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iMac G4 As Tv?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by wrinkster22, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68030


    I need so help getting an iMac G4, I know many of you know lots about them (Like Goftery). The iMac would be like a tv, I would connect my usb hard drive to it and watch the content.
    The specs are:
    It is a 17" screen (no dead pixels)
    1 GHz Power PC processor
    512 Ram
    USB 2.0
    Super Drive (burnes DVD
    80 GB Hard Drive
    no airport
    comes with keyboard, speakers, and mouse
    They are asking $130

    Would it be able to:
    -play 480p content or the occasional 720p?
    -play youtube content (mactubes)
    thats it..
    Is it a good price?
    Can it do those things?
    What upgrades could I do?
    thanks a lot.
  2. macrumors 68000


    I don't know where you got the idea that I know a lot about these, as I've never owned, or used one before.

    But I'll base my answer around my 1ghz eMac (similar machines, specs etc.)

    It'll play 480p fine (not streamed video of course), but no way will it play 720p.
    It'll play YouTube videos fine through MacTubes & will play 240p in the browser no problems.
    $130 (£80 in my country) is a fantastic price, I'd grab that as soon as I could get my hands on it if I were you.
    As for upgrades, you could get yourself 2gb RAM, then install Leopard (I run Leopard on my eMac with 512mb RAM & it's really sluggish). There doesn't seem much point in upgrading the hard drive considering you'll be watching movies of an external.

    Sorry I couldn't be more help. I'm really un-knowledgeable when it comes to G4 iMacs.

    But for that price, definitely buy it ASAP. It's a really nice machine for a really great price.
  3. macrumors 68030


    You do know something :D
    Thanks for the information. Most of my content is not 720 anyway (only a few things)
    Realistically this will just play 480p content from a USB 2 hard drive.
    Do I need the ram upgrade?
    Also what version of iTunes would it support?
  4. macrumors 68000


    Tiger will run iTunes 9.2.1
    Leopard will run the current version of iTunes (10.6)

    For Leopard, I highly recommend at LEAST 1gb RAM. 512 or 768mb just doesn't cut it IMO.
  5. macrumors 68030


    This would be the first computer upgrade I will have done (Air user)
    Where could I get iMac g4 ram (I assume it is different then new stuff!)
    And would iFixit have a guide?
    Thanks :D
  6. macrumors 68000


    I've just realised if it is a 17" 1ghz, it can't have USB 2.0, they only have USB 1.1.

    Anyway, iFixit don't seem to have a guide on there for whatever reason. Here's a random YouTube dude replacing in the 'harder' RAM slot. There's two slots, one is really simple, the other, not so.

    The RAM slot under the base plate will be a PC2100 SODIMM & the other (on the logicboard) will take a 184-pin DIMM.

    EDIT - Also, as shown in the video, you'll have to apply some paste on the heatsink.
  7. cocacolakid, Apr 10, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2012

    macrumors 65816


    You can check the specs, what ram they use, etc. for any Mac at Everymac.

    Here is the link for the iMac G4 you're considering...


    It can take 2 1GB sticks of either PC2100 (which is the ram it came with) or PC2700 (which is faster but will only run at PC2100 speeds). Whenever you see a machine that can run two speeds of ram, always check which one is less expensive, sometimes there is a great difference in what each type is selling for at today's prices. Also, don't mix the two speeds, make sure each stick you have is the same as the other - i.e. 2 PC2100's, but not 1 PC2100 and 1 PC2700. Mixing ram often leads to kernal panics and instability.

    You can shop on eBay or if you prefer to shop somewhere else, OWC carries a bunch of upgrades for that Mac, including ram. Here is their link for ram...


  8. macrumors 68000


    I was on about USB speeds, not the RAM capacity :p
  9. macrumors 68030


    Thanks for that video, I will definitely take a look. Why do you say that it could not have USB 2.0? I doubt my intended use will work if it does not :(

    Are you sure that is the model I am looking at? I don't think I can use this if it uses USB 1. Thanks for the ram, I am assuming that all iMac G4's use the same ram.
  10. macrumors P6


    I have that exact iMac model. It can do some stuff if the content is played back with VLC 1.1.12 and it isn't too high quality. If you want to use a USB TV tuner type device with it, it won't work. USB 1.1 doesn't have enough bandwidth for television signals.

    The USB speed is 1.1. Not a maximum of 2Gb.

    That iMac has USB 1.1, not 2.0. The only G4 iMacs that have USB 2 are the 1Ghz 15" and the 1.25Ghz 17/21" models. Not all G4 iMacs use the same RAM. Some use PC133 or PC2100 or PC2700 depending on the model.
  11. macrumors 68000


    Yep, it's USB 1.1

    You could buy yourself a FW400 caddy & run off that? It's just a great price, it'd be a shame to pass it up because it only has USB 1.1
  12. macrumors 68030


    Thanks Intell, I was not referring to a tuner, the purpose of this was to play my iTunes content as I can not run cable to where it will be located :p
    Lets get this straight:
    Ram: 2gb

    Could I get a firewire>usb 2 adapter? is there such thing?
    I am almost positive I am going to get this!
    Thanks again :)
  13. macrumors 65816


  14. macrumors P6


    Correct, USB 1.1 and 2Gb. FireWire to USB adapters/converters do not exist.
  15. macrumors 68000


    USB 1.1
    2gb RAM (1gb officially supported)

    And I haven't actually found FW400 to USB adapters.

    EDIT - Just found some FW400 to USB adapters in Hong Kong Here. Not sure if they'll achieve USB 2.0 speeds, it says so, but these Hong Kong & Chinese companies tend to speak out of their backsides when advertising their products. They're male USB as well, so looking a bit weird to be honest with you.
  16. macrumors 65816


    You want to run an external USB 2.0 hard drive connected to this?

    The machine has 3 USB 1.1 ports (I think it's actually 2, the 3rd is on the keyboard) and 2 Firewire 400 ports.

    There are no Firewire to USB adapters that I am aware of. You could buy an external hard drive or external hard drive case that has Firewire 400 ports on it and it will run far faster than USB 1.1 speeds (and almost the same theoretically as USB 2.0. FW400 is 400mbps compared to USB 2.0's 480mbps, although Firewire to me has always seemed faster than USB, period.)
  17. macrumors P6


    Those won't work. You'd probably end up blowing your device or computer if you tried using on of those. The bus types are much too different for anything short of an actual computer to convert between.
  18. macrumors 68030


    Providing their is no adapter..
    I already have a usb 3.0 Hard drive.
    How hard would it be to upgrade the internal hard drive of the g4?
    Would it me unbearable for 480p to go over usb 1?
    how much are FW hard drives?
    My mac, does not have a firewire port anyway.


  19. macrumors P6


    The internal hard drives in G4 iMacs are a bit tricky to get to. You have to open the dome and remove the drive caddy and then the hard drive. Don't forget to replace the heatsink grease on the two posts or it will over heat.

    FireWire drives typically run slightly more than USB 2 hard drives of the same size.
  20. macrumors 68000



    Here's an iFixit manual on replacing a 17" iMac hard drive.

    Firewire caddies are relatively cheap, depending on what sort of quality you're expecting, I spent £20 ($35 approx.) no a FW400 caddy from CiT once, and it really was shockingly poorly put together. I'd spend at least £30 on a caddy, and then you can put yourself any 3.5" SATA hard drive in there.
  21. macrumors 68030


    Seeing as I have never done a computer upgrade I do not think I want to attempt this!
    My macbook air clearly does not have a firewire port so thats also not ideal
    How unbearable would it be through Usb 1?

    Eventually I will copy 40 gb of media onto the internal disk then drag that onto the firewire disk. I will need to do that 2 or 3 times.
  22. macrumors P6


    Most FireWire caddies and hard drives come with a USB port as well as FireWire. USB 1.1 maxes out at 1.5 megabytes per second. Not very fast. For comparison, USB 2 is about 32 megabytes per second and FireWire is about 36 megabytes per second. If you want to upgrade it to its max of 2Gb, you'll have to open the dome. At that point, you'll be half way with removing the old hard drive.
  23. macrumors 68030


    Due to my lack of abilities, How difficult would it be & how expensive would it be to:
    -upgrade ram to 2gb
    -install 320gb hard drive
    -thermal paste?
  24. macrumors P6


    You'll have to look at Goftrey's posted link for the hard drive upgrade. If you can't do that, you can at least upgrade the ram to 1.25Gb just by removing the bottom plate instead of opening up the dome.
  25. macrumors 68030


    Thanks for all the help,
    I am not sure if I am getting the iMac but if I do:
    -Copy external contents to internal (as much as fits)
    -get external drive in the future
    -upgrade ram at the same time

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