Modder transforms Apple’s iconic iMac G4 into fully functional M1 iMac

An intrepid user named connor55 modernized the classic Mac desktop from the 2000s with Apple's latest chipset. This might be the coolest Mac mod ever.

connor55's iMac G4 build with a M1 chip.

Don’t throw that old iMac G4 out just yet. There’s still some life left in it, as seen with a creative modding project from MacRumors forum member connor55. The modder said the design of the iMac G4, which was released back in 2002, was too cool to throw away, so he decided to upgrade it with an M1 chip harvested from a Mac mini.

Connor55 said in the post detailing his efforts that he wanted to “make the computer appear stock from the outside” all while using Apple’s faster and more efficient M1 chip. Judging from the very in-depth process he laid out, it was no easy task rearranging the guts of the iMac G4 and transplanting the internals of an M1 Mac mini into it. But, the end result was a fully functional iMac G4 with updated ports, functional articulating display, working original power button, and optical drive.

Plenty of ports — The modder said he drew inspiration from a similar project on the MacRumors forum from user colbyjohn94. For connor55’s final build, the updated iMac G4 includes an HDMI port, three USB-A ports, two USB-C ports, an AC power plug, a headphone jack, an Ethernet port, and an SD card slot.

Cable management enthusiasts, look away now.connor55 / MacRumors

It’s pretty impressive that he was able to cram all those wires for the ports inside the original base dome of the iMac G4, along with the M1’s logic board and the bulky optical drive. The cables running all throughout the dome really give this thing a DIY vibe, but we can’t be too harsh here since he’s just working within the space he’s got.

Connor55 also uploaded a couple of demo videos showing off the upgraded iMac G4 being turned on by its original power button. The modder even loaded up a Monsters Inc. DVD into the fully-functional optical drive. In keeping with the original retro styling, the 17-inch display only has a 1,440 x 900 resolution, so don’t expect any 4K quality out of this 20-year old rig.

The user connor55 also added a couple of retro sound sticks to really round out the look. connor 55 / MacRumors

Step-by-step instructions — Connor55 has listed his entire process of converting the iMac G4 in his initial post and several updates later in the thread. The detailed instructions and many photos give us a really good idea of the work that goes into a complicated DIY modding project like this. And if you do have a special place in your heart for that simple and clean iMac G4 design, just know there’s still some life to squeeze out of it, if you’re handy enough.