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2002 iMac resurrected with Apple’s M1 chip


iMac G4 mod complete
Enlarge / Optical drive included.

You may be disheartened about the discontinuation of the 27-inch iMac, but fans of 2002’s iMac G4 have had to live much longer without their favorite all-in-one. Thankfully, a good modder can bring old tech back to life.

The iMac G4 still holds a special place in many enthusiasts’ hearts, so the machine has been modded into the modern era before, including with an Intel NUC. The second-generation iMac sported an LCD screen on a unique arm connected to a striking circular base. The look is still distinct, but the G4’s specs obviously can’t compete today.

Apple’s 15-inch iMac G4 had a resolution of 1024×768, a far cry from the 4480×2520 that Apple offers in its current 24-inch iMac. The 2002 machine came with a PowerPC G4 processor running at 1 GHz, an Nvidia GeForce4 MX, 256MB of DDR SDRAM running at 333 MHz, and an 80GB hard drive running at 7,200 rpm.

Opening the iMac G4.
Enlarge / Opening the iMac G4.

As spotted by Hackaday this week and posted on the MacRumors forum, a member known as Connor55 decided to update the iMac G4 by fitting the base with a current-generation Mac Mini motherboard, which is smaller than the G4’s hard drive alone. The motherboard includes Apple’s M1 chip, 16GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD.

Connor55 also added modern ports to the PC. The original G4 had three USB 2.0 ports, two FireWire 400 ports, two VGA ports, S-video and composite video outputs, and some audio jacks. Connor55’s modded iMac G4 has USB-C, HDMI, three USB-A ports, an SD card reader, an Ethernet jack, and a headphone jack.

Updated port selection.
Enlarge / Updated port selection.

Connor55’s system uses the iMac’s original power button and even its optical drive. The display and its backlight reportedly work as well. And the modded iMac G4 can use Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, but with some caveats.

“The 3 antennas from the M1 Mac Mini have been chopped down to just the actual antennas. I placed them all right next to the vents at the top of the base,” Connor55 wrote on the forum. “The Wi-Fi signal is meh, so I have a range extender right by it, and I can get over 100Mbps still. The Bluetooth only works right next to the dome, so [it’s] borderline useless.”

Inside the modded G4.
Enlarge / Inside the modded G4.

So if you’re upset that Apple has dashed your hopes of a 27-inch iMac with Apple Silicon, just remember: there’s always modding.



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