Older G4

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by niter, Sep 19, 2003.

  1. niter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2003
    I have a question regarding switching to a Mac. In an ideal and cost-free world I would be buying a new Powerbook. However, I was thinking that I could "get to know" a Mac by trying out an old G4.

    My primary desire for the computer is to install the new operating system and be able to use some of the more recent software. I would like to learn the system and the programs.

    As I am a PC user I am having difficulty understanding the processor speed. That is, how does the the processor speed translate to a PC processor speed? I understand it is like comparing apples and oranges, but I want to get a rough idea of whether or not I am making a sound purchase.

    Also, to what extent can I upgrade the computer? I understand I can put in RAM and different drives...but I can I put in a superdrive? Can I get a processor of a higher speed? The G4s I am looking at are not the ones on apple.com now. They are the ones that came out last year or before.

    For argument's sake, if I get one of the "slowest" speed processors, will I still be able to do what I want to with the computer? Will I be able to fully appreciate newer/the newest Mac software, Jaguar, etc.? Will it be noticebly slow compared to a 2.0 Pentium 4 computer?

  2. niter thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2003
    another question

    I was also thinking, what would be the cost involved and the feasiblity of building a G4 PowerMac? Can it be done? I am very comfortable with the in's and out's of PC building, but I am not to sure about a Mac. Does anyone have any infor on that?
  3. Balin64 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2002
    In a Mauve Dream
    Some Tips


    Some tips: the G4's currently at the Apple Store will more than satisfy you. Unless you are into serious professional imaging or video editing, you will not be disappointed. Even the single 1 Ghz tower will serve you very well. I just sold my beloved G4 500 and it was still great for what I did: Photoshop, DVD Studio Pro, Final Cut Express. I added the Pioneer DVD-R 105 myself and it worked flawlwssly. Of course, I wanted something different, so I now have a 1.25 Ghz iMac and a 12" 867 PowerBook. But, my older (2000) G4 ran all the software these run, just a tad slower. In a work day, my iMac might be saving me 15 or 20 minutes, unless I am encoding a DVD, where a speed bump really helps. I say go for it! Besides, with a tower, you can upgrade RAM, HD, Video Card, Optical Drive as well as add PCI components.

    I would not suggest building your own. First of all, you would probably have to start with an older AGP Sawtooth logicboard and build from there. But, then again, it is possible! You can even add a third party dual processor. Check out: http://www.xlr8yourmac.com if you are intersted in building your own G4 tower. But I would seriously go for the G4 tower Apple is offering right now. Also, check out the "Special Deals" section at the online Apple Store. They might have a refurb G4 tower for even less. Good Luck!
  4. niter thread starter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2003

    Thanks for your suggestions and the site (I will have to check it out)....Unfortunately, I am really not in a position to spend very much at all...as in $500 would be a major max.

    Can I still squeak by with a 400-500 MHz? If I wanted to maybe (and this is a huge maybe), try out some movie making software, could this speed at least give me an idea of whether or not I would want to save my money for a more capable machine? That is, could I dable and get my feet wet with this speed of a computer?

    Thanks :)
  5. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    My wife has a 400 mhz G4 Power Mac and it's stil very capable. It gets used for a lot of Photoshop and other processor intensive apps. It's noticeably slower than my dual 1ghz PM but if you don't have that to compare with then it wouldn't seem slow. If you're only looking at spending $500 then a machine like that could be perfect for you. They sell for about that much.

    I wouldn't advise building one as a money saving tactic. It sounds good until you realize what components you have to use. For a hopped-up 4 year old computer you'd end up spending nearly what a new one would cost.
  6. Dr. Distortion macrumors regular

    May 2, 2002
    Eindhoven, the Netherlands
    Here's my bit of advice, take it or leave it...

    The first thing to do is find a place where to buy 2nd hand powermacs. http://www.secondhandmac.com/ or http://www.ebay.com/ are good sites to find them. Next thing is to consider a few differences between major Powermac G4 incarnations.

    Here's what I'd buy:
    at LEAST a G4/400 mhz with Gigabit Ethernet. They're the first generation of G4s that have a reasonable amount of level 2 cache, and an AGP slot.
    Also, on this site: http://www.macinfo.de/tuning/tuning-g4saw.html you can find an article on how to overclock a G4/400 to either 450 or 500 mhz, which provides a 20% speed boost.
    Also, if you can find a dual 450 or dual 500 mhz G4 you should definately buy it, since osX and the applications you run on it greatly benefit from it.
    If you want to get a newer generation G4, you should consider buying one that has a 133 mhz processor bus. those macs range from 466 up 'till 1 ghz. A good choice would be to buy a G4/867 mhz or higher, since those Powermacs have 2 megabytes of Level2 cache, which greatly improves performance. Also, from that model on the G4 has a 4X AGP slot.

    Anyhow, more information about the different G4 models Apple has made, and their estimated current street value are at this site: http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powermac_g4/index.html

    Good luck!

    -Dr. D.

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