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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 28th Jul 2017, 11:04 am   #1
Mach One
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Default "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

I hate to use the word "Vintage" with this machine but it is certainly well out-of-date. I have just picked up this bargain machine in order to replace a PowerBook G4 which I have had since new and which is finally on its last legs. I would have loved to have bought a new machine but this would be prohibitively expensive not to mention that all my programmes would need replacing.

Anyway, it's in really good condition but I have since discovered that it is of course USB1! So getting material on and off it in the usual fashion is painfully slow. I was toying with getting a USB2 PCI card and fitting that and wondered if anyone with experience of this machine and this little issue could enlighten me which card to go for?
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Old 28th Jul 2017, 11:46 am   #2
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

Hello,

The USB 2.0 card that came with my PowerMac G4 (Dual 1.25) does not have manufacturers marks on it.

The chipset is an OPTi FineLink 82C861. I believe that it worked straight away and did not require any drivers. The OS I was running was Mac OS 10.4.11.

I've had a look online and some listings for USB PCI cards do suggest that they work with older versions of Mac OS. These may be worth a try.

Here is a photograph of the card:
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Old 28th Jul 2017, 11:57 am   #3
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

You can buy them for a pound or two, so you might as well buy one and try it. It will probably work. Just buy a cheap generic one from eBay or wherever.

However, you should remember that USB uses the main processor for most of the computation involved, so you may not get as much throughput as you might expect using an old machine (it will still be much better than USB 1.1 though).
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Old 29th Jul 2017, 10:08 am   #4
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

Thank you both for your replies.

I found the exact same card (visually) which is called a "Genuine Macally" card on e-Bay. I have ordered it and will report back.

Yes, I have found out that this wonderful life-saving machine is about half as fast as my 2006 PowerBook G4 is but slow is preferable to overbudget! It'll do until I somehow get the funds for a much more up-to-date one!
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Old 29th Jul 2017, 7:49 pm   #5
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

I believe that some versions of Linux will run on this machine, may be worth consideration maybe as dual boot. I think loading may be a bit of a faff as seem to remember the CD can't be read initially, but people have done it - see
https://askubuntu.com/questions/8242...ubuntu-be-used
This may help with the speed issue.
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Old 30th Jul 2017, 5:38 pm   #6
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

Thank you. Yes, I have played with Linux on an old Windows laptop and the machine was like new! However, at the moment I do not have the time to get used to a whole new operating system etc. As I said in an earlier post, I mind slow a lot less than expensive so for now it will do.
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Old 30th Jul 2017, 9:38 pm   #7
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

I have always said these older machines are still perfectly usable for most people, there is no point in spending hundreds on a new machine when an older one will do the exact same jobs. There of course comes a point when you need to upgrade but I always went for something a bit behind until recently when I forked out for a new laptop. I must say it has improved my speeds but for simply browsing I could still be perfectly happy with my old one. Linux does help a lot too! Its good to see these older machines still in use rather than simply being dumped.
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Old 31st Jul 2017, 2:36 pm   #8
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

Apparently, OSX and Linux share a common heritage, making the switch easy: http://www.macworld.co.uk/how-to/mac...n-mac-3637265/
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Old 31st Jul 2017, 3:39 pm   #9
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

OSX and Linux are related but at the same time completely unrelated. OSX is entirely based on NextSTEP and FreeBSD with some unix gubbins underneath because it saved them writing a lot of the heavy lifting. I remember when Rhapsody first came out. It was NextSTEP that looked like MacOS 9.

The only thing with the G4 is while it might be reasonably usable still, with Linux (forget OSX on it), the amount of power they consume is slightly insane compared to more modern systems. You'd probably be better off over two years buying a ~2010 Intel Mac than paying the electricity bill for the G4! Also if you value your time, then sitting around waiting for the spinning rust in an old G4 versus using literally anything made in the last 7-10 years with an SSD in it is a compromise I wouldn't value any more.

Fundamentally machines of that era are slow and take a lot of power both of which cost time and money. If you want it as a hobby or a museum piece then that makes sense but for every day use it's a bad investment.
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Old 31st Jul 2017, 3:57 pm   #10
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

OSX and Linux are both ultimately derived from Unix but they are only distantly related. It is however possible to select an appropriate Linux window manager and configure it to look very like an OSX desktop, and the shell scripts are basically the same.

Machines of this era are indeed power hungry, and also very noisy because of their big fans. They are fine for occasional or intermittent use in a home office but are too noisy for a lounge and will be expensive to run if used 24/7.
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Old 31st Jul 2017, 9:25 pm   #11
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

I don't want to divert the thread - it might make an interesting new one - but I was rather alarmed by Mr Bungle's advice re energy use. I have always used old machines - this one is an Acer Aspire T650 - 2.93 GHz - I was given maybe 10 years ago, and runs Lububtu. This, below, is my present understanding:
'As long as your computer goes into sleep/standby when you're not using it, your computer doesn't use squat for electricity, compared to the rest of your household. You'll save a lot more energy by addressing your heating, cooling, and lighting use rather than obsessing over your computer. For most people, their computers' energy use is not a significant portion of their total use, even if they use their computers a lot. '
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Old 31st Jul 2017, 9:50 pm   #12
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

Some figures to back my assertion up...

If that's a Core 2 Duo 1.93GHz that's 65W TDP which isn't terrible really for a desktop. Probably 150W flat out for everything. Desktop machines are REALLY expensive to run though.

However your 800MHz G4 has an idle power consumption of around 120W and peak consumption of 300W!!! PowerPC processors were very inefficient.

Assuming 200W power which is average normal use on these (I had one back in the day), 8 hours a day which is average load then that's 7.49 a month gone. That's 177.36 over two years to run your G4.

Compare to my ThinkPad T440 which is a very power efficient machine, the average consumption is merely 15W! Over two years that's 17.76 in electricity!

Assuming your G4 was free, TCO over 24 months for the G4 is 7.39/month.

Assuming your T440 cost 249, TCO over 24 months for the T440 is 11.12/month.

For that extra 3.72/month you get an SSD, 4Gb of RAM, current software compatibility. That's less than a fiver a month.

Running old kit energy inefficient kit doesn't make sense really for every day use.
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Old 1st Aug 2017, 7:19 am   #13
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

It's interesting the way this thread has gone! My G4 PowerMac is only currently used for a few hours a week. And eventually I will upgrade - honest! So for now, I'm happy! Thank you for this interesting thread and the help. I should get my USB 2.0 card soon...
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Old 1st Aug 2017, 7:43 am   #14
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

It is certainly an interesting discussion. Surely a lot depends on scale and on how money is managed. It may be impossible to find a lump sum for purchase and it may be easier to find the extra few for an individual electricity bill.
My own useage is perhaps 4hrs a day peak, and a lot of that time the thing is asleep.
It should also be considered energy wise that keeping an older machine running saves the embodied energy involved in the production of a new - this is rarely factored in - look at all the discarded low energy fluorescent bulbs, I wonder in how many cases the energy of manufacture has been recouped or considered wrt a filament bulb?
The calculations look to make more sense for an organisation with numerous machines with a budget for updating, although I still believe many good machines are retired well before it's necessary - computer recycling businesses depend on it.
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Old 1st Aug 2017, 8:37 am   #15
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

If it's any consolation I'd probably run the G4 800 and go wooh a lot because I always wanted one when they came out but this was a period with no funds available for me.

As for computer recycling, their objective is simply to get someone to pay them to take the hardware away and then get someone to pay to take the hardware off them. The only loss is when you have to send it off to be properly recycled under WEEE regs.

Lump sum purchase is a good point however. It's not easy to come across 250 for a lot of people.

Anyway certainly very off topic! I hope the PCI USB card works out
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Old 1st Aug 2017, 10:55 am   #16
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

Just be glad it's not a top of the range G5, now that's power hungry.

Saying that I do have a G4 400 Gigabit Ethernet and a MDD 1.2ghz dual, no real need for them just got them cheap and thought they would be fun to play with.

Does seem funny that my laptop is much more powerful yet the TOTAL power consumption at absolute maximum load, even with the battery charging and all USB ports in use is 45W!
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Old 1st Aug 2017, 3:41 pm   #17
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

We've drifted off topic (now there's a surprise!), but given that this is a vintage xx forum and members here are keeping just about every conceivable type of geriatric kit going, against the odds and largely for the pleasure of so doing, who are we to question the OP.
By and large it's all potentially inefficient compared to modern kit, but if that's what we wanted we'd all be using mobile phones in our LED lit houses.
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Old 1st Aug 2017, 4:03 pm   #18
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

Fair points indeed!
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Old 2nd Aug 2017, 6:35 am   #19
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBungle View Post
If it's any consolation I'd probably run the G4 800 and go wooh a lot because I always wanted one when they came out but this was a period with no funds available for me.
That's exactly what was going through my mind when I saw it advertised. I'll say my last bit on this subject when the card arrives.
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Old 2nd Aug 2017, 7:21 am   #20
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Default Re: "Vintage" PowerMac G4/800 (2002)

These are interesting and stylish machines, and were financially out of reach for most of us in their era. There's enough reason in there to want one in a collection, but if it's for use, then you get period performance along with period looks.

What has changed over the period is what people expect their computers to do. Internet browsing of web pages like this forum is completely satisfactory on older machines, but most webpages are so burdened down with advertising files pulled from all over the net that the demands on comms links has shot up. You need a very fast internet connection just to stay still. Up until 2012, I ran a 2004 G5 iMac at home. The spinning iron ore was fast enough and large enough. I shoved some more RAM in, and I was pleased when my internet connection went up from 250kb/s to 500. I was handling fairly large files from a professional Nikon DSLR and doing photo editing. The G5 was still fast enough. The waits while it did things were thinking time for deciding what to do next. It was the noisy fan that got it replaced.

A colleague (IT dept at HP) was tired of wrangling PC all day and had a dual G5 powermac at home. He ran it 24/7 until he spotted that his family's electricity bill had gone up by 75%. Andy makes a valid point about power. These things are hungry.

However, there is another factor. That used electricity is dumped into the home as heat, and over most of the year for most people will decrease the amount of heating used, so if Gav had looked, he'd have seen a drop in his gas bill which would have reduced the scare factor of the electricity bill.

I've still got the G5 iMac, but I'm not interested in collecting computers, so I suppose I ought to stick it on the offered page....

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