Need Help Mac Desktop G4/450mhz/128 ram but will SL work?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Wicked1, Dec 9, 2012.

  1. macrumors 68040


    Ok so I was given a Grey and Clear Mint Mac G4 tower, it has OS9 now, with Apple Monitor (I think it is DVI but connector looks strange) has 450 MHz CPU, 128MB of Ram, 30GB IDE HDD and Superdrive.

    Can I install SL and what is the max this puppy can go to, it has 4 SIMM slots, and I know I am limited with IDE for the HDD, but I have a 250GB drive I will install and then use an external USB 2.0 Drive as this machine will be just for my itunes Library.

    Is this even worth spending the money to upgrade.
  2. Moderator emeritus


    No, it will not run SL - the best you could hope for is Leopard, 10.5, but that would be horribly slow.

    I'd go for Tiger.
  3. macrumors G3


    If by SL you mean Snow Leopard, no.

    Snow Leopard requires an Intel Mac. This is a PowerMac G4. You can max it to 2GB of ram, 1.5GB under OS9. The maximum OS this Mac can run is OSX 10.4.11 Tiger, but you can get Leopard (10.5) on it with either Leopard Assist or via Target Disk Mode from a Mac capable of installing Leopard.

    Leopard disks are hard to find and expensive.

    As far as hard drives, I'm not sure but this Mac may be limited by the 128GB barrier. I.e., it will only see the first 128GB of any larger drive. There are workarounds (Speedtools) that will allow you to get around this with one partition, but the drive will still be seen as multiple drives. Or you can partition several 128GB drives. I'm not sure if this Mac supports LBA which would mean it could see drives larger than 128GB. External drives won't matter.
  4. macrumors 6502a


    512MB SDRAM sticks might be hard to find and they usually cost something so I think maxing out the RAM will not be reasonable, since the thing which limits you the most is the processor, it will not feel fast even thought the machine would have 16GB of ram. 256MB sticks are cheap and very often even donated for free if you browse right kind of computer related forums so 1GB would be reasonable target, 128MB sticks you'll get for free for sure.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Get Tiger and a bigger HDD. You don't need any sort of power for an iTunes library.
  6. macrumors 65816


    I agree, put Tiger on it, that's OS X 10.4, run all the software updates to get it up to 10.4.11, the last updates for Tiger. Put as much RAM in it as you can afford on the cheap and you'll be good. A larger HD with make the whole thing run faster also besides the additional storage space.

    Those systems still have many uses today as long as you're not expecting to play video on them.

    With the color you described it as (gray and clear) and the CPU speed, that should be the Sawtooth model. Here is a link to the system specs:

    Here is a link to RAM from Macsales (not the only place that sells RAM for it, just for comparison and to know exactly what it uses)

    There are 4 RAM slots, each can take up to 512MB sticks, but those are a little pricey, $20-25 each. I think Tiger will run just fine if you get the RAM up to 512MB total. (shop around, you might find better prices on eBay - it can use either PC100 or PC133 68 pin SDRAM - compare prices on each, sometimes you'll find lower prices on one specific speed instead. The Mac can run the faster 133 RAM it will just automatically downclock it to PC100 speed)
  7. macrumors 68040


    Seems like a waste of money to spend $100 for ram to go to 2GB, and the fact it only supports 10.4 Tiger?

    It was given to me for free, including the Apple monitor which is like 2 Tons, so maybe breaking it up for parts is the way to go since they are not getting much on eBay.

    Besides my wife likes the Black Keyboard and Mouse to use on her uMB :)

    Thanks for all the help folks, just seems not to be worth it for such an old system.
  8. macrumors regular

    Hold your horses. Check the model number and see which processors are compatible with that board. If it's a sawtooth, it will take up to a dual 1.8ghz. That will not only run leopard well but the full gamut of ppc software that exists. You got if for free so it's up to you how much you want to put into it. You can also replace the processor with used processors from more recent macs in the powermac g4 line (not the MDD).

    As it stands right now you have a great machine for running classic apps (bring on the mech warrior). Just add a little ram and System 9 will fly on the thing.
  9. macrumors 65816


    You don't need to upgrade to 2GB of RAM for Tiger. 512MB will work. That's around $20, perhaps less on eBay. It will work great as an iTunes machine.
  10. macrumors 68000


    If they just use it as a headless iTunes server, he'll be OK with 128.
  11. macrumors 65816


    Even on Tiger? Amazing. Tiger is so much less of a resource hog than Leopard, which isn't bad anyway compared to Windows (or Lion/Mountain Lion).
  12. macrumors 68040


    I thought someone in Marketplace had some cheap PC100 ram -- like 10 bucks apiece for this machine? And with the hard drive limiter at 128gb, will not be able to see bigger hard drive. A friend of mine with a former 500mhz G4 from 1999 has two 120 gbs hdds he bought new a few years ago in it and dropped a dual 1.8ghz Sonnet in it, it's his main machine, with two gigs of ram.
  13. Dave H, Dec 10, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2012

    macrumors 6502

    Dave H

    A Firewire external case with Oxford chipset for the 250GB drive would be bootable and all the space on it would be recognized.
    Here's one for $27 shipped, for an IDE drive. Click here
    Here's one for a SATA drive. Click here

    If it didn't need to be bootable, a USB 2.0 case would work, but would run at 1.1 speed on the built-in ports in a Sawtooth.

    Also, officially anyway, 10.4 requires 256MB of RAM.
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Well, whether you deem it worth upgrading the machine surely depends on whether you have a conceivable use for a low-power workstation/server.

    Unless you are able to get the CPU upgrade on the cheap, I'd skip that. The 512 MB RAM sticks can be gotten 2nd hand for 7,50 a piece (keep looking). Get a nice hard drive, a copy of Tiger and you're good to go.

  15. macrumors 68040


    No I have no use for this system, just wish I knew someone local who does, it is complete and in perfect condition.
  16. macrumors 68000


    If it already has Tiger, you are good to go for an iTunes server. If not, Tiger is cheap online (nothing like Leopard).
  17. macrumors 65816


    Then donate it to a local Goodwill or other charity, they can sell it and the money will go towards helping someone.
  18. macrumors 65816


    No snow leopards but leopords will work, unless you have mac osx source code.

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