iMac G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by chrisconfessed, May 10, 2018.

  1. chrisconfessed, May 10, 2018
    Last edited: May 10, 2018

    chrisconfessed macrumors regular

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    #1
    Yesterday I purchased an 17" iMac G4 for £35.00 (!) on eBay. I've always loved the design and really wanted to buy one to restore it to something slightly usable for basic web browsing and word processing.

    I've read all the articles and watched all the videos I can, I realise that running Tiger on a PowerPC will likely prove incredibly challenging, I'm not under any illusion that this device will usuable for the most part (but boy, will it look good!)

    The machine I've bought has a 1.25GHz processor and an Airport Card already installed. I'll probably download TenFourFox to browse the web as it appears it supports modern web standards and provide the best chance of making the internet usable! I'll also look to get the screen replaced as a few pixels are dead and it will bug the hell out of me.

    Day-to-day I use a MacBook Pro and iPhone X so this really isn't anything more than a fun project. For those who have one and perhaps still use it for fun, are their any recommendations you can make to make the experience better?

    EDIT: Just seen the pinned posts at the top of the PowerPC forum - really helpful!
     
  2. amagichnich macrumors 6502

    amagichnich

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    Stuttgart, Germany
    #2
    You're walking on very thin ice saying that in this forum :D many of us use them not only for fun but for real work!
    --- Post Merged, May 10, 2018 ---
    There are many threads here discussing optimizations to make a ppc more useful, just use the search engine :)
     
  3. chrisconfessed thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Oops, I don't want to offend anyone - I'd love to be able to use it more than just for fun!
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #4
    You can get by on the modern web with a few optimizations/workarounds.

    A lot of people here gravitate towards Leopard Webkit. You need to be running Leopard to use it, but it brings Safari up to modern standards. Personally, I hate anything labeled Webkit or Safari so I use Mozilla based products. But LWK is considerably faster.

    The problem with older Macs/browsers and the internet is that coding of websites is lax in the modern age. That means our PowerPC Macs get hit with a bunch of garbage they have to wade through and that bogs the computer down.

    TenFourFox is my choice, but out of the box it's a dog. If you use the web for any video use then you will quickly find it to be very limiting.

    There are other options for video in threads here.

    However, if you do want to use T4Fx, take a look at the link in my signature to optimize T4Fx. It's a culmination of tweaks and addons that I've put together over the last ten years to get the most out of T4Fx that I can. It can improve the browser. It also works for Intel versions of any Mozilla based browser.

    Good luck!
     
  5. vertical smile, May 10, 2018
    Last edited: May 10, 2018

    vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

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    Sep 23, 2014
    #5
    I have one, it works perfectly, but it is currently packed away. I cant remember if it is 17" or 20" though. In 2005, I bought mine, not working, from eBay, it was purchased by the seller from a police auction and was missing the HDD. Opening up the G4 iMac was interesting, and once a new HDD was installed, it worked perfectly.

    The iMac G4 was always my favorite design of any Apple Device. I sometimes wish that Apple would sell retro models, based off of old designs, but with modern hardware. If they ever did this for the G4, I would get it.
     
  6. chrisconfessed thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    Thank you very much, will take a look at the link and other suggestions.
     
  7. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

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    #7
    Lot's of stuff it can still do: design, photo manipulaton, music production, video editing (even HD with uncompressed formats), iTunes, Spotify.
    Even on the web - as per @eyoungren instructions - go one further and use TenFourFoxBoxes - mini web apps and team them with a mobile device user agent and you have handy little apps for social media, email etc.
    Youtube even? Sure - SMTube and Mplayer - 720P playback would you believe - all these are searchable on the forum :)
     
  8. chrisconfessed thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    Thank you, the TenFourFoxBoxes sound great!
     
  9. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #9
    My ONE gripe with T4Fx Boxes is the user agent. Fluid places the ability to change this inside the menubar commands. With T4Fx Boxes you have to edit the prefs.js file (after finding the parameter). Otherwise T4Fx Boxes will report the standard T4Fx user agent string.

    It works, but unless you know to do this, where and how then T4Fx Boxes is not as versatile as a Fluid app that's been rebound to LWK with the user agent changed inside the actual app.

    Just my observation on the matter.
     
  10. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

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    #10
    I totally agree - I did put up a "How To...." guide on this a while back.
    I think the next version of TFFB is inheriting the Classilla UA and adblock from the recent TFF.
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #11
    Yeah, that's going to keep me using Fluid then. Rebinding the app to LWK and then giving it a current Chrome/Intel OS X user agent string works much better IMO.
     
  12. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

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    #12
    Again, I tend to agree but TFFB is handy if you're stuck on Tiger.
     
  13. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #13
    That's true. If I was forced to use Tiger I would probably make that choice.

    I do think Fluid works on Tiger, but you can't rebind it to LWK and that's where Fluid's age causes it to fall down.
     
  14. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #14
    For the OP; Tiger may be the zippiest option for the iMac, but if you have 1GB or more of RAM then I would really recommend trying to get Leopard on there. It will run great on the 1.25Ghz iMac G4 with its Core Image enabled GeForce FX 5200 Ultra GPU.

    In my experience, TenFourFox operates much faster in Leopard than Tiger and as does any app which utilizes Core Image. Leopard will also accommodate for many more software options with apps like Leopard WebKit, Roccat, Pixelmator and Espresso, just to name a few.

    On most of my PowerPC Macs, I tend to install both Tiger and Leopard to accommodate for the widest software compatibility, including Classic in Tiger to run OS9 apps.

    A typical setup with 2 partitions is easy to create from the Tiger or Leopard install disc. I usually give the Tiger partition about 10 to 20GB and then allow Leopard to have the rest.
     
  15. z970mp macrumors 65816

    z970mp

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    #15
    I've noticed that too. I wonder if there's a way to get that functionality onto Tiger, if it's possible.
     
  16. flyinmac macrumors 68040

    flyinmac

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    #16
    I finally parted with my last PowerPC about a year ago. It was hard to say goodbye. But, I was struggling to find a use for it that wasn’t for just the novelty of using it (considering I have other computers).

    If I had the iMac G4, it might be tempting to do a hack with a modern intel Mini inside it. You’d just have to work out the video signal. The rest would be a fairly basic modification with patience.
     
  17. z970mp macrumors 65816

    z970mp

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    #17
    I'm contemplating whether to do something like that with mine. It's an 800 MHz and the internal speaker is dead. Add insult to injury, the Apple Pro Speaker jack is toast too.

    ...But it's just so beautiful, you want to use it...
     
  18. Slix macrumors 65816

    Slix

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    Mar 24, 2010
    #18
    If your iMac G4 came with the Apple Pro Speakers, you'll have a really nice jukebox you can use for around the house, either with iTunes or Spotify or something of the like. It's also got a DVD player in it, so that's always a nice thing to use it for occasionally, since the screen is a nice size and you can adjust it to sit where you want it to.

    Of course, the games side of PowerPC Macs is always my favorite part. Check out some of the Pangea Software games. :)
     
  19. CooperBox macrumors 6502a

    CooperBox

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    #19
    With ref to the model, I'd wager you have either a 15 or 17". I'd be very surprised if you have, or indeed if anyone has a 20" and not aware of it - as it's an amazing and fairly rare beast! In fact anyone who has the same model PowerMac6,3 (M6498) complete with bluetooth has the G4 iMac 'Graal'.
     
  20. z970mp macrumors 65816

    z970mp

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    Jun 2, 2017
    #20
    The Pro Speaker jack is dead. Speakers should be fine, but the problem is the computer. I've tried blowing it out, opening it up and inspecting it, and I can't find out what the hell is wrong. Thus, I've determined it's probably board related.

    Oh, right. And the optical drive is incredibly finicky. Only 2, 3 times out of 10 will it actually run the disc instead of spit it out.

    I've been thinking of doing a board swap with maybe the 1.25 revision, but I can't find anything on eBay. Either way, I get the feeling some kind of intensive TLC is in order, sometime or another...
     
  21. chrisconfessed thread starter macrumors regular

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    Nov 19, 2007
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    Essex, England.
    #21
    So, my iMac G4 arrived and I'm pleasantly surprised with how well it runs on Tiger! A few things that I have googled and searched for on this forum, but couldn't find definite answers:

    1. I have a BT Home Hub 4, initially the Airport card wouldn't connect to my WiFi network, it could see the network but when I entered the password I just got an error message. I turned off the WPA2 on my broadband settings and all of sudden it connected to the internet. Obviously, my network is now wide open which isn't good so I wondered what you guys would do? Connecting the Mac via a wire isn't an option as it's not located near enough to the router. When I turned off the WPA2 option via my broadband settings, it wouldn't let me choose the WPA or WEP option instead.

    2. I installed Ten Four Fox and the additional settings suggested by @eyoungren on his post, for general surfing it is surprisingly fluid. The only websites it seems to struggle with are Facebook and Twitter, I guess this is because they are constantly live and updating? I tried creating a Ten Four Fox Box and this seemed to help but not much, I get the spinning beach ball quite a bit. Any suggestions?

    3. Spotify. The machine came installed with a Spotify app, once I've entered my details and clicked enter I get an error message that says something about my proxy settings?

    Any help is greatly appreciated!
     
  22. d-oost macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 10, 2016
    #22
    Either the Airport Extreme doesn't support WPA2, or your hub is using a form of encryption that it can't use. In any case, I'd look for a cheap, secondary router to set up a WEP/WPA network on the side. Given those are less secure, you can power off that router when you're not using the G4 too, which is an added bonus.

    Try using the mobile sites instead.

    Try downloading this version of Spotify and using it instead. While it's a fairly old version of Spotify (2011), it still manages to look for and play tracks and playlists. The radio feature is totally buggered, and some other modern features are missing, but the essentials are there.

    I actually bought a dead iMac G4 17" a long while ago for such a mod. Never got around doing it, but one of these days I will. The video signal's already been figured out by people who've done this mod before, by people like ersterhernd, jberg44 and TheDIYGuy999 on YouTube and various Hackintosh sites. Cramming everything in the base is the most tricky part, especially if you keep the optical drive (I do plan on putting in a Blu-Ray drive via a SATA-USB bridge, I want the drive door to actually have purpose, and I still use optical media from time to time).
     
  23. chrisconfessed thread starter macrumors regular

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    #23
    Thank you!
     
  24. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #24
    You want WPA2 with TKIP security. You cannot use AES encryption.

    If your router does not give you TKIP as an encryption option for WPA2 then you need to find an older router.
     
  25. aalls159 macrumors newbie

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    Jun 13, 2015
    Location:
    USA
    #25
    The best option for wifi is to get a older router like Daniel said, but to have the best security you want mac address filtering. To do that you want to go into System Preferences on you g4 iMac Click on Network, Then select Airport under show, Then write down the Airport ID (It is acutely your mac address, the thing that each computer has to identify it on a network.) Then on your new to you older router for your g4 iMac you want to set up mac address filtering, this will differ from brand to brand but if set up right it will block everyone but the mac address you have specified (the one you wrought down earlier). On a old air port extreme it is under timed access control there change the default unlimited to no access then after that click the plus button under wireless clients put in a description like old computers and put in the mac address for the g4 you wrought down, you can leave it at everyday all day or change it to a specific time. With this no one but your old g4 iMac will be able to get onto your wifi that is unsecured with modern protections it is what I do and I have never had a issue.
     

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