PowerMac G4 MDD upgrades?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by applegeek13, Oct 15, 2010.

  1. applegeek13 macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    I have a relatively stock FW800 PowerMac. It has dual 1.25GHz chips, 512MB ram, standard video card with 64MB VRAM, upgraded hard drives. I have another stick of RAM, 512MB, but I don't know if it is good. The computer is running Tiger, 10.4.11.

    My question to you is, what should I do now? I have 100$ to spend at the moment, and I'd like to keep this cheap. I mainly use this computer for internet and will soon be using Photoshop CS3 and iLife.

    Now for the bonus clue: It kernel panics. Occasionally it will freeze, and have to restart it. It seems to have improved when I replaced the RAM, but it didn't go away entirely. What might cause this, and what might fix it? I need a stable computer for school.

    Thank you!
  2. XaPHER macrumors regular


    Oct 13, 2010
    Nowhere to be found
    did you have verified the disk and repaired permissions with disk utility ?
  3. applegeek13 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    I have tried, but the boxes were shaded and unclickable.
  4. ThunderSnake macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2010
    With a $100 budget, a better video card and some more ram would prolly be the way to go in terms of performance. How old is your hard drive, though? If your main goal is to have a stable system for school, that might be more important if you're still using the OEM drive.

    But first things first: Before spending any money, you need to figure out the kernal panics. Have you run Memtest? Have you run Apple Hardware Test? Does it happen when you safe boot? Do you have Temperature Monitor installed? What is your operating temp? At idle? At full load?
  5. mr1970 macrumors member

    Feb 15, 2008
    Try running Disk Utility from the install disk rather than from Applications - no reason why it won't let you check both permissions and faults from there.

    Have you changed your PRAM battery recently? I had an old one in my G4 and it caused all manner of weird little faults until I swapped it out.

    As for what to spend $100 on...I think this is a good number, first of all, because you'd get something very much quicker if your budget was (say) $300, so I'd go with extra RAM if I was you - again from my own experience, I put 4 x 512MB sticks in my AGP G4 and it made a vast difference.
  6. applegeek13 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    I'll check out those fixes. My boot drive is the OEM, but I have a replacement for it. I can't get Tiger to play nice with my WiFi stick though. I'll tell you guys how it works!

    So I tried to verify the boot drive and it said "Disk Utility has lost connection with the disk management tool. Please restart disk utility and try again."

    Not quite sure why it's doing that, I'm going to try to install Tiger on the replacement drive I have and see what happens.

    EDIT: I reinstalled Tiger, it seems to be running fine now. Apparently I corrupted a System file. Anyone have suggestions on which graphics card to buy? I NEED an ADC port, as I have a 23" Cinema HD and I have no money with which to buy an adapter.
  7. ThunderSnake macrumors 6502

    Jul 23, 2010
    Good news! For your purposes, unless you can find a good deal on an adapter, I think I would actually keep the current video card and go with the extra ram as suggested by mr1970.

    If it's never been done, I would also apply some fresh thermal compound to the CPU's. Any G4 is now well past the age where it should still be running with the factory installed thermal tape.

    At no additional cost, you can install CHUD (version 3.5.2) and enable nap mode to help your machine run cooler and install Temperature Monitor to help you detect any cooling problems as they might arise.

    It might also be a good idea to remove the PSU and blow out any dust. You don't have to completely disconnect it. Just pull it out far enough that you can open it, but you'll have to remove the optical drive bays to get it that far.

    That's about the best you can do to ensure a stable system for your school work. I love these machines, but depending on an eight year old computer as your primary machine to meet daily deadlines is not without risks. Make a mental note of any computers that might be available for use in a pinch (Libraries, friends, computer labs at school, etc.).
  8. applegeek13 thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2009
    Thanks Thunder! I went through the system and I have a Radeon 9000. I'll order some more RAM when I can. It's working fine now. :)
  9. raysfan81 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2009
    North Carolina
    You could upgrade to leopard if you had 1gb+ of ram to get better compatibility software wise. Also you could get a Radeon 9600xt or Radeon 9800 pro. You could get either one for under $60-70.

Share This Page