Uses for an old G4?

Discussion in 'Apple Collectors' started by 3soteric, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. 3soteric macrumors member

    3soteric

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    #1
    Lo all - I have an old G4 (PowerPC) that is just lying round doing nothing. Anyone got a good idea as to what I could do with it - as a project?

    during its life its been a general desktop, connected to the tv, and now resides in the cellar doing pretty much nothing which is a shame. I dont really need another comp around the house as I have a MBP and iMac, as well as a Mac mini under the tv. It just seems a shame to leave it there tbh....
     
  2. max¥¥ macrumors 6502a

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    Over there....
    #2
    Witch model? what cpu speed? how much ram?
    any old g4 will perform very well as something like a ftp server, a faster g4 will work well as a media center or for playing slightly older games
     
  3. R94N macrumors 68020

    R94N

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    #3
    What about using it for your iTunes library or something?
     
  4. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    United Kingdom
    #4
    heh, I have my G4 setup as a dedicated Mac OS 9 machine with all those apps from the past - Its weird, but cool, seeing it Boot OS 9 and taking me back to the Era of Final Cut Pro 1.0, back when your system actually crashed ;) (Its also to remind me how far Macs have come, especially when I compare it to my Pro...). although Id say use it as either a server, or for older stuff :)
     
  5. SkippyThorson macrumors 65816

    SkippyThorson

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    #5
    First of all, which G4 are we talking about here? The all-in-one iLamp, or the big tower?

    I have personal favorite uses for both. :D

    If it's the PowerMac G4 tower, I'd hook it up to my TV, and use it as a media center. Keep Movies, Music, and Pictures on it, and show them off on the TV that everyone uses. I'd wipe everything you wouldn't use any more to make space for media.

    When connected to a TV, I would clear things like Adobe CS, Office, and all those other productivity programs that take up space and don't get used. Also, you don't have to wipe off Widgets, but at least remove them from the Dashboard so they aren't in the background all the time. Let the media run at its top potential, which should never stutter anyway.

    It's a great streaming machine if the hard drive is small, too. Connect it to your TV, and avoid a reason to pay for a new :apple:TV. If you're not a Nexflix or YouTube person, streaming from iTunes to iTunes will work just as well with this G4 as it would with an :apple:TV. As long as you aren't desperate for the best quality possible.

    Or... :D

    If it's the iMac G4 all-in-one, I would put that bad boy in the kitchen in a heartbeat. Sit it in the corner of your counter space, and use it for the ultimate kitchen technology hub. Keep all your recipes on it, your future shopping lists of things you'll need, a wide array of great cooking applications, and especially, use it to browse FoodNetwork.com, to watch and cook along with your favorite chefs, shows, and recipes. :)

    Trust me, if you want a handy tool in the kitchen, and you really enjoy food and cooking, you could find a computer to be your best and favorite Sous-Chef. I just picked up a second G4 to put in my office at work, and over the Christmas break, I'll be thrilled to take it home and do this for myself.

    The 15" screen is more than enough for me, for a use like this, plus, the smaller it is, the less room it takes up. I find that to be just the right size. Not huge, but a perfectly decent size. The way my kitchen is set up, the dome would sit in a corner of the counter top, and then, arcing the arm / tilting the screen up would let it sit at a perfect height / angle to fit under my hanging cabinets. I'd recommend that you keep in mind to not place it under a hanging can-opener, coffee maker, or anything with the potential to drip. :p

    Some things to consider:
    • Pick up the small aluminum USB keyboard without the number pad to minimize the space it takes up.
    • Maybe a USB Mighty Mouse, so you can use right-click with one hand - or any other mouse with right-clicking. That way, you don't have to fumble with 2 potentially chicken-covered hands to right click something.
    • Pop an Airport Card in it, to eliminate one more cable, minimizing clutter.
    • If you're really tight on space, or don't have a place to put the Pro Speakers, you don't need them, as there's a speaker built in to the iMac's dome, that I find quite adequate on its own, unless you're a quality nut.
    • Seran-Wrap the keyboard! It sounds crazy, but you'll inevitably find yourself with greasy, sticky, or messy hands, and need the next page of a recipe, or need to arrow down to read a few more lines. It's a keyboard cover that's cheap and disposable, and enough protection from most culinary arts.

    I could go on and on and on about the iMac G4, and all the uses I have in my mind for it, but either way, I'd certainly find some use for a spare computer, even if it's almost turned into a luxury toy. At least it's getting used! :) Plus, PPCs seem to run forever.

    Holy crap, I had fun writing this!
     
  6. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a

    milbournosphere

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    #6
    Put a large hard drive in it, install OS X server, throw it in the closet and use it as a file server. I would maybe get a 15" lcd monitor for it for the occasional direct access, or keep it headless and access it remotely using OS X's built in utilities or some flavor of vnc. Is it new enough to handle Leopard?
     
  7. 512ke macrumors 6502a

    512ke

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    #7
    old macs

    I have a 512e mac that does nothing but look pretty.

    But I have a luxor lamp g4 1.25 ghz imac that rocks. I have it running 10.3.9 and it's much snappier than my fancy new MBP. The system loads faster. Word is way faster. It has fewer problems. And it has no internet airport extreme card. This makes the imac a great tool for one thing: writing.

    No distractions. No email. No Appleinsider. No Skype. Etc. Just pure focused work on a nice snappy system that works with many fewer problems than a high end MPB.

    I never have to run activity monitor or the drive utility to repair permissions for instance.

    I suggest you use your old mac to get any serious writing done. :apple:
     
  8. Consultant macrumors G5

    Consultant

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    #8
    My PowerMac G4 runs a file server 24/7. Has Terabytes of storage with SATA card.
     
  9. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #9
    hmm - you wouldnt be able to recommend that to me would you (Now I have my Pro Ive taken my G4/450 out of full-time Final Cut use :p - which proves they are still useful today xD)
     
  10. HE15MAN macrumors 6502a

    HE15MAN

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    #10
    How many drive bays do these have? Would they work as a NAS box?
     
  11. SkippyThorson macrumors 65816

    SkippyThorson

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    #11
    On second thought, if you really have no use for it, I'll be happy to take it off your hands. First offer in the thread, I'll note! :D
     
  12. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

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    #12
    Depending on the exact model (assuming it's the tower model,) you can cram between 3 and 8 hard drives in. (Also assuming you're willing to sacrifice the externally-accessible bays, like the optical drive.)

    But, of course, it won't have that many onboard hard drive connections available. Also, depending on the model, it is likely to have a 132 GB drive limit. If you want to use it as a NAS, the best bet is to get a SATA card.
     
  13. XaPHER macrumors member

    XaPHER

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    #13
    I have put a drive in the zip slot of my g4

    Better get an ATA-133 pci card , which is bootable on os9 and supports large drives.

    Even a G4 can play flashes, but Click2flash would help on the slower machines (yikes, sawtooth, etc). I use a G4/466 as my main machine and it is sufficient for everyday use (word, mail, ytube, many other) exept for 3d games or multiplayer games.
     
  14. 3soteric thread starter macrumors member

    3soteric

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    #14
    Sorry gents - have been away for a few days with the better half ;)

    Its the old tower G4 - quite an early model though. I've not even tested it to see if its still working, but at the moment its just taking up space!

    I already have a home server, and plenty of NAS storage space, so that idea seems a little redundant.

    As I already have three other Mac's, and DNLA boxes under each of the TV's I'm not really in need of plugging it into a tv either (Mac Mini under the main TV)

    @512ke - How did you know I was a writer? Have I already said that on here? (my memory isn't what it used to be) I have considered using it as a writing station tbh, but there is no space in the house to tuck myself away I'm afraid. Plus I'm more of a coffee-shop writer, especially for this years NaNoWriMo - and I can't imagine lugging the tower/monitor around...

    @Skippy - are you in the UK? If so, you can have it if you come and collect it!
     
  15. SkippyThorson macrumors 65816

    SkippyThorson

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    #15
    Aw, I'm in New York. It's a bit too far for me to sail, as ticket prices would outweigh the cost of the Mac. Very kind of you though to offer! I hope find a good use or a good home for it. :)

    If you find you just don't want it at all, my first move then would be to see if any local school would like it as a donation. My old high school was low on Macs, and a few older machines at least got some kids experienced with and interested in OSX.

    Your machine could be a tool for future generations of Mac users!:D
     
  16. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    #16
    As someone who not only lives in the UK, but has worked in the State Education system as an IT guy, it has to be said that most schools will turn down the donation of the Mac entirely (Either theyll be all Windows, or they wont want it for some other pointless reason.. such as it not being uniform or whatever) or theyll put it in a classroom and leave it (At my state secondary school (as a pupil :eek: ) I discovered maybe 10-12 older beige macs sat around doing nothing, some in pieces, because they didnt have anything to use them for, and everyone wanted to usee the peeeeeceeees with Windows XP.) - If you want to give it to education id try and either find a local family who wants it (freecycle), or try a preschool, as they tend not to have computers and might find it a godsend - just a few notes from experience :)
     
  17. SkippyThorson macrumors 65816

    SkippyThorson

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    Utica, NY
    #17
    That's both interesting and disappointing. I didn't consider that. Most Macs at my old high school went to the Music Department. Each one of them has a Mac. The band teacher, an eMac G4, theory and appreciation teacher, the iMac G4, and the orchestra teacher, a PowerMac G4. All 3 are still kicking (the computers) and they get used daily. Other Macs went to public use in the IT wing. (I used to closely compare how each Mac matched the respective instructor.)

    It's unfortunate that not all places appreciate computers that they get for free, when most of the time, the computers they pay for are cheap Windows XP boxes with less capability. At least, one of the tech teachers at the same school put FlyAKite on all the classroom's Windows Boxes, and heavily modded them to function like and look like Macs from the desktop. Ah, those were the days. :)

    I agree with trying to see if a preschool would like it. Think of places that otherwise wouldn't have a computer at all. I didn't consider it, but places that already have a lot of computers just may take it for granted.
     
  18. mattpreston11 macrumors 6502a

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    #18

    Where abouts in the UK are you?
     
  19. 3soteric thread starter macrumors member

    3soteric

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    #19
    I'm based in Leeds, but I may have a use for it after all!

    The other half has suggested that we turn my office into a library/secondary family room - for the kids as well, so a mixture of the two, keeping my iMac where it is, and turing the loftspace into a proper writing den - no phone, no internet, no distractions. She is going to get on the phone to a property developer today to get some estimates - so fingers crossed!

    I got the machine up and running yesterday - it required a fresh install, and is running 10.4 at the moment, but all fine. Just needs a new monitor now....
     
  20. chrismacguy macrumors 68000

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    United Kingdom
    #20
    If your going to let your kids loose on/near the machine Id recommend padlocking the back so it cant be opened by them (Depending on your kids age theyll either shock themselves playing with the insides - or theyll try removing things (HD, RAM etc)). Also as far as monitors go, Id recommend a 17" Square / 19" Widescreen one, because it may well end up that the graphics begins to lag/misbehaves (My G4/450 can only manage 1680*1050 at a real push, and 1440*900 just about acceptably on original graphics)
     

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