Want to upgrade my new G4 tower...?!?

Discussion in 'macOS' started by markjs, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. markjs macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    That's right, my "new" Motorola G4 400MHZ AGP Power PC, running tiger 10.4, and I am using it for my wife who simply needs a web surfer and something to sync her iPhone with.

    I've always been a PC guy (because it is where the money is when it comes to repairs), but this is the first actual viable Mac I've owned. I plan to add to it, just because I need to delve further into cross platform compatibility, but for now it is the one Mac, added to the one "7" and one Ubuntu box in our home...

    In any case it is a "Sawtooth" G4 tower, and I need to get Leopard on it, or at very least somehow get it to sync the aforementioned iPhone. I mean she can do it on my PC, but I really dislike iTunes PC version because it seems to always find a way to start screwing up no matter how I customize the install, eventually it has always started acting up, or tries to make itself a default program even though I don't want it to, and I really have no use for it at all myself on my machine.

    So, I understand I need an 867MHz Motorola chip, or a way to fool the machine into thinking I have one. I see cheap chips on eBay, but I have little idea what to look for, and what I am looking at performance wise. I am interested in any general knowledge I can gain, both about tricking it and possible upgrade paths and I thank you in advance anyone who has any help they can give me....
  2. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    Oh and I already have the USB 2.0 card, so I knew that was needed.... Thanks!
  3. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Leopard can be installed on certain unsupported hardware, but not all. This Low End Mac article is the resource for such installations. However, it appears that your computer is not among those for which the installation is possible. The article specifically states that it can't be done on a 533 MHz G4--probably because the version of Open Firmware is too old. Your version of Open Firmware is even older.
  4. davidlv macrumors 65816

    Apr 5, 2009
    Kyoto, Japan
    I had one of those, upgraded with a 867GHz CPU and PCI HD controller. You need at least that to run run OSX 10.5.8 well. IMHO it is not worth the cash involved now days. Put some money into a G5 tower or even better an older mini/MBP etc. used, will run Leopard much better, uses SATA drives, has USB 2, etc.
    Check e-bay for prices.
  5. SailorTom macrumors regular

    May 15, 2008
    Yeah, we have a the PCI graphics version of this back at home running panther. I believe there is some software that can fool OS X into installing, but I doubt the specs would handle leopard.

    Best option is to gut it and build a PC in the case, which is what I plan to do, or get a newer mac.
  6. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    I don't think you read that article very fully. Its one particular dual 533MHz machine where other Sawtooth machines did run it. I'm not saying this will work, but that machine they mention is an exception at least the way I read the article. I suppose I can only try it and see though; bottom line is that the article is helpful so thanks much for that...

    The one advantage is that I at least have a gig of memory and the machine looks to support more if need be, if I can even find any that works for it.
  7. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    Yeah if I had money to burn on it, and unfortunately I don't.

    If I could find an upgrade processor I'd be happier, spending under $150, and I found this, which may be an interesting idea...?

  8. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    See another thing to consider is that I don't need to go to 10.5.8. I only need the iPhone compatibility. What is the lowest level of 10.5 where I would have that?
  9. Darth.Titan macrumors 68030


    Oct 31, 2007
    Austin, TX
    Finding a processor upgrade will be more expensive than you think. If you go that route you'd be better off saving for a used Intel Mini.

    If you're determined to put lipstick on that pig, see if this link helps.
  10. adrian.oconnor macrumors 6502

    Jan 16, 2008
    Nottingham, England
    You're probably going to find that old hardware isn't always cheap to upgrade. For example, PC133 DIMMS seem to cost for a fortune. By he tme you're done with memory, processor, disks, graphics (not counting the time and frustration to you) you might find that a G4 mac mini would have been cheaper and supports leopard out of the box.

    Also, have you thought about Hackintosh? That's how I got started, and I learned so much about the OS X internals by going that route. I don't have any hackintoshes now, but it let me try OS X and start learning before I started spending serious money on hardware.
  11. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    I already got a couple of Hackintosh systems up and running, but there was always too many compatibility issues to really fight with.

    I actually am trying one right now, but I guess part of the point is getting her a dedicated machine whose parts are of no value to me, because in my endless tinkering it always seems something ends up needed and expendable.

    I did look on eBay and saw some G4 Mac Minis that looked affordable. Are they any good?
  12. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    As a matter of fact this is my "In case you get board" project that I am trying to install now LoL!

  13. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    Oh that's just weird! It seems to have installed on the first try! I'll have to get through all the beginning setup, but it looks like it might have worked (the hackintosh)!
  14. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    Well it did work, except as soon as I tried to mount the Firefox .dmg file it kernel panicked...
  15. markjs thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 3, 2002
    As I remember, that is why I gave up on the hackintosh last time. Took like 20-30 installs to get it right then by that time I was tired of it, but we will see I guess....
  16. jackstraw111 macrumors newbie

    Oct 9, 2008
    I used to have a 533mhz Digital Audio Mac that ran Leopard just fine, albeit a bit slow at times for some operations.

    For the install, I took the hard drive out and temporarily put it into an officially supported Quicksilver tower and installed Leopard onto it, then put the drive back into the Digital Audio tower. It fired up right away and took all the updates.

    I had a family license for a commercial disc with an unused installation, so I don't think that would have violated the EULA. Eventually gave the machine away to a family member and it's still in daily use.

    Not sure a Sawtooth would do the same, but it might be worth experimenting with if you can find someone with an officially supported G4 that you can work with.

    But I wouldn't spend any real money upgrading a machine that old.
  17. quasinormal macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    Sydney, Australia.
    I had a 867ghz Quicksilver with 1.5GB of RAM and a dual 1.42ghz with 2GB of RAM that were sluggish with Leopard, so i reverted to Tiger.

    I'd suggest getting 10.5 on another IDE hard drive and only booting into it when the the iphone needs synching.
  18. jchase2057 macrumors regular

    Dec 6, 2010
    Leopard on sawtooth

    I used to run leopard on a 500mhz sawtooth with 1gb of ram. Google leopard assist and run it before your install and it will install fine. If you dont have 1 to 2 gigs of ram id do like it says above and install it on its own drive or partition. Pc133 is expensive but the sawtooth has 4 slots and the ram is easy to find in old pcs on craigslist. You might have to get the whole computer but a lot of times people give them away or sell them for cheap. Before a cpu upgrade id get a new video card.
  19. DoghouseMike macrumors regular

    Jan 18, 2011
    Leopard assist worked for me too, but on a dual 450, dead easy.
    It should work ok with plenty of RAM, install clicktoflash to stop it getting bogged down on the internet. I don't think there's much/any of a performance hit going from 10.5.0 to 10.5.8, and the added compatibility/stability will be worth it.
    I'd have a look around on lowendmac.com if you haven't already, there's probably a few articles about processor upgrades and the like, not everything works in everything, although it does seems easier to find upgrades for the earlier G4's than the later ones.
  20. SmurfBoxMasta macrumors 65816


    Nov 24, 2005
    I'm only really here at night.

    FYI if you decide to pursue this project and want/need some ram, I have a few 256mb sticks of PC133/100 that you can have, if you wanna spend just a couple of $$ to cover the postage :)

    jlmk via pm or post back here......
  21. cgc macrumors 6502a

    May 30, 2003
    Here's some info on installing Leopard on your G4.

    Unsupported Macs that Can Run Leopard

    Pismo PowerBook G3 with a G4 upgrade
    Sawtooth/AGP Power Mac G4
    Mystic/Gigabit Ethernet Power Mac G4
    Power Mac G4 Cube
    Digital Audio Power Mac G4, including one dual 533 MHz model
    Quicksilver Power Mac G4
    Quicksilver 2002 Power Mac G4
    PowerBook G4/400 and 500 MHz, slow graphics
    PowerBook G4/550 and 667 MHz (VGA), better graphics
    PowerBook G4/667 and 800 MHz (DVI)
    700-800 MHz G4 iMacs
    700-800 MHz eMacs
    800 MHz iBook G4

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