Which Powermac G4 to run OSX?


Hello, I am wanting to buy a cheap used Powermac G4 to run OSX. I was wondering if a 500mhz, 256mb machine would be fast enough to run it well, or if the dual cpu would be worth the extra money. This would be my first mac and I am basically just wanting to see how it works. I would mostly just be doing basic things, word processing, web surf, but I would also like to ocasionally use Itunes and maybe even Photoshop. Any info would be greatly appreciated!
I would go for more RAM before a dual processor. 256MB is the required minimum for OS X 10.4 (Tiger). For satisfactory performance, 512MB to 640MB is a more realistic minimum RAM.
I agree. I was optomising an eMac at a High School and it only had 256MB RAM. Doing almost any task with something else running in the background was down right painful. It made my G3 at home seem like it runs like lightning, and it's a 266MHz G3 for crying out loud. An eMac has a 1.42GHz PowerPC G4 processor and my 266MHz G3 still owned it. So I guess what I'm trying to say is, It's pretty pointless to get a computer with a powerful processor, or even dual processors, if there's going to be such a huge bottle neck at the RAM. Please get alot more RAM, I wouldn't want your first Mac experiance to be a bad one. :)

P.S. Make sure your sticks of RAM don't have more memory then the RAM slots on the motherboard can handle. They'll still work, but any amount of memory over what the slot can handle just won't register and you will essentially have paied for a bunch of extra RAM that you can't use.
So I have a single 867MHz with 1GB of RAM.

In my case, I always max out my CPU before maxing out the RAM. (I usually hover near 700MB or RAM in use.)

I uses this machine to host a very low traffic web site + all of my day-to-day web surfing, email, etc...

IMHO, 500MHz might be too slow.

HOWEVER, take this opinion with a grain of salt. I have not done a clean OS install since I bought this machine. I've continually upgraded, and updated. So my experience might just be the fact that I've got too many tweaks and mods installed.
Well I'm running a 450 Mhz G4 and running Tiger with no problems. The more RAM the better. This system started with 256 Mb of RAM and was fine for most tasks. It was just dog slow when too many users were logged in and using fast user switching rather than logging off. We've installed more RAM now, 576 MB total RAM in one system, and it seems to resolve most of the slowness.
to buy a 500mhz powerg4 you may be looking at £400/£500. macs hold their value well. you could spend that much on a mini, and get nearly 3 times the processor speed, and 512mb ram as standard. and Tiger preisntalled, so it'd probably be more stable than an old machine. you'd be getting a brand new machine, not a 4 year old second hand grubby one.

mac mini's start at £349 and max out at £499. a very good machine, and very neat with a TFT. also much quieter than a G4 tower
Sound? If you're concerned about sound buggering up your Mac/music experiance, here's what you might do and what I did. Keep in mind that I did this to a G3 and so all the warrenties and support has long since expired. So no worries on my part.

Take out ALL your fans and replace them with Silenx fans. You'll probably have to twist the wires together as Mac doesn't seem to use main stream connectors. The claims on the noise levels of the fans on the Silenx website almost seem comical, but you really have to not hear it to belive it. ;) Replacing ALL the fans means replacing the 80mm fan in the power supply too. You may want to get someone with a little electronics tinkering experiance to do that modification as I think there's a few capacitors in any power supply that could deliver enough shock to kill you, given the circumstances are right. You could also just replace the power supply with a new, super quiet one.

Last, replace that old Had Drive with a new, quiet one. It really makes a big difference when changing out the original, Mac issue Hard Drive with a newer, more efficient Hard Drive.

When I first made those changes, I actually thought my G3 was turned off when I walked in the room. I had to check the tower power light to see if it was still on. Of course there's still A LITTLE noise, but it's easily drowned out by the softest of iTunes classical music, or the narly iTunes 80's music.
Well I guess they're quiet, but the dual processor G5 I'm sitting next to is about the same noise level as your typical PC. I guess that might be saying something as the G5 is cooling off two processors with the same noise level that a single processor PC makes, but my G3 is still much quieter and iTunes friendly. :D