Eric Bylenga
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PowerMac G4 "Quicksilver 2002"

History Side

I really like the electronics recycling program here. I can take old junk to be recycled and come home with more! This time I was dropping off a bunch of gutted PC's from work and picked up a 800MHz Quicksilver. I took it home, fired it up and it worked perfectly (a little dusty though).

It had some Sharpie on it so I took care of that with some Rubbing Alcohol... It only had a CD burner in it so I replaced that with a proper DVD Burner and maxed out the RAM at 1.5GB.


Mac OS 10.5 "Leopard" is officially not supported on anything less that a 867MHz G4 and this Quicksilver is 800MHz. After doing some reading performance is noticably better using 10.4 "Tiger" but I wanted Time Machine and some of the other features Leopard has to offer. So here's how to do it...

1. Startup your computer to Open Firmware (press Command+Option+P+R immedietely after startup bong). Make sure you have your Leopard DVD loaded in the drive.
2. Type in the following (press Return after each line):
       dev /cpus/PowerPC,G4@0
       d# 867000000 encode-int " clock-frequency" property
       boot cd:,\\:tbxi

Basically this fakes out the installer into thinking that the system is running at 867MHz until the next reboot! See the link below for further details. Thanks LEM!

Video Inside

It is possible to upgrade the video card in most G4 AGP equipped Macs with certain PC based AGP cards.

At the very least you will need to flash the firmware on the card with a compatible Mac version.

The Quicksilver uses a 4x AGP slot. At this time Apple was using the Apple Display Connector which provided power through the AGP card removing the need for an additional power cable. To accomplish this Apple added an extra slot at the front of the AGP card and also used pins 3 & 11 on the backside of the AGP card which at that time was not being used... Until AGP 8x came along.

Therefore as in my case when upgrading the video card with a 8x AGP card pins 3 & 11 need to be disabled. To do this I simply taped over pins 3 & 11 with scotch tape and viola!

I used a PC ASUS 9520/TD card which has the nVidia FX 5200 chipset. This is the oldest AGP card to support both Core Image and Core Animation! To flash it with the new ROM image obtained from The Mac Elite (link below), I had to use a PC with an old Windows 98 boot disk and a floppy containing the nvflash utility and the new ROM image.

Back First I backed up the current ROM using this command:

       nvflash.exe -b oldrom.rom

Secondly I flashed the card with this command:

       nvflash.exe NewRom.rom -4 -5 -6

Where NewRom.rom is the filename of the new ROM you wish to image on your floppy.

I received several warnings regarding that the device ID did not match (currently 0322 but I was flashing 0321). I closed my eyes, prayed and ignored the warnings. It flashed sucessfully. I removed it from the PC, shoved it in the Mac and it booted beautifully. Here's the results from the profiler to the right:

Current Specifications Back

Processor: 800MHz PowerPC G4 (overclocked to 867MHz)
Video: Asus nVidia FX 5200 128MB w/ VGA & DVI (Replaced original ATI Radeon 7500 32MB)
HDD: 120GB IDE 7200RPM
Optical: DVD/CD Burner
Internal Expansion: 4 64-bit PCI slots
External Expansion: 2x Firewire 400, 2 USB 1.1,
Ethernet: 10/100/1000Mb/s and Apple Airport card, Audio out.
Battery: 3.6V half AA
Production Dates: January 28, 2002 - August 13, 2002
Original Price: $1599
Size (HxWxD): 17 " x 8.9 " x 18.4 "
Weight: 30lbs
Part #: M8493
OS: Mac OS 9.2 to 10.5.8


Low End Mac: Power Macintosh G4 (Quicksilver 2002)
Faking Out the Leopard Installer with Open Firmware
Low End Mac: nVidia GeForce FX 5200 AGP
CubeOwners Forum (how to prepare an FX5200)
The Mac Elite: Pins 3 And 11
The Mac Elite: AGP card ROMs
Overclocking the PowerMac G4 "Quicksilver"


NV Hack 64bit TSOP FX5200/5500 AGP/PCI 64k ROM (works with the ASUS 9520/TD)
NVFlash utility
Windows 98 SE Boot Disk (Windows EXE file)