Hi there new to macs

Tezzamacuser

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 3, 2012
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Hello there.

I have just been given a Powerbook G4 1.5ghz processor and 512mb DDR ram running Tiger 10.4.11. I was just wondering if this mac is still useful for day to day tasks like web surfing and email. This is all I use a computer for really along with the usual facebook and things like that. What could I do to speed this laptop up a little and is it worth doing it I don't mind spending a little money on it as it didn't cost me anything. I am very impressed with the performance of such an old machine already and would like to replace my netbook with it. Any advice would be greatfully received thanks
 
Nov 28, 2010
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Is it the 12" PowerBook? If so, congratulations getting that beautiful machine.

Anyway, you can upgrade the RAM to 1.5 GB, might cost you though, as it is old RAM (no longer produced in masses). And you could thinking about getting a Ultra-ATA SSD, though I don't know where to look, but I guess a www search could yield some results.
As for further specs look here, for guides on replacing HDD and RAM look here.

Also know, that machine, with upgraded RAM, can run Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, if you want and find it cheap on eBay (still goes for a lot for money).
 

Tezzamacuser

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 3, 2012
37
0
It is indeed the 12" titanium powerbook g4. I was planning on keeping the current harddrive in the machine for the time being. I can get hold of a copy of leopard. I don't suppose you know the exact type of ram for this system do you? I may be able to obtain it from the local secondhand computer shop. I hear this system has a single memory bank and one soldered directly onto the motherboard?. How much is onboard is it 256mb or 512? Thanks alot
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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Apple made two series of metal PowerBook G4s. The first was the Titanium series and the highest processor speed the Titaniums got to was 1Ghz. Also, all Titaniums are 15.1". The next series was Aluminum and that was the series of PowerBooks that came in three sizes, 12", 15" and 17". So, your Mac is an Aluminum PowerBook. Sometimes the Titaniums are referred to as TiBooks and the Aluminums as AlBooks.

My wife has the 12" 1Ghz model. The module on the board is 256MB. If you ever decide to replace the hard drive, know that it's an involved process when it comes to the 12" model. Both Titanium and Aluminum models have the PATA (IDE) interface, so you can't put in a modern SATA hard drive unless you have an adapter. SSD drives can be found, but the largest PATA drive right now is 320GB and made by Western Digital. I have the 320 in my other 17" PB and my wife has the 250GB model.

You might go over to crucial.com to check your memory. They have an online calculator where you just put in your model and they will tell you what RAM sticks you need. You can buy from them or someone else. I used them to find out what I needed for my 17" PowerBook and bought two 1GB sticks from someone else for around $60. Crucial charges more. However, they make good ram so if you buy from them it's worth it.

Some other things to note. Don't expect to stream video or Flash across the internet. The last version of Flash for the PB is outdated and many of the later and most powerful PBs have trouble with Flash. The alternative if you use Youtube is an app called Mactubes.

There are also, lots and lots of different browsers out there to try if Safari doesn't work for you. TenFourFox is Firefox for PowerPC. There is the Sunrise browser, Seamonkey, Camino, Omniweb, Icab, etc. See the sticky at the top of the forums for a whole list of them.

Facebook. I use FB, but increasingly no matter what browser I use it's starting to get slower. That's because FB is javascript intensive. More than anything javascript on websites will start your fans going because the processor is pegged at 100% trying to process all the JS. FB is only going to get more complicated over time as they add new stuff. So, just something to be aware of.
 

Starfighter

macrumors 6502a
Jun 17, 2011
679
26
Sweden
You can put a little extra speed/power into it for a few bucks, but if you're just going to use it as a light surfer I'd say your specs is already more than enough. Camino with maybe flash animations turned off* (you can activate them when you stumble upon something you want to see, without having to open preferences) and you're good to go. :)

* = Most of the time there's no point in having flash animations turned off but when browsing through, for example, links-to-youtube-heavy threads it's a time saver.
 

tom vilsack

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2010
1,880
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ladner cdn
-your 12" 1.5GHz powerbook G4 has 256mb onboard ram,you can add 1 gig ddr 333mhz sodimm (total 1.25 gig's)...upgrading ram is very easy to do.
-with added ram,you might consider upgrading to osx leopard (the max version of osx that ppc macs can use)
-replacing your older ide harddrive with a newer one would he very helpful...(i find it helps as much if not even more then max your ram...but do max the ram also)...you could go with a ssd ide drive but the cost vs speed increase might not be worth the price....replacing the harddrive might look hard,but if you take your time,place screws in labeled bags ect,it's really fairly easy.

your powerbook
http://www.everymac.com/systems/apple/powerbook_g4/specs/powerbook_g4_1.5_12.html
your powerbook showing how to replace ram and harddrive
http://www.ifixit.com/Device/PowerBook_G4_Aluminum_12%22_1-1.5_GHz
 

Tezzamacuser

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 3, 2012
37
0
Thanks very much for the advice guys. It is only being used as a internet browser. As has been said with a little more research its an aluminum 12inch powerbook g4. I have ordered some ram for it which cost me £20 from a website called Mrmemory. It does really struggle with Facebook but I use tenfourfox and it seems to be the one that copes with it the best. I didn't realise replacing the hdd would speed it up im guessing because newer ones have a quicker read and write speed on them. Even the battery life is still a good 4/5 hours on an old mac like this. The only problem I had with it was when I was given it the previous owner had forgotten all the login details for it. I booted it in single user mode and tricked it into thinking it was being booted for the first time. This is only a temporary fix just to get it useable untill I put leopard on it next week. Overall i am very impressed with the performance of such an outdated machine.
 

mike457

macrumors 6502
Sep 10, 2010
278
0
Ontario
Congratulations on getting an excellent machine! I have bought several of these, slightly abused, lately, fixed them up, and given them to my computer-challenged family as gifts. They're a great size and do almost anything you might need them to do, despite being seven years old. I was a little nervous about the hard drive replacement the first time I tried it, but I was surprised at how easy it turned out to be, with a little patience. Ifixit has excellent instructions, and I was less than an hour getting it done. The repair that is a real challenge is the DVD: that requires almost complete disassembly of the computer. Enjoy! :D
 

tom vilsack

macrumors 68000
Nov 20, 2010
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eyoungren the lcd is nothing...i just looked at the ifixit for the dvd replacement...good god that looks like fun! here i thought taking apart my clamshell or ibook G3 was hard....but that darn near childs play compared to the pb optical replacement.
 

mike457

macrumors 6502
Sep 10, 2010
278
0
Ontario
I was thinking about replacing the DVD burner to get around Apple's weird restriction on dual-layer DVDs, and then I looked at ifixit's guide! :eek: Apple appears to have designed the computer around the DVD burner. To the OP, if you ever have trouble with the DVD player, buy an external replacement!
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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eyoungren the lcd is nothing...i just looked at the ifixit for the dvd replacement...good god that looks like fun! here i thought taking apart my clamshell or ibook G3 was hard....but that darn near childs play compared to the pb optical replacement.
I used the iFixit guide too and the guide I found had me gut the computer. Everything came out including the optical drive and the logicboard. Once I got the LCD disconnected I had an empty bottom pan. It was more difficult for me because I was used to the room in my 17" PBs and the 12" is really tight. By the time I got done I had to replace a sleep light indicator (because the wire stripped out when trying to pull it up) and a keyboard key (because it broke). I had to open the thing up no less than 4 times just to get everything right again.

It was fun, but not an experience I care to repeat any time soon.

Here are the pictures I took. One of them shows me holding the optical drive and there are at least two where you can see the empty bottom tray.
 
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mike457

macrumors 6502
Sep 10, 2010
278
0
Ontario
Ah, fun you say? I think it might be easier just to stick your fingers in electric sockets. :eek: Add that to the list of things I'll never try!
 

Tezzamacuser

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 3, 2012
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Lol the dvd rom is something I wont be upgrading for a while then haha. To be honest it is running perfectly the way it is. It hadn't been used for a couple of years the only problem I encountered with it was that the owner had lost all the user login details luckily I was able to go into single user mode and reset it. I have ordered a 1gig stick of the correct ram and I am still pondering on whether to upgrade the os to 10.5 or leave it on 10.4.11.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
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13,726
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Lol the dvd rom is something I wont be upgrading for a while then haha. To be honest it is running perfectly the way it is. It hadn't been used for a couple of years the only problem I encountered with it was that the owner had lost all the user login details luckily I was able to go into single user mode and reset it. I have ordered a 1gig stick of the correct ram and I am still pondering on whether to upgrade the os to 10.5 or leave it on 10.4.11.
My wife's 12" PowerBook (the one I replaced the screen for) is 1Ghz. She's running Leopard with no issues. Websurfing, eBay, email and Solitaire. She's also got a fantastic uptime because usually the heaviest thing she does with it is play Solitaire.
 

Tezzamacuser

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 3, 2012
37
0
Ok been doing lots to this powerbook its now running 1.25gb ram and 10.5.8 and its a real gem. Its now in use as my main computer my next one is either a late spec Imac G4 or a G5 Imac if I can get hold of one for a good price. I have set up my time capsule and the macs time machine I'm just after some decent preferably free office software for it. The only thing it is a little sluggish with is the sims 2 which is a bit of a bummer as I love that game :(
 

Daedalus256

macrumors 6502
Nov 7, 2005
308
0
Pittsburgh, PA
Is it the 12" PowerBook? If so, congratulations getting that beautiful machine.

Anyway, you can upgrade the RAM to 1.5 GB, might cost you though, as it is old RAM (no longer produced in masses). And you could thinking about getting a Ultra-ATA SSD, though I don't know where to look, but I guess a www search could yield some results.
As for further specs look here, for guides on replacing HDD and RAM look here.

Also know, that machine, with upgraded RAM, can run Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, if you want and find it cheap on eBay (still goes for a lot for money).
You do realize that the memory used in these is just DDR 333/400 SODIMMs right? It's nothing special and still even available to Best Buy. It's not "rare" or "out of production at all"
 

Tezzamacuser

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 3, 2012
37
0
You do realize that the memory used in these is just DDR 333/400 SODIMMs right? It's nothing special and still even available to Best Buy. It's not "rare" or "out of production at all"
\

I sourced it very easily of a website called MrMemory.co.uk it cost me £19 for a 1gig stick which has maxed out the ram on this machine. Its very easy ram to get hold of.
 

Tezzamacuser

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 3, 2012
37
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I find ram in general easy to source with the exception of some Sdram types. Imac G3 ram is easy to get hold of.
 

Tezzamacuser

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 3, 2012
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0
I wouldn't go as far as call them a rarity, but you do need to look around to buy them. You cant walk into the local computer store and buy DDR1 anymore.
Commerical computer stores only sell up to date stuff as a rule because most people replace equipment every couple of years. To be fair rather than upgrade older systems people tend to just replace them with a new system. I tend to keep my machines untill they become un updateable. My windows computer is a dell optiplex but its been completely rebuilt internally but still at the fraction of the cost of a new machine.
 

Tezzamacuser

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 3, 2012
37
0
They don't here in england :( really wish I lived in America :( Macs in general are much cheaper there too. In fact everything is cheaper :(

Back on topic found out this powerbook has a superdrive already fitted. And the battery was recently replaced as its only on 34 charge cycles. No wonder it still lasts for 4 hours. One problem I am having is getting the sims 2 to run on it. I don't get how a game that was released at the same time as this system can run so poorly the framerate is appalling. Does anyone know of a solution to this?
 
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ihuman:D

macrumors 6502a
Jul 11, 2012
925
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Ireland
[B said:
Tezzamacuser;15480605]They don't here in england :( really wish I lived in America :( Macs in general are much cheaper there too. In fact everything is cheaper :( [/B]

Back on topic found out this powerbook has a superdrive already fitted. And the battery was recently replaced as its only on 34 charge cycles. No wonder it still lasts for 4 hours. One problem I am having is getting the sims 2 to run on it. I don't get how a game that was released at the same time as this system can run so poorly the framerate is appalling. Does anyone know of a solution to this?
Try living in Ireland.