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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Desktops > Help for old Power PC G4

Help for old Power PC G4
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Dec 26, 2012, 01:18 PM
 
We have an 2004 imac 800mhz PowerPC G4, 768 MB RAM, 17-inch Flat Panel. It still has the original software it came with - OS X version
10.2.8 which is so out of date that flash and other necessary products wont run on it.
Basically we haven't used it for that last two years since I got my wife an ipad.

My latest plan for it is to have it on our kitchen counter (in the corner) and use it for basic internet, streaming netflix, music, streaming radio and maybe TV.
The last recommendation I had to make it usable again was get a copy of Tiger retail version, but that was two years ago and I noticed Firefox won't even run on it anymore. The price for Tiger on Ebay is much more palatable but there's no sense in paying the money if really limits the usability of the computer.
Looking for tech savvy advice from folks who like to revive a good product that many would call obsolete.
Thanks,
Kent
     
cgc
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Dec 26, 2012, 03:08 PM
 
I have a 400MHz G4 Sawtooth tower in my basement with an upgraded CPU (1GHz) and an upgraded GPU (Radeon 8400 I think) and it can barely play SD videos. I have an XBMC fork (iTheater) that hasn't been updated in 5 or 6 years that I play ripped DVD on in my basement exercise room. Have to downsample all the rips to 750Kb/s or they skip. I think as a Netflix steamer you'd be better off with an AppleTV, Popcorn Hour, Roku, Bluray player, etc. If I wanted to surf the web I'd install Lubuntu which has a PPC version. Lemme know if you need any help with installing Linux if you go that way.
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 03:33 PM
 
i have one those in my living room (15 inch in my case) that i use primarily for music. playing on itunes, copying cd's, converting records to cd's, and syncing with my ipod. (a 60gb ipod photo with firewire)) mine is running 10.3.9 and when i upgrade to 10.4 i will be able to run the browser tenfourfox which has decent speed. i've tested it on my girlfriend's g4 mac mini. that's where i'm typing this right now. it is also my prime machine for storing photos in iphoto and a few old games. however it will never be adequate for any type of streaming of netflix,(or much of anything else), flash videos, or apple tv. 10.4 and all the memory in the world won't help that. i seem to remember that when this thing was new that someone had a program or hardware something that would allow you to watch some tv on it but i never was interested and never explored it. others may chime in about that. you're right about the cost of 10.4 coming down, i've noticed that also. they're also good for playing dvd's. do you still have the pro speakers that came with it? those really aren't half bad speakers. i don't use mine anymore, i have my imac hard wired into my stereo. the only thing that i've noticed that mine won't do now that it would do when it was new is play flash videos. and youtube has always been a little spotty with it. i could also if i wanted to use appleworks and hook up a printer to it but, believe it or not, i have a g3 imac upstairs that i use for that. and even if the ability to use the internet at all on this thing dries up in another ten years to me this machine will never be obsolete because of all the things it still can do. and you can't beat the style.
imac g3 600
imac g4 800 superdrive
ibook 466
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 08:24 PM
 
For music, the system should be fine. If you want to go online, I would recommend to install a Flash blocker and to use a decent browser. For Netflix and TV, the system is too old and too slow. You'd be better off getting a used Intel-based iMac.
I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every minute of it.
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 09:35 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie View Post

You'd be better off getting a used Intel-based iMac.
Burn the heathen!

(as I grip to my dying PPC world)
"angels bleed from the tainted touch of my caress"
     
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Dec 26, 2012, 11:55 PM
 
I happily run iCab 4.9 under 10.4.9 and a Power Mac G4 MDD. Either that or TenFourFox as goosed said, which basically is a port of current Firefox for Power Macintoshes.
     
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Dec 27, 2012, 01:57 AM
 
That upgraded Sawtooth really ought to be able to play SD videos without an issue. What formats are you using?
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
cgc
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Dec 27, 2012, 04:12 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
That upgraded Sawtooth really ought to be able to play SD videos without an issue. What formats are you using?
I gotgot but I did test various containers (e.g. mp4, mkv, avi) and formats (e.g. h.264, h.263, mp4, and others) at various bit rates and watched my CPU utilization. Once I could get it to not "clip" at 100% I went with that format & bitrate. When I get home I can post what it is but that's an old computer...maybe I'll do what I suggest and install Linux but it's used daily by the wife and I don't want to mess up a good thing.
     
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Dec 30, 2012, 07:42 AM
 
Pretty sure Netflix streaming requires a recent version of Silverlight which is Intel only...
     
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Dec 30, 2012, 02:03 PM
 
It might struggle with h264 but it ought to be fine with mp4 or avi in SD.
I have plenty of more important things to do, if only I could bring myself to do them....
     
cgc
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Dec 31, 2012, 04:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by Waragainstsleep View Post
It might struggle with h264 but it ought to be fine with mp4 or avi in SD.
The first thing I did when I saw it couldn't play my regular H.264 rips was to find a CODEC that used as little CPU as possible. MPEG-1 would be ideal but Handbrake didn't do it so I went with MP4 in the iTunes .m4v container. Ripped at ~1200kbps with a decomb filter and looks good enough. Should look into it again but my G4 is in the basement with no internet or network and I don't want to lug it upstairs.
     
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Jan 2, 2013, 02:20 PM
 
I have a 2004 20" iMac G4 with 768 RAM. I upgraded it 5 years ago to system 10.4 and I use it to run EyeTV and record TV shows with a Miglia HD. It still runs fine for web surfing with Safari, but I don't stream video with it. I also use it to house a 10,000 song MP3 collection.
     
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Jan 6, 2013, 05:16 AM
 
As for the browser, I would suggest giving Camino a try. It is not as heavy on RAM as other Firefox based browsers like Aurora and TenFourFox.
     
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Feb 28, 2013, 05:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by angelmb View Post
As for the browser, I would suggest giving Camino a try. It is not as heavy on RAM as other Firefox based browsers like Aurora and TenFourFox.
Camino is a good start, but i prefer Omniweb because of the look and feel. Speedwise it certainly outperforms TenFourFox, but it tends to get a little RAM-hungry. Concerning add-blocking it is 99 % add-free "out of the box", no further tweaking necessary.


Macintosh Quadra 950, Centris 610, Powermac 6100, iBook dual USB, Powerbook 667 DVI, Powerbook 867 DVI, MacBook Pro early 2011
     
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Mar 1, 2013, 04:11 AM
 


     
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Mar 1, 2013, 12:35 PM
 
do any of those still support flash plugins? tenfourfox does not.
     
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Mar 1, 2013, 12:40 PM
 
When did the last PPC-compatible version of Flash get released?

Three years ago? Four?
     
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Mar 1, 2013, 12:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by andi*pandi View Post
do any of those still support flash plugins? tenfourfox does not.
Omniweb certainly does - check this out: OmniWeb Help : Using Plug-Ins


Macintosh Quadra 950, Centris 610, Powermac 6100, iBook dual USB, Powerbook 667 DVI, Powerbook 867 DVI, MacBook Pro early 2011
     
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Mar 1, 2013, 03:25 PM
 
TenFourFox does not support plugins, but does allow them. The devs say they've done nothing specifically to break compatibility, just turned them off by default. And my plugins still work ok.
  • In an empty tenfourfox window, go to about:config
  • In the search box, type plugins
  • Find the line tenfourfox.plugins.enabled
  • It's a boolean variable. Click on the false value to change it to true.
  • Restart TenFourFox.
     
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Mar 1, 2013, 05:35 PM
 
excellent. A lot of kids games require flash still.
     
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Mar 1, 2013, 07:12 PM
 
That's what the iPad is for.
     
   
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