Will 800 MHz Cut It?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Niftium, Oct 29, 2006.

  1. Niftium macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2006
    #1
    I've been looking around on eBay for a few weeks now, trying to figure out where prices stand on the old G4 iMacs. Naturally, getting one that was the most powerful in its day would be nice, but they're still running above my budget. I've read Apple's specs for running Tiger, and it seems that an 800 MHz/512 MB RAM machine would run Tiger just fine (when running an "average" set of applications like Safari, iChat, and Word at the same time). Do any users out there have a similar internal setup in their G4 iMac? What would you advise?
     
  2. #2
    well, you might be able to get away with 800mhz, but i would get AT LEAST 512 mb of ram, and depending on what you are doing i would still say if you are running tiger that 40gb of hdd space is a minimum. I have an ibook G4 at 1.33ghz with 512 and a 40 gb hdd, and lets just say if it had less than 512 mb of ram it would be crawling, and less hdd space and i wouldn't be able to do much since tiger with ilife and all installed takes like 10gb, and then if you got lots of music and isntall programs, and have photos its gone quick. Id go for a faster cpu if you can find it though, anyways good luck
     
  3. BlizzardBomb macrumors 68030

    BlizzardBomb

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2005
    Location:
    England
    #3
    A friend of mine has an 800 MHz iMac G4 which runs Tiger but sadly it's only got 256 MB RAM so it's quite slow. I'm sure with double the RAM it'll be a lot snappier.
     
  4. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #4
    Unless you are dead set on the iMac G4 form factor (which is very nice), I recommend looking at a PowerMac G4. The 800MHz iMac G4's GeForce 2MX or GeForce 4MX video card is pretty underpowered - the 1GHz model comes with a GeForce 5200 that supports Core Image and is at least decent for casual use of 3D apps/games.

    You can get a decent PowerMac G4 for a couple hundred bucks, and they are highly upgradeable - more powerful video cards like the Radeon 9600/9800/X800 series and GeForce 5200/6800 can be added, and you can get CPU upgrades up to 2GHz.

    My Power Mac G4 was a dual 533MHz machine with 512MB RAM and a Radeon 7500 (faster than a GeForce 2MX, but slower than a 4MX). Running Panther it was great for websurfing and Office, but struggled with iLife apps and games (although iLife used both CPUs for a nice performance boost). I upgraded the video card, RAM and CPU (see sig below) and saw a huge performance increase - DVD encoding is much faster, games like Call of Duty and Halo run smooth and I see very little of the "beachball".

    Bottom line - if you want an iMac G4 get the 1GHz model with the GeForce 5200, otherwise get a Mac Mini or go with a used PowerMac G4 + upgrades. I also recommend 1GB RAM, although 512 should be OK for basic computing.
     
  5. Allotriophagy macrumors 6502a

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    Sep 5, 2006
    #5
    I run Tiger just fine on a 1GHz TiBook with 512Mb of RAM. It's not blazing fast, but runs fine with Word, Preview, Safari and Adium all open and being used.

    I intend to get it up to 1Gb of RAM at some point, which will help a lot.

    By way of contrast, I ran a similar set of programs on a 292MHz G3 Wallstreet with 192Mb of RAM and 10.2.8. Even that was not unusably slow, but I did have to lower my speed of work to its pace.

    I would recommend getting as much memory as you can.

    G4 iMacs still have a fair bit of demand due to the popularity of the design. You could probably pick up a well-specified G4 PowerMac for around the same or less.

    I don't know where you are, but here are some UK examples of completed eBay auctions for guidance.

    [1.2GHz 17"] Good spec, £397/$748.

    [800MHz, 17"] Lower spec, £265/$499.

    [733MHz PowerMac] £122/$229.

    [400MHz] Sold for £75/$142.

    The PowerMacs are lower spec and you will have to get your own monitor, but they are much more upgradable with regards to the CPU/GPU/RAM/HD. They also cost a lot less. Some don't come with OS X but you can get that easily enough. Definitely worth considering if you do not have the funds for an iMac and do not want one purely for the aesthetics.
     
  6. Willis macrumors 68020

    Willis

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    Apr 23, 2006
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    What feels like the middle of nowhere
    #6
    I had an iMac G4 800mhz superdrice which I sold on ebay.. and it ran everything I threw at it and then some. Although, I did have 1Gb of Ram installed. had it Bto when I first got it :eek:

    aww, I miss that machine. whats it doing now? Acting as a Prop in a theatre in Manchester!!!
     
  7. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Joined:
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    #7
    We run Tiger on an iMac G4-800 with 320 Mb of RAM, and it works fine. A reboot every so often helps a great deal when it starts to bog down. What is acceptable in terms of responsiveness and performance is entirely a matter of what works for you. This is obviously an older/slower Mac but the form factor is so wonderful, I can't bear to part with it.
     
  8. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #8
    You might want to consider the eMac was well, unless you have something against CRTs. ;)

    The late model eMacs are good performers.
     
  9. frankblundt macrumors 65816

    frankblundt

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    Sep 19, 2005
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    South of the border
    #9
    I just bought an iMac G4 1Ghz. I love the form factor, but if i were you I'd go for one of the 1GHz+ models rather than the 800.

    AFAIK the 1GHz+ models (the last ones before the G5) are the only ones that support drives over 128GB and Airport Express, both of which are nice upgrade options. I believe also (although I haven't tried it myself) that they'll take 2GB RAM.
     
  10. thechris69 macrumors 6502

    thechris69

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    #10
    my old 466mhz g4 ran tiger smoothly, i had only 384mb of ram. if your sticking to basic apps it should be fin e
     
  11. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

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    Indianapolis
  12. Niftium thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 20, 2006
    #12
    Eh, as far as the Mini goes, it's a sweet little box, but the aesthetics of the iMac and the 17'' LCD are two big factors that draw me to it. I have a 15" LCD right now on my G4 PM (400 MHz/1 GB RAM) and it's not enough screen real estate for me.

    Note - I have used Tiger on the PowerMac with some success, although it's prone to kernel panics (it's originally a 350 MHz machine; yay for overclocking).
     
  13. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #13
    Only the 1.25 ghz G4 iMacs have the GeForce 5200. These would include the last revision 17" and 20" models. The 1 ghz machines have the GeForce 4MX. This also means that only the 1.25 ghz machines support Core Image under Tiger, something that's likely not all that important to you, if at all.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that only the last revision iMac G4, including the 15" 1 ghz and 17"/20" 1.25 ghz models, include USB 2. This is a good thing to have if you've got a newer iPod.

    I have a 15" 1 ghz that suits my needs just fine (with the exception of X-Plane, which it struggles with), and an 800 mhz model would probably work nearly as well. These are sought after machines, especially the 17" and 20" models, so it might be difficult to find one in your price range. They're awesome computers and you'll surely love it if you ever get your hands on one. Good luck. :)
     
  14. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #14
    I stand corrected...I forgot about the 1.25s. USB is an important factor to consider when buying a used Mac. But I disagree on the video card - the 2MX and 4MX are fine for basic stuff, but when you need something better there is no way to upgrade, it's the biggest flaw in the entire iMac line...not a flaw really, Apple didn't screw up - it was a purposeful design choice that allowed them more freedom to design a visually and ergonomically pleasing computer. That doesn't change the fact that the video cards are old and non-upgradeable. But then again I'm picky about these things. :) If the video card issue doesn't bother you the iMac G4s have a lot to reccomend themselves.

    The KPs might be due to the overclock...at any rate that is the most common symptom of trouble when OC'ing. For me Tiger was more stable than Panther.

    I still recommend the GeForce 5200-equipped version of the iMac G4, if you are willing to pay and are concerned about 3D performance (or want that 20" screen). But if it's about aesthetics any of the iMac G4s should fit the bill.
     
  15. Eidorian macrumors Penryn

    Eidorian

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2005
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #15
    I've used an 800 MHz iMac while waiting for my new iMac Core Duo. It's bearable enough to run iTunes and Safari simultaneously. That's it though.

    I strongly agree with getting a Mac that comes with USB 2.0. 1.1 is incredibly slow and the Power Macs get finicky with upgrade cards.

    My suggestion is a Mac Mini or a later iMac/eMac. The eMac if you can avoid shipping and have the space for it. My prime solution is still a Core Solo Mac mini. The RAM and processor are upgradeable for the future and it packs enough power as it is.
     
  16. MAcNIAC macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2006
    Location:
    Australia
    #16
    My 12" G4 800Mhz ibook runs as well today as the day I bought it, it's perfect for Safari, Office, Mail, and even manages the odd photo enhancement in fireworks. 640 Mb Ram, 10.3.9. A friend has same set up with Tiger - it runs fine.

    I do crave more power for image editing and the odd game though, MMBP purchase pending:D
     
  17. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

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    Apr 17, 2004
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    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #17
    You're better off going with a 1.25 GHz eMac or just buy a new Core Duo mini.

    The new Core Duo mini will outperform any G4 system, but you should configure it with at least 1 GB RAM.

    If you're trying to spend less than $400.00, you would still be better off with the last PPC G4 1.42 GHz mini over that 800 MHz iMac.

    Add any good 17" flat screen display and you're good to go.

    You'll also have Tiger and iLife in the box saving you nearly $200.00 in basic
    software.
     
  18. maverick808 macrumors 65816

    maverick808

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    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    Scotland
    #18
    I have an old 800MHz PowerBook that I use as a *server*. That's right, a server. I have a 24" iMac and a MBP for doing work but the old PowerBook is my server for the house. It stores and delivers the mobile home directories for all 4 people here, runs DHCP and DNS, streams movies and tv, constantly downloads torrents, provides Skype in and much more.

    So yes, I'd say it could easily run just Safari, iTunes and Word. Definitely get AT LEAST 512MB though.
     
  19. ricgnzlzcr macrumors 6502a

    ricgnzlzcr

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2005
    #19
    My main system is a 1 ghz tibook and it does everything on tiger flawlessly. It has 1 gig of ram and I do absolutely everything that I need to do. I have tons of applications open, but I stick to safari, itunes, adium, word, excel, and apple remote desktop. I'm no power user, but I think that if you've stuck with a 400 mhz powermac you're not one either.

    I think that you should either upgrade your powermac, or go with a cheap emac. I've seen 1.2 ghz emacs on craiglist for $200 a couple of times. They're not a bad deal. Just look hard and get some ram and you'll be fine
     
  20. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

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  21. Niftium thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Oct 20, 2006
    #21
    I really appreciate every bit of input from everyone here. The issue of USB 2.0 wouldn't have even crossed my mind; it's just so standard now that it seems like it should be a non-issue. As far as the video card goes, the 4MX is probably sufficient enough for anything I would be using the machine for. I'm a grad student in mathematics, so it would basically be a lot of online research and paper-writing.

    Maverick, my 400 MHz machine actually serves as a server/router for my apartment network as well.

    Stop that - I hear you all laughing.
     
  22. ozontheroad macrumors 6502

    ozontheroad

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2006
    Location:
    the reef
    #22
    Not a problem, Tiger will run absolutely fine on 800 MHz.

    I'm running it on a 12" PowerBook 867 MHz with 640 RAM. I use Word (Office 2004) Safari, iChat, MSN messenger and iTunes at the same time with no problems.

    I had Leopard running on an external HD for a couple of days and even that run well.

    Go for it mate.
     
  23. FadeToBlack macrumors 68000

    FadeToBlack

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    Apr 27, 2005
    Location:
    Accoville, WV
    #23
    I say go for it if you really love the iMac G4's form factor. I love 'em, too. I'd like to get one eventually. Maybe one day.

    I think that any of the iMac G4's should run pretty good, as long as you have at least 512MB of RAM in it. If you can swing it, though, go for 1GB. I'd say that would make a huge difference.

    The 1.25GHz eMac I had ran great, so I'd say a similarly specced iMac G4 would run just as good.

    Oh yeah, as others have said, try to find one with USB 2.0.
     
  24. maverick808 macrumors 65816

    maverick808

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    Location:
    Scotland
    #24
    This is the one problem I have with my server. I considered getting a new machine just to get USB 2. However, I mainly needed it for my hard-drives (have 5 externals), so I ended up going with Firewire as FW400 is more than enough since there are hardly any clients, and it's easy to chain up more hard-drives.
     
  25. macg4 macrumors 6502a

    macg4

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    Des Moines,Iowa
    #25
    i have tiger loaded on the following 2 macs and it runs smoothly:
    Powermac G4/1gig ram/120gb hd
    Powerbook pismo 1gig ram/60gig hd
     

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