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View Full Version : Maximizing a G4 Mini...?




munckee
Mar 12, 2008, 07:34 AM
I picked up a 1.42 G4 mini yesterday for $250. My mom's been itching to make the jump to a mac (she really wants a macbook), so I figured this would hold her over until she's ready to buy a laptop.

First Q: How much ram will this mini take? Everymac specs says 1GB (which it has), but for some reason I had 2GB stuck in my head (my old powerbook had 2GB in it). If it is more than 1GB, what type do I need to look for?

Also, what are the best ways to maximize the machine for speed? I noticed when I was testing the machine before purchase that it was surprisingly slow :( beachballing a few times on startup. She uses almost no HD space, so I'm not concerned much about that. Would Leo be a decent upgrade? Would that speed things ups (or slow things down) at all?



mheidt
Mar 12, 2008, 08:26 AM
My G4 mac mini was very slow as well.
But then I maxed it up to 1GB Ram and now it is running Leopard and is my DVR.

I have the turbo264 dongle of elgato, so that I can encode the video as well in a decent amount of time.

So just give it 1GB, Leopard and a webcam, so that you can videochat with your mother.

munckee
Mar 12, 2008, 08:31 AM
My G4 mac mini was very slow as well.
But then I maxed it up to 1GB Ram and now it is running Leopard and is my DVR.

I have the turbo264 dongle of elgato, so that I can encode the video as well in a decent amount of time.

So just give it 1GB, Leopard and a webcam, so that you can videochat with your mother.

Thanks. It's got 1GB already, which is why I was surprised that it was slow. It hasn't been wiped clean yet though, and I didn't have a chance to see how full the HD is. It may be jam packed. I'll have more time to look at it through the week.

The webcam idea is a good call though.

4JNA
Mar 12, 2008, 10:50 AM
Also, what are the best ways to maximize the machine for speed? I noticed when I was testing the machine before purchase that it was surprisingly slow :( beachballing a few times on startup. She uses almost no HD space, so I'm not concerned much about that. Would Leo be a decent upgrade? Would that speed things ups (or slow things down) at all?

1gb is the max, only one slot for a full size DDR dimm. the original hard drive was a sloooowwww 4200rpm 2mb cache drive that really hurt the performance. you could swap it out for a faster 5400 or 7200rpm drive and see a real jump, or if you don't want to crack it open and do surgery, you could use and external 7200rpm 3.5" drive in a firewire case. both help lots.

if you upgrade to 10.5, use the external as the boot drive, and let time machine use the old/slow internal drive. they work nice that way.

of course if you really want to max it out, you could take out the logic board and remove a couple resistors to clock it up to 1.5ghz with no problem...:cool::apple:

munckee
Mar 12, 2008, 12:15 PM
1gb is the max, only one slot for a full size DDR dimm. the original hard drive was a sloooowwww 4200rpm 2mb cache drive that really hurt the performance. you could swap it out for a faster 5400 or 7200rpm drive and see a real jump, or if you don't want to crack it open and do surgery, you could use and external 7200rpm 3.5" drive in a firewire case. both help lots.

if you upgrade to 10.5, use the external as the boot drive, and let time machine use the old/slow internal drive. they work nice that way.

of course if you really want to max it out, you could take out the logic board and remove a couple resistors to clock it up to 1.5ghz with no problem...:cool::apple:

Damn, only 1 slot huh? For some reason I had it in my head that the later G4 minis had 2 slots. Ok. I guess I'll play with it and see how slow it really is, esp. after a clean install, etc. If its too bad, I'll turn around and sell it. I don't want her first mac to be so much slower than her PC that she thinks they're all crap. She's not expecting it, so it won't be a disappointment if it doesn't happen.

I'd be willing to toss a faster HD in it. Can't be that hard to do... (famous last words).

munckee
Mar 12, 2008, 12:19 PM
Just noticed from an email I got before buying it that there's less than 4GB free on the HD. That'd slow it down a bit too wouldn't it?

twoodcc
Mar 12, 2008, 01:08 PM
Just noticed from an email I got before buying it that there's less than 4GB free on the HD. That'd slow it down a bit too wouldn't it?

yes it would. better erase some stuff

4JNA
Mar 12, 2008, 01:46 PM
I'd be willing to toss a faster HD in it. Can't be that hard to do... (famous last words).

guide can be found HERE (http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac/Mac-Mini/82), and it's not to bad if you don't mind small screws/wires. a lot like working on laptops actually.

the 4gb free would slow it down, but really, you need to get a faster drive for usable performance. 5400rpm with 8mb cache like THIS (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152109) would make day and night difference, and i happen to be fond of samsung. best of luck.

pacmania1982
Mar 12, 2008, 01:50 PM
I'd highly recommend Leopard. I have it on my Mac mini in the entertainment room here. Once you get the mini, boot off the Leopard DVD's and erase the drive and then do a custom install of OS X, i.e. no printer drivers, X11 and additional languages if you don't need them. This will save a few GB's

pac

munckee
Mar 12, 2008, 02:04 PM
guide can be found HERE (http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac/Mac-Mini/82), and it's not to bad if you don't mind small screws/wires. a lot like working on laptops actually.

the 4gb free would slow it down, but really, you need to get a faster drive for usable performance. 5400rpm with 8mb cache like THIS (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152109) would make day and night difference, and i happen to be fond of samsung. best of luck.

Thanks, I'll keep it in mind. I've also found a 60GB Seagate that runs at 7200rpm for $35. Seems like it might be worth the upgrade.