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Old Aug 21, 2009, 02:59 PM   #1
TheBritishBloke
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iMac G4. Is it outdated?

A friend of mine has an iMac G4. Fully functional, running Leopard, he's gonna throw in an Apple wired keyboard and mighty mouse (new ones) and the original speakers. It's the 15" Version, with 1Ghz PowerPC, 768MB RAM, 80GB HDD, built in Airport (presume 802.11a/b?) With iWork 08 and (I think iLife 08). He's offering me it for a lovely price of 90 (roughly $145USD) But I was wondering.

Is this outdated now? I've always loved the design, it's 'retro' Apple. I'd love a new iMac, but I've held off for ages now as I'm not gonna get one until they release them with Quad-Cores. Would it be able to handle basic stuff? I'd only use it for simple things like word processing, it would give me something nice to stick some docs on there.

I've also been offered another one, this one's the 17" version, 800Mhz, 768MB RAM, 80GB HDD, Tiger, the original speakers, mice and keyboard.

Which would you go for? Is the 17" really that much more to lose the better software and hardware?

Thanks!
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 03:08 PM   #2
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I wouldn't turn that deal down if you have the spare cash, they go for double that on eBay at that specification. Also, I personally don't feel a 17" screen would justify losing Leopard, never mind the extra 200Mhz (though I'm aware Leopard can be installed on under-specification machines, using certain methods).

While the iMac G4 may well be largely considered 'outdated' it still looks incredibly good does the basics perfectly well. Unless you're planning on using it for the heavy stuff then you won't be disappointed.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 03:13 PM   #3
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Thanks for that Ben. What do you mean by heavy usage?

I just love the design on the G4, it's pretty neat.

And if I did go for the tiger one, I don't think I'd upgrade it to leopard, not at 83 when I'm practically paying that for the machine :P

Forgot to mention, the 17" is being sold for 50 ($80USD).

The prices are pennies to be honest, especially when you consider you're getting a whole machine for it, and after I just spent 1500 on my MBP :P.

Any other input would be great.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 03:15 PM   #4
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Here are a few things to consider...

- The 17" iMac may not have USB 2 ports -- I think the first 17" iMac that had USB2 was 1.25GHz. Not having USB2 would make using flash drives and iPods and maybe some scanners and cameras somewhere between painful and impossible. It would also have B-only Airport if it had one (link) -- Apple never offered 802.11a/b cards ... the MBP I think was the first Mac that had hardware that could connect to a 5GHz network.

- I think the 15" one is the first gen of USB2 iMacs (link) -- the Airport card was optional, but if it has one, it would be Airport Extreme (B/G).

Now...

- Opinions differ on how much memory you need for running Leopard... my personal thoughts is that 768MB is just enough for Tiger -- at 640 I found Tiger somewhat unsatisfactory.

- These computers would both work reasonably well for software of that era -- for instance running Firefox and Office 04 on top of Tiger.

- In iLife, iTunes and iPhoto will probably be pretty functional... the rest of iLife might feel somewhat useless at those speeds.

OTOH the price seems reasonable and people (not me personally ) do have a lot of affection for it as a sort of collector's model, so it might not be a bad idea....
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 03:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
Here are a few things to consider...

- The 17" iMac may not have USB 2 ports -- I think the first 17" iMac that had USB2 was 1.25GHz. Not having USB2 would make using flash drives and iPods and maybe some scanners and cameras somewhere between painful and impossible. It would also have B-only Airport if it had one (link) -- Apple never offered 802.11a/b cards ... the MBP I think was the first Mac that had hardware that could connect to a 5GHz network.

- I think the 15" one is the first gen of USB2 iMacs (link) -- the Airport card was optional, but if it has one, it would be Airport Extreme (B/G).

Now...

- Opinions differ on how much memory you need for running Leopard... my personal thoughts is that 768MB is just enough for Tiger -- at 640 I found Tiger somewhat unsatisfactory.

- These computers would both work reasonably well for software of that era -- for instance running Firefox and Office 04 on top of Tiger.

- In iLife, iTunes and iPhoto will probably be pretty functional... the rest of iLife might feel somewhat useless at those speeds.

OTOH the price seems reasonable and people (not me personally ) do have a lot of affection for it as a sort of collector's model, so it might not be a bad idea....
Thanks for that. I forgot to ask him whether it had the USB 2.0 or 1.1Ports, however that doesn't really affect me. I'm not planning to plug anything into it (apart from the keyboard and mouse :P) however ofcourse 2.0 is always a benefit.

I would upgrade the RAM to 1GB, HOWEVER I'm not paying 55 for 512MB stick of DDR RAM, I'd rather stick with 768MB :P. And nothing 'hefty' is going to be done on it, I probably won't use iLife, it's just a benefit if it's on there. I'll probably just be using it for some basic word processing (has iWork 08 so why not :P) stick a video or two on there along with some music (not much). And then I'd just do basic things like web browsing.

As you mentioned, I really do like it as a collectors item, and it's a nice little desktop suite at a great price so. And I've had Windows PC's (XP) running with 256MB RAM, with no problems running basic tasks, I'm sure Leopard can run with 768MB at basic tasks. I will also probably be connecting it via ethernet just incase anyway, as if it is only 802.11b, i'd rather use an ethernet cable than lower the box's capability of 802.11n.

EDIT : I know it doesn't have built in bluetooth, as he said he would include a bluetooth dongle. So don't know if they even included them originally.

Last edited by TheBritishBloke; Aug 21, 2009 at 03:31 PM.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 03:43 PM   #6
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I'd personally probably want the 1GHZ model.

Yes, these machines are pretty outdated now.

I have a 1.5 GHZ G4 Powebook G4 with 1.25 of memory. You can use it for web browsing, barely microsoft office new version, email, itunes (audio), light use iPhoto, etc.

You won't do much else, but for an internet communcation device like browsing and email and things it's ok. You have to remember that these days it will seem slower than when it came out for the fact that our software now requires more processing, more memory, etc.

Adobe Flash streaming video things like BBC iplayer will likely struggle on such a slow machine. It does on my powerbook.

I agree that it's a beautiful computer.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 03:48 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by powerbook911 View Post
I'd personally probably want the 1GHZ model.

Yes, these machines are pretty outdated now.

I have a 1.5 GHZ G4 Powebook G4 with 1.25 of memory. You can use it for web browsing, barely microsoft office new version, email, itunes (audio), light use iPhoto, etc.

You won't do much else, but for an internet communcation device like browsing and email and things it's ok.

Adobe Flash streaming video things like BBC iplayer will likely struggle on such a slow machine. It does on my powerbook.
I wouldn't run iPlayer on this, it would just be a collector's desktop iMac, and as I said, it will barely be used anything above word processing. I won't be doing any video/picture editing (got my uMBP for that) can run iPlayer and whatnot on here too, or on my PC. It will just be used for web browsing and Adium. I've got an old 800Mhz PC upstairs it's running XP.. (Barely) yet even at that, it's going smooth as you said for an 'internet communications' computer.

I shouldn't have put the title 'outdated' more as 'is it good for light use for a collector' :P. I know it's outdated, what I really wanted to know is if it will be able to run the basics nice and smoothly.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 03:50 PM   #8
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It sounds like you're already convinced irrespective of anything anyone says, anyways, so why waste our time? Go get it and then make a "look at my new iMac" thread in the picture gallery....
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 03:57 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mkrishnan View Post
It sounds like you're already convinced irrespective of anything anyone says, anyways, so why waste our time? Go get it and then make a "look at my new iMac" thread in the picture gallery....
LOL. Thanks for that

I'm not made up, as I'm not sure whether it will run the basics smoothly, even though it's cheap, don't want to buy it to find out it's CR*P
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 03:59 PM   #10
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I just sold my 1GHz 17" iMac G4 with a broken screen for $80USD, if that is any clue what they sell for. . . .
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 04:17 PM   #11
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I've read some things that say 'go buy an alu refurb iMac' but seeing how these G4's are 80, the refurbs (base 20" 2.66) is 800. Sure this is a collectors item. I just want clarification that the Leopard one will run smoothly with basic applications.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 04:24 PM   #12
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I wouldn't personally do it. My 1.25ghz eMac at work sucks for flash videos etc which I put in the basics category.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 04:26 PM   #13
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I wouldn't personally do it. My 1.25ghz eMac at work sucks for flash videos etc which I put in the basics category.
That's all to do with graphics cards though. I believe the eMac isn't focused on that at all, it's mainly for well... Education :P
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 04:35 PM   #14
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That's all to do with graphics cards though. I believe the eMac isn't focused on that at all, it's mainly for well... Education :P
Some Flash content starting with Flash 9 is GPU accelerated (link), but the GPU on that eMac is generally considered, if anything, faster than the one on the nicer of the two iMacs you're considering... (link for an in-depth comparison from back in the day). Not that you should go and get an eMac but for reference purposes, both that eMac and the other person's powerbook would be much faster than either of the computers you're considering.

If you consider Windows XP usable on 256MB of memory, then yeah, you're probably going to be fine... but I don't think anyone in 2009 would call Leopard running on an 800-1000 MHz G4 a particularly snappy experience....

FWIW, I had an iBook G4/800MHz until 2007. By the end it had more memory than either of the computers you're considering, but, as I said, it was pretty usable to me with >1GB of memory in Tiger with apps of that era. At 640GB, it was usable, but I had to turn some features like Dashboard off. I really don't know how Leopard would run on that.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 04:52 PM   #15
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That's all to do with graphics cards though. I believe the eMac isn't focused on that at all, it's mainly for well... Education :P
Actually... Video decoding is generally all cpu work (excluding gpu acceration where supported). If you want flash support, those older g4s wont do.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 05:25 PM   #16
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I don't need it to be an incredibly 'snappy' experience. As I said it's only going to be for basic things, so long as it doesn't lagg and crash just botting up and web browsing it'll be fine

Anyone know if I could stick a 2.5" 64GB SSD in one?
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 06:04 PM   #17
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Go for it, and report back here and tell us how awesome it is!!!!


*cough*
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 06:05 PM   #18
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Anyone know if I could stick a 2.5" 64GB SSD in one?
Of course you can. Whether you'll ever find one with an ATA interface is another story.
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 06:08 PM   #19
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Of course you can. Whether you'll ever find one with an ATA interface is another story.
xD I'm tired, didn't bother to look up which connection it had :P

Quote:
Originally Posted by abstract
Go for it, and report back here and tell us how awesome it is!!!!


*cough*
Whats the *cough* for? It is awesome xD :P

I'm just trying to see who has it if it runs smoothly, even though I'm collecting it, wanna make sure it ain't a terrible machine :P

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Old Aug 21, 2009, 06:20 PM   #20
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Just seen OWC's site says it will take up-to 2GB RAM.

Would this perform much better in leopard if I stuck a 1GB stick in there? (For a total of 1.5GB)
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Old Aug 21, 2009, 07:26 PM   #21
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Just seen OWC's site says it will take up-to 2GB RAM.

Would this perform much better in leopard if I stuck a 1GB stick in there? (For a total of 1.5GB)
It absolutely would. Just know that this machine will never run any new Apple software as they have dropped Power PC support, so if you use iWork '09, you might run into issues (or any other Mac app for that matter, including Snow Leopard).

I still have a Powerbook G4 (1.33 GHZ, 2 gigs of RAM) and it runs great. A little disappointed Snow Leopard dropped Power PC support since many of those machines would have the horsepower to run current Apple apps, but they had to drop support at some point.
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Old Aug 22, 2009, 04:53 AM   #22
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It absolutely would. Just know that this machine will never run any new Apple software as they have dropped Power PC support, so if you use iWork '09, you might run into issues (or any other Mac app for that matter, including Snow Leopard).

I still have a Powerbook G4 (1.33 GHZ, 2 gigs of RAM) and it runs great. A little disappointed Snow Leopard dropped Power PC support since many of those machines would have the horsepower to run current Apple apps, but they had to drop support at some point.
It already has iWork 08 on there. I wouldn't upgrade it to 09.

I see why they're dropping PowerPC support though, as it has Bern a good 4 years since they stopped manufacturing them.

I would put 2GB in there, but not just yet as the older modules aren't cheap. I've found some on eBay for 25/GB. Don't know whether the quality will be downgraded by the value compared to OWC RAM
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Old Aug 22, 2009, 04:43 PM   #23
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I use an iMac G4 800MHz with a 15" screen as my workbench computer. I don't ask it to do too much and it performs just fine. I am surprised at how many people like the design of this machine. Hardware-wise, time has passed it by. The thing is this, it runs quiet, takes up very little room and looks cool. Good enough for me. I will probably run it until it is no longer repairable. I just replaced the neck so I think I will have it for a while.
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Old Aug 22, 2009, 04:57 PM   #24
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Getting a old outdated computer sounds good but once you get it you will likely realize it will never, ever get used. You have a fast computer, so you will simply not want to use this slow system for anything. Why would you? I say don't get it, as it will likely sit idle.
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Old Aug 22, 2009, 05:02 PM   #25
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As far as i remember the 17 inch iMac had a lot better screen than the 15 inch.
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