Impressions: The Encore G3/500 is the first ZIF upgrade we
have tested at MacSpeedZone and I'll admit that I didn't expect
to be overly impressed with its performance. After all, it's
not like we were switching to a different generation processor
(604e to G3 specifically) as we have with past reviews using
our 9500. Instead, our base machine was a respectable (but
rapidly aging) beige G3/300. While the scores
below don't show the striking gains we noticed with
Crescendo in our 9500, they are still impressive. Both
MacBench 5.0 and our real world tests showed a significant
performance increase. I am not used to the day to day feel
of a G3/300, but my subjective before and after impression
(confirmed by my colleague whose machine I had taken over)
was that the machine definitely had more of a kick.
Installation: There is not much to the installation process
and Sonnet's instructions cover each possible model with concise
instructions and clear illustrations. Be sure to actually
read the instructions as I spent a few embarrassing moments
trying to figure out on my own (it's a guy thing) how to remove
the heat sink. I finally figured out the trick of
| Supported Models
|Apple: Power Mac G3 All-in-one, Blue & White, Desktop,
Mini Tower, and Server.
pushing down on the retaining clip but it was all spelled
out in the instructions. There are no jumpers to set and,
in a first for us, no software to install. The lack of jumpers
means that you cannot overclock the card above it's rated
500MHz. This may turn off the speed freaks who want to push
the limit of the card. It may also be a comfort for those
who don't want to deal with setting jumpers and dealing with
finding the performance stability balance. Either way, the
ZIF card drops in quite easily and reassembly is straightforward.
If you actually choose to read and follow the instructions
you should be in and out in about 10 minutes.
Stability/Performance: We unfortunately didn't have the opportunity
to test the stability of this card over an extended period
of time. During all of our tests it performed flawlessly and
I don't doubt that this is the norm rather than the exception.
If you have experience with Sonnet's Encore cards, positive
or negative swing by our discussion
board to let us and others know. You are always welcome
me a note as well. The G3/300 we used for testing was
running OS 8.5 but Sonnet claims that their card is compatible
with OS 9. The Sonnet G3/500 card we tested in our 9500 ran
fine under OS 9 so I am sure this claim is correct. Our real
world tests showed the Encore G3/500 card completing most
tasks in just over half the time of the stock G3/300.
MacBench 5.0 Results
(Longer bars are better)
Note: The base disk score is well below the 1000 mark
"Real World" Stopwatch Tests
For the tests below, scores represent the time taken to complete
the given task or operation. The times were then made relative
to the base G3/300 which was set at 100%. Shorter bars and
lower numbers are better. A brief description of each test
appears above the score.
Appleworks 5.0.3 Tests
For these two tests, we used an AppleWorks document 574 pages
long. For the scroll test we clocked the time to scroll the
document from top to bottom. For the search and replace test
we clocked the time to replace all occurrences of the word
"the" with the word "macbench," over 12,900
Photoshop 4.0 Tests
For the Photoshop tests we performed a series
of filter operations on an image 4.5MB in size.
Render Boy 2.0.2 Test
For the test below, we clocked the time to
render a sample file using the shareware program Render
Boy version 2.2.0.
Variable/Fixed Clock Rate
Heat sink from previous ZIF processor