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  1. #1
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    MorphOS and Mac Mini

    MorphOS is now available for the Mac Mini G4. Have any of you tried it out yet? If yes, what do you think? If no, are you considering getting a Mac Mini to run MorphOS?

    I'm a bit tempted to check it out myself, but I have no experience with MorphOS whatsoever. Neither do I have any experience with Mac's. Hope you can help me out on a few questions;


    1) Is a Mac Mini G4 up-to-date? I'm then thinking of the newest OS for Mac and general software. Will it run Leopard properly if the machine has 1GB of RAM?

    2) If I'm going to buy such a machine, I'm going to use it for office work related to one of my jobs, some gaming, P2P and emulation. Will it be sufficient for this?

    3) Emulation, as mentioned above, is a bit important to me. Is the Mac Mini G4 capable of emulating the same platforms as the PC?

    4) I would like to dual-boot MorphOS and Leopard if possible. Does anyone know if I can run AmigaOS 4 stuff via MorphOS and if it's any good when it comes to running legacy Amiga stuff (68K)? I remember Buleste writing something about the fact that it is a bit limited.

    5) How much should I expect to pay for a Mac Mini G4?


    I know this was a lot of questions. Thanks in advance for helping out.
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by P G View Post
    MorphOS is now available for the Mac Mini G4. Have any of you tried it out yet? If yes, what do you think? If no, are you considering getting a Mac Mini to run MorphOS?
    I've been considering getting one for some time because you can hack Amiga OS 4 to run on them, and now that MorphOS2 is actually officially released it could be interesting.

    1) Is a Mac Mini G4 up-to-date? I'm then thinking of the newest OS for Mac and general software. Will it run Leopard properly if the machine has 1GB of RAM?
    Nope. Apple abandoned the PPC CPU range last year and switched to the same Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs as PCs. Therefore no new Mac PPC software is being developed or supported any more. The same is true of Mac OSX itself. New versions are only being developed for Intel Macs now.

    I don't actually know if Leopard has been released for PPC or not. Tiger was, and that would run fine on a Mac Mini.

    2) If I'm going to buy such a machine, I'm going to use it for office work related to one of my jobs, some gaming, P2P and emulation. Will it be sufficient for this?
    Simple answer is no. Macs have never been very well support for gaming. You won't find that many commercial games for the Mac compared to PC. Maybe 2% of PC releases ever saw a Mac release, and even then many were things like Myst and Sim City. You can get Torrent and other P2P clients for the Mac.

    You can get office suites for PPC Macs. Microsoft Office has been available for years, but is a much older version than the PC releases, as M$ are not that interested in the Mac market.

    3) Emulation, as mentioned above, is a bit important to me. Is the Mac Mini G4 capable of emulating the same platforms as the PC?
    Again, nope. Mac emulation is far behind that of the PC. It has about the same level of emulation available as Linux, and shares ports of many of the same emulators such a UAE-X and MAME. Amiga emulation is no where near as good for one, being based on a version of UAE from about version 0.8. Maybe even less.

    4) I would like to dual-boot MorphOS and Leopard if possible. Does anyone know if I can run AmigaOS 4 stuff via MorphOS and if it's any good when it comes to running legacy Amiga stuff (68K)? I remember Buleste writing something about the fact that it is a bit limited.
    I don't think MorphOS and Amiga OS 4 are compatible in any way. However you can hack Amiga OS 4 into working on a Mac Mini so you can try running the actual OS and its software.

    5) How much should I expect to pay for a Mac Mini G4?
    Probably going up as we speak thanks to MorphOS and a new found interest in the PPC Mac Mini from the Amiga community. And make sure you look for one made before February 2006, because after this point they switched to Intel and these won't run MorphOS.

    Also remember that you can't dual boot Windows and Mac OS X as standard on a PPC Mac. This is only possible on the newer Intel Macs, because they are basically just PCs in Mac cases.

    Have a look at the wiki entry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mac_Mini for a full run down of the Mac Mini specs and each revision. If you want a PPC G4 Mac Mini then one of the past made between October 2005 and Feb 2006 look like the best to look out for.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  3. #3
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    Here is something interesting to look out for if you do try to buy one:

    If you are buying a G4 Mac Mini that was originally sold on or after Monday 26 September 2005, there is a chance that it will be a bit more powerful than it says on the box. That's when Apple started selling G4 Minis with an unannounced hardware upgrade:

    1. All three models had their speed increased by 83MHz (1.25GHz became 1.33GHz, and 1.42GHz became 1.50GHz).

    2. All three models come with 5400rpm hard disks. Previous Mac Minis had 4200rpm laptop hard disks.

    3. The Bluetooth module supports Bluetooth 2.0 and EDR (enhanced data rate).

    4. The Radeon 9200 video card in the 1.5GHz models has had its video memory doubled to 64 megabytes.

    5. The Superdrive (DVD writer) is a newer model that can burn DVD+R dual layer disks.

    Apple did not announce this upgrade, because they didn't want to harm sales of the forthcoming Intel Mac Mini. (You'll notice that even now, Apple's web site compares the performance of the Intel Mac Mini with that of a G4 one running at 1.42GHz, not 1.50GHz.)

    Because of this, buyers at the time didn't know in advance whether they would be getting an upgraded Mac Mini, or discontinued stock of the older (1.25 and 1.42GHz) versions. However, just about everyone did receive the upgraded computers. If the box says that the Mac Mini comes with iLife '06 rather than '05, it's certain to be the upgraded version.

    It may be worth asking sellers to have a look at the Apple System Profiler (select About This Mac in the Apple menu, and click on More Info), which will inform you of the CPU speed and other details. But please don't be offended if a seller refuses to open a brand new, sealed box just to do that.

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  4. #4
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    Forgot price. Expect to pay about 100 - 150 for a 1.25GHz G4 Mac Mini. More for a 1.4GHz and the 1.5 is quite rare so not sure what they go for.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


  5. #5
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    Thanks for answering all questions, Harrison. It was very helpful.

    I don't actually know if Leopard has been released for PPC or not. Tiger was, and that would run fine on a Mac Mini.
    After reading your post, I've done some checking, and it seems like one can indeed run Leopard on a G4. That's very good news, although as Stephen wrote in another thread, the difference isn't that great from Tiger.

    Simple answer is no. Macs have never been very well support for gaming. You won't find that many commercial games for the Mac compared to PC. Maybe 2% of PC releases ever saw a Mac release, and even then many were things like Myst and Sim City. You can get Torrent and other P2P clients for the Mac.
    Ok, good that there's a decent selection of P2P clients. I'm a little bit disappointed when it comes to games, but that's not the most important thing.

    Again, nope. Mac emulation is far behind that of the PC. It has about the same level of emulation available as Linux, and shares ports of many of the same emulators such a UAE-X and MAME. Amiga emulation is no where near as good for one, being based on a version of UAE from about version 0.8. Maybe even less.
    That's not good news.

    Probably going up as we speak thanks to MorphOS and a new found interest in the PPC Mac Mini from the Amiga community. And make sure you look for one made before February 2006, because after this point they switched to Intel and these won't run MorphOS.
    Thanks for the heads up. Agree with you regarding the prices. The interest from Amiga users will probably drive the prices up a bit.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by harrison
    You can get office suites for PPC Macs. Microsoft Office has been available for years, but is a much older version than the PC releases, as M$ are not that interested in the Mac market.
    I'm not sure of the differences between Office 2008 for Macintosh and Office 2007 for Windows but I expect there arn't that many. But I wouldn't know, as I still use Office 2000 and have no plans to change.

    I did briefly see OpenOffice.org on my grandparents new Dell PC the other day and I see that is becoming popular now, but I havn't used it since 2004, when I spent several nights downloading the several hundred megabyte ISO image on dialup.

    I am starting to use LaTeX now though instead of word processing.

    What is the current situation with AmigaOS 4 on the Mac Mini? I remember downloading a video from an FTP server of it working, but back then, there was only a perticular model of Mac Mini that worked.

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    @Harrison; I don't think MorphOS and Amiga OS 4 are compatible in any way. However you can hack Amiga OS 4 into working on a Mac Mini so you can try running the actual OS and its software.
    I've had a look around today and I found out that there is an application called OS4Emu available for MorphOS. OS4Emu is available for download at MorphOS Files.

    Here's a quick description:

    AmigaOS 4 emulator by Ilkka Lehtoranta. It wraps AmigaOS API calls around MorphOS calls. Supports many OS 4 specific libraries, and allows for running many applications with full speed.
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    It looks like there is more interest in the PPC G4 Mac Mini's now as we expected. On ebay they are now going for around 160 for a 1.4GHz one. Still not a bad price really compared to building a comparable SAM440 system.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Harrison View Post
    It looks like there is more interest in the PPC G4 Mac Mini's now as we expected. On ebay they are now going for around 160 for a 1.4GHz one. Still not a bad price really compared to building a comparable SAM440 system.
    I've been looking around here in Norway for a Mac Mini PPC, but they are hard to find. Our largest auction site doesn't have a single one listed. Seems like there's a few available in Sweden though, but many people are bidding on them. Might be the Amiga-factor kicking in like you say.

    The price is not bad at all in my opinion. It's a nice little system with decent enough performance (after what I've gathered). Compared to the SAM it is much less expensive. To many potentional next-gen Amiga users, I'm sure it is tempting to go the MorphOS+Mac Mini route now due to the cost.
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