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First time PPC user, what should I know?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by amoda, Jan 22, 2011.

  1. macrumors 6502a

    Hey everyone!

    Come tuesday, I'll be a first time PPC Mac owner when I accept delivery of a 12" PowerBook I bought off eBay.

    I was wondering if there's anything I need to know about using a PPC Mac, are they any different than their intel counterparts (aside from performance)?

    I bought the laptop solely for portability, and I have a 17" unibody for when I need the power. However, is there anything I can do to get every last drop of power? I bought a 1.5Ghz, 1.25GB ram model, so I'm maxed out in that regard but is there maybe an SSD that works with these models?

    Thanks for any help!
  2. macrumors 68000

    1) An SSD in these models would be pointless as the Bus used for HDs in older PowerBooks is much slower than SATA used in modern Macs.
    2) As well as a severe speed difference, dont expect to use the very latest software - the latest version of iLife you can use is iLife '08, with the exception of iMovie, for which iMovie '06 HD is the maximum
    3) Dont expect the system to be able to do web-video. If viewed at more than 240p, youtube begins to stutter on my 15" PowerBook G4 (1.67Ghz Model).
  3. macrumors 65816


    I don't know your technical level of understanding so let me break it down for you, if you have more questions feel free to ask. When a programmer writes a program, they are 'compiled' very specifically, not just for operating system, but also for what's called the 'Processor Architecture', you may often hear it referred to as an instruction set, or something similar.

    The most common types are ARM (Mobile CPU's, technically the most common, found in your iPod, iPhone, etc. Not used in desktop or laptop computing, but that may change!), x86 (There are lots of sub categories here, like i586, AMD64, etc., but x86 is what an intel Mac is, it's 64-bit, which means it can run both x86-32 {i586} and x86-64 {AMD64} code that has been compiled for Mac OS X), and PowerPC, which is based on the RISC architecture.

    What this means for you is, basically, unless it is SPECIFICALLY noted, Intel Mac software will not work on a PowerPC Mac. OS X 10.6 and up aren't 'locked out' of PPC Macs, they literally cannot run because they are only compiled to run on an intel mac. You may hear people talk about 'Universal Binaries', those are programs that have been compiled both for Intel and PowerPC macs. You won't find those in new software most of the time, but older software.

    In short, you can't run newer software. Some stuff is occasionally supported on PowerPC, but for the most part, your restricted to older software. Now, you can still browse the web, run software that is only a couple of years old, and stuff like that, but you cannot run Intel Mac software. Technically you can, through emulation, but that powerbook lacks the processing power to do so.

    Other thoughts, if I were you I'd run OS X 10.4, not 10.5. The reason being is that 10.4 allows you to run OS 9.1 software, so it opens up your software library even more.

    If you have any more questions, feel free to ask! I find this is a pretty friendly part of the forum.

    As far as your question about an SSD, SSD's are not made on the IDE (PATA) interface (there are plenty of platter-based hard disks that can max out that bus speed). So in short, it won't work in your PowerBook. To be honest, for the money you would spend on an SSD, you could get an inexpensive Windows laptop that would outperform that machine. Windows isn't exactly a 'good' computing experience, not like OSX is anyway, but if your just looking for an ultra portable web browser, light use, it could do the trick. I like Acer, myself, but stay CLEAR AWAY from HP. There is a reason they consistently rank low in customer satisfaction and reliability.

  4. macrumors 68000

    Thats wrong actually, there are some (admittedly not many, but still some) IDE (PATA) interface SSDs in production. So they do exist, they just dont get the full benefit. Ive seen 32GB SSDs in the 2.5" PATA size/interface combo.
  5. macrumors 6502a

    Chris, John, thank you so much for you help!

    The quick and concise (yet information filled) replies are really appreciated! I'll do some studying up on my own now that you've set me on the correct path.

    John, if I have any more questions I'll pick you up on your offer :)
  6. macrumors 68000

    Just remember to make it a public thread or add it to this one so we can all way in :D
  7. macrumors 6502a


    ilife 09 runs just dandy on ppc
  8. el-John-o, Jan 22, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2011

    macrumors 65816

    Oh okay, well, I stand corrected. Although, I feel sorry for the guy who buys a 32GB SSD on PATA, when a WD Raptor (or heck, a Caviar black PATA) would be just as fast due to the limitation of the bus. I don't know for a fact that there are 2.5" drives that fast, but I would venture to say that, probably, there are good old fashioned HDD's that max out the bus.

    Another tip is to check eBay for software too. Those powerbooks where made back in a nicer time where Piracy didn't run rampant, and companies didn't have to bloat up their software with DRM (Digital Rights Management) restrictions that makes selling used software today almost impossible (occasionally a company will allow you to sell it by resetting your license through them, but it's rare). However, software back then was secured by nothing more than a CD-Key, so it can be bought and sold just fine. Just make doubly sure that it is for a PowerPC Mac! (In fact, I have all of my OS 9 software on Jaz disks, just pulled the data off of the CD and on to the Jaz disks and ZIP disks, you can't do that anymore! The software now checks that the original factory DVD is in the drive, and activates it online to boot.)

  9. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    -i would run tiger (downside being max itunes is 9.2.1...so if lastest version is needed with new devices your gonna need to go with leopard)
    -in dock use scale effects and no mag or animate...also turn wallpaper off
    -turn off dashboard and turn off spotlight,if has bluetooth turn that also off
    ----To turn Dashboard off: use terminal
    defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

    You have to restart the Dock after making either change for it to take effect:
    killall Dock

    ---To turn Spotlight off: use terminal

    cd /etc
    sudo nano hostconfig

    Then to get rid of the existing index, run these two commands
    sudo mdutil -i off /
    sudo mdutil -E /

    reboot computer

    ----if you want to remove spotlight icon do this

    1. As an administrator, navigate to /System/Library/CoreServices, and delete Search.bundle. If you think might want to re-enable it later, just move it somewhere else or rename it.
    2. Open up the Activity Monitor and force quit SystemUIServer. When it reopens, your menu bar will be Spotlight free.

    -use camino as your web browser---this is version for G4

    -use mactubes for utube
  10. macrumors 68000

    Thank you for your miraculous ability to copy verbatim what I wrote above with the miraculous ability to delete the quote tags. Total added to this thread by you : 0. If you have nothing to add, please dont bother.

    Also OP: Tiger will run absolutely fine without all the terminal stuff above if you give it enough RAM (It runs fine on my Dual 867 G4 with 1.5GB RAM, with everything turned on - its perfectly responsive).
  11. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    amodo.....don't listen to above statement,he is just plain wrong! the terminal options i suggested can really help a ibook run tiger faster!

    chris.....perhaps you would like to add some hints of your own.
  12. macrumors 68000

    I am not wrong. It will run FINE without those, which is all I stated. I never said your hints wouldnt speed things up, I just said they arent necessary if your not intent on making your system the fastest (and to be frank, most people arent so long as it works), maybe you need to read before you post :rolleyes: - Also last time I checked Ive been helping this Poster from that start, again youd know that if youd bothered to read before posting. Oh, and the OP bought a PowerBook, not an iBook, which is quite a difference, especially in terms of the Graphics speed (and CPU speed, as their generally faster).
  13. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    waiting on your suggestions to speed things up....

    amado: may i also suggest these programs

    monolingual-removes unneeded lang
    paintbrush and seashore (graphics)
    vlc-video player
    shadowkiller- (not sure if it speeds things up,but removes shadows so may help?)
    carboncopy-makes imaging harddrive nice and simple (may i rec...when you install osx use disk utility and make two partitions...second one about 5gig...then after you install osx to main partition and update, and add programs you like...then use carboncopy and make image to second partition...if you ever have to reinstall,simple use disk utility and use restore and use image on second partition (will be fast and ready to use right away)..........
  14. macrumors 68000

    My suggestion is that its completely unnecessary as 10.4.11 runs PERFECTLY fine with NO modification on those machines. There is NO point in hacking around and messing about when it runs fine. That is my point. Again, you seem incapable of reading. :rolleyes:

    OP: If you want to spend hours learning new programs and gain maybe 1%-3% speed boost follow his hints, if you value your time and are perfectly content with it working just fine for 98% of what you want to do, dont bother.
  15. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    chris...hours to learn my suggestions lol (try like maybe 15-20 min max)! if you need some help,feel free to ask...i will even go at your slow pace if it helps...;)

    amoda: chris is right,osx will run ok right out of the box....however if you like to learn...a little tweaking and running programs that don't use up resources, osx will run even better...my tweak suggestion will take 5 min and installing and using those programs maybe another 10min.
  16. macrumors 68000

    1) I dont need your help, I am perfectly capable of messing with my systems myself. To some users of this forum the Terminal is completely alien, thus your overcomplicating matters. Last time I checked my entire collection of Macs run fine with standard OS installs, and many of these are used for proper computing, not just messing around, which is what you seem to enjoy.
    2) If you think Im slow, you really are ignorant. The day I take help from someone who cant even read what I post is the day not only has hell frozen over, but Apple has started bundling Windows 7 as the default and only OS on their computers.
    3) OP: His suggestions are worthwhile if you really cant cope with waiting that extra .005 of a second for an application to load, if like the rest of us you find spotlight a useful feature and dont want to fiddle with the Docks settings, dont bother.
  17. macrumors 603

    I used to run a Powerbook G4 with Tiger (and Leopard), no need for any of this craziness.
  18. macrumors 68000

    +1 - Exactly what Ive attempted to point out to him, but he seems to be under the impression everyone loves the terminal, and not having Spotlight.
  19. macrumors 6502a

    Wow, sorry for sparking off this forum hostility!

    All replies are appreciated, and I'm sure that all of you are very experienced Mac users and know what you're doing.

    Good news, it seems like I'll be receiving the laptop sometime today rather than tomorrow! I'm excited to test it out and take all the knowledge you've passed onto me and experiment.

    Again, thank each of you for your help. If a moderator can close this thread it'd be great!
  20. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    couple fun terminal suggestions (just to drive chris crazy lol)

    terminal games:

    In terminal, type emacs (and press enter) after that, press X and ESC at the same time, then type tetris (or pong).
  21. macrumors 68000


    Nice, thanks tom... this is cool. Old school.
  22. macrumors 6502a

    Aha, play nice!

    I recieved the laptop 2hs ago and have been using it for some work during that time. First impression? LOVE IT. I'm very happy with the deal I recieved. To give those interested some idea to pricing here is what I got:

    1.5 Ghz G4
    1.25GB ram
    80GB 5400rpm
    50min-1h battery
    iSight with cables
    carrying case

    for $140CAD shipped.

    I think that's fantastic value for the machine, which is much snappier than I expected. It's running tiger at the moment (which might be why it's so snappy) but yeah. For my need for this machine I don't see a reason to spend an extra $400 to get a MacBook.

    Speaking of MacBook, it's heavier than my friends macbook, but not my much. It's also smaller than their MacBook, which matters to me more than weight.

    I can see my self being addicted to this form factor. It's surpisingly not affecting my work as much as I thought it would (but it's only been 2hs so we'll see).

    My one gripe is the battery life. The battery that it came with is pretty weak, only handling about 50mins of word+wifi with screen at 25% brightness. I'm definitly going to pick up a 2nd battery, but I was told to only expect 2-2:30hs of use even with a new battery.

    Can't wait to use this more and more :-D
  23. macrumors 68000

    Its not going to annoy me, I can ignore a 5 year old whose somehow managed to register for the forums. In regards to the battery, if its a non-apple replacement it should manage 5hrs + (They managed about 4 new if I remember correctly).
  24. macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    amoda: great price! on craigs here in vanc that would run 200-250!

    meanwhile chris...resorts to foolish 5 year old comments when he can't come up with any ideas of his own...stick around kid,you might just learn something!
  25. Lord Blackadder, Jan 24, 2011
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2011

    macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    I have a 15" PowerbBook, and one of my brothers has a contemporary 12". My 15" has slightly higher performance but I LOVE the 12" form-factor; it's probably my favorite of all the Apple laptops and reminds me of the old PowerBook Duos.

    I agree about the battery life; I recieved a new battery in Apple's battery exchange program a few years ago and after a couple years of heavy use it is toast, I get under an hour out of it under ideal conditions on my 15". My brother has had slightly better luck but he's in need of a new battery as well. The best you can do is buy a new battery and work with what you have.

    Given their technical limitations, the 12" Powerbooks are great machines and have remained very popular. They make a great second computer, and can run OS9 (or earlier) apps as a bonus.

    Gentlemen, let's keep it civil, please?...you've both offered reasonable advice - don't spoil it by squabbling.

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