iMac G4 Tips & Upgrades thread

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by 2contagious, Feb 10, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

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    #1
    Hi,

    I just bought an old iMac G4 17" 1.25GHZ, 768MB RAM on eBay (still love the design and I am currently out of a 'serious' Mac as my MBP died, but I need to at least use photoshop at home for uni work until new Macs are out). Are there any tips from iMac G4 users on what's upgradable, to what extent, and how to best clean the plastic, etc. (any other tips welcome, too).

    I would guess the max. RAM on this thing is 1GB, is that right? What kind of RAM does it use, how big is the max. HDD it would take, is airport card installation possible (how much?) etc. (I am guessing there's no 3rd party cpu upgrade for the iMac's G4..?)

    Finally, is it hard to open the iMac G4 to replace those components? (I know my way around hardware a bit, have assembled two Windows PCs in the past and replaced the HDD on a non-unibody MBP. Also, performance-wise which versions of Photoshop and FCP would run the best (I am aware that this is an old machine and it will be slow)? Is PS cs4 even remotely possible?

    Thanks,
    Chris
     
  2. Guest

    spinnerlys

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    #2
  3. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

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    #3
    hi, thanks for the URL. How about the software side of things? And the difficulty? (see first post).
     
  4. Guest

    spinnerlys

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  5. macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    #5
    photoshop cs 4 is for osx tiger available, so should be fine on the imac g4 , maybe not as fast as on a iMac with i7 , but you didnt expect that or did ya ?

    and upgrade the ram to max possible (2 gb ), other then that maybe a bigger harddrive if you wish , when you upgrade the ram to full 2 gb you have to take the iMac apart anyway so fitting a bigger drive is easy done then
     
  6. macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #6
    You can use the Magic Eraser to clean the white plastic. It worked on mine. The max memory this can take is 2gb of DDR or 2x 1gb. DDR PC2700-3200 will work and it uses one desktop sized stick(inside) and a sodimm(laptop) sized in the user serviceable slot underneath the bottom, there's also an Airport Extreme slot under there too.

    Any ATA/IDE HDD will work, and I believe the largest is a 640gb? You could also use an SSD or compact flash card with an adapter for a near silent and cooler Mac.

    The CPU is not upgradable as it's soldered to the logic board along with the graphics card. However, the CPU is actually overclockable but usually the benefits aren't worth the extra 1-300mhz. Sure is fun to mess with them though :p.

    Just remember that if you take it apart aside from just the serviceable slot underneath, that you will need to reapply thermal paste to the contact pads of the heatsinks, otherwise you run the risk of overheating and cooking your components :)
     
  7. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

    Joined:
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    #7
    Thanks for all the input guys. How does opening the case to replace the HDD and the internal RAM compare to doing an HDD swap on a MBP (non-unibody) in terms of difficulty?
     
  8. macrumors 68040

    MacHamster68

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  9. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

    Joined:
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    #9
    Hi, I just picked it up. I love it!

    A few more questions and a few tips from myself to existing iMac G4 users:

    - the screen (matte) has a very very fine scratch, only visible if you focus on it. Is there any way to remove that scratch (with plastic polisher / scratch remover?)

    - the bezel seems to be made of a similar plastic to the old glossy plastic iPod fronts. I tried applying AppleSauce (removes scratches on certain types of glossy plastic, I also used this to fix my Samsung T260HD screen bezel. It fell over on my desk once and got scratched up pretty badly, it looks like new now!) and it worked, but only if you use the dry wipes that come with AppleSauce).

    - how do you polish chrome (I believe this is what the front Apple logo is made of?)

    - thanks for the Magic Eraser tip, I willtry that..so far I've been using disinfectant wipes, which work pretty well, too because of the alcohol in them.

    - is there any way to put a more silent fan in there? or is that major major surgery?

    - does apple still sell airport cards in store?


    cya,
    Chris.
     
  10. macrumors 68000

    student_trap

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    'Ol Smokey, UK
    #10
    i'd love to get one of these, how much did you pay for it?
     
  11. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

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    #11
    15" ones go for around 70-150 pounds, 17" ones go for around 150-300 pounds and 20" ones aren't on eBay that often, but go for around 250-400 when they are. I guess the prices are still quite high because many people still looooove the design and because they are actually still usable for general stuff (especially the highest end at 1.25GHz, G4 and if you max. out your RAM). I just installed Photoshop CS 4 and Office 2008, both are definitely usable (although I guess CS3 would run smoother)..but to be honest, I am amazed at how powerful the G4 was for its time. I am running Leopard on it and it's actually pretty snappy and I only have 768MB of RAM installed at the moment o_O

    I also got a graphite G3 iMac on eBay once. I paid 12 pounds for it and it was in perfect condition. I love eBay..it gives new life to people's old Macs :)

    Now, anyone got any comments on my last post ? :)
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    student_trap

    Joined:
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    #12
    yeah I have a bunch of G3 imacs and ibooks (clamshell of course!), but have never had enough cash to just spend on an imac g4. Hopefully I'll get my chance sooner rather than later, i'd love to use it as an itunes machine
     
  13. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

    Joined:
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    UK
    #13
    For iTunes it's perfect I think. Being able to pull the screen all the way down to the table (okay, not allllll the way,but it's only 3cm away from it if you pull it down completely) is a great feature and would make an 'audio-use-only' setup look even more simple :)
     
  14. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

    Joined:
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    #14
    I just finished cleaning it as much as possible. Is there any way to remove scratches on LCD displays without messing up the matte coating? (please see questions about five posts before).

    Also, I can't believe I didn't notice this before lol....but .....the screen is bigger...the guy sold me a 20" as a 17" lol.. I wish there wasn't that slight scratch though..
     
  15. macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #15
    Wow great deal! The 20" have 1680x1050 resolution while the 17" have 1440x900. But yeah they sure do have awesome displays in those iMac G4s. I had mine in my kitchen and was perfect for streaming music and movies while you worked in there.

    Only thing it needed was a touch screen interface ;)
     
  16. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

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    #16
    Yep, it's definitely a 20" :) weird that the seller put it up on eBay as a 17" lol.

    Anyway.. what do you guys think about this:

     
  17. macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #17
    Some people have had luck using vaseline to remove or reduce scratches.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

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    #18
    So that would be a temporary fix no? :(
     
  19. macrumors G4

    flopticalcube

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    #19
    As long as the vaseline is in place, you would not see the scratch. It doesn't always work but the idea is the optics of the vaseline are close to that of the plastic in the LCD.
     
  20. macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2010
    Location:
    Toronto
    #20
    This is something I've been thinking about a lot.
    I recently snagged a 15'' iMac g4 (the lowest model) as a digital frame/jukebox/addressbook/widgets appliance. Got an airport card in the mail. Might upgrade ram depending on need.

    Anyways, back to the touchscreen;
    I've been looking at options, and found a vendor on ebay selling what should be compatible touch screen kits.(link).

    I think it would be pretty damn sweet. I also stumbled across this youtube video showing basically the same thing. link

    Any reason why this wouldn't work/I'm being fooled?
     
  21. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

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    #21
    how can they be so cheap?

    ps: thanks I'll try the vaseline trick :)
     
  22. macrumors 601

    OrangeSVTguy

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    Northeastern Ohio
    #22
    Cool thanks for the links. Wish those kits were a little bit cheaper. I'd hate to pay more for the kit than the iMac itself. Also a kit for the widescreen 17"/20" model would be more ideal. Would be cool to get a 1ghz 15" model with the USB2, DDR and APX then it would probably be worth it.

    You can see in the video that it's a 15" model so I'm sure he used that eBay kit. Also it's real because the mouse "jumps" to the location that he touches on his screen so it's not a touch with left hand, move mouse with right hand off-screen trick ;). The eBay kits also mention OSX compatibility. :)
     
  23. macrumors 68000

    student_trap

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    #23
    that
    looks
    awesome
    (want one really badly)
     
  24. thread starter macrumors 6502a

    2contagious

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
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    UK
    #24
    Is it possible to replace the 20" panel with another 20" panel (a non original one?) or would that not fit/not have the right connections?

    Also, that touchscreen kit.. you would put that on top of the panel right? It's not a standalone touchscreen LCD panel (is it?)

    Is it normal that it has problems with Flash 10? Flash on the G4 is really quite slow :/
     
  25. macrumors 65816

    pvmacguy

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    Jax
    #25
    Here is a link to the apple service manual for an iMac G4 in case anyone is interested in having it.

    Download Here
     

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