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Maximum R.I.S.C.'s picture
Joined: 2017 Oct 18
SUPER-RARE SirTek PCI SATA Card on EBAY - Bid at $1!!!

Just saw one of these in the wild guys and they are really rare these days (BTW this site is NOT my listing - just trying to help someone who might be looking for one).

https://www.ebay.com/itm/132494052207

Same chip-set as the Sonnet Tempo TSATA - Ad this and an OWC G3 SSD to your G4 and you won't even recognize it - You'll think it's doping! ;0)

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soudesune's picture
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Joined: 2009 Dec 19

These are a good cards all right. Just don't spend too much money on it. They are not as rare as the OP exclaims. I paid $25 for mine last year.

Maximum R.I.S.C.'s picture
Joined: 2017 Oct 18

We're not talking "OrangePC" card rare (Might come up every two years for sale if you're lucky), but they are still only available (especially internal SATA), about every 3-5 months on eBay. A good price to pay is $25-$30. The main issue is that with the exception of the SeriTek-based cards, there are just no others that have the solid compatibility with G4's odd PCI specifications. I went through 8 Acard/Sil3112-3114 cards with very mixed results and even when they would boot, it would often mess-up my OpenFirmware - requiring a PMU/PRAM reset. The only other solid solutions are the inline IDE-SATA converters, but they are a LOT SLOWER.

SkyCapt's picture
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Joined: 2017 Jan 11

Yes sir, I just tested a PCI card which (intermittently) messes-up my PowerMac G4's OpenFirmware into total boot failure. Eventually the G4 got it's groove back by stripping it all down and issuing PMU reset, PRAM reset, and removal of the 3.6V battery on the motherboard. I didn't know until now there are PCI cards which can appear to damage the motherboard (Firmware operation) while possibly even the card+system functioning rightly a lot of the time. The situation makes building and debugging computers a nightmare. Advice to all: Don't condemn motherboards prematurely ! or if you do, give them to me.

--also, external FW800 drives can do booting (?) And they're on-par speedwise with ATA-100/133 (IDE).

Maximum R.I.S.C.'s picture
Joined: 2017 Oct 18

That's a super good question. I know on the Sonnet card (Allegro FW800), it states openly that "Target Disc Mode" is not supported, but since I don't have anything boot-able on FW much less FW800, I can't tell. If I find a hard drive in my junk (currently organizing) over the next few days, will drop a quick and dirty OS9 system on it to test. All I know is FW800 is REALLY nice to have on hand. But anybody wanting to upgrade your G3/G4 don't hesitate to get this card mentioned in the original post. If I had not bought one, my G4 would be relegated to "vintage game machine" status, but as it is is my daily driver (um computer) because of SATA+SSD.

P.S. Even if you just have two normal spinning hard-drives if you raid-O them (with a backup strategy in place for savety), it will grately increase your system speed.

SkyCapt's picture
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Joined: 2017 Jan 11

PCI-SATA cards are the backbone of keeping PowerMac G4 looking impressive by today's standards. And the compatibility is perfect, I'm using SATA-III SSDs to do all my booting, all Mac OS versions 9 & X PowerPC, including booting AHT. At first I assumed OS9 would be trouble with SATA, so I was booting OS9 on built-in FW400. I can attest the built in FW400 is bootable. I'm hoping at least some FW800 on PCI cards can also be booted.

--technically there's also possible the Raid mode that is Both Striped and Mirrored, so it is both fast and auto-backedup.

Maximum R.I.S.C.'s picture
Joined: 2017 Oct 18

FW400 booting from a built-in socket on the Logic board is governed by the Mac's Open-Firmware, but from a PCI daughter card by the interaction of said, with the firmware the card is flashed with - so suddenly twice as complex. FW800 booting would be best done from a MDD with built-in FW800 from Apple (but no OS9 Support). Kind of like USB 2.0 on Mac. 99% of all the problems with not waking up from sleep, or not going to sleep are from PCI USB-2, whereas on say a late model PowerBook with built-in USB2 you very seldom ever hear of those problems. Once again this is another great arguement for getting a G5 - all the ports are running on the board's firmware and will likely be debugged MUCH better than via the use of a PCI card.

P.S. The Dual 2.3GHz (dual processor/early 2005 AND both dual-core/late 2005) are the most reliable G5s ever made and are really getting cheap - like $50-$75. The dual-processor models are PCI-X (max 8GB of RAM + 8x AGP Videocard) and the dual-core models are PCI-E (Max 16GB of RAM + 16-lane Videocard). Otherwise they are nearly identical in speed (about 2x what an MDD can do in practical terms, but MUCH FASTER for file-transfers).