got 4 power mac g4's at college basement sale. need to know how to use them >.<

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by zerobotman, Mar 18, 2009.

  1. zerobotman macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2009
    so i went nuts and bought a bunch of macs. they were only $10 each and so i blew some of my tax return on them. so i open them up and unsurprisingly most of the ram is gone but lucky me that they all have hdd's and all the necessary bits. also all except for one (which i've confirmed is related to the hdd in some way) has the iconic apple startup noise which is hopefully a good sign. after swapping the hd with one from the others it has the sound too. i lack a monitor peripherals to test them so i was wondering a few things. first off can i use a regular usb wireless mouse and keyboard or do i need to get a mac specific one with only one button. from what i've read 3 of these are 450mhtz sawtooth models and one is a 533 digital audio model but i was wondering what the difference in capabilities between the two of them other then processor speed. is it really worth it to order in a few dual processors for these guys or would there be any benefit for what they could potentially be used for? can they really be used for anything? can i use creative sound blaster cards on them? for that matter can i use any standard pci card in what looks to be pci-x slots? well i got allot of questions so i'll leave you guys with this for now. looking forward to playing with my new toys and i might be getting an old imac g3 to add to the clutter. even if these are useless the $10 each pricetag is worth it for those sexy cases. might make some nice furniture if all else fails. got to love colllege basement sales!
  2. sngx1275 macrumors regular


    Jan 27, 2009
    I'm 95% sure you can use a 2 button USB mouse with them. I have a 533 DA with 768MB of RAM using a Logitec iFeel 2 button mouse with scroll wheel and it works fine.

    I don't really know what you can do with them, but I use mine as a torrent box and music server. I load up all my tunes in iTunes on it, then enable library sharing. I added an external 1.5TB hd via FW400, then I run Transmission for torrents. I have that drive shared so I can access it from any comp on my network.

    Its pretty slow when its doing torrenting, but that isn't noticeable if I'm playing tunes off of it from another computer. Its only slow when you are actually using it in person.

    It is able to send data out fast enough for me to watch a 720p movie on my Mini through Plex (although I'm sure VLC would be fine) over G wireless. I was actually watching a 1080p of Max Payne last night and 95% of the movie played fine, but there were parts where it lagged a bit. I have yet to determine if that is an issue with the G4, the Network, or my Mini... Haven't had the time to look into it yet. It did seem to improve (less periods of lag) after I shut down transmission (was dling torrents to a different partition on the same 1.5TB drive as the movie was coming from) but the problem didn't completely disappear.

    I doubt your sound cards will work in them. If they have a chance of working it would be under some flavor of PPC Linux.

    I think the G4s make fine (or perhaps adequate) file servers for home use. If you can afford the Sonnet SATA cards you can significantly increase the internal storage. Otherwise you are stuck with FW for any HD of respectable size.

    I also loaded up Starcraft on it :) Plays fine. I definitely do not recommend trying to play Starcraft with a 1 button mouse though.
  3. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603


    Apr 29, 2005
    San Francisco
    I wouldn't waste anymore money than the $40 you already spent to get these machines especially on getting an iMac G3. Maybe load one of the DP's up with some big HDD's and use it as a torrent computer, other than that you have a bunch of book ends on your hands.

    Go get a G4 Quicksilver if you want to begin to use an old Mac for anything useful.
  4. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    They make nice gifts to people who need computers. I've done that before. They have a lot of life in them yet for people who just do email and websurfing like Grandmas and kids. It's fun fixing up old macs anyway.

    BTW, a good friend of mine has a G4 500mhz Powermac with a 1.8ghz cpu upgrade and 2 gigs of ram and a 120 gig hard drive. It is his main machine.
  5. zerobotman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2009
    wow how would that compare with a core i wonder! 1.8 powerpc is no laughing matter. what kind of g4s would be compatible with that kind of upgrade?
  6. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    I've got a Quicksilver (2002) running as an internet/assignment machine for my flatmate plugged into a 18.5" LCD. It runs office and Safari just fine, can't go higher than 10.4.11 but it's fine.

    The sawtooth G4s were the first of the PowerMac G4 line that weren't just PowerMac G3s with a G4 shoe-horned in them. The DA was the first to come with a SuperDrive at the high-end.

    Either machine would handle server-type stuff OK but would struggle under anything fairly modern.
  7. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    I think the bottleneck on the 1.8ghz upgraded Powermac 500mhz is the bus which I think is only 100mhz. He's added the fastest superdrive to it and about to buy the best video card for it that he can get.

    I think that machine was the last one that took a full 2 gigs of ram max; I believe the Powermacs after that time only took 1.5gbs max though I could be wrong. With the faster CPU and more ram, it is a pretty good machine still. Amazing that it is like ten years old.

    As I mentioned on another thread it seems that Adobe's Flash is one of the biggest bottlenecks for old G4's and even G5's. Adobe, then is the one who is making our perfectly good old machines obselete and it bugs me that no one has a hack for Flash.

    On my Powermac G5 dual core, I uninstalled Flash 9/then put in flash 10 and it crashed. Back to 9 but it has some bugs the previous 9 didn't have and it crashes too. Unbelievable that this has not been fixed or addressed.

    And I fully agree that Word runs better on my PPC machines than my Macintels.
  8. zerobotman thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 18, 2009
    oh don't get me started on flash >.<. when they port it to other os's like linux and osx it's always extremely buggy. my t61 with ubuntu slows to a crawl with flash running and it's not an old laptop by any standard. that is if flash even works at all.

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