Purchased a Power Mac G4 Graphite AGP Model to Refurb with my son - Looking for Suggestions

zincmann

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So this is my first post here so please don't beat me up too much. So I decided to do something interesting with my Son after the Christmas holidays here and bought a near mint Apple PowerMac G4 Graphite AGP Sawtooth Model with the current installed:

Processor 450Mhz
Ram: 768mhz
No Hard Drive
ATI Rage: DVI / VGA (Not ADC)
Apple Studio LCD Display 17" with ADC Connector
Matching Graphite Keyboard in 7/10 Condition

Dont know if any of it works, but does turn on and play the chime, it was bought for $50 for all of it. I dont see any liquid damage and again very clean so I don't suspect it wont work.

So I know I am going to need the following which I have purchased to test the monitor:

ATI Rage 128 Pro with ADC / VGA

Going to need to purchase:

Matching Graphite Mouse
Hard Drive
Want to Max out the Ram to 2GB
Need to install OS 10.4.111
No Wireless Card

I have attached pics for the current config of the unit

So my questions are the following and looking for the best but also most economical solutions (have tried to do the research here but so much disparate information)

1). Can I use a SSD and if so what is the recommended size and connection ( I know currently its configured for IDE)
2). Can I install 10.4.111 from my Windows computer onto a hard drive and then install it ? (Pretend there is not another MAC in my house (There is with my sons iMac) but would like to do it (if possible from my Windows 11 Machine)
3). I have a modern router Netgear Nighthawk Wireless 6 Router what is the most modern PCI or Airport Card I can use that would work with it? I am guessing going to have to go with either USB dongle or PCI Connector? Any recommendations here?
4). Recommendations for the fastest processor on a board upgrade for this unit?


Thanks again in advance for any help.
 

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pigoo3

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...looking for the best but also most economical solutions...
When you say "most economical solutions...what sort of total budget are you thinking?

Because of the age of this Powermac G4 (introduced in 1999...thus 23 years old)...parts/RAM may not be be easy to find.

If you came across the right person/unit...you could probably get most of this for free...but you might be waiting a long time for this to happen. If you were to purchase everything...you could be in for some sticker shock (but I haven't checked eBay yet for prices).

Once you get all the parts you want...then you're going to need to find a version of 10.4.11 ("Tiger") to install on the drive. This may or may not be easy. If lucky...you may find a website that has digital copies. Otherwise going to need to find install disks (most likely eBay).

Big heads up...all Apple computers back then shipped with "Gray" colored macOS install disks. These "Gray" colored disks were model specific (would only work on the model computer they shipped with). You'll see lots * lots of these gray disks...but you won't always know what computer model they came from (thus high probability they won't work). If sourcing 10.4 install disks...you need original universal install 10.4 disks that were black with a big "X" on them.

Finally...after spending $50 for the computer & display...and spending an unknown amount of $$$ for parts/upgrades & possibly macOS install disks...you're going to be left with a 23 year old computer that will be very unusable in a 2022 world:

* Not going to have any vintage software to run on it.
* Will have a terrible experience on the internet...if you can find an browser that will even work properly on the 2022 internet.
* Going to be super super slow.
* All sorts of possible security issues.

Hey...I understand this is a fun project to do with your son...so it's not about the money.:) But end result with this is playing with the computer with your son...and I think this is where things will get disappointing (slow, bad internet experience, etc).

Basically just giving you a big heads up...before you get too deep into this project.

Here's an alternate suggestion/project. Get yourself a 2009 thru 2012 desktop Mac Pro. Do pretty much the same project/upgrades with your son...that you have planned for the Powermac G4. Parts & macOS for 2009-2012 Mac Pro's are MUCH easier to find...and when you're done...you'll actually have a computer that's still very useable in a 2022 world.:)

HTH,

Nick
 
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zincmann

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Nick thanks for your well thought out reply. I get it and have already priced out some of the parts and are not crazy so far. While I appreciate the suggestion on the 2009-2012 G5 I believe they are I really loved the generation of iMacs with the colored cases, the Desktops with the translucent shells and old Nintendo 64's etc that were funtastic colors. I believe for me I am not looking for something to be a daily driver I already have a Windows 11 PC and Laptop and my son has several Modern Macs he uses. I guess I had this unit many years ago and sold it and wanted it back because its cool to look at and fiddle around with. Not a really solid reason to spend money on an old computer but for me its just a gen that was cool to me.
 
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One tool I have used in years past is L.E.M.Swap. It's a google user group and has a swap meet feel. People buying and selling older Mac parts.

LEM Swap | Low End Mac

Also, have a look at XLR8yourmac, which had great ways to improve performance in PowerPC Macs.

Apple/Mac/macOS News, Updates, Tips and Tech Articles - xlr8yourmac.com

And last is ifixit.com, they have a ton of D-I-Y repair guides for Macs.

 
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Hi zincmann and welcome!

I used to have one of these lovely beasts - the exact same model you've acquired. I upgraded mine with a Sonnet dual processor card. They were great machines for their day, but as Nick says, they simply won't cope with the modern internet, nor will the OS be secure against present day security threats. If you just want to have some fun getting it to boot into an old version of OSX, though, good luck with it. :)

When I retired mine in 2010, I moved on to a 2008 Mac Pro ...which I'm still using! I'm hoping to squeeze a few more years out of that machine before I am forced to go down the Apple Silicon system-on-a-chip route.

BTW, on a point of detail: the Mac Pro machines are Intel-based, not G5. ;)
 

pigoo3

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I get it and have already priced out some of the parts and are not crazy so far.
This information was not mentioned in post #1...that's why I wanted to mention some of the pitfalls of working on a 23 year old computer...and its limitations once the project is completed.:)
While I appreciate the suggestion on the 2009-2012 G5...
Technically they are 2009-2012 Mac Pro's. Powermac G5's (that look VERY similar to the 2009-2012 Mac Pro's)...were last released in 2005. And are very very different inside from Mac Pro's.:)
I believe they are I really loved the generation of iMacs with the colored cases, the Desktops with the translucent shells and old Nintendo 64's etc that were funtastic colors. I believe for me I am not looking for something to be a daily driver I already have a Windows 11 PC and Laptop and my son has several Modern Macs he uses. I guess I had this unit many years ago and sold it and wanted it back because its cool to look at and fiddle around with. Not a really solid reason to spend money on an old computer but for me its just a gen that was cool to me.
Good deal...all good reasons.:)

I didn't know how old your son was...what his computing knowledge is...and what his expectations might be for this 1999 Powermac G4. I didn't want him to be disappointed when you both tried to take a 23 year old computer into the internet (since this is about all that can be done with it)...unless someone has vintage software as well.

That's why I suggested a 2009-2012 Mac Pro for this project (still relatively low cost...reasonable parts availability...and reasonable amount of use-ability in a 2022 environment).:)

Nick
 
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zincmann

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This information was not mentioned in post #1...that's why I wanted to mention some of the pitfalls of working on a 23 year old computer...and its limitations once the project is completed.:)

Technically they are 2009-2012 Mac Pro's. Powermac G5's (that look VERY similar to the 2009-2012 Mac Pro's)...were last released in 2005. And are very very different inside from Mac Pro's.:)

Good deal...all good reasons.:)

I didn't know how old your son was...what his computing knowledge is...and what his expectations might be for this 1999 Powermac G4. I didn't want him to be disappointed when you both tried to take a 23 year old computer into the internet (since this is about all that can be done with it)...unless someone has vintage software as well.

That's why I suggested a 2009-2012 Mac Pro for this project (still relatively low cost...reasonable parts availability...and reasonable amount of use-ability in a 2022 environment).:)

Nick
Nick,

No worries at all. My son is 17 and loves tinkering with old and more modern hardware. He has several Macbooks he has repaired himself, replacing screens, batteries etc. I apologize for not using correct terminology as I have never been a fan of Macs but they are always a well engineered system.

I do appreciate your suggestions, and I am limited with space being a huge video game collector and vintage console collector along with some retro computers like, old Atari's and Commodores.
 

pigoo3

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No worries at all. My son is 17 and loves tinkering with old and more modern hardware.
Much older than I was expecting. I was thinking something like 10-12. But of course I had no data to actually guess properly.:)

These days teenagers that are 17 years old...seem to have so much going on (or just constantly on their cellphones or playing on a game console)...that the last thing they want to do is sit home with Dad tinkering with a 23 year old computer! Lol

You're a lucky Dad who has a 17 year old that's still interested in doing these things!:)

Nick
 
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Much older than I was expecting. I was thinking something like 10-12. But of course I had no data to actually guess properly.:)

These days teenagers that are 17 years old...seem to have so much going on (or just constantly on their cellphones or playing on a game console)...that the last thing they want to do is sit home with Dad tinkering with a 23 year old computer! Lol

You're a lucky Dad who has a 17 year old that's still interested in doing these things!:)

Nick
My son loves technology and is on a School robotics team he is going to college for Mechanical Engineering and since he loves Macs I knew this would be a safe bet. But yes I get it kids this age are less apt to want to do anything with their parents.
 
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Ok so new question here Might as well keep the thread together. The PowerMac G4 does not have a hard drive yet installed but powers on. I bought a ATI Rage Pro 128 which as the ADC connector on it. I realize that provides power as well to the Studio Display however when I go to plug it in to the card and turn on the Mac I get no life out of the monitor. Would that be because there is no HDD Installed with MacOS on it?

Thanks.
 

pigoo3

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Would that be because there is no HDD Installed with MacOS on it?
If memory serves me correctly...no. Even without a hard drive with a macOS installed on it...I'm pretty sure the external display should still illuminate.

I say this because this is the way I remember it...and...when the computer cannot find a hard drive with the macOS on it...the monitor will display a folder with a blinking question-mark on it...to signify no macOS could be found to boot from.

Thus the display connected via and ADC port would have to be illuminated to display this "no macOS could be found" Folder.

Looks like this:

Screen Shot 2022-12-01 at 12.53.51 PM.png

Nick
 
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zincmann

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Thanks Nick! Now the question is, is the graphics card bad? Or is the LCD Monitor bad. Going to have to troubleshoot.
 

pigoo3

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Now the question is, is the graphics card bad? Or is the LCD Monitor bad. Going to have to troubleshoot.
I hear ya.:)

Does the video card have a 2nd port (maybe VGA)? I seem to remember at least some of the Powermac G4 video cards with and AGP port also had a 2nd port (VGA, or some other "funky" ports Apple used to use).

I actually have everything your messing around with in my basement somewhere (still in boxes from my last house move/relocation)...but I have no idea which boxes the stuff is in (boxes not marked very well)...or I would do some actual testing/investigations on my end.

If the AGP card has a 2nd port...you could test via that port with a different display (I'm sure you already thought of that if the card has a 2nd port).:)

Nick
 
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I hear ya.:)

Does the video card have a 2nd port (maybe VGA)? I seem to remember at least some of the Powermac G4 video cards with and AGP port also had a 2nd port (VGA, or some other "funky" ports Apple used to use).

Yes the Video Card has VGA as well, I was thinking about that and I have a projector with VGA connector which I will try out this evening. So yes two ports whether it has DVI / VGA or ADC/VGA (what I am using currently).
I actually have everything your messing around with in my basement somewhere (still in boxes from my last house move/relocation)...but I have no idea which boxes the stuff is in (boxes not marked very well)...or I would do some actual testing/investigations on my end. LOL

No worries I appreciate the willingness to help. There appears to be a power button on the Studio display and wondering possibly if that has gone bad but first I need to eliminate the Video card I just bought as being bad. I would almost hope it was damaged in shipping LOL so I know its not display but my luck never goes that way haha.
If the AGP card has a 2nd port...you could test via that port with a different display (I'm sure you already thought of that if the card has a 2nd port).:)

Nick
 
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So indeed its not the graphics card as it works and displays the error for no hard drive present / OS. The interesting thing is the The Apple Studio Display M7649 doesnt even show life at all no light up of the power button etc.
 
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SO apparently its a missing port where the graphics card sits for AGP Models which provides power to these displays which is why it probably did not come with the ADC card to begin with.
s-l1600 (4).jpg
 

pigoo3

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Are you saying you have the card pictured above (with the large PIN circled)...or your card is missing that large PIN?

If your card has that pin...the card needs to be inserted into the proper expansion card slot on the motherboard (there should be at least one AGP slot).

If you don't have the proper card for the Apple monitor you have...bummer. Maybe better off just using the VGA port with an "El Cheapo" generic 17" display (I see these being given away all the time on my local Craig's List)...or sold super cheap (like $20 bucks).

Unless you already did test with a 17" display via VGA port (wasn't sure if that's what you meant above).

Unless you can find the proper card cheaply (eBay for example).:)

Nick
 
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I'm Saying I bought the card above but my Main board does not have the power slot for the part circled in blue. Yes I know I can use a cheapo monitor but I love the aesthetic of the studio display. If i can source a board cheap enough with the AGP Slot I might do a board swap. I know its spending bad money after bad money but the Mac itself is in ex. condition and I guess I need to figure it out.
 
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So I know I can get a DVI to ADC adapter. Would you know if that would be able to power the Studio display if i swap back the DVI Card into the system? My guess is yes?
 

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