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Old May 30, 2010, 01:00 PM   #1
Christina1971
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Can anything be done with a G4/1.33 Mac Mini?

A lightning strike caused a power surge that damaged my mother's 5-year-old G4/1.33 MHz Mac Mini, currently running Tiger. I think I'm going to get her a new (or refurb) one for her birthday (shh, don't spoil the secret! )

Once I do that, I'll probably inherit her old computer. Is there anything that can realistically be done with a stock (512 MB, 40GB hard drive, no Airport) G4 Mac Mini? That happens not to have a working Ethernet port? (although we have a USB-to-Ethernet adapter.) It's well out of warranty so I have no problem futzing around with it -- if it breaks, it breaks -- but I'm also reluctant to put too much money into a device that old.
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Old May 30, 2010, 01:04 PM   #2
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What's the damage? It makes a good file server or Time Machine backup if you can find a copy of Leopard for it (but you will need more RAM and a bigger or external drive).
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Old May 30, 2010, 01:55 PM   #3
Christina1971
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What's the damage? It makes a good file server or Time Machine backup if you can find a copy of Leopard for it (but you will need more RAM and a bigger or external drive).
The built-in Ethernet port doesn't work any more. Pops bought a USB-to-Ethernet jack that is functioning fine, but the computer is just showing its age in other ways. Though, you know how mothers can be: "It's working fine enough for me! Leave my computer alone!"

I already have an external drive for Time Machine for my own Macbook, but, the more the merrier, I guess. I also have a Snow Leopard disc, but not Leopard.
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Old May 31, 2010, 09:51 AM   #4
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You could gets lots of good use out of a G4 1.33GHz. It would be good for anything but HD video or Pro-level type stuff.

Seems like you already have a USB ethernet adapter so you're good to go. If you just want to do web and such you need not do any upgrades but I would at least up the RAM to the 1GB max. Should only cost $50~ new. You could also buy used mac ram on ebay for even less.
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Old May 31, 2010, 10:59 AM   #5
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It'd make a great media/iTunes server. Just hook up a Firewire hard drive and you'd be good to go as is. The upside of that is that you can keep using the hard drive after the Mac mini has outlived its usefulness. If you upgrade the RAM, you'll have a machine that'd be fine for most web applications, but keep in mind that Tiger is probably going to be left behind by most browsers in the next year or so. Firefox has already been released in its last Tiger compatible version.

Personally, I'd leave it as is and use it as a headless server. It'd be really good in that capacity.
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Old May 31, 2010, 12:37 PM   #6
Christina1971
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Can I ask a stupid question? I often hear people talking about media "servers" and I don't know if I understand exactly what that means. Here's my set up now -- I've got a Macbook and a Airport Extreme, and an Airport Express that is providing Ethernet to my TiVo. What is it that most people are "serving" through their servers? What is the benefit of a server?

(Feel free to point me to some links -- I know that this is not totally on topic to a thread about G4 Macs.)
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Old May 31, 2010, 01:29 PM   #7
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Can I ask a stupid question? I often hear people talking about media "servers" and I don't know if I understand exactly what that means. Here's my set up now -- I've got a Macbook and a Airport Extreme, and an Airport Express that is providing Ethernet to my TiVo. What is it that most people are "serving" through their servers? What is the benefit of a server?

(Feel free to point me to some links -- I know that this is not totally on topic to a thread about G4 Macs.)


A media server is simply a computer where you keep music, video, photos or any other type of multimedia. You then access that media through things like an apple tv or another mac.

For example you could put your entire itunes folder on the mini to free up space on your macbook then access the itunes content over your local network whether with wireless or wired connections.

If you're running at least OS 10.5.x on your macbook then it is very easy to even log directly into it and control it remotely. That makes it headless as in it does not need it's own monitor, kb or mouse.
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Old May 31, 2010, 01:53 PM   #8
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I think, because I don't have much media - at least, not that much as compared to some people who have many hundreds of gigs of music/videos etc. - that I've never thought I needed a server. I've had my Macbook for five years and still had about 15 GB of space left on its 80 GB hard drive (I recently replaced it, though).

Anyway, I'll look more into the server issue. Thanks much!

I do wish this little thing had an Airport card. It would just make placement around my home a bit easier.
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Old May 31, 2010, 01:58 PM   #9
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I do wish this little thing had an Airport card. It would just make placement around my home a bit easier.
You can buy Mac compatible USB wifi dongles on ebay for $15-20. That would be much cheaper and easier than adding internal wifi.

Or.. just google and find the ones that both work on mac and can be purchased locally.
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Old May 31, 2010, 03:32 PM   #10
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My old mini is being used by my parents, though my mom hates it cause it's not a "normal" computer (by which she means Windows XP) and she totally sucks at using computers ^^
I have also tested it and it works perfectly hosting my website. I guess you could hook it up into an HDTV and show photos and videos or something. Not sure if it can play HD content.
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 04:53 AM   #11
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I still use my MacMini PPC 1,25 as a webserver/mp3 server/torrent downloader/handbrake iPhone movie converter.

Converting is not going to be fast, but hey it runs day and night.

Hooked up with a 1TB network HDD, it works just fine for me.
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 10:10 AM   #12
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I run 10.5 server on my 1.25G4 eMac, but it has a large disk (160gb), 2GB of ram and airport so it can be quite handy. It lives on my office desk so I can use it as a lab server (dhcp, files, what have you).

In your case, I would probably make it a kitchen computer. Its handy having something available to look up recipes while cooking.
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Old Jun 3, 2010, 10:43 PM   #13
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btw, that mac mini 1.33 is the little brother of the 1.5 g4 mac mini, both "silent upgrade" version.
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