The PPC Challenge has been around for a while. I don’t know who started it or where but I’ve been participating for at least 5 years. The goal is simple; For one week, use a PPC Mac for as much as your daily computing as possible.
Last year I used a 17″ 800MHz G4 iMac and I got a remarkable amount of my daily computing done on it. Updating and maintaining my websites with Photoshop 6 and Dreamweaver MX, AppleWorks for all my typing needs, email through Netscape Communicator etc. This was all in Mac OS 9! The only thing I had to use my Mac Pro for was FileMaker Pro, which is what I need for business.
Tucked onto a corner of my desk, I had good access but it wasn’t all that comfortable. I underestimated how much I’d been able to use the PPC and ended up spending much more time with this iMac than anticipated. So this year I set up with comfort in mind.
A G4 MDD with two displays.
This is the Project Maya MDD but I didn’t just want to use a supercharged PPC. Anything I do on Maya flies so that would not make it much of a challenge. So I yanked out the watercooling, the overclocked CPU card and additional fans. It currently runs a dual 867 MHz (133MHz bus speed) with 1GB of RAM. I did keep the Radeon 9650 with 256MB of VRAM as I initially set up two 23″ Cinema HD Displays but this felt a little… much. So I went with a 22″ Cinema Display (2000) on the right and a 17″ Studio Display (2002) on the left, connected with two DVI to ADC adapters. The Radeon is driving these displays effortlessly. I also kept the SATA internals and SSD as I do want a little more speed than an IDE drive can offer. All other PCI cards were left in as well as FW 800, USB 2.0 and eSATA might come in handy. Also removed were the SWEET multiport and fan controller modules in the optical bays. This felt like too much of an upgrade and I wanted to keep the machine reasonably low end.
With it’s own desk, I set this up to be nice and comfortable even if I have to spend all night working on a website or writing up an article (such as this one). The Apple Pro Speakers are of course there to satisfy my audio needs, still sounding as awesome as ever it is currently cranking out my iTunes playlist as I’m typing this.
This year I will not be limiting myself to Mac OS 9. I also have Mac OS X 10.4 available on the same SSD so I can switch between the two as needed. Unfortunately the FileMaker Pro for 10.4 is not compatible with the FileMaker Pro 18 I run on my Mac Pro so for work related tasks I must still switch to my Intel machines.
I’ll be typing up reports of my PPC Challenge experience as I did last year (might combine them all in one post this time), you can read those previous reports here. If you want to participate in this challenge, it kicks off on January 16th right after the Mac Yak podcast ends! You can read more about it here or watch the episode where the challenge is announced here. If you are considering participating, you have a little less than a week to set up and prepare and I hope you can join us!
The Mac Yak Discord has a channel for the PPC Challenge. If you need help or want to share your setup, check it out.