3 or 604e?
Mac Daniel writes: I’m getting a lot of questions on video, an area where I’ve done no work at all. Good thing the same basic rules apply.
First, I would suggest waiting on a 604e or G3 upgrade until early 1999, when the G4 should begin to trickle into the market. The G4 with AltiVec will have a lot of special instructions especially for multimedia, including video. It could bring a whole new level of computing power to video production.
Regardless of that, the presence of the G4 will drive down the prices of the remaining 604e cards and all the G3 cards. I suspect the 604e may offer comparable performance to the G3 for video work, since it tends to be number intensive and the 604e has a better math section than the G3. Even if the G3 offers slightly better performance there, the 604e cards may be a better value, as most buyers want the hot new chip, not last year’s Mach 5 technology.
You may also want to add an Ultra-SCSI card and 7200 rpm or 10,000 rpm hard drive to provide the fastest capture to disk.
You should probably find sites that better understand the ins and outs of video work on the Macintosh for more definitive answers on 604e v. G3, video cards, etc.
PJ writes: I own a Power Mac7500. I currently have a PowerLogix Powerboost Pro 233 604e card and 1 MB L2 cache. I was fortunate enough to find a used Avid Cinema card for $100 – since there is no video out on the 7×00 series, I thought it would be a great purchase. I bundled it with a 9 GB Atlas II hard drive, and it hasn’t dropped a single frame. I use Video Shop when I need more elaborate effects.
My upgrade suggestion? See if you can find a decent video-out card. From there a nice AV rated hard drive. Finally the software and more memory.
RB writes: For video editing, you need to be aware that many video cards are very picky about G3 upgrades. NewerTech works (but they are the most expensive) and Sonnet may work with the latest software. Others are somewhat iffy. On the other hand, a 233/604e is only about $200 and gives you good compatibility and performance for the price. Check with your video card vendor about compatibility, or at least make sure you can return the G3 card if it doesn’t work. If you go G3 get the 1 MB backside cache or you may not get the performance improvement you expect.
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