Best OS for a 1.25Ghz G4 Mini?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ChrisA, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    FIrst off I do have a better Mac. But the old Mini still seems to work OK, well after addressing a hard drive problem.

    So I have a spare copy of Leopard. Just installed it onto a fresh drive and did all the software updates and let the spotlight index finish. It works OK but wow is it SLOW. How slow? I type "" in to the address bar in Safari and the letters don't appear as I type. The after a few seconds the beach ball appears for about 12 seconds then finally the URL I typed appears. Many times windows and icons do not track the mouse. It is hard to edit text if the hi-light area lags a good "three count" from the mouse pointer. Basically the G4 is not usable.

    Specs are basic: G4, 1.25Ghz, 1GB RAM, 5400RPM ~40GB drive. DVD burner "super drive".

    Question: Should I go back to Tiger? I have the discs for Tiger also being unused and available.

    Second question: Could the horrible performance be caused by a hardware problem?

    Again this is a brand new Leopard install and everything seem to function correctly if you give it enough time. Activity Meter shows half the RAM is free (green) and o page outs, zero swap in use.

    Maybe I should simple install a copy of BSD UNIX or even Linux.

    I think All I need to run on that Mini is a web browser and "text edit" The main computer is a 24" iMac but the kids some times need a second computer for homework.
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
    Leopard needs a G4 CPU with 867MHz at minimum, so while the Mac Mini is above that, spec-wise, it is still holding Leopard back and causes slowdowns.

    I had Leopard installed on my G4 iBook with 1.07 GHz and it was a drag.

    You also only have 1GB of RAM and even though Activity Monitor shows free RAM, that is not really enough for a smooth experience.

    I don't know about the hardware slowing down the computer though, the HDD is fast enough but maybe it has a defect?

    I think, Tiger is the better option for your G4 Mac Mini.
  3. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    That seems a little odd. When I ran leopard on my eMac (with only 512 MB of RAM) it seemed to do alright. It certainly didn't exhibit the lag you're describing.

    I can't give an answer as to why yours is like that, but I myself run Tiger as my main OS. There really isn't much that Leopard has as an advantage over Tiger (Spaces, I suppose if you use it.) other then some eye candy. And for me the speed and responsiveness increase is well worth the small sacrifice. I'd put Tiger on the mini if Leopard continues to give you problems.
  4. robotartfashion macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2009
    Phoenix, AZ
    I have Leopard installed on my G4 12" Powerbook with similar specs and it moves fast, I felt it was an upgrade to Tiger, but to each their own.

    I feel like there must be something else at work there, because they aren't that different spec wise. It's the 1.33 Ghz with 1.25 GB's of RAM.

    No ideas what the problem could be though.
  5. MacHamster68 macrumors 68040


    Sep 17, 2009
    despite cassie had no problems with his eMac and leopard ,
    i had the same issues on my eMac 1.42 and 64mb vram and 1 gb ram
    leopard did slow it down to a point where it was slower then my iMac g3 600 with 512mb ram , for example youtube was slow, also divx films did stutter
    it took ages to open any app

    i installed osx tiger (10.4.11 ) again and the eMac is running fast again
    so i suggest get tiger for your mini ,i think that was anyway the original OS that came with the mini 1.25
  6. Alrescha macrumors 68020

    Jan 1, 2008
    For what it's worth, I have a clean Leopard install on my original mini (1.25 GHz G4 with 1GB of ram) and the GUI is responsive.

    There is no lag in Finder, nor in Safari (when typing URLs the previous-URL pattern matching works as fast as I can type).

    I could believe that Tiger is faster in some ways - but I can't imagine going back to it.

  7. Patmn macrumors member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Mississauga, ON
    That's exactly what I'm running now (and my eMac is only 1.25 GHz) and it's working great. It works much faster with Leopard than it did with Panther!
  8. cjmillsnun macrumors 68020

    Aug 28, 2009
    Leopard, as it is still supported (security updates) by Apple. It may be slower, but give it time, it should speed up.
  9. ABG macrumors 6502

    Oct 5, 2003
    United Kingdom
    Same here (ish).

    I put 10.5 on my 1.25Ghz G4 powerbook a few months ago - 10.4 wouldn't support some software IIRC (latest version of Firefox?). Anyway it seemed to run fine, so it sounds to me like its not the hardware spec which is the issue.
  10. brobins macrumors member

    Nov 27, 2008
    I have just put a clean install of Leopard on my old G4 Dual 1.25Ghz Power Mac MDD. Runs just fine, no slow downs or anything like that..

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