DIY Windtunnel, PowerMac G4 MDD build log

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by LightBulbFun, Aug 1, 2017.

  1. LightBulbFun, Aug 1, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018

    LightBulbFun macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Location:
    London UK
    #1
    so recently while going through eBay I spotted 2 PowerMac G4 MDDs 1.42GHz up for bids from the same seller with less then 2H to go with 0 bids, so on a bit of impulse buy I slapped a bid on both right at the last moment and managed to nab both for the starting price!

    including shipping the grand total came to £65 for both, which id say is not bad for 2 1.42GHz MDDs :)

    only thing is I already had a 1.42Ghz MDD so now I had ended up with 3 of the things, and i was told 1.42Ghz MDDs are relatively rare :)

    now one of the 2 PowerMac G4s i had won was reported to not boot which I had suspected to be a bad PSU, but the other was reported to work fine, both of them arrived today and Man are where they clean and in nice shape both inside and out,

    so i went around testing them, the one with the Dead PSU indeed showed the classic MDD PSU failure symptoms (power button lights up when pressed then fades out) so i then went around to the claimed working one, hooked it up and indeed it booted right up to the old owners tiger install, these 2 Macs seemed to be used in some sort of recording studio going by the software installed on this one.

    in regards to specs, the working one seems to originally been an off the shelf config going by the spec sticker on the back, it has its stock Radeon 9000 Pro and i think its stock 120GB HDD, but was at some point maxed out at 2GB of RAM :) and has a Firewire 400 card installed, it also has an ACBell PSU installed, it still has all its HDD cages but i need to check those for screws, i also noticed a couple odd slot blanks on it too so it probably had other PCI cards installed at some point. it seems like this machine was last used in 2016 it even has tenfourfox installed!

    on the non working one, interestingly theres no specs listed on what is normally the spec sticker, where the specs are normally listed is "SO" and a long number string... but in regards to current spec it seems to also have a 120GB HDD installed, but is missing the under the ODD HDD cage indicating that it had more hard drives installed at one point, it also seems to of been maxed out at 2GB of RAM, and interestingly it has a Radeon 9600 PC Mac edition installed, it has a (Dead) Samsung PSU, it also has bluetooth installed from the factory, tho at some point it seems the bluetooth antenna has popped off, Looks like this one was the highest spec out of the 2, it does not have any PCI cards installed but going by the non matching slot blanks installed it seems to of had PCI cards installed in the past, im not sure whats on the hard drive on this one as I have yet to boot it up. but im sure with a working PSU fitted it will boot right up :)


    so with specs out of the way, now comes what do I do with 3 of the things! :) so my grand plan so to speak is to build 2 of them up with really nice specs and document it all here, and ill probably part out the 3rd one, (the 2 ebay ones are in really nice shape, while my first 1.42 is quite scruffy and also has a bit of a broken boot rom LOL so probably will be the one parted out) I already have a forum member offering me some very nice stuff for one of the 1.42Ghz CPU cards and heatsink assemblies :)

    with that said I hope you enjoyed reading this post and find, and stay tuned as i will be posting more here as I build them up :) im also open to ideas and suggestions :)

    now no build thread would be complete without Pictures (please excuse the scruffy carpet :D the one closest to the camera is the working one the middle one is the one with the dead PSU and the one farthest away missing the ODD cage is my original/first 1.42Ghz MDD )

    [​IMG]
     
  2. AphoticD macrumors 65816

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
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    Australia
    #2
    Nice score! You could line all three up as a Tiger Xgrid cluster for 8.52Ghz of Altivec processing grunt! :apple:
     
  3. LightBulbFun thread starter macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Location:
    London UK
    #3
    Thanks :)

    indeed I could :) I could also rope in my other high speed G4s including a 1.67Ghz Mac mini I have LOL, granted id have to source or fix the PSU in the dead one if i want to run all 3 MDDs at the same time, and im not sure what exactly id use/do on the cluster :D
     
  4. LightBulbFun thread starter macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Location:
    London UK
    #5

    upload_2017-8-1_19-53-35.png

    THIS
    Mac :) (it came to me like this, looks almost like someone deliberately literarily underscored the apple logo... this is my first 1.42Ghz MDD not any of the 2 i just got btw)
     
  5. jbarley macrumors 68040

    jbarley

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    #6
    I know the feeling...:D

    IMG_0220.jpg
     
  6. LightBulbFun thread starter macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
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    London UK
    #7
    Haha :D I have a few of my Macs lined up like under my Desks, i even have a 23 inch acrylic cinema display tucked away like that too :) (are those all 1.42s as well?)
     
  7. CooperBox, Aug 1, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017

    CooperBox macrumors 6502a

    CooperBox

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #8
    Methinks this could well turn out to be the month of the MDD.
    I too picked up one for the equivalent of few dollars last saturday at a thrift store. It's a place I try to look in at once a week, and when I walk over to the 'electronics' section, I've heard more than once the over-estimated statement, "Ah c'est le gars du Mac" (it's the Mac guy!), as I always ask if they have anything related. Unfortunately they rarely have. Last week was an exception, and I was told they'd put something aside for me, as nobody else was interested in a non-functional MDD. To be honest, I wasn't either, but they wanted to clear it out for lack of space (and interest), and when told the price, I opened the case to check the contents. Two HD's, one 13GB Maxtor dated 25/9/99, and an 80GB Barracuda, ODD, and 1.25GB RAM, and what looks like a Radeon 9000 graphics card. So I have more than my money's worth in accessories alone.
    It's a 1.25GHz model, and I confirmed it didn't power-up. Not a sound, or glimmer of a light anywhere. The power button has a 'dead' feel, no apparent movement in it, or any feel of a spring or contact beneath, as I'm used to on a Quicksilver. Is there a known problem with the power switch? I understand some PSU's were known to be defective, and I've already bookmarked a site to troubleshoot the PMU. I'll start however by resetting the logic board, changing the PRAM battery and go from there.

    As received. "Hi, I'm grubby!"
    MDD1.jpg

    After a 15min clean.
    MDD2.jpg

    A monster loose in the bedroom. (Note the deep scratch on the top cover).
    MDD3.jpg

    Shadow Conspiracy?
    MDD4.jpg

    A peep inside - after few parts removed to facilitate a quick cleanup.
    MDD5.jpg

    PSU details.
    MDD6.jpg

    Rear view.
    MDD7.jpg
     
  8. LightBulbFun, Aug 1, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2017

    LightBulbFun thread starter macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Location:
    London UK
    #9
    very nice find, looks like yours is also a FW800 Model, looks like it cleaned up quite nicely :)

    in regard to the no power issue, luckily it looks like you got the more reliable ACBell PSU and the issues you describe do not sound like normal MDD PSU failure, I have certainly heard of MDD Power buttons going bad (the one on my first 1.42Ghz MDD is quite stiff for that matter) do you by any chance own an ADC monitor? if it is indeed a bad power button you should still be able to power the mac on using the power button on the ADC monitor :) if you dont have an ADC monitor, you also might be able to open up the power button assembly and manually bridge the switch contacts with something like a screw driver. BTW for the record if you ever want to Boot OS 9 on this Mac, Do Not downgrade the boot rom to do so, there are better ways to boot OS 9 on these macs these days :)
     
  9. LightBulbFun thread starter macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Location:
    London UK
    #10
    alright time for an update :)

    last night I stripped the scruffy MDD of its PSU GPU RAM and bluetooth card (that originally was from my iMac4,1) I plan to fit the GPU and the bluetooth card to the First MDD (the one with the stock working PSU) im going to from here on out name the stock working PSU MDD, MDD1, the one with the stock dead PSU is MDD2, and my scruffy MDD, MDD3

    so today I took the PSU from MDD3, and fitted it to MDD2, I have to say the Philips head screw inside the MDD that holds the PSU there, is the bane of my life, I can never get that screw in LOL, so for now i just have the allen screw in the back screwed in place and that holds the PSU in fine, i will try and get the philips screw in at some point tho, anyways screws aside i fitted the working PSU to MDD2 buttoned it all up and hooked it up to my test "bench" and it fired right up like the first one :) , it booted into a more or less clean install of 10.5.8 (they did not even install drivers for the 9600 PC mac edition so rez was stuck at 640x480 on my monitor LOL) it has a 120GB HDD and 2GB of ram like MDD1, and indeed as the ATI drivers/control panel tell me it is indeed a Radeon 9600 PC mac edition card :)

    attached here is a screen shot from MDD2, I installed the ATI drivers so i was not stuck at 640x480 but otherwise its as i found it, save for the working PSU i had to fit LOL (I will be doing a clean OS install at some point), interestingly despite no apps being installed, the last user did set some aliases on the Desktop and set the dock to hide as well as disabling the app launching bounce, (on MDD1 the dock was also set to hide but also set to show up on the right of the screen) I tried to see if i could find out when this thing was last used, if the last modified date on some of the stock apps are anything to go by, it was last used 18th of july 2017 so it seems like the PSU died recently... MDD1 seemed to of last been used july 2016...

    anyways stay tuned, as i think tomorrow ill be working on actually upgrading these Macs :)

    upload_2017-8-2_18-16-21.png
     
  10. Gamer9430 macrumors 68020

    Gamer9430

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2014
    Location:
    Central New Jersey/ North Virginia, USA
    #11
    The MDD, one of my least favorite PPCs... I have a dual 1.25GHz FW800 model, but it has Windtunnel disease, making it one of my least used Macs. It’s decently fast, but because of the complicated HDD and ODD installation compared to a Quicksilver and the loud fans, I’m simply not a fan. I much prefer my 1.6GHz Sonnet Quicksilver, which is very quiet and fast.

    Just my 2 cents on the MDD. In regards to you’re score, very nice and good luck piecing them all together to make two of the most powerful G4 Macs.
     
  11. AphoticD macrumors 65816

    AphoticD

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2017
    Location:
    Australia
    #12
    It's interesting trying to paint a picture of the kind of user who previously owned the Mac. I think the vast majority of users would never think to disable the Dock bouncing.. So it says something about their style.

    Perhaps the machine was being used to operate an older MIDI controller or Audio I/O. A lot of older interfaces don't have modern drivers, so coupled with low-latency, Gigabit ethernet, you can use an older G4 to drive your hardware, sending MIDI signals over the network via Audio MIDI setup.

    I always feel compelled to do a search for ".jpg" and ".mov" on any secondhand Mac I've bought which wasn't wiped clean. Fortunately, I've never been scarred with things that can't be "unseen" with this practice, but I still feel a bit dirty nonetheless. :confused:
     
  12. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

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    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #13
    Hey, I disable bounce (and just about everything else) on low end systems :)

    I had previous user syndrome on a couple of recent purchases, it's amazing that people still dispose of these with no attempt to sanitize them. On one I picked up at a car boot sale (G3 iBook), I found an iPhoto library with thousands of photos from around 2008 - I managed to find the orginal owner online and ask if they wanted the photos sending on.
    Another (G3 Powerbook) was choc full of details, enough to be dangerous in the wrong hands - funniest part was the 2Gb of 2003 vintage porn in the Trash!
     
  13. AphoticD macrumors 65816

    AphoticD

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    Australia
    #14
    Well, I'd consider fulltime PowerPC aficionados an exception to the norm! :apple: ;)

    I wonder what denotes 2003-vintage porn... A visible thong in low-riding jeans? Maybe cargo shorts and crop tops...

    Probably not as easy to pick as a home perm and an unmanicured bush from other bygone eras :)
     
  14. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

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    #15
    :) Think it was 90s VHS porn, hastily digitised for the internet generation!
     
  15. CooperBox, Aug 3, 2017
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017

    CooperBox macrumors 6502a

    CooperBox

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #16
    Excellent suggestion regarding using an ADC monitor! I did just that after reinstalling the HD's and a new **PRAM battery. Pressed the screen and...."we have POWER!" A quick single beep however had me guessing for a few seconds, then realised I hadn't reinstalled the 3 memory sticks. Duh!:rolleyes:
    Once the RAM sticks were installed, second attempt - bingo! System booted sucessfully to Leopard. Found MSOffice 2008 installed - which I've never used in the past (MSOffice 4 on most of my systems - which many seem to prefer).

    ** I didn't have a spare PRAM battery handy, but walked down to the local pet shop to get one!o_O I'd noticed that they sold those electronic dog collar thingy's, and also a stock of compatible 3.6v batteries. It's not the usual SAFT make, but have had a 'doggy' one installed in the G4 Cube for the last few years, and still ok.
    I was surprised to see that this MDD is the DP 1.25GHz model, and it appears very 'snappy' (well it should be with a doggy battery in it)!:rolleyes: I think I got a good deal on this computer for €5
    The power switch is definitely defective. All I need now is to beg, borrow or steal a serviceable unit. Anyone with a spare to offer?
     
  16. LightBulbFun thread starter macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Location:
    London UK
    #17
    Awesome glad to see the machine fired up with an ADC monitor :) I may have a spare power button/board once im done stripping the 3rd 1.42Ghz MDD For parts ill keep you posted on that if you are interested

    pretty neat that your pet store stocks those batteries :) cant say i have ever seen those 3.6v cells used outside of apple computers... the PowerMac G4 MDD should work fine with no PRAM battery however it just wont remember time/date and NVRAM settings. (my 3rd MDD has not had a pram battery installed for years now now LOL) €5 is indeed a very nice price for that machine, indeed all FW800 1.25Ghz machines are Dual CPU from the factory :) feel free to post some about this mac shots :D
     
  17. LightBulbFun, Aug 4, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2018

    LightBulbFun thread starter macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Location:
    London UK
    #18
    Update time again :)

    this time today I have been working on MDD1 and souping it up quite a bit, so Far I have fitted an airport extreme card, a BT 2.0 card out of my old 2006 iMac and the best bit, my X850 XT EEPROM swapped and flashed FireGL X3, :) of course here are some pictures

    the install on MDD1 as i had found i, this one actually has some apps installed including tenforfox LOL

    the FireGL X3 in the picture bellow is the same one from this thread https://forums.macrumors.com/thread...nd-flashing-x850-xt-rom-on-firegl-x3.2016538/ due to me flashing a full non reduced ROM as mentioned in the Post it has an NDRV in ROM and does not require me to install any ATI control panels or drivers (on top of that due to the X850 XT ROM being an OEM ROM from apple the ATI control panel does not include any NDRVs for it so you have to use to the full ROM) an X850 XT flashed FireGL X3s is also one of the fastest Graphics cards you can install into a PowerMac G4 MDD (and if your lucky a DA/QS) :)
    you can also see the bluetooth card bottom right of the picture next to the airport card, interestingly on MDD2 (which has from what i can tell has an original factory installed bluetooth card) the BT card is green coloured and has the antenna connection on the other side of the card, its also a bluetooth 1 card unlike the card in the picture bellow which is Bluetooth 2.0 as it came from a 2006 iMac :)

    all in all its coming together quite nicely :) and im not done upgrading it just yet, im tossing around the idea of a SATA card and id like an SSD for it but I dont currently have any SSDs spare...

    in regards to MDD2 im probably going to leave that one fairly stock hardware wise. my next post(s) will probably be loading up some fresh software on MDD1 and 2 (thing 1 and 2 :D ) and do some benchmarks :)

    upload_2017-8-4_20-8-41.png

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

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    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #19
    Good stuff :)
    How about some real world benchmarks? I'd love to know how a Dual 1.42 compares with a Dual G5. In theory, 1080P video in Coreplayer should be a walk in the park...
     
  19. LightBulbFun thread starter macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

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    Nov 17, 2013
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    London UK
    #20
    Thanks! :)

    Sure im open to suggestions :) what sort of G5 should I use? I have both a Dual CPU 7,3 2Ghz and Dual CPU 7,3 2.7Ghz G5 on hand (as well as a few other macs) :) I have been meaning to play with coreplayer, you have a guide on how to get youtube going with it right? Ill have to dig that up :)
     
  20. Dronecatcher macrumors 68020

    Dronecatcher

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    #21
    I'd go with the Dual 2Ghz to make it a fairer fight. I'd just browse a few heavy web sites and see how they stack up against each other.
    I went from a Dual 1.25 MDD to a Dual 2Ghz G5 for graphic design and whilst the difference was there, it didn't seem huge. I think the biggest leap was the increase in RAM.
     
  21. AphoticD macrumors 65816

    AphoticD

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    Australia
    #22
    The MDD project is coming along! Will the PCI bus accommodate SATA II speeds?
     
  22. LightBulbFun thread starter macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
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    London UK
    #23
    Thanks :)

    I dont think theres any sort of SATA 2 card for an MDD let alone bootable.

    but in theory yea the PCI bus could do so being 64bit PCI it theoretically can do up to 266MBs...
     

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