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I have a vintage 800MHz iMac G4. There, I’ve said it, and wow, does that sound strange and unpleasant to me. I love my iMac – remember those commercials where it stuck its ‘tongue’ out at the guy on the sidewalk? – and I was very […]

iMac G4I have a vintage 800MHz iMac G4. There, I’ve said it, and wow, does that sound strange and unpleasant to me. I love my iMac – remember those commercials where it stuck its ‘tongue’ out at the guy on the sidewalk? – and I was very excited to hear, initially, that I could put Leopard on it. For a lot of people, these original-looking iMacs were their first sip of the Apple kool-aid: exciting, different, classy, with a form that looked like nothing else around as well as being ridiculously useful. (Pivoting, tilting monitor – yes please!) The version I have, when it first came out, was the top model for the iMac, and ones like it still command a solid 200 to 400$US on eBay.

So when Apple decided that Leopard would only officially support 867Mhz or higher machines now, I was heartbroken. I’m not alone here, either. The owners of the 800MHz flavors of iBook, PowerMac G4 (Quicksilver and Titanium), and eMac also now are the proud possessors of officially-vintage hardware.  These are not, for the most part, considered to be slow or obsolete machines; granted, they’re not as screamingly fast as the new Macs, but they’re still reliable and steady.

However, I noted that Apple made this decision because the installer ran too slowly, which makes me wonder. Also, earlier dev builds ran on machines like these, if slowly. If I’m willing to let it sit for an hour or so, can I still install Leopard on my iMac? I know I’m not the only one that’ll be wondering, either.

  1. Apple has generally put system-info checkers into their installers. You may be able to hack your way around it, but the odds are good that you will not be able to simply put the disk into the machine, reboot, and wait.

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  2. Get your facts straight. That wasn’t the ORIGINAL iMac; the Bondi Blue gumdrop was the first one. Damn younguns don’t know their history . . .

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    1. Mike Whitehurst Friday, September 25, 2009

      what’s with so much anger in peoples post’s ? specially on youtube !

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  3. I know Apple usually put a system-info checker in their installers, but it doesn’t make any sense to me. As long as they put the system requirements on the box, no one will be able to complain about the performance (or whether or not it works at all) if they fall below the specs. On the other hand, others might be happy to sacrifice a little speed for some of the new features. Why not let the users decide if their computer is up for the task or not?

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  4. Panther barely ran on these systems, so this would make sense. Also, the fancy new effects and eye candy are most likely going to be hard on those systems.

    The 800MHz iMac was wonderful with Jaguar… you may just want to reinstall that OS and leave it that way. Then, just find some old games from the time on eBay, and go crazy. I know I was never able to buy them all, but if they’re cheap, that could work. You don’t have to have the latest version of the OS to enjoy the computer.

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  5. You know what? At home, I run Tiger 10.4.10 on a 400 MHz B&W G3 and a 550MHz G4 Gigabit Ethernet. Both are maxed out with RAM. They work. Not blazingly fast, but they work. But then, I’m not doing production work on them-just word processing, email, web surfing, and such.

    Not to belabor the point, but I also have a 8MHZ SE running System 6.0.8. Blazingly fast boot time, and can word process like a champ.

    All older computer equipment in working order is still useful. It’s all a matter of using the right tool for the job.

    Still, I lust for every new system Apple introduces. Ah, fanboydom.

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  6. Personally I think that running software on antiquated hardware is technically challenging it usually slows the machine past the point of usability. There is nothing wrong with a nice peppy Panther install, or Maybe even Jaguar. Some times it is just time for a computer upgrade.

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  7. Presented with the choice of purchasing a used 15″ flat-screen iMac (G4 800mHz, now with 1GB RAM, 250GB ATA internal HD, 2 external firewire drives) or a 17″ iMac G5, I chose the former, partly due to its unique pivot, swivel and tilt screen. It runs Tiger just fine and in most ways, performs just flawlessly for me. I’d love the chance to try Leopard. Naturally, I’d love to own a new Core-Duo aluminum and glass iMac, but I love owing an good working relic. FYI My graphite iMac G3 700Mhz was running Tiger without much difficulty. Old does not mean dead. Give us Leopard, please?

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  8. Stephanie Guertin Friday, September 28, 2007

    @mws – Sorry, I had meant original not in the sense of first iMac, but unique design. I fixed it to make that more clear.

    @egbailer – I have Tiger, the latest version, on my iMac. I have newer machines that will run Leopard, but I want to keep my beloved iMac. (I just plain love the look of it.)

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  9. Hey! I have a 17″ widescreen iMac 1Ghz G4 with 512 MB RAM .. the last of the lampshade iMac’s.

    And I love her to death. She’s just gorgeous.

    Sure, her plastic dome shell isn’t quite as white as it would have been when she was brand new, but I think she is stunning … and the ability to tilt AND swivel the screen? Bloody marvellous!

    She runs Tiger absolutely fine, and the only time I notice lag is when I run things like dashboard. I’ve kinda discounted running Leopard on her. For that, I’ll use my 1.25Ghz iBook.

    But I never want to lose my iMac, she’s just wonderful.

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  10. Tiger runs great on my G3 466 ibook. 576 MB of Ram though.

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