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fluent's picture
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Joined: 2021 Jan 7
I bought an iMac! :)

hey guys. I just wanted to make this thread for questions I have along the way. I bought an iMac 800mhz 17" G4 and it'll be here in a month or so (long story), so, I am interested in a few things off the bat.

First, I'm going to upgrade the iMac with a 256gb ssd, airport extreme wireless card, 2gb ram (1gb x 2 slots), new thermal paste and am going to give the insides a good cleaning with some compressed air. Oh, and I've grabbed an Apple Pro Keyboard + Mouse (the originals!) and the Apple Pro Speakers. Smile

I had an initial question. For a new hard drive, would the easiest thing be to grab a copy of OS 9.2.2 and install it directly upon starting up? Or should I grab some other OS install discs and then download the OS 9.2.2? Kinda wondering how that process is going to play out. If both OSes should be downloaded for some reason, I'll have to know which ones and how to do it.

Next, I'll be moving files I've accumulated in my "Unix" drive (a data folder on my Android tablet), onto a data CD, burning that in my windows 10 PC and transferring the files that way to the iMac. I think to get the starting 50-ish pieces of software i've already downloaded on the iMac, this is the best way for me. any problems there? Maybe it's easier to just visit the garden when i'm on the iMac and re-download what i want directly to the iMac?

Also, does the OS come with stuff like Disc Copy, Stuffit, or other necessities like that? If not, I'll need a list of what I should grab to make both OS 9 and OS X (I plan to dual boot) as decked out as possible.

That should about do it, for now. i've watched videos on how to clean and install the upgrades, so i'm good there. More curious about the software side of things.

Thanks for reading! Can't wait to get this baby.

- flu

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TechnologicalStuff's picture
Joined: 2020 Apr 30

That's great! I love these iMac G4's, they hold a special place in my heart. In terms of reinstalling OS X and OS 9 after you put in a new hard drive, i'd recommend using these restore discs linked below specifically for your model. If you use restore discs 1-6 in order, it should give you a complete factory configuration.

https://macintoshgarden.org/apps/imac-g4-17-summer-2002-software-restore...

fluent's picture
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Joined: 2021 Jan 7

Thanks! Ok, so I burn those 6 discs to CD on my Windows 10 PC? And the "2x Superdrive" will read the burned CDs?

Bolkonskij's picture
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Hey Flu!

Congrats on the iMac! Very neat and stylish OS9 machines. I had one in my dorm room during the late 00's. Unfortunately I had to sell it eventually due to a lack of funds. It was super speedy on OS9 - OSX was ok'ish. But with the proper upgrades it should feel considerable more speedier Smile

How I would proceed:
IIRC the iMac came with a CD drive, so you may want to download and burn the OSX Tiger 4 CD version from here and keep that ready. I'd boot from it and partition your SSD using the hard disk utility first. Don't forget to check the "install OS9 drivers" option ... then go ahead and install OSX and OS9 on each partition.

You can always download stuff later from the Garden though. It works fine even from Classilla on OS9 (and with the new design, will work on even older hardware). But if you've got to kill some waiting time, why not use it to create a "starter's disc"

Oh, the excitement of waiting for the Mac to arrive. I can totally relate to that Laughing out loud

fluent's picture
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Definitely, bud! Smile

Ok, so if I burn the 6 recovery discs, I can choose to boot from them? And somehow I'll have time to partition the drives *before* installing the OS? How does that work exactly?

Jatoba's picture
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Tiger CD 1 allows you to boot into a Tiger installer. From there, you can also partition your drives with a utility called Disk Utility. Then you can continue with the installer.

If your only OS X system is going to be Tiger, then I recommend 3 partitions:
- A small partition for Mac OS 9.2.2 (2 GB is way more than enough);
- A small-ish partition for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger (I think it does not need to exceed 20 GB, even if you install many things to it);
- A big partition for files, programs etc. (use all remaining drive space).

If you have a system issue, your files partition will be more likely to be spared. If you have an issue on your files partition, your system partition is more likely to be spared. If you combine both, either issue type will affect the whole drive. You also cannot boot from Mac OS 9 if your boot partition surpasses around 190 GB, so there is that, too.

I recommend to format it all with Mac OS Extended (journaled), also known as HFS+ (journaled), since you will make your machine hybrid (Mac OS + Mac OS X). Mac OS 9 will use them without journaling, but that won't interfere with anything.

If you install Tiger, it is rumored that you should not use its built-in search function called "Spotlight", as it is argued it causes a file system corruption error in the original Mac OS called "B-Tree error" on occasion. I never had that happen to me, even when dual-booting those systems, and using Spotlight, but you may not want to take the chance. Same problem is rumored to happen using Time Machine from OS X 10.5 Leopard.

Speaking of Leopard, your machine isn't officially compatible with it, although you can actually install it just fine with something called LeopardAssist. If you ever plan to use Leopard later, I suggest making the decision rather sooner than later to avoid headaches. But if you are committed to Tiger as far as OS X goes, then there is no need.

fluent's picture
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hey Jatoba, thanks for the great info. What would you recommend - Leopard or Tiger? I will use whatever u think is best, and has the least potential issues (won't use Spotlight or TimeMachine, etc.) Any help there is appreciated. Maybe u can list some pros and cons of each or something? Thanks bro, appreciate u!

Jatoba's picture
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Tough call, both have their strengths, and ultimately I'd prefer if you'd draw your own conclusion based on all the information you have gathered thus far from us, but I see it this way:

- If you prioritize having more Mac OS X apps at your disposal, use Leopard;

- If you prioritize having the ability to try out "Classic mode", and/or making sure your system will feel a bit more light, and/or you don't feel like trusting "unofficial" system installations for now (i.e. relying on LeopardAssist), use Tiger;

- If you don't want to give up on both systems' benefits, install both (so you'd need an extra partition for Leopard, for which 20 GB should be more than enough);

- If you want to purely experience Mac OS without any Mac OS X factor potentially getting in the way, ignore both and keep only Mac OS 9.2.2 (you'll still need a separate "Files" partition). If you go this way, still keep the Tiger CD 1 with you for potential troubleshooting one day, and for formatting huge drives for OS 9 (2 TB maximum).

Of course, if you feel extra adventurous, you can make additional partitions for 10.1 Puma, 10.2 Jaguar (they have better "Classic mode") and 10.3 Panther, too, but that's likely going to be overkill for you for now, and so I don't recommend it.

Since you show interest not only in Mac OS, but also in OS X, yet are still getting started with it all, I estimate OS 9 + Tiger is your most balanced choice, but it's your call. Maybe, after having a lot of fun with it, and you feel your 256GB SSD is not big enough, you could one day upgrade the drive to 512GB, 1TB or 2TB, and include Leopard, and/or others. Or go full OS 9 or full OS X, after having gathered all the required first-hand experience to make the decision.

fluent's picture
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sounds great, thanks! now u have me interested, though. I could upgrade the ssd to 512, for sure, that's in the budget, so with that i could potentially install all the OS choices like u mentioned. Especially interested for the improved Classic Mode although that would be a backup at this point to the raw OS 9 install.

For now I think i'll go 9 and Tiger, and then see how things go. thanks for giving me more information - i don't have a ton of info on the various animal OSes. I will probably go 512gb for the ssd to 'futureproof' it a bit more, dunno if I could go higher or not. As the days get here where the Mac will be here I really have to get my ducks in a row and figure things out as I go. Still going to be awhile, though, so i have time to gather info and learn.

thanks again. Smile

Jatoba's picture
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For reference, could you tell us which SSD model/brand you plan to be using?

fluent's picture
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probably going to go with my trusty brand - Samsung. They come in 250 & 500 models.

edit - is 500 big enough for all the OSes?

Jatoba's picture
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Definitely big enough, especially if you mainly install traditional Mac OS apps. It can get eaten up the fastest if you store up lots and lots of CD and DVD disc images, or make your OS X library very huge, but else, even 256GB would be sufficient. For actually-installed stuff, 100GB in OS 9 is "infinity", and "a damn lot of space" in OS X.

Also, by "250 & 500 models", I guess you mean storage capacity (in GB). Samsung models in that capacity range are all SATA, though, aren't they? Do you have a SATA-to-IDE adapter in mind already?

fluent's picture
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good to know! yep, i picked out an adaptadrive item. this is it - https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005PZDVF6/ref=ox_sc_act_title_5?smid=...

edit - oops, that doesn't seem like the right piece. maybe this?? - https://www.amazon.com/QNINE-Laptop-Adapter-Converter-Vertical/dp/B07B7H...

edit - Jatoba, i don't know what u mean about formatting it with Mac OS Extended. Will that be an option as I'm installing, or something separate i have to do? Sorry, just trying to take this all in and learn from it.

Jatoba's picture
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Yes, when running Disk Utility, which you'll pick from the menu at the top, there's a dropdown box (AKA combobox) to select the file system for your partition. All options will be visibly listed, you won't miss it.

fluent's picture
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ok, cool! can u tell me if i picked the right converter to use for the ssd?

Jatoba's picture
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I was actually wondering about that. Since your iMac has a 3.5" drive bay rather than 2.5", you may need a 3.5"-sized mounting bracket for your 2.5" SSD drive. If you haven't picked up one yet, I recommend Corsair's (I have literally around 7 of theirs, they're perfect), either with 1 slot or 2 slots.

As for the actual adapter, it should work for data transfer, but I was wondering how you will power your drive on with it. For my MDD, which also has 3.5" drive bays, I use this adapter instead. I also had used one that looked very similar to yours, and that worked too, without problems, but I still worry about your ability of being able to power your drive on. Maybe I'm just missing something?

fluent's picture
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yeah, i think that adapter u linked that u use for the MDD should work fine. I was looking at a sort of "ultimate upgrade of imac g4" video on youtube, and the adapter they used for the 2.5" SATA drive was the same type of adapter, so i take it it's just plug and play. i hope so.

when it gets closer to being here i'm going to ask u to link me to all the installs i need to do to have a partition of each 10.x OS. I'd like that i think, if just to explore the quirks of each one. i'll need to hook up a cd-r drive to my windows 10 pc, which right now has about 5 hard drives hooked up to it, in order to burn the discs i need. and is there any special finalization process i need to do to make discs that the iMac will recognize? i guess just finalizing the cd and making it read-only should be enough, but i'm going to have to burn A LOT of cds. i'm going to buy a big stack of them when the time comes. can i also access google drive from the iMac? i think i'll redownload everything i need anyway, just to be sure i have the right versions and what not. man, i can't wait. Smile

Jatoba's picture
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is there any special finalization process i need to do to make discs that the iMac will recognize?

Not at all. If the disc image you burn is meant for Macs, then all you need to do is to make sure you use a good burning program. We host a good version of ImgBurn (Windows app) here for that and more.

can i also access google drive from the iMac?

I expect TenFourFox to be able to do that just fine. Other browsers, I have no idea. TenFourFox is compatible with 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard.

The exact install CDs you will need can be found using the search function from here, when the time comes. There's not a particular CD that you have to use, except I do indeed recommend this for OS 9, since this has every system component pre-updated to their absolute maximum, painstakingly done, component per component, by hand.

fluent's picture
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ok, i'll definitely use that OS 9. After I insert the 10.4 tiger disk to install, will i eventually be prompted to insert the OS 9 disc? Just making sure. Otherwise, I would install tiger 10.4, then 9.2.2, then just individually go from 10.1 - 10.3? I know u said 10.5 leopard could be used as a sort of hack-ish type way, but i'm not sure i want to do that yet. but i definitely will install the OSes before 10.4, which i guess are 10.3, 10.2, 10.1, and 10.0, each with a hard drive partition.

Jatoba's picture
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After I insert the 10.4 tiger disk to install, will i eventually be prompted to insert the OS 9 disc?

Nope, Tiger CD 1 will only prompt you to install Tiger. We just take advantage that, from the installer, there will be the top-menu that you already know from using Mac OS on Basilisk, and one of the options will be to bring up Disk Utility, which will be useful to format and partition the drive. The only thing you need to make sure you do, as @Bolkonskij pointed out, is to tick a checkbox saying "Install OS 9 Drivers" before formatting.

It's all easy-peasy stuff. The worst that can happen is things not booting, at which point you just have to reformat/reinstall again.

fluent's picture
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ok, sounds good!

24bit's picture
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Many here are using IMGBurn for Windows (hosted on the server) successfully for burning Mac HFS CDs.
CD/DVD burners are plenty but good blank CDs are rare meanwhile.
Best look for Kodak CD-R Ultima silver+gold.

fluent's picture
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thanks! but oh no, those kodak discs are rare and expensive. are there others that work? i guess i will just bite the bullet and get a bunch of those ultima discs.

Other media no-name or not, usually come from the last? big manufacturer. Those mediocre blanks may work for a short while with newer PC systems - thin polycorbonate and a reflective layer you may read your newspaper through - the headlines at least. Wink

Jatoba's picture
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No need to buy too many CDs. Just enough for your OS installers. You can easily transfer your files between computers over your network, or even via USB. Since you will be using ethernet instead of WiFi, this will be even better.

Macobyte's picture
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Rather than spending cash on a period-correct AirPort Extreme card (that may not work with your modern WiFi) given that this is a desktop, I would recommend just plugging into your modem or router directly with Ethernet or using an Ethernet-to-WiFi dongle that can connect to today’s access points.

I have this Vonets dongle for my PowerBook G3 Pismo and clamshell iBooks and absolutely love it. It’s been worth every penny.

Vonets VAP11G-300 Wireless Portable WiFi Repeater/Bridge/AP Modes, Pocket Design 300mbps Multi-Functional AP Signal Booster, Plug & Play High Power WiFi Hotspot Extender Amplifier, USB Powered https://www.amazon.com/dp/B014SK2H6W/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_glc_fabc_GS8aGbH...

Of course, an AirPort Extreme card found for a good price is still something to watch out for, particularly if you’re a completionist!

fluent's picture
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Hey, thanks! But an Airport Extreme card is only a couple of bucks! But it might not work with modern wi-fi? I do have the ability to make a 2.4 wireless signal network, if that matters...

That dongle, though, that will work for the iMac? Little confused here...

lilliputian's picture
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It's more likely to be a problem with modern security protocols than anything else. It may work if you were to create an SSID without any WPA or WEP security at all, though that's probably not a good idea over the long term!

Macobyte's picture
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Yeah, it's not so much the frequency that's the sticking point as the security protocols. You don't want to turn off security on your WiFi/network, so your options are to either bridge your existing WiFi with another unsecured wireless router (and turn it off when you're not using it), or connect with a modern dongle. The Vonets one I linked will work with any Mac with an ethernet port and a USB port (for powering the dongle).

And of course, you can always just connect over Ethernet to your modem since the iMac is stationary and disregard all of this.

fluent's picture
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thanks, bro! I will probably just plug it in via ethernet then. Will be the fastest solution as well. That saves me six bucks for the airport extreme card, heh. Smile

soudesune's picture
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The iMac G4 has an ATA-66 bus and you intend to put in an 256GB SSD into it.
Transcend make 32GB IDE SSDs but the one I bought isn't recognised by my Wallstreet.
It is recognised by my Mac Mini G4, which also has an IDE interface.
An IDE-CF adapter would work with your iMac but probably won't be very fast, but speed is a relative thing, so if you are happy with, it may well be your best option.
I tried also tried an mSATA-adapter in my Mac Mini G4 and it had the effect of disabling the internal optical drive.
It was, however, very fast: more than twice as responsive as the hard-disk that came with it.

I also would recommend using your 100baseT ethernet connection rather than relying on the WiFi. It is a lot faster, has more bandwidth, is more secure and is probably healthier too.

Jatoba's picture
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I tried also tried an mSATA-adapter in my Mac Mini G4 and it had the effect of disabling the internal optical drive.

I use an mSATA adapter on my Mac mini G4 with a Transcend 256GB SSD, and I can use my internal optical drive just fine. Which adapter are you using? Mine is the Marvell-based DeLock red PCB (same as Ableconn).

Hopefully the procedure of swapping drives didn't damage that component instead, as both the optical drive and disk drive slot connect to the mini from the same component. It could also be jumper settings that are "hiding" the drive: I think some adapters are known to do that.

IDE SSDs and, when used with an IDE adapter, SATA SSDs are both excellent (with compatible models), but IDE-CF adapters, or using CF as a drive for anything in any way is something I can not recommend, though: too slow and too little storage capacity, no economic or availability advantage, and I don't think longevity is better (isn't it worse, even?). Same goes for SDs or microSDs.

fluent's picture
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Ok, this is a curveball, but it's not too late for me to try and track down a 17" eMac with the same specs (ultimately) as the iMac! Reason being? I just realized the 800mhz eMacs existed, can run OS 9, etc., but the big point for me was, the built-in CRT display. I don't know a lot about CRT vs. LCD but I know a lot of gamers prefer CRT for old games and some say it's like a "holy grail" type of display, to have a good CRT. So, do I make the jump and grab an eMac instead, refunding the iMac? Or do I hold firm on the iMac? I don't see much reason for getting both, but I must say I'm really intrigued by that CRT display...

edit - emac is noisy, imac is quiet, imac chosen. Smile

fluent's picture
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so, would it be worth getting an emac too? any input on this?

sfp1954's picture
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eMacs were built during the capacitor plague. (Along with the G5 iMacs).
You would probably have to recap parts of the power supply at some point.

https://i0.wp.com/willceau.com/news/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/bad-caps-...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague

fluent's picture
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Also, what's a good printer to pair with the iMac?

fluent's picture
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hey, quick question guys. Can someone point me to the exact RAM, both the bigger and smaller one needed to upgrade the iMac g4 17" 800mhz model? I need 1gb the bigger RAM stick, and 1gb the smaller one that goes directly underneath the iMac stand/panel. Any advice here? It's a bit confusing. Thanks!

sfp1954's picture
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Everymac.com
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac_800_fp.html
*There is one factory installed memory module in a 168-pin DIMM slot and one 144-pin user-accessible SO-DIMM slot.
Probably PC-133
One slot is a full length desktop SIMM the other is a laptop size DIMM.

Be very careful...
The logic board must be perfectly lined up with the frame when mating the two halves together.
It's a bear.

1GB of RAM is all you will need on that machine. You won't see any benefit to more RAM unless you are opening huge files in Photoshop.

fluent's picture
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well, i may be opening large image files to shrink down for my newsletter i'm planning. hmm...

not sure what u mean by mating the two halves on a logic board. that is like another language to me, no clue what you're talking about. Tongue

i have found the ram, though, thank u! now it's a choice of if i spend to go the full 2gb route or not...

fluent's picture
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what i meant to ask though , is does the RAM have to be PC 133? or can i use a more upgraded stick? anyone know? I don't see any sodimm in that range higher than 512mb. I've seen others put 2gb of RAM in, using more common sticks, but does that make a difference at all if it isn't PC 133??

edit - also, can i emulate ms-dos and play early 90s dos games on this iMac?

sfp1954's picture
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PC-133 is the fastest you can get that will fit in those sockets.
https://everymac.com/systems/apple/imac/specs/imac_800_17_fp.html

Even if there were a faster stick available it wouldn't make any difference as the bus speed is set by the logic board. The bus speed is 100MHz on the 800 so even 133 is overkill. But there wasn't much PC-100 made. Most Windows machines skipped right from 66MHz to 133MHz.

1GB of RAM is all you'll ever need for 9.2.2 through Leopard. The sweet spot for Tiger seems to be about 768. Leopard does seem to run better with the full 1GB.

The faster model iMac G4s (which don't boot 9.2.2) use a 167MHz bus. So those can be expanded to 2GB.

And don't forget OS9 has a partition size limit. So if you use a large (500MB) drive with a bootable OS9 partition that partition must be less than 190GB. I would keep it at 128MB. Otherwise the high bit goes into the bit bucket and you'll overwrite other areas of the drive.

Virtual PC7 will let you DOS, Win95, Win98 up to Windows XP I think.

fluent's picture
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thanks for the great info! appreciate u. i will use this info when i'm ready with Mac in hand. Smile

do you happen to know of a good laserjet printer that can be had cheap to pair with the iMac? something that doesn't require ink because i've had bad experiences with ink cartridges in the past.

edit - also, are u saying for the OS 9.2.2. partition, make that just 128MB?

sfp1954's picture
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Sorry I meant GB. 128GB
Yes. I would keep the OS9 partitions in the 128-160GB range.
That includes ANY partition you want visible from OS9.
So if you set up a Tiger partition with OS9 Drivers enabled. That partition should be less than than 160 as well. A 500GB drive split in 3 (160-160-160) is OK.

But replacing the drive means cracking things apart. You might want to consider an external Firewire drive. I use a 2.5 inch Firewire case with a 256GB SSD for lots of things.

Any older HP LaserJet should work fine. As long as you have an available ethernet port.
But the shipping cost might hurt. I would look for something local that you can pick up. I have a couple of P2035s that I picked up for under $50 from a local recycler.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/HP-Laserjet-P2035n-Network-Laser-Printer-CE462A...

fluent's picture
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you've been so helpful, i'm very grateful. regarding an ethernet port, how would i then connect to the internet? i plan on using ethernet as my internet connection. also, i may end up getting a g4 tower because the iMac was damaged.

edit - also, can i use a firewire ssd as my main drive?

sfp1954's picture
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What I do is get a couple of Apple extreme base stations and plug one directly into the router from my service provider. Once you have the first one setup you can daisy chain as many more to that Apple station as you want. I have six in my house. That gives me wireless through out the house and cellar as well as hard wired ethernet to machines that aren't wi-fi extreme (WPA) capable. Beige G3s, G4 towers, laser printers...

You can always use external Firewire drives to boot macs.
Internally I use either a 2.5" IDE SSD or SATA SSD with the appropriate IDE adapter.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/SATA-to-PATA-IDE-Hard-Drive-Adapter-Converter-3...

https://www.ebay.com/itm/Notebook-Laptop-2-5-Hard-Drive-3-5-PC-IDE-PATA-...

You may also be able to find a Sonnet PCI - SATA card.
They show up on ebay every now and then.

fluent's picture
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ok, so i need a base station. check. i will start looking for one.

sfp1954's picture
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I have Dual 1GHz Quicksilver - but the shipping would probably be too much unless you're in New England, USA.

fluent's picture
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I'd definitely be willing to pay shipping, what are u asking for it?? very interested.

edit - i'm near the NE area.

sfp1954's picture
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It's just sitting here.
The best thing is to figure out shipping from 02886 and then come up with a total price from there.
I prefer using FedEx. So east of the Mississippi is probably in the $50-75 range? West of that I wouldn't know. I would use 40lbs and a 24x24x10 box to estimate cost. FedEx Home Delivery.

fluent's picture
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going to 18642. i'd think $100 or less to cover the shipping, but for total price, what do you think? Also, what are the specs, so i know what i need to grab off ebay to deck it out. thank u sooooo much man! i truly appreciate u. my ebay experience has been a nightmare since i missed out on the iMac and others. this is truly making my day Smile

edit - for example, i want to put the 500gb ssd in it, upgrade the RAM to 2gb or 1.5 or whatever is best for the QS model, and upgrade the graphics card too. i also need monitor recommendations as well, and do you have any extra apple pro mouse/keyboard sets i could also buy from you? thanks again!

edit - it's really funny, because i was going to buy THIS exact model on ebay! but the seller couldn't wait until February for payment. I was disappointed for a second but now I'm GEEKED knowing I have one coming!! Laughing out loud Thank u again sooo much, man!

OpenSourceMac's picture
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Like the G4 Cube, these are works of art. Pretty limited in power for OSX apps, but should kick butt running in OS9.

fluent's picture
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bad news. the seller messaged me today and said while trying to get the item down from the warehouse it fell and was damaged. Sad now i'm out a g4 iMac. back to the drawing board. still trying to hunt down the 17" iMac g4. we'll see.