What’s the Best G3 Daughter Card Upgrade?

1999 – KS writes: I’m considering upgrading my Umax J700/180 with one of the new cards from Vimage, Newer Technology, or PowerLogix. I upgraded my RAM to 96 MB when I bought the machine, but other than that I have not enhanced it in any way.

Can you recommend any particular card from these three manufacturers, and what can I expect in the way of problems if I do go for the upgrade?

Umax SuperMac J700Mac Daniel writes: Hey, that’s my computer! I love my SuperMac: It’s fast, reliable, has more expansion abilities than I know what to do with – and I got it for a song when Umax was pushed out of the clone business. (I also run an email list, SuperMacs, for SuperMac users – great group of people.)

That said, I have a strong bias toward Newer Technology cards. Why? Because before we bought our first G3 upgrade cards at work, I polled the Mac Managers email list (another great group of Mac gurus). Their top choice was NewerTech; our experience with four of their G3 cards proves it was a good choice.

I can’t speak to Vimage, PowerLogix, or other brands from experience. PowerLogix has a good reputation. Vimage, which is quite new, is building a solid reputation.

Rather than recommend a brand, I’m going to recommend some specs. Our Guide to G3 Daughter Cards lists a host of cards from several manufacturers at a variety of speeds, cache sizes, cache ratios, and prices. To give a rough guide to value, I divide the MacBench score by street price. The higher the number, the better the estimated value. (This cannot take into account card and driver quality or customer support. The number is just a rough guide.)

At this point, the 300 MHz cards seem to represent the best balance between increased speed and overall cost, so I recommend you look most closely at those. Go for the larger cache (1 MB vs. 512 KB) before you go for a higher cache ratio (3:2 or 2:1 are usually fine – and a lot less costly), since that will provide the most performance improvement. And keep in mind that most cards with a 2:1 cache will run reliably with a 3:2 cache (each one we have at work does).

Then ask about reliability. There may be some brands to avoid, but if there are, I haven’t heard of them.

If you do buy a G3 card (or for anyone who already owns one), consider downloading the AutoCache beta from PowerLogix. It should work with all the Apple G3 models and most (if not all) G3 daughter cards. We’ve tested it on a Beige Power Mac G3 plus three Power Macs upgraded with Newer Technology cards – it’s running flawlessly.

Keywords: #g3upgrades #daughter cards

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