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View Full Version : Mac Mini g4 isn't that bad...




clyde2801
Aug 17, 2011, 09:45 PM
In the middle of buying slash updating hardware and software for my recently converted to mac office.

I have an old tank of a HP color laserjet 2840 multi function unit. HP did the usual printer BS about not supporting newer versions of the Mac OS :mad::mad::mad: and it lost its scanning capability after going from 10.5 to 10.6. Lately, it's been acting as a stand alone fax machine/copier.

It occurred to me that a headless mini attached to the ol' gal would a) convert this to a network printer, and b) could act as a network scanner slash file server if I could find one that ran 10.5.

Found a pristine g4 mini kind of out in the boonies. 1.33ghz g4, 512 mb ram, 40 gig hd, running 10.5.8 and with bluetooth and airport for $200, which I was able to get down to $170. Hardly used, with box, etc, etc.

Even considering the shape and condition of the machine, probably a bit much, but cheaper than the alternative of buying a new laser multifunction with wireless capacity. I've learned the hard way that if you skimp up front buying the printer, you pay more later on for ink, toner, etc. But this was the cheapest one I've seen on CL, similar ones sell in my area without BT and Airport for $250 or more.

I'm in the process of optimizing the mini, stripping off unnecessary apps, and tweaking the OS to get all of the performance out of it that I can; disabling dashboard, turning off animation effects and the like.

With the 4200 rpm hard drive, disk intensive stuff is agonizingly slow. Disk permissions seems to take FOREVER.

But the surprising part is, that despite the relatively ancient tech: older abandoned CPU, anemic GPU, small slow hard drive and paltry ram, it's actually pretty usable for basic consumer needs. Make no mistake, Safari loads pages faster on my 2011 Macbook Air, but I caught myself thinking that I could actually use this for everyday stuff and not feel too deprived.

I also thought about my mother in law in her early 70's with her ever recurring PC problems and thinking this less than $200 unit would be an ideal solution for her. Ditto for my mother in her mid 70s (if she wasn't too stubborn to try).

Wish me luck on taking this to the office and plugging it in. I'm hoping that it can do what I need it to do without any more outlay of expenses, but suspect that it may need to go up to the full one gig of ram allowable.