give an old mac a new pur­pose

Less power than an iPad mini in 270 times the space, and yet still good enough to use

Mac Format - - LOVE YOUR MAC -

Add a touch of clas­sic Ap­ple de­sign to an­other part of your life

1 1.25GHz pro­ces­sor

The Pow­erPC G4 was the first Mac pro­ces­sor to pass the 1GHz mark.

2 1.25GB me­mory

The stock 512MB can be up­graded to 2GB, but this is still only just ad­e­quate for run­ning OS X Leop­ard.

3 120GB hard disk

Slower than mod­ern stor­age, but the ATA/100 in­ter­face still lets the Power Mac start ac­cept­ably fast.

4 Combo Drive

A DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive was stan­dard on the 1.25GHz Power Mac G4, and an op­tion on the other mod­els.

5 Ex­pan­sion ports

The two USB ports use the slower USB 1.1 stan­dard. High-speed con­nec­tions must use FireWire 400.

6 Net­work­ing

Though the Wi-Fi an­tenna was fit­ted as stan­dard, the adap­tor card was an op­tion. This model has to make do with wired Eth­er­net.

The Power Mac’s neat side panel and spa­cious in­te­rior made me think to use it as a cabi­net

AMac that runs OS X Leop­ard seems like it should still be pretty use­ful.

Af­ter all, Snow Leop­ard was ba­si­cally just a faster ver­sion of Leop­ard, and I still have a cou­ple of sys­tems run­ning that. So this Power Mac ought to be able to run any­thing they can run, just slightly slower. Un­for­tu­nately, this logic falls flat for two rea­sons. First, this model uses a Pow­erPC G4 pro­ces­sor and most Mac apps long ago aban­doned sup­port for any­thing that doesn’t have In­tel in­side. I can still use the TenFourFox web browser (free, on it, but a lot of other apps are off the ta­ble. Sec­ond, ‘slightly slower’ is of­ten com­pletely un­ac­cept­able – this Mac can’t play YouTube videos in HD with­out stut­ter­ing, for ex­am­ple.

Even so, an iMac or a MacBook run­ning Leop­ard could still be put to ser­vice. A semidis­pos­able lap­top for writ­ing on while I’m away camp­ing, say. Or a screen in the kitchen on which to watch YouTube while I’m do­ing the wash­ing up. But a Power Mac G4 is huge and noisy, needs a mon­i­tor and two power sock­ets, and has lots of trail­ing cables that get in the way, col­lect dust, and look un­tidy. Con­trast that with an iPad that’s fit­ted in a LifeProof Nuud case, which out­com­petes the G4 in all of those sce­nar­ios. I al­ready have one of those.

A new pur­pose in life

In fact, just about the only thing about this Power Mac that I still like is the case. It’s tough and el­e­gant, and has a re­ally neat side panel that hinges down­ward to re­veal the spa­cious in­te­rior. That gave me an idea: why not use the Power Mac as a cabi­net? Ex­cit­edly, I lugged the Mac from room to room, plac­ing it on var­i­ous shelves and hold­ing it up against walls as I imag­ined it on clev­erly con­cealed mount­ing brack­ets. Could I use it to hold CDs, or per­haps PlayS­ta­tion games? What about as a kitchen spice rack, or a sock tidy in the bed­room? Even­tu­ally I de­cided it should be a bath­room cabi­net for the down­stairs toi­let. It fits neatly on the win­dowsill, the mir­rored drive doors pro­vide a handy shav­ing mir­ror, and the case latch is high enough and firm enough that vis­it­ing young neph­ews and nieces won’t be able to get it open, which makes this the per­fect place for my down­stairs sup­plies of parac­eta­mol and watch bat­ter­ies.

Stripped bare

I re­moved the moth­er­board, drives, fans, and all the cables be­twixt them, which took about half an hour be­cause damn, that power sup­ply ca­ble is wedged in tight. I even­tu­ally gave up try­ing to wig­gle it free and

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You can also use Power Mac G4 cases as screw ti­dies in your work­shop.

The open door cre­ates a handy tray for make-up or shav­ing ac­ces­sories.

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