Power Mac Questions/Suggestions

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by fletch33, Oct 12, 2009.

  1. fletch33 macrumors regular


    Dec 11, 2008
    Under a Rug
    first of all i appreciate any help or suggestions on these questions :)

    i have many mac's but did not make the switch until Intel hit the scene. i have setup a G4 Sawtooth in my newly built office in my basement and want to use it as the desktop in here mainly because it was my first Mac (didn't commit until Intel) and i got it free and spent way too much $ on it but didn't care at the time as it was more a project than anything and just wanted to see what i could make it do.

    i use a new MBP which i carry to and from work and use on the couch etc.. but thought it would be nice to have a desktop setup permanently in the newly constructed office.

    so being unfamiliar with this older machine i thought i would ask here for some suggestions on how to get the most out of it.


    - upgraded the 400MHz processor to a 1.6GHz from OWC which allowed me to install 10.5 and i am running 10.5.8

    - have 1GB ram in it currently but it can handle 2GB since it is the AGP model. however i use iStat and rarely hit 700MB in usage. i have thought about getting it to 2GB but the old memory is pricey :( it has 4 slots which can handle 512MB each

    - upgraded to a Gigabit Network card

    - upgraded to SATA drive card with a WD 750GB SATA 3GB/s drive installed

    - upgraded video card to an AGP ATI Radeon 9800 Pro 128MB which allows Quartz Extreme

    - added USB2 Card with 4 ports

    - added HP DL Burner

    - also replaced the front Zip Drive with 2xUSB2 ports, 1 Firewire 400 port, and Audio in 3.5mm port

    thats all i can think of since i did all of this a long time ago

    Hardware invloved

    - Power Mac G4

    - Samsung 22" LCD Monitor hooked up via ATI DVI port

    - Elements 19" LCD Monitor/TV hooked via ATI VGA port. this is the TV on the wall above the desk but i also hooked it up to be extended desktop for movies from the Mac or whatever

    - both monitors are running at 1920x1080

    Questions / Suggestions:

    1. the main fan on the this model G4 was not designed to be controllable by either myself or with software or the Mac. it is rather loud. not ridiculous but more than i would like. since the newly installed processor has 2 fans on it do you think i could unhook the main fan on the back to hep eliminate noise? my thought is that since it is in such a ventilated area maybe i could unhook the main fan on the back? it sits in a part of the desk that has a door on it but when i put together the desk i did not put the backing on it so that it would be open in the back. i was also thinking that i could actually leave the Mac open since it is just a handle that opens it up and this along with the processor fans would prevent any overheating. it is only the main fan that is loud.

    2. are there things/processes that i can tweak to help it be as productive as possible?

    3. i noticed that when i am using the 19" LCD as extended monitor whether i am using VLC or Quicktime if i tell either software to default the 19" as the main screen for full screen my main monitor goes black when i hit full screen even though the video is playing full screen on the 19". i was hoping it would work like the Mini's in my house where i could full screen to the extended and then be able to use the main monitor to surf, email etc.. but this does not seem to work and i am stuck using "fit to screen" rather then fullscreen so i have to see the upper and lower player bars?

    4. just for reference it can handle any video i throw at it except it has some trouble with the .mkv's and stutters when i am playing a video on the 19" and doing things like downloading or searching the 220GB iTunes music collection which wil cause the video to stutter here and there.

    i realize this machine is a decade old and am COMPLETELY impressed with what its doing no at this age as it is so i am not looking for anything about upgrading as i have a newer Mini i could put in here but really just want to look for ways to maximize the potential of this Power Mac and its age is what makes it cool.

    my windows friends dont have anything near this old that can keep up with it and thats the WOW factor i like.

    thanks to anyone that actually gets through all of this and can offer some suggestions/help.
  2. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Do a ram upgrade.

    You won't regret it.

    Have a friend with an upgraded 500mhz G4 tower to 1.8ghz. Running great.

    Disable Dashboard. It really does eat up CPU usage.

    As for the fan, it is too loud. Don't know what to say about it. Make sure it is clean on the inside, it really attracts dust which causes overheating in itself. But extra ram and newer faster hard drives should actually decrease fan usage.
  3. fletch33 thread starter macrumors regular


    Dec 11, 2008
    Under a Rug
    thanks for the dashboard tip. will i loose any functionality besides search which i do not use anyway?

    i already have the latest HDD as far as speed goes with the SATA 3G/s drive.

    i have been debating the RAM but i know i should just go ahead and get it.

    the only thing that concerns me about the fan is that although i thik unhooking it would probably be ok as i am in a basement cool room and it has a ton of breathing room but i just have no way to measure its temp like i do with my other macs.

    haha i noticed my sig says 2GB ram on it already and im not sure why that is there prob wasn't paying attention :)

  4. forester54 macrumors member


    Oct 5, 2009
    extra RAM will make a difference but I dont know about the fan. I am not too familiar with G4's but I know that I would never unhook it in my Mac Pro just because of the heat problem
  5. AlexMaximus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 15, 2006
    A400M Base
    Fan questions...

    Regarding the fan, I would not unhook it. Instead I would replace the fan with a new design low noise fan. Since I have much experience with the 120 mm case fan improvement in my G4 MDD, I can recommend you this model:


    After trying out different typs of fans, I would absolutely use this brand.
  6. fletch33 thread starter macrumors regular


    Dec 11, 2008
    Under a Rug
    thank you very much. they actually carry this fan at a Microcenter near my house for $12 so i will definitely pick one up and see how much difference it makes.
  7. IronFixXxeR macrumors member


    Jun 20, 2009
    Austin, Texas
    I know in VLC there is an option to black out the other monitor when playing video in full screen. You would just need to turn that feature off. Not sure about quicktime.
  8. fletch33 thread starter macrumors regular


    Dec 11, 2008
    Under a Rug
    thanks for the help everyone.

    - i installed the new fan suggested by AlexMaximus and it is great and made a huge difference. the only trick was figuring out how to get it hooked up. the new fan is 3 pin connector and the old one is a 2 pin. you have to cut the old connector off and then hope you get the right 2 wires from the 3 available on the new fan in order for it work :) it took a few tries but it is working great.

    - i ordered the ram as suggested and look forward to that making a difference

    - have not yet disabled dashboard but i am looking into that

    thanks again

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