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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 03:53 PM   #1
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Question I found a power mac G4!

This is pretty wild. Somebody at my office was throwing out an old power mac g4. Thankfully I stopped them and I was able to take it. Needless to say I'm thrilled. BUT - It has a problem (which is possibly why they were going to throw it out, I don't know).

When you hit the power switch, it just goes 'Beeeeeep' and you can hear the fans humming. To me that sounds like an error message. So I opened it up and sure enough, all of the RAM banks are totally empty!

So now I need to know what kind of RAM to put in there... and I have no idea which G4 this is. I think it's going to take SD RAM as the slots have 3 breaks (instead of 2 like DDR uses), but I don't know at what speed. It has a DVD-ROM drive, an IBM deskstar 20gig PATA hard drive, and an AGP slot of some kind. And on the hard drive is says 'Apple HDD Firmware 1999', which implies it's a first generation system as I think they first came out around then.

So what do you think this is, and what is causing that error? I'm used to PC's where a no ram error is a sequence of beeps, this is just one long beep.

And also, can I just buy any standard parallel interface hard drive and throw it in here? Or as the sticker says, does it have to be apple specific? I've never dealth with hard drive firmware before....Argh!

Anyway if I don't get many responses or if more info is needed I will try and take some pictures of it tomorrow and maybe that will help.

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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 03:59 PM   #2
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You're looking for PC133 SDRAM. Any IDE/ATA drive will work, but nothing larger than 120GB.

The long beep signifies no RAM.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 04:45 PM   #3
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If it is an AGP slot G4 machine, then it will take PC100 or PC133 RAM up to 512 Mb. The 512 Mb module MUST be a 16-chip module. Although there is physical room for 2 Gb (4 x 512) but only the first 1.5 Gb will be recognized.

If it is the PCI-slot graphics first gen G4 machine ("Yikes" motherboard), then it will only take 256 Mb module, and that 256 Mb module needs to be a 16-chip module.

Also, you would be well to replace the PRAM battery for $10 or so. 1/2AA 3.6V Lithium.

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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 04:57 PM   #4
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What is a PRAM battery and where could I get one?

I just wonder about the RAM, does it max out at PC100 or PC133? I know SDRAM can clock itself down to match the bus of the motherboard, so what would be best here?
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 04:59 PM   #5
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if it has 3 ram slots, couldn't it be a 133 bus?

non issue I suppose since most sd ram is going to be 133, but 100 isn't going to work in a digital audio.

using: 2013 retina 15" MBP 16gigs of ram/1tb ssd, iMac 2017 27 32gigs ram audio: 2xUA apollo 8p-1 UA apollo twin 1 UA 8core satellite 1 ADA 8200. UA adat.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 05:01 PM   #6
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By my count it had 4 RAM slots, I think this machine is from the first generation AGP series.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 05:05 PM   #7
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ah sorry I misread thought you said it had 3 slots (3 'breaks').

carry on.

using: 2013 retina 15" MBP 16gigs of ram/1tb ssd, iMac 2017 27 32gigs ram audio: 2xUA apollo 8p-1 UA apollo twin 1 UA 8core satellite 1 ADA 8200. UA adat.
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 05:20 PM   #8
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A PRAM battery you can pick up at -- well, used to be Radio Shack. Now Circuit City or something. Hm. Do they still sell batteries?

Here's Apple's support page on battery part numbers

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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 05:28 PM   #9
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You might be able to match it up by looking at pictures in:

select the Family tab on the right and then select the PowerMac G3/G4/G5 and go through the various PM G4 models.


You might be able to narrow it down to a model or two by color and noticeable features.

But by the sounds of your description, the above have given you good info on the type of RAM. (Since it's an older G4, by the sounds of it, it's PC100 or PC133 RAM).
-- Mac Pro Dual 3.0 Dual Core, 4GB RAM, 150GB Raptor HD, 500GB HD, Superdrive, Radeon X1900XT, Bluetooth, Airport Exteme, Logitech Z-5500 5.1 Speakers, 30" ACD
-- PowerMac G5 Dual 2.5, 2.5GB RAM, 160GB HD, Superdrive, Radeon X800XT, Bluetooth, Airport Extreme
-- Macbook Pro 2.53 15", 4GB, 320GB HD, SuperDrive, Bluetooth, Airport Extreme
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Old Feb 20th, 2007, 05:56 PM   #10
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This was definetely it. Thanks for the link! It says PC100 RAM, so it won't really matter if I get 133 or 100 as they are both the same price basically.

CPU: PowerPC 7400
CPU Speed: 350/400/450/500 MHz
FPU: integrated
Bus Speed: 100 MHz
Data Path: 64 bit
ROM: 1 MB ROM + 3 MB toolbox ROM loaded into RAM
RAM Type: PC100
Minimum RAM Speed: 100 MHz
Onboard RAM: 0 MB
RAM slots: 4
Maximum RAM: 2 GB (1.5 in OS 9)
Level 1 Cache: 32 kB data, 32 kB instruction
Level 2 Cache: 1 MB backside, 1:2
Expansion Slots: 3 64-bit 33 MHz PCI, 1 2x AGP (filled)

Video Card/Chipset: ATI RAGE 128 Pro
Max Resolution: all resolutions supported
Video Out: VGA, DVI

Hard Drive: 20 GB (up to 3 36 GB available BTO)
ATA Bus: ATA-66
Zip Drive: optional
Optical Drive: DVD-ROM/RAM

USB: 2
Firewire: 3 (1 internal)
Audio Out: stereo 16 bit mini
Audio In: stereo 16 bit mini
Speaker: mono

Modem: 56 kbps
Ethernet: 10/100Base-T
Airport: optional

Codename: Sawtooth
Gestalt ID: 406
Power: 200 Watts
Dimensions: 17" H x 8.9" W x 18.4" D
Weight: 28.7 lbs. - (This thing is really heavy!)
Minimum OS: 8.6
Maximum OS: 10.4.7
Introduced: September 1999
Terminated: July 2000

I wonder if it has the airport card or not... It has this little riser card that says 'Hongkong Telecom' on it, no idea what that's for. And also those PCI slots are really long, I almost thought they were ISA slots! But the hard drive explanation is a little wierd, what does it mean by 3 36gb BTO? Is BTO Built To Order? So does that mean it tops out at 36gb hard drive? The ATA-66 interface is incredibly old so I don't really know, would it support a more modern ATA speed?

Last edited by optical; Feb 20th, 2007 at 06:44 PM.
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