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Sonnet G4 Duet is Teh Snappy™

I found some time this weekend to install the [Sonnet Encore/ST G4 Duet]( processor upgrade into my Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio), raising the processor speed from 533 MHz (x2) to 1.267 GHz (x2).

Objectively, I did some benchmarks before and after the upgrade, per the request of [Accelerate Your Macintosh]( I’m waiting a week or so to post my review there (also by their request), so I know whether everything’s working OK, but I’ll append it below.

Subjectively, there’s a noticeable improvement in performance — startup time is reduced, applications launch more quickly, Virtual PC is actually usable, etc. Only two minor glitches on installation:

* I took the opportunity to offer my five-year-old daughter the chance to “look inside Daddy’s computer”. This was well-received, and actually she was more interested than I expected, but she kept up her usual running chatter enough that I plugged the power card into the wrong side of the processor card. It was obvious that it wouldn’t fit that way, and after a moment’s thought I realized what I’d done. After that the physical installation proceeded smoothly (except that it’s hard to see the connector plug underneath the daughterboard, and you have to take it on faith that it’s making a good connection once it’s been screwed down).

* The first time I plugged it in and powered it down, I got no reassuring “bong” sound, and no error chimes either. I quickly shut down and opened it up again. Hmm, nothing obviously wrong… Oh, look, here’s the Cuda switch — I seem to recall you’re supposed to press this after doing a processor upgrade. Even thought the Sonnet instructions didn’t mention this, I gave it a good long push, and on the second startup I was rewarded with a lovely “bong”.

[I suppose this will get me filtered out for drug references, but honestly, “bong” is the sound a Mac makes.]

Summary: Recommended. I took the plunge and ordered it from a low-cost Internet vendor, instead of sticking with a Mac-oriented dealer, but I saved almost $100 that way.

[Oh, and “Teh Snappy” comes from the forums at [Ars Technica](]

Here are the benchmark testing results (no game frame rates because I don’t actually play those kind of games):

Processor       : Power Macintosh G4 (Digital Audio)
Operating System: Mac OS X 10.3.6
Graphics Card   : ATI Radeon 9000 (retail)
Resolution      : 1280x1024
Color Depth     : 32-bit Color

                                    2x 533 MHz      2x 1.267 GHz
Rendering (Single   CPU)             59 CB-CPU      115 CB-CPU
Rendering (Multiple CPU)             99 CB-CPU      199 CB-CPU

Shading (CINEMA 4D)                  76 CB-GFX      138 CB-GFX
Shading (OpenGL Software Lighting)  216 CB-GFX      364 CB-GFX
Shading (OpenGL Hardware Lighting)  319 CB-GFX      459 CB-GFX

Fractal FPU Benchmark:              3365.3 MFlops   8721.0 MFlops

Xbench Version 1.1.3
    Results                          87.50          216.14

    CPU Test                         63.96          156.89
    Thread Test                      82.00          160.34
    Memory Test                     103.06          131.16
    Quartz Graphics Test             90.49          148.74
    OpenGL Graphics Test             64.36          115.22
    User Interface Test             140.09          228.28

iMovie 4 Export to CD-ROM           183 sec          89 sec
    (5 clips from iDVD tutorial, stacked in iMovie with no transitions)