Skip to main content

Apple iMac 'iLamp' Mod Brings M1 to G4

Apple iMac G4 M1 mod
(Image credit: Connor55)

A keen Apple modder has successfully converted an ageing Apple iMac G4 into a far more modern All-in-One featuring an M1 processor at its heart. The machine that was hollowed-out to receive the modern innards was an Apple iMac G4. On the other side of the hardware equation, modder Connor55 used the most obvious donor candidate for a compact motherboard featuring an Apple M1 chip, the 2021 Mac Mini. The concise build process was found via the MacRumors forum.

The aim of Connor55's conversion was to inject some life into an outdated. creaking, but iconic Apple iMac design. He challenged himself to turn this slow no Wi-Fi computer into a modern M1 powered marvel, while retaining all the outward appeal of the 2002 vintage machine. With the project done and dusted, the result was a snappy modern Mac, which looked unchanged from the twenty year old design.

Some acclaim must go to Connor55, who took special effort to make sure the following original features continued to function; the power button, the optical drive, plus the display with working backlight.

At this point it is worth mentioning that this isn't the first G4 to M1 hack. There was another in late 2021 and in March 2021 we saw a YouTuber gut a 2018 iMac and replace the innards with an M1 Mac Mini. However, this new feat is particularly useful for would-be modders, as it includes a quite comprehensive step through guide to how an Apple M1-powered iMac G4 lampshade model was converted from start to finish including, photos, videos, and textual information.

The Process

If you check out the linked post you will see the old iMac being disemboweled, and it is interesting to see the Apple custom parts that were designed and manufactured with curved edges for the dome-shaped chassis.

After hollowing out the old chassis the next tasks were to look at power supply plans, and work out a monitor signaling and backlight converter for the new motherboard. Then followed some planning of where the new modern ports would be positioned.

Starting the teardown of the Apple Silicon donor, the Mac Mini, Connor55 noted how empty the smallest product Mac's chassis is. That reminds us of another recent mod - creating a palm-sized Mac Mini. The modder subsequently commented that the Mac Mini's fully removed innards were "smaller than just the stock G4 HDD," which would help make the conversion less problematic.

(Image credit: Connor55)

Much More Modern Macs

For much more recent Apple Mac news, check out our coverage from yesterday's Peek Performance Event. Apple surprised pundits by launching the new Apple Mac Studio - like a tall Mac Mini with a very powerful new processor inside, the 20-core Apple M1 Ultra. We also reported on the first independent benchmarks of the M1 Ultra being posted and the eyebrow raising stats showing it nearly matches a 64-core AMD Threadripper 3990X.

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.