Interesting ideas for an old G4?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Manic Harmonic, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Manic Harmonic macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2011
    This computer was given to me. It runs great after a fresh 10.3.9 Install, but I already have several OSX computers so I'm not sure what to do with it. It's got dual 533 mhz processors and 256 mb of ram, so it's super slow and can't handle much. All the PowerPC linux distros just weren't for me. I already have a media/file/iTunes server, so this thing is pretty close to useless other than the fact that it looks cool. The only things I could come up with were:

    -Leave it as slow, stock OSX desktop computer just because I don't have desktop (almost pointless)
    -Use it to run OS9 apps (can I install OS9 with OSX without reinstalling everything? Installing is a PITA and I don't feel like doing it again.)
    -Gut the thing and use it as a hackintosh case (probably impractical and difficult without extreme modification)
    -Put my 09 macbook parts in it and convert it to a desktop (pointless and likely impossible)

    Any cool ideas that I haven't thought of?
  2. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
  3. BeamWalker macrumors 6502a


    Dec 18, 2009
    - donate it
    - convert it into a fish tank
    - make it into a beer pump
    - it'll also make a good mailbox
  4. pistooli macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2009
    Go crazy and update it with a dual 1.8GHz cpu!
  5. Nova77 Guest

    May 12, 2011
    Put as many 3TB hard drives as you can in this thing and turn it into a 21 TB storage server loll
  6. InuNacho macrumors 65816


    Apr 24, 2008
    In that one place
    Glad to see someone else with that idea. It sounds stupid, super narrow, would be super dark but it would be the world's coolest fish tank behind the Cube one.
  7. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    Applescript server. Use it to do all the boring, repetitive tasks you have via AS.

    That's what I have a G4 here at work doing. Moves files around and processes photos. At one time I had a script that was opening PDF files (in Acrobat) and saving out EPS files (silently, you never saw Acrobat open the files).

    I know there's a site called Dougs iTunes scripts or something like that, so that may be worth your while.
  8. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    you can just copy the OS 9 folder to the disk (you do not need to make a second partition). Then you have two options. Go to system preferences (in your utilities folder) and click on startvolume, choose OS 9 and click restart, then it will go into OS 9 (if you want to go back to OS X, go to the rainbow coloured apple, click on controls and then on startvolume, choose OS X and click restart. Second option is, to just click on an OS 9 game you want and it will open a "sandbox/virtual machine" in which OS 9 wil be loaded, although you are actually in OS X.
  9. Imixmuan macrumors 6502

    Dec 18, 2010
    First of all

    a dual 533 mhz is far from the end of the world. But Panther is. Panther has no supported browsers other than iCab, and the webkit for Panther is too old to update that, so you will have a crap internet expeirence. Go up to Tiger, and a proverbial world of software awaits, including Mactubes (yes, it will work in quicktime- provided you have a decent video card), Tenfourfox, Ominweb, Coreplayer, etc etc etc. Don't believe the PPC haters and non believers on this site, but also don't expect it to do what a new mac pro (or any intel mac) can do. Suggestion to look for a cheap processor upgrade is a good one. And max out that RAM!

    Don't belive me? The PPCluddite runs a single processor 500mhz as his main machine. I strongly suggest you read all his posts, including the last series about installing Debian with Openbox on his iBook G3 with a mere 256 MB of RAM.

    There is also if you want to be all mo-dern and are feeling Linux adventurous. Make sure you aren't afraid of the command line or a lack of flash.
  10. ppcg4mac macrumors 6502


    Feb 13, 2012
    Northwest Kansas
    When I did this it didnt work. I copied it off of one of my eMacs drives and onto my server G4s. when i selected Classic as my startup volume (in startup disk preferences) and restarted, it came up as a floppy disk with a question mark.

    Befor you do this, make sure you either
    A. install it on a different partition than OSX
    B. Make sure you have a working OS on another disk (panther finally paid off here for me.)
  11. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
    Nothing wrong with that would run tiger fine...

    -upgrade the ram to max 1.5 gig (pc 133 168 pin)
    -upgrade the harddrive (makes a hugh difference from old default 40 gig stock ones....i use a ide seagate barracuda 7200.10 250 gigs...runs great!)
    -probably yours has stock nvidia gforce 2 with 32mb sdram could put in a nvidia GeForce3 with 64 MB of ddr ram

    the ram and harddrive should be found pretty cheap on craigs...
  12. DrakkenWar macrumors 6502


    Nov 7, 2010
    San Antonio,Texas

    My first dual proc mac was a Digital Audio dual 533 running Tiger. I maxed out the ram, video and stuffed it full of hard drives for pennies on the dollar. It booted almost as fast as the single core G5 1.8 next to it I bought to replace it. I would even say it did somethings faster than the G5.

    I still regret selling that machine. Like some have said here, there are tweaks, there are cheap upgrades and ways to juice a truly great computer and keep you not only chugging along, but quite happy with the computer you have. Upgrade if you can, but know that you do not have to.

    Like I have said before. I have a 2011 i7 mini decked out, and yet I find myself more times then not on my my PB/1.5/10.4.11. It is sexy, amazing still and does all I need for most of my home based ventures.

  13. kloneman macrumors newbie


    Mar 20, 2012
    Fort Worth, TX
    The hard disk has to have MacOS 9 drivers installed on it to boot into MacOS 9. These drivers are not required to run the Classic environment. It may be possible to install the OS 9 drivers without reformatting the disk, but I am unsure, since it has been a long time since I tried to do something like that.
  14. Jethryn Freyman macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Aug 9, 2007
    Do you need it for anything?

    I used to run Leopard on a single 466MHz Digital Audio G4 as my main computer as a holdover until my G5 arrived. Slow, but with 1.25GB memory, usable for internet, email, calendars, some music, etc.
  15. Manic Harmonic thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2011
    Thanks for the ideas, guys. I wasn't aware this computer would take that much ram, I was actually under the impression the max was 512 mb. Knowing that, the idea of running Tiger (or hell... Even Leopard with a processor upgrade) seems much more practical. I still can't figure out how to get OS9 working. I had to get creative in order to find an OS9 disc, and I can't even boot up from it or anything. Dragging the system folder to my computer didn't make a difference - the computer recognized it, but it said that I had to have OS9 installed on the computer to use the system folder.

    Also... The fish tank idea is actually pretty cool.
  16. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    On installing OS 9!!!!
    Again, OS 9 drivers need to be installed, they are not required to just open an OS 9 application in classic mode (it will pop up/load in OS X automatically just try!).
    About installign OS 9 drivers without reformating. I do not know of a way to do it either, but try another way:
    1. download carbon copy cloner or SuperDuper (older version for OS X Panther is still available)
    2. connect an external Hard drive to your mac (be sure you have formatted the external drive to OS X. If you have allready data on it, create a folder on the external one (otherwise SuperSuper will overwrite all data).
    3. use SuperDuper (or CarbonCopyCloner) to copy your Panther to the external drive (be sure to copy it to the folder you created, if you have other dta on the external HDD).
    4. when ready, disconnect and open disk utility in Utilities folder. reformat the internal drive choose "HFS+ journaled", under this there is a checkbox, check the box "install OS 9 drivers". Now let it go.
    5. reinstall Panther from your external and add OS 9 (I would highly recommend Tiger though! You can use the migration asistent to copy your data from Panther to Tiger and will have no changes in your data.

    ---> you now might say, "why should I do what you say, if I have to reinstall everything anyway and why should I make just one partition on one drive for both OS?" ANSWER: It will slow down your drive, if you make two partitions, even with a more modern 120GB IDE Drive. With your old stock 20-40GB harddrive it will be even worse. Both OS can coexist perfectly and you will loose no speed on your drive.

    this model has a 128GB limit, you have to put a ATA-PCI card in it, to recognize the full 250GB. (But I agree on the rest you said ;)
    I tested a ACARD, Sonnet and SUA ATA-PCI card and found out, that the SUA and ACARD do not recognize some Seagate models prior to 7200.7 (of course I did have this only with 2 Seagate drive out of 40, so it could be that there are Seagate Drives before 7200.7 that work with ACARD/SUA, though).
  17. tdbmoss macrumors 6502


    Dec 4, 2011
    It will run Leopard nicely even without a processor upgrade, just search for either the commands needed to trick the installer into thinking it has 867 MHz processors or the instructions for burning a Leopard DVD with the 867 MHz check stripped out of it.

    This should be a nice machine, I have a relative who still uses a single 466 MHz "Digital Audio" G4 with 1.5 GB memory and running Leopard as their daily machine, so this dual 533 MHz DA would be a nice upgrade! :)
  18. Macman45 macrumors G5


    Jul 29, 2011
    Somewhere Back In The Long Ago
    Collectors do buy these old Macs, what kind of shape is it in to look at?
  19. Manic Harmonic thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2011
    I think I'm going to do that as soon as I get my new ram, I'm ordering 1.5 gigs. I found the instructions on how to do it and it seems pretty simple. Surely there must be a reason Leopard needs 867 mhz though? I'm assuming a speed issue?
  20. jbarley macrumors 68040


    Jul 1, 2006
    Vancouver Island
  21. Imixmuan macrumors 6502

    Dec 18, 2010
    Some people argue that another reason to not run Leopard below 867 mhz is that the extra heat generated by using a more demanding OS shortens the life of the CPU and maybe even the GPU. But I've never seen a solid documentation of that, just opinions. There are certainly lots of people who have run Leopard below 867mhz.
  22. tdbmoss macrumors 6502


    Dec 4, 2011
    Yes, it's known as Apple wanting you to buy a new machine despite your old one being perfectly good, so that their bank balance can become even larger... ;)
  23. Manic Harmonic thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2011
    Well, it's been decided then. This opens up a lot more possibilities, as a lot of software still supports leopard.
  24. Manic Harmonic thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2011
    Is there any way to burn an install dvd to multiple cd's? I don't feel like buying a DVD drive. I found a leopard restore image made for a g4 under 867 mhz, but it wouldn't boot when I chose the drive from startup disk... I'm thinking it's because I haven't put the 1.5 gigs in yet.

    By the way, I decided what I'm going to do with it. I have a cloud backup account that I've never used, because it's extremely slow. I'm going to put the files I need to back up on the G4, and use it solely as a machine to back up to the cloud. Provided the software works on 10.5 ppc, of course.
  25. Manic Harmonic thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2011
    Unfortunately, it appears this just isn't going to work. I tried restoring the disk image to a firewire drive with ccc, and it doesn't recognize it on boot (before or after using (leopardassist). I would buy a DVD drive and try to use the actual DVD, but I really don't think it will help. Maybe I really will turn it into an aquarium.

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