Power Mac G4 Questions

zapbuzz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 21, 2010
7
0
Hi.
I am a proud owner of a Power Mac G4 Desktop PC.
Everything it runs hardware wise is stock.
Literally came into my ownership in its origional retail box.
Since Mac Os doesn't update for this models CPU anymore I need to change to a linux distro.
I also have a
ADAPTEC 2610SA PCIx SERIAL SATA 6 PORT RAID CONTROLLER 64MB
the expansion slots look like PCIX so I'm hoping Linux can use my adapter card even in 32bit mode so I can run SATA SSD.
Bottom line these Macs don't have Intel or AMD CPU's so not as vulnerable to meltdown or Spectre.
This is important for me so I can be assured of a means to be surfing without melting or getting Pronged up the CPU pipeline by a malicious group trying to steal my personal stuff.
So the point of my post is to get the majority agreement of which is the best current linux for this machine and if it'll run my SATA card or if I need a driver for it.
Then anyone else looking will see this fresh post and pull their old mac out of storage and perhaps show Apple they need to manufacture their own CPU's again and not join all the clones surfing the same intel pipeline.

Lastly, thanks for reading if I make a tube vid I'll include this forums members nicknames as a thanks 4 help :)
 
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EnriqueG

macrumors member
Dec 30, 2017
38
23
Hey zapbuzz, welcome.

I don't know much about SATA cards.

You can get further information about the kind of PCI ports your system have by checking the model at everymac.com AFAIK G4s came with regular PCI, the PCI-X were more a Power Mac G5 thing.

About Spectre... Some late G4s (745x I think) are vulnerable. The original ones (7400, 7410) are less prone to this attacks. Your PowerMac may be old and have a first generation G4 or maybe not depending on the model.

Read more about it here: http://tenfourfox.blogspot.com/2018/01/actual-field-testing-of-spectre-on.html?m=1

As for the distro... Debian still gets support for 32bit PowerPC. I think there is a recent thread about this here...

However you can give a shot to Mac OS X Tiger/Leopard. Browser support still exists in the form of TenFourFox, a PPC port of Firefox. It has even incorporated some code to prevent against Spectre.
 
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zapbuzz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 21, 2010
7
0
Hey zapbuzz, welcome.

I don't know much about SATA cards.

You can get further information about the kind of PCI ports your system have by checking the model at everymac.com AFAIK G4s came with regular PCI, the PCI-X were more a Power Mac G5 thing.

About Spectre... Some late G4s (745x I think) are vulnerable. The original ones (7400, 7410) are less prone to this attacks. Your PowerMac may be old and have a first generation G4 or maybe not depending on the model.

Read more about it here: http://tenfourfox.blogspot.com/2018/01/actual-field-testing-of-spectre-on.html?m=1

As for the distro... Debian still gets support for 32bit PowerPC. I think there is a recent thread about this here...

However you can give a shot to Mac OS X Tiger/Leopard. Browser support still exists in the form of TenFourFox, a PPC port of Firefox. It has even incorporated some code to prevent against Spectre.
[doublepost=1549045156][/doublepost]Thanks EnriqueG that was very helpful.
Yes after closer look I see the slot isn't quite pci-x but it has extra lengh than just standard pci. I'm wondering if there was a SATA port that would had suited it like fit full lengh.
 

Traace

macrumors regular
Jul 21, 2018
139
123
Germany
[doublepost=1549045156][/doublepost]Thanks EnriqueG that was very helpful.
Yes after closer look I see the slot isn't quite pci-x but it has extra lengh than just standard pci. I'm wondering if there was a SATA port that would had suited it like fit full lengh.
Its a PCI 64-bit slot, but a 32-bit card works with it, too.
 
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zapbuzz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 21, 2010
7
0
Thanks Traace
Soon I will have both 64 and 32 bit pci to play with they're in the mail. In case the PCI-X won't do the 32bit one is supported in OSX 10.2+ so at least something will work.
That aside, I wonder if this SATA will allow the pc to boot from it or be booting from the internal IDE whom I just replaced the hard disk with a same sized replacement (it sounded like a loud machine gun new one is quiet and runs cooler). I also should mention I have a Power PC G4 MIrror Door however the power supply has that stupid bug. I thought the G4 I am working on now would have a compatable PSU but it isn't.
I've hoarded that mirror door lemon sincd 2007 some day I'll get a PSU. Until then; the agp card is better than this projects AGP card so t'll do nicely until I get the mirror door PSU.
The internet archive actually has OSX available for download https://archive.org/
So now I can try that and Linux.
I'm hopeful the pci-x does the trick because then the 32bit i can use in a non apple project.
 
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eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,267
13,116
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Hi.
I am a proud owner of a Power Mac G4 Desktop PC.
Everything it runs hardware wise is stock.
Literally came into my ownership in its origional retail box.
Since Mac Os doesn't update for this models CPU anymore I need to change to a linux distro.
I also have a
ADAPTEC 2610SA PCIx SERIAL SATA 6 PORT RAID CONTROLLER 64MB
the expansion slots look like PCIX so I'm hoping Linux can use my adapter card even in 32bit mode so I can run SATA SSD.
Bottom line these Macs don't have Intel or AMD CPU's so not as vulnerable to meltdown or Spectre.
This is important for me so I can be assured of a means to be surfing without melting or getting Pronged up the CPU pipeline by a malicious group trying to steal my personal stuff.
So the point of my post is to get the majority agreement of which is the best current linux for this machine and if it'll run my SATA card or if I need a driver for it.
Then anyone else looking will see this fresh post and pull their old mac out of storage and perhaps show Apple they need to manufacture their own CPU's again and not join all the clones surfing the same intel pipeline.

Lastly, thanks for reading if I make a tube vid I'll include this forums members nicknames as a thanks 4 help :)
Lot's of positivity in your first post here.

Unfortunately, I need to rain on your parade a bit.

1. No PowerMac G4 ever had PCI-X slots. It's PCI only. PCI-X did not come until the PowerMac G5. PCI-X may be backwards compatible (the extra bit may hang out a bit) but you can't expect it to work.

2. This is Apple. You cannot just buy whatever PCI/PCI-X card out there you feel like. In order to have a PCI-SATA card work, you need the right chipset. You may want to look through this.

But, you're looking for cards that are either Mac cards already (Sonnet is the major choice here) or that use the Silicon Image SIL3112 controller chip and can be flashed.

3. There are versions of Linux for PowerPC. Most of them are difficult to install, none of them completely support PowerPC. None of them are currently being updated.

Finally, you don't even mention WHICH G4 you got. Yikes, Sawtooth, Digital Audio, Gigabit, Quicksilver, MDD, which one? It's important because even if you get Linux on there you're going to be limited by the speed of the CPU.

The fastest MDD was 1.42Ghz. There are CPU upgrades, but they are expensive and hard to find and the best you can get out of that is 1.8GHz dual, 2Ghz single.

So, assuming you do get a distro of Linux installed, don't expect to be web browsing at Intel Mac speeds.

Unfortunately, it's not going as easy as just slotting in in a few parts, installing a stable, current distro and then making a Youtube video out of it. You are in for a bit of work.
 
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mode11

macrumors regular
Jul 14, 2015
215
95
London
However you can give a shot to Mac OS X Tiger/Leopard
Running ancient, abandoned versions of OS's is about the last thing someone sensitive to Internet security should do. Leopard / Tiger and / or the old browsers that run on them could have massive, well-known holes in them that will never be patched. Meltdown / Spectre aren't the only threats on the Internet; given their sophistication, they're probably relatively unlikely to be encountered in practice.

In terms of Meltdown / Spectre, my understanding of it is that such techniques require careful manipulation of very low-level CPU characteristics. I doubt the exploits that are being used on x86 would also work as-is on G4 chips, and no-one is going to port them to target a tiny number of hobbyists. So which revisions of G4 are safer in this respect is pretty academic.

Running an up-to-date Linux on a (nowadays) obscure CPU platform might offer good security, but it seems pretty inconvenient for a marginal improvement.
 
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EnriqueG

macrumors member
Dec 30, 2017
38
23
3. There are versions of Linux for PowerPC. Most of them are difficult to install, none of them completely support PowerPC. None of them are currently being updated.


.

I thought Debian has still some updates. But installation was a bit difficult last time I attempted bit to be honest. I couldn't get cideo acceleration so I replaced Debian for OS 9. I still get no acceleration as I'm on an unsupported Mac but it's easier to get working.

Browsing with Firefox in Debian was quite faster than TenFourFox in Tiger, almost as fast as my 2009 iMac...
[doublepost=1549046962][/doublepost]
Running ancient, abandoned versions of OS's is about the last thing someone sensitive to Internet security should do. Leopard / Tiger and / or the old browsers that run on them could have massive, well-known holes in them that will never be patched. Meltdown / Spectre aren't the only threats on the Internet; given their sophistication, they're probably relatively unlikely to be encountered in practice.

In terms of Meltdown / Spectre, my understanding of it is that such techniques require careful manipulation of very low-level CPU characteristics. I doubt the exploits that are being used on x86 would also work as-is on G4 chips, and no-one is going to port them to target a tiny number of hobbyists. So which revisions of G4 are safer in this respect is pretty academic.

Running an up-to-date Linux on a (nowadays) obscure CPU platform might offer good security, but it seems pretty inconvenient for a marginal improvement.
Well I guess using TenFourFox that includes modern security patches is still a good compromise. But of course you are right.
 

zapbuzz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 21, 2010
7
0
eyoungren thankyou I have been looking at it and both the box and PC
Have This Additional Info:

From the box I find:
Product code M8361X/A GEO code AUS
PM G4 800 DP
PM Would mean Power Mac?
G4 Would be a model code
800 would be the apple cpu mhz
DP would be dual processor

I *might* make a youtube video but because i bet theres a lot of curious people
who spent a fortune on one and can't throw it away being functional and an enviromental hazard.
If I could get this thing running on a SATA SSD I already found out SSD's use 1 whole amp of power, so it'd be a single disk only system as well as its stock DVD Burner.(It runs an 80gig hard disk if it won't boot on the SSD)
Alot of ex mac users have posted in the past their system worked for like 12 months after installing 2 or more SSD. (they run on the 5 volt PSU line)
I've always wanted to pimp out an old apple I have done so with some of IBM, Sun Microsystems and countless clones.
At the end of my effort I hope to have a PC that will be happy to browse modern web and play videos in standard deftinition video (tubes)
Strangely the DVD Burner region is set to region 2 my country is region 4
As soon as these cards arrive I will be taking photos of the PCI slots.
I've got a dual cpu Intel IBM clone motherboard with 800mhz cpu's so when i'm done I just may try benchmarks on them both see whos the champion being released around the same generation and siimular specifications :)
 
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eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,267
13,116
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
eyoungren thankyou I have been looking at it and both the box and PC
Have This Additional Info:

From the box I find:
Product code M8361X/A GEO code AUS
PM G4 800 DP
PM Would mean Power Mac?
G4 Would be a model code
800 would be the apple cpu mhz
DP would be dual processor

I *might* make a youtube video but because i bet theres a lot of curious people
who spent a fortune on one and can't throw it away being functional and an enviromental hazard.
If I could get this thing running on a SATA SSD I already found out SSD's use 1 whole amp of power, so it'd be a single disk only system as well as its stock DVD Burner.(It runs an 80gig hard disk if it won't boot on the SSD)
Alot of ex mac users have posted in the past their system worked for like 12 months after installing 2 or more SSD. (they run on the 5 volt PSU line)
I've always wanted to pimp out an old apple I have done so with some of IBM, Sun Microsystems and countless clones.
At the end of my effort I hope to have a PC that will be happy to browse modern web and play videos in standard deftinition video (tubes)
Strangely the DVD Burner region is set to region 2 my country is region 4
As soon as these cards arrive I will be taking photos of the PCI slots.
I've got a dual cpu Intel IBM clone motherboard with 800mhz cpu's so when i'm done I just may try benchmarks on them both see whos the champion being released around the same generation and siimular specifications :)
You've got a Quicksilver.



You're limited to 1.5GB ram. As far as an SSD, like I said earlier you need either a Mac PCI-SATA card or one that can be flashed.

If you are going to go all out, I might suggest an ATX power supply conversion. This is something I never did to my own QS and the demands I put on the system ended up with it burning out PCI cards on a consistent basis.

Not sure how this Mac would take to Linux, you'd have to ask the more experienced around here about that. But that's the only way you're going to get modern web browsing at any kind of modern speeds.

We can cheat on OS X by using TenFourFox, and I have a thread on optimizing that browser. But there are still limitations just because of the CPU.

As far as video, you just have to be willing to get creative if you keep OS X. @Dronecatcher does this routinely and just follow his suggestions and advice.
 

Project Alice

macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2008
779
434
Post Falls, ID
Running ancient, abandoned versions of OS's is about the last thing someone sensitive to Internet security should do. Leopard / Tiger and / or the old browsers that run on them could have massive, well-known holes in them that will never be patched. Meltdown / Spectre aren't the only threats on the Internet; given their sophistication, they're probably relatively unlikely to be encountered in practice.

In terms of Meltdown / Spectre, my understanding of it is that such techniques require careful manipulation of very low-level CPU characteristics. I doubt the exploits that are being used on x86 would also work as-is on G4 chips, and no-one is going to port them to target a tiny number of hobbyists. So which revisions of G4 are safer in this respect is pretty academic.

Running an up-to-date Linux on a (nowadays) obscure CPU platform might offer good security, but it seems pretty inconvenient for a marginal improvement.
PPC OS X is pretty secure just because they are obscure. Anything "sensitive" would require something more powerful than a G4 anyways just because the web is so bloated. Never in my life have I ever gotten any form of malware on any mac, and definitely not a PPC. Is it possible? Yes. It's also possible that I could be struck by lightning today. Likely? Absolutely not.
I daily a PowerBook G4, on the web. The only thing that gives me issues is youtube and facebook.
Also the tenfourfox team did testing on spectre; pretty much concluded that the chances of spectre happening on a PPC Mac are low. Very very low. http://tenfourfox.blogspot.com/2018/01/actual-field-testing-of-spectre-on.html
 
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MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
21,622
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You've got a Quicksilver.



You're limited to 1.5GB ram. As far as an SSD, like I said earlier you need either a Mac PCI-SATA card or one that can be flashed.

If you are going to go all out, I might suggest an ATX power supply conversion. This is something I never did to my own QS and the demands I put on the system ended up with it burning out PCI cards on a consistent basis.

Not sure how this Mac would take to Linux, you'd have to ask the more experienced around here about that. But that's the only way you're going to get modern web browsing at any kind of modern speeds.

We can cheat on OS X by using TenFourFox, and I have a thread on optimizing that browser. But there are still limitations just because of the CPU.

As far as video, you just have to be willing to get creative if you keep OS X. @Dronecatcher does this routinely and just follow his suggestions and advice.
That might be the best and coolest designed computer ever made. Too bad Apple abandoned the design.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,267
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That might be the best and coolest designed computer ever made. Too bad Apple abandoned the design.
Yeah, I agree.

Of all the PowerMac G4s the Quicksilver is the only G4 system that I ever wanted. With apologies to all G4 owners here, the QS is the only system that looks good. All the other G4 systems are just ugly to me.

Unfortunately, I discovered that the Quicksilver's beauty is only skin deep. Apple has a very poor thermal design inside the case and while you can load it out, it cannot take the heat or the power draw. Of course, Apple never anticipated a lot of the aftermarket upgrades or that anyone would actually max out every slot. However, to me, that shows poor forward thinking. But it is what it is and the QS is still a very beautiful looking G4.
 
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MacNut

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Jan 4, 2002
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Yeah, I agree.

Of all the PowerMac G4s the Quicksilver is the only G4 system that I ever wanted. With apologies to all G4 owners here, the QS is the only system that looks good. All the other G4 systems are just ugly to me.

Unfortunately, I discovered that the Quicksilver's beauty is only skin deep. Apple has a very poor thermal design inside the case and while you can load it out, it cannot take the heat or the power draw. Of course, Apple never anticipated a lot of the aftermarket upgrades or that anyone would actually max out every slot. However, to me, that shows poor forward thinking. But it is what it is and the QS is still a very beautiful looking G4.
I'm sure Apple could reengineer that case design for todays technology. If they could architect the new Mac Pro out of the old tower design they would have a beast of a super computer. But is that something Jony Ive wants to do, admit that the best designs came from the past.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,267
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I'm sure Apple could reengineer that case design for todays technology. If they could architect the new Mac Pro out of the old tower design they would have a beast of a super computer. But is that something Jony Ive wants to do, admit that the best designs came from the past.
Oh they could, you're absolutely right there.

As to Jony, I'd say no. He seems to always be focused on other things. It's at a point now for me that my idea of good design is nothing like his. Ive hasn't designed any Mac I've been interested in since 2008.
 

MacNut

macrumors Core
Jan 4, 2002
21,622
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Oh they could, you're absolutely right there.

As to Jony, I'd say no. He seems to always be focused on other things. It's at a point now for me that my idea of good design is nothing like his. Ive hasn't designed any Mac I've been interested in since 2008.
Ive wants look over function. "Look what we can do" Not, "Look at how great this works"
 
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zapbuzz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 21, 2010
7
0
Great info guys. About the PCI slots. I just received the PCIX card it fits its entire cardbus into the motherboard without overhang and the pc boots without issue. However, at time of writing, I haven't tried installing anything like drivers or disks about it. It has a BIOS.
eyoungren just wondering you pimp your pc out with SSD's? if you did can you tell me how many you were running on it.

I'd love to get a clock battery but these are strange I wonder if theres an aftermarket battery adapter to put like penlight batteries in it (AA or AAA)

The stock DVD Burner in it i hope it likes dual layer burned discs I got osx burned on one for later.

I must admit the PSU doesn't take long at all to heat up even with just stock components.
I do have a 1,000 watt peak spare PSU i've hardly used but is the motherboard compatable?

Oh for those who don't know PCI-X is Not PCIe or PCI. It is used on server motherboards with a whopping 64 bit cardbus bandwidth and its slot is double length. They can run in a standard PCI slot just not as efficiently. I will assume this apples slots would be PCI but the length of PCI-X for the sake of protecting the pins (will not dissasemble mainboard to trace wiring to prove at this time.)
[doublepost=1549344867][/doublepost]
Great info guys. About the PCI slots. I just received the PCIX card it fits its entire cardbus into the motherboard without overhang and the pc boots without issue. However, at time of writing, I haven't tried installing anything like drivers or disks about it. It has a BIOS.
eyoungren just wondering you pimp your pc out with SSD's? if you did can you tell me how many you were running on it.

I'd love to get a clock battery but these are strange I wonder if theres an aftermarket battery adapter to put like penlight batteries in it (AA or AAA)

The stock DVD Burner in it i hope it likes dual layer burned discs I got osx burned on one for later.

I must admit the PSU doesn't take long at all to heat up even with just stock components.
I do have a 1,000 watt peak spare PSU i've hardly used but is the motherboard compatable?

Oh for those who don't know PCI-X is Not PCIe or PCI. It is used on server motherboards with a whopping 64 bit cardbus bandwidth and its slot is double length. They can run in a standard PCI slot just not as efficiently. I will assume this apples slots would be PCI but the length of PCI-X for the sake of protecting the pins (will not dissasemble mainboard to trace wiring to prove at this time.)
[doublepost=1549345108][/doublepost]oops with the quotation lol
I just looked at my other ppc its a mirror door G4 more powerful but i have to get the PSU repaired.
The wiring to both systems motherboards from the PSU is different the mirror door has to get professionally repaird because if i did a mod to it no more firewire.
Found this info to fix up an ATX PSU but somehow I think 6Amp rectifer diodes would be more appealing considering my gigawatt PSU .... later.
http://www.atxg4.com/quicksilver.html
 
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eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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The only SSD I have is an mSATA and that's inside my 17" PowerBook G4.

All the drives I ever used with my Quicksilver were standard hard drives.

As far as your 1000W PSU and motherboard compatibility, the answer is no. That's why I said you might want to look into ATX conversion.

This site: http://atxg4.com/ explains things. The owner of the site also sells cables (he does the work for you). The problem is finding an ATX PSU that will fit inside the case with the same mounting.
 

zapbuzz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 21, 2010
7
0
oh sorry mate what meant to ask is when you were using a quicksilver did you use SSD?
 

zapbuzz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Dec 21, 2010
7
0
i missed that answer my appologies.
anyhow, I'm just waiting for the second pci sata card before I start working on this;
I have 2 flavours of linux to try: Ubuntu Mate edition and Debian.
I know theres a best version but like many things its best to try for ones self.