Coming Back Home... and a Few Questions (FW800)

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Grimm Pickins, Apr 17, 2019.

  1. Grimm Pickins macrumors newbie

    Grimm Pickins

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Location:
    Springfield, VT
    #1
    Howdy Macaholics!

    I've poked in here (MacRumors) over the years to search out answers to questions - but lately I've been bitten by the bug to start tinkering with Macs. I started with having to update my wife's office computer (early 2009 iMac - tricked into running High Sierra and installed an SSD) and then revived and upgraded my unstoppable eMac... I've been a little obsessive, but since the misses says this one seems healthy, I guess I'm OK (for now...)

    After watching the market for months, and knowing that my heart is stuck in the early 2000 Macs (there's just something about these machines), I took the plunge on what looks like a very nice condition FW800 dual 1.25. I have a very specific use that I want this computer for, in addition to tinkering with it. Be warned, it might be geekier than collecting vintage Macs, LOL.

    I have been working on writing for Old School roleplaying games (pen and paper) and - honestly - I felt I needed a separate system so I wouldn't be monopolizing our main gaming and internet system (a late 2015 iMac that was BTO a few years ago, if you're interested). In addition to needing the universally available word processing mojo, I'm looking to build something that can reference/build PDFs with a bit of gusto. More importantly, I have a soft spot for a particular map making program called Dundjinni (www.dundjinni.com) that hasn't been supported since Core 2 Duos were new (and really doesn't like to run on anything after Snow Leopard without some Java tweaking). The program is very well supported by its fan base however, and some of the artwork developed is still pretty stunning in this day and age. I'm hoping to be able to run a campaign management database called The Keep under Virtual PC, but I'm not holding my breath on that one. The 512 limitation on RAM is the killer there, though I'm not sure how hard and fast that is (www.nbos.com). It's pretty basic, though useful.

    The computer hasn't arrived yet, and the seller didn't seem to know Macs very well (if at all, if I hadn't done a generic search I wouldn't have found it) - yes, I took a serious chance because I recognized the ports and the condition looked pretty darn good. I knew I wanted a MDD FW800, because I didn't want to start tinkering on a G5 - it didn't seem quite as fun or have much room for additional stuff or mods. It also the computer that I wanted more than anything when it came out, but I was far from financially able to do so. Other than the traditional GPU slot, which looked stock from the exterior, there seems to be nothing added.

    I am not looking for a gaming machine - but I need to be able to work with fairly large and layered maps. I'd like to break out my old photoshop version and tweak stuff. I think Comics Life has an old version that still worked in 10.5.8 - and it's long been my preferred layout program for this sort of thing. If need be I can of course transfer stuff to my main computer - but I like the idea of doing Old School RPGs on an Old School Computer. I like the DIY aesthetic as well, so professional layout software really isn't my top priority - but the functionality desired is probably similar.

    Is a graphics card like the Radeon 9600/9800 my best bet here. My only PC is a laptop, so I'm not sure that flashing cards is really feasible. The only game I could see myself running on this machine is Baldur's Gate - which I've been into modding for years, so I do confess that I will undoubtedly do a build on this machine (as I have on virtually every machine I own). I've heard that different cards have different specialties - but googling 'DIY RPG publishing on a G4' doesn't really get you much, LOL.

    I'm planning to install multiple SSDs, using the Sonnet or OWC interfaces. I have around 500gb of PDF files that I reference, with varying degrees of frequency. Is there anything I should know before jumping into that?

    I know that upgrading the USB port availability would be good, especially as I am a fan of tactile keyboards - though I have an Extended II that is on my main computer that I might steal (iMate adapter). I find that writing without the tactile keys really, um, screws up my mojo. I wouldn't mind using my Razer BlackWidow on it either.

    Is there a particular monitor that is easier on the eyes than others? I know that eventually I will end up with an Apple Cinema 30", because I've lusted after it for years... I may run two monitors for ease of map editing, but not sure.

    Whew... Hope I haven't bored you to tears. I'm still a newbie to working on Macs, but I've been obsessively watching rebuilds on YouTube and I'm starting (STARTING) to feel a little more confident.

    Thanks and I hope to cast my shadow here more often in the future!

    Your's Ghouly,

    Grimm Pickins
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #2
    I've run six displays (1 AGP and 2 PCI video cards) on a Quicksilver, so two displays aren't going to be an issue here.

    Depending on which version of OS you plan to run it will determine which version of Photoshop and Acrobat you can use. Leopard will give you CS4 and Acrobat 9. I'd really recommend Leopard if you want to at least be able to network well with the rest of your home network devices.

    Max the ram. But other than that and your video card choice, you shouldn't have any issues manipulating graphics or PDFs.

    The MDD's should have USB 2.0 which is the best you can get on these old Macs. I've not heard of anyone getting USB 3.0 to work. A 30" Cinema Display won't be a problem.

    I have used various Macs since 1997 to create campaigns, organize session notes and produce maps, mainly using Word, QuarkXPress/InDesign and Photoshop. Never had a problem.

    PS: Nice to meet a gamer. I've been involved in RPG's since 1983 and I got the Basic D&D set in 1984 for my 14th birthday. Been a Rolemaster fan since 1994.
     
  3. Amethyst1 macrumors 6502

    Amethyst1

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2015
    Location:
    Germany
    #3
    *nitpick on* Adobe CS4 will also run on Tiger. *nitpick off* :)

    You need a dual-link DVI output for the 30in, which the 9600 or 9800 does not have. A 9600 PC and Mac Edition (hard to find and the only 9600 with DL-DVI) or 9650 from a G5 does, for instance.
     
  4. Grimm Pickins thread starter macrumors newbie

    Grimm Pickins

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2019
    Location:
    Springfield, VT
    #4
    I sadly located a 9600 PC&Mac before I bought the MDD, and it was sold by the time I knew what I was doing. Actually I think I found two, one on eBay and one on Amazon - the latter having a rather steep price, and it sold (it was over $300, for the record). I knew I needed the dual link DVI for that particular monitor, I didn't realize it was quite that rare for G4s. I may have to resort to taping/modification of a card it seems. This might end up being a longer term project, because I'd rather encounter a 30" locally rather than eBay.


    I believe the MDDs have USB 1.1, but I intend to put an expansion card in for 2.0 which I've seen in my internet rabbit holes. I wouldn't even attempt 3.0 :)

    I was hoping to bump into other P&P gamers around here. You and I entered the hobby in the same year, I came in with AD&D and Pacesetter's Chill. Rolemaster is a fine game - it would be nice to have a Mac to handle those tables, LOL.

    Grimm
     
  5. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    #5
    Hmmm…I always just assumed that the MDDs had 2.0. They came out around the same time as the Aluminum Powerbooks and except for the first AlBooks that line all has USB 2.0.

    I have comments related to gaming, but I will hold them for now as I don't need a mod telling me I'm off-topic.
     
  6. dbdjre0143 macrumors 6502

    dbdjre0143

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2017
    Location:
    West Virginia
    #6
    Almost every thread I've ever read in this forum goes off topic. :p That's part of why I like it so much here. :D
     

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5 April 17, 2019