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(Help) Question about Power Mac G4.

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(Help) Question about Power Mac G4.

Old 01-28-10, 07:54 PM
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(Help) Question about Power Mac G4.

I was just given this barely used Power Mac G4. I'm Mac friendly, but don't keep up with all of the tech talk about the sats. Basically I would like to know how upgradable this unit is. I want to run the current OS and the latest Adobe products for image/HD video editing. What should I look into as far as upgrading for best performance (hardware) and is it even possible at all.

Here are the specs...
Hardware Overview:
Machine Model: Power Mac G4
CPU Type: PowerPC G4 (3.3)
Number Of CPUs: 2
CPU Speed: 1.25 GHz
L2 Cache (per CPU): 256 KB
L3 Cache (per CPU): 2 MB
Memory: 1.5 GB
Bus Speed: 167 MHz
Boot ROM Version: 4.4.8f2

Memory DIMM0/J21:
Size: 512 MB
Type: DDR SDRAM
Speed: PC2600U-25330

Hard drives
1 149.3 GB
2 149.03 GB
Old 01-28-10, 08:10 PM
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Re: (Help) Question about Power Mac G4.

The latest OS you can run on that machine is OS X 10.5. (Leopard) 10.6 (Snow Leopard) doesn't support the PowerPC architecture.

Here's the specs for your machine (You're the middle one) http://support.apple.com/kb/SP54

Looks like you can put in another 512 MB of RAM and you have lots of room to expand on your hard drive and optical drives. Keep in mind that OS X doesn't support Blu-ray; you can put a drive in and burn them, but you can't watch them.

You could also probably upgrade the video card but I'm not sure what does and doesn't work with a PowerMac.
Old 01-28-10, 08:21 PM
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Re: (Help) Question about Power Mac G4.

get a Mac Mini and you'll have a more powerful machine for about the price its going to cost you to upgrade
Old 01-28-10, 11:15 PM
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Re: (Help) Question about Power Mac G4.

IMO it’s not worth the money to upgrade. I have a G4 tower myself that I bought off eBay last summer. I think it's a great machine and runs very good for being 10 years old (it runs a hell of a lot better than a 10 year old PC would). I have thought about upgrading the processor, but after looking at what is available and the prices people want for these processors, I decided it isn't worth my money to upgrade the tower (although as I said before, it runs great for being 10 years old). I agree with al bundy; if you want a Mac that’s going to run the latest and greatest software, get yourself a Mac Mini or a refurbished iMac. Don't get me wrong; the G4 is still a good machine, but you won't be running the latest and greatest products on it.
Old 01-29-10, 05:24 PM
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Re: (Help) Question about Power Mac G4.

I'm a long time (1986) Mac guy and I agree that you'd be better off getting a new Mac, particularly if you intend to run the current OS and the latest Adobe apps for image/HD video editing.

I'd avoid a Mac Mini. Not that it's a bad machine, but it's not really suited for video purposes except for the most really casual ones like YouTube videos.

Go for a 27 inch iMac. Your eyeballs will thank you for the screen real estate, and they've been some good press from the thrifty-minded among the video crowd.

I'd invest in hardware before software. If you can afford the latest Adobe video apps, the iMac shouldn't be that big a deal. However, if it is, get the Mac first, then get some Adobe app that can be upgraded to their suite of video apps later, when you can afford it. I saved a bundle when I upgraded to Adobe's Creative Suite from PhotoShop 7 for not much more than the cost of PhotoShop CS.

If you get a new iMac, go for the fastest processor, the least amount of ram, and smallest hard drive. You can upgrade ram and the drive for much less than Apple charges. An advantage the iMac has over the Mini is that these upgrades are much easier to do on an iMac, especially adding ram. The Mini requires a spatula-like plastic tool (or a putty knife) to open the case, and while opening the case does not itself void the warranty, you can void it if it's damaged trying to open it.

However, I must say the difference in the current processors isn't that significant, so you could save a bit more with a slower processor.

If price is a major consideration, check Apple's site for refurbished Macs. I've got a previous generation (without the black border around the screen), refurbed 20" Intel iMac.

P.S. The G4 isn't a bad thing to keep around, it could be useful as a server/file storage unit.
Old 02-05-10, 02:28 AM
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Re: (Help) Question about Power Mac G4.

I agree with most of the above. There are some processor upgrades for that unit but they are hard to find and harder to install.

Your best option would be to use it as a really big drobo or dvr. Back when I had one of those I installed a PCI SATA card which allowed me to use the cheaper and larger HDDs. Do that and you can have 2 sata drives in the bottom tray and 2 IDE drives in the top. You might think it would be better to go all IDE but the ATA on the 2 lower drives is 33 as opposed to 100 because they were originally just for additional backup drives.

P.S. That machine will take 10.5.x but will run much better with 10.4.11

P.P.S. I think you can put HDs in the drive bays as well if my memory serves correct.

Last edited by SterlingBen; 02-05-10 at 02:33 AM.

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