Getting the most out of G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Syllable, Mar 19, 2012.

  1. Syllable macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2012
    I cannot afford a macbook pro, or I'd buy that so please refrain from
    suggesting I save $ and just buy a newer mac-if i made that kind of money i would.

    SOOOoooooooo, I am trying to get as close to intel as i can with this G4, and would like your advice on how to pimp it out. I read here that something to do with DAW would mess up if i just added extra ram when this is a power pc processor. I am not super savvy, i used to work at Apple, but only in customer care not repair, so forgive my ignorance on 90 % of what i read on the forum.

    I am a hip hop artist and my main thing is recording and making rap songs and beats, on soundcloud i have my music, but when i post my tracks to facebook it tells me i need a newer flash player, but i already had to get an archived flash version to even run the splotchy herky jerky videos i see now.

    Look...i am as i said pretty dumb about all this but are there things I can do or add to this G4 that until i can afford a macbook pro that will enhance it's performance?
    Sometimes the spinning wheel of death appears and i can't move any window, safari or itunes etc.

    Also...i had trouble on my Toshiba Satellite running videos sometimes randomly it would tell me i needed a new flash player even if i had the latest, so i'd just switch to internet explorer and everything would be fine.

    Now...i can't exactly go to IE given my OS (10.5.8). Umm...I have snow leopard install disk from when i had a 13 inch mac from 06 (that a co worker recently stole from me), and i was wondering would it help? As you can see i am desperate to try any and all options towards just making this a better, faster mac.


    Here are the stats:

    Model Name: PowerBook G4 15"
    Model Identifier: PowerBook5,2
    Processor Name: PowerPC G4 (1.1)
    Processor Speed: 1.25 GHz
    Number Of CPUs: 1
    L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
    Memory: 512 MB
    Bus Speed: 167 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: 4.7.1f1
    Serial Number (system): V73393SANRZ
    Hardware UUID: 00000000-0000-1000-8000-000A95C46CA8
  2. adddictedtomac macrumors regular

    Mar 8, 2012
    All I can tell you is that you have installed the most modern Mac OS X that your system supports. Try to update in case there are other things to update (i.e. flash etc). The Snow Leopard is not supported on PowerPC macs, its only for intel machines.

    Regarding WebBrowser, try 'Camino' is much faster than the rest in my opinion.
  3. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    I'd go back to Tiger, apply the flash hack let it go..

    Actually thats what I did to the PB in my sig.
  4. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

    Oct 31, 2009
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
  5. skinniezinho macrumors 65816

    Jan 1, 2009
    give a read on the FAQ on my sig, it may help you
  6. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Having owned a Powerbook (that exact model actually) and a Macbook Pro, there isn't much you can do. The G4 was a pretty bottlenecked design.

    Up the RAM, get a faster hard drive in there (7200 rpm). That's about as much as you can do. It'll always be a bit jerky.

    Snow Leopard does not run on that machine. Highest you can go is Leopard. Tiger will offer the best performance if you're willing to downgrade.
  7. crewkid89 macrumors regular


    Jun 16, 2011
    United States
    What daw are you using? I doubt extra ram would do anything except help. Bump it up as high as you can go. Once you mix down to your final track, couldn't you just use another computer to post online? Maybe a cheapo NetBook or nettop. You could even use a friends or head to the local library and use theirs.
  8. TacticalDesire macrumors 68020


    Mar 19, 2012
    Definitely Upgrade your ram. That will make a big difference.
  9. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    You can put 2GB on this PB (checked on Mac Tracker), this will help a lot. You cannot install Snow Leopard on a PowerPC but if you are happy with your existing software there is no reason to do it.

    If you need a more powerful computer and want to stay with OSX I would advise a Hackintosh.
  10. Nova77, Mar 19, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2012

    Nova77 Guest

    May 12, 2011
    Here is how to pimp your web browsing step by step:

    First of all, get Tenfourfox 8 (I find its a pretty fast and stable version). Its like Firefox 8 for PowerPC. (I find 10 and 11 a bit unstable for now)

    Then open it, select the URL bar, and type in : about:config
    type "plugins" in the search function, and double-click on the result
    (its called "tenfourfox.plugins.enabled"). It will show value : "true" instead of false.

    Close Tenfourfox.

    Get the latest PowerPC flash version here :

    And then....

    Get this, and follow instructions, it will get flash back working with facebook, etc.

    This is the best you can do for web browsing on your machine. Safari IS slower than Tenfourfox on G4s, and the old Firefox 3.6 for mac is a no go.

    I also strongly recommend to download MacTubes for watching youtube videos (and say goodbye to lag, as well as advertising). But in order to make it work proprely, you have to go in the prefs menu, and select : player ---> quicktime player.


    For the spinning wheel problems, there are 4 things you can do

    1. Put 2 GB of ram, Leopard is RAM hungry. Strongly advised. I would not really use Leopard on any machine that has less than 1.5 GB RAM. If you have only 512 MB... I'm pretty sure thats the problem.
    2. Backup your files and do a clean install. Nothings worth a clean install...

    3. Change your hard drive for a faster one. If you have the money, you can use an SSD instead of a "classic" hard drive, that will make a huge difference (pretty much the same effects as adding more RAM).
    4. Downgrade to Tiger 10.4.11, but you might (or might not) have compatibility issues.
  11. Nova77 Guest

    May 12, 2011
    Don't listen to this. I'm a musician and I've worked for quite a while on a PowerBook G4 (1.67 ghz model with 1 GB ram). If you get the right gear and the right softs, theres a lot you can do.

    For all those of you that forget about the past, lets take an example:
    Nine Inch Nails' first album was mixed using an old mac. That was in 1989. Imagine how crappy these macs were compared to that G4 1.25 the OP has. Just stay away from too CPU intensive plug-ins. But if you make Rap songs, you might be in a better position than me (as a guitar player). The worst plugins out there are guitar amp simulators, they just eat the processor for dinner.
  12. tom vilsack macrumors 68000

    tom vilsack

    Nov 20, 2010
    ladner cdn
  13. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    The system buses on the G4s were just too slow (the G5 fixed this.) No matter how fast the processor is, you just can't move data in and out of RAM to the processor fast enough. That sort of thing hurts when you're doing live work in something like Garageband. You really can't stream the tracks out of memory at decent speeds as the tracks start to pile up.

    More memory will help cache things off the drive, but the bottleneck is still that memory on a G4 is slow.
  14. Nova77 Guest

    May 12, 2011
    Theres this little thing called "freezing a track"... Also G4s had a lot of cache on CPU to compensate for the bad bus speed. And btw, of course G5s are faster, and newer intel macs are even faster. But I'm just saying the OP can get the job done with his system.
  15. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Sure, but it only had a few megabytes of L3 cache. A few megabytes of cache can't possible deal with a few gigabytes of RAM on the other end of the bus. You're literally talking about a cache that can only handle less than %1 of max system memory, and that's what you're working with to try to make up for the slow system bus. If you go outside of that 1%, you're back to dealing with the system bus.

    Again, I owned one (this exact model), so I'm not trying to beat up on PowerPCs in general. But the Pentium Ms of the time absolutely thrashed the G4. The 333 mhz memory maxes out at 167 mhz because of that stupid system bus. Totally wasted memory speed.

    Motorola absolutely squandered the G4's design with issues like this. Too bad the G5 never made it to laptops. The Hypertransport bus on the G5 totally nailed all these design flaws.
  16. cocacolakid macrumors 65816


    Dec 18, 2010
    Nova, Tom, Jessica, and the others are spot on, 512mb of ram just isn't enough for Leopard, it's a great OS but very resource/ram hungry compared to Tiger. Max out the ram and it will feel like a new computer in many ways. It will boot faster, shut down faster, open apps faster, surf the web faster, etc.

    Then follow the good advice on which apps and tricks to use (that many have posted in this thread) to get the most of your Powerbook. You can't do everything a new Mac can do, but you can still do 90%+ of it, and do it very well, but the single biggest issue you have right now is not enough ram.
  17. ghett0tech macrumors member

    Aug 13, 2011
    my main computer right now is a g4 MDD.

    dual 1.25
    1.5GB RAM
    200GB HDD
    running 10.5 like a champ

    i'm streaming pandora as we speak while lightly surfing the web. i use mactubes to view youtube videos when i'm not on my iPad, i use VLC player to play all my HD videos. this machine is great, i also use this to stream my media to my apple tv. in other words, add ram, disable a couple of things on leopard, get a couple of work arounds for streaming content, and you shall be golden sir.

    PowerPc's FTW
  18. G5 Mac Daddy macrumors member

    Feb 25, 2012
    Pentium m thrashed a g4? LOL! Ok so what made pentium m's a good processor? Increased cache to 1mb lvl2 on die. 7455 has 2mb lvl3 on die cache. Anyway... continue...
  19. GermanyChris macrumors 601


    Jul 3, 2011
    Uummm no, this is wrong
  20. DrakkenWar macrumors 6502


    Nov 7, 2010
    San Antonio,Texas
    Completely agree in all respects!

    It is not only the OS you choose to use, but the applications and what not.

    As I type this on my PPC 15/1.5/1gig/10.4.11. I have Camino open, Adium, MacTubes and a few other misc things open and I am humming along well enough to the point that my 2011 i7 mini is up in my office asleep.

    Don't get me wrong. I love my intel mini, when I get the hanker for a good game, or some other reason to access the dual screen setup I head on up to the home office. For everything else I do in my day to day, from my IT job to helping my wife with her nursing classes this PowerBook still hits high on the mark.

    I was actually amused the other night to see that this old powerbook boots faster than my wife's white macbook running 10.5.8. Makes me remember why I still love these PPC machines. With a bit of tweaking and the right software suite I do not see these machines losing any sort of useful vigor for the foreseeable future.

    However that is just my take on it all. I love this powerbook and I intend to get as much use out if as I can.

  21. cocacolakid, Mar 21, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2012

    cocacolakid macrumors 65816


    Dec 18, 2010
    Steve Jobs shows a G4 vs a Pentium 4

    Much more in depth comparisons of the G4 vs 'faster' Pentium 4: (jump ahead to 36 minutes for the G4/P4 comparisons (it's a 733mhz G4 vs a 1.5ghz P4)

    The Pentium M was a heavily modified Pentium 3, and while it often did better in tests than a Pentium 4 laptop version, it is highly unlikely it would "thrash" a G4.
  22. goMac macrumors 603

    Apr 15, 2004
    Oh, again, I'm aware. I was a G4 Powerbook user and developer back then, so I've seen this all a million times. I was also at WWDC for the Intel transition, so I got to compare performance side by side myself with the only Pentium 4 Macs. So none of the megahertz myth is news to me.

    None of that changes the G4 had a crippled system bus. Megahertz myth or not, you can't violate the laws of physics and transfer data faster than a system bus supports.

    Apple can quote the megahertz myth all they want, but things got so bad I actually had to end up buying a Pentium 4 in 2004, and it blew the doors off my G4. Ran super hot, but it was way faster.

    Cores and i7s are heavily modified Pentium Ms, which are heavily modified Pentium 3s. Considering we're still on the same lineage, it's not hard to believe. The first Cores had to be run on laptop boards, even.

    Again, I was there and a Mac user at the time (been since 1996). I remember all of this.

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