Club 17

eyoungren

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Original poster
Aug 31, 2011
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I made an account here just to post in this thread. I've got the 17" PowerBook G4 1.67GHz. Paid $50 for it at a used computer store a couple years ago. They wanted $100 but said "I'll give it to you half off as long as you never bring it here again"

It's been about as reliable as can be since, albeit a bit slow and hot as these things usually are.

Finally looking into upgrades. Saw about the old Daytech 2GHz logic boards, do you think it would be possible for one to manually do such an upgrade? A PowerPC 7448 would be nice, as would more than 2GB RAM but I doubt you can do anything about that. Any sort of video chip replacements I might do, too? Maybe even a video memory upgrade to 256MB?
I know you can upgrade iBooks in a similar way (PowerBook G4 12" video chips are drop in replacements).

Also, how much benefit would I get from an SSD on this machine? If I do replace it, I might go with Tiger instead of Leopard - Is Tiger any faster?
Welcome to the club!

I can't answer your questions regarding the logicboard/cpu/gpu and such, but regarding the SSD. Yes, it will help. It has to have a converter to the PATA bus (unless it's a PATA SSD) which slows things down a bit, but it generally speeds things up.

As far as Leopard and Tiger, if speed is your only requirement then yes. Tiger will always be faster than Leopard, even with the ability to tweak Leopard.

That said, Leopard is far more compatible with later programs, has a more robust Finder and better networking. It's also got TimeMachine where Tiger does not.

But yeah - Tiger is faster.
 

famicomaster2

macrumors newbie
Nov 24, 2019
3
1
Yes, you’ll notice an appreciable difference with boot times and file access times when using an SSD, especially if you’re moving from a 5400rpm OEM HDD.

Also, SSDs generally run cooler than HDDs, and they’re virtually silent. With older equipment like the PowerBooks, an SSD is probably the most affordable way to reduce a bottleneck with legacy system performance — followed by maxing out the RAM.

As for Leopard vs. Tiger, that is probably more a personal needs matter. While Tiger may be superficially quicker in some areas, Leopard was optimized with the fastest PPCs in mind, along with the early Intel configurations. I run 10.5.8 on my DLSD and it responds smoothly.
I see. I'm using a 7200RPM drive already, so maybe the difference won't be as great, then. It's not loud and doesn't run hot right now anyways, so I probably won't get an SSD. Gonna go for 2GB first.

Despite my first computer having been an iBook G4 and having several other G3, G4, and G5 computers, I find myself struggling to find many PPC applications that I actually want to use, so software doesn't matter. I mostly use it for iTunes and web browsing. Was wondering if Tiger would be lighter on that.
 

B S Magnet

macrumors 6502
Dec 5, 2018
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I see. I'm using a 7200RPM drive already, so maybe the difference won't be as great, then. It's not loud and doesn't run hot right now anyways, so I probably won't get an SSD. Gonna go for 2GB first.

Despite my first computer having been an iBook G4 and having several other G3, G4, and G5 computers, I find myself struggling to find many PPC applications that I actually want to use, so software doesn't matter. I mostly use it for iTunes and web browsing. Was wondering if Tiger would be lighter on that.
I would say go with whatever you think works best for your needs.

When I bought my DLSD PB earlier this year, I used Xbench to assess the difference in disk performance between the OEM 7200rpm HDD it was bundled with, versus the m.2-to-PATA SSD solution I got for it.

The difference was staggering:

1574700207637.png 1574700269002.png


I did similarly with the 7200-to-SSD conversion of my key lime iBook clamshell, which will be relevant momentarily. The clamshell’s ATA-4 bus caps at a maximum device throughput of 25MB/s (cf., the PB’s ATA-6/UDMA/100 max throughput of 100MB/s). I did have boot times for the clamshell’s before-and-after: ~80sec before, to ~39sec after, and that’s with a far more modest lift in Xbench disk performance:

1574700858371.png 1574700890691.png

As you might note, the 7200rpm performance of the DLSD PB vs. iBook clamshell weren’t terribly different, whereas after one can readily suss that the SSDs are getting the most out of the ATA bus specifications of each device.


The conclusion is you may never really cap the throughput of an SSD upgrade in your PB, but knowing it’s there will help with the occasional task which will benefit from having unrestricted pipe. Plus, it will likely outlive the lifetime of your PB. :)
 

famicomaster2

macrumors newbie
Nov 24, 2019
3
1
I don't think I've ever seen an SSD outlive the mechanical drive it replaced, but maybe I've been doing something wrong the past decade or so.

Anything else I might do to improve it's performance? Even with maxed RAM and an SSD there must be some mods out there or something that can help speed it up a bit. Improved cooler, overclock, anything?
 

Dronecatcher

macrumors 68040
Jun 17, 2014
3,273
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Lincolnshire, UK
Anything else I might do to improve it's performance? Even with maxed RAM and an SSD there must be some mods out there or something that can help speed it up a bit. Improved cooler, overclock, anything?
Apart from overclocking, your best asset would be using the right optimised software...all depends on what you want to to with it?
 
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B S Magnet

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Dec 5, 2018
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I don't think I've ever seen an SSD outlive the mechanical drive it replaced, but maybe I've been doing something wrong the past decade or so.
Generally, larger SSD capacities (at least 128GB for these older PPC machines) should reduce the number of write operations on a particular block. Firmware on the most modern SSDs (whatever the form factor) have pretty good garbage collection internally, so even on a system without TRIM ability, wear-balancing on the SSD should still be pretty manageable, even if you're using it as your boot volume.

Fortunately, going back to 2011, I've not had an SSD fail on me, but then again, I've never had anything smaller than 64GB (which was more of a stop-gap until I could budget for a 128GB replacement).
 
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RhianB

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Sep 3, 2016
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I don't think I've ever seen an SSD outlive the mechanical drive it replaced, but maybe I've been doing something wrong the past decade or so.

Anything else I might do to improve it's performance? Even with maxed RAM and an SSD there must be some mods out there or something that can help speed it up a bit. Improved cooler, overclock, anything?
Max ram, SSD, & Lightweight/software optimization are the biggies. You could pull yours apart clean & repaste the cpu/gpu.

if you’re interested in clocking your powerbook, talk to Flyrod. IIRC he was successful.
 
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B S Magnet

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Dec 5, 2018
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Max ram, SSD, & Lightweight/software optimization are the biggies. You could pull yours apart clean & repaste the cpu/gpu.
Re-pasting is what I’ve done with each of my Macs this year. If nothing else, it’s made all of them cooler. With the Intel boxes (the ones which are Turbo Boost-capable), there hasn’t been as much clock speed throttling when they’re running under high loads.

Dusting stuff out and re-pasting with modern thermal paste is good anyway, in that internal components will be kept in good shape longer with overall lower operating temperatures.
 
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topcat001

macrumors regular
Nov 17, 2019
144
60
Chiming in with my 17" Mid 2009. Will add pic soon. It's been running El Capitan. It's my first Mac and has served me well for a long time. I recently moved to a 16" (I cannot work with small screens) but will continue to use my 2009 for lighter tasks.

Thanks to my obsessive battery care the battery is still at 90% of its design capacity :cool:

Have some windows/linux machines as well and while they are useful, they lack the smooth refinement of macos.
 
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EnriqueG

macrumors member
Dec 30, 2017
44
23
If the keyboard is from the same generation, then maybe. I think there were two or maybe three generations of keyboard for the Alu PowerBooks. The last one (A1139, A1138), I think, swapped ADB for USB for controlling the trackpad and is unique to that model. iFixit should give details of what you need to be looking for. There should be an identification code on the brown translucent ribbon connector that you need to match up to your 17" PowerBook.

If the keyboards are different but the key layout is the same, you might get away with swapping the keycaps over but that is laborious.
Already got a donor PowerBook, a 1GHz model.

The screen is the same (and it's working like a charm), but the keyboard/trackpad connector is different. I read it was the same in all G4 17" models except the 1.67GHz... sad.

It is an English keyboard, which is even less similar to the Spanish one, so I'll try to take the keycaps from my dead 15", which had the Spanish-ISO keyboard with long Enter key. I'll never understand why English keyboards have that small Enter key.

This weekend I'll post some pictures here. It is 15 years old but still looks like a powerful thing.
 

weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
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It is an English keyboard, which is even less similar to the Spanish one, so I'll try to take the keycaps from my dead 15", which had the Spanish-ISO keyboard with long Enter key. I'll never understand why US English keyboards have that small Enter key.
Fixed it for you. The GB English keyboard has the long enter key.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201794

One more word of advice. Try swapping over one keycap before you pull them all off. There were size differences also in the clips, I have found when trying this with one of mine and a donor keyboard.
 
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AphoticD

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Feb 17, 2017
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Already got a donor PowerBook, a 1GHz model.

The screen is the same (and it's working like a charm), but the keyboard/trackpad connector is different. I read it was the same in all G4 17" models except the 1.67GHz... sad.

It is an English keyboard, which is even less similar to the Spanish one, so I'll try to take the keycaps from my dead 15", which had the Spanish-ISO keyboard with long Enter key. I'll never understand why English keyboards have that small Enter key.

This weekend I'll post some pictures here. It is 15 years old but still looks like a powerful thing.
Is it possible to detach that keyboard from the top case and install into your original or is the ribbon connector from the keyboard (into the top case) different as well as the connector into the logic board?
 
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EnriqueG

macrumors member
Dec 30, 2017
44
23
Is it possible to detach that keyboard from the top case and install into your original or is the ribbon connector from the keyboard (into the top case) different as well as the connector into the logic board?
I have not checked that, maybe I open it again this weekend.
 

Amethyst1

macrumors 6502a
Oct 28, 2015
697
935
why is 1920×1200 still the largest scaled resolution on the 16in? That's just 141 ppi vs. 147 on the 15in – the 16in would have to offer 2000×1250 to match that.
Just checked out the 16in in the Store and have to correct myself: while the default is 1792×1120 (LOL) , it can be jacked up to 2048×1280 which is awesome.
 

galgot

macrumors regular
May 28, 2015
181
249
Long time lurker, as the owner of several 17"s, may ask to apply to the club.
Here the first 17" A1013 1Ghz model, running Mac OS 9.2.2. Named "Riggan-Thomson"

DSCN7160.JPG Riggan-Thomson-021219.jpg

I used MacOS9Live.com forum instruction and modified rom to have OS9 running on it.
Works fine , only caveat is that you need to plug an earphone to the sound port to have sound working.
Also the left side USB port is dead, but that is specific to this machine.
 
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yanksrock100

macrumors 6502a
Oct 30, 2010
610
157
San Diego
Guess I’m part of the club too! Had my 17 inch PowerBook for about a year now but I’ve only started to use it recently. Plays old games like Halo great :cool:

Unfortunately mine got damaged when the eBay seller sent it but I ended up getting refunded. Not to shabby for a free mac!

 
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eyoungren

macrumors Core
Original poster
Aug 31, 2011
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Guess I’m part of the club too! Had my 17 inch PowerBook for about a year now but I’ve only started to use it recently. Plays old games like Halo great :cool:

Unfortunately mine got damaged when the eBay seller sent it but I ended up getting refunded. Not to shabby for a free mac!

The 17s are really easy to work inside. Your dented corner is the same kind of deal as the one I had when I got the 1.67Ghz 17" model (way back when).

If you take the top case off, you can remove the optical drive and using a small hammer and a block of wood (to prevent damaging the metal) you can pound the dent out into a reasonable shape. At worst it will look better than it does now.

A new top case, especially one without a keyboard won't cost much either. You can swap out the keyboard you have now. Or if the top case comes with one so much the better.

It sucks having to do that because the seller packed it wrong, but you don't have to live with it.
 
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yanksrock100

macrumors 6502a
Oct 30, 2010
610
157
San Diego
The 17s are really easy to work inside. Your dented corner is the same kind of deal as the one I had when I got the 1.67Ghz 17" model (way back when).

If you take the top case off, you can remove the optical drive and using a small hammer and a block of wood (to prevent damaging the metal) you can pound the dent out into a reasonable shape. At worst it will look better than it does now.

A new top case, especially one without a keyboard won't cost much either. You can swap out the keyboard you have now. Or if the top case comes with one so much the better.

It sucks having to do that because the seller packed it wrong, but you don't have to live with it.
Thanks for the tip! The metal does seem malleable so that is a good idea.
 
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bobesch

macrumors 65816
Oct 21, 2015
1,322
921
Kiel, Germany
Thanks for the tip! The metal does seem malleable so that is a good idea.
Yep, malleable - good or bad. My backpack toppled off chair last week
leaving a corner of my MBP4,1/A1260 in a really bad shape ...
(not to mention the slipped logo of the display assembly).
😳

Slipped out Apple.jpg

Luckily the 17" Macbooks have kind of a better crumple zone ...
- - Post merged: - -

Long time lurker, as the owner of several 17"s, may ask to apply to the club.
Here the first 17" A1013 1Ghz model, running Mac OS 9.2.2. Named "Riggan-Thomson"

View attachment 880421 View attachment 880430

I used MacOS9Live.com forum instruction and modified rom to have OS9 running on it.
Works fine , only caveat is that you need to plug an earphone to the sound port to have sound working.
Also the left side USB port is dead, but that is specific to this machine.
Wow, stylish Wallpaper! La Belle Èpoque of Macbooks/PowerBooks.
Fits perfectly into the lobby of Chrysler Building ...
 
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weckart

macrumors 601
Nov 7, 2004
4,776
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Thanks for the tip! The metal does seem malleable so that is a good idea.
Malleable also means it stretches to a certain extent so that after persuading the case back to nearer its former shape, there often is a bit more case left over than had left the factory. This seems to be particularly true around the weaker parts nearer the ports and around the optical slot. Bash carefully. ;)
 

bunnspecial

macrumors 604
May 3, 2014
6,868
3,499
Kentucky
I've been tired of some of the ills of TiBooks, so asked @LightBulbFun for suggestions on a new OS 9 laptop.

He suggested either an 867mhz 12" PB, or an A1106. Naturally, the latter appealed to me :)

A brief eBay hunt commenced, and a lot of two 17" PBs showed up for sale. One was an A1106, and looked promising-the seller claimed that they had been able to install Leopard on it, but after that couldn't get it to power back. They also reported the ZIF lock on the keyboard cable as missing, which would of course keep the power button from working.

When it arrived, I managed to get it to start with a bit of finagling, although the keyboard and trackpad didn't work. A bit more work with a piece of card stock had full function restored.

So far, it's working well. I'd like to find a set of restore disks to get the factory OS 9 install going, but in the mean time the OS 9 Lives universal is working fine.

Oh, the L3 cache works also!

IMG_0724.jpg
IMG_0725.jpg
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Original poster
Aug 31, 2011
21,537
13,486
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
I've been tired of some of the ills of TiBooks, so asked @LightBulbFun for suggestions on a new OS 9 laptop.

He suggested either an 867mhz 12" PB, or an A1106. Naturally, the latter appealed to me :)

A brief eBay hunt commenced, and a lot of two 17" PBs showed up for sale. One was an A1106, and looked promising-the seller claimed that they had been able to install Leopard on it, but after that couldn't get it to power back. They also reported the ZIF lock on the keyboard cable as missing, which would of course keep the power button from working.

When it arrived, I managed to get it to start with a bit of finagling, although the keyboard and trackpad didn't work. A bit more work with a piece of card stock had full function restored.

So far, it's working well. I'd like to find a set of restore disks to get the factory OS 9 install going, but in the mean time the OS 9 Lives universal is working fine.

Oh, the L3 cache works also!

View attachment 889829View attachment 889830
Are you sure it's the A1106? When I search for that I get a 15" PowerBook.

And as far as I know, the A1013 is the only 17" with L3 cache.

Either way, welcome (again) to Club 17! Looks like a nice Mac!
 
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AphoticD

macrumors 68000
Feb 17, 2017
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Australia
@bunnspecial I have the same issue with a 1.67GHz SLSD 17” that I bought a while back. Some roughnut yanked the topcase ribbon connector clean off the logic board. I was able to solder and glue the connector back on, but the locking lever is missing, so I’ve had to delicately place a piece of card to hold it in place. Unfortunately it is still a bit hit a miss. The power button occasionally just stops working until I open up the ram cover and jiggle things. It’s a bit of a shame because it is otherwise flawless.

I hope yours is more reliable!
 
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bobesch

macrumors 65816
Oct 21, 2015
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Kiel, Germany
I see. I'm using a 7200RPM drive already, so maybe the difference won't be as great, then. It's not loud and doesn't run hot right now anyways, so I probably won't get an SSD. Gonna go for 2GB first.

Despite my first computer having been an iBook G4 and having several other G3, G4, and G5 computers, I find myself struggling to find many PPC applications that I actually want to use, so software doesn't matter. I mostly use it for iTunes and web browsing. Was wondering if Tiger would be lighter on that.
With 2GB of RAM and for better performance you might use a RAM-Disk to hold Browser and Browser-Cache.
@eyoungren posted a lot of helpful stuff about RamDisk and there's a thread somewhere here about.
I use a RamDisk on my 15" PowerBook/Leopard for TFF&Cache too and it runs flawless in the background.

Update:
Look, it's all here ... https://forums.macrumors.com/threads/finally-found-a-use-for-a-ram-disk.2027295/
 
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