Mini Mac plugged into an old iMac G4 help.

Discussion in 'Mac mini' started by shopiqure01, Apr 3, 2015.

  1. shopiqure01 macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2015
    Hi. I have an apple iMac G4, can I use a mini Mac plugged into the back of the G4 and use that as the screen. Want to use the mini Mac as the main hard drive, do not want to get rid of my G4.
    Will this work? Any help gratefully received. Thanks
  2. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    You can't use the iMac G4 as an external display from the mini, or any other computer, without modifying the internal connection to the display panel. It's not a project for the occasional hobbyist, however.

    But, there's another way around that...
    Connect your mini to the iMac with a Firewire cable.
    Boot the mini to target disk mode (press and release the power button, then hold down the T key. After a few seconds, you will see a floating firewire icon on the mini's display. You don't need to have a display connected - so just holding the T will get there, even with no display attached.
    Now, restart your iMac, while holding the Option/alt key on the iMac's keyboard.
    You can choose the mini's hard drive to boot your iMac. And, now the iMac is using the mini's hard drive as the boot drive, same as it would with any external hard drive. You just have to remember to boot the mini in target disk mode each time you need to boot up.
  3. shopiqure01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2015
    Thank you very much.
    I assume you mean the T key on the iMac keyboard?
    This way I can use the iMac screen for the mini, i want to use it as the main target disk mode, so don't mind having to boot the mini in target disk mode.
    I also assume I can use the Minis Internet and so on as normal? Found the IMac G4 Internet is so very slow hence a mini iMac. Thank you.
  4. DeltaMac macrumors G3


    Jul 30, 2003
    You would boot the _mini_ into target disk mode by holding the T key on the _mini_ keyboard when you turn it on.

    And, you are not really using the mini at all, but target disk mode makes the mini act as an external hard drive. You would not be using ANY other hardware in the mini, other than the hard drive. No network, no video, nothing but the drive (and the mini's power supply, of course)
    If your iMac G4 is an older model (700 or 800 Mhz G4) and you are using Wifi, then, yes, you will be slow. Best way around that is to use wired ethernet.
    Make sure your iMac is maxed out for memory - if PC-133, that's 1GB total, or the newer G4s with PC-2700 can have 2GB at the most.
  5. McScooby macrumors 6502a

    Oct 15, 2005
    The Paps of Glenn Close, Scotland.
    You'd have to unplug the keyboard from the iMac & use that with the mini after you'd started up the iMac & then obviously plug back into the iMac to use it, it's probably a bit of a bastardised experience though, because on one hand it may seem faster if using the mini for any hard drive/processor related stuff, but as far as I think, you'll still be limited by the iMac's video graphics, which'll likely make quite a lot of internet video pretty choppy.
  6. shopiqure01 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Apr 3, 2015
    It is maxed out to max of 1Gb & Ethernet connected, still very very slow!
    Back to the drawing board! :-(


    Very choppy! Even hard wired Ethernet connection!
  7. Fishrrman macrumors G5


    Feb 20, 2009
  8. flyinmac macrumors 68040


    Sep 2, 2006
    United States
    Maybe I missed it, but I don't believe you stated whether the mini is PowerPC or Intel.

    If both the iMac and mini are PowerPC then you could boot the iMac from the mini as others proposed. But that does nothing for performance. The iMac is still the computer, and the mini is simply reduced to being a hard drive that does no "thinking" or processing of information.

    If the mini is an Intel machine, then the iMac will not be able to boot from it.

    Using a PowerPC iMac to control an Intel mini is possible using vpn to remote control the mini. That would make the mini the computer and provide you with the performance boost and essentially the iMac becomes a simple screen with keyboard and mouse.

    There is some theoretical lag in performance using VPN over a network. But in my experience, if you find the right VPN software, the lag can be essentially unnoticeable. Some VPN software does have noticeable lag though.

    If the best performance is what you want, you're better off getting a cheap monitor for the mini.

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