Pismo Powerbook Question

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by apple2991, Jul 29, 2004.

  1. apple2991 macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2004
    I recently acquired a Pismo Powerbook from a friendly member of my local Mac User Group. It is a G3 400 mhz, 384mb RAM, 2 firewire 400, 2 usb, airport card, 10 gb HD, and combo drive. I paid $350 for it. It has OS 9.2.1 installed.

    I was just wondering what your thoughts are on upgrading the RAM, HD, or processor, and maybe even running OS X. I really don't have much experience with OS 9, as I switched when Panther was released. Does anyone think I should upgrade any of the HW, and is it worth it to install OS X? I certianly do not expect to do any graphics- or processor-intensive tasks--mostly internet, word processing, minimal photoshop.

    I don't really mind OS 9, it seems pretty decent for the tasks I want to do. But are there any good, non-IE browsers for it?

    Anyway, is it worth it to upgrade any/all of the above HW? I definitely think I'd like a bigger hard drive, can anyone recommend any good stores, brands, models for the Pismo?

    I appreciate ANY help you can give me, I am lost in Pismo world!
  2. Elan0204 macrumors 65816


    Apr 16, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    While I don't own a Pismo myself, I've heard many success stories of upgrading the hardware and running OS X on the computer. As your Pismo is right now, I'd expect that you will have no trouble running OS X for the tasks you described.

    If you'd like to shop around for upgrade components, check out Other World Computing (OWC) at www.macsales.com.
  3. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus


    Mar 10, 2004
    Bergen, Norway
    My girlfriend is running OS X 10.3.4 on a 400MHz Pismo which until reasently had 320 MB RAM (now it has 512). I performes really well.

    I would probably replace the hard drive, though... you can probably get a cheapish 40 or 60 GB. It's quite easy to replace the HD, if you have the manual (can be downloaded from Apple) and the right tools (NOTE: you need a torx T9 to get the drive out of its frame). I replaced the original 6 GB HD with an IBM Travelstar 40 GB without any problems (though as far as I remember the Travelstar is now made by Hitachi - maybe someone can confirm?), and that is performing quite well.

    Good luck. You've gotten a good old machine that should be able to do anything you want it to... :)
  4. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    Upgrade the memory, definatly. Upgrade the HD if you can, a cheapie 60GB or 40GB would do. Clean install OS X, and your other applications, and you are good to go. Just remember that Photoshop can be sluggish on my 800Mhz G4 iMac, so I would recommend doing just a little bit on it. Simple text should be fine, along with minor color corrections.
  5. 7on macrumors 601


    Nov 9, 2003
    Dress Rosa
    It should be over twice as fast as my Campus's iMacs. I think 333Mhz and 128Mb of RAM. They run pretty damn good if I say so myself. As it stands now, OSX 10.3 will run pretty nicely. But the first thing I'd do is up the hdd gigs. OSX needs some breathing room.
  6. krimson macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2003
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    up the memory, and up the drive 30Gb+ and you'll be good to go. It wont be super fast or anything, but it'll suit most things like surfing, i did light PS work before i upped my processor.
    Panther works just fine for me.
  7. D*I*S_Frontman macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2002
    Lombard, IL
    Up the RAM to 1 GB.

    Don't go by the nonsense on the "official" spec listing that 512MB is the max RAM. Not true. I have run 1GB RAM since the moment I bought mine 2 1/2 years ago. Get name brand RAM (OSX is picky) because installing it is a chore you only want to do once.

    A bigger hard drive is a good idea as well.

    After you've done all that, you'll have a somewhat pokey slow (expect to see "beachballs" from time to time) but fully functioning OSX-running laptop that is arguably one of Apple's best designs. In fact, if you buy two high capacity batteries (check OWC) for the expansion bays, you can go well over 8 hours straight without recharging--no Powerbook they've made before or since can make that claim. Oh, and the Airport reception is very good. Take a look also @ MCETech--they have a lot of other expansion bay add-on possibilities.

    For $75 you can drop in a FW800 bus via the CardBus port that will be as fast or faster than what the current Powerbooks ship with (according to BareFeats). Keep in mind that the FW in a Pismo is first generation FW200, not fully FW400.

    Batman's Laptop. Sexy. And built to take some real-world punishment. I love Pismos!
  8. jacobj macrumors 65816


    Apr 22, 2003
    I was always lead to believe that upgrading the hard drive in my Powerbook 172 1Ghz was pretty much impossible: but checking out the http://www.macsales.com/ link and they sell them.

    I could really do with an 80GB instead of the 60 I have. Has anyone changed a hard drive in the PowerBook Aluminiums and if so, how easy was it?
  9. apple2991 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2004

    So what would you say is a good name brand? Also, Mitthrawnuruodo said that I need a Torx T9 to get the drive out of it's frame...I don't even know what a Torx T9 is. Heh.


    Edit: I realized where I could get some RAM. Crucial.com, as some helpful MacRumors members have directed me before. Still don't know what a Torx T9 is.
  10. atari1356 macrumors 68000


    Feb 27, 2004
    For the things that you plan on doing, I wouldn't worry about upgrading the memory (at least not right away). I've got a 500MHz Pismo with 256Mb ram and it runs OS X 10.3.4 just fine... and I do the same things you mention: internet/word processing/basic Photoshop. I'd install Panther first, and give it a try with your 384Mb ram... you'll probably only notice some slowness if you run Photoshop and 4-5 other apps at the same time. Of course, if you have money burning a hole in your pocket, then sure... go ahead and upgrade that baby to 1 gig. :D

    A new hard drive would definitely be good though, 10gigs is pretty small. I recommend getting a 5400rpm one... I bought a 60gig 5400rpm drive for mine and opening applications and doing other disk intensive stuff is noticably faster.
  11. krimson macrumors 65816


    Oct 29, 2003
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia


    it's the star shaped screwdriver. 9 is the size. $5.99 here

    incidently, i have nonname-brand memory, and have no problems. it's more hit n miss.
  12. apple2991 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2004
  13. ephramz macrumors member

    Jan 14, 2004
    I have the same Pismo, running OS X

    I have almost exactly the same Pismo, 400 GHz, 10 GB hard disk, but I started out with only 256 MB RAM, on which Jaguar was pretty slow. Panther might have been OK, but it wasn't out yet so I added on a 512 MB chip and Jaguar and now Panther both run great on it! Yes Photoshop can be a bit slow, but I don't use it much for that.

    The 10 GB disk is a bit of a limit (I often get the "Your Startup Disk is almost full" message) but it's not mine to upgrade all the parts, so I haven't messed with that and I just keep the important stuff on here.

    Definitely get more memory, maybe a bigger drive if it's your primary computer and you'll be good to go. Take advantage of that Cardbus (PCMCIA) slot for add ons. You can even upgrade the processor daughter card, I think to 500 MHz, which I did as well, but it runs pretty hot!

    Can't wait to see how Tiger runs on it!
  14. apple2991 thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2004
    I'll give Panther a try definitely

    What kind of stuff is handy to stick in the PCMCIA slot? I'm definitely looking forward to utilizing it (if need be) because of the lack of one on my iBook G4.
    Also, if I don't plan on using the combo too much, what are some cool/handy things you guys recommend I might use in the expansion bay? Any favorites?
  15. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    Handy PCIMA (CardBus) stuff:
    10/100/1000 Ethernet Card (For wired connections. If the wires and your computer support it, it is very very fast)

    Firewire 400/USB 2.0 Combo Card (For misc. connections. FW400 is nice due to iPod support and USB 2.0 is a standard that is used commonly. A few fast ports will be very helpful when you need them)

    Wireless Card (Depends if you need it, I don't know about the Airport specs for you computer)

    Drive bays:
    Extra battery
    Floppy drive (you don't really need it, but if you use those vulnerable plastic disks still....)

    I will try to update this post if I think of anything else.

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