PowerBook G4 1.5 worth fixing

mazzbob

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2018
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New York
I have a Power Book G4 that needs a little attention it's running OS X 10.4.11, 1.5ghz w/ 512 MB DDR ram.

If I fix it I would like to just go online get email, surf the net see some videos as you tube etc..... Now the G4 works well but it will not stream any videos. Therefore I was thinking upgrading to 10.5.8 and remove the current HDD 80gb adding a mSATA SSD 128GB (or more) with 2.5 44pin adapter, max out the ram & fix the loose power connection.
I know I may be wasting time because I could also buy a used Macbook Pro kinda cheap for a few hundred bucks which would be a much better unit but I'm not going to do much on the G4 anyway so before I purchase anything I thought it would be wise to post this for any advice. Doing the hardware upgrades would be about $100 vs $3/400 for an used unit.

Any provided information will be truly appreciated.... Bob
 

eyoungren

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Aug 31, 2011
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The issue with video on the web is not so much hardware upgrades (faster drive, etc) as it is the the difficulty the G4 CPU has dealing with a lot of the garbage code on the internet.

It's entirely possible to stream video, even in a web browser. But it takes workarounds to get there. Dropping in a new SSD will make the Mac boot faster and certainly the OS will be a bit faster. But it's not going to stream your video any better.

So, it really comes down to how much you're willing to get your hands dirty to view video on this Mac. If throwing parts at it and hoping it fixes the problem is the extent you're willing to go to then that MBP you mentioned is probably going to work out better for you.
 

mazzbob

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2018
22
1
New York
That is what I needed to hear because I can get a MBP on Craigslist with an ssd already installed for about 400. vs opening up the G4 buy all the stuff and not gaining much of anything.
 
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z970mp

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Jun 2, 2017
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I've got your model with 1.25GB of RAM and a 32GB mSATA SSD, and I have no problem watching video with TenFiveTube, especially with a tweaked / optimized OS install.

If you plan on watching video, definitely upgrade to Leopard because QuickTime 7.7 will come in handy when playing media.
 
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mazzbob

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2018
22
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New York
I really didn't want to spend $ for a new MBP if this can be used, but if it is not a realistic upgrade than ..........no it is not worth the work & money.
 

pl1984

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Oct 31, 2017
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I really didn't want to spend $ for a new MBP if this can be used, but if it is not a realistic upgrade than ..........no it is not worth the work & money.
It's realistic if you want to spend the time tweaking the OS. It is not worth the time (or money) to perform the upgrades you mentioned because they aren't the bottleneck. This is good news for you because you don't have to spend any money.
 
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bobesch

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Oct 21, 2015
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Kiel, Germany
I'd spend some bucks on 2GB RAM (20-30$) and a 60-120GB mSATA+IDE-Converter (60$).
Make sure, both RAM-slot are in a working condition, before you place an order!
Swapping drives and RAM will take about 20-30 minutes.
Dual-Boot Tiger/Classic and Leopard is fine.
Easiest way to watch YT-video currently is TenFourTube and TenFiveTube.
Browsers: webkit4leopard/tiger and TenFourFox
email/IMAP: the built-in Email-App
It will be all slow-food! And the G4 will struggle with bloated web-pages or compressed video.
Hardware-upgrade is about 80$ or less at best. - On the other hand I've got an early intel 15" c2d-MBP A1260 at the same price recently ...
 
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mazzbob

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2018
22
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New York
I'm gonna have to think about this... It seems an upgrade to a MBP intell I7 unit is the way to go even though it would cost a few $ more I will be able to do some upgrades to it down the road.
 

AphoticD

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Feb 17, 2017
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For what it’s worth, I have upgraded many of my PowerBook G4s with SSDs and maxed out RAM with no regrets.

I have access to more recent Macs, so I haven’t exactly penned myself in with hardware limitations. But I find myself preferring to use the PowerBooks over the MacBook Pros to get written work done (inc coding & web).

It’s great to see Tiger fly on a G4 and combined with CorePlayer I’ve had no issues watching video on the hardware.

Ultimately it comes down to either buying another machine or making do with what you’ve already got (And upgrading it where possible).
 

AL1630

macrumors 6502
Apr 24, 2016
349
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Idaho, USA
If you want to be able to do normal online stuff without a hassle, I'd go for the MacBook Pro. If you don't mind tinkering, fixing stuff, and learning some stuff along the way, go for fixing up the G4. (A bit of extra patience helps too.)
 

z970mp

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Jun 2, 2017
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If you want to be able to do normal online stuff without a hassle, I'd go for the MacBook Pro. If you don't mind tinkering, fixing stuff, and learning some stuff along the way, go for fixing up the G4. (A bit of extra patience helps too.)
I'm glad I lived for a couple years solely on a PowerPC. I learned a lot, and I naturally built up greater amounts of patience, which can come in handy when applied to other scenarios in life.

I also got to know some people along the way, thanks to you guys.
 

bobesch

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2015
1,518
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Kiel, Germany
I'm gonna have to think about this... It seems an upgrade to a MBP intell I7 unit is the way to go even though it would cost a few $ more I will be able to do some upgrades to it down the road.
You have to take into account, that the cheaper pre-'late-2008' MBP (those with silver keyboard) might have a faulty GPUs and die a sudden death (proper GPU replacement is about 150 bucks). The late-2008 MBP have a poor battery performance since battery drains somehow even in standby. The c2d-MBP starting from mid-2009 are rock-solid. Then the i5/7 models from 2010 to 2011 are prone to have GPU-failures again.
There are a lot of pitfalls with a secondhand intel MBP. A pimped up PowerBook is a much cheaper and more solid investment, if meant for anything else than streaming-video, advanced cloud-computing or media-editing.
 
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Dronecatcher

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Jun 17, 2014
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I'm gonna have to think about this... It seems an upgrade to a MBP intell I7 unit is the way to go even though it would cost a few $ more I will be able to do some upgrades to it down the road.
By all means, splash out and spend more money on a far more capable computer but to answer your first query, to achieve your objective all you need is the right software and more RAM if you install Leopard (another 512Mb will be sufficient)
 
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mazzbob

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2018
22
1
New York

Been doing a lot of research on mac/LT units and I agree with bobesch there are many issues encountered when purchasing used mac. Therefore I think I will try to update this model. I will have to first ascertain what is the issue with the power jack which is loose and see if it can be soldered and secured or need a replacement part. Then it will be more RAM, it has 512MB, I'd like to max the unit out and replace the HDD 80GB with a adapter mSATA to 44 pin (Lycom ST-173-7 Covert mSATA SSD as High Speed 7mm 2.5" IDE SSD Drive) this is the one I heard is good but unable to find one locally in the US. Finally mSATA SSD of 120/128 or 250GB's as they are mostly around that I have seen Samsung 860 EVO 250GB mSATA Internal SSD. All & any other hardware suggestions are needed and welcome.
 

pl1984

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mazzbob

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 28, 2018
22
1
New York
been looking at this
2012 MacBook Pro 13" A1278 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 8GB 500GB SSD High Sierra $513.

Does anyone know issues with this model?
 

dbdjre0143

macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2017
330
336
West Virginia
A few months ago, I bought a lot of 5 A1181 Macbooks in a lot from ShopGoodwill. I did not find that I could do more tasks with them running Lion than I can on my Powerbook G4 running Leopard (for my workflows anyway). However, there were things that required less tinkering. The big example is browsing and streaming YouTube.

With Lion, like Leopard, you still don't have access to the latest versions of the mainstream browsers, but WaterFox is a good alternative. In WaterFox, streaming (or anything else I tried) worked without a hitch. However, I found that updates aren't always 100% reliable. Before I got them all sold off, there was a WaterFox update released that completely broke the browser for Lion, and wasn't fixed for a couple of versions after.
As is well-documented on these forums, the browser situation in PPC generally requires a bit of a utility belt approach. I like Leopard Webkit for most things, but when it struggles, or I'm doing anything where a bit more security is a plus, TenFourFox is the way to go. Also, it takes a little bit more tinkering for streaming video on PPC (setting up MPlayer and getting access to 720p video streaming on my Powerbook has been a WONDERFUL change).

All that said, after having 5 of the A1181, I had no desire to keep any of them to replace my Powerbook. I have no nostalgia from Macs when PPC machines were new, not having even owned a Mac until '09 when I bought a Powerbook G3, but I just like using my G4 more than any of the plastic Macbooks. All a matter of opinion though. :)
 
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pl1984

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I recommended the MacBook as it appears the OP is going to spend money upgrading the PowerBook so, for a similar amount of money, he could purchase a MacBook which offers better performance and easier upgradability. Understanding this is a PPC forum IMO unless the OP wants to tinker or has a specific desire to use a PPC system a MacBook, even the first generation systems, would probably be a better use of his money.
 

dbdjre0143

macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2017
330
336
West Virginia
I recommended the MacBook as it appears the OP is going to spend money upgrading the PowerBook so, for a similar amount of money, he could purchase a MacBook which offers better performance and easier upgradability. Understanding this is a PPC forum IMO unless the OP wants to tinker or has a specific desire to use a PPC system a MacBook, even the first generation systems, would probably be a better use of his money.
That is very fair. As a rule, not just with computers, I enjoy tinkering and unconventional usage of older equipment. The OP may or may not be the same. For someone who does not enjoy such things, I would not recommend a G4.
[doublepost=1537467989][/doublepost]As far as costs of upgrading the Powerbook, they can be had rather cheaply:
Max out the RAM ($14): https://www.ebay.com/itm/Atech-2GB-...00-333-333mhz-200-pin-Memory-Ram/221892835701
Cheapo mSata SSD ($27): https://www.ebay.com/itm/Zheino-120...-Drive-For-Mini-Pc-and-Ultrabook/292630908210
Enclosure ($6): https://www.ebay.com/itm/mSATA-to-2...-Converter-Adapter-Card-Case-New/111993632883

(Mods, none of these are mine)

So for less than $50, the G4 can be humming along rather nicely, much better than a lot of the systems folks around here are using regularly. ;)
 
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