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iMac G4 options

 
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MacUser_Since_1986
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PostPosted: Thu May 10, 2012 11:39 pm    Post subject: iMac G4 options Reply with quote

I have an aging 1.25 GHz iMac G4 with a 17-inch LCD display. This is the "igloo" model with the LCD on an articulating arm. I keep this dinosaur around because I can still run MacOS 9.2 software from the 1990s in "classic" mode. Some of this software is still useful to me. I bought it in the fall of 2003 after taking a course at Digital Media Academy (Stanford University) and having access to their campus bookstore.

The iMac serves as an occasional file server. I also do video editing and DVD authoring with an old version of Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro on the iMac, in addition to the first version of Adobe Creative Suite, that I've occasionally used for graphics and DTP projects. The iMac runs both MacOS 10.4.11 and 9.2. (I know this sounds insane, but the video and graphics/DTP work I've done has all been donated/not-for-profit community project so I treated my use of the software as not conflicting with the academic license.)

I replaced Apple's internal 80 GB hard drive about 6 or 7 years ago with a new 300 GB HDD. The LCD video display stopped working a few years ago, so I hooked up a cheap Acer LCD monitor. The iMac's screen is dead, but the Acer provides the same proportional display without a glitch.

I'm weighing my options. I know it's obvious that I should look to replace my old software with newer software but that's easier said than done. I have some valuable old fax image files from Global Village Fax Center that I transferred over from an old G3 tower to the iMac around 2004. Those could be made into PDFs, but I don't know how to batch convert them in "classic mode". I also still use Synex MacEnvelope Professional to print hardcopy mailing lists on label sheets in "classic mode", and I do not think there is any modern alternative. (Anyone know of one?) I also have some old newsletters made in PageMaker on the old G3 that reside on the iMac's hard drive. I know of no way to easily convert those newsletter files to PDF.

For years, I've wanted to upgrade the hardware, but I dodged that because of the software. Our family business office has seen lean times over the past several years, so we put off any kind of upgrades. Now we have a logjam.

As I see it, I could risk keeping the iMac around a while longer by having the internal hard drive replaced with a newer one, maybe a 500 GB model. I have no idea what it would take to fix the iMac's video display.

With the exception of the iMac's own LCD, the only other quirk on the iMac has been a minor software glitch in which the iMac will not recognize an HP LaserJet 4100N printer over an Airport network. Other than that, it runs slow but fine.

The biggest software stumbling block to me would be MacEnvelope. I've been managing hardcopy mailing lists and printing out tailored label sheets with some version of Synex software for about 20 years, and I never heard on any software on OS X that could replace it. I use it for business and for volunteer organizations that count on me to produce mailings and lists reliably.

If I bought a new iMac, I would be forced to gradually migrate work and data over to the new machine, as I would not be able to afford buying all-new software for everything all at once. I already do video work on the MacBook Pro running Final Cut Studio 3 and Toast Titanium 9 (both consumer licenses), but laptops are limited. I can pretty much rule out replacing the iMac with a Mac Mini, as I don't think a Mini would be able to run Final Cut at all, let alone better than the MacBook Pro.

So, I either fix up the iMac and install a new HDD, and keep using it until I can build up enough $$$ for a new one, OR I have to start finding newer software NOW and phase out the old machine's useage while phasing in a new one. It sounds like a loose/loose scenario.

Does anyone know how much a replacement HDD would cost, without installation?
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 2:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's a long way to ask about replacement hard drives! Laughing

I checked at Newegg, and a 320 GB 3.5 inch PATA drive is just over $100. Being that PATA is pretty much gone these days, finding a drive won't be easy.

Frys lists a refurb 320 for $50, but they also have a 500 GB for $80, but it's not available online, so you would have to do a store search, and I don't think Frys stores ship.

Since you already have a display, keyboard, and mouse, why not consider a G4 mini? G4 minis at eBay.

SC
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[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

[Media System] Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD - 4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

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MacUser_Since_1986
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback.

IIRC, the Mac Mini will not run software like Adobe Creative Suite 6 (my eventual goal is to buy a consumer copy of the Master Collection), and especially not Final Cut Studio.

I have thought about Mac Minis, though.

The big looming issue will be how long I continue with this MacBook Pro. It's a 2007-vintage, 2.33 GHz Core2Duo model. It runs Final Cut okay, but I don't think I would want to do alot of it on there, plus all the other graphic/DTP stuff I would want to do.
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Smithcraft
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PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your G4 iMac doesn't run that software either.

SC
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Grumpy old man of computing.

[Desktop] Intel mini - 2.16Ghz 2GB 60GB HDD - Newer miniStack v2 500GB - 10.5.8

[Media System] Intel i5 mini - 2.33Ghz 8GB 500GB HDD - 4 x Hitachi 2TB HDD in a qBOX-SF - 10.7.5 (Thanks Phil!)

Make sure it has pins!
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macmanmacman
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 3:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

See there are so many options for this model here is the max you can do safely for this model.

G4 Imac (codenamed Lampie)

1 gig of ram on board

512 meg via laptop memory port on bottom of lampie

Total ram 1.5 gig's of ram

Max hard drive 500 gig's becomes unstable after that.

you can install leopard but you need a program which is really hard to find called leopard assist it is designed to install leopard on unsupported macintoshes but helps install on machines that meet the system specs however cannot run due to the installation dvd not allowing it.

I would recommend just upgrade or buy refurbished macintosh with snow leopard
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richardtj
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:41 pm    Post subject: Re iMac G4 Reply with quote

Scary thing about this is that by the time you've done all the work on it, you could have sold it and bought a G5 with change to spare. After all, you've got the external peripherals...
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gooser
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 15, 2014 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

it is NOT obvious that you should replace your older software with newer.
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