Upgraded my G3 video, now capture doesn't work


I'm Spartacus!
So I've been running Mac OS 10.3.9 on my G3 for a while now (a couple weeks) without issue and I decided to upgrade my video from the onboard Rage II to a Radeon 7000 with 64MB memory and PCI interface. I was hoping to get better internet page scrolling, better QuickTime performance, and much better video capture quality. I know it's not a capture card, but I was hoping that the TV/VCR signals from the existing capture card that came with the G3 would be a little better quality as a result of a better video card. A little far fetched, but it was worth a try, and the computer needed the newer card for the other reasons anyway.

Well I stick in this new video card and now neither Apple Video Player nor BTV Pro can initialize the video input and they suggest making sure the drivers for the video input device are correctly installed. This is while in OS 9.2.2. In other words, as long as my monitor is plugged into the new video card, my A/V personality card is useless for watching TV on my Mac while doing other stuff or playing DVD or VHS media.

My internet scrolling is now faster for both OS 9.2.2 and OS 10.3.9, but I saw no improvement in the performance of QuickTime 7. When I try to play a streaming H.264 format stream, the player is frozen far more than it is playing. The same live H.264 stream plays fine on the same connection on my G5. Do I need to upgrade my G3 processor? It's currently a 266MHz. Is H.264 just beyond the technology of a G3 and upgrading the processor is a waste of time? Do I just need more RAM? I already have 640MB. Is the VRAM (64MB) not enough? My G3 is a Beige G3, Rev.1 motherboard with upgraded Rev.C ROM.

If you can help with either issue: the capture card issue and the QuickTime 7 issue, I would greatly appreciate it and the Charmin toilet paper bear will come and give you a big hug. :)
Are you sure that Radeon 7000 64MB is a Macintosh-specific video card, and not a PC video card that's been flashed?

No Radeon 7000 model was released for the Macintosh with 64MB of RAM -- only a version with 32MB of RAM. This makes me suspect that the Radeon 7000 you have is a "flashed" PC card, and flashed PC cards are usually not 100% compatible with Macintosh systems.

Where did the card come from -- eBay or a retailer?
That's not a true Macintosh-compatible card -- it's a PC card that's had it's ROM flashed to a Mac ROM. In theory, this should work well, but since a Macintosh ROM for a 64MB Radeon 7000 doesn't even exist, it's left up to your imagination which Macintosh ROM they used (probably the ROM from a 7000 32MB card).

I would always recommend getting Macintosh-specific video cards from a place other than eBay (or second-hand) for this exact reason -- the verbage on the eBay site leads one to believe that it is a genuine Macintosh-specific video card when in fact it's not.

Most likely this is what's causing incompatibilities and anomalies in your system.
Is there a way to tweek the card so only 32MB are used? maybe that will help the card match the assumed 32MB version of the flashed ROM and remove the problems. This really erks me. What's the point have having a more powerful video card if the applications that needed the extra power can't even be used now? Unreal! I'm going to see if I can't rectify this with the seller. Thank you for your help.

By the way, do you know the answer to my question concerning QuickTime 7 and possible upgrades to make it run smoothly?

Thanks again. :)
Is it possible that PCI video cards just don't work with the A/V personality card? I seem to recall having the same problem when pulling the PCI video card from a B&W Mac and sticking it in my G3. I'm pretty sure the correct drivers were installed. If I remember correctly, I had to use to composit video "in" jack on the actual video card instead of the composite video "in" jack on the A/V personality card. Wouldn't want to harras the seller if not necessary...
It is possible that newer PCI video cards would interfere with video capture from an A/V personality card.

About H.264 -- yes, it's WAY beyond what your G3 processor can handle. It is extremely processor-intensive, and not even a super-duper 512MB DDR video card will help that. I'm surprised you see anything at all when trying to play H.264, as my computer bogs down quite noticeably and suffers from distorted/incomplete video and abysmal frame rates (~0.5 fps) when trying to play H.264 streams.

If you're looking to upgrade your video card in that beige G3 machine, I would highly recommend this video card:
There's only 2 left at that price -- they have more, but they're $10 or $15 more expensive. In addition, that's about the only route you can go when trying to upgrade your PCI video card, as most other Macintosh-specific PCI video cards have been discontinued -- and the rest are PC video cards.

What happens if you try the card in a different slot?

I don't know what to suggest concerning the seller... it is most definitely a flashed PC version of the ATi Radeon 7000 64MB, and was not originally manufactured to be used in Macintosh computers -- but throwing accusations at him/her may only make things worse.
I tried putting the video card in all three slots. None of them worked properly concerning the video card working with the A/V card.

Is the actual hardware on a PC video card different from the hardware on an identical Mac video card, or is it just the ROM flashing that's different?
Mainly just the code in the ROM -- kind of like Spanish vs. English... while you may be able to "get the jist" of a few of the words because they're so similar, overall you probably wouldn't understand what's being said. The ROM code not only is different, but the actual size of the ROM code is different as well. Some PC cards are unflashable to Mac versions because the ROM chip the code is on is just too small to hold the Macintosh-specific code in its entirely.

It's just a dodgy, hit-and-miss situation (flashing ROMs, that is). Sometimes it works seamlessly, other times it leaves the card unable to operate in either machine.
This leaves me wondering how many of the proclaimed features of the card I'm actually benifiting from. I also tried "PCI Extreme 3.1" to enable Quartz Extreme in OS X and pretty much saw no difference in the areas the author said that changes should occure. The author of the patch said that flashed cards sometimes hose up the system. That didn't happen to me, but nothing else seemed to happen either. I used "quartz extreme check" and saw that before I installed "PCI Extreme 3.1" the Quartz Extreme was not active and after installation of PCI Extreme 3.1, Quartz Extreme did become active. But like I said, didn't really see too much of a difference and am wondering if that is a result of the flashed video card not providing all the features it's supposed to due to the card not being Mac native.

I wish I had access to a G3 or G4 ZIF upgrade, a real PCI Mac edition video card and a PCI or USB capture card so I could see exactly what needs upgrading and what doesn't. *sigh*

I just don't know what to do at this point with this video card. Keep it? Try to send it back? Buy another one, even though the only official PCI version for Mac is about $117.00, which is way too much money to spend on a G3, or try to get a used official Mac PCI video card for cheap that's an older generation. I just don't have enough raw data at this point. ahhhh!

If you have any more info, please let me know.... Thanks