Mac G4 Flashing Question Mark At Boot

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ccross13126, Mar 30, 2012.

  1. macrumors member

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    Mar 30, 2012
    #1
    I just picked up an old Mac G4 at a yard sale for $20. The owner said that it just needed the OS reinstalled BUT, he didnt have the discs anymore. I have a Leopard 10.5 DVD so I figured I'd be alright. Got the beast home and looked it over and its a 400MHZ CPU (there goes Leopard) and has 384mb of ram (3x 128mb). I tried booting it as is and it boots up to a flashing folder with a question mark. THe previous owner told me that it ran fine and then just booted that way one day and he figured the OS was screwed up so he throw it in the closet and bought a new Mac.

    My question is, what can I do at this point? I'd like to get it up and running but the only Apple OS I have is Leopard 10.5 and I believe that needs over 800Mhz to run. Is there any way to try to recover the OS that is already installed? There is a sticker on the back that says OS 8.6 if that helps. I'd really like to get this going just for music and maybe movies.

    Any help would be appreciated as I am an Apple newb :)
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    You are correct in assuming that you won't be able to install leopard with 400 mhz.

    It isn't even running OS X, judging by that sticker.

    The flashing folder icon means that the firmware cannot find the system on the disk. The reason it started doing that one day is likely that the hard drive has failed/is failing. You could replace the hard drive and reload a compatible OS, but unless you are doing it for fun/experience/nostalgia it probably isn't worth your time.
     
  3. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #3
    Leopard can work on there, but it'll be slow with only 400Mhz and 384Mb of ram. The flashing question mark is likely being caused by a dead hard drive. You'll have to buy a new one. Because of the age of the Mac, you'll have to get a PATA/IDE/EIDE drive that is 128Gb or less in size.
     
  4. thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    Its my first Mac so its kind of a challenge for me. And as I said, I think it would be good for storing and playing Mp3 files.

    I found some 1GHZ G4 CPU's on ebay for under $20 Shipped. Is it just a matter of pulling the old processor board out and installing the new or do certain motherboards only support certain CPU's?

    ----------

    I have a whole closet full of 80-120gb PATA hard drives and TONS of RAM :)
     
  5. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #5
    I'm guessing that you have a Sawtooth PowerMac G4. Does it have an APG video card? Those older ones can take most G4 upgrades. But before you go blowing money on one, post a link on here so that it can be confirmed to work in your machine.
     
  6. thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    It does indeed have an AGP video card and 3 spare ISA slots.

    Here is the CPU I was looking at:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/PowerMac-Ma...7-A-/270893396874?pt=CPUs&hash=item3f1281338a
     
  7. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #7
    ISA? Maybe you mean PCI. Because you have an APG slot, I'm fairly certain that you have a Sawtooth G4. Good buy, those last a long time.

    That CPU will not work in your machine. Notice that it says MDD. This is the last few models of the PowerMac G4 line. Their CPUs are not compatible with the older non-MDD PowerMacs. You need one that does not have a 167Mhz bus speed.
     
  8. thread starter macrumors member

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    #8
    I'm surprised I didnt catch the MDD. I was looking at a dual 867mhz at first but that was MDD as well. So if I find one that is NOT MDD, it should work?

    I thought they were ISA slots in there because they were extra long. Never seen the longer PCI before.

    Secondly,
    I know in theory I can get leopard to install on the 400mhz with some modifications. If I was to change the HDD and add more ram, could I boot with the Leopard DVD or will it not boot due to the CPU speed? As of right now, with the current HDD it will not even see the DVD when I boot with the option key.
     
  9. macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    Does that machine even have a DVD compatible optical disk drive?
     
  10. thread starter macrumors member

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    #10
    Sure does. I was even smart enough to check that ;) At least the drive says DVD on the front.
     
  11. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #11
    An OEM CPU from any PowerMac, except the MDD, should work and will be an upgrade over your current one. I believe most will work, but others have to confirm it.

    They are standard PCI slots. Not sure why they look bigger.

    Leopard will boot from its installation DVD on any speed G4. Your G4 may not have a DVD drive or it may be unable to read DVDs due to its age.
     
  12. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

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    #12
  13. thread starter macrumors member

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    #13
    I'm assuming the DVD drive wouldn't be reading because of its age. Can I just swap a newer DVD drive into it? I"m sure I have 15 or 16 of them lying around here :)

    You are right about the slots, they are PCI. They just have an extra length on them that I am not used to seeing. I plugged a PCI card in just to convince myself.

    ----------


    Wow, those are expensive. I found this on ebay for $10.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Apple-Power...ted-/160703019001?pt=CPUs&hash=item256aa577f9
     
  14. macrumors 6502

    ppcg4mac

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    #14
    I recently bought a gigabit with the same problem. The easiest fix for this is to clone off another PPC macs HD, or find some disks. If you are in Colorado i could get you OSX 10.2.8 and OS9., i still have them on a eMac lying around.
     
  15. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #15
    Not sure. zen would know. Surprised he isn't in here already congratulating ccross13126 on his purchase.

    They use standard desktop IDE/PATA drives. Just make sure you set the jumpers to be the same on the replacement drive.

    That's from a MDD. If you're unsure, Google the part number. Another name for the MDD is FW800.
     
  16. thread starter macrumors member

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    #16
    Unfortunately I am in NY, lol. I will just look online for an older OS install disk. Unless I can just get my OS 10.5 to work.
     
  17. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

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    #17
    upgrade your CPU first before you can install Leo, I tell you upgrade CPUs are not that cheap.
     
  18. thread starter macrumors member

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    #18

    Great, I'll do that and the HDD to get started.

    One more thing (Sorry, I have lots of questions!)
    It can handle 2GB of RAM. It has 4 banks, can I add 2x 1GB or will it not recognize them because of the size?

    ----------

    The link I added was a pull from another G4. I dont see how its any different than the links you posted except that it is used. I cant see spending $60-$300 on a CPU for a machine that is just being built for fun. $10-$20 is justifiable.
     
  19. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #19
    Because it has 4 slots, it is a Sawtooth model. 1Gb PC100 non-ECC ram sticks were never made.

    Re-read my previous post. I added something to the end of it.
     
  20. thread starter macrumors member

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    #20
    Ok. The Ram I had was out of a PC. I figured it was the same stuff.

    Crap, is everything on ebay MDD lol. I really dont wanna spend so much to upgrade this thing, lol.
     
  21. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #21
    Your Mac takes low density PC100 SDRAM. This kind was popular in Windows boxes from about 1997 to 2003.
     
  22. thread starter macrumors member

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    #22

    Well, I think I'll start with changing the HDD and DVD rom and see if I cant find an older copy of the OS.
     
  23. macrumors 68000

    Nameci

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    #23
    You have a nice sawtooth by the way of your description. And you have a dependable and reliable machine there. What you need is a CPU upgrade and the latest model Powermac G4 CPU pull will not work on your sawtooth. CPU's that are compatible have bus speeds of 100 - 133MHz.

    This is a link for your powermac so you would what you need and what it can take.

    http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/stats/powermac_g4_400_agp.html
     
  24. thread starter macrumors member

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    #24
    So its pretty safe to assume none of my DDR400 Ram will work in this?
     
  25. macrumors P6

    Intell

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    #25
    It won't work because it won't fit.
     

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