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  1. #1


    Member Since
    Feb 07, 2014
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    Not Sure If My Mac Works Or Not
    The end of Mickeysoft's support for XP made me decide that it is time for a change, so I bought a Mac Power PC G4 on EBay. The previous owner swears up and down that it worked perfectly.

    The first problem I ran into was that the bottom row of keys on the original keyboard did not work. I had a spare Logitech that was supposed to be Mac compatible, and I plugged that in.

    The next problem was that the computer would freeze after some varying amount of time. I thought that the previous owner might not have 'cleaned it up' properly, so I bought a copy of OS-X Jaguar, and, after many freezes, was able to do a complete install.

    The next problem was that it suffered from what I have been told were 'Kernel panics' after various periods of time, usually less than three minutes. I finally figured out how to erase and re-format the hard drive, so I did that and another full install, after many kernel panics. Finally, I removed the two original HDDs and replaced them with a known good drive. No difference.

    So I tried the hardware angle. It had two video cards, so I removed the oldest. I removed and shifted memory around enough to find that didn't change anything.

    I finally disconnected the Logitech keyboard, leaving the mouse connected, and it ran like a dream for 6-8 hours. Except that, with no keyboard, I couldn't do anything useful with it.

    So I decided to bite the bullet and bought a new Macally keyboard for it.

    I got the keyboard today, and plugged it in, but when I started the computer up I didn't have any video. I hadn't done anything to the video since taking out the second video adapter two or three months ago, and the last time I turned it on, and every time before, it worked fine.

    So I figured maybe there was some incompatibility with the new keyboard, and disconnected it, basically going back to the configuration I could get 6-8 hours out of. Still no video. The monitor is known good because it is attached to the Mac and a Windows XP system through a switchbox, and I am using it now, from the XP system, to type this.

    I have been told several times that it is too out of date to spend any money on, but I don't even have enough spare money to buy a Mac Mini on EBay.

    I feel like the lone rider who 'rode off in all directions'. I would like to install some diagnostic software, but it won't stay running long enough with the keyboard attached. If I disconnect the keyboard, I have not found a way to navigate to the website where the software is.

    I bought the computer because I wanted to learn about OS-X and see if I consider it a viable alternative to Windoze, but have been able to learn very little about the OS because of the problems.

    Does anyone have any advice on options that don't involve buying another computer?

  2. #2

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by Honduras2811 View Post
    The next problem was that the computer would freeze after some varying amount of time. I thought that the previous owner might not have 'cleaned it up' properly, so I bought a copy of OS-X Jaguar, and, after many freezes, was able to do a complete install.

    The next problem was that it suffered from what I have been told were 'Kernel panics' after various periods of time, usually less than three minutes.

    I removed and shifted memory around enough to find that didn't change anything.
    The #1 reason for these freezes is bad or incorrect ram. Just moving the ram around isn't enough. All of the ram needs to be removed...and then tested (stick by stick). Depending on the exact computer model...ram may be ok installed as single sticks...or ram may need to be installed as pairs.

    It's also possible all of the installed ram is bad or incompatible...depending on what the previous owner did.

    Once we know that the computer has "good" ram in it. Then we can see if it is stable. If not...then we move onto other things.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  3. #3


    Member Since
    Feb 07, 2014
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    Thank you.

    I ordered a pair of RAM sticks that were advertised as being for my model, but they didn't fit. I guess it's time to order another set.

  4. #4

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by Honduras2811 View Post
    Thank you.

    I ordered a pair of RAM sticks that were advertised as being for my model, but they didn't fit. I guess it's time to order another set.
    I don't know if you're actually in Honduras as your ID suggests...but these are two good places to order from:

    - Other World Computing (OWC)
    - Crucial.com

    * Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  5. #5

    harryb2448's Avatar
    Member Since
    Nov 28, 2007
    Location
    Nambucca Heads Australia
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    22,801
    Specs:
    Imac 27", i7 3.5GHz, 3TB Fusion drive, 32GB memory, macOS Sierra.
    A G4 ~ wow that is oh so old and I would take the owner's word with a gram of salt. What did you install on the G4 and what discs did you use, silver/gray or black discs? Help if you can tell us the model. There should be a number similar to M8493 or such on the back. The last model G4 is over ten years old so hope you did not pay more than $30.00 for it.
    Hang on to those original install discs like grim death! Using OS X.7 or later make a bootable USB thumb drive before running Installer!

  6. #6


    Member Since
    Feb 07, 2014
    Posts
    15
    Honduras is the place where I had a case of amoebic dysentery in 1984. Amoebic dysentery is the best weight loss option I have ever seen. I lost 40 pounds in 1 week. 2811 Is the last four digits of my social security number.

    What I found on the back of the computer that seemed meaningful was:
    Product Family(?): M5183
    Power Mac G4
    400MHz/64/10/DVD/56K/KB/1MB/L2 Cache

    Does that help any?

    The OS installed now is definitely OS-X Jaguar.(10.2?) The installation disks were white as I recall. I still have them but can't find them. They were an OEM set and not dupes.

    Oh, I like older computers. I have 6 Sun Sparcstation 2s, Sun Solaris OS. Of the 6 I can keep 2 running at any time whenever I want.

  7. #7

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    May 20, 2008
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    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by Honduras2811 View Post
    Oh, I like older computers. I have 6 Sun Sparcstation 2s, Sun Solaris OS. Of the 6 I can keep 2 running at any time whenever I want.
    I have a Sun Enterprise 450…with the triple redundant power supplies. If I left this thing running all the time…my electric bill would be thru the roof!

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  8. #8


    Member Since
    Feb 07, 2014
    Posts
    15
    Quote Originally Posted by pigoo3 View Post
    I have a Sun Enterprise 450…with the triple redundant power supplies. If I left this thing running all the time…my electric bill would be thru the roof!

    - Nick
    I can imagine. Sun was great for redundancy but not designed for anyone who has to pay their own bills.

    Could you give me a few details about you Enterprise 450? I'm thinking about resurrecting another Sparcstation to use as a Web server. Naturally, I expect it to be a really low usage web site.

  9. #9

    pigoo3's Avatar
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    May 20, 2008
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    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by Honduras2811 View Post
    Could you give me a few details about you Enterprise 450? I'm thinking about resurrecting another Sparcstation to use as a Web server. Naturally, I expect it to be a really low usage web site.
    http://www.shrubbery.net/~heas/sun-f...E450/spec.html

    ULTRA Enterprise 450
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  10. #10


    Member Since
    Feb 07, 2014
    Posts
    15
    Shrubbery? Are you a 'still in the closet' Python fan?

  11. #11

    chscag's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 23, 2008
    Location
    Keller, Texas
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    50,257
    Specs:
    Late 2013 27" iMac, iPad 3, iPhone 6s+, iPhone 6+, 3 iPods, Sierra
    Hey Nick...

    My eyes were watering when I took a gander at your E 450. What a great machine.... really came in handy in the Winter when you needed that extra bit of heat on a cold day!

    Imagine working in a computer room with 8 of those babies chugging along with attached displays.... You can understand why computer equipment rooms are kept as cold as the Bering Straits in Alaska.

  12. #12

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
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    36,524
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by chscag View Post

    My eyes were watering when I took a gander at your E 450. What a great machine....
    Gonna post a thread with some photos hopefully soon. I figured some older IT & computer guys would get a kick out of it.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  13. #13

    pigoo3's Avatar
    Member Since
    May 20, 2008
    Location
    U.S.
    Posts
    36,524
    Specs:
    2011 13" MBP 2.3ghz, 8gig ram, OS 10.8.5
    Quote Originally Posted by Honduras2811 View Post
    Shrubbery? Are you a 'still in the closet' Python fan?
    Just coincidence. I'm not a "super-duper" Python fan...but still pretty good.

    - Nick
    - Too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
    - Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some slow computer tips: Speedup
    - Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
    - Apple Battery Info. Battery

  14. #14


    Member Since
    Feb 07, 2014
    Posts
    15
    As you cam tell from the Sparcstations, I don't believe there is any such thing as an outdated computer. Most of the OS updates are related to thing that I have no use for. Social networking? I'm a recluse. Can't find any use for it. Photos and movies. Of what? I have no friends or family that I know of.

    Late last year I decided to go back in time. Modula-2, which I think is much more friendly than C. Borland Turbo Prolog 1.0. TASM 1.0, Even Turbo C 2.0. I've been having a lot of fun, and developing some programs that I think have merit. As far as I'm concerned, that's what computers are for. For social networking, try the phone, or the Post Office.

    But Mickeysoft has finally pushed me over the edge with Version 8. Possibly useful for social networking, but no other redeeming features.

  15. #15


    Member Since
    Dec 10, 2013
    Posts
    48
    Specs:
    Mac Pro 3,1, 8-core Xeon
    1999 g4
    Wow. Macs have a longer shelf life than pretty much all PCs. My Macs usually last me anywere from 5-6 years before I start thinking of upgrading. And even then, you can probably squeeze another year or two out of it, before the hardware is no longer supported by current, or oldish software. Which is the main reason I upgrade.

    That being said, your G4 is very old, even for Mac's standards. Put it this way, it was the first of two G4s that came out (one with a PCI graphics card, and one with an AGP graphics card). From the model #M5183 you indicated, you have the AGP version. If you go to System Profile, the model identifier should PowerMac3,1. Tip: always check the model identifier to get the exact model.

    Here are the specs for you G4:

    OVERVIEW

    Introduced September 1999
    Discontinued July 2000
    Model Identifier PowerMac3,1
    Model Number M5183, M6921, M7232, M7629, M7824, M7825, M7827
    EMC 1843
    Order Number M7825LL/A, M7825LL/B (450 MHz)
    Initial Price $2,499 (400/450 MHz) $3,499 (450/500 MHz)
    Support Status Obsolete
    Colors Graphite
    Weight and Dimensions 28.7 lbs., 17" H x 8.9" W x 18.4" D

    PROCESSOR

    Processor PowerPC 7400 v2.9 (G4)
    Processor Speed 350, 400, 450, or 500 MHz
    Number of Cores 1
    Cache 64 KB L1, 1 MB backside (1:2) L2
    System Bus 100 MHz (up to 800-MBps data throughput)

    STORAGE AND MEDIA

    Storage 10 GB 5400-rpm, 10, 20, or 27 GB 7200-rpm
    Media 32x CD-ROM, DVD-ROM or DVD-RAM

    PERIPHERALS

    Peripherals Apple USB Keyboard, Apple USB Mouse

    MEMORY

    Built-in Memory None
    Maximum Memory 2.0 GB under Mac OS X, 1.5 GB under Mac OS 8/9
    Memory Slots 4 - PC-100 3.3v, unbuffered, 8-byte, non-parity 168-pin SDRAM
    Minimum Speed 125 MHz (8 ns)
    Interleaving Support No


    DISPLAY

    Built-in Display None

    GRAPHICS

    Graphics Card ATI Rage 128 or Rage 128 Pro
    Graphics Memory 16 MB VRAM
    Display Connection 1 - VGA, 1 - DVI-D
    Display Modes Single display only


    A couple of questions:
    1. What software are you running? ie. MS Office, Photoshop, etc...
    2. What thing(s) you doing when your system crashed? List each one that crashed your system.

    We can eliminate your HDD, since you mentioned you've used a couple already. Chances of all of them being bad, is pretty remote. And because you did a full reinstall after a format, we can also rule out virus, malware, and volume directory issues. So that leaves hardware.

    1. When it comes to ram, use the specs indicated above, to make sure you got the correct ones. Don't trust the vendor to tell you "it will work". Stick with the specs above. Once you get the correct ram, test it again. In the mean time, because you don't need install ram modules in pairs with your G4, you can test each ram module one at a time and see which ones might be damaged. If your system starts up ok, good chance it's not the ram. Just make sure to test each one, one at a time. Plus, if they work, you may not need to buy new ram, and save yourself some cash.

    2. Have you tried using other USB ports to plug in your keyboard? Try other ports to see if perhaps the issue is with your USB port(s).

    3. A bad, or going bad video card can explain the display issue. You mentioned you had 2 video cards in your G4 initially, and removed one. Did you try the one you removed as well?

    4. Last but not least, and hopefully it's not this, your CPU is starting to go south. Check to see if your fan is working. If your CPU is over heating, and the heat syncs aren't doing the job anymore, or your fan is working to help dissipate the heat, it will cause your system to crash. Could explain why it would work for a little bit, then crash.

    This is an easy enough fix. With a couple of asterisks. 1. There is a CPU upgrade for that model. I got one when I had that same model. Gave me another 2.5 years of use. The question is, can you still find one. Go to an Apple certified vendor, not eBay. CDW is a good place to start. Which leads me to 2. If you can find a vendor that sells it, it may cost you more than you'd like to dish out for an old system like that.

    My advice. Cut your losses, and don't spend anymore money on that G4. Go look in Craigslist, and get at least the last G5 model (PowerMac11,2). They come with dual PowerPC processors as well. I've seen these G5s go for $200. If your willing to spend a little more, look at the first Mac Intel models. The first model is MacPro1,1. We still have a few of these in the studio, and they still work well. Not as fast as our newer Mac Pros (2010 and 2012), but they still do the job. And I've seen these ones in Craigslist for $500. Plus these older Mac Pros will work with up to OS X 10.7.x.

    I recommend Craigslist, because it's local. You can actually request to see the system power up. My rule of thumb, if it powers up fine, no crashes, display comes up, then the hardware is good. Anything else that may go wrong with it, is most likely software. And reformatting the drive and reinstalling the OS and software will usually do the trick. I recommend doing this anyway, so that any remanence of bad software, virus, or spyware is removed.

    And remember, if the seller makes up excuses to not show it to you powered up, move on to the next person. An honest seller will have no problem you coming over and seeing it in working order. I've purchased 3 Mac systems through Craigslist this way. And I've been a Mac user since 1990.

    Hope this helps. Good luck.

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