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Old Jun 8, 2008, 02:19 PM   #1
c073186
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Super slow PowerBook...

My sister has a four year old PowerBook, 1.33 GHz G4, 256 MB memory, running Panther, and it is incredibly slow. It has nothing installed but Office 2004. And I mean really, really slow. She said it has been that way pretty much forever but never said anything because she did not know it was out of the ordinary (). But I've used an iBook that was older than this PowerBook and it was faster, and it had a bunch of garbage installed on it. I have tried an Erase and Install on the PowerBook - no change.

This makes me think it is a hardware problem. But I do not know how to test for bad hardware other than the hard drive, which checks out okay. How do I test the RAM, CPU, etc. to see if there is a faulty component?

And, if I do find something not working properly, is there likely anything that can be done to fix it? I mean, it is four years old so obviously no Apple warranty / protection. Nonetheless I would like to know the cause of its slowness.
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Old Jun 8, 2008, 02:35 PM   #2
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256mb of ram is ridiculously low. That would likely be the problem. You can bump it to the 2gb max for less than $100 I would imagine. My wife's 1.5ghz powerbook was running slow on 512mb. We added a 1gb stick last year for cheep and it really boosted performance. Give it a try.
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Old Jun 8, 2008, 02:46 PM   #3
nick9191
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You can run the Apple Hardware Test, I believe this is on the install disks.

If you find something that is broken you would need to fix it yourself, or pay Apple a ludicrous amount of money to do so. Depending on whether this is a 12" Powerbook or a 15/17" will tell us how easy it is to open up.

And yes I would recommend chucking a GB of RAM in there, plus the original 256 (or 128 if its 2 sticks of 128, since you will need to remove a 128 to fit the 1GB.)
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Old Jun 8, 2008, 02:55 PM   #4
c073186
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256 MB is low for Panther? It seemed normal at the time of purchase...

I am running the hardware test now and will post back the results. It is a 15/17" model.
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Old Jun 8, 2008, 03:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c073186 View Post
256 MB is low for Panther? It seemed normal at the time of purchase...
Yes, it's very low. Follow the advice of the other posters and upgrade the RAM. It'll be like getting a whole new machine.

For my own experience, I still have a 1.25 GHz PowerBook at work running Panther. It originally came with 2x256MB from Apple, and we replaced that with 2x512MB third party memory. We had 2 separate problems crop up simultaneously: the third party memory was crap and had to be exchanged (constant kernel panics), and one of the RAM slots in the machine went bad. That meant that I was down to a solitary 256MB stick of memory for a time. It was slow. Painfully, agonizingly slow. This is because it was constantly swapping to the 4000 rpm hard drive for additional memory.

Given the likelihood that your sister's machine probably has the same slow speed of hard drive, I'm not surprised at all. Give that hard drive a rest and add some memory.
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Old Jun 8, 2008, 03:14 PM   #6
c073186
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Okay I am open to the more RAM idea. A few questions:

1. How much is enough? 1 GB? Since it has a stick of 256 MB in it already, I basically will have to trash that one if I want 1+ GB since there are only two slots, right?

2. From this page: http://eshop.macsales.com/MyOWC/Upgr...=Show+Upgrades -- which RAM should I buy? I am new to buying and installing RAM, so help is needed please.

3. If this does speed up things, would it be unreasonable to try to install Leopard on the computer since it would now satisfy the 512 MB requirement? Or would that just counter any speed increases because it is more system-intensive?
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Old Jun 8, 2008, 05:15 PM   #7
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It's four years old, maybe the hard drive is going bad...
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 09:48 AM   #8
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I have the exact same machine, with 1GB installed (only one stick as the other slot is buszteddd) and it's still pretty fast. in fact, for normal stuff, it's plenty fast and it's only really when i am doing some seriously nuts audio processing that it gets a bit mardy and slows down. when i had just 256 (when i first got it) it felt slow and crappy.
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 10:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c073186 View Post
256 MB is low for Panther? It seemed normal at the time of purchase...

I am running the hardware test now and will post back the results. It is a 15/17" model.
256MB is not low for Panther, it's too low for Mac Office.
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Old Jun 9, 2008, 02:15 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by c073186 View Post
Okay I am open to the more RAM idea. A few questions:

1. How much is enough? 1 GB? Since it has a stick of 256 MB in it already, I basically will have to trash that one if I want 1+ GB since there are only two slots, right?
Yes, if you want more than the 1.25GB that you'd get with the 256MB plus 1 GB you'd have to pull the 256MB out and it wouldn't be used any more. That really depends on the Powerbook though, because the 12" had 1 ram slot soldered to the board, so you could only add one stick and max out at 1.25 GB. The 15" and 17" don't have that limitation.

Quote:
2. From this page: http://eshop.macsales.com/MyOWC/Upgr...=Show+Upgrades -- which RAM should I buy? I am new to buying and installing RAM, so help is needed please.
Go here:
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memor...s/G4-Aluminum/

Look under the heading, "OWC PC2700 DDR 333MHz SO-DIMM for all other 12/15/17" Models"

Quote:
3. If this does speed up things, would it be unreasonable to try to install Leopard on the computer since it would now satisfy the 512 MB requirement? Or would that just counter any speed increases because it is more system-intensive?
Personally, I would definitely upgrade to Tiger, but I haven't experienced Leopard on a G4, so I can't speak to the performance. Search for threads about Leopard and Powerbooks here. I'm sure there's several that discuss performance.
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