“Wicked fast” is the phrase that best summarizes the breakthrough performance of the G4 CPU. The Power Mac G4 was the first personal computer classified as munitions and under export restriction because of its power at the time it was introduced.
Offering up to twice the performance of the G3 and three times the power of a Pentium III at the same clock speed, the G4 was Apple’s first serious pro computer after Steve Jobs became iCEO. Designed in graphite gray, silver, and clear plastics, it even looks professional. The 400 MHz Yikes! (a.k.a PCI Graphics) offers 0.8-3.2 gigaflops (billion floating point operations per second) performance; by government definition in 1999, it was a supercomputer.
Note that there were two different versions of the Power Mac G4. released simultaneously. The Yikes! machines have a different motherboard with different features than the Sawtooth G4, which is covered on a separate page.
The Yikes! version does not have the AGP video card slot or support AirPort. The 1999 G4 Power Macs were the first Macs with bootable USB. However, the Yikes! G4 cannot boot from a FireWire drive and does not support FireWire Target Disk Mode. Yikes! also cannot boot from USB drives (see USB Info and Benefits of Dual-Channel USB). These are some of the reasons we label it a Compromised Mac.
Due to G4 CPU supply problems at Motorola, Apple replaced the 400 MHz Yikes! with a 350 MHz model at the same price on 1999.10.13 – perhaps the first time in the industry that a computer has decreased in speed without decreasing in price.
If you would have been content with a Blue & White G3 at 300-400 MHz, the Yikes! G4 is pretty much the same computer with a better CPU. But if you’re after flat out performance, bypass this model and go for the Sawtooth machines.
The Yikes! G4 is absolutely not supported under Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, and it cannot boot into Leopard with its original video card. We do have a report of Yikes! successfully booting into Leopard with a Radeon 9200 PCI video card.
- Got a G3, G4, or G5 Power Mac? Join our G-List Group.
- Got a G4 or want to know more? Join our G4 Group.
- 400 MHz version introduced 1999.08.31 at US$1,599; replaced by 350 MHz model 1999.10.13 at same price; discontinued 1999.12.02
- code names: Yikes!, PCI Graphics
- requires Mac OS 8.6 through OS X 10.4 Tiger, 10.5 Leopard not officially supported
- CPU: 350/400 MHz PPC G4
- bus: 100 MHz
- L2 cache: 1 MB 2:1 backside cache
- CPU performance, G4/400: 1314, MacBench 5 (Beige G3/300 = 1000)
- FPU performance, G4/400: 1473, MacBench 5 (Beige G3/300 = 1000)
- RAM: 64 MB standard, expandable to 1 GB using PC100 SDRAM (3.3V,unbuffered, 64-bit, 168-pin, 100 MHz) in 4 DIMM slots; will not recognized 512 MB modules
- VRAM: 16 MB
- Video: ATI Rage 128 on 66 MHz bus, supports resolutions to 1600 x 1200 with 32-bit support, VGA connector
- hard drive: 10 GB 5400 rpm Ultra ATA/33. Maximum IDE drive size is 128 GB without third-party support. See How big a hard drive can I put in my iMac, eMac, or Power Mac? for three options.
- CD-ROM: 32x (max.), DVD-ROM and DVD-RAM optional
- internal Zip drive optional
- 4 PCI slots (3 are 64-bit, one is 66 MHz; 66 MHz slot used for video card)
- optional internal 56k modem
- microphone: standard 3.5mm minijack, compatible with line-level input including Apple’s PlainTalk microphone
- three 400 Mbps FireWire ports (one internal, two external, not bootable from FireWire)
- two 12 Mbps USB ports for keyboard, mouse, and peripherals
- no ADB port
- 10/100Base-T ethernet connector on back of computer
- size (HxWxD): 17.0″ x 8.9″ x 18.4″
- weight: 30.0 lb.
- Gestalt ID: n/a
- PRAM battery: 3.6V half-AA
- upgrade path: via CPU upgrades
- part numbers: M5183 (case, not model), M7631 (350 MHz), M7826 (400 MHz)
Accelerators & Upgrades
- 8x SuperDrive DVD±RW upgrade, MCE Technologies, $149. 8x4x12x DVD, 24x24x40x CD. 2 MB buffer. Requires OS 9 or OS X.
- for CPU upgrades, see our Guide to Power Mac G4 Upgrades
- Best Power Mac G4 deals.
- Picking up a used Power Mac G3 or G4: Is it worth it?, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.12.18. In some cases, shipping can cost more than the computer itself. Where are the best values?
- Best classic Mac OS deals. Best online prices for System 6, 7.1, 7.5.x, Mac OS 7.6, 8.0, 8.1, 8.5, 9.0, 9.2.2, and other versions.
- Best Mac OS X 10.0-10.3 deals. Best online prices for Mac OS X 10.0, 10.1, 10.2, and 10.3.
- Best Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger deals. Best online prices for Mac OS X 10.4.
- What’s the best version of OS X for my Mac?, Ian R Campbell, The Sensible Mac, 2008.02.28. Which version of Mac OS X is best for your hardware depends on several factors.
- WiFi hardware compatible with desktop Macs running OS X, MetaPhyzx, Mac Daniel, 2009.03.11. USB, ethernet, PCI, and other wireless hardware compatible with Mac OS X.
- Low End Mac’s Compleat Guide to Mac OS 9, 2008 edition, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.05.12. Declared dead by Steve Jobs 6 years ago, Mac OS 9 remains fast and stable, but Classic software hasn’t kept up with Web changes. What Macs support OS 9, where to buy it, and how to update to version 9.2.2.
- Know your Mac’s upgrade options, Phil Herlihy, The Usefulness Equation, 2008.08.26. Any Mac can be upgraded, but it’s a question of what can be upgraded – RAM, hard drive, video, CPU – and how far it can be upgraded.
- WiFi adapters for desktop Macs running Mac OS 9, MetaPhyzx, Mac Daniel, 2009.02.10. USB, ethernet, PCI, and other wireless hardware compatible with the Classic Mac OS.
- The best desktop Mac for gaming and 3 runners up, Dan Bashur, Apple, Tech, and Gaming, 2009.09.10. The ultimate desktop gaming Mac for under $700 plus three low-end budget contenders.
- The future of up-to-date browsers for PowerPC Macs, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2009.08.31. With Intel-only “Snow Leopard” shipping, software support for PPC Macs will continue its decline. Also, a look at SeaMonkey 2 and Camino 1.6.9.
- Optimized software builds bring out the best in your Mac, Dan Knight, Low End Mac’s Online Tech Journal, 2009.06.30. Applications compiled for your Mac’s CPU can load more quickly and run faster than ones compiled for universal use.
- Tips for installing or reinstalling Mac OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’, Adam Rosen, Adam’s Apple, 2009.06.10. Mac OS X 10.4 uses less memory than Leopard, supports Classic Mode on PowerPC Macs, and isn’t supported on G3 Macs.
- Does using matched RAM make your Mac faster or more stable?, Simon Royal, Mac Spectrum, 2009.04.28. Most Macs don’t need matched memory modules and seem to run just fine with mismatched brands and capacities, but matching modules may be a bit faster.
- Is it worth maxing the RAM in old G3 and G4 Macs?, Simon Royal, Mac Spectrum, 2009.04.15. Increasing memory can make your old Mac faster and make you more productive, but it probably won’t improve resale value by the amount you spend.
- Dialup Is outdated, Eudora on Macintel, improving Tiger on low-end Macs, and more, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2009.02.25. Ongoing frustrations with Eudora and dialup, ways to tweak Tiger for better performance, and problems with a WD MyBook external hard drive.
- Is Camino now the best browser for older Macs?, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2009.01.13. Camino 1.6.6 works very will with Mac OS X 10.3 through 10.5 and seems especially well suited for slower PowerPC Macs.
- 4 GB RAM problem persists after firmware update, TriBook concept MacBook, DIY Mac netbook, and more, The ‘Book Review, 2008.12.19. Also using third-party monitors with ‘Late 2008′ MacBooks, MacMagSaver protects MagSafe cord, $25 802.11g USB adapter, bargain ‘Books from $500 to $2,299, and more.
- The ‘better safe than sorry’ guide to installing Mac OS X updates, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.12.16. Most users encounter no problems using Software Update, but some preflight work and using the Combo updater means far less chance of trouble.
- Why you should partition your Mac’s hard drive, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2008.12.11. “At the very least, it makes sense to have a second partition with a bootable version of the Mac OS, so if you have problems with your work partition, you can boot from the ‘emergency’ partition to run Disk Utility and other diagnostics.”
- Every working computer is useful to someone, Allison Payne, The Budget Mac, 2008.11.19. Whether it’s a PowerBook 1400, G3 iMac, or Power Mac G4, it could be all the computer someone needs.
- How to clone Mac OS X to a new hard drive, Simon Royal, Mac Spectrum, 2008.10.07. Whether you want to put a bigger, faster drive in your Mac or clone OS X for use in another Mac, here’s the simple process.
- The best browsers for older Macs running Tiger, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.09.25. A dialup user’s overview of browsers for Mac OS X 10.4 puts the emphasis on reliability, downloads, and speed.
- 9 browsers for G3 and older G4 Macs compared, Simon Royal, Mac Spectrum, 2008.09.26. The latest versions of Opera, Safari, Shiira, iCab, Radon, Firefox, Demeter, Sunrise, and Camino that run on Mac OS X 10.4 “Tiger”.
- The compressed air keyboard repair, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2008.07.24. If your keyboard isn’t working as well as it once did, blasting under the keys with compressed air may be the cure.
- Turn your old Mac into a web server with Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP, Jason Packer, Macs in the Enterprise, 2008.07.09. Step-by-step instructions for installing and configuring Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP on an older Mac.
- Turn your old Mac into a website server with free open source software, Jason Packer, Macs in the Enterprise, 2008.07.02. By installing Linux without a GUI, your old Mac can dedicate all of its resources to running Apache, MySQL, and PHP.
- Macintosh peace of mind, PA Semi and the iPhone, $40 802.11g PCI card, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.05.01. Also Power Mac vs. Mac mini, more on DVD User Op Patch, 12″ vs. 14″ iBook, and VGA for a Power Mac 6100.
- OS X on other hardware, missing midrange Macs, and no Leopard yet on Yikes, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.04.23. The pros and cons of Mac OS X on non-Apple hardware, the need for more intermediate models, and the question of OS X 10.5 on the PCI Power Mac G4.
- OS X for PCs, Mac mini with HDTV, 802.11n options, upgrading from Mac OS 9, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.04.22. Also reviving a dead PowerBook 5300, Lucida Grande, external FireWire SuperDrive advice, OS X and the DeskWriter, and royalties.
- 2.6 GHz MacBook Pro worth it?, iBook video fixed, Compact Flash vs. SSD, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.03.13. Also buying a used Power Mac G4, a Power Mac 7600 still in daily use, OCR software for modern Macs, and Leopard on a Blue and White G3.
- Safari 3.1 will be ‘crazy fast’, OS X 10.5.2 update, 20x SuperDrive from $35, and more, Mac News Review, 2008.02.15. Also Security Update for Tiger, Graphics Update for Leopard, Mac mini “as powerful as a larger desktop”, TechTool Deluxe update, and more.
- 3 ways to better YouTube viewing on older Macs, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.02.06. Watching YouTube videos in your browser on G3 Macs can be painfully slow, but there are several ways to improve your YouTube viewing experience.
- Better YouTube viewing on older Macs, too many dead pixels, Safari problems in Panther, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.02.05. Also picking the right used G4 iBook, Quartz Extreme support for PCI video, problems with Mac OS 9.x on G4 Power Macs, open firmware problems with 667 MHz PowerBook, and more.
- WWDC Leopard on upgraded Beige G3, PowerBook vs. iBook, Leopard on an 800 MHz iBook G4, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.01.30. Also MacBook Air points to future notebooks, iPod and iPhone coverage on Low End Mac, changes in Xbench scores, and help with a Mac Classic.
- G3 and G4 Power Macs and Clamshell iBooks still useful, Ben Zalutsky, No Windows for Me, 2008.01.29. Intel CPUs may be blazingly fast, but the old G3 and G4 Macs have plenty of usable life left in them.
- Lawsuits getting out of hand, G3 iMac upgrade resources, Leopard on a 400 MHz TiBook, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2008.01.08. Also wondering why Mac OS X 10.5 won’t run on the ‘Yikes!’ Power Mac G4 and AltiVec just works.
- Cooler laptops, a G4 recording studio, a fast Unicode text editor, and phantom email, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.12.03. Quieter, cooler running notebooks, a Power Mac G4-based recording studio using Mac OS 9, a fast text editor with great Unicode support, and phantom email in Mail in OS X 10.3.9.
- Reasons for sticking with the Classic Mac OS, Tommy Thomas, Welcome to Macintosh, 2007.10.30. Whether it’s the simplicity, elegance, speed, or desire not to replace lots of expensive hardware, there are lots of good reasons for sticking with Mac OS 9.
- The future of early G4 Power Macs in the Age of Leopard, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2007.10.04. Mac OS X 10.5 ships this month. Even if it can run on Yikes, Sawtooth, and Mystic Power Mac G4 models, can you expect it to run well?
- PC war losers, Mac ‘just works’, $68 802.11n for older Macs, a free font manager, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.08.31. Also DVD region locking, the iMac’s glossy screen, Mac mini powerful enough, Chromac iMac housings, SanDisk’s 8 GB flash drive, and more.
- OS X on a G3, FireWire Disk Mode missing in action, Panther on a Power Mac, and more, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2007.07.16. Also glossy displays are sharper, where to get Netscape 7, two OS X replacements for MacDraw, and an iBook power problem solved.
- Importance of G3 support in 10.5, clever USB/FireWire solution, upgrade options, and more, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2007.05.01. Also the loss of the PowerBook brand, upgrading to an Intel iMac, Korg and the Mac, Quadra boot problems, and the value of a Mac Classic.
- Format any drive for older Macs with patched Apple tools, Tyler Sable, Classic Restorations, 2007.04.25. Apple HD SC Setup and Drive Setup only work with Apple branded hard drives – until you apply the patches linked to this article.
- 2 GHz upgrade for G4 Power Macs, Apple named in Bluetooth suit, Boot Camp gains Vista support, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.03.30. Also Macs vs. Windows for gaming, Apple’s share of high-end market, upcoming Core 2 CPUs to pass 3 GHz, 802.11n for Intel Mac mini, and more.
- Allegro USB 2.0 a great way to add several USB 2.0 ports to your Power Mac, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Reviews, 2007.03.28. You can never have too many USB ports. Whether your Power Mac has no USB 2.0 ports or too few, this $30 card is a great way to add the ports you need.
- 11 ways to optimize your Mac’s performance, Ed Eubanks Jr, The Efficient Mac User, 2007.03.12. If your Mac is getting sluggish, here are 11 tips that can help restore its original performance.
- $25 802.11g card for PCI Macs, drive support for 802.11n AirPort Extreme, Adtron ups flash disks, and more, Mac News Review, 2007.03.02. Also firmware update info for Intel Macs, washable medical mouse and keyboard, TechTool Protogo, and more.
- Using FireWire Target Disk Mode to install OS X on Macs without DVD drives, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.09.14. Two methods for using FireWire Target Disk mode to install OS X on a Mac that can’t read DVDs.
- Customizing Mac OS 9, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.08.01. Fiddling with themes, picking a browser, and making the Classic Mac OS work just the way you want it to.
- Installing OS X 10.4 ‘Tiger’ on DVD-challenged Macs using FireWire Target Disk Mode, Charles Moore, Miscellaneous Ramblings, 2006.07.10. Mac OS X ships on a single install DVD, which Apple will exchange for CDs at $10. But if you have access to a DVD-equipped Mac and a FireWire cable, you’re good to go.
- End of G4 models points to unprecedented value for used G4 Macs, Leaman Crews, Plays Well with Others, 2006.06.02. The PowerPC G4 may no longer have a place in Apple’s product line, but that’s a far cry from saying G4-based Macs are obsolete. If anything, their value is going to increase.
- Making the move from Jaguar (OS X 10.2) to Panther (10.3), Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2006.04.11. One advantage of Apple’s “no upgrades” policy for OS X – someone can give you their old copy after upgrading without worrying about violating their license.
- Chronically ailing Yikes! G4 cured while overclocking, Hardy Menagh, Empowered, 2006.04.05. This PCI Power Mac G4 had been acting up for years and resisted all attempts to bring stability. But when the new owner attempted to overclock it, things became clear.
- Many G3 Macs now considered vintage, Mac News Review, 2006.03.31.
- What to buy when the old Beige G3 is just too sluggish, Ted Hodges, Vintage Mac Living, 2006.03.27. When your old Power Mac G3 just can’t keep up with your needs under OS X, it’s time to look at the used Power Mac G4 market. The difference in speed can be astounding.
- Picking a Power Mac G4: How much Mac do you need?, Charles Webb, PowerBook Beat, 2006.03.22. Today’s laptop computers can be great primary computers, but sometimes you need things only a desktop model can offer. A used Power Mac G4 can be a good choice.
- Web browser tips for the classic Mac OS, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2006.01.03. Tips on getting the most out of WaMCom, Mozilla, Internet Explorer, iCab, Opera, and WannaBe using the classic Mac OS.
- The best browsers for PowerPC Macs and the classic Mac OS, Nathan Thompson, Embracing Obsolescence, 2005.12.16. Two browsers stand out from the pack: iCab 3 is modern and remains under development, and WaMCom brings Mozilla to older Macs.
- How big a hard drive can I put in my iMac, eMac, or Power Mac?, Dan Knight, Mac Daniel, 2005.10.24. A lot of older Macs don’t know how to deal with drives over 128 GB in size. We look at three options.
- Sonata SD, Sonnet Tech, 2004.06.01. First new PCI video card for the Mac in ages sells for just US$99, supports OS 7.5.3 and later plus OS X 10.1.5 and later, works with VGA or old Mac monitors, 16 MB VRAM.
- Road Apple “Yikes”, Dan Knight, Low End Mac Mailbag, 2003.05.28. “We want people to understand what the Yikes! G4 is really worth and not get suckered into paying nearly as much for it as they would for an AGP machine.”
- Yikes! This Power Mac G4 just isn’t worth the money, Dan Knight, Mac Daniel, 2003.03.05. If you’re looking for a budget Power Mac with G4 power, this isn’t the one you want at today’s prices.
- Shot in the foot again: Firmware update disables RAM, Dan Knight, Mac Musings, 2001.03.25. “…we should not be at risk of losing some or all of the memory in our Macs because of a firmware update.”
- Review: Sonnet Tempo Ultra ATA66 Macintosh PCI Host Adapter, Dan Knight, 2000.07.28. The most economical way to put IDE support in a PCI Power Mac.
- Benchmark: Yikes vs. Sawtooth G4/400, Bare Feats, 1999.12.17. How much faster is the new motherboard?
- G4 ROM upgrade, Apple Computer, 1999.10.18. Fixes problem with data/file corruption on “Yikes!” G4 systems (original G4/400).
- Review: Power Mac G4/400, Ric Ford, MacInTouch.
- Opinion: Is G4/400 a good value?, Charles Moore, Applelinks, 1999.09.02.
- Power Mac G4 (PCI Graphics): Upgrading Memory, Apple KBase 58425
- Apple Spec: Power Mac G4 (PCI graphics)
- Power Mac G4: How to Differentiate Between Models, Apple TIL 58418
- Power Macs earlier than the 2002 Quicksilver models do not have built-in support for IDE hard drives with capacities over 128 GB. Without a third-party solution, larger drives can only be formatted to 128 GB in these models. There are three options (as noted on Accelerate Your Mac):
- Intech’s ATA Hi-Cap Support Driver
- A PCI IDE card that supports big drives
- A FireWire enclosure that supports big drives