New member here needing a ton of help with a few G4's

arkieboy72472

macrumors member
Original poster
May 4, 2017
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I have posted on Reddit about this issue and one person sent me here. I have 2 Powermac G4's I am wanting to refurbish. 1 powers on but gives me a question mark/folder error and the other doesn't power on yet and is missing a graphics card. I am wanting to pimp them out and clean them up as much as I can.

Here are pictures of the 2: http://imgur.com/a/1Pekn

I paid 40 for both as is.

I don't know the first thing about how to load an OS on either, what parts are compatible, what OS would work best on them, How to make an install disk, etc.

I also thought about gutting the insides of both and making hacks out of them, but I hear that might be a pain.

I also heard I can get files from here: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/mac-osx-mac-os-10-ppc

can someone walk me through what I have, what they can do, and how to go about getting these babies up and running? Maybe what they could be used for?

Here are pages on both mac's:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/specs/powermac_g4_867_dp_mdd.html


http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/specs/powermac_g4_733.html


Also, neither have keyboards, mice, or monitors. I am using hand me down stuff for that purpose.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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I have posted on Reddit about this issue and one person sent me here. I have 2 Powermac G4's I am wanting to refurbish. 1 powers on but gives me a question mark/folder error and the other doesn't power on yet and is missing a graphics card. I am wanting to pimp them out and clean them up as much as I can.

Here are pictures of the 2: http://imgur.com/a/1Pekn

I paid 40 for both as is.

I don't know the first thing about how to load an OS on either, what parts are compatible, what OS would work best on them, How to make an install disk, etc.

I also thought about gutting the insides of both and making hacks out of them, but I hear that might be a pain.

I also heard I can get files from here: http://macintoshgarden.org/apps/mac-osx-mac-os-10-ppc

can someone walk me through what I have, what they can do, and how to go about getting these babies up and running? Maybe what they could be used for?

Here are pages on both mac's:

http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/specs/powermac_g4_867_dp_mdd.html


http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/specs/powermac_g4_733.html


Also, neither have keyboards, mice, or monitors. I am using hand me down stuff for that purpose.
OK.

You have an MDD, that's the one with the four slots in the front, and a Gigabit G4 (the other one). MDD stands for Mirrored Drive Door and is also derisively referred to as the Windtunnel because the initial launch of those Macs were quite loud due to fan noise.

Both Macs are upgradeable to 2GB of ram max and neither of them can run anything higher than OS X 10.5.8 Leopard. These are PowerPC Macs.

The flashing question mark simply means the Mac cannot find a boot drive.

There are a few ways to get an OS on them. Downloading a DMG and burning it and then using the optical drive to install, or downloading a DMG and creating a bootable USB stick from it.

If you go with Leopard, you'll need to burn a Dual Layer disk. Tiger can be burned on an ordinary DVD. If you go with the USB stick you may need to use an Open Firmware command to get it to boot. Open Firmware is sort of like BIOS, only it's a limited operating system of itself. Has lots of archaic commands.

Neither Mac has SATA. You will need to find PATA (IDE) drives.

Graphic cards are quite varied, so I will leave those recommendations to others but a Radeon 9650 is often suggested. You'll want either a flashed version or an actual Mac version.

Both Macs have one AGP slot and use PCI. There is no PCI-E and no PCI-X.

Both can be upgraded. Third party vendors (now defunct) such as Sonnet, NewerTech and GigaDesigns made G4 processors up to dual 1.8Ghz and single 2.0Ghz. The faster processors are more difficult to find (particularly NewerTech versions) and you can expect to pay from $200-350 for one of these off eBay.

You can buy a PCI-SATA card if you want SATA. Also, there are USB 2.0 cards and Belkin makes Bluetooth USB sticks for cheap.

I use my PowerPC Macs for graphic design, word processing, email, and web surfing (TenFourFox and/or Leopard Webkit/Safari).

Used Mac keyboards and mice can be found really cheap off eBay. However, if PC keyboards and mice are all you have then the Macs will function with them. USB.

That's pretty much the overview here. If you have more questions, let us know.
 
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Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
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The one that's powers up is telling you there's no OS or worse, no hard drive. Open the door and a quick inspection will tell you if the drive is there (there's also the possibility the drive is broken).
Depending which machine is working, download Tiger or Leopard from the link I gave you on Reddit - Tiger for the 733Mhz machine. You'll need a computer (preferably another Mac) to burn the disk image to DVD. Once you have that pop it in the Mac's drive and reboot, the installer will guide you through.
 
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eyoungren

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Oh. The Gigagbit will be Airport only if you want wireless. That limits you to WiFi A/B. The MDD will take an Airport Extreme card which is WiFi G speeds.

Max wireless security for both is WPA2 with TKIP encryption (no AES). Neither of them can connect to a WiFi N only network.
[doublepost=1493922449][/doublepost]Hmm, looking through the Reddit thread you mentioned, one person seemed to be particularly stuck on the thought that all these are good for is OS9.

OS X was running on G3 and G4 Macs long before the Intel era. If you do wish to stick with OS9, realize it's possible you may have the version of MDD that is not OS9 bootable (that can be worked around).

Finally, users on that Reddit thread are giving you some real old graphic design applications. Be advised that any model of PowerMac G4 can run Adobe CS4. They can also run Acrobat 9 and QuarkXPress 8. Suitcase Fusion 3 is also PowerPC and Office 2008 can be used, although some here prefer Office 2004.

If you want to run Windows, you can use Virtual PC 7. It's possible to install up to Windows 7 in a VM, but it's super slow.
 
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arkieboy72472

macrumors member
Original poster
May 4, 2017
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"Downloading a DMG and burning it and then using the optical drive to install, or downloading a DMG and creating a bootable USB stick from it."

Can I do this from a PC or do I need a mac? Also, is there an ELI5 version on the net I can read up on?
[doublepost=1493924379][/doublepost]
The one that's powers up is telling you there's no OS or worse, no hard drive. Open the door and a quick inspection will tell you if the drive is there (there's also the possibility the drive is broken).
Depending which machine is working, download Tiger or Leopard from the link I gave you on Reddit - Tiger for the 733Mhz machine. You'll need a computer (preferably another Mac) to burn the disk image to DVD. Once you have that pop it in the Mac's drive and reboot, the installer will guide you through.
When I boot it up, what buttons do I press or how do I do this?
 

eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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"Downloading a DMG and burning it and then using the optical drive to install, or downloading a DMG and creating a bootable USB stick from it."

Can I do this from a PC or do I need a mac? Also, is there an ELI5 version on the net I can read up on?
[doublepost=1493924379][/doublepost]

When I boot it up, what buttons do I press or how do I do this?
You can burn a disk from a PC. You'll probably need the proper software however. EasyCD Creator, which is the PC version of Toast (Mac), should be able to recognize it and burn it. Otherwise you may need to install Transmac.

What Dronecatcher means is, open the side panel of the Mac. If you see a hard drive in there then you know that you just need to install an OS versus replacing a hard drive.
 

arkieboy72472

macrumors member
Original poster
May 4, 2017
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You can burn a disk from a PC. You'll probably need the proper software however. EasyCD Creator, which is the PC version of Toast (Mac), should be able to recognize it and burn it. Otherwise you may need to install Transmac.

What Dronecatcher means is, open the side panel of the Mac. If you see a hard drive in there then you know that you just need to install an OS versus replacing a hard drive.

What are some of the buttons you can press prior to boot to boot from cd/dvd or the like?
 

eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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What are some of the buttons you can press prior to boot to boot from cd/dvd or the like?
You have a few options and it really depends on the Mac.

Holding down the "C" key (no quotes) tells the Mac to boot from the optical drive. With an OS9 and OS X install, holding down "X" tells the Mac to boot from OS X.

And holding down OPTN lets you select which drives (among bootable drives found) that you want to boot from.

I have rarely had any luck with the C key and I don't have OS9 installed on any Mac I own so I usually use the OPTN key.
 

arkieboy72472

macrumors member
Original poster
May 4, 2017
94
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You have a few options and it really depends on the Mac.

Holding down the "C" key (no quotes) tells the Mac to boot from the optical drive. With an OS9 and OS X install, holding down "X" tells the Mac to boot from OS X.

And holding down OPTN lets you select which drives (among bootable drives found) that you want to boot from.

I have rarely had any luck with the C key and I don't have OS9 installed on any Mac I own so I usually use the OPTN key.
How do I get the optical drive to open and how do i turn down the volume on the speaker?
 

eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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How do I get the optical drive to open and how do i turn down the volume on the speaker?
If you have a mouse connected, shut off the Mac. Hold down the left mouse button (and keep holding it) and turn on the Mac. Keep holding the button down until the optical drive tray opens.

If you're using a one button (Mac) mouse, the same applies.

If you have a Mac keyboard then use the keys that have the volume icons to lower the volume.

I don't think there are any equivalent keys with a PC keyboard.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,342
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I know that the MDD G4 can have an annoyingly loud default boot chime. I expect that's your reason for asking :D
You have to turn the volume down, either from the keyboard, or from the Sound settings in a booted system.

Or, you could plug some headphones into the headphone port on the front panel to disconnect the internal speaker.
 

bobesch

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2015
1,530
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Kiel, Germany
To be honest: don't start your trip to PowerPC-macs with two defective PowerMacs, one with no harddrive or os and the other without a graphic card. It will be just frustrating...
I'd look for a cheap (40-50$) fully working G4 iBook/Powerbook with equal or more than 1.0 GHz which should come with any installation disk. Then you can find out, if OSX 10.4 or 10.5 will fit your needs.
There's a lot of stuff to find out and finally you may get spare parts and get those two Powermacs running with the fitting OS.
Even if I use Macs since 2009 and PowerPC-macs since 2015 I call myself an newbie and would be afraid to start with two defective units and think your project has high potential to be discouraging.
Nevertheless, welcome to the PPC-forum! There's really so much to discover on old PPCs,OSX and os9.
Cheers
 

arkieboy72472

macrumors member
Original poster
May 4, 2017
94
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To be honest: don't start your trip to PowerPC-macs with two defective PowerMacs, one with no harddrive or os and the other without a graphic card. It will be just frustrating...
I'd look for a cheap (40-50$) fully working G4 iBook/Powerbook with equal or more than 1.0 GHz which should come with any installation disk. Then you can find out, if OSX 10.4 or 10.5 will fit your needs.
There's a lot of stuff to find out and finally you may get spare parts and get those two Powermacs running with the fitting OS.
Even if I use Macs since 2009 and PowerPC-macs since 2015 I call myself an newbie and would be afraid to start with two defective units and think your project has high potential to be discouraging.
Nevertheless, welcome to the PPC-forum! There's really so much to discover on old PPCs,OSX and os9.
Cheers
My current issue is that the power pc will not recognize any keyboard plugged in. I added a 40GB ide drive and i couldn't get the optical drive to open or anything. i finally removed the optical drive where i could press the button. I used powerISO to burn a dmg with OS X Tiger and I am trying to get it to boot from it but no dice.
 

AmazingHenry

macrumors 65816
Jul 6, 2015
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Central Michigan
Totally agree with @bobesch that you should get to know PowerPC first, perhaps with a cheap iBook G4. Then, once you know what OS is good, what web browser you like, etc, go to these Power Macs.

If you decide not to buy a cheap PPC:
My current issue is that the power pc will not recognize any keyboard plugged in.
Strange... Is it possible the USB port if defective? Try with every other port on the machine.

I added a 40GB ide drive and i couldn't get the optical drive to open or anything.
As said before, hold down the mouse button on bootup... but if my suspicion about the USB port is correct, then the mouse wouldn't work either.

I used powerISO to burn a dmg with OS X Tiger and I am trying to get it to boot from it but no dice.
If the optical drive won't open, I don't know how you're trying to boot from the DVD... unless this is the OTHER G4 that has an optical drive that will open? If so, what happens when trying to boot from it?
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
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Lincolnshire, UK
I added a 40GB ide drive and i couldn't get the optical drive to open or anything.
Will it boot from the optical drive if you disconnect the hard drive? I ask because I had a flaky MDD that had two hard drives - one was bad and the optical drive wouldn't boot whilst the bad one was still connected.
 

DeltaMac

macrumors G4
Jul 30, 2003
10,342
2,738
Delaware
Are you using a USB keyboard made for a Mac (with a command or Apple key), or a windows keyboard (with a Windows key)?

MDD? Isn't there some difference for booting/installing OS X, depending on where the hard drive is connected? (Has to be in the rear vertical position, and not in the front, under the optical drive carrier? - Maybe my memory is going...)
Make sure the hard drive has the jumper set for Cable Select.
 

QSDP-User

macrumors regular
Jan 13, 2015
144
89
California, USA
Could it be that the Mac just doesn't recognize the PC keyboard layout?

As eyoungren mentioned:
"And holding down OPTN lets you select which drives (among bootable drives found) that you want to boot from."
Now the following might be already know but I thought I'd mention it.
From this webpage about using a PC keyboard with a Mac
https://9to5mac.com/2016/03/17/how-to-remap-windows-keyboard-buttons-match-mac-layout/

"the Option (⌥) key on Mac does the same thing as the Alt key on Windows,
and the Command (⌘) key on Mac does the same thing as the Windows key."

I also remember there was a Mac keyboard shortcut for forcing a boot from the optical drive.
[SHIFT] [⌘] [OPTION][DELETE]
 
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arkieboy72472

macrumors member
Original poster
May 4, 2017
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Will it boot from the optical drive if you disconnect the hard drive? I ask because I had a flaky MDD that had two hard drives - one was bad and the optical drive wouldn't boot whilst the bad one was still connected.
I have not tried this. While I think the HDD is good, I never thought to try this. Right now I am trying to boot off of a Tiger disk that I got from online. I even used a genuine apple keyboard from an imac but no dice.
[doublepost=1493936037][/doublepost]
Are you using a USB keyboard made for a Mac (with a command or Apple key), or a windows keyboard (with a Windows key)?

MDD? Isn't there some difference for booting/installing OS X, depending on where the hard drive is connected? (Has to be in the rear vertical position, and not in the front, under the optical drive carrier? - Maybe my memory is going...)
Make sure the hard drive has the jumper set for Cable Select.
The HDD caddy is missing but it is positioned not under the optical drive but in the other spot
 

Cox Orange

macrumors 68000
Jan 1, 2010
1,787
234
I am in a hurry and so I excuse myself for sounding a bit rough writing short sentences and merely comenting other posts, rather then really helping, but still...
You have an MDD, that's the one with the four slots in the front, and a Gigabit G4 (the other one).
The last one in the pictures is a "Digital Audio" (for OP: series' nick name, often shortended to DA), since it has an uneven CPU clock speed and so it only will take 1.5GB of RAM (Having three slots).
Oh. The Gigagbit will be Airport only if you want wireless. That limits you to WiFi A/B. The MDD will take an Airport Extreme card which is WiFi G speeds.

Max wireless security for both is WPA2 with TKIP encryption (no AES). Neither of them can connect to a WiFi N only network.
Can't it take a WiFi USB stick? I had one in my iMac G3 DV back then, only USB1, but better than nothing.
To be honest: don't start your trip to PowerPC-macs with two defective PowerMacs,...
I, too see a problem here. There are just to many types of possible problems and errors that might be, add up or co-interfere with machines beat up and someway gutted. It will end in frustration and the statement "Macs suck.".

At OP:
Also on burning a dmg to DVD. A lot of the Superdrives (to OP: Superdrive, name for DVD drive with burning capabilities) had the restriction to only being able to write or read DVD-(DL) and not DVD+(DL). The most blank DVD DLs in stores are +. not minus, so be aware of that.
DL DVDs are required for Leopard. Tiger fits on a usual DVD.

Options:
- Find out what optical drive you have and buy the right media
How to find out, what you have:
The sticker on the back sometimes has more sometimes has less information.
Look at the back of your macs, there is a serial number, type that into appleserialnumberinfo dot com and write down the production date.
Then go to http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/index-powermac-g4.html and look for your specific model and open the optical drive column of the description. Since there is only one 733MHz Digital Audio model and one type of Single Processor 867MHz-DP (Dual Processor) MDD you are looking at http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/specs/powermac_g4_733.html and http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/specs/powermac_g4_867_dp_mdd.html

I already tried appleserialnumberinfo, yours don't come up, because not all BTO options come up, and yours is a BTO Mac
Your models however are extremely upgraded build-to-order (BTO or CTO) and they even feature stuff, that is not listed as BTO options on everymac.com. They were probably used in a printing or graphics design working environment.
- search Ebay for any (no Mac device needed) DVD-/+DL Burner with IDE, they go for arround 1,-EUR plus shipping.

It seems the second with the 733MHz (the DA) can write to DVD-R, the 867MHz-DP can only write to CDs, since it is a "combo-drive, not a super drive", but(!) it seems it can read DVD- and DVD+ (single layer = Tiger, so no Dual/Double Layer = Leopard).

Edit: correction, if your drive can read DVDs, it can read DL DVDs, too. But not +DL-DVDs (which you often get, when burning DL DVDs). It will read -DL DVDs, though. So be sure to burn Leopard to -DL DVDs, unless you have one of the late G5s or late MDDs, that came with a +DL capable Superdrive.


What do you have?
You originally had (the silver one):
reading from the sticker at the back:
CPU: 867MHz dual processor
RAM: 1.5GB (2GB would be max)
HDD: 60GB
opt Drive 1 and 2: quoted from everymac.com "
Standard Optical: 8X "Combo Drive"
Details: Apple reported that the 8X DVD-ROM/CD-RW Combo drive "reads DVDs at 8X, writes CD-R at 16X, writes CD-RW at 10X, and reads CDs at 32X". By custom order, it also could be configured with a second optical drive. Both optical drives use a EIDE (ATA-3) bus." Your second is a CD-RW drive according to the sticker. BUT!!! I might be wrong and the customer told the to put a superdrive in the upper slot. Easiest to know? Put out the optical drive and look at it or google the model name. How to put out the optical drive? Search for "ifixit MDD optical drive replace".
Graphics card: ATI Radeon 9000 Pro (which is different to what everymac.com lists as BTO options. stock was Geforce 4 and BTO was 4Ti).

(the other one):
you can probably guess it on your own. I am lazy, tired and still in a hurry.
Just one note, the Geforce NV11 is a 2MX, so the customer opted against the BTO option for the graphics card.
Being that it lists an airport on the sticker, means that it had a wifi card, it might even still stick in there. Look for it!
It also lists "Gigabit", that might mean a second Gigabit port was installed via a PCI card or as well it just listed what was equipped anyway, since the list the keyboard as well, which as far as I know was always included even in the stock config. Those stickers had different naming schemes over the years, sometimes even changing from year to year, so someimes it's hard to say.


Edit: Tiger = Mac OS X 10.4 / Leopard = 10.5
 
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eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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The last one in the pictures is a "Digital Audio" (for OP: series' nick name, often shortended to DA), since it has an uneven CPU clock speed and so it only will take 1.5GB of RAM (Having three slots).
The photo of one of the stickers on the back says "Gigabit Ethernet". I interpreted that as the Giga-E. If I'm wrong though, thanks for the correction.

Can't it take a WiFi USB stick? I had one in my iMac G3 DV back then, only USB1, but better than nothing.
I'm sure it could. I've got two in fact. My problem was that neither of them worked very well with my Quicksilver. I suppose that could be down to the general flakiness I had with the Mac itself, but I could never hold a connection for very long.

And unless the device is of a nature where it appears as if native then the other issue with that is connecting, at least with laptops anyway. Having to connect to a network each time you want to use WiFi is rather a pain. Airport, while limited in some of it's speed and protocols has the benefit of being 'built' in and will autoconnect whenever it finds a network it has credentials for.

So, yes, I'm sure that would work. It's just how much the user is willing to put up with.
 

organicCPU

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2016
672
183
I even used a genuine apple keyboard from an imac but no dice.
Strange... Is it possible the USB port if defective? Try with every other port on the machine.
Could it be that the Mac just doesn't recognize the PC keyboard layout?
The original input devices shipped with those Mac models are the Apple Pro Keyboard (M7803) that can be seen here and the Apple Pro Mouse (M5769).

Every USB compatible keyboard should work for typing when the system is running. But, if we are talking about key combinations for booting a Mac, not every keyboard will work as expected.

Many times I noticed that not even one Mac keyboard of the previous or next generation is truely compatible with another and therefore just didn't work for all boot key sequences. You don't find much about this on the web, but some pages are pointing out compatibility issues with boot shortcuts. If the OP is planning to install an additional native Mac OS 9 it's even more likely that some PC or even a more recent Mac keyboard won't work during booting time like it should.

My guess is, it has something to do with the internally still used ADB protocol for the USB keyboards at that time. ADB drivers could be found in the OS up to Mac OS 10.5.x.

I don't say that there is no other keyboard properly working, but if it's possible to suffer from additional hardware failures like broken USB ports, it's always a big advantage to use an original proper working keyboard corresponding to the specific Mac model to narrow problems down.
 

arkieboy72472

macrumors member
Original poster
May 4, 2017
94
18
So, here is an update. The blue Mac got cleaned up but just would not work. Since I like the case, I gutted it and I may keep it for a project. The MDD mac was a whole other beast. I bumped up the RAM to 2GB and tried and tried to install from DVD disk. The breakthrough on how I managed to get it up and running was 2 fold.

First, I took the hard drive and put it in a caddy and used my hackintosh to format in to that apple partition system that PPC loves. I read it on a forum and it managed to get me some movement on the install process.

Secondly, trying to install from a burned OS X Lion DVD wouldn't work, so I downloaded 10.5.6 leopard on a whim from macintosh garden and put that on an USB drive. Yes, a USB drive (not firewire). I used my mac to "restore" the drive from the image. I booted the MDD while pressing option (from a iMac wired keyboard I have) and 4 HOURS LATER it worked! OMG it was so slow.

After an update I now have a working 10.5.8 on the MDD that has dual 800mhz processors and 2GB of RAM. It uses TenFourFox for web browsing. The main issue now is that it is SO FREAKING LOUD! It sounds like a fan or two has bearing going out. I am considering trying to find a way to either completely refurbish it or use it in a hack build.

So, thanks for all your help. If you have any questions, please let me know!
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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Secondly, trying to install from a burned OS X Lion DVD wouldn't work…
No offense, but Why?

We told you from the beginning that this is a PowerPC Mac and that OS X 10.5.8 Leopard was the max it could ever run.

Why did you believe that you could boot Lion on it? Why is it you downloaded 10.5.6 on a 'whim' when we were very SPECIFIC from the beginning about Leopard?

Again, no offense to you but it seems to me that some of your problems with getting this done may have been because you weren't listening to us.

Lion? On a PowerPC Mac? SMH in frustration!!!!
 

arkieboy72472

macrumors member
Original poster
May 4, 2017
94
18
This is my first rodeo with anything PowerPC related. Much of my issues were lack of experience or user error. With that said, I would like to find an original keyboard and monitor for this one. I am not sure if I want to sell it as is or use the case for a mod. I hear the cases are the hardest to do that with. I might would even donate it but before I do that I would probably replace the source of the noise, whether it be the fan cooling the heat sink or the power supply.

I really like the look of the case. I wish the OS was a little faster, but I am just spoiled by computers with tons of RAM and SSD's. I appreciate yalls help. I will hopefully find someone who will enjoy this and sell it to them for what I gave for it.
 
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