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PowerBook G4 17" ***advice needed*****

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by macximus, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. macrumors newbie

    I have a Power book G4 I d like to maximize its performance.
    About a year ago it crashed and it has been in the closet till about a month ago that i took it to a tech shop and they put a new HD...i should've asked there but didn't.

    The tech installed OS X 10.4.11 , works nice and all, but is there anything I can do to this old unit to make it a better one? Can i add more ram maybe more HD space? I love this mac and has served me well over the years. I will get a MBP later around, but for now I'd like to see how I can improve its power or maybe it is not worth the investment/effort.

    What would you do to it if it was yours?. Thank you in advance. The specs are as follows:

    Machine Name: PowerBook G4 17"
    Machine Model: PowerBook5,5
    CPU Type: PowerPC G4 (1.1)
    Number Of CPUs: 1
    CPU Speed: 1.5 GHz
    L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
    Memory: 1.5 GB
    Bus Speed: 167 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: 4.8.6f0


    Size: 512 MB
    Type: DDR SDRAM
    Speed: PC2700U-25330
    Status: OK


    Size: 1 GB
    Type: DDR SDRAM
    Speed: PC2700U-25330
    Status: OK
  2. macrumors 68000


    First off you can max out your ram to 2GB. Put in a larger hardrive probably a 320gb? But it is all up to you how much money and time you would like to invest.

    Be aware though that you cannot run the latest and the greatest software. But you will do just fine with the old ones. I know because I still can get my daily work done on a powerbook G4 as well. See my sig...
  3. macrumors 68030


    One point five jigga-hurtz???

    Hah, these things are great! I loved mine! 1.5ghz was the fastest PowerBook I ever owned. I now own a 400mhz PowerBook G3 Wallstreet so that's the full range of my experience :p

    Anyhow, with the 1.5ghz model, I recommend upgrading to Leopard, 10.5.8. People will tell you all day long that "leepord totally maykz ur systm run teh slower" but just don't listen to them. My PowerMac G4 and three PowerBook G4's all loved Leopard!

    I'm currently on my 733mhz PowerMac QuickSilver, which doesn't even support Leopard and it's running so much better! On top of that, it can run some of the latest components and software. Leopard is still widely supported.

    Just do it. Just.....do it.
  4. macrumors 68020

    Jethryn Freyman

    Max out your RAM and put Leopard on it! I ran Leopard on my 466MHz G4 tower with 1.25GB RAM. Not as fast at Tiger, but Leopard is so much more modern and usable.
  5. macrumors newbie

    if I do expand RAM to 2GB and HD size do you think I can upload Gopro HD footage on this mac" I was thinking in getting a G-Technology G-RAID 2 TB,External,7200 RPM (GR42000)..., would that help some...and if i get it do i still need expand internal hard drive capacity? Thanks.

    (this external hard drive is a monster to this unit I now. lol, I was gonna get it anyways to load up all footage, pics I have accumulating overtime). btw, would this external drive work with this mac?
  6. macrumors 68040


    external firewire harddrive is better than usb hard drive. but they are very expensive than usb hd.

    Upgrade 2GB ram and hard drive does not make much performance. but it will run smoothly. Leopard 10.5.8 is best....it feels like snow leopard.
  7. macrumors G3


    I have a 320 GB hard drive in my 1.67Ghz 17". Western Digital Scorpio Blue, WD3200BEVE.

    AFAIK that's the largest PATA drive you can get at this time. Speed wise it's much faster than the one in my other 17" (100GB, original Apple drive). Other options include a SATA PC card which would allow you to use SATA drives externally. I've also seen an adapter kit and SSD drives for the 17" model, but those are really expensive.

    With Leopard, 2GB of Ram and a larger hard drive you are pretty much maxed out with these machines.
  8. Guest

    Here's my 2 cents... Look at what your needs are, find what isn't working proprely, then search the web for more optimized apps. For example, I switched to Tenfourfox 5 on my powerbook 1.67 and now web browsing feels a lot better. PPC apps are becoming harder and harder to find, and you might just find out that you weren't using the best for your needs but the easiest to find. Google and internet archive (for dead links) are your friends.

    As for the leopard / tiger thing, leopard is more ram hungry. If you get 2 GB RAM you should be ok. For myself, I prefer to use Tiger because of classic and it is also slightly faster. I have Leopard installed too on a small disk partition and I switch when I need apps that don't run under Tiger.
  9. macrumors G3


    I've found that Leopard has been better for both my PBs. Sure, it uses more RAM, but the OS seems to be faster, my fans don't come on like they used to and everything else seems to be operating efficiently. But that's just me.

    I like TenFourFox, been with it since version 4. But I've found, that just like FireFox it's RAM hungry and CPU intensive. I can merely open up Google, let T4F sit there and my CPU is clocking anywhere between 30-40% (I have iStat in my menubar) and I'm eating over 700mb in memory (I have 1GB of Ram on my 1Ghz PB).

    Recently I have switched back to SeaMonkey 2.0.14. Of all the Mozilla based browsers I have it seems to be able to take my FF extensions the best. I've had to sub a few extensions, but with the Mr. Fixit extension I've been able to get almost everything I had under Firefox working. Best of all, at idle it's taking maybe 11-28% CPU with about 500mb+ of Ram. My only issue with Seamonkey is that it doesn't theme very well and the themes that you can use are just ugly.
  10. macximus, Sep 7, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011

    macrumors newbie

    great advice, I really appreciate it guys.

    Can you recomend a particular brand and place where to buy the RAM from? How much is leopard Leopard, 10.5.8 can i download it from mac website or i need to buy it....a link, would be helpfull. Also where is the best place to buy a battery for this unit. Found out that the battery doesn't hold charge much at all. Thanks again.
  11. macrumors 68000


    This is just my personal choice, but when it comes to parts, if I cannot find it on ebay I got to OWC. Battery, RAM etc. Because I know that I don't have to worry about the parts not to work on my old macs.

    For leopard disks, try your local craigslist or ebay as well. Price is a little steep though. Leopard can be upgraded thru Software Update utility.
  12. eyoungren, Sep 7, 2011
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011

    macrumors G3


    Here are my preferences:
    RAM - Crucial
    Batterys: FreshBattery
    Parts: eBay and UsedMac

    UsedMac has low prices because a lot of their stuff is used. eBay is also killer for prices. I've replaced a 12" screen on my wife's PB for $24 on eBay and my 1Ghz 17" PB screen for $89 on eBay. Both used screens, but both working and including all the parts (hinges, etc). Compared to what I've seen ($900+ dollars for a 17" screen (without the bezel!) is ridiculous) it's way cheaper on eBay.

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