Cheapest way to get into a G4 Mac

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unknown1's picture
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Cheapest way to get into a G4 Mac

I would like to get into something more than my 180MHz PowerBook 3400 and am wondering: What would be the CHEAPEST way to get into a G4 Mac? Would a G3 Blue&White (My favorite look) with a G4 upgrade be cheap? Would a stock G4 400 or so work for everyday use and be on the low end?

Something to consider is: Use of modern large hard drives; will an additional card be needed?

RAM: With 1GB the standard these days, DDR2 really cheap and older ram pretty expensive, would it make sense to buy a newer machine that can take newer RAM? Are there some kind of 'ram adapters' that allow newer ram in older machines like there were in the old days?

I haven't done a lot of research on it yet but have realized my 17" 1.67 GHz G4 PowerBook ($800 to 1000 on eBay) is just a budgetary dream at this point :^(

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A B&W with a G4 upgrade is de

A B&W with a G4 upgrade is definitely not the way to go, neither are the early G4's. What you want is one of the AGP 4X G4 towers. Only bang for the buck, these days, really. Apple was very late with the DDR RAM and it wasn't in the G4 towers except the very latest, still expensive models. But used SDRAM is much cheaper than DDR. I've got a pile of it, don't even know if I want to bother trying to sell it. G4 specs here:

http://www.lowendmac.com/ppc/index.shtml

Bang for the buck, you want a Digital Audio or later.

We just had a discussion about the larger hard drive issue here:
http://www.applefritter.com/node/22120

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The Sawtooth G4s are dirt che

The Sawtooth G4s are dirt cheap on ebay. But as Hawaii Cruiser notes, you'll want to make sure it's at least a Sawtooth, not a Yikes.

Watch the Macintosh Desktops area for a while, and you should be able to score a Sawtooth for around $50-$60, plus shipping.

G4 upgrades tend to sell for more than a base G4.

For hard drives...depends on your definition of large. My impression from another recent thread here is below 130 gigs you'll be safe, and above that...is confusing.

You may find 400 MHz slow for regular use on the modern web. I wasn't content until I moved up to a 733 MHz Digital Audio. YMMV, however, if you're used to a Powerbook 3400.

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I just did a quick ebay searc

I just did a quick ebay search and found an 800MHz Quicksilver buy it now for $175 plus $38 to ship. If you need a Leopard machine, there is also a QS 933MHz buy it now for $199 plus $70 to ship. I don't know your price limit, but thats pretty inexpensive for a decent G4. At those prices I wouldn't even waste my time looking at old AGP, Gigabit, or Digital Audio G4's.

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A budget number would help...

Basically, not knowing what you have to spend but assuming it's $300 or less, I'd say you're in the position of just trying to get the best G4 Tower you can. In that $300 or less bracket here's the two things you're almost certainly going to have to live with:

A: SDRAM DIMMs. No, there's no such thing as a RAM converter

B: 128GB hard drive limit. I don't remember the exact vintage of the machines which fixed that limit, but it pretty much coincides with the introduction of DDR RAM. Those towers still tend to sell for $400 or more.

Beyond that as long as you get an AGP Tower it really hardly matters which you get. Newer is better, and try to get one with an ATI Radeon/Nvidia GeForce2 or better video card. The 500Mhz and slower towers usually shipped with ATI Rage 128s, which have limitations under OS X generally and specifically have serious problems under Leopard. (Should you feel possessed to go that far with your old dog.)

Try to get one from Craigslist or a swap meet. Used Mac dealers gouge. (There will always be suckers dumb enough to pay their prices, apparently.)

About the only other "real cheap" choice would be an eMac. Even from a dealer you can get one for $200 or less. If you go with that figure the built-in monitor will be good for about six months or less before you're either scrounging repair parts or trying one of those torturous case conversions.

--Peace

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Price Range... Reasonable?

I was thinking I could get a working system (tower, keyboard and mouse) for $100 to 150.

A big hard drive and controller for $100 (maybe a little more for SATA)

Upgrade to a GIG of RAM $?

eBay has lots of systems (tower only) for really high 'buy it now' prices with no bids.

One guy has complete systems tested (dual 450s - Sawtooth?), with disks and DOA guarantee for $149 to $179 + shipping, might be the best deal.

I wonder if it would be worth it to buy one of these used commercial systems with no hard drive, keyboard or mouse for $9.99 + like $60 or 70 shipping? Sounds like a lot of money for a non-operating system.

They list a non-tested non-warrantied Mirror Drive Door system with no hard drive for $375, buy it now!

I already have some system disks (OS 9.1, 9.22 upgrade and 10.1.5) old, but probably serviceable for now. No monitor but I could probably find one.

Most listings just show the processor speed and maybe the serial number so I will have to go search lowendmac for what is what. I think I like the Digital Audio/Quicksilver systems best- 133MHz system bus and such (which is probably what the 466/533 and other odd numbered systems are, I guess), what do you think a complete gigabit system or DA/Quicksilver system is worth?

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you have to look around, i po

you have to look around, i posted a WTB on a forum and got my Digital Audio for $165 shipped.

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Re: Price Range... Reasonable?

They list a non-tested non-warrantied Mirror Drive Door system with no hard drive for $375, buy it now!

Just use caution when buying anything on ebay labelled "untested", as it often means "broken."

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Re: Price Range... Reasonable?

I was thinking I could get a working system (tower, keyboard and mouse) for $100 to 150.

A big hard drive and controller for $100 (maybe a little more for SATA)

Upgrade to a GIG of RAM $?

eBay has lots of systems (tower only) for really high 'buy it now' prices with no bids.

One guy has complete systems tested (dual 450s - Sawtooth?), with disks and DOA guarantee for $149 to $179 + shipping, might be the best deal.

I wonder if it would be worth it to buy one of these used commercial systems with no hard drive, keyboard or mouse for $9.99 + like $60 or 70 shipping? Sounds like a lot of money for a non-operating system.

They list a non-tested non-warrantied Mirror Drive Door system with no hard drive for $375, buy it now!

I already have some system disks (OS 9.1, 9.22 upgrade and 10.1.5) old, but probably serviceable for now. No monitor but I could probably find one.

Most listings just show the processor speed and maybe the serial number so I will have to go search lowendmac for what is what. I think I like the Digital Audio/Quicksilver systems best- 133MHz system bus and such (which is probably what the 466/533 and other odd numbered systems are, I guess), what do you think a complete gigabit system or DA/Quicksilver system is worth?

The value of a DA and Quicksiver really depends on the processor. However, I don't think I would pay any more than $225 for ANY Digital Audio system. It's just not worth any more than that. The Quciksilver's get a little tricky because they range from a single 733MHz processor to a dual 1.0GHz. A dual 1.0GHz is probably worth about $350 and the the 733MHz probably the $225 a high end DA is worth. Of coarse everything else falls in between. Things like how much RAM it ships with plus the size/ number of hard drives and the optical drive can vary the price. The best thing to do is set a price limit and buy the fastest thing you can get for that price. Bidding will almost always get you a better deal on ebay than a Buy It Now, however some of those BIN deals arn't half bad. One thing I would strongly push is "Faster Processor > More RAM." RAM is great, but the faster processor is really the key. http://www.mac2sell.net/ isn't a bad site to get ballpark values. Play around with it and see what it tells you. I've found the results to be pretty well on target.

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Giving thanks

I used to check the local Craigslist computer section at least once a day, but more often, many times a day. Don't do that anymore because I'm in a state of contentment for the moment, but there'd be Mac deals that popped up every once in awhile. You just have to be patient, vigilant, and fast. In the past six months I've picked up a Digital Audio and two Quicksilvers for very cheap, way below eBay prices. The last one I could have jumped on was a Digital Audio dual 533mhz loaded for $50, but the wife was out with the car so I had to just agonizingly grin and bear it. It was taken by the time she got back. It all depends on where you live, though, of course. Craigslist here is a gift from heaven. On this Thanksgiving Day, I give thanks to Craig, whoever Craig is.

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Well ...

Well I would say the eMac you can get a 700 mhz or 800 mhz for about $100-$200 if you look around enough. There a nice start they hold a Gig of RAM, they have decent graphics, I/O, Hardrives and sometimes a Superdrive plus a 17" screen. They will run 10.4 and 10.5 Hacked. Also there overclockable.

Good Luck.

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Interesting deals on eBay

Too bad these are ending today, I won't have any money till next month.

This 733 comes with everything including a 15" Apple LCD for $41:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=280174160902

This one is a dual 800 without a hard drive for $99!
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=330189181686

I think a lot of these ones selling without hard drives are corporate machines and when they sell the old computers they destroy the hard drives to protect their data.

Looks like keyboard and mouse are $15-25

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With eBay, it ain't over till

With eBay, it ain't over till it's over. The bidding wars don't often happen on good auctions until the last 20 seconds before close. Something can be $10 for 6 days and 23hours and 59minutes, and end up selling for $500.

I've heard a few cases where the ADC monitors have sucked the G4 tower power supplies dead, so I personally wouldn't bother with one.

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Re: With eBay, it ain't over till

With eBay, it ain't over till it's over. The bidding wars don't often happen on good auctions until the last 20 seconds before close. Something can be $10 for 6 days and 23hours and 59minutes, and end up selling for $500.

I've heard a few cases where the ADC monitors have sucked the G4 tower power supplies dead, so I personally wouldn't bother with one.

yea like you said would happen did happen for that 733 QS for $41 in the link in the post above yours, it sold for $280 +$60 to ship.

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Re: With eBay, it ain't over till


yea like you said would happen did happen for that 733 QS for $41 in the link in the post above yours, it sold for $280 +$60 to ship.

I was watching that go up to $160 before I had to leave for a meeting. That just blows my mind, but I guess if you add it all up it was probably worth that....

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Usually you can stumble on a


yea like you said would happen did happen for that 733 QS for $41 in the link in the post above yours, it sold for $280 +$60 to ship.

I was watching that go up to $160 before I had to leave for a meeting. That just blows my mind, but I guess if you add it all up it was probably worth that....

Yea ebay is crazy with bid snipers, you basically have to become one yourself if you want something bad enough on there (sometimes).
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Usually you can stumble on a G4 for cheap (i posted a WTB for a DA ) and i got my 533 for $165 shipped, my friend got his 466 DA for like $100 shipped from ebay.

The MDD is more of a mixed bag of chips really, yes it has a 167mhz system bus and DDR Ram, but since the system bus can only use about 50% of the available bandwidth of the DDR Ram you dont really see a performance gain from the system from using DDR.

The only reason Apple went with DDR is cause of the 167mhz system bus (PC133 ram probably could not cope with being over 133mhz speeds) but anyway you will pay allot more for the MDD G4 system then any other, i think that was the model that allowed you to use a larger then 120gb HDD, i cant remember what model they added bluetooth to the G4's. also the later models of MDD had FW800.

But just keep at it, look around, post WTB at forums for a DA G4 and above, and eventualy you will find one in your price range. it takes allot of waiting around, and you have to keep at it. it took me around a year to find my DA. even tho its only 533mhz, its quite fast to do allot of things. i was use to running tiger on my Beige G3 AIO and my Yikes G4 , and the DA runs around both of them like they are standing still.

Avoid a G4 upgraded G3 and a Yikes G4, even with the 1ghz G4 upgrade on the B&W and Yikes it slows the system bus down to 66mhz from 100mhz due to a bug in the chipset they use, plus the B&W G3 and Yikes G4 are PCI only and that alone is a huge bottle neck when it comes to system performance.

i remember seeing someone sell a PCI (Yikes G4 mobo) as a sawtooth ( the first rev of AGP Mac's) on ebay. when buying one make sure you ask allot of questions about the system to make sure you know what you are buying. there is allot of sites with resources to help you to determine what is what, i think you know what sites i am talking about.

good luck and happy G4 hunting. and don't get discouraged if you cant find one right away. the deals are out there, they are just waiting to be found.

the Yikes G4 up to the DA G4 all have the same case as the B&W (but they are graphite and white in color), since they are the same design as the B&W the plastic pieces from a B&W should interchange between them if you want the blue and white look.

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Re: Price Range... Reasonable?

anything on ebay labelled "untested", as it often means "broken."

I assume it means "tested and known to be borked beyond repair", unless it's so cheap that it's worth a punt. As for the laughable "I didn't have a power cord" ...

I've got to echo the votes for the Digital Audio. Forget the first gen G4 - it was just a B&W G3 with a G4 ZIF CPU. Buck for MHz, the ZIF upgrades are roughly twice as expensive (or half as fast) as the ones for the later AGP G4s, and they top out at 1GHz. That and you're dealing with a slower bus to start with.

DA - 133MHz bus, 66MHz PCI (four slots) and ATA, AGP video and cheap. If you're looking for the cheapest entry point, that's the one I'd recommend. If you plan on a later CPU upgrade, just get a 466MHz - that's the lowest entry point, but everything apart from the CPU is exactly the same as the faster DAs.

They still have the 128GB drive limit, unless you add a PCI ATA card.

I found a used dual 533MHz CPU module for $100 including warranty and shipping to Australia, from a known-good ebay seller. I think I was lucky, but it should give you an idea of the possible.

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It still blows me away...

It still blows me away how expensive old Macs are. I can buy a used PC Motherboard and processor in the 1-2GHz range for $20. But no used PC is worth more than about $250 (unless it has some high end parts) because the new ones have so much power for the price! ( friend up the street just bought a Dell 2.5GHz Core2Duo with 20" monitor for $669 complete).

I can build my wife a 3.0 GHz core2Duo system with a 22" monitor and HDTV tuner for about $800 including the OS! You can get an Intel Quad core 2.66 GHz processor for $269!

Although she is softening to getting a PowerMac to replace this 333MHz PC beast, as long as it is powerful enough that can still be usable for several years. I think a dual 800Mhz is the minimum for that.

Almost makes me want to go the OS X86 project way and violate the EULA for OS X to install it on a fast PC!

Of course a PC is not a Mac and its retained value is part of the Macs value in the first place.

I feel if I had the money to buy a new MacBook Pro 17" cash, I could sell it each time the new one comes out for a loss of only about $200 every six months or so for a TCO (well not TOTAL) of $400 a year!

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Another thing...

I am thinking of buying MDD or PowerBook 17" parts to BUILD a working system but don't know if my diagnosis skills are up to such a project.

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