Any life in this old Mac?

Discussion in 'Mac Pro' started by Christina1971, Jan 1, 2007.

  1. Christina1971 macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2007
    Hello all, long time lurker, first time poster...

    Last year, my mother got a Mac Mini, which has been perfectly adequate for her needs. But since then, her older Mac has been untouched. Its specs, as I see them on the back:

    G4/500/1M Cache/256 SDRAM/27 GB HD/DVD-RAM/ZIP/KB

    I think this is better than the purple iMac that I've been bumbling along with, but that's not saying much. Still, I wonder if it would be cost effective to try to upgrade this computer for myself, for uses like word processing, web surfing, iTunes, light use of iPhoto (no major photo manipulation), and iTunes. I've visited, but I'm not absolutely sure what kind of Power Mac this is, so I'm probably not searching in an effective manner.

    Thanks in advance for your help!
  2. steamboat26 macrumors 65816


    May 25, 2006
    Arlington VA
    Welcome to MR

    I am pretty sure that you have a Powermac G4 Sawtooth

    Just upgrade the RAM and HD and it should be fine for itunes, iphoto, and word processing. It can take up to 2 GB of RAM (4 X 512 MB). If you haven't loaded it already, i would suggest getting 10.3 Panther or 10.4 Tiger on it.
  3. Sherman Homan macrumors 6502

    Oct 27, 2006
    That G4 isn't a barn burner, but another (minimum!) 256 megs of ram and OS X 10.4 will be a fine machine. Email, web surfing, word and spreadsheets, iPhoto, iTunes, no problem! More better than a G3 iMac, definitely more better than a sharp stick in the eye!
  4. Maxwell Smart macrumors 6502a

    Maxwell Smart

    Jan 29, 2006
    yeah, and if you add a decent sized 7,200RPM ATA drive, along with boosting the RAM to at least 512MB, you'll be set ;)
  5. product26 macrumors 6502a


    May 30, 2005
    good solid computer that is worth the usual upgrades.

    go for it!
  6. Christina1971 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2007
    Awesome! So there's no need to do a processor upgrade for the things that I'm interested in? That's good news. Adding RAM and more memory is definitely something I can handle (I'd also need a monitor, keyboard and mouse, but those are relatively cheap.)
  7. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    A chip upgrade would help speed it up(duh) but its not needed.

    Get some RAM and a faster Hard Drive first
  8. Eidorian macrumors Penryn


    Mar 23, 2005
    That Power Mac G4 will run circles around that old iMac G3. Just get some RAM and maybe a newer video card.
  9. Christina1971 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2007
    Last question, I promise -- any recommendations on where I should get some of these products you're suggesting I need? And, if I wanted to add a SuperDrive-type device, would that be hard/expensive? (Okay, that was more than one question)
  10. fivetoadsloth macrumors 65816


    Aug 15, 2006
  11. synth3tik macrumors 68040


    Oct 11, 2006
    Minneapolis, MN
    A G4 Sawtooth still has a lot of life in it. especially if it will be used for lighter applications, iTunes, iPhoto, internet. a.k.a. OWC is a great place to find upgrades, Hard drives, processors, RAM, opticals drives, the works.
  12. Raid macrumors 68020


    Feb 18, 2003
    I agree with synth, I'm currently on a 466Mhz Sawtooth myself (we'll see how long that lasts with the MWSF coming up :cool: ) this machine works fine with the 640MB of RAM I've got in it. Mind you it does take about 20-30 seconds for photoshop to open up, but for surfing, email and using the iLife apps, should be fine if you don't mind a bit of delay with iTunes(only when it loads album artwork), and iPhoto (for large libraries).

    You don't have to go overboard with the upgrades, but more RAM is needed, I think if you go for ~1GB you'll be pretty happy! :)
  13. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    I think all u need is a little more RAM.(unless you have a huge music and photo libary, then you might need a bigger hard drive.)I know how you feel with the imac. until i got my mini, all i had was a imac 233 MHz. the G4 will be a huge upgrade.
  14. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I won't reiterate the good comments that have already made.

    But I would like to add that if you want to upgrade the CPU someday, Sonnet Technologies has some great upgrades that work well.
  15. kbear2 macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2006
    Having just invested in upgrading a Digital Audio I can second the recommendations for using that G4. Just want to give you a heads up on putting in a new hard drive. These systems will not recognize anything over 120G without software 'hacks' or an ATA/SATA controller card. I put a SATA card in my G4 and have a 320G and a 500G drive in addition to an older 40G and a SCSI 36G.

    Also added full RAM (1.5G), 1.5Ghz proc, 64MB video, usb 2. Figure I can use most of this stuff if I ever have to move up again to a newer model. Still my 9600 (G4/700) was running 10.3.9 pretty well considering it's limitations. It's a very reliable backup.

    Macs have a lot of life in them. :)
  16. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    So true. They work well and last a long time! :)
  17. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    Yes. Generally you give up on them before they give up on you. My original iMac from 1984 still works.
  18. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I assume that you mean original Mac from 1984.

    If so that's fantastic! :D

    In storage back in the states I still have a Mac SE from around 1986. It still works and will run System 7.1.
  19. emptyCup macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2005
    Yes, typed iMac out of habit.
  20. Christina1971 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 1, 2007
    I was peeking in some other threads by people who have upgraded their G4s, and now I'm worried that I'm not really taking the cost effective option, here. I've been wanting a MacBook but I was waiting to see what MWSF would bring.

    I'm not really pressed about getting a monitor/keyboard/mouse; I figure I could use them even if I got a laptop, so I could "dock" it, and I don't have to get the biggest or most expensive models out there....but it's okay just to tinker around with the G4 if you like to tinker, isn't it? Even if it's not very cost-effective? :) Heck, I just think it would be cool to do. I guess the secret is not to go overboard to the point where it really is better just to get something new.
  21. DZ/015 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2003
    New England
    If you are just looking to play around and don't have any heavy photo/video editing in mind, upgrading the G4 will be fun and educational.

    I received a G4 AGP graphics unit (400MHz) from work for free. I installed 1GB of ram (also swiped from old Dell boxes being dumped at work), a 1.8GHz Giga-Designs processor ($350 at the time), an ATI radeon 8500 from eBay for $55, a Sonnet Tempo HD from eBay ($45) and several hard drives. It is my main computer that handles Final Cut Express and Photoshop without too much of a problem.

    For less than $500 you can get a very nice, responsive system. Will it be as fast and have as long of a life as a newer system, no. It will be much cheaper and more fun to do. I don't see upgrading mine for at least 2 more years.
  22. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2005
    I'm only really here at night.
    Yep mAxDaRam & add an SATA card + HD, and you will be fine for most average everyday tasks.....

    been there, done that, several times :D

    And I almost always look first to OWC ( for just about any upgrade items for my macs at reasonable prices, w/ fast shipping and excellent customer service! If you look at the homepage, OWC regularly advertises there with special deals for xlr8 readers :p
  23. Sam0r macrumors regular

    Jun 15, 2005
    Birmingham, UK
    That'll be great for the things that you want to use it for. Multitasking might be a bit slow, but with 1gb of ram and a faster hard drive (Might want to look into RAID?) it'll be fine.

    Also, you could try putting a radeon 9800pro in it, that way you'd get core image etc, but I doubt that of importance to you.

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