Power Mac G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by mBurns, Nov 2, 2007.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2006
    Hi fellow MacRumor users. I'm itching to buy a desktop and stumbled across on a Power Mac G4 Dual 450 Mhz for sale -- completely stock (128 Mb RAM, 16 Mb graphics, and a 30 Gb 7200 RPM HD, DVD-ROM. My question is: I'm considering buying this machine as a media server. I know I'll have to buy more hard drives but I'd like to use this machine with Hand Brake under OS X Tiger to rip my entire movie collection. Then, I'd like to connect this machine to my television (is this possible?) and use the machine to run my movies.

    Will the machine be woefully under-powered for this task? How long will it take to rip a movie via Hand Brake with this machine (consider that I'm coming from a Core Duo MacBook Pro)? Is this a ridiculious purchase? This machine appeals to me because of the hard drive expandibility. Where would I be able to purchase inexpensive RAM for this machine? What about hard drives? I'm really looking for some advice..

    Another big important question: how much should I be paying for this machine, max?

    Thanks, mBurns
  2. macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    That'll be some painfully slow DVD ripping. On my iMac G4 800 MHz I'm lucky to get 10-13 fps.
  3. macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    (This is on www.baucomcomputers.com) G4/450 "Sawtooth" (256 / 20GB / DVD / Zip) . . . . . . . $145 - so for a dual I'd say $25-50 more so about $175 MAX is what I'd pay. Handbrake on that vs a C2D MBP? Oh I'd say probably 10-20 hours difference if not more. It takes about 4-8 hours on my iBook G4 (1.33GHz, 1GB RAM, etc.) so on the G4 450 Dual, probably about 10-15 hours depending on the length of the movie and that.
  4. macrumors newbie

    Mar 29, 2008

    you should

    not by the powerbook g4 i own one and they suck to high heaven

    ps: i like the anime picture.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Jan 29, 2007
    And most of us here with the new pros are getting 150-300fps based on settings... just for a comparo
  6. macrumors 68000

    Jan 17, 2008
    I have a single 733Mhz G4 under the hood. Bought no country for old men on itunes the day it came out after seeing it in theaters back in november. the G4 had a lot of trouble, the video was very choppy. I dont know what the kb/s is for the itunes movies, but my G4 cant play anything above 450 kb/s without substantial choppyness.

    Find a used mini (intel).
  7. macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    Yeah it's much nicer on Intel machines. I get around 150-200 fps on my Q6600 tower.
  8. macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    Stock, the machine's useless. But put in 1-2 GB of RAM, new drives, and upgrade your processor (yeah, you're going to want to) to at least 1 GHz, and you'll get a lot more mileage out of it.

    To be honest though, I'd recommend a newer G4 than that.... Here is a Dual 867 MHz G4 with 512 MB RAM for only $300: http://www.macofalltrades.com/G4_867MHz_Dual_Processor_Mirrored_Door_512_80GB_p/g4867dp1.htm

    Or possibly a G5. A dual 1.8 GHz G5 would probably serve you very well, like the one here, for $900: http://www.macofalltrades.com/Apple_G5_1_8GHz_DP_2_0_160GB_SuperDrive_p/g518dp2.htm (2 GB RAM, 64 MB video card)
  9. macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

    Oct 24, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
    Very much, yes.

    Several hours depending on movie length and encoder choice.
  10. macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet is that the model you posted can only handle up to 120GB hard drives with the on board drive controller. If you want larger drives you would need to install a PCI hard drive controller card.

    Having recently upgraded from a similar model G4, I second most of the other posters in that you should look at either a later revision G4 or a G5.
  11. macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    Actually there's software that lets you get around the 137 GB limitations of the older ATA controllers. But they do cost like, $30, I think.
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Lord Zedd

    Oct 24, 2007
    Denver, Colorado
  13. macrumors 68030


    Sep 15, 2006
    New York City, NY
  14. macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    Don't do it. Put the money towards a better, more up to date machine.
  15. macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    The machine is useless to a certain extent.

    I would not even dare encoding videos on it. It's a true waste of time.

    It took me a while to rip 300+ dvd's from my Mac Pro. But I was able to get 2 done within 1 hour in H.264 (2 DVD drives helps!). I'm 90% done of transitioning all the DVD's to iTunes/Apple TV.
  16. macrumors 68040


    Dec 19, 2004
    I would not spend more than $75 on it due to the ending prices I had seen on several different auctions on ebay for various models of G4's. However, I would recommend against this model since you will be encoding with handbrake and not just using it as a data server. The upgrade costs would offset the low initial price.

    I have compiled a breakdown of several different G4's and omitted Hard Drives sine would be the same in all instances:

    Dual 450mhz (Gigabit Ethernet) $75
    Uses SDRAM and has a hard drive limit of 137GB
    Needs: $130 Dual 800mhz CPU Upgrade, $160 2GB RAM, $50 Hard Drive Controller
    The CPU upgrade would be modding a Quicksilver CPU Module and would require running a 12 volt lead and soldering a Dip Switch, 3rd party accelerators are more expensive.

    2001 Quicksilver: Dual 800Mhz $140
    Uses SDRAM and has a hard drive limit of 137GB, 1.5GB RAM limit
    Needs: Single (CPU Upgrade, HD controller, RAM), Dual ($50 HD Controller, $120 1.5GB RAM)
    I am leaving out the single processor Quicksilver's since making them Dual Core costs more than simply getting the Dual Core in the first place.

    2002 Quicksilver: Dual 1Ghz $300
    Uses SDRAM but can use hard drives larger than 137GB, 1.5GB RAM limit
    Need: Single (CPU Upgrade, RAM), Dual ($120 RAM)

    Mirror Drive Door G4: Dual $250 867mhz/$300 1Ghz/$325 1.25Ghz/ $ unknown 1.42Ghz
    Uses DDR 333mhz RAM and can use larger than 137GB Hard Drive some have Firewire 800
    Needs: RAM (many are all ready maxed out) otherwise $30 per gigabyte
    I just saw a dual 1.25 with 2GB RAM go for $350

    Prices do not include shipping and handling

    My recommendations would be for one of the Mirror Drive Door G4's (look for a Firewire 800 since they also can use Airport Extreme) These would require the least messing with and offer faster system bus speeds, are the most upgradeable, can use dual optical drives and with everything considered offer the best value. Even without the CPU upgrade that Dual 450 will cost you $285 maxed out while a Mirror Drive Door dual 867 would cost about $300 maxed out and be much better, for an extra $50 you have dual 1.25ghz.

    edit: I would recommend against thoughts of anything beyond a PMac G4, since G5's are much more expensive and have only two hard drive bays. Anything beyond a G4 and I would say an Intel Mini with external hard drives. Now if you where not to use video encoding and just used the G4 for networked storage than get any low end G4 and throw in 512mb RAM, OS 10.4 and a Hard Drive controller
  17. macrumors 65816

    Jan 9, 2008
    Well, the $300 dual 867 I linked is a good deal. So's the $900 dual 1.8 G5.

    I personally would feel weird buying anything above a dual 1 GHz G4 or below a Dual 1.8 GHz G5, simply because the G4s were so pitifully underpowered when they came out, and the idea of buying a single CPU Mac these days rubs me the wrong way.

    One benefit of a dual 867 is that it can boot into OS 9 too.

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