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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2007
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    Advice on building custom Powermac
    Plan to use it while at school and hoping to save some money. If this doesn't work out, I might just save up for the iMac. Looking to build an intel-based Powermac with individual parts and was just looking for some advice.

    I'll be using this mac for After Effects, DVD Studio Pro 4, FCP, Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, etc... so my main concerns are what types of video cards should I be looking at? Should I be OK with a 32mb, 64mb, or should I just look for something 128mb?

    Also I have experience building custom PCs, but not macs. Are all Powermac spare parts compatible with each other to a certain extent? Or are G4 parts only compatible with G4 and vice-versa with G5 parts? I'm looking to build something with 512mb ram (which I will upgrade to 1gb later), Superdrive, 1.5ghz at the least, Intel platform, etc. Are there any links out there to a parts list that I should be building off from? Thanks in advanced.

  2. #2

    joe.morgan's Avatar
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    Nov 27, 2006
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    Mac Pro: 2.66ghz Dual-Core Intel Xeon, 4gb Ram, ATi X1900 XT 512MB, 1TB HDD, 19" LCD
    my advice, dont botherr trying to custom build... buy straight from apple or an apple dealer.

  3. #3


    Member Since
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    Specs:
    Powerbook G4 12" 1.5GHz
    If you want an Intel platform, you will have to buy from Apple. No home-built PC you can build will be able to run OSX because you won't have all the drivers. If money is tight, just get a Mac Mini, they are great little machines.
    12" Powerbook G4 1.5GHz/512MB/Superdrive/100GB Seagate Momentus 7200.1
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  4. #4

    joe.morgan's Avatar
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    Mac Pro: 2.66ghz Dual-Core Intel Xeon, 4gb Ram, ATi X1900 XT 512MB, 1TB HDD, 19" LCD
    i think he meant building his own mac

  5. #5

    mac57's Avatar
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    I understand that it is not possible to custom build a Mac OS X compatible platform (i.e. a custom built Mac) because Apple includes Apple proprietary hardware on their machines that Mac OS X looks for and uses. Because the hardware is proprietary, and not available for sale, Mac OS X simply won't run on a custom built platform. This is why you don't see Mac clones out on the market.
    My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
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    My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
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  6. #6


    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2007
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    wow, I thought it was possible. I was reading an article/tutorial on someone already doing the same thing, let me see if I can try to find the link.

    So it's impossible even if I purchase a cheap G4 powermac or so to build off-of and just replace parts with?

    My reason for staying away from the Mini is because of it's videocard. I plan to render a lot on this machine with FCP, After Effects, etc. and I heard the Mini could only support FCP HD.

  7. #7

    mac57's Avatar
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    I haven't read these articles, but it sounds shady to me. You will be building an illegal box.
    My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
    My iStuff: 64GB iPhone 5, 64GB iPad4, 30GB iPod Video, 16GB iPod Touch
    My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
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  8. #8


    Member Since
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    what about just purchasing a used powermac of some sort and upgrading the parts on that to the specs I'd need? will OSx run smoothly on a buildup like that?

  9. #9

    mac57's Avatar
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    Absolutely! This is in fact commonly done. The G5 and G5 boxes are very upgradable, and you will find plenty of support on these forums for any questions you may have. That would be an excellent course of action.
    My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
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  10. #10

    mr g5's Avatar
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    you cant build i mac because it has a motherboard thats uses EFI instaed of BIOS. You cant buy a board like this.
    Join the Mac-forums folding team By Clicking Here

  11. #11


    Member Since
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    Quote Originally Posted by mac57 View Post
    Absolutely! This is in fact commonly done. The G5 and G5 boxes are very upgradable, and you will find plenty of support on these forums for any questions you may have. That would be an excellent course of action.
    so starting off with a cheap $100 g4 or g3 powermac and switching out the ram, harddrive, a dvd-rw drive, etc is perfectly fine then? any links or resources to this type of project? i use macs all the time at school and have put together custom PCs and external harddrives, but something like this I haven't done before.

  12. #12

    mac57's Avatar
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    As long as you stay within the originally designed maximums, you should be OK. The G4 may be best, since I understand that you can buy processor upgrades all the way up to 2.0 GHz. That would be quite a box for a G4.

    This guide looks like just the ticket for you:

    http://www.2ndchancepc.co.uk/g4-mac-upgrade-guide.html

    You will find pages of such guides if you Google "g4 upgrading".
    My Macs: iMac 27" 3.4 GHz, Mac Pro 3.2 GHz, PowerMac G5 Quad 2.5 GHz, G4 Cube with 1.2 GHz Upgrade
    My iStuff: 64GB iPhone 5, 64GB iPad4, 30GB iPod Video, 16GB iPod Touch
    My OS': Mac OS X Lion, Mac OS X Snow Leopard, Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS 9.2.2, openSUSE 10.3
    I was on the Mac-Forums honor roll for September 2007

  13. #13


    Member Since
    Mar 04, 2006
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    Don't buy a G3 tower, or PCI graphics G4. They are cheaper, but are very limited as far as graphics cards, and they have different processor cards that only support up to 600mhz G4's.

  14. #14


    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2007
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    Those links were very useful, especially the search terms Mac57, thanks!

    Thanks Bluesmudge, I'll keep that in mind. Looks like I have a lot of reading to do :headphone

  15. #15


    Member Since
    Jan 17, 2007
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    Ok so I've decided to do this process, but put everything inside one of my old Alienware cases. I noticed everyone who puts their G4 inside a case has issues with the Peripherals (USB, Firewire, etc.) and the power supply.

    My quesion is wouldn't it just be possible to find some sort of usb cable extension and run that from the G4 internals and hardwire that to the USB port on the case? same going for the firewire?

    Also about the power supply, are there any PC power supplies that would work with the G4 if the original one isn't long enough? Are there any other solutions to the power supply issue?

    Thanks everyone for the advice.

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