My PowerMac G4 Lucky Dip (Twins!)

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by AphoticD, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. AphoticD macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #1
    I just came across a generic “Power Macintosh G4” listing on the Aussie eBay, selling 9 units at AU$30 B.I.N. each.

    No photos, no specs or model numbers. Just “A and B grade Power Mac G4 Towers”. “Chassis only but *should* have working internal parts”.

    I snagged one just out of curiosity.

    Watch this space... It could be a shiny Dual MDD or it could be an old 400Mhz G4 “Super computer”. (Or it could be an empty shell...)

    Either way I’m excited to see what lands on my doorstep! I’ve got plenty of parts to throw in it.

    :apple: :apple: :apple:
     
  2. weckart macrumors 601

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    #2
    I had a similar find yesterday. Picked up an MDD 1.25 FW400 plus keyboard, mouse, 15” ACD and a boxed retail edition of Tiger for a pittance. Came from a graphics house so lots of relevant software on it. And lots of dust. Looks like it hasn’t been booted up since 2005.


    D27F6930-E90E-4BA6-BAE9-172CF36B92A0.jpeg

    So far, I’m finding it quieter than my Quicksilvers at idle although the fans sound to be at higher pitch.

    With regard to your find, the grey G4 PowerMacs would be interesting as you get to play with Rhapsody and the pre-OSX DP builds as long as it isn’t the Digital Audio model.
     
  3. RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #3
    Nice but I won't believe it until picture evidence is posted :D
     
  4. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #4
    Hmm. I sent a message to the seller: "Surprise me with a good one!". He wrote back "I did one better for you, hope you like what you get!"

    Now, this is getting interesting...
     
  5. weckart macrumors 601

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    #5
    G5 or Mac Pro?
     
  6. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #6
    Well. I’ve already got a few G5’s... o_O

    I won’t complain though. Whatever it is. Maybe a cube!?

    A $30 lucky dip Mac is good fun and will keep me pondering all weekend! :apple:
     
  7. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #7
    Status update: Shipped Monday instead of Friday. So now I wait a few more days... such suspense!
     
  8. AphoticD, Sep 28, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 28, 2017

    AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #8
    IMG_2187.jpg
    What's this? Two boxes.... Maybe it's a tower and a display?

    IMG_2188.jpg
    Okay, first box opening reveals a Graphite G4 beast!

    IMG_2190.jpg
    Wait? Two Graphite beasts! Ahh.. so that's what he means by "One better".
    (I had to check the shipping tags to make sure they were both intended for me)

    IMG_2191.jpg
    Both units are in excellent condition and the seller threw in a set of Apple Extended USB keyboards, Mighty Mice, new, unused power cables (Looks like the iMac variety) and 2x VGA + 2x DVI cables.

    Considering I spent $25 the last time I had to buy a DVI cable at Officeworks, this is great value!

    IMG_2195.jpg
    Unit A to the left reveals a 350Mhz G4 w/ 1MB L2 Cache, 2x 64MB PC100 SDRAM DIMMs and an AGP Rage 128 Pro (16MB). No Airport card and the 56k modem has been stripped.

    IMG_2197.jpg
    We have a 20GB 5400rpm spinner.

    IMG_2199.jpg
    Unlike other Rage 128 cards I've seen, these ones include a small cooling fan (and DVI+VGA out).

    IMG_2196.jpg
    To the right, we have... Exactly the same config! Except, the modem port is still attached to the chassis (the modem has been removed though).

    IMG_2198.jpg
    Ok, this 6GB clunker is not factory Sawtooth hardware. It could have been pulled from a B&W G3 or iMac. The date stamp is early '99.

    Everything looks the part. I took both units into the backyard to blast out the dust.

    Time to boot... Flashing question marks all round. I confirm they both have 6x DVD-ROM drives. But, the drive in the second tower is faulty.

    In goes the Tiger DVD in the first unit:

    IMG_2202.jpg
    What's this? It didn't like Tiger. So I try a Panther CD instead and get through okay.

    Panther installed perfectly fine (after some time). I spent the next hour or so running all of the software updates. Panther sure took it's time to "Optimize" itself after installing software.

    The faulty DVD-ROM drive took a trip to my tear-down station. The tray refused to eject and when manually ejected, it wouldn't lock back into place. The internal tray mechanism wasn't activating the center spindle and laser body when pushed in. After watching a few YouTube videos on how to fix old optical drives, I had it stripped right down and a simple removal of the tray and a reinsert clicked everything back into place and got it working again. It was a good chance to blow out all of the dust too.

    I juggled some of the RAM and also found a 64MB PC133 DIMM in my collection to throw in as well. Now, Unit A has 256MB, unit B 64MB. I updated the firmware on both units to 4.2.8f1 which resolved the Tiger DVD issue and allowed FireWire TDM, which didn't appear to work previously. With both DVD drives working, I have been having some fun trialing out different obscure systems.

    * Mac OS 8.6 (via a Sawtooth Restore iso) - I was finally able to install a fully supported 8.6 system! Being such a lightweight OS, I put it on the G4 with 64MB RAM. One bonus I found with 8.6 on this Mac is that the processor cycling option is available in the Energy Saver control panel, whereas OS9.2.2 didn't list any options and I can only assume ran at full power draw constantly. I can only gauge this by reading the CPU temps in Gauge Pro. OS 8.6 when idle was sitting at 34°C, whereas OS 9.2.2 was around 40°C. I have installed Photoshop 6.0.1, QuarkXPress 4.1 and PrintToPDF. I intend to do some quick design prototypes on the old beast, just to put it to use. For fun, I also setup Hotline Server 1.9.1 and connected in with Hotline Client 1.2.3 via Sheepshaver on my Mac Pro. I installed VNC and also configured ARD 1.2, but Remote Desktop Admin v3.x for OS X refuses to connect and I can't for the life of me find an old version of ARD Admin which will. Timbuktu Pro is next to go on.

    * Mac OS X Developer Preview 2 - Successfully installed DP2 on the G4 with 64MB of RAM. It is interesting and severely limited, but what a hybrid of an OS! There is so much unrefined tech crammed in here and yet it's made to look and feel like Classic Mac OS. I fired up the Developer tools (Project Builder/Interface Builder), which unsurprisingly looks almost identical to running Project Builder/Interface Builder under GnuStep in Ubuntu/Debian. I tried to build a test app but couldn't quite connect the dots. It seems like applicationDidFinishLaunching: wasn't a valid App delegate method at this stage? (or maybe I made a mistake). The developer documentation was very light-on and there is zero auto-complete like in modern Xcode. I had some fun and experienced a few 'crashes', then wiped the OS for something a little more solid:

    * Mac OS X Server 1.2v3 - I setup this Rhapsody based OS with the NeXT-ish theme. It looks great and is rock solid. I also like that the Classic/MacOS environment was 8.6 instead of 9.x. I'll need to play around with it some more and try out some older Cocoa apps to see what's compatible. I haven't put the Dev tools on there yet. My understanding of early OS X timeline is a bit vague, did Server 1.2v3 come out before the OS X DPs?

    On the G4 with 256MB, I've set up Panther, Tiger and OS 9.2.2. Tiger performance is surprisingly really great considering the CPU clock speed and lack of Core Image/Quartz Extreme support with the Rage 128 Pro. I can see a massive speed difference between this and my Pismo G3 400Mhz, even though they share the same bus and RAM speed. Gauge Pro had the memory throughput clocked at ~250MB/sec on the G4, whereas the Pismo was sub 100MB/sec.


    So, what kind of upgrades should I go for?

    I've already ordered an AU$18 (free to ship) "DIMM bundle" from interstate. A collection of 8x untested PC133 modules in varying sizes which should arrive next week. It looked like there were a few 256MB and 128MB modules in there. This should be good enough. I really don't want to spend $20 a piece on 512MB DIMMs.

    Digging through my collection of graphics cards I have the perfect candidate: An ATI Radeon 9700 128MB AGP 4x, but alas I have no AGP based PC to flash it in. I have been hunting around and it looks like the only Mac OS-based flashable card was the 8500 (Apparently you just put the ATI update in the startup items folder). Does anybody know of another solution here? I think my wife wouldn't be happy if another big box showed up on the doorstep with a dusty old PC in it.

    The next thing is to combat the noise (and slowness) of the old spinners. I'm thinking of putting either 16GB or 32GB mSATA SSDs in these. To keep costs down, I think it would be sufficient to use a solution WITHOUT a Sonnet SATA card.

    e.g. 16GB mSATA SSD (AU$24) -> mSATA to SATA Adapter (AU$5) -> SATA to 3.5" IDE Adapter (AU$6)

    The alternative is a cheap 7200rpm SATA HDD. 2011 stock WD Blue 160GB drives are going for about AU$19 (+ the AU$6 IDE adapter). I spotted a 5 pack of these HDDs for AU$70, which might be good as a software RAID (2 in each G4), plus a spare. Would striped RAID throughput be any better on the existing ATA bus over the single mSATA SSD or am I complicating things for the old Mac?

    In conclusion...

    So, the twins are the latest addition to my (quickly) growing PowerPC collection... I really love these old Macs. It takes me back to when they were considered "Super Computers" and really rocked the computing world.

    Both machine's share nearly identical SN's and are marked as being built in week 50 of '99. Two weeks before the world ended due to the Millennium Bug!


    EDIT: In terms of CPU upgrades, what is the best option? I haven't seen many second hand upgrade cards available. I don't _need_ to upgrade the CPU, but I'm curious about it. Is the Sawtooth G4 limited to the older square-shaped cards only? I don't think pushing past 1Ghz would be any good considering the bus and RAM speed, but more importantly I really just don't want to add any extra heat.

    It's 36°C outside today and it's not even summer yet!
     
  9. weckart macrumors 601

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    #9
    I have a 1GHz upgrade card in my Sawtooth and it is the same format that would fit all the way into an MDD. I think it was the lowly Yikes that required a ZIF card like its sibling the B/W.
     
  10. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #10
    Great! Does it run hotter/cooler than the original?

    I noticed the D/A has the CPU further back toward the rear, in the larger open-space across from the power supply, whereas the Sawtooth's L-shaped heatsink is shaped/cut-out to accommodate the zip drive bay under the optical drive, which is a bit of a weird design choice.

    I spotted a Dual 1.25Ghz CPU card on the 'bay. Is this overkill? I imagine the stock heatsink wouldn't be enough. The price is higher than I'd hoped. I might try making them a low-ball offer and see what happens. Otherwise, I saw a 450Mhz card out of the UK for cheap enough. This would still give it a boost.

    I have plenty of G4 laptops with enough 'grunt'. I guess it just becomes a bit of an obsession to want to max out any old PowerPC Mac. It must come from a place of respect for one's elders. :apple: :apple: :apple:
     
  11. weckart, Sep 29, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017

    weckart macrumors 601

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    #11
    Dunno. Never benchmarked it. It was a Sonnet upgrade that came with its own heatsink and fan so I never gave thermals a second thought.

    If you are only getting the card I would look at the original stock fan it came with and aim for similar cooling as a minimum.

    I don’t really stress my old systems, rather I tinker with them. I am planning on making my MDD a gaming rig so might look at fan replacement as the constant humming is fairly obnoxious already.

    [edit]

    Just looked at your link. From what I remember you can't just slot an MDD cpu into a Sawtooth. Something about voltages and whatever. I think one or other of the QS cpus will work with some modification but you will have issues about getting them to fit.
     
  12. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #12
    Yeah, I thought as much. I think I'll keep an eye out for a ~500Mhz CPU card and call it at that. Like you said, no need to stress the old dog. Maybe that 450 will do though? Just for that little bump.
     
  13. weckart macrumors 601

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    #13
    733GHz would take it up to DA levels and should be doable as long as you avoid the crippled QS card.
     
  14. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #14
    I've read about the Sawtooth having a variable bus speed (up to 133Mhz). Is adjusting this in OF going to show real world improvements? Or just introduce more issues that it's worth?
     
  15. weckart macrumors 601

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    #15
  16. abundantmussel macrumors regular

    abundantmussel

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    #16
    For the HDs you could go with an IDE to CF adapter and use a CF card then as the disk
     
  17. swamprock macrumors 6502a

    swamprock

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    #17
    I have a 450mhz Sawtooth that came with an ATI Rage Pro card. I replaced that with a Radeon 9200 so I could run OS 9 and classic games on it, and maxed the RAM at 2gb. Luckily, the machine came with a ADC to DVI converter, as the Sawtooth doesn't have the voltage slot for ADC, so I can use my 20" Cinema display with it. I ran a program that checks to see if dual processors could be installed on the machine, but it reported that it wasn't able to, unfortunately.
     
  18. AphoticD, Sep 29, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2017

    AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #18
    I am proud to report that I got an unused, sitting-in-a-box-for-a-decade PC ATI Radeon 9700 128MB AGP4x graphics card flashed and working! (Without using a PC). And it works great!

    It makes a massive improvement over the 16MB Rage 128 Pro, especially in Tiger.

    Long story short; I was near defeated after flashing the card using Graphiccelerator with a “Reduced 9700 non-Pro 64k ROM”. After what appeared to be a success, I rebooted and the Mac could no longer see the card at all in any OS... (I couldn’t even restore the PC ROM).

    All seemed lost until.. “Hey, That looks like an old floppy drive power connector on the card”. Out came the pliers and electrical tape and I hacked together a DIY female molex to floppy power adapter to plug into the storage bay power line.

    Tiger booted up beautifully and no longer in a stretched 4:3 mode, but crisp full widescreen res on the little flat panel TV I had hooked up to the tower.

    So there I was trying all sorts of tricks and backflips. Sometimes it’s the simplest solution... “Have you tried plugging it in?”
     
  19. LightBulbFun macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

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    #19
    Very nice haul! :)

    I own a 450Mhz Sawtooth thats been through the ringer and back (I Dont think any screws actually hold the logic board down :D ) it was my First PowerPC Mac. I would some day like to pick up another sawtooth to use to fix up mine...

    sawtooths are fun machines to play with, I had mine fully decked out with a 1.6Ghz 7445B+2MB L3 cache 2GB of RAM and a Radeon 9800 Pro. (not entirely stable at 1.6Ghz LOL...) I have since passed the CPU and GPU onto another member here. (and my G4 iMac G3 has 2 of the 512MB sticks)

    upload_2017-9-30_17-1-7.png

    OS X Server 1.2v3 came out after the OS X DPs (it was the build that shipped with the GigE G4)

    in regards to your 9700, do check if it can take a Full sized ROM, as they work much better then the reduced ROM

    if your running the reduced ROM make sure to install the ATI 4.5.7 thing, http://support.amd.com/en-us/download/archive/atidisplays4-5-7 which installs the NDRVs on the hard drive that where removed from the ROM to reduce it (without the NDRVs you cant change rez and your mouse pointer goes all flickery)

    if you can send me system profiler shots from OS X/gauge pro shots i want to see what type of 7400 they have :)

    in regards to CPU upgrades, if the machine is dual CPU capable then the best apple CPU you can fit would be a Dual 1Ghz one out of a QuickSilver you just have to give 12V to post 4. if its not dual CPU capabile then a 733Mhz DA CPU would be best (which does not require the 12v mod) keep in mind these CPUs fowl the ODD ATA connector so you would have to mod that

    let me know what else you would like to know, I have done extensive work and research in regards to sawtooths (sawteeth?) :)
     
  20. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #20
    Thanks @LightBulbFun, I wasn't totally sure about the size of the ROM and I accidentally *ahem* lost (overwrote) my ROM backup, so I had no way to read the original.

    I also couldn't get an accurate (magnifying glass) read on the ROM chip label, so I felt it was safe to assume that the PC card would be limited to 64k only. Since I had already installed ATI Displays 4.5.7 before even attempting to flash, I wouldn't have known about the missing NDRV. All seemed fine in Tiger and Panther. I did notice that Server 1.2v3 refused to boot with my flashed 9700 and Mac OS 9.2.2 wouldn't allow me to change resolutions, but your message confirmed what I would have otherwise just learned to live with!

    Taking more time (and a steadier hand) to shoot the ROM chip reveals that this looks like it is a 128K chip.
    IMG_2231 (1).jpg
    Here's a macro shot of the ROM chip.


    IMG_2232.jpg Here's a photo of my hacked power. (Hey, it works ;))


    Sawtooth-hostinfo-sysctl.jpg
    Specifics of the Sawtooth Hardware... (Core Image in action here)


    Sawtooth-TigerRadeon9700.jpg
    The same Sawtooth again with all of the specifics. Notice that ATI Displays, ATIccelerator II and System Profiler all see the Radeon 9700 as a 9800 Pro, but glxinfo (X11/xterm here) reveals what it actually is.


    Sawtooth-OS86GaugePro.jpg Screenshot of the second Sawtooth with Mac OS 8.6 installed. Gauge Pro in action.

    What is the program to run?
    --- Post Merged, Sep 30, 2017 ---
    Here's another shot of Gauge Pro with "Display Details" enabled if that makes a difference.

    Sawtooth-GaugeProDetails.jpg
     
  21. swamprock macrumors 6502a

    swamprock

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  22. LightBulbFun macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

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    #22
    I see you have a 128K ROM chip, I recommend flashing it with the full sized ROM that should also give you Rez change in OS 9 :)

    000c0208! thats the same PVR as my IBM G4, if you can take the heatsink off of the 64MB (Mac OS 8.6) sawtooth and send me a picture? I suspect it has the very rare IBM "7400"
     
  23. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #23
    Done. Works perfectly and I've got resolution options in OS9 (and there is no longer a phantom 640x480 second display showing up in the Monitors control panel).

    Thanks for the heads up on this. I'm glad it had the 128k ROM chip. I'd rather have more features than less. (even if the card was basically a freebie).

    Just to confirm, Server 1.2v3 on this machine still doesn't work after the re-flash. I'll have to do a reinstall.

    Ahh, well that was exciting for a moment... I threw the Macs on the desk and pulled the heatsinks off. Turns out they are both Motorola chips. But, wow that was quick and easy! I mean, no screws required to pull the heatsink off. How many Macs were ever built like this?

    IMG_2235.jpg
    7400 Rev 2.7 - Definitely a Moto chip

    IMG_2237.jpg
    And here's the 7400 Rev 2.8 - I began to peel the outer pad off, but noticed the bottom of the Motorola logo and stopped.

    While I had them off, they both received a cleanup and thin layer of silver thermal paste.

    Gauge Pro on both machines show happy cool thermal results.

    GaugePro-BothSawToothens.jpg
     
  24. LightBulbFun, Oct 2, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 2, 2018

    LightBulbFun macrumors 68000

    LightBulbFun

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    #24
    interesting! the IBM G4 I have reports a PVR rev of 2.8 as well, I know 2.9 is the "die shrunk" 7400 you find in 466Mhz DAs and the like.

    its good to know that 2.8 was the last original style "square die" 7400. BTW top chip was made 47th week 1999 and the bottom chip was 52nd week 1999 :) heres a comparison I took of a a rev 11.4 7410 a rev 2.8 IBM G4 and a Rev 2.7 7400

    [​IMG]

    yeah OS X sever 1.2v3 wont work with the Radeon 9700, fastest/best video card for OS X Server 1.2v3 would be a GeForce2 MX or a (unconfirmed if this works) Radeon original (retroactively named Radeon 7200)
     
  25. AphoticD thread starter macrumors 68000

    AphoticD

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    #25
    IBM must have jumped in to help Motorola throughout late '99 to get Apple's demand out the door. I read that IBM's 7400 was later reused as the foundation for the 970.

    A true end of the millennium Mac!

    Nice collection. So, did you use one of these desktop 7410s for the Pismo's brain transplant?

    Well that settles that, I can just dump Server from the Sawtooth with the 9700 and keep it on the other which has the Rage 128 Pro.
     

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