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Old December 8th, 2006, 12:26 PM   #1
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Advice organizing my Mac

I have an interesting dilemma. Iím trying to better organize my Dual 1.25 G4 PPC PowerMac. I currently have 3 internal hard drives and one external (80 gig) hard drive. The external is old (2000) and I would prefer to keep non-important files on it. I have 10.3.9 and 2 gig of RAM.

Here are my concerns:
-1 Separating the OS from Applications, Media, and Documents

-2 Creating two or more start-up disks/partitions. I would like one for personal/gaming and one for my video production business and applications

-3 I would like 10.3.9 on one partition and 10.4 and beyond on the other.

-4 I would like to up-grade my system, as cheaply as possible, to run Final Cut Studio. I believe all I will need is a new video card for Motion and DVD Studio Pro. Any suggestions as to upgrading my machine?

Iím going to purchase a couple of 250 gig hard drives. One for all operating systems, applications, and Documents-the other will be for my video files and scratch disc.

I would like devote the third drive carriage to back-up disc or maybe music. I believe it has a slower bus speed and would not be able to handle much else.

I have some downtime during Christmas that would be ideal for updating and re-installing my machine without conflicting with clients and deadlines.

Thanks for the help!
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Old December 8th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #2
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I have never tried separating the operating system from the applications and other default stuff, but I suspect you're asking for some problems if you do this. Sofware will want to write preference files to your home directory which I believe it will assume is on the startup drive. Same for other standard locations of temp files and shared resources. Some programs may handle this better than others.

Now of course it's just unix under the hood, and you can create mount points for different volumes if you know how to use the shell. I suspect there might be some utilities for this also. But if nothing else, it's going to confuse you to find directories with the same names on different volumes. Personally I wouldn't do that but maybe others have had success and will share their experiences.

You could certainly create multiple boot volumes and have your user files on another drive too, but I think many programs will expect to be in the /Applications folder. You may also want to run different versions of your programs on 10.3.9 and 10.4.

I would think long and hard before spending any more money on a system of that age and speed, especially as you want to start using newer software. I have a 1.25ghz G4 that I didn't know what to do with, so I just put Garageband on it and have it as a dedicated machine attached to a Midi keyboard and studio monitors.

If you work much with video then you are going to want to upgrade within a fairly short window of time anyway, so putting more money into an older machine wouldn't make sense to me personally. I'm sure FCP will run on your machine, probably without any hardware upgrade. Motion is trickier, it may even be hard to find a graphics card to support it on the G4. Even if you do, it's going to be s-l-o-w from my experience.
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Old December 12th, 2006, 02:57 PM   #3
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I hate having to update my dated machine.

The sad part is...I can't afford to buy a new machine right now. So, I have to make due with what I have.

I have FCP HD and I'm going to pay the $199 upgrade to Studio. I can't let that deal go by regardless of what system I have now. So , I need to figure out how to get by with my G4 until I can upgrade to a G5.

I'm hoping a new card and a complete re-install with 10.4 with work out.

Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it!

If you run across anything else that might help...please let me know.
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Old December 12th, 2006, 06:38 PM   #4
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I'd be interested to know what graphics card you get. A few years ago I looked at upgrading my G4 for Motion and I think there was only one card that was compatible, which had something to do with the AGP slot (I think?). This may have changed either for the better or the worse by now though.

I think the only application that will want a better card is Motion, and they should offer a compatibility tester to see if it will run. I was surprised that it ran on my first generation aluminum Powerbook G4 because specs they published somewhere said it wouldn't. But it is way too slow on that 1ghz machine to be worth the trouble ;-)

Good luck with the upgrade, let us know how it works out.
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Old December 12th, 2006, 09:54 PM   #5
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Motion

Minimum supported graphics cards
ATI Radeon 9800XT, ATI Radeon 9700 Pro, ATI Radeon 9600XT or 9600 Pro, ATI Mobility Radeon 9700, ATI Mobility Radeon 9600, NVIDIA GeForce 6600 and 6600LE, NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT, NVIDIA
GeForce Go5200 or FX 5200 Ultra

Recommended graphics cards
ATI Radeon X1900 XT, ATI Radeon X850 XT, ATI Radeon X800 XT, ATI Radeon X1600, NVIDIA GeForce Quadro FX 4500, NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GT, NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL or 6800 GT DDL

For further information see: http://www.apple.com/finalcutstudio/specs.html?motion
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Old December 13th, 2006, 09:19 AM   #6
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Yes, I understand that Apple publishes a list of graphics cards. However I'm not sure how many of these are compatible with an old G4 Power Mac.

I just paid a quick visit to Apple's Motion support forum here: http://discussions.apple.com/forum.jspa?forumID=656

I typed "g4 graphics card" into the search box and found a number of threads discussing problems finding the right kind of card for a G4. But many of these are old threads, so maybe there are more clear cut solutions today...
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Old December 13th, 2006, 04:18 PM   #7
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Great info! I really appreciate this.

It looks like the winner is a Radeon 9800 Pro Mac Edition. I believe it's around $250. Seems a little steep, but I can't afford $3000 for a new G5.

I'll buy it and let you all know how it turns out.

Thanks again!
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Old December 13th, 2006, 06:30 PM   #8
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The Radeon 9700 Pro also works in a G4.
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Old December 15th, 2006, 11:04 AM   #9
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FYI -- I just bought a dual 2.0 G5 (used) from eBay for about $1350, and spent about another $200 to up the RAM. It's now got 3.5GB.

Of the 6 desktop and 5 laptop/iBook macs I own or have owned (I have three teens, it's like an Apple store over here), I've only bought 2 or 3 new. Macs are pretty dang robust, and even a very troubled used mac is usually cured with a new hard drive and a software reinstall. If you go the used G5 route, I'd avoid the liquid-cooled ones. Yep, they're faster, but the cooling system also has the highest incident of failure in a recent survey of mac repairs - big spike, not just "a few more", and when the cooling system leaks, it pretty much takes everything out with it (glycol-soaked motherboards & hard drives, oh my...)
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