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
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.
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, bit.ly/24nhRSz) 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.
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
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.