More RAM for a G4PowerBook and a G4mini

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by mahonmeister, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. mahonmeister macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Redlands, CA
    I did a search on the forums but couldn't find the help I needed so here goes...

    Hello Mac Rumors Community! I want to increase the overall speed of my G4 PowerBook 1.5GHz and our G4 mini 1.42GHz. Both have 512 RAM. It seems that adding memory is my best choice and I had a few questions.

    Right now I have all these programs running: Finder, Safari, Firefox, iTunes, iPhoto, Google Earth, Activity Monitor, Quicktime, System Profiler, and Preview. Looking in the "Memory" tab of Activity Monitor, I can see that ~81MB is "Wired," ~295MB is "Active," ~140MB is "Inactive," and ~5MB is "Free." Why is it that so much memory is "Inactive" and yet I have been told that adding memory will make it much faster?

    As for my PowerBook, where do I get good quality RAM? What about DDR2? I am interested in adding a 1GB stick so what price should I settle for? I understand that installation is easy but I have never done it before, any tips?

    On to the mini: I looked at System Profiler and it looks like there is only one slot that holds the RAM. Do I have to remove the old RAM to add more? I was hoping to get a total of 1GB for the mini by simply popping in another 512, is this not possible? How do you even take the thing apart to add the RAM?

    I apologize that there are many individual questions here, but I am quite ignorant in this specific aspect and would like to learn more. Feel free to link me to other sites with more information, I don't mind doing a good bit of reading to educate myself. Big thanks to everyone!

  2. Clydefrog macrumors 6502a


    Feb 24, 2006
    #2 is good, is also. DDR2 willl not work in the PB or mini. Is your powerbook a 12in or a 15in. If it is a 12 a 1gb stick is pretty pricey. I pretty sure any place other than the apple store has beter prices for RAM. Another option is you could just upgrade to an Intel Mini.
  3. clayj macrumors 604


    Jan 14, 2005
    visiting from downstream
    Mahon, the G4 mini has only ONE memory slot... so to upgrade to 1 GB of RAM, you will have to buy a 1 GB stick and remove the existing 512 MB stick. (You may be able to resell the 512 MB stick here on the Marketplace, or through eBay or Craigslist.) Upgrading the RAM in a Mac mini is not terribly difficult (although Apple Store folks will tell you it is)... all you need is a particular size putty knife ($2.19 at your local hardware store), the instructions, and a little intestinal fortitude.

    And Crucial are AWESOME. Their RAM is good quality stuff and they have great customer service.
  4. mahonmeister thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Redlands, CA
    Oops! Its a 15".

    I checked the price on for 1GB, $180. A bit more then I was expecting. On I found some for ~$100. And they even have Cructial memory for $129.
    Why the big price difference?

    Sucks about the one slot in the mini. I guess the new Intel chips freed up space for more ram and ports in the new ones? Just compared prices again on a 1GB stick: $120 at crucial, and crutial RAM at newegg is $101. Is there a difference?

    "...and a little intestinal fortitude." Stewie from Family Guy right?
  5. i4k20c macrumors 6502a


    Sep 10, 2005
    i'd look here before crucial (just because it should save you some $$ for the same thing).. i belive they have samsung orignal (what apple uses), and it comes with a lifetime warrenty..check them out..
  6. mahonmeister thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Redlands, CA
    Wow, it's only $139 as opposed to Apple charging $300. Any other recommendations?

    Can anyone explain why there is a lot of inactive memory as I mentioned in my first post?
  7. ScubaKay macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2006
    Considering the number of applications you are running, your used memory seems REALLY low overall.... but what do I know.

    I'm having the same problem. I upgraded the RAM/memory on my G4 Powerbook a few months ago from 256 M to 1.25 Gig. It's been better, but not significantly.

    Right now, I am running ONLY Safari. This is typical use for me.

    Activity Monitor reads:
    Wired: 123.36 MB
    Active: 107.00
    INACTIVE: 516.09
    Used: 746.84

    Free: 533. 14 MB
    VM Size: 4.35 GB
    Page ins/outs: 25822/0

    I don't understand the deal with the INACTIVE memory - what a waste. Typically, this uses up 50-80% of my memory. I have not been successful in figuring this one out - so any tips are helpful!

    p.s. I purchased my RAM upgrade at OWC (other world computing) at www dot macsales dot com) Good prices. A little better than crucial prices and these guys do only MACs so they know their stuff.
  8. mahonmeister thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Redlands, CA
    I ended up getting another gig for my PowerBook and a gig for the mini. Got both at OWC just like you, Samsung origional. I just helped/set up a Intel mini for my neighbor and with 1GB of RAM it seemed to love ever megabyte of it so that swayed me to get more myself.

    I'm with you on the whole "inactive" memory thing. Could anyone with sufficient knowledge explain this? We would really appreciate it.
  9. dan-o-mac macrumors 6502a


    Oct 12, 2004
    Brooklyn, NY
    Was it worth it to upgrade your powerbook with the 1 gig. any noticeable gains?
  10. ScubaKay macrumors newbie

    Aug 16, 2006
    System Memory explained


    System Memory (used versus inactive, etc) is explained on this link. It's a response to my posting on Mac support board.

    I did 3 major things to my Powerbook yesterday that seems to have improved the performance and really take advantage of the 1G RAM increase:

    1. Fix/Repair Permissions (explained on the link above)
    2. Clean house. Delete any unnecessary documents & applications. Clear the Desktop. Empty Trash.
    3. Re-Calibrate the Battery. This *miraculously* increased my battery capacity from 7% to 33% of the original capacity. (Download CoconutBattery utility to view your capacity). To re-Calibrate: charge the laptop completely. Unplug it and let the battery Drain. Let it drain to the point that the computer goes to sleep - but doesn't power off. Then plug it back in and let it charge up completely. Reboot. I did this twice yesterday and regained more capacity each time.

    Good luck!
    By the way -- you don't live in New Jersey by chance? I have a friend with the last name Mahon.
  11. mahonmeister thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Redlands, CA
    Just got it today.
    It is significantly faster overall with more ram. I can open up all the apps in my dock and it doesn't slow down nearly as much as before. After looking at Activity Monitor to see how the memory is being allocated, it seems I could get along with 1gig just fine. I kinda figured that but I had the money and besides, I can still sell the 512. I also am trying to learn photoshop so the extra memory could help then, we'll see. Overall conclusion: 1gig is plenty for running a bunch of regular apps, you may need more for the intense ones. Hope that helps those also looking to upgrade.:D

    As for the mini, mostly the same effects as my powerbook. Expose seems a ton faster, finder is faster and everything else it a bit faster too. Some things are about the same speed, but run better when there are more things open.

    Sorry about bumping this topic, just wanted to give those interested an update.
  12. nate13 macrumors 6502


    Feb 16, 2004
    Fargo, ND
    ive got a 2100 or 27000 512 mb stick in my imac id be willing to sell... somewhere around 60 or 70? if your really interested pm me i guess. otherwise, crucial memory is usally pretty good.
  13. HugMnster macrumors member

    Mar 31, 2006
    Tyler, Tx
    I need to upgrade the ram in my ppc mini also but do not think I want to attempt it myself. does anyone know of a place that I can send it to to put the ram in. I just do not want to break the tabs that hold it together. There si not apple store around tyler, tx would have to travel to dallas to do get to an apple store.


Share This Page