5 Replies Latest reply: May 30, 2009 3:06 AM by Enio Rigolin2
Enio Rigolin2 Level 1 (105 points)
This may have been covered before, but since my searches haven't come up with anything...

I LOVE my iMac display, but alas, the G4 guts just aren't powerful enough for the web anymore. (Ever try watching hulu or even iTunes video on this thing?)

So my question is...

...is there ANY POSSIBLE WAY I can hook it up to a mac mini with the mini running the OS and the iMac as it's display?

I'd just hate to lose this machine and it's awesome display design.

Thanks in advance!

iMac, Mac OS X (10.4.11), 1.5 GBs of ram
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (32,852 points)
    There is no conventional way.

    However, you can use VNC (the open source screen sharing protocol) and this clever program (below) to make the iMac G4 pretend to be an external second display. The Mac mini needs to have a display connected the usual way as the primary display. The program is ScreenRecycler.


    You run ScreenRecycler on the Mac mini. It sets up a second virtual screen that acts like a real external display and shares that screen over the network. It's like a Mac doing screen sharing (for remote control from another computer), except the screen being shared is this second virtual screen, not the primary screen.

    Then, you run a VNC client program (such as the developer's own freeware JollysfastVNC) on the iMac G4 to display that shared screen in a window. When you go +full screen+ with that window, the iMac display appears to be the Mac mini's second display.

    The signal is going over the network, so you are not going to get blazing speed. But since the iMac has decent 100Base-T wired networking (and the Mac mini has gigabit Ethernet), as long as you use a good Cat-5 rated Ethernet cable or better, it should be reasonably fast. The program is not free, but you can try it in limited-time demo mode for free, to see if it is suitable.

    I use it to give my Intel iMac a third display (the first two connected the usual way). The ScreenRecycler screen is an old PC laptop running Linux (Ubuntu).
  • Enio Rigolin2 Level 1 (105 points)
    Thank you, Kenich, for one of the most helpful responses I've ever gotten on apple forums. And I've gotten a lot of helpful responses.

    It's a shame I'll still need a primary display for the mini. But budget or no budget, you get what you pay for. I'll give it a try.

    Thanks again!
  • Enio Rigolin2 Level 1 (105 points)
    What's the fastest cable I can use with the G4 iMac? Since this solution could save me a few hundred dollars (buying a mini instead of an iMac) I figure I can splurge on the ethernet cable. But is there a cap on what the G4 iMac's networking can handle?

    For example, would paying extra for a Category 5e cable instead of just a Category 5 cable make a difference? Or would it all be the same to the G4's 100Base-T?

    If not, is there an even faster cable I can buy? What's the top of the line?

    Thanks again!

    Message was edited by: Enio Rigolin2
  • Kenichi Watanabe Level 7 (32,852 points)
    According to this article


    Cat-5 can handle 100Base-T speed. Although the Mac mini can go faster, the iMac G4 is limited to 100Base-T. Therefore, it would not be beneficial to get a Cat-5e cable for this purpose. But if you are buying a new cable, you might as well get a Cat-5e cable so that you can use it with the Mac mini in the future and get the full gigabit (1000Base-T) connection when the other end of the cable can handle it. If you happen to have a Cat-5 cable in your storage closet, you can use it; just don't use some ancient 10Base-T era cable.

    You can also use the wireless (AirPort) connection for the ScreenRecycler connection. However, the iMac G4's AirPort will be slower than 100Base-T wired, even if it's 802.11g; if it's the older 802.11b AirPort, it will be REALLY slow. So using the wired connection will be better.
  • Enio Rigolin2 Level 1 (105 points)
    Thank you, Sir!!