Uses for PowerMac G4s?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Gamer9430, Jan 24, 2015.

  1. Gamer9430 macrumors 68020

    Gamer9430

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    #1
    As some of you may or may not know, most likely this week I will be getting 9 PowerMac G4s, give or take a few. I'm going to sell most of them on eBay, but I will keep at least one. I'm wondering what I could use one or two of them for. Would they make good servers, or are they too loud and use too much power. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Also these are the AGP graphics models, incase anyone was wondering.
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #2
    Well, at work we have a G4/350 PCI that is our Applescript server. It executes scripts over the network to process photos and move files.

    Our G4/400 AGP is a print server and backup production Mac. My MacPro would not be able to print without it.

    At home, my 1.2Ghz G4 Quicksilver is a media platform. I use it to watch movies, listen to music and I use the same apps I use at work to do design and layout freelance and for our church. Suitcase Fusion 3 runs on PowerPC Mac by the way, in case anyone didn't know that.

    My 20" iMac G5 is the Mac I need to find a use for!
     
  3. Gamer9430 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Gamer9430

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    #3
    Yeah, perhaps a media platform would work. What is suitcase fusion?
     
  4. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #4
    Suitcase Fusion is a font manager made by Extensis. Extensis has been deeply involved in the print/design business since the release of Suitcase back in the mid-90s.

    A font manager allows a designer to load fonts from a specific folder on his/her hard drive instead of having to move fonts in or out of the various OS X font folders. Every font you stick in those folders eats a little bit of memory (about 1-3mb on average). Dump in 500+ fonts and you slow down the system. So a font manager (like Suitcase Fusion) allows you to manage which fonts are active and which are not.

    Why not use FontBook? Because I was in the design/print industry before FontBook and it's only in the last few years that Apple has made FontBook serious enough to be used. I am also very familiar with Suitcase so I stick with it.

    Suitcase Fusion 4 and above are Intel only. Extensis is currently selling Suitcase Fusion 6, which incidentally I cannot use on the MacPro at work because Extensis dropped support for InDesign CS4. I have to stay on the same level as the other designer and since she has a G5 and the max that G5 can use is Adobe CS4 that is what we are using.

    I have over 7000 fonts by the way. Compared to a design studio that's a minimal amount.
     

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  5. poiihy macrumors 68020

    poiihy

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    #5
    File server or similar is the best use for a G4 IMO. They have a lot of space inside for hard disk drives and the machine looks nice to sit somewhere. The only drawback is the noise. G4's are rather noisy with the fans so you may want to replace the fans with very quiet ones and/or insulate the fans to prevent vibration.
     
  6. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #6
    Another drawback is the power usage. A Mac mini would make a much better file sever IMO.
     
  7. poiihy macrumors 68020

    poiihy

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    #7
    They don't have very good ethernet speeds though. I think they are only 100Mbit/s, not 1000Mbit/s.
     
  8. redheeler macrumors 603

    redheeler

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    #8
    The PowerPC ones yes, but the Intel ones have the faster speed.
     
  9. poiihy macrumors 68020

    poiihy

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    Aug 22, 2014
    #9
    Obviously any Intel Mac will outperform any PowerPC. So why do people use PowerPC?

    A file server is the best a G4 would do (IMO) but of course anything newer would easily outperform it. Even a Raspberry Pi would beat a G4 as a file server.
     
  10. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #10
    If you are going to use anything as a server nowadays you need Gigabit Ethernet except maybe for a print server. The Mac Mini G4s do not really meet the needs of most servers nowadays. Their G4 processors are rather slow, they are limited to 10/100, and do not offer more than one internal hard drive. A PowerMac is better in every way as a server with the exception of power consumption.
     
  11. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #11
    I'm just going to say this right here…

    Two years back I was using an iBook G3 as a Time Machine backup server. Had it sitting off behind everything connected to the network via ethernet. I was running two 500GB HDs off an unpowered hub connected to it's USB 1.1 port.

    After doing initial backup via firewire I set this up and it worked very well. The iBook was running Tiger with less than 1GB of ram.
     
  12. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #12
    All this discussion aside, if the OP is getting Sawtooths(which I think he has indicated most are) he won't have gigabit ethernet "out of the box" anyway.

    Of course, one of the real strengths of a G4 tower is that it's easy to throw in a gigabit card if you really need it. I expect it wouldn't be expensive, either, although I've never had the occasion to price one out.

    I'll also say that I've been playing with the beige G3 a lot, and the 10baseT on it makes even 100baseT seem blazing fast :)
     
  13. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

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    Jan 1, 2010
    #13
    This!
    I like Erik's idea with using an ibook, if one wants to stay PowerPC, it has a lower power consumption and the prices have come down to PowerMac niveau, too.

    Also re Gigabit ethernet, I heard that the onboard GE is very slow, compared to afterwards installed GE-PCI-cards. (There was a tip for a cheap card somewhere here in the forum.)

    On the OPs question. I use my PowerMac, because it is the only Mac that can get detailed SMART info of Hard drives and I am a sizzy so I like to check SMART from time to time. The PowerMacs can read the by the Drive itself stored SMART data on the onboard IDE port (via IDE-SATA adapter) or on my Macally SATA card (Sonnet only supports SMART on the eSATA or 4xport cards).
    Also, I run some older apps, that I don't like to invest time in searching for a newer alternative or buying newer generations of it. (I lately got me an Intel-MacMini, that I picked with the possibility to use older binary software in mind, the number of Apps needed on the G4 is now narrowing and what will be left for the G4, though, is SMART and OS 9 games.)
     
  14. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #14

    Time Machine is fine on that purpose but rather slow due to USB 1.1. If your household is like mine, where multiple users are accessing network shares, then 10/100 is hardly adequate.
     
  15. catzilla macrumors 6502

    catzilla

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    #15
    If time machine runs in the background does it make any difference if it is slow?
     
  16. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #16
    I use a FW800 external for Time Machine with my MBP.

    Having FW800 is nice for the times when I go a couple of weeks(or 63 days :rolleyes: ) without connecting the drive. I finally plugged it in last night, and it only took about 15 or 20 minutes to do the backup of 60 some gb. From past experience, it probably would have taken over an hour to do the same amount over USB 2.0.

    If I used Time Machine as I should and connected the drive at least daily(if not virtually any time I was using the computer), this wouldn't be an issue. It's really not an issue on my work G5, where I use Time Machine on one of the internal drives(not the one the OS is on) so it's connected any time the computer is on.
     
  17. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

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    May 25, 2014
    #17
    If you have to ask you don't have a use case for it. Keep one for nostalgia or sell them all.
     
  18. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #18
    That was my thinking at the time.

    And the amount transferred is minimal each time there is access. Unless you've downloaded a huge file or something. But the majority of my Macs on the network (then and now) rarely see large files all the time so this worked for me.

    The screen was off and it was running off a 45w charger. And I had it set to sleep, except for ethernet access, which would only occur when the TM drives were being saved to.

    Finally, since it was behind a bunch of stuff I had OSXVNC running on it so I could access it remotely if I needed to.

    All the way around it was a decent, if not typical solution and it created a purpose for that iBook G3.

    ----------

    I have you beat. The SATA enclosures for my two 500GB HDs died (no idea when, but they are dead). Those drives are connected to my QS and the QS is the Time Machine server.

    Nothing has backed up to those drives since April 2014 or so and my iMac G5 keeps whining at me about it. Fortunately, two new enclosures are enroute. Hoping my new USB/FW400 card gets here first though.
     
  19. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

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    #19
    You do indeed have me beat.

    With that said, I've tried to stay a lot more on top of it since the HDD in my MBP died in April 2014, and the most recent back-up I had was July 2013.

    Fortunately, the drive didn't die completely(it was just on its way out) and I backed up the important stuff file-by-file before taking it in to the Genius bar so that they could fart around with it for a week before telling me it was fixed, me realizing it wasn't before leaving the store, and having a Genius replace my hard drive and re-install Lion in a span of about 15 minutes before I blew a gasket in the store :)

    I should also add that I actually bought the back-up drive I'm using now while I was in the store on that trip. My old time machine drive was a "desktop" USB 2.0 WD MyBook that worked fine, but part of the reason I didn't use it as much was because it was big and also needed to be plugged into the wall. I wanted a Firewire 800 bus-powered drive so that I could carry it with me and hopefully be better about backing up. I have for the most part.

    BTW, the only FW800 drive the Apple Store had was a LaCie Rugged, which set me back $160 for 1TB. They had me over a barrel, though. I should have asked for a discount after they jerked me around without a computer for a week :rolleyes:
     
  20. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #20
    Time Machine or a task like that would not matter, but using a Mac as a file server or application server makes speed important.
     
  21. poiihy macrumors 68020

    poiihy

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    #21
    Ooh I like that idea. You could mount the iBook on the wall and open it to check the console and stuff.
     
  22. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

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    Jan 1, 2010
    #22
    nostalgia, that's the reason I keep my iMac G3 DV. Though I could use the space on my desk for better things...
    Didn'T think of the wall, but if you want to... you could "rip" off the display and run it headless or via an external Monitor hooked up via a long cable.
     
  23. Gamer9430 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Gamer9430

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    #23
    nostalgia is an option, but i think it would be extremely useful doing something.

    Anyway, i have no clue if this week is going to work anymore. We got some snow here and schools have been closed since Monday. Besides the weather, the school's main water pipe burst and the school had no water. The entire parking lot was flooded and im sure the insides of the school might have had some water damage as well. So if I go in tomorrow, i would have to have a computer club meeting, and the teacher I'm getting the computers from knows how many I can take. There are lots of variables. As of right now, im completely unsure about when I'll be heading back to school. Could be tomorrow, could be Friday, could even be Monday. I have no clue. But if it's tomorrow, I have a chance of getting them. If not tomorrow, then I will have to wait until next Thursday.
     
  24. reco2011 macrumors 6502a

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    May 25, 2014
    #24
    They're good for all kinds of things. Being old doesn't make them useless. With that said if you have to ask others what to do with it then you don't have a use for it. So why go looking for one?
     
  25. Gamer9430, Jan 28, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015

    Gamer9430 thread starter macrumors 68020

    Gamer9430

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    #25
    (Sorry pressed wrong button)

    Well I asked the teacher if the eMac he had in his room had a wifi card, and mentioned if he had any computers he didn't want anymore, I would take them. So he told me that they were planning to upgrade the G4s that they were using for CAD this year and he would check how many G4s he needed for a class and then would let me know. So I said I would take the spares. I'll find out tomorrow how many I can take, and hopefully I'll take them tomorrow. Oh, and the eMac never even had the wireless card, lol
     

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