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Old Jan 14, 2005, 09:42 PM   #1
spot618
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Need help with final transition to OS X

I need to upgrade my Mac and I need some advice as to which way to go. I am currently using a Powermac G3 MT which has been upgraded to a G4 500. My previous Mac was a Powermac 8500 which had been upgraded to a G4 450. The reason I used these two particular models was because of a couple of things that they could do that I like and need.

For one thing, they both had RCA audio and video inputs. I like being able to connect them directly to my stereo both to play music on the stereo, as well as to import music from the stereo into the Mac for CD burning purposes. I also like the "Apple Video Player" from OS 9 as it enables me to capture stills of any video I input via the RCA jack. I like to take the stills from videos and use them on DVD cases for the DVDs I burn. Lastly, I like the "video mirroring" capabilities of OS 9 because it enables me to project my desktop onto my TV (using the RCA video output). I use this feature to help my kids with their homework, as well as to show streaming video on the TV. As a result of the features I need, I have been using OS 9 exclusively because OS X doesn't recognize the RCA inputs and outputs, and also because there are still are a few remaining Classic programs I like to use.

My problem is this. I want to be able to use OS X now because I have an iPod and need the upgraded iTunes. My original computer, the 8500, was incapable of running OS X, and my G3 MT has problems changing the boot disk back and forth from OS 9 to OS X. It also runs OS X much more slowly than I 'd like. It has a very slow bus speed as well. I am comtemplating buying a higher end Powermac G4 (faster processor) that will dual boot into both 9 and X.

What models would you recommend first of all, and secondly, what add-ons (devices, cards, etc) would I need that would enable me to still do all the things I described above? Or should I go with a G5 model, give up on Classic all-together, and, if so, how would I need to equip it as well, in order to continue to import and export audio to my stereo, inport video from my DVD player ( I don't believe Apple lets you take snapshots of images from the Apple DVD player- I tried it once), and also allow me to project my desktop onto a TV?
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 09:45 PM   #2
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Perhaps this is a dumb question, but I'll ask anyway:

Why not buy a mini for OS X and keep your current Macs?
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 10:16 PM   #3
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Two reasons. First I don't want to have to be file-swapping between two macs all the time, and second, I have space constraints and can't have two sets of monitors, keyboards, mice, speakers, etc.
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 10:20 PM   #4
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I've allotted a budget of up to $1500 and would be willing to go with a used mac.
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 10:34 PM   #5
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If you don't have the space, get a KVM switch. The networking is X is much better than in 9. It's very easy to use. No hassle at all.
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 10:40 PM   #6
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If you buy a new 17" iMac for $1300:

(1) Brand new, G5 system.
(2) Very small footprint.
(3) Composite/S-video adapter available ($20) for connection to TV
(4) VLC (freeware) plays DVDs, lets you take snapshots via normal OS X screen capture.
(5) iMac has line in/line out for audio connections.

Upgrade the RAM, and you're still under $1500.

Would that work?
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Old Jan 14, 2005, 11:14 PM   #7
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1. I thought about a KVM switch. I currently have a 17" apple CRT monitor which I use with the G3 MT. Can this monitor be used with a Powermac G4, or can a cinema display (which I'm contemplating buying) be used with the G3? Also there are times where I would need to view both desktops simultaneously.

2. As for the iMac, I knew about the "Audio Line In" port but what constitutes the audio line out? I only see a headphone jack. Does that have enough power output to drive audio into an "aux input" on a stereo? Also, wouldn't I have to keep plugging-in and unplugging it in order to switch back and forth to my computer speakers?

3. What can you tell me about the Composite/s-video adapter? Is it used with either the Video (mini VGA) port or the s-video output port on the iMac?
Will it actually mirror my desktop onto the TV or just show DVDs playing on the iMac on the TV?

4. The VLC sounds like a good idea. If I could actually play the DVDs on my computer, and then take snapshots of the picture, I wouldn't really need to have an external DVD player connected and thus wouldn't really need a video input port or device.

Last edited by spot618; Jan 14, 2005 at 11:22 PM.
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Old Jan 15, 2005, 06:59 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spot618
1. I thought about a KVM switch. I currently have a 17" apple CRT monitor which I use with the G3 MT. Can this monitor be used with a Powermac G4, or can a cinema display (which I'm contemplating buying) be used with the G3? Also there are times where I would need to view both desktops simultaneously.
Well, if you need to see both at the same time, a KVM won't help. Otherwise, if you use the 17" you have, you'd (I believe) need to buy an ADC monitor->DVI port converter, which is ~$100 (cheaper to go the other way, but expensive to use an ADC monitor with a DVI port bc you need to add the power supply). That's because the KVM would only support DVI, not ADC. Also, KVMs which do a good job with DVI monitors aren't cheap.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spot618
2. As for the iMac, I knew about the "Audio Line In" port but what constitutes the audio line out? I only see a headphone jack. Does that have enough power output to drive audio into an "aux input" on a stereo? Also, wouldn't I have to keep plugging-in and unplugging it in order to switch back and forth to my computer speakers?
You could get a $129 AirPort Express and the $79 AirPort Extreme card, which would give you wireless and an audio out port on the Express, or, yes, unfortunately you'd need to unplug to use the computer speakers (I think) because I suspect - but don't know - that using the headphone/optical out plug on the back would disable the speakers (maybe you can set it so it doesn't - dunno).
Quote:
Originally Posted by spot618
3. What can you tell me about the Composite/s-video adapter? Is it used with either the Video (mini VGA) port or the s-video output port on the iMac?
Will it actually mirror my desktop onto the TV or just show DVDs playing on the iMac on the TV?
The iMac only has the mini-VGA port, and the adapter plugs into that. It mirrors the entire desktop, but, of course, you can play DVDs full-screen. Also, there is a monitor spanning hack (which I use on my older iMac) which allows the min-VGA port to function as a second display, meaning you could play the DVD on it (full screen) and still use your iMac display.
Quote:
Originally Posted by spot618
4. The VLC sounds like a good idea. If I could actually play the DVDs on my computer, and then take snapshots of the picture, I wouldn't really need to have an external DVD player connected and thus wouldn't really need a video input port or device.
That you could do. FWIW, Snapz Pro X is a fantastic screen capture tool, and would work with anything on your screen, or any area of it, regardless of DVD player running or not.
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Old Jan 16, 2005, 10:12 PM   #9
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Thank you, "jsw" for your help. I have a lot to mull over now, as I would like the next Mac I purchase to be functional for me for a long time. Fortunately, I don't have to make a hasty decision at this time.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 04:12 AM   #10
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If you could afford just a little bit more, you could get maybe a refurb single G5 Tower and a Miglia TV tuner. That would be perfect. Maybe wait a bit to see if they update the Tower and/or lower the price. Or see if the next eMac is G5, upgrade the memory, hard drive (and/or external firewire drives), and a USB2 or fw TV-in box. ElGato has a couple for around $200-$300. TV-out works with a $20 adapter, and the hack works fine for dual diplays. If you can afford it, even a fw or USB audio breakout box.

The Mini is ok, but probably not great for what you'd want to do without even more add-ons. Especially with only 1 video output, notebook size drives, 1 RAM slot, and limited ports.
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Old Jan 17, 2005, 06:58 PM   #11
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Does anyone know why the OS X systems will not recognize A/V RCA ports on a Mac? Was it simply a programming oversight or was it intentional for some reason? It would be so much simpler if they could just make a PCI card for the G5 that contained the ports, akin to the Wings A/V card they made for my G3 MT.
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Old Jan 18, 2005, 06:47 AM   #12
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Cheapest to do that is a $20 DVI to TV-out cable and a Miglia TV Tuner with A/V inputs for ~$100 for the G5. 10.3 compatible out of the box. But you need a Tower with PCI slots.
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Old Jan 18, 2005, 11:28 AM   #13
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So what you're saying is that if I went with a G5 tower, which is what I'd really like to get if I stretch my budget a little bit, the Miglia TV tuner would handle my video and audio inputting, and the DVI to TV out cable would handle my desktop mirroring onto my TV?
What would I need then to be able to pump my audio out of my computer to my stereo, and still enable me to use my external computer speakers? I have really good Altec Lansing speakers with subwoofer that I use with my computer. I like to run the sound through my stereo sometimes because that in turn can pump the music throughout my entire house.
Also, is there some sort of software, akin to the Apple Video Player, that comes with the Miglia device that would enable me to view the video on my computer, or is there software already built into OS 10.3 that would handle that?
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Old Jan 18, 2005, 11:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spot618
Two reasons. First I don't want to have to be file-swapping between two macs all the time, and second, I have space constraints and can't have two sets of monitors, keyboards, mice, speakers, etc.
But instead of swapping files, get YouSoftware's You Sycronize which rocks. www.yousoftware.com It is so easy to keep all your mac files synced and doesn't take much processor to use once it is done. although I don't know I would think you could set this software up (only 40-50 bucks) on the new Mini or whatever you get and then probably (check it out to be sure) could sync your files with your other OS9 machines. Then you are done and have a great little machine. Buy yourself a switcher to use the same keyboard, monitor, etc. and you are set to run and do anything.
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Old Jan 18, 2005, 12:02 PM   #15
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I run my computer through the home stereo straight out the headphone jack to aux input and it sounds sweet. You could try a silly little splitter adapter to plug in two mini jacks instead of one (Like when you used to plug two sets of headphones into a walkman) then you can run the stereo and the computer speakers. A guy at my work uses one to have his headphones and speakers plugged in at the same time. Costs like $2.
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Old Jan 18, 2005, 03:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spot618
So what you're saying is that if I went with a G5 tower, which is what I'd really like to get if I stretch my budget a little bit, the Miglia TV tuner would handle my video and audio inputting, and the DVI to TV out cable would handle my desktop mirroring onto my TV?
Yes, and eventually get more RAM and a spare hard drive. The G5 hold 2. And/or an external firewire drive. I'm expecting a new single Tower in the next few months that would be perfect, and probably cheaper. Otherwise look for refurbs at good prices at the Apple Store or someplace like PowerMax or Smalldog. You can also downgrade to a combo instead of a DVD-R and save ~$100. You can always add a new, faster DVD-R later for less than that. I've seen the Miglia card at places like eCost, but make sure you get the one for the G5. OWC also has them, and they have great customer service.

Quote:
What would I need then to be able to pump my audio out of my computer to my stereo, and still enable me to use my external computer speakers? I have really good Altec Lansing speakers with subwoofer that I use with my computer. I like to run the sound through my stereo sometimes because that in turn can pump the music throughout my entire house.
As said above, yes. Just get a standard splitter. G5s have front and back audio ports, but I'm not sure how it works with switching audio.

Quote:
Also, is there some sort of software, akin to the Apple Video Player, that comes with the Miglia device that would enable me to view the video on my computer, or is there software already built into OS 10.3 that would handle that?
Comes with it, but Apple's software is compatible. Do a search for it (I think it's on Dr. Bott's site here in the states) and go to Accelerate Your Mac for more info. http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/ Good luck.
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Old Jan 19, 2005, 09:13 AM   #17
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Suppose I wanted to stick with the slightly less-expensive G4 Tower, say at about 1 or 1.25 MHz processor, that could dual boot into OS 9. I would still have the expandability(PCI slots), could still use a Miglia TV Card(for OS 9), use OS 9's "Apple Video Player" for the stills, and use OS 9's "TV mirroring control module." Is there an adapter or device through which I could mirror out the desktop to the TV? Also, could I still use a Y-comnnector on the headphones port to get good audio sound out to both my stereo and my computer speakers?
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