Thinking of buying an old iMac G4... no really im serious

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by DVNIEL, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. DVNIEL macrumors 6502a

    DVNIEL

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #1
    I just said goodbye to Angel (My 17" 1.67gHz Powerbook) and just welcomed my new machine, Falcon (1.83gHz Macbook Pro). I've always been a laptop guy and never had a home machine. I don't want to spend so much money on a computer and a monitor, so I decided that I'm going to get an old iMac G4 with the swivel neck off someone on craigslist.

    My question to you guys is, am I being irrational? I don't need a really powerful computer, I just need a simple desktop computer so I don't have to take out the road warrior for all my computer needs. But could an iMac G4 be a reasonable solution? The following questions are tech stuff:

    1) What was the highest speed the iMac G4's went up to?
    2) Can modifcations be made to them?
    3) If question 2 is yes, what are some of the mods I can do?

    Your input will be greatly appreciated. Plus I think the iMac G4's had the best design to them, especially because of the swivel neck. Have a great day
     
  2. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    South Dakota, USA
    #2
    I think the fastest iMac G4 was a 1.25 Ghz with a 167Mhz FSB on it, DDR memory and also had a GeForce 5200 Ultra graphics processor in them. I think the only upgrades you can do is memory, adding an Airport card, and putting a larger HD in them. I would think for most everyday tasks a computer like that would do very well and be fairly quick. I am on my Powerbook right now, because my iMac G5 is in the shop (logic board fried) and for most things this feels just about as fast. The G4s really are not as crappy in operation as stats on paper might make them look.
     
  3. jdoyle macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2004
    #3
    Advice for you

    Hi,

    I just got a G4 iMac from work for free ( pretty lucky I know ) , anyway I have done some research and found out the following:

    • My one is only 700Mhz but does have 1Gb ram which makes it a very useful Mac for my wife to surf the web and do reports on ( using office ). It appears zippy and responsive running 10.4.5.

    • Processor cannot be upgraded.

    • The RAM maximum is 1GB.

    •*I am planning to replace the CD-RW with a Pioneer DVD-RW. I believe most of this brand will work with OS X and iLife without drivers needed. However, This is a tricky upgrade. Check this out on how to do it:

    http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems/iMac_g4/imacg4_takeapart.html

    •*The Hard Drive is standard ATA so you can also upgrade that.

    • I also have a iBook G4 and use this with an Apple Mini-VGA to composite/S-Video adapter as a Home Entertainment centre and it works quite well. I was hoping to replace thsi with the iMac but the Mini-VGA slot on it does not support the adaptor. That was a bit of a dissapointment but no biggy. i got it for free after all!

    Overall I'd say if the price is right get one. You do have some upgrade paths as above. I also think Apple have not bettered this design since for sheer coolness and drama as well as great functionality and practicality.
    They went before their time....

    Good Luck and Post what you decide.....
     
  4. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #4
  5. Xcaliber macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2006
    #5
    I've got an iMac G4, 1.25 GHz, 20" Monitor.

    I've done the following upgrades:

    2 GB Ram, 200 GB HDD, 16x "Superdrive" <Pioneer>

    Don't know about upgrading the processor, that might be a little costly.

    Its an extremely zippy machine and I love it. I recently purchased a Power Mac G5 Dual 2.7, which is awesome, but I'll always adore my "iLamp".

    The upgrades I've done can be done yourself, if you're kinda brave and have patience. The link a few post aboves is what you'll need to follow.

    Good luck :)
     
  6. edmonton macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2006
    #6
    I love the iMac G4. It's the most beautiful desktop in my mind.
     
  7. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    #7
    You can't go wrong with the lamp design. I know Jobs was sad to see it go.
     
  8. AP_piano295 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2005
    #8
    The only thing ive noticed about the imac g4's is that they arent that cheap even though they are starting to age. Im thinking this is because they have mad awsome style, and they are macs so they dont turn to crap after owning them for a year.
     
  9. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #9
    Those iMac G4s were definately the prettiest macs ever made, simply beautiful designs and they're still fast enough for most things.

    One thing that does amaze me with the computer industry is how something is suddenly 'too slow for anything but email and general internet'. This kind of phrase is often said about older G4 and G3 machines yet back when they were released the talk was about how insanely fast they were at the pro kind of applications.
    I have to admit, I am one of the guilty parties!! :p

    The old iMac G4s are still fantastic machines imo though. If only someone could come up with an upgrade for the old G4s that would essentially consist of gutting a mac mini and putting it if there. Sadly squares and circles don't fit together easily - I learn that in Kindergarten.

    Edit: Actually... I just did some maths (that I learnt a little after Kindergarten). The iMac G4 has a base of diameter 10.6 inches. A circle with diameter 10.6 inches can fit inside it a square of side 7.48 inches. A mac mini's base is 6.5". So theoretically, the guts of a mac mini *could* fit inside an old iMac G4 case. If I had an iMac G4 here I would try it in a heartbeat. Damn.
     
  10. Some_Big_Spoon macrumors 6502a

    Some_Big_Spoon

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #10
    I've looked into buying an old imac G3 or G4 too. For what they go for on ebay, small dog, powermaxx, etc, you can just buy a new one. It makes no sense other than prices are kept artificially high because people feel ok about paying $1000 + shipping, plus upgrades on a G4 iMac when a new or refurbished G5 is 1199 or 1299.

    Seems bizarre to me, but then again I'm in a position to be able to plunck down the extra $300 bucks.
     
  11. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #11
    The iMac G4 is the lowest I'll personally go for an iMac. It supports Quartz Extreme and with 768 MB of RAM and Tiger it's a great machine. I just bought an 800 MHz model with SuperDrive and it surprised me with its speed.

    Dashboard was smooth like butter and NeoOffice/J opened fast. :p
     
  12. Spanky Deluxe macrumors 601

    Spanky Deluxe

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, UK
    #12
    Having looked at the take apart photos of the iMac G4 here: http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/systems/iMac_g4/imacg4_takeapart.html I'm confident that you could get the guts of a Mac Mini Core Duo inside there with minimum hassle. Sure its a big upgrade but for someone who already owns an ageing iMac G4 but doesn't want to fork out the $$$$ for an iMac G5 this could be a great way to carry on using the screen and case of your G4. You could recoup quite a bit of money for selling the old logic board on eBay. You can even mount a large 3.5" SATA hard drive in place of the IDE one or use an IDE to SATA adapter to keep using the old one, selling the 2.5" one from the mini. Sure some small extender cables for getting the USB and Firewire sockets to the edge of the case would be required and you'd probably want to drill a tiny hole on the front to run the infra red remote to but I'm sure this would work.
    Am I the only one that can see the potential here? This is a fantastic possible upgrade path for iMac G4s!!
     
  13. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #13
    If you're looking for a high spec iMac G4 then it's better to just go with a refurbished iMac G5 off of Apple.com. On a good day you can get the 17" 1.6 GHz model for $749.
     
  14. MacDonaldsd macrumors 65816

    MacDonaldsd

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Location:
    London , UK
    #14
    What are the refurbs like, I know they have been repaired etc but do they still look and feel like new
     
  15. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #15
    I've heard some of the laptops have a few scratches from being used but nothing terrible.
     
  16. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #16
    for the most part they are pristine and indistinguishable from new products, but it's possible that they could have a few scratches.
     
  17. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    South Dakota, USA
    #17
    One other thing you need to consider is how much you want to put into a computer (either G4 or G5) when it remains to be seen how much longer Apple will even support these systems with software upgrades. You can't say just because Apple supported the G3 for many years that they will do the same with the G4 and G5 processors. They might decide it's not worth the trouble of making 2 versions of the OS. Imagine how great their hardware sales will be when they announce you need an Intel processor to run 10.5! Just something to think about before putting any money into a PPC system. Apple has promised no timeline for support of these computers. My guess is they will wait to release 10.5 after all of the systems have went Intel, then they don't have to worry about making a PPC version. When OSX first came out, there were many 603e and 604e PowerPC systems in operation and they did not support OSX. Some of them were built only a couple of years before OSX came.
     

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