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Advice on restoring a Dual G4

hunterjwizzard

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Hi all,

I have hear a dual 450mhz PowerMac G4 with 2gb of RAM. At present it runs OSX 10.4.11. I upgraded the graphics card awhile back to a GeForce 4 MX. Over the 20 years I've had this thing I've managed to boot it up often enough that the 120gb IDE hard disk still seems to be working ok. Like clockwork I pull this thing out and try to restore it roughly once a year, and its that time again!

I'd like to do some work on the software side and try to really make this thing shine. I'm told there's some dark sorcery I can do to make it able to run OS9 & 10 applications. I'm also curious if this machine would benefit from replacing the HDD with a CF card.

*Full disclosure: I am not a max person. I even call this machine my "token mac" because its the only one in my inventory.
 

VERAULT

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I ended up giving away every mac newer than anything G3 as they just were not as interrsting and when they have faults they tend to be non repairable.. thats just my take on it. G3 can run Mac OSX and much older OS.

Yeah you can fix them.. but is it worth the effort?
 

ClassicHasClass

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Dark sorcery? 10.4.11 will run old school Mac apps just fine in Classic, and the dual 450MHz can boot OS 9 directly.

As far as replacing the HDD, might as well just put in one of the PATA SSDs. Those (or converter cases) aren't hard to find. Note that no Power Mac supports TRIM in OS 9 or OS X, so make sure you get a device that can garbage collect on its own.
 

hunterjwizzard

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Yeah you can fix them.. but is it worth the effort?

Its interesting to me because it has two processors. And any device with two physical CPUs is more interesting than every device I own that only has the one. But my weird obsession with dual-socket systems is definitely a "me" Thing. I'm also emotionally invested in this machine, having had it in my collection for going on 20 years.

Dark sorcery? 10.4.11 will run old school Mac apps just fine in Classic, and the dual 450MHz can boot OS 9 directly.

Can you elaborate some on this? Again, not a mac guy over hear. The reason this machine only comes out to play once every few years is because I don't have the vocabulary, let alone with the skills/knowledge to make it work correctly. I do at least have the silly thing talking to my modern display ok.
 

VERAULT

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Then if it means something to you personally thats all that matters. Good luck on your restore. My only advice is recap the psu as they tend to just stop working abruptly.
 

hunterjwizzard

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Then if it means something to you personally thats all that matters. Good luck on your restore. My only advice is recap the psu as they tend to just stop working abruptly.
Is it not a standard ATX power supply? Certainly appears to be one from the outside.
 

ClassicHasClass

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Odds are it has Classic on it already, which is the layer allowing Tiger 10.4 and earlier to run pre-OS X applications on PowerPC. Easiest way is to download any old pre-OS X app and see if it runs. My bet is it's already configured to.

For OS 9, find any ISO of it and pop the CD in. Hold down the C key as you power it up and it should "just boot." Your call to install it over OS X, or onto its own drive or partition.

It is not an ATX supply, though projects to convert ATX supplies exist.
 

hunterjwizzard

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Odds are it has Classic on it already, which is the layer allowing Tiger 10.4 and earlier to run pre-OS X applications on PowerPC. Easiest way is to download any old pre-OS X app and see if it runs. My bet is it's already configured to.

So far as I can tell the OSX install on there is one I put on. If Classic required additional instalation beyond the basic OSX install, its probably not on there.

What's a good piece of software to test this? I have resources like mactinoshgarden.org, but their repository lacks an advanced search feature or filters. I guess I can just scroll through the list until I see something that looks interesting.

It is not an ATX supply, though projects to convert ATX supplies exist.

This seems typically Apple.
 

ClassicHasClass

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Classic should be part of the default install. The only thing that you might lack is a OS 9 System Folder, which is required. The System Restore CDs for this model will have it, but many people like to use the one that comes with NetBoot. See Ken Watanabe's answer here: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/7545914?answerId=30134230022&sortBy=best#30134230022

That said, just try anything, like a simple game or something. If it says you need a system folder, then follow the steps above.
 

GiGaBiTe

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Is it not a standard ATX power supply? Certainly appears to be one from the outside.

No, it is not standard ATX. Do not attempt to use a normal ATX supply, it will fry the logic board.

The G4 PSU has an additional +28V power rail for the proprietary ADC connector, the video card picks the voltage up from an additional set of edge connector pins in front of the AGP slot.

If you can do without the ADC power rail, there are schematics to build an ATX to Apple adapter to use a normal ATX power supply. I bought a readymade one for my G4 from a guy off Etsy over a decade ago, he has long since stopped making them.
 

hunterjwizzard

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Noted. Appreciate the warning.


Is it possible to get a better sound card for this machine? I've had a lot of people tell me they used G4s as pro audio workstations, so I assume better sound hardware exists.
 

GiGaBiTe

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There's an open source sound driver that allows using a select number of Creative Labs sound cards based mostly on the EMU10k:


I haven't tested it, it's just something I found.
 
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