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capt_chuckl3s's picture
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Joined: 2019 Sep 17
Powermac G4 ideas

Well, I went on Ebay and bought myself an early Christmas present; a Powermac G4. According to the seller, it has a 7400 PowerPC CPU running @ 400 mHz, a ATI Rage 128 graphics card, a 10 GB hard drive, and 64 MB of RAM. Also, the seller says that it runs Mac OS 9.2.2 natively.

I've never owned a Powermac before, so therefore I have questions and who better to turn to than the Garden. A 10 GB hard drive and 64 MB of RAM seem seem meek, so naturally I want to beef them up, so my question is how finicky is a Powermac G4 when it comes to upgrades? Is there airport cards for the Powermac G4? Everymac.com says that the Powermac G4 can run Mac Os Tiger, should I upgrade to that or should I keep it at OS 9? Don't worry, if i keep it at OS 9, I've got the "Best games for OS 9" thread bookmarked.

Let me know what you all think.

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WhosIt.There's picture
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Joined: 2014 Aug 23

Install both MacOS 9 and MacOS X, then you can have a dual-boot system as well as use the "Classic" environment under MacOS X ... the best of both worlds. Smile

You could be surprised by that 10GB drive. Newer software has gotten (and continues to) be bloated more and more ... for example, in ye olde days you used to be able to fit Microsoft Word and a System folder on a 800K floppy disk, and still have space to spare for documents and other programs! These days Microsoft Word alone takes up 2.25GB (and that's just the app itself!). Sad

sfp1954's picture
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Joined: 2013 Dec 29

I always run both 9.2.2 and Tiger on my G4 towers.
An internal Apple Airport card would support WEP only. Most current routers require WPA.
You would need to buy an old Apple snow basestation and hardwire it to your router to bridge the gap.
The were some PCI wireless cards that were Airport Extreme capable.

RAM can be upgraded to at least 512, maybe 1GB.
Full size IDE drives are dirt cheap. But I would think of doing a IDE to laptop SATA SSD conversion.
Very easy. Very fast. Get a 64GB or 128GB 2.5" SSD, a little IDE to SATA converter ($5 on ebay) and a 3.5 to 2.5 bay adapter to hold the SSD.

You might also want to upgrade the optical drive with an IDE Pioneer DVD-R. Apple was still using them in the Mac Pros in 2008, so they are widely available.

Zaiphaic's picture
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Joined: 2010 Apr 10

Nice machine! First, find out which exactly you got - a "Yikes"/PCI Graphics, a "AGP Graphics" or a Gigabit Ethernet.

10 GB is fine for Mac OS 9 and some games and programmes. You really need more with OS X, but for 9 it should be fine for a while. Same for 64 MB RAM.

I wouldn’t use Airport cards with WEP with these machines. Darn slow. Attach to the Ethernet port a small "WiFi client" plastic dongle, that converts your Ethernet into up-to-date WiFi (e.g. D-Link DAP-1620/E, or a cheaper option like LogiLink WL0242). Biggest advantage: fully transparent to your Mac, no drivers needed, it sees "just" Ethernet.

Tiger / OS X 10.4 with 64 MB will be a pain, have 512 MB or more. And as others have mentioned, you can have Dual Boot.

I’d go crazy and lose complete weekends with such a new addition, with Age of Empires II, Railroad Tycoon 2, Civilization, and the like.

Troyd's picture
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Joined: 2014 Nov 14

Actually, the internal Airport card WILL support WPA and TKIP (but not WPA2 or AES) from 10.3.3 onwards as long as the card is one of the 128bit variety as per the label on the back. An Airport firmware update should get that card going if it hasn't already been applied. On OS9 you are stuck with WEP and, either way, 11mb/s is your top speed.

Having said that, many modern routers, which nominally support WPA/TKIP won't play nicely with the card and you PowerMac will not be able to connect to them as I have found, so a tiny portable usb router via connected via the ethernet port as Zaiphaic suggested is definitely the way to go. TP-Link does a line in them starting from the venerable TL-WR802N to the TL-WR902AC.