Should My PowerBook G4 Not Run GB Good?

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by dubdub, Mar 13, 2004.

  1. dubdub macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2004
    Who Cares
    I have some serious issues with my brand new PowerBook. Its has an 80gb hard drive, 512mb of RAM, 1GHz G4, SuperDrive, and 12 inch screen. How could I have any problems with that system? I don't know. The computer runs great, its a couple days old and is amazing. I have had no problems except in garageband.

    -The PowerBook freezes in GarageBand alot. It freezes when I play multiple insturments, it does it when I try to use the keyboard thing with the insturments, and freezes on any other semi complex tasks. My computer seems to blow away the min. requirements, doesn't act like it though.

    I have yet to make a song that involves more then 3 insturments. I have no clue what the issue is. Please Help Me. Thanks.
  2. Oroboros macrumors newbie

    Feb 26, 2004
    Goddamn - That's a hot setup, dubdub. Wish I had something like that... but my 800MHz iMac Widescreen seems to do the job just fine.

    Assuming your hardware checks out fine, there are a couple of things you might what to check: CPU drain, system preferences and (as an outside contender) disk fragmentation. Within GarageBand, use MIDI loops wherever you can.

    CPU Drain
    Are you running background activities on your powerbook that might be stealing CPU time from GarageBand? Common activities might be SETI@HOME-like screensavers which you're running in the background, running Classic and Classic applications while running Panther, other applications that might be draining CPU power while running, and (heaven forbid!) worms or viruses trying to melt your system like a blowtorch to candy-floss.

    If you're running Panther, checkout a handy Utility (in your Applications > Utilities folder) called "Activity Monitor". I won't explain its function - hopefully it's fairly straight forward - but you should be able to see if any programs (the 'Process Name' column) is gobbling up your CPU usage.

    Activity Monitor is a handy-dandy tool to examine various eldritch, arcane processes that make computers go well... and some processes which might be spawn of the devil.

    System Preferences
    (Ay Carumba... I so don't want to go here...)

    Welp... The big drainers here are screensavers, over-active virus detection agents, and possible hardware add-ons that demand RAM. This is not really a significant area, but it can be a highly sensitive one, because different people need to run different extensions, depending on the primary function of their comp. Just... Just turn off the eye-candy wherever you can :)

    Disk Fragmentation
    I don't think this is the problem area either, as you say you have a new comp... But it COULD be a problem area if, as soon as you got your comp, you loaded all sorts of OS X and Classic apps in random order, worked on a few files, deleted some, updated others and installed GarageBand a couple of times, in between working on a few Photoshop files bigger than The Beatles.

    It could be that your GB file has been edited and saved so many different times that the file has fragmented, that is, it has been stored in several locations on your drive. When this happens, your drive has to do a lot of seaching to put the thing together and load into RAM.

    Make no mistake - This one is a LONG shot. I'm having a lot of trouble convincing myself that this is a problem worth considering. But it may well be a problem in the future. Consider getting Norton SystemWorks or TechTool Pro, something of that nature, to ensure your disk doesn't become paralytically slow.

    If these three areas aren't the culprits, I'd recommend re-reading the GarageBand spec sheet, compare it with what you have, and drag your comp back into the shop you bought it from and say "Hey! The Hell??!?!...." and get some advice. Your comp might actually have a defect in it. Just because new stuff is new, doesn't mean it's flawless.

    MIDI Files
    (I'm afraid this doesn't solve your problem. It just helps you run GB economically, as far as processing power is concerned.)

    GarageBand handles three different types of files: Apple Loops, original recorded input (which includes waveform files you might import or drag/drop in to the application), and MIDI files.

    MIDI files use far less processing power and RAM than the other ones. If you can, select Apple MIDI instrument files over waveform loops to serve as your track data, or use an electronic input MIDI device (keyboard) to create MIDI instrument files.

    Hope this helps,

  3. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    My 1GHz 12" PowerBook with 768MB RAM and a 40GB HDD runs GarageBand fine. It certainly runs GB with more than 3 concurrent instruments without a problem. When you say 'freezing', do you mean that the PowerBook becomes momentarily unresponsive or 'jerky', or do you mean a full-on, hard lock-up crash?

    If it is a freeze of the crash type, I would suggest running your Apple Hardware Diagnostic CD that came with the PowerBook to see if it picks up something, like faulty RAM. Hard system lockups when the system is under load can sometimes indicate faulty RAM, or even a problem with the cooling system. Also, if you have an external USB MIDI keyboard plugged in, try running the system without that. Sometimes, badly written hardware drivers can bring the system down (or cause it to act unstably). Also try unplugging anything else that you may have plugged in (external FireWire drives, USB scanners, printers etc). Basically try and get your system back to a base level (including removing any non-Apple RAM you may have installed), and see if you can get a stable system. If you can do this, then start adding back components until the freezing behaviour begins again.

    The reason I think this is possibly a hardware related issue is that I have not had a single crash or freeze with my 1GHz 12" PowerBook since I got it in November 2003. I use it for work almost every day, and I often mess around with GarageBand on it. No problems at all. It's not GarageBand or OS X 10.3.2 which is causing the freezing behaviour.
  4. Colonel Panik macrumors regular

    Colonel Panik

    Feb 23, 2004
    Dublin, Ireland
    I'm not clear on whether your machine is freezing, i.e. you need to do a reboot, or whether you mean that the performance in GarageBand is poor.
    I've got a 700MHz iMac, and a 1GHz iBook, and both can handle GarageBand, but it is a very processor/disk intensive application.

    If you mean that the performance is poor/the application crashes, then try this:
    System Preferences>Accounts.
    Make a news user account called Test Account, and try running GarageBand as that user.
    If everything goes well, then there is a problem with your user account. If GB crashes or the system freezes, then you've got a hardware problem, or an OS problem.

    If GB runs fine in the Test Account, then the first thing that I'd do is to trash the GarageBand preferences in your home folder. [Home folder/Library/Preferences/]. Then run GB again.

    If that doesn't help, then delete and reinstall GarageBand.

    If the Test Account is freezing/GB is crashing, then I would consider reinstalling GB (note that there are over 1.5 GBs of files in the [Hard Disk/Library/Application Support/GarageBand] folder).

    If your machine is freezing, then you should try reinstalling the OS. If you are still having problems, then I'd suspect the RAM. Is this RAM that was installed by Apple? Or is it RAM you purchased elsewhere. The most common symptom of bad RAM is the machine freezing for no apparent reason. You can use the Apple Hardware Test disk, but that doesn't always discover bad RAM. If you know what you're doing, then you can remove the extra RAM module. If you don't know what you're doing, then phone the retailer. You can even phone Apple, as you'll have the warranty.

    Hope this helps...
  5. johnnowak macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2003
    New York, New York
  6. realityisterror macrumors 65816


    Aug 30, 2003
    Snellville, GA
    are you plugged into the wall?
    os x pulls your processor down a good deal when you are not plugged in. that could be why. look in energy saver preferences to push up the processor even when you are not plugged in.

  7. dubdub thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2004
    Who Cares
    okay i just found my problem. Somebody might have mentioned it already but I didnt read everything. I got the mac with one 256 chip of ram from apple the added a cruciel 512, no matter what I said. As it turns out the cruciel RAM was the problem. I read on another forum that the same problem happened to alot of other people. I took it out and it runs amazing, I was a little pissed off when I started to think I wasted my student discount and loads of money on the thing. Even with 256mb of RAM its runs awesome. Thanks.
  8. dubdub thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 13, 2004
    Who Cares
    "well" is dumb too. I decided It didnt think well fit the mood of the post you know. well isnt """good""" enough.
  9. crenz macrumors 6502a


    Jul 3, 2003
    Shanghai, China
    dubdub, thanks for the update on your problem. This info might help others, too.
  10. kanker macrumors 6502

    Nov 13, 2003
    I've got a 12" 1Ghz combo with a 512 from Crucial and haven't had any issues. Hope you managed to get a replacement stick.

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