Buying Power Mac G4 computers, tips?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by d-oost, Feb 2, 2016.

  1. d-oost macrumors 6502a

    Jan 10, 2016
    So, I've started collecting PPC Macs, and my hunt is still going. So, I often check Marktplaats within my area for Apple computers. I recently found a Power Mac G4 MDD with the original Apple monitor for €20, unknown specs, and a Quicksilver with a 800MHz processor, 700MB RAM and a 120GB HDD for €10.
    Very decent prices, but I want to know I don't get a lemon. Does anyone have any tips on things I should watch out for?
  2. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    No real tips. If you can try the Mac out before buying though (if the seller lets you) some things to look for. Does it chime? If it does, it means the logicboard is posting.

    Does it boot to a question mark? If it does, either the hard drive is bad or missing.

    Other than that, just your usual physical checks. Dents, scratches, missing parts, etc.

    Keep in mind, if you grab a DA (Digital Audio) or Quicksilver you are limited to 1.5GB of ram. All other models are 2GB.
  3. redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    The factory specs will be printed on a label on the back of the MDD. This is true for all Power Mac G4s.
  4. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    I would get the highest possible spec-machine of the G4 generation I am interested in.

    Weather 1.5GB or 2GB RAM doesn't seem to be that much of an issue, though TenFourFox (same as newer Firefox versions on Intel Macs) LOVES much RAM and if you plan to use the Mac for secure internet browsing you won't get arround TenForFox.
    Webkit browsers like safari are more volatile, there is however an overhauled version of LeopardWebkit-Browser that can be used. Oh, yes, if you somewhen want to try Mac OS 10.5 Leopard, then you need at least 867MHz (unlss you want to hack it install it. A Dual 500MHz or Dual 533MHz though runs ok with 10.5, I heard, if you get 10.5 installed via hacks).

    Did you compare the prices to sold listings on Ebay to get a feel for what "decent" prices are?

    Also mind that some models have a Hard Drive limit of 128GB per drive. This goes away somewhere in the 2001 Quicksilver line, to know exactly, look at this page, it lists Processor speeds and the motherboard part number. os 9 lives_003.htm There is at least one Quicksilver model that has the same CPU speed, but different motherboard.

    (Of course you can get arround the HDD limit buying PCI and PCI-X cards, but that is another topic).

    Also, if you get the question mark at start up and a HDD is in it, try reseating the IDE cable (I know this sounds stupid... :) ).
  5. MisterKeeks macrumors 68000


    Nov 15, 2012
    Or just has no operating system.
  6. gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816


    Feb 17, 2013
    NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
    G4s are a decent machine, I have a MDD that is laying around but I never really use it, always finding myself using the G5. I personally am not a fan for single processor G4s as I seem to shoot for the dual processor models if I am looking for a Power Mac of some sort. I run Leopard on my G4 and G5, but I feel a single processor G4 with Leopard is a bit on the sluggish side.

    Either way, G4 Macs can be a speedy little machine with maxed out ram and a new SATA hard drive!
  7. Hrududu macrumors 68020


    Jul 25, 2008
    Central US
    MDD's are very prone to power supply failure. Make sure the one you're looking at isn't experiencing power on problems.
  8. redheeler, Feb 2, 2016
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2016

    redheeler macrumors 604


    Oct 17, 2014
    A nice dual 533 MHz will out-perform a single 867Mhz. My Gigabit Ethernet G4 runs Leopard just fine.
    Good point, I've seen Macs labeled broken when all they needed was a new OS. It's how I scored my 2006 iMac :)

    At least with a Power Mac G4, you can easily open it to check if a hard drive is present and connected.
    The higher-end dual-processor MDD models continue to make nice Macs today. Not quite as fast a dual G5 for any modern tasks, but adequate for Leopard use especially with a GPU upgrade. Non-FireWire 800 models can even boot Mac OS 9.2.2 without having to use Classic.

    The compact case and native support for Apple Pro Speakers are the main reasons why my dual 1.25 GHz MDD (non-FW800) still sees use. Its RAM is maxed-out at 2 GB, but I have yet to try a SATA card.
  9. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    May 27, 2013
    For a PowerMac G4, here are my highly biased opinions (descending order of preference):

    1. Mirrored Drive Door Hairdryer G4's. If you want to run OS 9 natively (not Classic), get the 1.25 GHz or dual 1.25 GHz model from 2003. If not, then any of the Hairdryers will work perfectly.

    2. Either the original AGP graphics or Gigabit Ethernet G4's. You cna always upgrade the processor, but they can hold 2 GB of RAM compared to 1.5 GB. RAM is a critical factor for OS X, particularly if you run anything from Adobe. RAM will literally make a slower G4 run Adobe stuff better than anything else.

    3. Power Mac G4 Digital Audio. It's basically a Quicksilver wrapped in an old graphite box. Since I love the graphite G4's, I always go for this one over others.

    4. Power Mac G4 Cube. DA CUBE...seriously, this is my fourth choice only because I want a friggin' cube! If you have a working extra, please send one to me!

    5. Anything else.

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