Mac mini G4 owners, what do you guys do?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ApolloBoy, May 26, 2015.

  1. ApolloBoy macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #1
    So I just recently bought a G4 Mini for a bit under $50 recently and I'm trying to figure out what exactly to do with it aside from just futzing around. I'm leaning more towards turning it into a dedicated machine for MAME but I'm just curious as to what else I could do aside from that.
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2011
    Location:
    Phoenix • 85037
    #2
    I don't own one, but if I had one it would be a file server.

    It's cliché but that seems to be the typical use for Mac Minis.
     
  3. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #3
    I use my 2012 mini as a file server, and a 2010 mini for video playback. Mac minis work well and are often used for these "typical" tasks, although a G4 is not as good as Intel for either task.

    A file server it will make, but only at 10/100 speed.
     
  4. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #4
    Actually 10/100/480 minus overheads.
     
  5. NathanJHill macrumors member

    NathanJHill

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    #5
    I use mine as a distraction free writing workstation type setup.

    Eventually, I will likely experiment with it as a file server/test webhost for messing around projects. The problem with that is that you can get like $15/year VPSes that are probably easier to work with, refresh, and load with software.

    I thought about hooking it up to my tv, but I can do just as well using my iPad and Airplay mirroring. It would be good enough to play old Sega/Super Nintendo games on though.

    BTW, MorphOS will make good use of your Mac Mini G4 and runs pretty nice. I'll be writing up a review of MorphOS on my site later this week.
     
  6. flyrod macrumors 6502

    flyrod

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2015
    #6
    How well does morphos work with server admin type things?

    I have a mini cluster that used to be for running simulations and xcode compiling. The shift to multi-core 64-bit stuff has somewhat retired it, so now it's mostly for parallel/cluster computing experiments. Probably the most useful task it has now is video encoding. My house is electric heat so I usually fire it up during the winter as a slightly more productive way to turn electricity into heat. For a while I played around with xgrid, but I think that has been dropped by apple for some reason. It would be nice to see more stuff written to use multiple computers vs. the now common multi-threaded software.


    http://daugerresearch.com/pooch/quicktime.shtml

    [​IMG]
     
  7. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #7
    They are fun machines to use as file servers or remote terminals. I have used them strictly to run Screen Sharing to a remote Mac on the network.
     
  8. ctmpkmlec4 macrumors 6502

    ctmpkmlec4

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2014
    Location:
    Lyons, KS
    #8
    +1

    That is, if you want to spend ~$100 for a keyfile. It's a great operating system if you want or need compatibility with classic Amiga software. MorphOS is beautifully designed, but interacting with it is a little different than we're used to with OS X or Windows. I would suggest installing this operating system on your G4 both to keep the Mac Mini and the MorphOS project alive.
     
  9. NathanJHill macrumors member

    NathanJHill

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    #9
    Yeah, I just have the demo CD which is pretty blazing. I know it uses some Linux underpinnings plus other work, including AmigaOS compatibility. The basic software included is pretty anemic, but the built-in browser is speedy. It is... different.

    I have had little experience with AmigaOS over the years, so it's not really an option for day to day use. But if you have a Mac Mini G4, it doesn't hurt to fiddle with it.
     
  10. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #10
    Upon install, you need the Chrysalis pack which fleshes out Morphos with lots of software, utilities and games etc. It can be downloaded here:

    http://www.meta-morphos.org/

    Obviously, being able to run Amiga apps opens up a colossal wealth of software from Aminet etc.

    I've tried the demo on a Powerbook and having had many Amigas, the OS was familiar territory. My only grumble was the interface styling - it's decidedly retro - it could do with a makeover. However, the speed is astonishing, I suspect it so well written it squeezes out every drop of power from the hardware.
    At some point, when i have a dedicated machine, I'll stump up the £100 for a license - which may seem a lot but not when you consider the developers are writing a new OS specifically tailor made for old PPC.

    Here a clip of it zooming along on a G4 Mac Mini:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=po0PDbo-gCk
     
  11. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Location:
    Germany
    #11
    Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggggggggg.................

    Don't ever never never do that !! Chrysalis might seem like a good start for getting system up, but it will also install 2 truckloads of crap.

    Better start by installing Grunch and than add just the packages you want (Grunch can also deinstall what it had installed) and these will even be semiautomaticly updated.

    @NathanJHill
    There are NO and I repeat NO Linux underpinning in MorphOS. The MorphOS we know today consist of 2 parts:
    - ABox, that the Amiga compatible system users and developers can see
    - Quark, a costum mikrokernel with modern day features providing some low-level infrastructures for the ABox but completly hidden from anything a user or "mortal" developer could run.

    /this message was brought to you from a G5 running MorphOS3.9beta ;)
     
  12. Dronecatcher macrumors 68000

    Dronecatcher

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2014
    Location:
    Lincolnshire, UK
    #12
    Thanks for correcting me on that Bug-Creator, as I was only briefly testing the install I did I wasn't aware of the 'junk' factor :eek:
     
  13. lowendlinux Contributor

    lowendlinux

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2014
    Location:
    North Country (way upstate NY)
    #13
    Thanks for giving me a reason to finally buy a PowerPC Mac.
     
  14. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

    Joined:
    May 30, 2011
    Location:
    Germany
    #14
    Actually that is (IMO) the only thing it is any good for.

    - Run a quick test wether MorphOS offers anything for you
    - get a rough overview
    - once you decided to go a bit further wipe the HD clean and do a proper install.
     
  15. ApolloBoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #15
    So I toyed around with using my Mac mini G4 as a media server last night and it seems to work OK. I don't want to spend an obscene amount of money upgrading the hard drive to something bigger so I'm looking into an external drive instead. My question is, would a USB 2.0 drive work better for something like this or should I look into a FireWire drive?
     
  16. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #16
    A USB 2.0 hard drive would be fine for basic files. However, you should keep the OS on the internal drive and simply use the external for file storage.
     
  17. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #17
    The Mac mini G4 has USB 2.0, so it will be fine.

    As I mentioned above, the bottleneck will be the 10/100 ethernet.
     
  18. ApolloBoy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    ApolloBoy

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2015
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #18
    I'm aware of both, and I don't plan on using Ethernet anyway since I'll be using Wi-Fi instead. The reason why I ask about USB 2.0 vs. FireWire is that I've read that FW tends to have better real-world performance than USB 2.0, so the faster the interface, the better. A good chunk of my videos are also in 1080p so that makes speed even more imperative.
     
  19. redheeler, May 30, 2015
    Last edited: May 30, 2015

    redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2014
    #19
    AirPort Extreme is even worse than 10/100 ethernet, that will still be your bottleneck.

    An AirPort Extreme connection might work ok for HD video streaming, since you don't need a very fast transfer speed for that, assuming all the files are already stored on the mini and don't have very high bitrates. Just go with the USB 2.0 drive, and use the Ethernet connection if you can.
     
  20. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #20
    FW will be faster and you can get a used Mac Mini base unit such as those from Iomega quite cheaply which also serve as hubs to increase the meagre amount of ports available. For the fastest network speeds open to you, keep a USB port free and get a GB Ethernet to USB adapter. It all depends upon how much you want to invest in this.
     
  21. flyrod macrumors 6502

    flyrod

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2015
    #21
    I was tinkering with a G4 Mini some more and I got it stable at 1.83Ghz, and it will boot and run for a while at 1.92. I'm pretty sure now that the limiting factor is cooling, because modifying a stock heatsink with a piece of copper seems to help:

    [​IMG]

    Does anyone know how to get temperatures from the Mini PMU? That would really help when testing stuff like this.
     
  22. LightBulbFun macrumors 6502a

    LightBulbFun

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2013
    Location:
    London UK
    #22
    the Mac minis 7447B does contain a thermal diode but I dont think its accessible via OS X, your best bet is to wedge a Thermal couple as close as you can to the die.

    BTW is that the stock heatsink from your Mac Mini? (ignoring the copper shim you have in place) because the heatsink in my Mac mini looks completely different to that. imagine a Xserve1,1/2,1 heatsink hit with a shrink ray thats what my Mac mini G4 heatsink kinda looks like (ie a bunch of fine copper fins)

    my Mac mini G4 is still happily singing along at 1.67Ghz :)
     
  23. flyrod macrumors 6502

    flyrod

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2015
    #23
    Temperature Monitor works on Powerbooks iBooks and such, but doesn't find any sensors on the Mini. The PMU is definitely ramping the fan up and down, so I'm hoping someone watching can point out how to get at the data. Does anyone know how??

    Yes, that's one of the OEM Mini heat sinks with a slot cut for a chunk of copper. I've seen at least 3 different versions on Mini's that I've opened, and the higher spec Minis seem to have larger fans and heat sinks. I guess it just depends on the supplier of the week.

    Maybe some day I'll buy a thermocouple setup and do some more quantitative testing. I suspect my altitude may be a factor here too, as I'm at around 75% atmosphere.
     
  24. CooperBox macrumors 6502a

    CooperBox

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2010
    Location:
    France - between Ricard & Absinthe
    #24
    I know that this thread is more than 2 years old, but in keeping with the title, "What do you guys do?"..........
    Some time ago I purchased a 2.26GHz Mac Mini (late 2009 with 4GB memory) just to mate with a G4 Cube. (Ok, its Intel not PPC, but don't chastise me for that).;)
    By simply lifting out the Cube's assy, I then wedged the Mini inside. It had Yosemite installed which I didn't like, so added Snow Leopard onto a 2nd partition. This linked to an Apple 17" LCD Studio Display is the perfect match both aesthetically and functionally for the Cube, and I reckon SL 10.6 was one of the best OS's ever. And the setup is a great discussion point with visitors chez-moi.
     
  25. WalnutSpice Suspended

    WalnutSpice

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2015
    Location:
    Canton, Oh
    #25
    With CorePlayer you could use it for possibly 720p video playback, so maybe a small home theatre machine?
     

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