iBook G4 Upgrade

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by maverick18x, May 10, 2006.

  1. maverick18x macrumors member

    May 31, 2005
    With all the dissappointment coming from the MacBook rumors, I figured I'd try and get my mind off it by gathering some opinions. I'm looking to upgrade my iBook, since I will probably stick with it until at least Rev. B MacBooks are out.

    I own the current model, 12" iBook G4. Specs are: 1.33GHz G$, 40GB 4200RPM, 512MB, Combo Drive.

    I'm wondering you guys would suggest as an upgrade. To me it seems like my current bottleneck is the Hard Drive, I ony have about 8GB left and assume putting in a higher capacity drive with a higher RPM would be my best bet. I'd also consider a memory upgrade -- it's expandable up to 1.5GB. I doubt overclocking is a viable option, although if someone could convince me otherwise I'd try my hand at it. How about an upgrade to a Superdrive?

    All in all, I'm not really looking to spend more than $200 and would do any upgrade myself. I'm not too shy about doing the work, but would love any suggestions/links from those with more experience.
  2. deebster macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2004
    Olde Englande
    You are right in pinpointing the areas where your iBook could use a bit more oomph. First off I'd say RAM, definitely. Get a 1GB stick and you will not be disappointed.

    HD and optical drive replacement is tricky but doable. I replaced my G3 iBook's combo drive without problem, but it took quite a while. OK, it took all day. There are lots of guides around on the net and I'm sure you'll find some links around here.

    But why not get a pair of external firewire / USB 2.0 cases and slip a DVD burner and HD into each one? It won't cost that much, you won't have to open your iBook up and you'll then have extra HD space and a DVD burner in addition to what you already have.
  3. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Triple your RAM to 1.5GB and install a 7,200rpm HDD and your iBook G4 will be a good deal faster. :)
  4. maverick18x thread starter macrumors member

    May 31, 2005
    Thanks for the quick reply. I had an old iBook G3 that nneded the reed switch board replaced. Did that myself and it took 6-8 hours, so I know what I'm in for. I guess ideally I'd like to do any upgrade internally, I am a student and portability is key.

    After looking around I'm thinking of replacing the internal HD with a 7200RPM drive. I'd keep the old drive in an external case to use fore backup. Does anyone know if I'd run into problems with the whole "rubber mounted" "sudden motion sensor" thing? Could I keep those features intact?

    PS. I'm new to the forms so mods, if this needs to be moved let me know
  5. deebster macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2004
    Olde Englande
    My guess is that the sudden motion sensor must be a part of the iBook and not in the HD itself, or we would see SMS-compatible HDs out there. I don't know that for sure though. Hadn't thought about it before now.

    Since as you say portability is the key, then I reckon you are right with going for an internal 7,200 rpm HD and a superdrive.
  6. maverick18x thread starter macrumors member

    May 31, 2005
    One more thing... sorry I'm knida learning as I go here:
    Is a 7,200rpm drive going to be significantly louder than a 5400rpm drive? Would the benifits outweigh any noise issues?

  7. kugino macrumors 65816


    Jul 10, 2003
    it won't be significantly louder, but the fan might run more often b/c of the 7200 drive. i don't think there's a significant increase going to a 7200 drive...sure, there's a small increase, but not as big as getting more ram.

    i have a 1GHz 12" ibook and installed a 5400rpm 80GB HD in mine (took about 2 hours, only because i had some extra screws and went back in to see where i missed)...the drive runs noticeably hotter so you'll want to take that into consideration.

    my suggestion would be to just get a 5400rpm drive and spend the rest of your money getting another 1 GB ram. that's where you'll see the biggest improvement...

    if you do it carefully enough, applecare will never know you've installed a new drive and your repairs will still be covered (as long as it's not a failed HD)...good luck.
  8. disconap macrumors 68000


    Oct 29, 2005
    Portland, OR

    Agreed. I did both, though my start specs are lower (so I went to 1.12 RAM). I decided on a 5400 rpm drive because of price and heat, the HD is in the bottom left corner, where your hand goes, so I didn't want it to be too warm because I don't like burning my hand, and your hand is over it a lot, which means the heat doesn't dissipate well while you are using it. But you can go with a 7200.

    The biggest difference you'll note (as with any Mac running OSX) is the performance jump when you break the 1gig barrier. Tremendous improvement IMO.
  9. ipacmm macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2003
    Cincinnati, OH
    The first thing I would do would be to upgrade the ram and then I would buy some external hard drives because even if you do upgrade your internal drive you will still end up filling it sooner or later so for the same price as an internal hd you can buy a nice 500GB external drive for all of your data needs.
  10. timswim78 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2006
    Baltimore, MD
    I'd suggest upping the RAM to at least 1GB.

    As far as the hdd drives, here is what I think.
    - 5400 RPM is the sweet spot of price, performance, noise and battery life. 7200 RPM drives are pricey, louder, and run down the battery faster, without having much of a performance benefit.
    - An external hdd is always a nice choice. Back up the files that you don't use very much to the external hdd and delete them from your laptop.
    - Also, you can just back up stuff that you do not use very often to optical disks in order to free up some space.
  11. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    I beg to differ. Check out www.barefeats.com , they have a nice article on this subject (comparing a 5400rpm hdd vs a 7200rpm hdd in a MBP).


    While I don't have a link, I think I read in PC World's magazine/website that a 7200rpm HDD does not use much more power than a 5400rpm HDD does. :)
  12. FF_productions macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
    1 gig of ram will give your machine a kick by itself...

    After that, speed up that hard drive and all of a sudden it will come down to a processor, then its going to be the graphics card, then the cd drive, then the screen, the design, then the OS....

    Don't go crazy with the upgrade if your interested in getting a MacBook, just because it didn't come out yesterday doesn't mean it won't come out next week. Guaranteed, the MacBook is coming this month.
  13. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    pimp out the ram and you'll be happy for a good while longer :)
  14. terriyaki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2005
    Guess I'll ask my iBook speed related questions here, too..

    I have a 12" 1.33Ghz iBook G4 with 1.5GB of RAM and a 60GB HDD. She can runn tonnes of apps without even hiccupping and yet I experience crazy slowdowns in Safari and Shiira all the time.

    Sometimes it'll happen when I have only 2 tabs open and some other times it'll happen when I have 15+ tabs open. The webbrowser I'm using will become unresponsive to clicks and keystrokes and whenever I have the cursor over it I'll just get beachballs.

    So.. why is this? I mean I know it takes time for tabs to load.. but shouldn't webbrowsers still be responsive when tabs are loading? I don't think this is a connection thing since I never experience this sort of thing on my PC desktop. Is it a software thing? A hardware thing? I've maxed out my baby's RAM already.. should I look into getting a larger and faster hard drive?

    Comments and suggestions are welcome. Thanks.
  15. gman71882 macrumors 6502


    Jan 12, 2005
    Houston, Tx
  16. slooksterPSV macrumors 68040


    Apr 17, 2004
    Step 1 - UPGRADE YOUR RAM - this will give you the best benefit of both worlds for a few reasons:
    1 - Programs will start faster, much faster, and if you're like me, you always have Email, Messenger, Internet, and iTunes open + other apps like Photoshop and Illustrator (or freeware Seashore or GIMPshop, irrespectively) for suckers like me.
    2 - Computer will be more responsive
    3 - Data won't be written to the Hard drive as much - when you run out of RAM your computer uses Hard Disk space to store what RAM cannot, therefore having more RAM is always a plus.
    4 - Heat, fans won't come on as much, because of the Hard drive not always writing data. I've noticed a 30-50% decrease in the fan usage on my iBook
    5 - Internet, since you can cache more in RAM it runs faster.
    6 - etc. etc. etc. I got a 512MB stick for $35.99 off the inet

    --EDIT: http://www.ramseeker.com/ is what I used I think to find my RAM,
    Step 2 -- Get an external HDD enclosure cause you can always upgrade and Firewire daisy chain the drives if you need more. Externals are the best!
  17. maverick18x thread starter macrumors member

    May 31, 2005

    Thanks, that was exactly what I needed. I'm waiting until the MacBook specs are out, but that's more than enough reason to upgrade the ram before anything else -- I always have Safari, Mail, iChat, iTunes, and Dashboard running, in addition to any labor intensive apps I'm working in. Plus I love the idea of an easy installation. Can't beat that.
  18. slooksterPSV macrumors 68040


    Apr 17, 2004
    $37.50 for a 512MB stick ... uh oh, clipboard issues, gotta restart

    EDIT: http://www.omnitechnologies.biz/cgi...ct=&aff=&pg=prod&ref=APLIBOOK512MB333O&cat=iB that is the link for that RAM, and I am using it and it works very well.

      Size:	512 MB
      Type:	DDR SDRAM
      Speed:	PC3200U-30330
      Status:	OK
  19. me_94501 macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2003
    As others said, yes, add more memory. I went from 512 to 1.25 GB in my iBook (12" 1.2 GHz) and this little Mac purrs now. I would hold off on upgrading the hard drive and check to see if that would void the warranty.

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