View Full Version : iBook G4 upgrades, worth it?
Apr 30, 2011, 05:39 AM
So recently I bought an iBook G4 1.33 GHz 12" in very good condition with a new genuine Apple battery and two genuine power supplies for € 150, not a bad deal I think.
Anyway, it has the stock Toshiba 4200 rpm hard drive and had 512 MB RAM when I purchased it. I've upgraded it to 768 MB RAM afterwards. At the moment it runs Tiger, but I think it's time to move on to Leopard mainly because ClicktoFlash for Tiger does not allow me to play YouTube videos with the QuickTime Player anymore and I can't find an alternative.
I've tried Leopard on it and it was not slow, but it felt not "smooth". I think the slow hard drive causes the pretty long app launch times and the sometimes sluggish feel.
Is it worth it to upgrade the hard disk to a modern 5400 rpm model, like the Samsung HM160HC? I don't do heavy duty stuff on the iBook, but when I use it I want it to run as fast as possible. Will this hard drive make Leopard run smoother?
I also plan on upgrading the memory to 1 GB, I can get a 512 stick from a friend.
What are your thoughts, is it a waste of money or will the upgrades make a noticeable difference? I have a retail Leopard dvd, so at least I don't have to buy that. ;)
Apr 30, 2011, 05:55 PM
I think the faster HDD will make a big difference.
I have a Powermac with 933 mhz, 1 Gb ram, and a 7200 rpm drive, and a iBook with 1.33 ghz, 1.5 Gb ram, and a 4200 rpm hard drive. They both have a fresh install of Leopard. The Powermac is faster at everything, even though it has a slower processor, and 1/3 less ram.
If your iBook has 512 ram built in, you can expand it to 1.5 Gb. If it has 256 built in, you can expand it to 1.25 Gb. Either way, you could put a 1 Gb stick in it.
I have mactubes installed, and they both play youtube videos very good.
Apr 30, 2011, 06:07 PM
I have stuck with Tiger in my G4s, so I can't speak to Leopard's performance.
You should install the maximum possible amount of RAM before doing anything else, but a HDD upgrade will definitely improve performance as well and should make the machine perfectly suitable for general internet browsing and basic image editing/light gaming work and so forth.
Bear in mind that these machines are only going to get older, and G4s can never handle HD video, so while they are perfectly servicable you will want to limit the amount of money you put into upgrades.
May 1, 2011, 05:41 AM
Thank you for your replies. The iBook has 512 MB built in, I've added 256 MB which I had lying around here. I can get another 512 MB stick for free so I will try that first, if that's not enough I could always add a 1 GB stick later on. I've ordered the Samsung hard drive and a spudger to open it up.
I've tried MacTubes and it runs fine, but I really like being able to play videos in the browser and read the comments directly under the videos.
I hope this makes it feel a bit more responsive, because it's still very usable for internet and word processing. For serious work I have an iMac so it's mainly a second machine.
May 1, 2011, 08:43 AM
Let us know how goes. I'm thinking of replacing my HDD.
May 1, 2011, 08:59 AM
I'll let it know in this topic. Could take a few weeks though.
May 1, 2011, 03:11 PM
Use MacTubes (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/28608/mactubes) to play Youtube videos and use the G4 optimized MPlayer (http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1129727) to play videos that are already on your computer.
You'll see an incredible difference.
MacTubes allows you to play Youtube videos with Quicktime, and you can also download any video. You can set MacTubes to play videos in Safari, just go to preferences>player, and choose video player under 'player type'.
And if you're not already using one of these, I would recommend TenFourFox (http://www.floodgap.com/software/tenfourfox/) or Camino (http://caminobrowser.org/) as your main browser.
May 1, 2011, 08:45 PM
There are also G4 optimized builds of Camino here (http://www.rpm-mozilla.org.uk/index.html). A 1.33GHz G4 iBook would use the "7450" build.
May 2, 2011, 07:56 AM
I'm happy with Safari's performance, but I will try those browsers as soon as I have upgraded the machine. Thanks :)
May 7, 2011, 12:44 PM
Received the items much earlier than expected. Installing Leopard right now on the new HD. But guys, if you do this be VERY careful when lifting up the top case. I did it carefully but the complete socket for the power button broke off the logic board. So I had to solder that back together, major PITA. :D
Ok, it's up and running now with 1GB of RAM and the Samsung HD and I can tell you it's much much more responsive. Pages starts a lot faster, Safari is snappier (:D), it starts up faster and it doesn't feel sluggish at all anymore. Definitely a massive upgrade for your iBooks. :)
May 7, 2011, 09:04 PM
Glad to hear that!