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iBook G4 lifespan

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Zulu, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Search as much as I can but I can't find the answer to my questions.

    I have an iBook G4, about 4.5 years old:
    Processor: 1.2GHz PowerPC G4
    Memory: 1.25GB DDR SDRAM
    OS: 10.4.11

    Mostly I use it now for web browsing and the occasion word processing. Initially I bought the machine while studying a Photography degree, which is now complete. Occasionally I use Photoshop CS2 on it.

    Increasingly I am noticing that the machine is slowing down, firefox now takes longer to load, as does Photoshop. I'm considering purchasing a 13" MBP as a replacement, but would rather try and get the old G4 running better rather than shell out about a grand.

    The question I am wondering about is, how long can I get my iBook to last, and how can I get it to run faster? I tried to look for an answer over the expected lifespan of the iBooks, but there's not much information.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
  2. macrumors regular

    Max out the ram? Think it's just time to bite the bullet and upgrade.
    Your ibook is just going to get slower and slower.
  3. macrumors 68000


    If he's got 1.25Gb of RAM in it, then he's already got it maxed out. Here is my suggestion. Get a faster hard drive. Find an ATA 5400RPM drive and install it. That will make a dramatic increase in responsiveness like you wouldn't believe. Those iBooks had only 4200Rpm drive with are REALLY slow to spin up. Also, take that opportunity to do a fresh install of Mac OS 10.5 (or 10.4 if you prefer) and that should help with speed as well. Chances are your drive is getting fuller and is fragmented pretty badly. Doing a fresh install of the OS can breathe some new life into an older system. Also, at 1.2GHz and 1.25GB of RAM you will be just fine running Leopard.
  4. macrumors 68030


    Bear in mind that a hard drive install on a G4 iBook is a major pain in the posterior. I don't think the benefit you'd see would be worth the trouble.

    With a machine that old, nothing you can do is going to make it an appreciable difference. IMO it's time to bite the bullet and start shopping the refurb store....
  5. macrumors 603


    I'd suggest buying a desktop and using the iBook only while mobile. Your needs may be different from mine, but when I'm away from my desk all I do on my iBook G3 500 MHz is take notes and browse the web. It works just fine for that.
  6. macrumors newbie

    I'm going to assume that a installing a new hard drive is either hard to do yourself, or expensive for someone else to do? Certainly I've considered a fresh install of the OS on the current HD, but would this really increase the speed dramatically?

    Regarding buying a desktop, again, it's an option that I've considered, but I have no desk. :D Besides, I like the portability of a laptop.
  7. macrumors 603


    See for yourself. If you're not comfortable doing it yourself, have someone else do it.

    That depends. A fresh install will run faster than what you're running right now. Hardcore Mac evangelists will scoff that only Windows needs periodic reinstalling, but even though there's no inherent atrophy in the system, you still end up accumulating tons of trash you don't need over time, and the best way to correct it is to restart from scratch. For the same reason, once I have paper stacked up higher than my keyboard on my desk, I find it easier to remove everything from the desk than to sort through everything one by one. (Of course, all of the paper ends up on my floor instead, so it's not a perfect analogy, but you get the picture.)
  8. macrumors 68020


    Reinstall the OS, get a 5400/7200 rpm HD or an fast external to boot off of if you don't want to go through the trouble of installing the drive but it is not too hard if you can follow directions and keep track of all those microscopic screws inside of the thing.

    My PB G4 got faster with an OS reinstall. Oh, and make sure you install an ad blocker or at least a flash blocker (that you can click on the flash if you want it)
  9. macrumors 603


    Bear in mind that PowerPC Macs can only boot from FireWire external drives.
  10. macrumors newbie

    I have already a firewire 400 external HD at 7200RPM - unfortunately I formatted it on Windows so that it could be used by both a Windows based PC and my Mac.

    The key thing that I like about the laptop is it's mobility, so tying it down by booting from an external is going to be tedious. Besides, the way I have been running the machine is to not switch it off unless it is completely necessary. Normally the uptime for it between reboots is anywhere between 20 and 60 days. (I was advised that this is fine to do, and in some cases better than switching it off each time, as the boot up puts extra stresses on the HD)

    I had a look at the / a tutorial to change the disk, it seems like it will take a while but is doable. Might give that some more thought. Thanks for the input this far. :)

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