Is PowerPC Obsolete in 2016?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Adamscomputerrepair, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. Adamscomputerrepair macrumors 6502

    Adamscomputerrepair

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2015
    #1


    I posted this for 3 reasons:
    1, I want to show you guys some things I've tried out and want some new tricks that you've tried. 2, I want your opinion on whether these gloriously old beauties are obsolete.
    3, I am shamelessly promoting my new channel sparked tech.

    So, what is your opinion? Is PowerPC obsolete? Is there anything I can do to make my PPC better? Let me know! And while you're at it, tune into my new channel Monday evening for a podcast.
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #2
    Not to be rude, but this question might be more appropriate over in the Intel Mac forums.

    Kind of strange to ask here in the PowerPC forum when the majority of users here USE PowerPC.

    I mean, I use my PowerBook and my PowerMac everyday.

    As far as making PowerPC better…SSDs, SATA PCI, USB 2.0 PCI/PC cards, CPU upgrades. So, lots you can do to make your Mac better.
     
  3. Adamscomputerrepair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Adamscomputerrepair

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    Aug 9, 2015
    #3
    I know you use PowerPC. Which is why I think the question is most importantly directed to this forum. You guys are in the PPC world everyday. Surely you've felt it age a little. I'm not trying to be insulting, I just want opinions. And I meant software optimization. But thanks for the hardware tips.
     
  4. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

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    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #4
    Are they obsolete..yes

    I think the question is more are they usable and that answer is also yes
     
  5. MultiFinder17 macrumors 68000

    MultiFinder17

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    Tampa, Florida
    #5
    A piece of equipment is only obsolete when it no longer performs the functions that you require of it. A PowerBook still meets my needs in my classroom, and it does not impede my students education, so for my needs it is not obsolete. If I were a video creator making HD videos, then yes, the PowerBook would be hopelessly obsolete.
     
  6. 8692574 Suspended

    8692574

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2006
    #6
    If only i could put an ssd in my iMac G4...... I am sure it would be cool!
     
  7. ziggy29, Jun 10, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2016

    ziggy29 macrumors regular

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    Texas
    #7
    What is meant by "obsolete"? If you mean something that is pretty much unsupported, where little to no new commercial development is taking place, then yes. If you mean unusable, not at all useful any more and not capable of doing any of the day-to-day tasks that many users perform, then the answer is still a resounding no.

    That said, IMO, they are obsolete for some tasks and perfectly useful for others. (For some applications, even older PPC Macs running OS 9 are still useful!) And as a hobbyist looking for ways to extend life of old Mac hardware and do things with older Macs that are supposed to be "incapable" of them, no, the fun (and occasional frustration) of the challenge is never really obsolete.

    I have newer Macs when I need the power that I use on a regular basis for most things (see signature for partial list). But sometimes I still enjoy returning to my older Macs to play around a bit, to tinker "under the hood", to try to improve the performance and run old software that doesn't run on Intel Macs running El Cap. And enjoyment is never obsolete, either.
     
  8. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

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    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #8
    Exactly the point. If you want click and go, trouble free bang up to date computing, yes, they are obsolete.
    If you enjoy finding a bargain, customising, tailoring hardware and software to your needs, optimising to the nth degree - then they're far from obsolete.
    In fact, I'd say PPC is thriving - there always seems to be a new hack around the corner that squeezes out a few more CPU cycles of usefulness.
    I'm still using PPC exclusively - not because I'm a nostalgia zealot but because all my needs are addressed, and for the moment any spare cash that could be used for a Mac Pro is better spent on my other interests.

    Although your video addresses general use, don't forget these Macs are incredible for recording and producing music - so if nothing else, a Mac at a pocket money price gives you a multitrack recording studio with low latency hardware and rock solid software.
     
  9. Adamscomputerrepair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Adamscomputerrepair

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    Aug 9, 2015
    #9
    I didn't expect this thread to have so many answers. You guys are absolutely right, I just kinda expected everyone to hate the question and move on. Wow. But no seriously, is there any software I missed? Besides music making because honestly I don't have a musical talent in my body aside from singing. Is there anything I could be doing that would make my PowerBook even cooler?
     
  10. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #10
    I have software on my Quad at work that I use for writing exams and things like that.

    One specific software package(Chemdraw) is available for Intel computers, but it's freakishly expensive. On the other hand, I've used "scavenged from the trash" versions for a while now on PPC computers.

    I have an SL Server virtual machine on my Macbook Pro with Chemdraw(along with Office 2011) installed and it's workable, but nothing beats actually using it on real hardware. The end results are the same as if I'd used something newer, but I can get it done faster and more efficiently running natively on a PPC computer.

    I have some other specialized scientific software that either never made the jump to Intel(sometimes not even to OS X) or if it did is freakishly expensive.

    Finally, I maintain a G4 tower at work that's operating a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometer. This is an older instrument and is highly specialized(as NMRs go). For anyone who cares, it's a solid state NMR with a 500mhz(proton) wide bore magnet to support magic angle spinning, and all the probes for it are custom-built by the PI who operates the instruments or his grad students. There's really no modern replacement that would allow him to continue his research(and even if there was, it would be a quarter million dollar or more investment).

    In any case, the software for this instrument runs only on OS 9. In fact, he was told that it wouldn't run on 9.2.2, but it ended up working fine. It's enough of a customized install that I actually kept an image of it after the last hard drive crash so I wouldn't have to go through the song and dance of getting it working again. The software has to "talk" to a National Instruments PCI card, so classic mode isn't really even an option.

    We've also been pushing the speed barriers on it. The 466mhz Digital Audio he was using for lost its power supply, and to just try and get things online again, I grabbed a 733mhz Quicksilver that was sitting in the room. It caused a somewhat bizarre situation-the software would send the pulse signals to the instrument(we could observe them on an oscilloscope), the instrument would respond with its signal-called a free induction decay(FID) that we could also observe on an oscilloscope, but the computer wouldn't "see" the FID. "Downgrading" the Quicksilver to 466mhz(from the dead DA) actually fixed it. I've been working on putting together a few surplus computers for him so that we can switch with minimal downtime if necessary. I've also been promised dinner at any restaurant in town of my choosing sometime soon :)
     
  11. Adamscomputerrepair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Adamscomputerrepair

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    Aug 9, 2015
    #11
    Not trying to sway your feelings from Mac, but why not use a Raspberry Pi if you need lower power? They're 5 volts and the Model A had a 500MHZ processor out of the box. Not to mention it's $25. Just a thought.
     
  12. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    Kentucky
    #12
    Did you read what all I said about the requirements? I need that specific computer to natively run OS 9 and I have to be able to directly access a PCI slot. I'm pretty sure there's no way a Pi could satisfy either of those requirements.
     
  13. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

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    #13
    Graphic design - a top end Powerbook easily runs Adobe Creative Suite 4.
    Film editing - if you have 2005 vintage video hardware, that's what Macs were made for.
    Emulation - apart from games as you've mentioned, a Powerbook can perfectly emulate a high end Amiga (with access to thousands of apps and games plus a still active community). Other 8/16 bit systems and of course, through Virtual PC, various flavours of Windows.
     
  14. Adamscomputerrepair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Adamscomputerrepair

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    Aug 9, 2015
    #14

    Of course I read the requirements. Requirements can change. Access to a PCI slot can be done. Just takes an adapter. What am I saying? Just stick with the PM
    --- Post Merged, Jun 10, 2016 ---
    I can edit with footage from my iPhone on the PowerBook. Drag clips over, convert them in Voltaic HD, and then edit in final cut express (cause I can't find a copy of pro anywhere)
     
  15. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    Kentucky
    #15
    Well, you were the one who suggested the Pi, and I'm still trying to work out how to get OS 9 running natively on an ARM processor.

    BTW, we've tracked the issue to requiring a 7400 series chip and not working with a 7450 series chip.

    I don't expect requirements to change since the instrument is now well over 15 years out of support.
     
  16. Adamscomputerrepair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Adamscomputerrepair

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    #16
    It's actually possible to run OS 9 on virtually anything using QEMU or Oracle Virtualbox. Could you trick the script into thinking you're running a 7450 instead of a 7400? I tricked my PowerBook clone I had put on my MacBook into thinking it was still a G4. Anything is possible in OS X. Especially older versions.
     
  17. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

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    Germany
    #17
    PowerPC is about is about as obsolete as recording UTube-videos blabbering about wether why and how PowerPC is obsolete.
     
  18. Adamscomputerrepair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Adamscomputerrepair

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    #18
    --- Post Merged, Jun 10, 2016 ---
    Let me stop you there. I had to ask myself this question back in 2014 and the only person that had answered it was the iBook guy. He had made a video in 2011 (you know, back when leopard was still supported?) My friend Matt and I had both been suckered into buying G4's. I had never owned a Mac, nor did I know anything about them. Shocking, I know, since I've caught on pretty quick. I bought an EMac G4 for $50, he bought an iMac G4 Luxo for $125. His sat on a shelf for 2 years until he finally wound up giving it to me. I on the other hand made my EMac do everything I set out to do. Then MacTubes failed, Spotify announced they would stop support soon and I gave up. I made the video to show people how to work around problems. I made the video to tell people it's okay to buy these machines still. Also, it's YouTube and whether. If you're going to smart off on my thread, at least use proper grammar.
     
  19. Daniël Oosterhuis macrumors 6502a

    Daniël Oosterhuis

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    #19
    Not everyone is English around here, y'know.
     
  20. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    Kentucky
    #20
    I still-once again-need a real PCI card and direct access to it. By far and away the easiest way to do that is to use physical hardware that can natively boot into the OS.

    I'm also still wondering about these supposed PCI adapters for the Pi-I can't seem to find any!
     
  21. Adamscomputerrepair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Adamscomputerrepair

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    Aug 9, 2015
    #21
    More like PCI to USB. Either way, if I can be any help fixing or optimizing your machine, let me know
    --- Post Merged, Jun 10, 2016 ---
    My apologies, that was very 'Merican of me
     
  22. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    Aug 31, 2011
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    Phoenix • 85037
    #22
    Sorry, I wasn't trying to be rude.

    It's just that I use these Macs every day so the question to me is odd. If they were obsolete I would not be able to use them.

    But yeah, I've felt the pressure of time. Loss of support, workarounds, failing parts, etc. But for what I am using them for they are still very capable.

    Not sure what specific software type tips you are looking for.
     
  23. LightBulbFun macrumors 6502a

    LightBulbFun

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    Nov 17, 2013
    Location:
    London UK
    #23
    @Adamscomputerrepair even if you could get PCI on a Pi (and there are Non Pi ARM boards with PCI(e) ) you would still run into the issue of the Pi being an ARM machine with OS9 being PPC32 based and say you did managed to fire up OS9 in QEMU (keeping in mind QEMUs ability to boot OS9 is quite broken atm) you would still run into the issue of passing through the PCI devices to the emulated machine if this was Virtual machine (say a G5 running Linux then you MIGHT be able to do it Much like VT-D) but being ARM-PPC Pure emulation i doubt you can do it. if your feeling bored feel free to watch this video by me

     
  24. Adamscomputerrepair thread starter macrumors 6502

    Adamscomputerrepair

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    Aug 9, 2015
    #24

    Nah man it's cool. A few people have said this is an odd question
    You make a good point. And I'm not bored but I'll watch the video anyway. I assume most of you have probably watched mine. It's only fair right?
     
  25. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

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    May 30, 2011
    Location:
    Germany
    #25
    Reasons to buy PPC (or better PPC-Macs):

    - nostalgia
    - special use cases (OS9,MorphOS or SW that just won't work with Rosetta)
    - to intregrate into an allready PPC-heavy Mac-environment

    Everyone else is better of buying an (early) IntelMac.

    Says the Klown surrounded by (counting puters not CPUs):
    2x G5
    6x G4 (5x Apple 1 other)
    1x 5200B (603 based SoC)

    Maybe more hiding in some utility HW.
     

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