8 Replies Latest reply: May 22, 2013 3:03 PM by WWJD
Ross8ch Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Hey guys, i was able to get a great deal on 4 used Apple G5 Mac Pros and 3 G4's


All of which did not come with a OS installed on them, I got new Hard Drives and there ready to go


I am wondering what you recomend is the best way or my options to make these computers useable,



With my quick reading i found Power PC Leopard 10.5 is the best i can do with these non Intel Desktops


but it my only option to buy an old Leopard OS for $90 and install it on each one?

Macbook Pro, Mac OS X (10.6.6)
  • 1. Re: Need OS for old G4 and G5 Power PC
    MichelPM Level 6 Level 6 (8,075 points)

    If the G4’s have CPUs that are faster than 867 MHz speed, and have enough RAM installed,  you can install OS X 10.5 Leopard across all of these Macs. OS X10.5.8 is the highest OS X version you can go with PowerPC Macs.

    If these Macs have been off mains power for a long time, they may all need new, half height AA PRAM batteries.

    These batteries, usually, die within 5-7 years if they have never been replaced.

    These PRAM batteries can be purchased here.




    Good Luck!

  • 2. Re: Need OS for old G4 and G5 Power PC
    MlchaelLAX Level 4 Level 4 (1,745 points)

    Apple should sell you "replacement" discs for the ones that came with each computer for about $17 each.  You should disclose the number of computers and see what the Apple Rep recommends with regard to how many of these you need to purchase.  Although the EULA cannot be modified orally by a Rep, I suggest you follow his recommendation, get his first name or number and make a memo about this for your files.


    They will ask you the model and serial numbers for each mac.


    You should suggest you want Leopard instead of Tiger, if they offer you Tiger, and see if the Apple Rep plays ball.  Some have reported that they will.


  • 3. Re: Need OS for old G4 and G5 Power PC
    Deborah Terreson Level 3 Level 3 (940 points)

    Those G4's should probably have Tiger installed, it will run WAY faster and be perfectly useable. I have a G4 in my living room with Tiger, and it's on the internet using SeaMonkey (PPC version) and a Youtube browser called  YouView  - and at 700mhz, I can stream videos to my 32-inch TV display.


    The G5's - Leopard.


    There is a rather unexpectedly large number of people still writing PPC code - so that you can get updates for Flash, a working Youtube browser.. QuickTime is still updating though iTunes 9.2 is the last version for Tiger, and IIRC, iOS5 is the last supported version for it. Of course there will be limitations on what the machines can do, but if you're willing to live with the speed issues and the older code, you can still make a good go of being online, watching video and listening to music. If you're interested, and get the OSes all squared away, let me know and I'll put together a 10.4/10.5 software survival post with the links to the various apps to get those machines running and internet accessible.





  • 4. Re: Need OS for old G4 and G5 Power PC
    MichelPM Level 6 Level 6 (8,075 points)

    Hi Deborah!

    How have you been?

    NIce to know you are still active here from time to time.

    A 700 MHz CPU, huh.

    That's a pretty Impressive feat and Mac to be able to still stream video!!

    I should've been checking things here and asking more questions, here in this forum, on how to keep my 1.25 Ghz G4 MDD going longer on OS X 10.5 Leopard!

    I, finally, threw in the towel of my G4 last April ( I still have my G4 and not planning on selling it any time ) and finally joined the Intel Mac crowd with a used 2009, 27 inch screen, 3.06 Ghz CPU iMac with 16 GBs of RAM.

    I just couldn't take the slower response of doing video editing work on the G4 with the newer updates to my older version of Final Cut,  no more Flash updates for PPC. limited video streaming capabilites ( I could barely stream Hulu) and, generally, slower Internet performance across the board of my ole’ G4.

    I had the financial means, last year, to update my Mac system, so I did.

    Can't complain. This "new" iMac runs circles around my G4, but if I known there were still some workarounds and tricks to eek out a little more performance out of it. maybe I would've reconsidered making this major upgrade purchase. The last upgrade I did for the ole' G4 before I retired it was to install a faster 256 MB VRAM Video card.

    A Flashed ATI X800XT and I was worried about the increased heat from this card and I also installed an additonal PCI slot fan to continue to keep the inside cabin of the G4 cooled. The video card was cheap off of eBay, so I decided to try it.

    It did a somewhat better job with Internet video and was an improvement with video work in Final Cut, but still had issues with online video content. Even when it was 720p!  So, I concluded it must be more of issues with newer online video codecs than with the video processing power in my G4.

    So, I gave up.

    Glad you were able to find solutions that work for you, though.

    Be Well!


  • 5. Re: Need OS for old G4 and G5 Power PC
    Deborah Terreson Level 3 Level 3 (940 points)

    Hey Michel!


    Am doing fine. Doing a bunch of film scanning and retouching for a rock photographer and helping him get his collection published and back into circulation. Guy's name is Joe Stevens. Was big in the UK in the 70's and New York through the punk movement in the 80's. Came to our town in late 80's to visit, liked it and decided to "..retire, drink and get frisky with the girlfriend.." as he put it. He drives me crazy sometimes but I love him to bits, just a wonderful person to know and of course his pictures are spectacular. I've got that G4 in the living room with a bunch of salvage PCI cards, and of course a real film scanner that runs under OS9, so I have to stick to a machine that boots that natively. A few years ago I decided that since it was in the living room, it needed a stand so built a table out of a wooden box and put the original G3 w/ a Sonnet in it, into that. Ran for a while until it died - so I parted that out and dumpster-dove a digital Audio and swapped up the processor to the 733. It had a GeForce 4 Ti card which wasn't acting nice - loud fan that intermittently stopped working, so video was more off than on.


    Not too long ago the thing got to where it was crashing the system, so I hit ebay and picked up a Radeon 9600 Pro for Mac and  PC - which was supported for MDD's and G5's, OSX and above only. The firmware apparently was compatible (!!) with the logic board and after I installed the card it booted straight into 4-bit mode! I forgot the drivers (whoops) and used the last ATI universal installer I could find. Works like a dream and now Core Image and Quartz Extreme are enabled. That made ALL the difference in the video. the app to run the youtube vids is called YouView and it automatically scales for the speed of the CPU. Can handle standard def *just fine*. Nifty bit is, by throwing out the old ATI Rom Extender, in the OS9 extensions, it runs in OS9 as well on the display-native resolution, so I CAN do the scanning on that side, and reboot into Tiger and send the scans across the network to the MacPro to retouch with Photoshop!


    Recently got my hands on my little brother's old MDD G4 dual 1.0ghz machine. Has a blown piower supply but am goint to crack it open and see what is fried and fix it. Still working out just how I'm going to fit that beast into the table-top.. will need more fans. Obviously a fall project, for sure.


    Yeah, still out here, having fun.





  • 6. Re: Need OS for old G4 and G5 Power PC
    WWJD Level 6 Level 6 (15,815 points)

    I have a Dual Processor 1GHz G4 and 10.5 was too slow on the machine.  10.4 runs well though for a 2001 machine.



  • 7. Re: Need OS for old G4 and G5 Power PC
    Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7 (30,435 points)

    Good to hear your keystrokes again, WWJD!

  • 8. Re: Need OS for old G4 and G5 Power PC
    WWJD Level 6 Level 6 (15,815 points)

    Hi Allan!  I'm looking to update my Mac with a new Mac Pro but am waiting for a new update to the line.  My G4 got new life moving back to 10.4.  Too many beach balls with 10.5.