Can a Powerbook G4 handle this?

Desertrobot

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Original poster
Feb 23, 2017
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So I've been wanting an 12 inch Powerbook g4 forever. I have a 2013 Macbook air that I use for classes, I mainly just take notes with Google docs and look at my email.

Would a 12 inch Powerbook be capable of running google docs and gmail? I know these things get more outdated everyday because of lack of software support, but I just thought these simple uses would work as an excuse to get on of these computers as a backup laptop.

Thanks.
 

Stephen Valente

macrumors member
Feb 16, 2012
70
8
I'm picking up a 1.5GHz 12" Powerbook G4 tomorrow. Interested to find out how it performs too. Ironically I'm picking up a 2009 Mac Pro the same morning. What a contrast!
 

pochopsp

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Apr 6, 2016
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Napoli, city of sun and pizza!
Mmmm yes but not so smoothly. Many users here report Google docs to be very sluggish with PowerPC Macs. As regards email you're fine: the stock leopard client still works very good, never had a problem with it, and there is also a Mozilla Thunderbird recent port.
 

zarathu

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2003
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I don't know about Google docs, but I had a PB 800 that handled mail, and simple internet easily. Don't expect it to handle current graphics at all. I used it until last year for internet music until the wifi card died. Now its virtually useless. I've had a 1st gen MBP, then a 2011 quad iMac, then a core2duo Thinkpad running Linux Ubuntu, and finally because Ubuntu was jut too dull, a 2013 late MBP running OS Sierra again in the Mainstream.

But my Titanium PB 800 from 2000, was lots of fun.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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Don't expect it to handle current graphics at all. …Now its virtually useless.
????

PowerMac G4/400, 256MB ram (used to be 1.75GB) running Leopard 10.5.8. Adobe CS4 (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator), QuarkXPress 8.5, Acrobat 9, Suitcase Fusion 2, Office 2004.

PowerMac G5/1.8Ghz, 4GB ram running Leopard 10.5.8. Adobe CS4 (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator), QuarkXPress 8.5, Acrobat 9, Suitcase Fusion 2, Office 2004.

Both Macs used to produce ads, roll Classifieds and Legals, newspaper composition and production. G4 now being used as a print server/backup production Mac.

PowerMac G4/350mhz, 192mb ram running Tiger 10.4.11. Used as an Applescript server to process editorial photos (Graphic Converter v5.95), file ad proofs, monitor FTP site for changes and then email when a file has been added/removed, file editorial news pages.

Weekly newspaper for Glendale, Arizona and Peoria Arizona.

Can't handle current graphics at all? Virtually useless?
 
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zarathu

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May 14, 2003
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Please note that there is a substantial difference between a Powerbook that the Thread Starter asked about, and PowerMac, that is not a portable.

And yes, running old versions of Photoshop etc and office, it could work fine. But using Graphic converter to make changes to photos just plain took forever. It was the reason why I switched to a 1st generation Macbook Pro.
 

eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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Please note that there is a substantial difference between a Powerbook that the Thread Starter asked about, and PowerMac, that is not a portable.

And yes, running old versions of Photoshop etc and office, it could work fine. But using Graphic converter to make changes to photos just plain took forever. It was the reason why I switched to a 1st generation Macbook Pro.
I used my own Titanium PowerBook G4/400 (circa 2001) with 512mb and a 40GB hard drive for one year until my boss bought the G5.

That was 2004 to 2005, so QuarkXPress 6, Suitcase X11, Acrobat 6, Photoshop 7 and Illustrator 10.

I am not arguing that there is no difference in performance between the two (PowerPC and Intel). Yes, both my PowerBook and the current G4 PowerMacs are somewhat slower. But they always got the job done and it didn't take forever.

Last two points, while it may have been a G4 PowerMac, there is literally no difference between the 400mhz of the PowerMac and the 400mhz of my old TiBook. I'd mention that both of those Macs are significantly less in spec/power than a 12" PowerBook G4, even the base model 12" PB. Hell, the TiBook was the generation before the Aluminum PowerBook generation, which the 12" is part of.

Annnd…perhaps we need to define "forever". If forever is a 10 minute job (or more) to process a photo, ok, I can see that. If forever is 20-30 seconds longer than Photoshop would have taken, then no.
 

WalnutSpice

Suspended
Jun 21, 2015
456
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Canton, Oh
I used docs on my 1.33GHz iBook in class, it works pretty well under Ten Four Fox (Used to work better under Safari with a fake version number), but of course do still expect some minor slow downs, or major depending on if you're still running the stock hard drive
 
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Desertrobot

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Feb 23, 2017
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I was thinking about getting the 1.5 GHz variety on the 12 incher, and then maxing out the RAM. Really all I'm intending to do on the thing is taking notes on Google docs and checking email.
 

Dronecatcher

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Jun 17, 2014
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If you install Leopard on it, you'll have a smoother ride with Leopard Webkit than TFF. On my 1.33 Powerbook 12" with Tiger, Google Docs is painfully slow in TFF, but my 1.67 Powerbook 17" fares better with FoxBox and much better in Leopard Webkit.
 

dustinschings

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Sep 3, 2015
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Sounds to me, that if PPC doesn't end up cutting it for, then the ChromeBook was made for people like you. I love mine so much, that I must admit I don't use my PPCs much anymore for casual browsing/light work.

At this point, my PPCs are for looking at and using on occasion to get the feel of older Mac again. Except the G5 tower. That will still get used for a long while. Love playing PowerPC games...
 

Dronecatcher

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Jun 17, 2014
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Sounds to me, that if PPC doesn't end up cutting it for, then the ChromeBook was made for people like you.
I agree. If the only necessity was a note taking machine, then for the same price a vintage netbook or Core Duo laptop is twice as fast - however the OP actually wants a Powerbook and is looking for an excuse to get one :)
 

pochopsp

macrumors 6502
Apr 6, 2016
409
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Napoli, city of sun and pizza!
If you install Leopard on it, you'll have a smoother ride with Leopard Webkit than TFF. On my 1.33 Powerbook 12" with Tiger, Google Docs is painfully slow in TFF, but my 1.67 Powerbook 17" fares better with FoxBox and much better in Leopard Webkit.
I can confirm that. I made a video of how it works on my MDD G4 with Leopard WebKit:

But please keep in mind that there are no more official browser updates for our beloved PowerPC Macs. There are few alternatives still in development which are TenFourFox, Leopard WebKit and Roccat Web Browser, which are great but they could stop being developed sooner or later. Internet sites change so rapidly that in a year or two you couldn't be able to use G. Docs anymore, so my advice is to use offline writing or to buy a laptop which is more "internet oriented"
 
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Dronecatcher

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Internet sites change so rapidly that in a year or two you couldn't be able to use G. Docs anymore, so my advice is to use offline writing or to buy a laptop which is more "internet oriented"
...or use Dropbox, Box or any online (preferably WebDav compatible) online storage to share files between devices.
 

bobesch

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Oct 21, 2015
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I was thinking about getting the 1.5 GHz variety on the 12 incher, and then maxing out the RAM. Really all I'm intending to do on the thing is taking notes on Google docs and checking email.
I've got a 12" PB-G4 1.5GHz with 1.25GB RAM and mSATA. It's one of my daily drivers (together with a PowerBook-G5 15"DLSD and a MacBook2008 - both with maxed out RAM and mSATA/SSD)
GoogleDocs works within TenFourFox-browser does work but is not a good option in my opinion.
As @Dronecatcher said "painfully slow"
Getting a cheap Office2008 and using the included OneDrive-Client works fine.
Even Outlook.com with MS Office online works decently.
If it's just for the purpose of taking notes OneDrive with Office2008 is fine.
As @Dronecatcher mentioned: any Cloud-Service which offers webDAV is perfect and future-proof to connect to other devices.
But if GoogleDocs is the core of your working philosophy and you should need it for collaborative working you certainly won't be happy.
If you use an iPhone, "iFiles"-App for iOS will server as the missing link to connect the PowerBook to everything or exchange files.
Checking email is no problem at all - not even for an old Clamshell with OS9 and Classilla.
You may even run emulated Win2kPro or WinXP-Fundamentals with VirtualPC7.

[doublepost=1487964783][/doublepost]
... however the OP actually wants a Powerbook and is looking for an excuse to get one :)
I guess, he should go for it and he won't regret!
(The only side effect is the fun of getting more of that cool stuff... :D )
 
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zarathu

macrumors 6502
May 14, 2003
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If forever is a 10 minute job (or more) to process a photo, ok, I can see that. If forever is 20-30 seconds longer than Photoshop would have taken, then no.
If you are just doing one, not a problem, but doing lots of modifications in Graphic converter is a pain. I also found that bringing up big pictures was a problem, and watching movies online was simply impossible. At the time it was plenty fast, but surfing the internet became more and more time consuming while I waited and waited for websites to open. Writing and email was easy and fast. Listening to music on iTunes was great.

Anything with complicated graphics was way too slow compared to current standards. At the time complicated graphics on web pages really didn't exist.

So many things have changed since the PowerPC came out. You could probably run some version of Ubuntu Linux or other linux distribution very fast on it.
 

bobesch

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2015
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If you are just doing one, not a problem, but doing lots of modifications in Graphic converter is a pain. I also found that bringing up big pictures was a problem, and watching movies online was simply impossible. At the time it was plenty fast, but surfing the internet became more and more time consuming while I waited and waited for websites to open. Writing and email was easy and fast. Listening to music on iTunes was great.
Anything with complicated graphics was way too slow compared to current standards. At the time complicated graphics on web pages really didn't exist.
So many things have changed since the PowerPC came out.
The PPC books can cope with a lot of daily stuff, but when it comes to certain tasks like foto/video-editing or batch-scanning/text-recognition they are simply to slow for increasing data or heavy workload.
I use a high performance machine to scan/convert papers to searchable PDFs, but when it comes to use my DEVONthink archives on my 12"PB-G4 it still copes with that task within a reasonable time, which makes it a perfect daily driver and companion on the go.
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
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So many things have changed since the PowerPC came out.
Bear in mind you're basing your experience on an 800Mhz machine - the OP may well opt for a 1.5Ghz Powerbook 12" which benchmarks almost twice as high.
Also, framing the abilities of a PowerPC device into 2017 requirements isn't point here - anyone who uses PowerPC is well aware it can't compete with a MBP - it's use is similiar to any vintage hardware, whether it's a classic car or a 35mm film camera, the satisfaction is the fun of using it rather than getting a particular task done.
Even so, there's lots a PowerPC can do now, even on the internet - it only requires a little effort and research - which again, is part of the experience.
Also, another appeal is the price range - not everyone wants to get sucked into the financial drain of having the latest digital toy that is redundant as soon as it's unpacked.
 

Dicere

macrumors newbie
Feb 25, 2017
24
19
Western Australia
So I've been wanting an 12 inch Powerbook g4 forever. I have a 2013 Macbook air that I use for classes, I mainly just take notes with Google docs and look at my email.

Would a 12 inch Powerbook be capable of running google docs and gmail? I know these things get more outdated everyday because of lack of software support, but I just thought these simple uses would work as an excuse to get on of these computers as a backup laptop.

Thanks.
I just tested Pages in iCloud with the latest Leopard Webkit on the iBook G4 1.07gz (1.25 gb ram and a 250 gb harddrive) I'm currently using, and while it took the letters a second after I typed them to appear, every keystroke came up and I could download and upload a 3 MB document without a problem. Not a Google docs person, but it would have to be a similar experience?

(I'm also limited to a 0.26MiB download speed. I've had to do horrible things to my ISP provided router to keep my G4s and G5s working on it. Still tweaking it. Upload speed is 4MiB...)
 
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