A few questions about PowerPC (PowerBook G4)

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by PowerPC:Oryx, Jun 12, 2013.

  1. PowerPC:Oryx macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2013
    Between Provinces.
    Hi forum,

    I am running my old PowerBook G4:

    PowerPC PowerBook G4 on OS 10.4.11 (Tiger)
    512 MB DDR SDRAM
    1.67 GHz PowerPC G4

    I need to know:

    1) These are the upgrades I plan to do, in light of losing my MacBook Pro to a library thief:

    - upgrade RAM from 512 MB to 1.5 GB (Or do I REALLY need to replace both to max out at 2 GB?)

    - upgrade to OS 10.5.x (which is best? I know G4s work best with Tiger, but am willing to sacrifice speed for better compatibility in Leopard)

    - insert CardBus adapter card for a four USB (2.0) connection (is there something better I can use for this slot? It already has two (2.0) USB slots)

    2) Why won't my PowerBook read a 500 GB Toshiba external hard drive? It was formatted with my MacBook Pro (10.6.3), and read on a MacBook (White MacBook running 10.5.x (don't know specific OS), but will not read on Tiger. Is there something I can change so it will?

    3) I can't find my Disk Utility anywhere - what can I do to get it back? Will it appear if I upgrade to 10.5.x? I just don't know what happened with this one!

    4) I have heard of people losing the backlit function of the keyboard when upgrading to 10.5.x from 10.4.11 on PowerBook G4 - what can be done to avoid this?

    5) Where can I legitimately buy Apple OS install discs for a PowerBook G4?

    Thanks for any information you have! I can't afford a new computer, but might be able to make this one better!
  2. wobegong Guest

    May 29, 2012
    1. I would always go for as much ram as possible especially as you are limited to 2GB.

    Definitely upgrade to Leopard, much better o/s, more support and the 1.67 G4 will handle it fine (after you upgrade the ram)

    Never used the cardbus adapter on mine but I guess if you have lots of USB devices you can't go wrong with that.

    2. Make sure you didnt format it with an Intel only partition format (under options in disk utility).

    3. Copy the app from another machine on the same o/s as yours if its lost. Yes upgrading to Leopard will get it back.

    4. Didn't happen to mine and not heard that so can't comment.

    5. eBay can get you a set of legitimate ones else I'm sure others will post alternatives on here.

    Bummer about your library thief, can't imagine how mad I would be....
  3. PowerPC:Oryx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2013
    Between Provinces.
    For a while, I imagined whoever took it falling down the stairs and breaking their legs, but then I decided that it would be better if I thought of it as the other person really needing it. So, less mad about it now - I mean, who needs two Macs just for entertainment? As a bonus, I am going back to using a 17" version, and I like the size up from my Pro's 13" screen.

    Thank you for the answers, I am on the hunt for a disk utility and/or new OS (I won't install it until I install the RAM, and will go with 2 GB).
  4. Zotaccian macrumors 6502a


    Apr 25, 2012
    If your external drive does take all it's power from USB it might be that your PowerBook is not supplying enough power for the drive. This was the case with my PB, it was the 1.67Ghz 15" model with the low res display (not 1440 x 900). My external drive included a splitter cable meaning that there was second connector just for supplying additional power.... But PB had only two USB-ports and they were on opposite sides so basically it just didn't work :apple:
  5. Wildy macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2011
    I had the same problem too. Every machine I own will supply sufficient power with the exception of the PowerBook. I have a Y-splitter cable, but have to use a second machine to provide the extra power as it will not stretch far enough to be plugged into the other side.
  6. MrPilot, Jun 14, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2013

    MrPilot macrumors 6502

    Apr 30, 2013
    I Have the high res model and it's the same...

    you need a power adapter USB2 standard or USB y-split cable (the powerbook has half the necessary power to power a normal USB2 external drive, so connecting it to two usb ports will enable it's use) or you can get a firewire 800 case for your external drive. In that case go with a SATA.

    Regarding partition table intel vs powerpc.... it won't matter which one you choose, both WILL make the drive work fine as an external... it's just you won't be able to boot from it. (like running an OS on it)

    lastly... I dunno if macintosh garden might have your model's install discs...
    I suppose it would be legal since you own the computer...

    EDIT: Wildy beat me to the y-split cable solution
  7. PowerPC:Oryx thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 12, 2013
    Between Provinces.
    Wildy and Zotaccian: I suspected, but didn't know how to check the power capacity/usage. This is really good to know. And thank you Wildy for the USB splitter tip.

    MrPilot: Thank you for the detail - will check both Macintosh Garden and will format the external hard drive once I transfer my files. Thanks.

    I think I would like to try using an adapter card for the PCMCIA slot that would give me the necessary USB slots side by side to run the external hard drive before I try a firewire case.

    BUT will the card slot provide the needed power?
  8. mayuka macrumors 6502a


    Feb 15, 2009
    That depends on the hard drive. Be sure to check the specs of the hard drive AND the enclosure. Both the enclosure and the hard drive should not use more than 5 W. Most older 2,5" drives need more than 5 W during spinup. There's a difference between spinup usage and usage while running! I'm using a cheap Sharkoon USB 2 enclosure for less than 10 bucks and an older Hitachi drive SATA 256 GB drive. Works great. My 12" Powerbook has no issues.
  9. Cox Orange macrumors 68000

    Jan 1, 2010
    Sorry, if I am ignorant, but is there a CardBus-adapter with SATA available?

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