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HFTaylor12

iMac G4 700MHz - 10.4 or 10.5?

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I don't think Leopard will be the problem.

 

Just to reiterate -- modern web sites are, for better or worse, so difficult to render that I don't think it matter what software is on it, a 700MHz G4 will not work for the task at hand. And, I don't even think maxing the iMac to a full gig (1.5 gigs?) of RAM will make a meaningful difference.

 

And, between 9.2.2 and almost any version of OS X, everything else you want to do on the computer will likely run better on 9, just because of how much overhead there is to running 10.5. Not just over 10.4, but over OS 9.

 

You said you don't want to upgrade until it's necessary, but in this case, if you're browsing almost any mainstream web pages, it is absolutely necessary to be doing so on better hardware.

 

 

Speaking of off-topic...

 

Why go to the trouble with low spec computers, you might ask? My primary reason is much better app availability.

 

What do you mean by app availability?

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Speaking of off-topic...

 

 

What do you mean by app availability?

 

I guess I should have phrased it better, and what I mean is more up to date versions of some of the apps I rely on. As a specific example, one of my main PPC uses these days is for scanning film(which I still use a lot) and I have one SCSI scanner. For all practical purposes on NWR Macs, this means I need something with PCI slots(and for the kind of work I'm doing, OWR Macs are too slow). Even at that, tracking down a G5-compatible SCSI card wasn't exactly easy. I use VueScan, and Leopard allows me to run a more up to date version.

 

Even mainstream apps like iTunes are more up to date and retain reasonable compatibility with Apple in Leopard. Up until I stupidly upgraded to iOS 8, I could sync my iPhone 4s in Leopard.

 

For web browsing, we get Leopard Webkit. As much as I like TFF, Webkit is an all around faster browser.

 

Yes, Leopard cuts off classic mode. This doesn't affect me-I run Classic apps in OS 9, and have never liked classic mode.

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I am NOT running OS 9. It's Tiger or Leopard for me. I really like TFF and I'd like to be able to sync my bookmarks via Firefox Sync. I'm not getting an Intel either. I don't normally like to upgrade something unless I absolutely need to (a few weeks ago, an iPhone 2G was my main iPhone. But I needed better web browsing, so I switched to a 3GS). I am determined to put this iMac to good use. This thread/topic if getting a little off-topic here... I just want to know if I should go with 10.4 or 10.5. And I'm going with 10.4, it looks like.

I looks like nobody else has directly, so I need to ask: are you viewing this machine as a hobby, or as a modern productive computer? Considering the hardware lineup listed in your signature and your mention of recently switching from an iPhone 2 to a 3GS, I'm beginning to suspect the latter. If that is the case, you're going to have a bad time regardless of what you run on it. Some people hate hearing this, but the machine is 15 years old. It is too old for some of the things you are asking of it. That doesn't mean you can't put it to good use; music and word processing are reasonable tasks for it, or something like the film scanning mentioned in a recent post. YouTube, however, is not, and the laundry list of security concerns involved in using this machine for the web has already been mentioned. Using any PowerPC as a daily driver is a bad idea, unless you're running Linux or BSD or you don't use the Internet. Just out of curiosity, what do you typically do on a computer, and what is your rationale for this particular hardware lineup?

 

As for the OS, I would run OS 9, because it would actually be good at running OS 9 (and it can do the music and word processing). If OS X is a requirement, I would probably try 10.5 first out of curiosity, because I never liked earlier versions, but 10.4 is going to be objectively better. There are reasons why Apple's system requirements are what they are.

 

As for the performance of PowerPC on OS X beyond the scope of this specific iMac, I thought 10.5 ran well, but I was running it on a dual 1.42GHz G4 system with 2GB RAM. I also retired it five years ago, so I might feel differently now if I pushed it, although I also know better than to throw something at it that will make it look bad. I may turn it on soon to rip some DVDs.

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I think I may have read something wrong. I was definitely expecting a list of something that runs on OSX-PowerPC but not on any other type of Mac.

 

I guess I should have phrased it better, and what I mean is more up to date versions of some of the apps I rely on.

 

 

Leopard and the apps that run on it were relevant in 2008-2009, but I've never really had a good reason to stick with older versions of Mac OS X. Outside of a SCSI adapter to use an old film scanner(1), nothing there won't run on a newer Mac. For me, even Final Cut Studio 2 runs on my newer Mac mini with OS X Sierra.

 

I briefly entertained the notions of either a 10.6 Hackintosh or getting a late PPC system for it, but even with the very inefficient way Final Cut Pro 6 works with resources, the Mac mini is just faster than any G5 would be. What'll probably happen if 10.13 doesn't work is I'll make it a point to buy a new Mac desktop or laptop and drop the Mac mini back to 10.7-10.9 or so where Final Cut works just a little better, and keep it off the network, using TBolt/USB/SD disks to transfer project information.

 

 

(1) Most people doing this on modern Macs use high end flatbed scanners that include negative transparency adapters. At this point, flatbeds have such high resolution that you should easily be able to scan slides or negatives with no trouble. Though, there's nothing wrong with using an old machine to scan and then using a USB disk to transfer the data to newer computers.

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Having used both really nice flatbeds and dedicated film scanners, I can tell you that nothing beats a good dedicated film scanner except for a drum scanner.

 

You don't have much option outside a flatbed for large format, but for 35mm and medium format a real film scanner will give you better results. I would put 35mm scans from my Coolscan V up against any flatbed on the market. Granted the Coolscan is USB, but I have an old SCSI Polaroid scanner that can handle the oddball formats I sometimes use.

 

The big difference is in the quality of the negative carriers, not to mention optics optimized to only illuminate and work with the comparatively small area of film as opposed to the full scanning area. The negative carriers are actually a big deal, as outside wet mounts(which introduce their own problems) a purpose made film scanner will hold the film a lot more flat than even a good flatbed.

 

Once you've used both side by side, it's difficult to make an argument that flatbeds are better. It's not a matter of resolution, as 4000x4000 is now the standard and it's enough to grain resolve virtually all films, but just a matter of using a tool purpose-made for the job.

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Old systems like these are a big risk on the Internet, because they're vulnerable to being used as part of a service amplification attacks, and because problems often go unfixed.(among other things, it has been discussed at length on this forum).

You are aware, of course, that you actually have to be running a DNS server to participate in an amplification attack? So far as I'm aware OS X doesn't do that unless you enable the server functions.

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Outside of some *really hard to exploit* edge cases (IE, spoofed man-in-the-middle attacks) the only vulnerable clients are those that are themselves running an NTP daemon configured to reply to requests from other hosts, IE, a *server*. I don't have an OS X Tiger box sitting next to me to check but something tells me Apple didn't configure NTP that way... and, yes, according to a comment here Tiger out of the box restricted NTP connections to localhost just as is recommended here.

So, again, realistically, someone sitting at home, or even in a Starbucks, with a Tiger box is effectively a zero risk to the Internet unless they've intentionally turned off the firewall *and* specifically enabled services on their machine that are disabled by default.

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Quad G5s (and similar HW) are getting particularly anemic at the web, and those are by far the fastest PPC systems. I can't imagine a single 700 MHz G4 would be pleasant for browsing the web at all. I agree with the sentiment that you could appreciate the machine for what it's good at, and not trying to force it into things it can barely do. (Macs aren't the best choice for this scenario anyways - the ecosystem moves a lot quicker and it's not as flexible for these things.)

 

Also, upgrading /to/ a 3GS in 2016? Huh?

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Well, I'll be honest. I'm probably going to be doing a whole lot of forum searching, because I have not seen this information about reflection attacks needing a server.

 

Security is still a concern, but even if security is less of a concern than I had originally thought, it's worth noting that a 700MHz iMac G4 is going to be utterly unusable and unsuitable to the task of web browsing, regardless of how well Leopard does or doesn't run on it.

 

In truth, this forum isn't a good support group for people who want to use mid to late newworld PowerPC Macs as main computers, and it really never has been, nor will it be.
 

 

And shutting off IPv6 is a trivial terminal command.

 

Heck, it's a checkbox in sysprefs. It's well hidden, but not that well hidden.

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Well, I'll be honest. I'm probably going to be doing a whole lot of forum searching, because I have not seen this information about reflection attacks needing a server.

 

All I can say is I just (once again) set Google on fire looking for some evidence that NTP *clients* were participating in reflection attacks and came up very blank; if a client host is set up according to NTP.org's standard client recommendations then you're not going to be DoS-ing anyone.

 

As noted there are, in theory at least, some vulnerabilities that could be used in a targeted attack *on* your box to attempt to wreak various sorts of havoc that are fixed by newer versions of the daemon, but to exploit them, again, would essentially require the attacker to either be a direct man-in-the-middle or have *excellent* timing in sending a packet spoofing itself as originating from time.apple.com. (And, as CHC noted in his blog, most of those would probably require an attack *specifically* targeting PowerPC.) If you're behind a stateful firewall the spoof attack is going to be especially hard to pull off.

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Yes, I am planning to use this as a productive computer, ianj. As I said before, though, we have different views of "slow". I will try Tiger (sorry that I'm procrastinating so much). If I can load apple.com in 20 seconds I am happy. Web browsing is not my main use. Mainly music and word processing. I will not buy an Intel.

 

bunnspecial, I see that you are kind of recommending Leopard. As time goes on and Tiger gets more and more obsolete, I may upgrade it to Leopard. I'm hearing TFF might become Leopard-only soon, anyway. That would leave us with no good browser for Tiger. So, I could be upgrading to Leopard in the future

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As I said before, though, we have different views of "slow". I will try Tiger (sorry that I'm procrastinating so much). If I can load apple.com in 20 seconds I am happy. Web browsing is not my main use. Mainly music and word processing.

One point people are trying to make here isn't just that it will be slow, but that it will likely either be unreliable or not work at all unless you are very strategic about which sites you visit. That's not out of the question; I keep Classilla on my OS 9 machines and occasionally use them to browse contemporary reference websites, but when I do I expect it to fall over at any moment if I follow a bad link and it gets redirected to a modern site. Aiming for YouTube won't be a good time.

 

I will not buy an Intel.

I hope this doesn't mean you are one of the religious types who hates x86 for sentimental reasons? Your signature implies that you already have one.

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Quad G5s (and similar HW) are getting particularly anemic at the web, and those are by far the fastest PPC systems. I can't imagine a single 700 MHz G4 would be pleasant for browsing the web at all. I agree with the sentiment that you could appreciate the machine for what it's good at, and not trying to force it into things it can barely do. (Macs aren't the best choice for this scenario anyways - the ecosystem moves a lot quicker and it's not as flexible for these things.)

 

Also, upgrading /to/ a 3GS in 2016? Huh?

 

I don't know that I would agree with that.

 

I have few web browsing issues on Quads provided that I stay away from flash-heavy sites. Youtube is perfectly doable even up to 720P-my Quad can manage with no stuttering or dropped frames.

 

I'm not an anti-Intel zealot. My first Mac was a late 2011 13" MBP, and I've since upgrade to a mid-2012 non-retina 15"(hi-res matte screen). I have 16gb of RAM and a Samsung SSD in the 15", and while it's not as fast as a Retina with PCIe drives and other architecture improvements, it's still a pretty darn fast computer. My work computer is a Mac Pro 1,1 that I've upgrade pretty extensively, including going to dual quad core processors, 16gb of RAM, a Geforce 8800, and SSDs for storage. It is showing its age, but is still perfectly usable. 

 

Most of my PPC computers are hobby computers. I do, however, use a Quad at work to run some software for which I can't afford(and my work can't afford) an Intel equivalent. IT has been cracking down pretty hard on SL users, so my Quad mostly stays offline. I have a dual 2.7 at home that I use a lot for scanning work, but it's also a perfectly comfortable computer for web browsing and the like.

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A Mac Pro 1,1 and a 1.83GHz CoreDuo/Core2Duo iMac aren't particularly modern, certainly as far as Apple and OS X are concerned. They stopped receiving new versions of Mac OS X several years ago, and it's been long enough that there aren't security patches for the versions they do have.

 

They fall into the same potential risk category that PowerPC Macs running OS X do, really.

 

The main difference is that the earliest Intel Macs can easily run Windows or Linux/BSD.

 

By the by, I would legitimately be interested in seeing http://browserbench.org/numbers for all of the mentioned PowerPC systems. A few years on some of the older JS benches, even a Surface RT and an iPad 3 outgunned most, if not all (even the Quad) G5 systems. I don't know if that has changed with newer versions of Firefox. Unfortunately, the RTs are now out of the running because Internet Explorer 11 won't actually complete most of these benches.

 

 

 

EDIT: I'm actually trying, at least on my work computer, some of the BrowserBench tests are working. I'll have to go look at my Surface RTs and do all the patches and try these tests again. Perhaps we could collect results on the wiki or on my public sharepoint page.

 

EDIT again: My memory has failed. JetStream ran, but MotionMark didn't. It appears Motionmark still doesn't run, so comparing PPCs against the phone/tablet grade ARM chips in Surface RTs may not be fully possible. I don't know how MotionMark will work on tenfourfox, but I'd love to see some numbers.

Edited by Cory5412
Added EDIT:

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MP 1,1s with an upgraded video card can run up to El Capitan, although Sierra is a no-go. Mine is running Mavericks.

 

There are C2D Macs supported under Sierra. There are a lot of others-like '09 MBs and '08 MBPs, that were deprecated but can run it with a little bit of work.

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I didn't say all Core2Duos weren't modern, just something like a 1.83GHz iMac, which is going to be on the 945 chipset. The last of the Penryn-based Core2s that still run are three generations of hardware newer than that.

 

And really, Penryn Core2 as a microarch is almost nine years old, it was introduced in 2008. That said, the right Penryn (most at 2.4GHz or above) is  a total screamer compared to a G5.

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Apple really gimped the early non-pro Macs(iMac, Mini, MB) with the awful GMA 950 GPU. Those can run ML okay, but that's as far as you can go realistically. I have a 17" iMac that I don't use. My X3100 based Blackbooks do somewhat better, but the Macbook really didn't get a good GPU until the 9400M in the '09 models.

 

My unibody Macbook(2010) is fast enough that I could use it as a main computer. It natively supports Sierra, and is pleasantly fast with 8gb of RAM and an SSD. The main difference between it and my newer MBPs(aside from the inherently faster Core i architecture) is that the SATA II bus limits the speed of the SSD to about half what I can get in my 2012 MBP. Also, it's VERY picky about RAM. When I first got it, I used the 2x2gb that I'd pulled from my 13", and the computer would POST. It seems that you need to actually match the spec timing of the RAM and can't rely on faster RAM to downclock.

 

I still consider the 2012s something of a pinnacle of portable design, though. They are relatively upgradeable and also have some nice touches like USB 3.0. Also, the 15" models aren't plagued by the GPU issues of earlier ones(and even some of the Retina models). It was the last generation where you could get the beautiful AG screen.

 

On a different note, I'm still shocked every time I use my first gen MBA. I'm running SL on it because it's really intolerable with anything newer. I have an SSD in it, but after trying several mSATA adapters I finally gave in and bought a Kingspec(one of the only brands that makes oddball SSDs like ZIFs) but the I/O is quite poor on it. It's 1.6ghz, is locked down with 2gb of RAM, and runs frighteningly hot(close to 100ºC under load). I can't believe Apple charged $1800 for that piece of crap in 2008. In use, my last generation Powerbook feels faster than the MBA.

 

Meanwhile, the Mac Pro 1,1s just keep soldiering on. As of 10.7, you don't even have to flash video cards unless you want boot screens. Funny enough, the PCIe slot utility, which is unique to the MP 1,1/2,1, is still present in Sierra despite the fact that they lack SSE4 support so will never run Sierra. They really are a workhorse of a machine.

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A note on the RAM; you need just one of the two chips to be 1066MHz. The other can be a higher speed.

 

The older white MacBooks were similarly weird.

 

I *believe* the 1066 chip needs to be in Slot 0.

Edited by TheWhiteFalcon

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The 9400M isn't even really that good a GPU.

 

Only certainly early iMacs (the education models) got the GMA950, but yes, the GMA950 was a product of a time when integrated graphics were not as good as they are today.

 

Sidenote: Until just earlier this year when, not because it was slow, but because it suffered physical damage to its display, a ThinkPad running a Penryn CPU was my main computer for photo organization, etc.

 

I'm very familiar with computers from about that time, because that was when I was in the throes of shopping for what would become the ocmputer I used for the next 7-8 years (by odd mistake, really) and I can easily see why one of the Sierra-capable MacBooks would be a desirable system. Heck, I've low-key wanted one basically since the Penryn+9400M launched, both before and after the plastic unibody restyle.

 

About the MacBook Air: I think a very specific part of Apple's market (and perhaps even some new Mac users) were intrigued by a system like that. Parallels have been drawn all over between it and the new MacBook with Retina display. It really only feels slow because of the RAM limit and the slow disk interface. The point wasn't the performance though. The thing we all see with good Core2Duo laptops is the computing requirements plateau in extremely plain action. Software is getting more efficient, and unless you're actively getting new cameras or games all the time, requirements aren't increasing for most people the way they were before.

 

We'll see what the next big thing to become mainstream, but the biggest things that really drive the need for better performance is the fact that computers from before the late Core2Duo era were usually extremely poorly equipped, even for their time, web sites, and then after that, just physically wearing out.

 

And that's the reason I'm not rushing to put a new screen in my ThinkPad T400. I can do the repair, I'm confident that it'll work and go back together... as well as a system that's as old as it is and has been taken apart to the bones for service can be. Everything on it is looser, the keyboard is obviously wearing out, fans are starting to spin more slowly or make rattling noises, and for an OS that has been more efficient than OS X for the past decade, like Windows Vista/7/8/8.1/10, the upgrade from 4 to 8 gigs of RAM is a lot less straightforward and obviously necessary.

 

(Neat sidenote though about at least some of the late geforce-equipped MacBooks, not sure if this is just the 320M or both the 9400M and the 320M versions, they can run 16 gigs of RAM, which is something Intel 4-series notebooks are, as far as I've seen, are unable to do.)

 

 

All that said *2, the MacBook was never really meant to have a good GPU specifically. It was meant to be the cheap model, an affordable entry level computer (within the context of the Mac, anyway) that was also a pretty nice machine, but in comparison with the MacBook, the "Pro" had a much better screen, a discrete graphics chip, better default configurations, and higher max configurations.

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Going back a ways, re: the suggestion to run Linux on an iMac G4 or whatnot to get better access to modern software, it's probably worth throwing out this particular portent of doom: Debian announced a couple months ago they're dropping PowerPC as a release architecture for the next major version, probably due out next year sometime. While that doesn't mean that Linux for the PowerPC will be "going away" it is a decision that's likely to cut the legs out from under some of the related distributions that still offer Mac versions, like Ubuntu MATE.

Honestly I was sort of surprised when I heard about this myself, because I was under the impression that PowerPC still had enough of a foothold in the embedded market (with CPUs like the PowerPC 400 and Freescale/NXP e-series) that you wouldn't have too much of a problem finding maintainers willing to carry it forward, but apparently that's not the case.

Anyway, I guess what it boils down to is if you're looking for a good Linux to put on a PowerPC you might want to look at Fedora/Gentoo/etc-based distributions first. Or see how Net/FreeBSD is doing these days.

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