iBook G4 on its last legs?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by cooper83, Jan 24, 2008.

  1. cooper83 macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2008
    Victoria, BC
    Hi all. First post after lingering for awhile. Here goes...

    My iBook G4 has run nearly flawlessly since Oct'04...until today. I've had to manually turn it off half a dozen times today because it freezes. At first I thought it's because too many apps were running. But then it started freezing when Safari/Firefox was the only app open, with no more than two tabs on the go.

    It has also developed a periodic high-pitched whirring sound. Today was the first time I've ever heard it. It doesn't seem to be overheating though...at least nothing out of the ordinary.

    My hard drive is nearly full (~3.5gb remaining on a 40gb drive) and I have 512mb of RAM.

    The only thing different about yesterday (when it was working just fine) and today is that last night I force-quit "HP Communications" (printer software that was eating up a lot of CPU). I also started using Activity Monitor for the first time. But I can't see how or why this would cause my computer to act as if it was about to bite the dust.

    Fortunately, I ordered a new MacBook last week. But I am planning on selling the iBook once the new MB is here, so I'd like to preserve its resale value.

    Any ideas of what's wrong? Anything I can do?
    Thanks in advance :eek:
  2. SoLibertyDies macrumors regular

    Oct 16, 2006
    Spanaway, Wa
    512 Ram is a main problem.

    I'd just repair permissions and all the usual stuff, I don't think it's a hardware problem as it doesn't really sound that way, other then the whirring, which could be anything really.

    and if you're going to be reselling it just give it a clean install and send it on it's way.

    [I know this is out of the marketplace but what price are you putting on it]



    good luck
  3. gazfocus macrumors 68000


    Jan 3, 2008
    Liverpool, UK
    It might just simply be that it needs a clean reinstall of OSX
  4. one1 macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2007
    Chattanooga, TN
    I always love that answer when there is a problem...... It perfectly explains how it and others run fine for the other 4 years. ;)

    It sounds like most likely the HD is going since you are getting a whine, but I can't hear the whine to determine.

    I'd certainly back everything up on disk as quickly as you can, THEN go ahead and reformat/reload the OS to see if it wipes the issues out. In 4 years you can accumulate a lot of stuff in the background, even with system maintenance.

    Good luck!
  5. Mekot macrumors newbie

    Jan 19, 2008
    My iBook (mid 2005) gets really slow recently while Safari is on. I have to force quit it quite often so maybe the browser is the reason. Firefox, always slower than Safari, is now a screamer in comparison. I'm using the last Tiger version 10.4.11.

    Whining sounds at start up may have something to do with the logic board as well. My iBook is affected by the Aiport Kernel Panic (try to google it and compare the symptoms), but I can live with it, as long as I do not use the Wi-Fi.

    Good luck!
  6. Fezzasus macrumors regular

    Jan 24, 2008
    The high pitched whine is most likely to be the hard disk bearing giving up. I'd take the opportunity to upgrade the hard disk.

    Download and run Onyx. It sounds like everything could do with a spring clean.
  7. Batt macrumors 65816


    Dec 17, 2007
    Syracuse, NY
    Get rid of some stuff on the drive - it's essentially full. See what happens. The whine is scary, though. I agree it sounds like the drive heading south.
  8. pianoplayer1 macrumors 6502


    Dec 31, 2005
    New York
  9. cooper83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2008
    Victoria, BC
    Thanks for all your quick replies! :)

    I'm not familiar with a lot of the maintenance utilities, but I did repair permissions in disk utility. I also cleared up an extra gig of space on the hard drive, leaving me with about 4.25GB free. But this hasn't seemed to help at all.

    I thought Safari might be the main problem, but the computer froze a couple of times with Firefox open.

    The comp seems to run for about an hour before getting the urge to freeze up. I can hear the hard drive clicking more frequently and the whirring starts. I've learned this is the time to put it in sleep mode or else run the risk of it freezing.

    I've love to back it up, but I only have the CD burner (no Superdrive) and a 30gb iPod. I just bought a WD MyBook 500GB Home Edition to use with my soon-to-arrive MacBook, but the specs say it requires OSX 10.4. I haven't opened it yet, so I could always return it and buy a different external drive.

    So with that extra info, any additional thoughts as to what could be wrong? Or any suggestions on how to back up everything with my current setup?
  10. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
  11. aaron.lee2006 macrumors 65816


    Feb 23, 2006
    Ontario, Canada
    Yah sorry but your wrong, he's also running 10.3.9 according to his sig. 512 RAM is definitely not the problem. It is most likley your hard drive. Back up immediately!
  12. raharu macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2008
    I've been running Tiger for some time (from 10.4.0 to 10.4.11) with 512 RAM in my ibook. I don't see any problem on that, and I've also done editing using FCP, so not just bare web browsing.

    Now, after the HD died, I've replaced the 256M module with a 1G one and installed a 120GB HD and is blazing fast :p
  13. cooper83 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2008
    Victoria, BC
    Made a backup & ran the hardware test

    So after some initial frustration, I was able to format the WD My Book and used CCC to back everything up. Whew!

    Last night I ran the Apple Hardware Test on Loop Mode, and everything passed. :confused: When I picked up the iBook this morning, any slight motion made the (I'm assuming) hard drive whine like CRAZY. It seriously reminds me of an animal whimpering away. I put a deposit down for a new internal drive (Seagate Momentus 80gb 5400rpm) but I want to make sure it's actually the hdd that is the issue here.
    Assuming the AHT is right, it sounds like the problem may lie elsewhere?
  14. bijou macrumors regular


    Sep 7, 2007
    Due to the age of your iBook and the description of your problem, there's a good chance there may be more than one issue going on with it.

    The odds are pretty good that it's your HD going bad first, but I'd also buy a cheap stick of RAM and up that as well. A clean install onto a new HD and extra RAM would probably give you at least another year or more of good use.
  15. raharu macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2008
    The whine that you describe is exactly the same symptom that I suffered when my HD was dying. The easiest way to check that this is the same problem would be to install OSX on a external Firewire HD and see if the whining stops.

    If you don't have any FW HD, another option is to use a linux LiveCD (anything is fine as long as you don't run from the main HD).

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