OWC Mercury ZIF Processor Upgrade Troubleshooting / Q&A

Most OWC Mercury Processors operate with reliability at 5-10% above their rated speed. OWC makes no guarantee to any chips 'overclockability'. For the purpose of troubleshooting, make sure your settings are no faster than your computer and processors rated Bus & Clock speed. Once you have your ZIF running stably at its rated speed, then, IF you desire, you may attempt a higher speed. The CPU comparision database at XLR8YourMac shows a high success rate in overclocking our processors, although again, it is not something we guarantee or support.

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

I've installed my new OWC upgrade, but the MacBench is no where near what I expected! Why?

  • Generally this is because MacBench is being run on a normal system boot or after other applications have been activated. For proper processor test results, the system needs to be booted with extentions disabled. Imagine a speed boat, with just one person at the helm its going 65mph over water. Now, you add 3 passengers and a skier, max your getting is 45-50mph. The power is still there, but its being allocated and used differently. MacBench needs the clean system to tell you how much power is available and if other applications/extentions have been active, its only going to report the whats still available.

I installed my new G4 processor in my Blue & White G3, but when I turn the machine on it only beeps. Why?

  • You need to unlock your Blue & White G3's ROM to allow the use of a G4 processor. To do that, download this software and follow the instructions that are included.

My computer does not start up with the new ZIF installed.
  • Does your computer make the normal startup sound at power-on?
    • Yes - Go to next step
    • No - Make sure that the ZIF is properly installed, check jumper settings. If the problem persists, please contact OWC tech support by web or by phone.

My Computer boots, but its not any faster!

  • OWC ZIF upgrades require jumpers to be set on your computer's logic board. If you have not changed these jumpers see the chart here, your computer will still run at its original speed. If you are unsure of how to change your jumpers, please contact OWC tech support by web or by phone.

My Computer Boots, or starts to boot up, but crashes or operates unstably.

If this is the case, there are several possible causes:

  1. PRAM. Have you reset your PRam? It is very important that the computer P-Ram be reset when you change the speed of your computer. Certain functions are sensitive to processor timing and sometimes the Parameter Ram (PRam) can become corrupted. To eliminate the possibility of problem be sure to reset the CUDA switch on your logic board, located at the top left of your Beige G3's Logic Board, outside of the PCI slots, whenever you change speed settings via logic board jumpers. Use a ball point pen to press the small round button in for about 3-5 seconds. You will know that you were able to reset it if your date and time settings need to be reset when you start up your system.

  2. Heat Problem: The metal clip the holds the Heat Sink down on the processor is not symetrical. It has an off center bend that is designed to apply pressure on the point where processor 'window' comes in contact with the heatsink. Putting this clip on backwards will result in inproper contact between the processor 'window' and the heatsink which in turn will cause improper cooling. Please check the clip and confirm that the bend is closest to the the processor 'window' portion of the ZIF. Please contact OWC tech support by web or by phone.

  3. PCI Card Problem: You could have a Video PCI Card, such as the IxMicro Ultimate Rez 8mb with Apple Rom do not operate correctly in machines with speeds above 400mhz. This card was a stock option on certain Apple G3 beige computers and was offered separately by some resellers. The RETAIL version of this card with standard Rom does not suffer this problem, it is only the OEM Apple Rom model that is of issue. Additionally, we have confirmed that some PowerComputing OEM video cards, IX Micro Twin Turbo 2mb and 4mb Video cards are not compatible with higher speeds.
    • SCSI Accelerators. Some customers have reported that their machines have been unstable with different (nothing consistent) SCSI Accelerators. This is unconfirmed, although likely solved with a software or firmware update.
    • USB Cards. Again, unconfirmed. There have been USB issues on a number of occasions, some customers have said that a certain brand of USB card was the problem.
    • High End Audio or Video Capture PCI Cards. Anything like this that is used for digital recording is EXTREMELY sensitive to time fluxuations. If your product was purchased prior to faster systems being available, it is possible that the proprietary Rom or software that operates the card may be in need of update. As a guideline, if the card(s) you have is listed as compatible with a G3 or G4 computer of the same or higher clock speed, then you are in the clear. If not, because of the cost of such high end cards, it would be advisable to contact the manufacturer to make sure their product is setup to run in a faster system.

  4. RAM Problem: Memory is very important and not all PC66 and PC100 is alike. Lower quality PC66 and PC100 memory can have a slower refresh cycle than Apple recommends or introduce levels of noise. While you computer may operate without issue at its original speed, the importance of quality, Apple Spec memory or better increases dramatically. Also, Beige G3 Owners, just because its PC100, doesn't mean its better than PC66. Low Cost PC100 memory can actually be SLOWER than your Apple's stock PC66 memory! OWC sells only 2-2-2 clock PC100 SDRam, Apple recommends 3-2-2 or 2-2-2 (lower numbers = faster), SDram can be as slow as 4-4-4 and while it will be tolerated in Beige and some BW G3 configuartions, this may no longer be the case after you accelerate your computer. As a side note, nothing slower than 3-2-2 will even start up in Apple G4 computers.
    • To determine if your memory is the problem, remove all except the stock memory that came with your computer. If the computer operates correctly configured in this way, it is possible that you have installed at least one piece of memory that is sub-spec. Replacing such part(s) with a proper module should alleviate the problem.

  5. System software problem: Did you reset the PRAM when you first installed? If not and you ran the machine several times while it ran unstably, its possible that a component of the system became damaged. It is also possible that you have an older software extention installed that needs updating as its current version is not able to process correctly with the new higher speed.
    • To narrow down the problem, try booting with extentions off. If your computer boots and operates stably, use extentions manager to turn off all non apple installed extentions. If upon restarting with only the Apple set your computer operates stably, you can selectively activate other extentions and restarting until you encounter the instability. If an extention issue is the problem, once you've narrowed it down, smooth sailing should ensue.
    • If your computer does not boot with extentions off, or crashes with the Apple set, you need to boot off your Apple CD. If the CD Boots without incident, its of greater possibility that your system folder may be damaged. Doing a clean install (this will backup your existing system folder) should eliminate any software problems and if the newly installed system boots without exhibiting any problems, your new processor is unlikely to have been the cause of problems and you now have a clean system foundation install additions to.

  6. ROM issue: Some customers have reported issues with older Rev "A" systems and faster processors. OWC tests every OWC Mercury G3 and G4 processor in all revisions of Beige G3 and B&W G3/G4 "Yikes" system for full compatibility. If you think you have an older ROM revision, you can confirm that here.
  7. Bad ZIF or system specific factor: If after taking the above steps your ZIF is still not operational, it is likely you have a bad ZIF module. Please contact OWC tech support by web or by phone. They will be able to set up an exchange to supply you with a properly working ZIF. Although failed ZIFs are rare, OWC takes the time to test all ZIF modules provided for replacement.