Is a G4 Mac Mini still worth it?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by WalnutSpice, Jun 28, 2015.

  1. WalnutSpice Suspended

    WalnutSpice

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    #1
    I'm aware of all the PowerPC limitations and blah blah, I'm on a PowerMac G5 right now and it runs great as my main PC (only temporarily though) but I recently got a PowerBook G4 and it completely changed my opinion on G4 Macs. I always thought of them as slow pieces of trash anymore (when being used as a main PC I mean, to collectors they are anything but trash). But this PowerBook is actually very fast for a G4. I can watch 360p YouTube, use iMovie 06 and Skype. Almost anything I'd expect it to do. So I was thinking about buying a cheap G4 Mac Mini for my brother as I could find one very cheap online and upgrade the hard drive and RAM. He doesn't do much, Craigslist, YouTube, email, facebook. The usual. Only thing he wouldn't be able to do is sync his iPhone with iTunes, but he has a PC laptop he can do that on. The PowerBook is spect at a 1.67GHz G4 / 1GB RAM / 64MB VRAM / 15inch display. Would a higher end G4 Mini mach the speeds of this? Or should I go for a 2006 Mac Mini and just install Windows Vista / 7 or something?
     
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #2
    I've always considered the G4 Mini something of a red-headed stepchild, and in fact it's the only G4 Mac I don't have in my collection.

    In all honesty, your Powerbook-especially if it's a last generation model with a high resolution screen and DDR-2 RAM-is miles ahead of a Mini. The Minis have a real bottleneck in that they are limited to 1gb of RAM(although I'm not aware of any G4 that can take over 2gb) and the graphics are crummy even by 2005 standards.

    I like my 2006 CoreDuo Mini, although it's also a bit limited. A 2007 model with a Core2Duo would probably be a better choice.
     
  3. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

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    #3
    As someone who recently bought a G4 for messing around with, it's not really a computer I'd use for everyday stuff. Mine is a base model which I've since overclocked to 1.5 GHz and it's still pretty sluggish. The maximum of 1 GB for RAM and the lackluster video hardware don't exactly help either. You could use it as a capable file server (although it lacks Gigabit Ethernet so keep that in mind) and if you've got Panther or Tiger on it, you can still run some Classic Mac OS stuff.

    So really, you're better off getting an Intel Mac mini as a daily driver.
     
  4. Zotaccian macrumors 6502a

    Zotaccian

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    Apr 25, 2012
    #4
    I could personally consider Mac Mini G4 if it was very very cheap, it could serve as mediamachine hooked to TV, but it has severe limitations as mediamachine, in performance and lacking support for Netflix and other popular streaming services.

    I recently bought small Android -based mini pc for 35 USD including shipping, it has HDMI, 4 standard USB -ports, SD card reader etc. It can easily play videos at 1080p and there is of course support for Netflix etc. so basically it is better at multimedia than G4 Mini, maybe even beats earlier Intel Mac Minis in video playback performance. The device is obviously completely silent. Remote was included but I bought wireless keyboard & mouse combo.

    Of course if you need Mac OS X then it's either Apple product or hackintosh...
     
  5. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    MysticCow

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    May 27, 2013
    #5
    The G4 mini is useful for running MorphOS. It's one of only two Macs (the other being the infamous G4 iBook) that can run it right out of the box.

    http://www.morphos-team.net/hardware

    With the price of the older Intel minis down to under $200 (USD), if not even lower, the G4 mini is going to be very long in the tooth, unless you're running Morph. If I had to choose for a PowerPC to run the Mac OS, it's now a G5 or bust for OS X, and a G4 tower to run OS 9.
     
  6. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    Oct 17, 2014
    #6
    A first-gen Intel mini running Snow Leopard will be much better than a G4, even for basic browsing tasks. The price difference is small enough that I suggest you go with one of those, or even a later Core 2 Duo mini.
     
  7. MagicBoy macrumors 68040

    MagicBoy

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    Manchester, UK
    #7
    A 2009 would be even better. No more cruddy GMA 950 graphics, up to 8GB RAM and it'll run the current OS X.

    I've probably said this before, but mine was probably the best £450ish I've ever spent. Makes a damn good HTPC too.
     
  8. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #8
    OS X runs great on a lo of G4s. I'm running Leopard right now on everything from a 400mhz TiBook to a dual 1.8ghz G4 upgrade.

    I pretty much confine G3s to OS 9, but have no issue running either Tiger or Leopard on any G4. Of course, I do love running OS 9 on my single 1.25 MDD because it's such a great experience, but it also runs Leopard well.
     
  9. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

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    Jan 1, 2010
    #9
    @ OP
    what is the reason you want to get your brother a Mac (e.g. certain uses or introduction to Macs...)?
    what is the price you/he is willing to pay?

    Aren't other options close in price over there?
    Last Generation ibook G4's (1.33/1.42GHz, 1.5GB max RAM, ATI 9550), earlier versions have same GPU like G4 Mini and RAM max. is 1.25GB or even 1GB = i.e. like the G4 Mini.
    Late generations of PowerBook G4 (some can take 2GB RAM), the G4 Mini has a ATI 9200, so find a PB G4 with higher GPU, I don't know though how the Nvidia Card in the 12" PowerBook G4 compares to other models, most of the PB's over 1GHz have an ATI 9600 at minimum (but look into the charts before buying).
    You can compare models (including Intel) here http://www.everymac.com/ultimate-mac-comparison-chart/?compare=all-macs (if you click on some of the blue titles you can see the full specks with some hidden infos)

    I thought about a PowerMac for you (since cheaper, if the CPU could make up for the lower GPU inlcuded), but looking at a comparison of the fastest PowerMac G4 to a 1,5GHz PB it looks that a 1,67GHz PB would get close to the fastest stock PowerMac G4 and you have an ATI 9700 included in the PB. So... (PS: despite taking Dual Processors into account for the MDD G4,... though your brother probably won't do Dual CPU using stuff, I mean, though I have done it, but e.g. compressing video is insane on a PowerPC, just as an example for a Dual CPU task. A reason for a PowerMac would be though, if you would like to tinker a lot, which can burn money little by little, step by step. But keep in mind that it is for your brother and so tinkering should not weigh higher than usability).
    http://barefeats.com/imacg5.html

    What about an iMac (G5/Intel), shouldn't they have come down in price, too and the ones with bad capacitors should have died by now? (also have usually nice speakers for what they are).
     
  10. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    Jul 25, 2008
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    Central US
    #10
    I bought a G4 Mini when it was new in 05 and even then it was barely worth it. I've had a lot of G4 powered systems and the Mini G4 was a really bad machine. Watch the auctions and Core Duo and Core 2 Mini's are easily had for $60 shipped with a power brick. You're probably not likely to see a G4 that works with a power brick for much less than that.
     
  11. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

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    #11
    I have owned countless mini's (ppc/Intel)...Get the 2006 Intel Mini. The small price difference is well worth it.
     
  12. catzilla macrumors 6502

    catzilla

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    Rhode Island
    #12
    I agree, I bought a 2006 mini upgraded to a 1.83 C2D with a 64GB SSD for around $100 on Ebay. I'm running it headless with a old FW 400 external.
     
  13. WalnutSpice thread starter Suspended

    WalnutSpice

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    Canton, Oh
    #13
    Thanks for all the input guys. Not doing the G4 Mini now. And to those asking, I went to a G4 Mini because there is a Craigslist seller close to where I live who sells G4 Mini's for $20 each. He bought them from the local elementary when they upgraded to Intel Macs (They still use the G5s there though). But I've shown him the two desktop options I've come up with thanks to you guys. Option 1 is an early 2006 Core Duo iMac which sells cheap on eBay and I could up it to a Core 2 Duo if he keeps it for a long time, or a Core 2 Duo mini that is capable of running the latest version of OS X. I recommended him the Core 2 Duo mini. And he is paying with his own money, that's why I tried to go to the cheapest option.
     
  14. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #14
    I'd grab a G4 mini for $20, but probably not much more than that.
     
  15. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

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    #15
    This thread is seriously making me consider a Mini, probably running it headless with my G5 and then I could use it as a file server for my music and videos
     
  16. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

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    Jan 1, 2010
    #16
    are the iMac CPUs socketed? (Like in a rare number of Minis)
     
  17. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

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    #17
    I'm pretty sure they are, I saw an upgrade video of an unsupported Core Duo, to a Core 2 Duo in order to run Yosemite
     
  18. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #18
    Keep in mind that G4 Minis only have 10/100 Mbps Ethernet ports which is a limiting factor when used as a server compared to an early Intel model.
     
  19. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

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    #19
    Yeah, would internet sharing VIA FireWire be faster?
     
  20. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #20
    Potentially but you would then deal with overhead on the other Mac as well. They make fine servers but it is something to keep in mind.
     
  21. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

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    #21
    Yeah, my G5 is direct connected to my router. The G5 would be the computer providing the sharing. My internet setup is a bit confusing, we have the main router and modem in the laundry room, in the box that puts the CAT5e cables to the jacks throughout my house. We have 2 of those CAT5e cables connected to the main router. One of those cables goes to the living room and the other goes to the upstairs loft. In each room, there is another router. So I would have a few options on where to connect the Mini to, but the most viable option is the G5, it would also make screen sharing a whole lot quicker.
     
  22. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #22
    @MacCubed In all honesty, unless you are using the Mini for major file sharing then you may find the performance acceptable. Another option would be an AirPort Extreme and a USB hard drive.
     
  23. MacCubed macrumors 68000

    MacCubed

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    #23
    Yeah that's what I was thinking too. I've got a pretty big iTunes library, but it should be fine even with a smaller hard drive. I may even consider getting an external FireWire enclosure along with a 1 TB WD hard drive and set it up with the Mini.
     
  24. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #24
    Running OS X Leopard and using iTunes will work just fine over 100 Mbps Ethernet.
     

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