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View Full Version : Getting myself a PowerMac G4!!


Daedalus256
Nov 10, 2005, 04:57 PM
I'm really excited about getting this system, even if it is an older one. I'm getting a PowerMac G4 500mhz, with 512MB of RAM for $100 + some shipping. How? Well it has a dead hard drive I guess. But otherwise works fine. The previous owner and I are working on shipping but I'm so excited!

Anything I should know about PowerMac ownership? I already have a Powerbook (my P-P-P-POWERBOOK!) G4 that I love to death, is this going to be much different aside from it not nearly catching fire when I try to render something in terragen? ;)

I plan on adding in some more ram and maybe upgrading the G4 itself. How much does a Sonnet or Powerlogic upgrade cost nowadays?

cubist
Nov 10, 2005, 05:09 PM
Too much. Stick with the stock CPU. Anything you buy like that will not be cost-effective.

If the HD is dead, that's good news, because you'll want to get a 7200RPM drive and put it in there. That's where any future spending you do should go. You can probably find RAM sticks for near-free (PC-100).

If you get the DVD-RAM for the optical drive, you'll probably want to replace that with a DVD-ROM. You can probably find someone who is interested in the DVD-RAM.

Don't even consider upgrading the CPU or video card. Not worth the money.

You should like the system. Very easy to open up and work on, runs very quiet, stable and solid. Performance under MacOS X will be pretty good.

yellow
Nov 10, 2005, 05:15 PM
I don't think the upgrades are all that unreasonable as long as you don't shoot for the stars. Here's an idea of what is available (for CPUs) and how much they cost:

CPU LINKITY (http://eshop.macsales.com/MyOWC/Upgrades.cfm?model=166&type=Processor&TI=%23TimeFormat%28Now%28%29%2C+&shoupgrds=Show+Upgrades)

Video upgrade are at the edge of being not worth it.. it depends on what you want to do with it. At least it'll have better video than a Mini for slightly more $, right? :)

VIDEO LINKITY (http://eshop.macsales.com/MyOWC/Upgrades.cfm?model=166&type=Video&TI=%23TimeFormat%28Now%28%29%2C+&shoupgrds=Show+Upgrades)

Note that you should stick with a hard drive that is 120GB max. There's a size limitation on older Macs, and disks larger than that, you won't see all of it.

Daedalus256
Nov 10, 2005, 05:22 PM
wow, buying a new CPU would cost twice what the system itself is going to cost me! haha.

As for the hard drive. I have a small 20Gig I'm going to throw in there just to get OSX on there immediately. It's a 7200rpm Maxtor drive, none of that 5400rpm crap.

Video card upgrade looks almost do-able though.

Daedalus256
Nov 11, 2005, 01:12 AM
Also, I've heard that installing OSX on a new hard drive is dead simple. How exactly does it work? I'm still very new to this mac stuff!

I had another question but I can't remember what it was now.

yellow
Nov 11, 2005, 12:03 PM
Buy Generic Installer CD/DVD
Put CD/DVD in optical drive
Reboot holding down C key
Follow directions

That's it.

za9ra22
Nov 11, 2005, 12:52 PM
I'm really excited about getting this system, even if it is an older one. I'm getting a PowerMac G4 500mhz, with 512MB of RAM for $100 + some shipping. .....

I plan on adding in some more ram and maybe upgrading the G4 itself. How much does a Sonnet or Powerlogic upgrade cost nowadays?

I have a G4/450 which I was going to retire, but it has been such a good system - rock solid and stable since new - that I decided to do a bit of upgrading instead. $195 for a 1GHz CPU made an incredible difference, like getting a whole new computer! I added a DVD burner ($35), a second video card to drive one or two more displays ($50 on eBay), put a spare 7200rpm 120Gb Maxtor drive in as the startup and installed Tiger, and moved the old startup drive that had Jaguar on it to the second slot. I also had 2 256Mb RAM sticks from a deceased PC that I put in to up the memory to 1Gb. So aside from the original cost of the machine - now long since paid for, I spent $280 on getting this old system up to similar performance as a Mac mini that would have cost $200 or so more.

I'd say upgrading an old G4 is a great idea and very cost-effective as long as you set your sights at a reasonable level and don't get carried away.

yellow
Nov 11, 2005, 01:07 PM
I concur. I slowly outfitted my Quicksilver '01 to be the best it can possibly be. I didn't have to blow a buncha cash into it all at once and it's been a rock solid fast Mac for the last (almost 5 years). I can probably suck another 2 out of it before I feel the need to get a new Mac.

Lord Blackadder
Nov 11, 2005, 02:27 PM
I bought a dual 533MHz G4 a year ago (512MB RAM, 40GB HD, Radeon 7500) and have since turned it into the machine you see in my sig - More RAM, new CPU, DVD-RW, new video card, SATA hard drive, Airport, USB 2.0 card.

It is a really nice machine now but I spent nearly as much as I would have on a new iMac 17". The difference is that I was able to do it in bits and pieces over the course of a year. At the time I bought it I could only afford a $500 computer and the Mac Mini was only a rumor. So for me this was the way to go.

A lot of people go the upgrade route - PowerMac G4s are very expandable and if you max them out with upgrades they are pretty fast, even by today's standards.

Since you've only spent $100 getting the computer I'd recommend buying a CPU upgrade from OWC along with a new hard drive. It will make a huge difference in performance for as little as $200.

Daedalus256
Nov 11, 2005, 04:03 PM
Just got some crappy news.

Sender can't send this thing until December 4th. I don't really want to pass up getting this system for $100 though so I think I'm going to hold out unless something absolutely incredible comes my way.

Daedalus256
Nov 14, 2005, 12:05 AM
Well, decided that I didn't want to wait that long and pay shipping so I opted for a system my friend on SA offered me.

G4 400mhz
1GB RAM
80GB HDD
ATI Radeon 8500

I believe it also has some other HDD space on it. A much better system and it's going to cost about the same as if I were to pay shipping on the other one. I'm picking this one up next weekend!

Lord Blackadder
Nov 14, 2005, 07:35 AM
Well, decided that I didn't want to wait that long and pay shipping so I opted for a system my friend on SA offered me.

G4 400mhz
1GB RAM
80GB HDD
ATI Radeon 8500

I believe it also has some other HDD space on it. A much better system and it's going to cost about the same as if I were to pay shipping on the other one. I'm picking this one up next weekend!

Keep in mind that the Radeon 8500 is nearly identical to a Radeon 9200, so if you want to upgrade your video card you'll need to get Radeon 9600 or faster to notice a performance gain.

That's a good system to use as a base for upgrades though.

7on
Nov 14, 2005, 08:29 AM
Man, and to think, I paid $200 for a G3 400Mhz 1.5 years ago.

Lord Blackadder
Nov 14, 2005, 09:10 AM
Man, and to think, I paid $200 for a G3 400Mhz 1.5 years ago.

The Mac Mini is finally beginning to deflate used G4 prices these days, but really only the 100MHz bus models. The Digital Audios, Quicksilvers and MDDs are still holding their value, while the Sawtooth and Gigabit Ethernet G4s are getting cheap.

Daedalus256
Nov 14, 2005, 09:54 AM
Heh that's fine with me, if I can get a pretty nice base system for $100-$200 I consider my mission accomplished. I'll probably save up some money and get a OWC chip for this thing.