Jump to content

Recommended Posts

Hey all,

I've got a Gigabit Ethernet model that I'm wanting to upgrade. It has the 500Mhz Dual Processor in it, and I believe it has a GeForce 2 or 3 in it. I also got it sans memory, and the SCSI card, hard disks, and hard disk 'caddy' is missing. It also has an upgraded DVD Burner in it, but it seems to just barely fit. Zip drive as well, but that's not as important.


About a year or so back, I put the memory and hard drive from my iMac G3 into it, and ran OS 9.2 rather well on it. Everything seemed to work alright, but now that I have some better space to work with, I want to set all my computers back up as nice as they can be.


I'm not looking to run OS X (I have an upgraded Pismo for that), so I'm wondering where that leaves me.


My primary questions would be about hard drives, RAM, and display.


What's the best Apple display for this? I think the Cinema Displays would be out of my price range, but are there various kinds of Studio? And if so, which would work well for simple stuff (like the odd game, and some word processing)? 
EDIT: I'd almost prefer the CRT display, but I don't believe there exists a way for me to get one of those under 100$, shipped.


Memory is just SDRAM, right? Are there any brand concerns or speed requirements?


Would it be worth investing in another UltraSCSI card? I'd need the card and the ribbons, but I have some spare 36GB Seagates with 68pin connectors from an old server that would make that a decent option. Or is there a SATA card that works under OS 9?


Final question is about the case screws. I'm missing one of the hex-head screws from the side of the case, one that holds the motherboard tray down. I only found one site that sells a set of 4 for nearly 100$. Anywhere else to find these things?




Edited by atariangamer
Link to post
Share on other sites

The Gigabit should still be able to run OS9... I would recommend 9.1 or 9.2  as the fastest and most stable and compatible. That being said, there really isnt any reason not to run OSX on it, as realistically the G4 will still leave the Pismo in a cloud of dust on that front (even my original  Yikes G4 running a single G4/500 upgrade shreds strips off my Pismo,  with PCI graphics to contend with and all), as 10.3 and later were progressively optimized to make use of the capabilities of the G4 processor and better graphics cards. I would recommend Panther updated to 10.3.9 as the fastest and at a compromise, the most compatible (currentish-softwarewise) variant of OSX on that machine... It will actually outperform OS9. If you are willing to take a bit of a speed hit then 10.4 is going to give you a much larger variety of useful software (TenFourFox to name just one of the many still-supported programs available that are only able to run on 10.4 or later) available to you.


As for displays, if you have an ADC port (looks similar to DVI but has rounded ends and different pinouts) then one of the smaller LCD Studio displays would fit the bill nicely... the G4-era ones are available in a 19" I believe, which your graphics card should support just fine, and these are fairly readily available and cheap, as they are useless on machines made from the late-2005 G5 onwards which no longer use ADC, that is unless you buy an adaptor which arent the cheapest things out (around 100 bucks from Hong Kong). If you have the ADC port which began in the G4's (I think the DA may have been the first with it), you are laughing! If you only have VGA to play with, the CRT Graphite studio displays are a beautiful unit, however they have a gargantuan footprint, and they are a little on the elderly side now and they are known for developing flyback snap which eventually ends in a failed flyback transformer and a screen that is basicallly a very heavy doorstop. I can guarantee however I will be using my 17" one on  on my Yikes G4 until the bitter end, as I love it!

With regards to RAM, yes it is 168-pin double-sided PC-100 SD-RAM... make sure you do get the double-sided RAM or only half the capacity of the module will show up, and ensure it is PC-100 not PC-66 (this is fairly rare now anyway) as the bus speed is 100Mhz in the Gigabit machines and the RAM must be at least that fast. Brandwise, basically RAM is one of those items where you really do get what you pay for, and  price is a fairly reasonable indication of quality. If the median price for a given price of module is say $45, and you find something supposedly equivalent for $15 brand new and shipped to your door, don't be tempted by the bargain price but rather let it serv as a warning to move along, as the RAM is likely to be poor quality rubbish made in a basement in china from substandard chips and in some cases won't work at all or will be faulty brand new out of the packet. So spend as much as you can afford to spend to get quality stuff... as a general rule of thumb, Corsair and Kingston RAM are always a safe bet and have made a name as reputable manufacturers over the years. As far as capacity goes, you can put in 4x512Mb modules in a GigaBit G4 meaning your RAM ceiling is 2Gb, which should be cheaply acheivable these days even with good parts.


Pertaining to hard drives, I wouldn't bother with SCSI... it is and always was a PITA for everyday use, and has quite a few limitations, the biggest one these days being individual drive capacity being capped at 36Gb. The last desktop Mac (as opposed to servers) to use it was the B+W G3 and that was basically a matter of them having bad IDE controllers that corrupted most IDE drives larger than 10Gb on the Rev.1 logic boards. The G4 uses a much faster primary ATA bus (ATA100) than the old beige clunkers of yore, and the capacity ceiling on the onboard ATA controllers is 130Gb, which in itself is more than you will ever fill on a G4 realistically (I havent filled 160Gb on my G5 and I have the 250Gb just sitting mostly empty), and you can install two internally on the inbuilt bus, or 3 very dodgily if you sacrifice the ZIP drive (I don't recommend this btw... not worth the hassles long-term such as mounting or CD-boot issues and premature drive failures from heat). You are probably going to be hard-pressed to find a SATA controller that will be supported by OS9 as the technology simply wasnt around in OS9's prime... by the time Apple even thought about putting SATA in a machine, OSX had been around for years and 9 was all but dead and buried. OSX might improve the odds but In any case, to be perfectly honest I would see installing a SATA adapter on that machine as being a bit of a waste of time, as the machine itself isnt really fast enough to see any major benefits from the increased drive sizes or higher speeds that are *theoretically* possible. In short, I'd save you money and a few headaches and buy a couple of 120Gb 7200RPM drives and leave it at that.


Lastly, regarding the machine-screws for the case plastics and handles, to my knowledge they are a proprietry screw and probably an oddball or uncommon thread, so it is unlikely that you will easily find replacements at any mainstream parts or fastener suppliers. Your best bet is likely to be just waiting until an case comes up for sale on CL or eBay, or a complete bashed up machine even that you can happily strip apart. the screws should be the same on all models at least prior to the Quicksilver... so basically you ought to be able to get any G3 B+W, or G4 Yikes, Sawtooth, Gigabit, or Digital Audio model case and use the screws in your G4. These machines come up dirt cheap nowadays as theyre 13-15 years old and well and truely obsolete... You should be able to pick one up for about $10-$50, or if your lucky you may get one free somewhere! :)


Anyway, hope some of this helped.



Edited by Schmoburger
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, mate! The RAM info is good, I was just looking at some of the cheaper stuff on eBay. And I reckon the IDE will be enough, then.


The graphics card is not native to the machine, but does have that ADC port. I'll keep a look out for the LCD ones.


Also, This G4 and my iMac G3 are the only older computers of any kind I've seen in my area since 2009. Despite the fact that I know that these type of computers were used down here, I believe they all got funneled into donation centers and thrift stores, where they probably got discarded for being too old. All of my other computers come from eBay, where the shipping costs put it out of my budget...


Oh well, I know what to be looking for. If I get any other problems I'll come back, I guess.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Last Macs I got from a thrift shop were my IIci and my SE Superdrive, at $20 each 10 years ago, most others came from my old high school 10-15 years back, or the local recycle center buyack shops... Unfortunately most old computers are now ungloriously categorised as "e-waste" and money stands to be made from the copper, gold and lead recovered from them, so there are now companies contracted to scrap old gear that goes into landfill, as it is more lucrative than hoping to onsell to the public. I used to work at a thrift store a couple of days a week to fill in time when my job was slow back in around 2012 and even by that time, they didnt even accept computer equipment anymore, and whatever was dumped out the back that i didnt find was taken to the local privately-owned tech-waste center. I squarely point the finger at these enterprises as the major reason that vintage or older computer equipment is basically non-existant on the secondhand market now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I found some places to keep eyes on for the displays, but I may be switching my focus to my PowerBooks for restoration. I got some RAM and checked out some of the parts in my machine.


The graphics card is a GeForce 4MX 32MB that isn't immediately supported under OS 9. This may be reason to switch up to OS X. I only managed to get 1GB of known good RAM at the minute. I'm also running from an old iMac G3 hard disk while I burn a copy of OS 9. I'm still trying to find my Panther backups, or will have to see about buying a copy.


That's where I think I've hit the roadblock. I have quite a few programs for OS 9 that I can use, as well as some games and other bits to mess around with. While I'd like to use OS X (especially Panther), I can't find any more software for the older versions of X. For instance, I discovered that my TiBook normally came preloaded with some very nice software, but mine came without a hard drive, so I had to put what I had onto it (OS 9). I'd like to take my TiBook places, and use it, but with poor software support, I have nothing.


I guess the question is where can you go to get this software? It's like trying to get NeXT software, so old and specific that you'll almost never find what you need...I'm definitely willing to pay, but I also can't see myself paying 100$ for a crazily outdated edition of, like...Appleworks.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 6 months later...

I've got a G4 800 DP (Quicksilver) myself (one of these -> http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/mac_server_g4/specs/macserver_g4_800_dp_qs.html),but it caps out at 1.5GB ram unlike OP's model and some of the other power mac G4s.


I'm using a 128 GB IDE hard drive and what I think is PC133 SDRAM and running OS X 10.4.11. You can use PC133 in PC100 spec'd slots as long it fits a few other criteria I can't recall off the top of my head. I'd recommend Kingston ram (the ValueRAM -> KVR is okay) myself. It's one of the bigger brands and seems okay. A regular old VGA flatscreen is fine for mine since the card has VGA and what I think is an ADC connector.


I find that you can remove the screws, on mine at least, with a torx bit if the points match up with the corners of the hexagon. It does probably cause some minor stripping of either the screwdriver or the screw if you do it a lot.


Funnily enough, the two Macs I've gotten from thrift stores have been a Quicksilver G4 and an iMac G3.


That's amusing. I have an upgraded original Bondi iMac G3 that I got from some family friends and a Quicksilver G4 from my previous college's junk heap.


You can find cheap PC SATA cards that can be flashed with a Mac compatible ROM if you want cheap bulk storage beyond the existing IDE bus.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...