Any ideas what I could do with an old PowerMac G4?

JerTheGeek

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Original poster
May 15, 2014
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So I have an old PowerMac G4. I got it last summer from a family member who wasn't using it, and i haven't really used it since. The power cable is kinda messed up, it has trouble booting cause of that (i think), but when it does boot up it seems fine. Only issue is how do i go about getting it hooked up to wifi? Would i need some card, adapter, etc?
I already have a 13" rMBP but hate to just let this old desktop sit around and be useless. Any ideas how i could get it up and running well again?
[doublepost=1462036730][/doublepost]An update: Just pulled it out and when i press the power button on the machine the light turns on white, but then fades out. If i press the power button the cinema display which is hooked up to it, that light on the display turns yellow but then fades out. It sounds like the computer try to start but then doesnt.
BUT if i hook up the webcame via FireWire, it boots up? Why would it do this?
 

eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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Except for the MDD FW800, any G4 is going to use the original Airport card for wireless. That 802.11b. It's going to require that your router or wireless device be configured to a mixed environment. The Mac must be running Tiger with the latest revisions or Leopard to use WPA authentication. Otherwise you are limited to WEP. There is no WPA2 except with the MDD FW800.

Unless you have that model I would suggest hooking it up via Ethernet.

There are alternatives, such as PCI WiFi cards and USB dongles but you'll have to do your research to see which ones work.

As far as what you can do…

I use mine for graphic design, email, web browsing and word processing.

There are things you can do to improve performance…

2016-04-30 10.08.32.jpg
 

WalkerTexasRanger

macrumors member
Jul 20, 2015
33
8
You can put an airport card in it, upgrade the ram, maybe go nuts and get a CPU upgrade and GPU upgrade for it. I have a couple of motherboards for two of my PowerBooks coming in today so I can upgrade them.
 

JerTheGeek

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 15, 2014
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Except for the MDD FW800, any G4 is going to use the original Airport card for wireless. That 802.11b. It's going to require that your router or wireless device be configured to a mixed environment. The Mac must be running Tiger with the latest revisions or Leopard to use WPA authentication. Otherwise you are limited to WEP. There is no WPA2 except with the MDD FW800.

Unless you have that model I would suggest hooking it up via Ethernet.

There are alternatives, such as PCI WiFi cards and USB dongles but you'll have to do your research to see which ones work.

As far as what you can do…

I use mine for graphic design, email, web browsing and word processing.

There are things you can do to improve performance…

View attachment 629461
Mine is an MDD. So i would just need an AirPort card then?
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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Mine is an MDD. So i would just need an AirPort card then?
Is it a FW (Firewire) 800?

If it is you need an Airport Extreme card. That will give you 802.11g which is the best any PowerPC Mac can do. If it's a FW400 MDD then an Airport card yes. They are about $5 and the Airport Extreme's run around $15 on eBay.

Keep in mind, Ethernet on your Mac will be faster if you are limited to an Airport card.
 

WalkerTexasRanger

macrumors member
Jul 20, 2015
33
8
Mine is an MDD. So i would just need an AirPort card then?
Yep. They are fairly cheap on ebay (which is nice, because for a long time they weren't). Just plug one in and hook the antenna up to it, and make sure your router is compatible with 802.11b.
 

JerTheGeek

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Original poster
May 15, 2014
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Is it a FW (Firewire) 800?

If it is you need an Airport Extreme card. That will give you 802.11g which is the best any PowerPC Mac can do. If it's a FW400 MDD then an Airport card yes. They are about $5 and the Airport Extreme's run around $15 on eBay.

Keep in mind, Ethernet on your Mac will be faster if you are limited to an Airport card.
How can i tell if its FW400 or 800?
 

eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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bunnspecial

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May 3, 2014
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There's a Motorola PCI card I've used in several G3s and G4s. It works and is recognized natively as an airport extreme card(no drivers needed). The p/n is WPCI810G . It will give you full access to WPA2 with all the latest encryption standards(I can get on the 802.11x enterprise networks at work with the card). The caveat is that you will want to be running Tiger or Leopard.

Max your RAM to 2gb. Depending on what specific variant MDD you have, you need DDR PC-2100 or PC-2700(if you are unsure it won't hurt to buy the 2700s or even 3200s). You will want to look for 512mb low density modules to be on the safe side.
 

MysticCow

macrumors 6502a
May 27, 2013
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381
That G4 has no use. Your best bet is to send it to me and--

WHY ARE THERE MODS IN MY ROOM THREATENING ME WITH TORCHES AND PITCHFORKS????

I WON'T GO BACK TO THE NAUGHTY STOOL, MACRUMORS MODS!!!!!
 
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bunnspecial

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May 3, 2014
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I decided to get a dual 1.25Ghz board and swap it with the 867Mhz board. I was using that machine with little to no issues from 2009-2011 as my main machine.
Out of curiosity, is your dual 1.25 an aftermarket CPU? I'm assuming it is, since the fastest factory Quicksilver was 2x 1ghz.

I have a Gigadesigns upgrade in one of my Quicksilvers. The processor was once in Erik's Quicksilver but he got fed up with it and parted with it. The processor was advertised as dual a dual 1.8, but used 1.25ghz processors. I've been able to get it running stably at 1.6ghz.

Erik and I both now have Sonnet dual 1.8ghz upgrade cards, which work flawlessly.
 
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macgeek18

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Sep 8, 2009
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Out of curiosity, is your dual 1.25 an aftermarket CPU? I'm assuming it is, since the fastest factory Quicksilver was 2x 1ghz.

I have a Gigadesigns upgrade in one of my Quicksilvers. The processor was once in Erik's Quicksilver but he got fed up with it and parted with it. The processor was advertised as dual a dual 1.8, but used 1.25ghz processors. I've been able to get it running stably at 1.6ghz.

Erik and I both now have Sonnet dual 1.8ghz upgrade cards, which work flawlessly.
Those Sonnets sound lovely. May have to get one of those.
 
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beanboy89

macrumors regular
May 5, 2016
118
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Pennsylvania
[doublepost=1462036730][/doublepost]An update: Just pulled it out and when i press the power button on the machine the light turns on white, but then fades out. If i press the power button the cinema display which is hooked up to it, that light on the display turns yellow but then fades out. It sounds like the computer try to start but then doesnt.
That sounds like it could be a PRAM battery. It's basically the equivalent of a CMOS battery on a modern PC. The battery on my G4 died a few months back, and I couldn't get it booted up properly or reliably until I replaced the battery. The battery is called an ER14250 and is fairly common.

Anyway, I don't really use my G4 for that much anymore, but when I want a quick PowerPC machine to play with, I'll boot it up. I currently have it dual booting Jaguar and Tiger.
 

MacCubed

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Apr 26, 2014
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That sounds like it could be a PRAM battery. It's basically the equivalent of a CMOS battery on a modern PC. The battery on my G4 died a few months back, and I couldn't get it booted up properly or reliably until I replaced the battery. The battery is called an ER14250 and is fairly common.

Anyway, I don't really use my G4 for that much anymore, but when I want a quick PowerPC machine to play with, I'll boot it up. I currently have it dual booting Jaguar and Tiger.
If it's an MDD it's probably a failing PSU, PRAM battery issues don't impact the G4 towers as much as they did with the Pismoand Titanium PowerBooks.