1.67 GHz PB G4 super slow on Leopard

AnonMac50

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 24, 2010
1,471
276
Hi all! I have a question about my PowerBook G4 (1.67 GHz and 768 MB of RAM). I currently dual boot it between Leopard and Tiger, and I have found Tiger to be very usable, except in the web browser department (understandable). It works great otherwise. However, booting up Leopard slows everything down significantly. Worst thing is if I try to launch a browser, for example, Leopard Webkit or TFF, my computer will freeze for 5-10 minutes, and everything after becomes a pain (every click or scroll takes 5-10 minutes to respond). I don't see that behavior on any other computer I tried, not on any Intel Mac, not on my Dual 2.0 GHz G5, and not even on my 1.33 GHz iBook G3 (also with 768 MB of RAM). Sure, the iBook might feel slower overall, but the browsers work perfectly fine on it, maybe just a bit slower than the ancient white MacBook I have). I have tried reinstalling as well as doing a clean install, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why it is this slow, does anyone have any ideas? Thanks!
 

AL1630

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2016
314
235
Idaho, USA
That's strange. That machine has plenty of power to run leopard, mine does it just fine. I would try giving it a RAM upgrade if you can, 768mb isn't a lot to run leopard on.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AnonMac50

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
3,146
2,608
Lincolnshire, UK
I've had lesser problems with Leopard - just poor performance - always resolved by a re-install. On one occasion I found that the install disk was the culprit - it was a "pre-slimmed" disk from the web, no longer use that one.
Are you using a retail install disk?
 

AnonMac50

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 24, 2010
1,471
276
I've had lesser problems with Leopard - just poor performance - always resolved by a re-install. On one occasion I found that the install disk was the culprit - it was a "pre-slimmed" disk from the web, no longer use that one.
Are you using a retail install disk?
Thanks for the reply. I’m using a Leopard image that I got from ADC years ago. It works perfect (or as perfect as can be expected) on my other PPC and my one of my Intel iMacs (the only one I have that came with Tiger), so I don’t think it’s the installer that’s the issue. I’ve also tried burning the image on two different discs to the same result.
[doublepost=1549209010][/doublepost]
That's strange. That machine has plenty of power to run leopard, mine does it just fine. I would try giving it a RAM upgrade if you can, 768mb isn't a lot to run leopard on.
I was going to, might purchase some RAM later. I’m also shocked. Other than my own G5 and iBook, I’ve also had it installed on an iMac G4 (800 MHz/768 MB) and an eMac G4 (1.25 GHz/512, or was it 1.0 GHz, not sure). Either way, they all ran much better than this.
[doublepost=1549209114][/doublepost]Come to think of it, Tiger seems slower here than it should too, definitely slower than on the previously mentioned iBook on Panther and Tiger.
 
Last edited:

AL1630

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2016
314
235
Idaho, USA
True, I guess leopard only needs 512mb according to the spec sheet. I would try all the 1st stage troubleshooting steps like PRAM etc, as Dronecatcher suggested. If none of those do anything, I would try an install disc from a different source.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AnonMac50

AnonMac50

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 24, 2010
1,471
276
Yes, you're right - your RAM is enough to have Leopard running normally - I guess you've done PRAM resets etc?
Yup, the lot. I’m probably gonna try backing up my stuff and doing a clean install again in the coming weeks too. I tried using Target Disk Mode and booting my other computers from it (both Intel and even a TiBook 867. I didn’t use it much but they seem to be better? I’m kind of ruling the HDD at this point.
[doublepost=1549209788][/doublepost]
True, I guess leopard only needs 512mb according to the spec sheet. I would try all the 1st stage troubleshooting steps like PRAM etc, as Dronecatcher suggested. If none of those do anything, I would try an install disc from a different source.
Yeah, I’ll try to see if I can find one in the coming weeks and give it a shot.
 

AphoticD

macrumors 68000
Feb 17, 2017
1,760
2,214
Australia
I would take a guess and say the hard drive is failing. I have witnessed those 5 minute beachball delays on my 17” PBG4 (2GB of RAM). The system log started filling up with Disk I/O errors and within a few weeks it stopped completely. I then replaced the drive with an SSD and haven’t had a problem with it since.
 

AnonMac50

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 24, 2010
1,471
276
I would take a guess and say the hard drive is failing. I have witnessed those 5 minute beachball delays on my 17” PBG4 (2GB of RAM). The system log started filling up with Disk I/O errors and within a few weeks it stopped completely. I then replaced the drive with an SSD and haven’t had a problem with it since.
How would I be able to test if the hard drive is failing? I’ll have to do more tests later, but if I recall correctly, I think my TiBook ran Leopard better than this one (using this computer’s hard drive using Target Disk Mode), but it may have been a placebo.
 

AphoticD

macrumors 68000
Feb 17, 2017
1,760
2,214
Australia
How would I be able to test if the hard drive is failing? I’ll have to do more tests later, but if I recall correctly, I think my TiBook ran Leopard better than this one (using this computer’s hard drive using Target Disk Mode), but it may have been a placebo.
Disk Utility can report the drive’s SMART status, but I have only ever seen this report a failing drive on more recent (SATA) HDDs - maybe the status report had a higher tolerance to failure on the older hardware...

Like I mentioned, my system log (accessible via Console.app) was filling up with constant lines of “diskX I/O error” while I was trying to use the PowerBook, so take a look in there.

Diskwarrior 4 is always good to have on hand as it came on a PowerPC bootable CD. DiskWarrior can try to repair the volume and will be likely to encounter a fault if there is one. IIRC, DiskWarrior 4.2 could have been the last PowerPC/UB version.

As @Traace suggests, you could compile your own tools. I would recommend ‘smartmontools’ available from MacPorts or TigerBrew. But if the drive is really failing, this will take a very long time and will likely fail in the build process.

The best advice I could give is backup your data and stick a new drive in there!

Edit: ...Even if the fault lies elsewhere, you’ll have your data backed up and a spare drive to work with. It could also be an opportunity to upgrade the PowerBook with an SSD.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: AnonMac50

Project Alice

macrumors 6502a
Jul 13, 2008
773
427
Post Falls, ID
The other day I accidentally booted leopard on a 450Mhz sawtooth with 128mb of ram installed. It took like 7 minutes to boot but it worked okay the few minutes I had it on and realized what I did lol.

I'd point to the HDD. They're all pretty old at this point, and anything under a 7200RPM is unacceptable for booting in my book. Start up from a FW drive or TDM another PPC mac with leopard and see how it runs. I usually get the same if not better performance on my leopard installed G4s.

I've also had way more failed HDDs still being reported as healthy by SMART. And I've also had drives run for years after SMART reported it as a bad drive. Bottom line, SMART while useful isn't very reliable IMO.
 

AnonMac50

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Mar 24, 2010
1,471
276
Thanks guys, I will try those out in the next few days and let you guys know.