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Haemoglobin

macrumors regular
Original poster
I promised myself I wouldn't get any more Mac's until I got rid of something. However I have a soft spot for the Macbook Pro, specifically the one that succeeded my G4 15" Powerbook. I think the fact they look the same and this was Apple's first laptop, since dropping PPC, has me interested. I'll be honest I'm a PPC fan, I have been for years, heck since the 90s..However this particular machine, IDK it has that legacy PPC look, before it went all black keys and silver unibody cases.

I just wanted to get people's thoughts, do you have one? What do you think? I was going to ask if you can surf the net on them, but as I do that with both my PB, G4 iBook, I'm guessing the answer has to be, yes they can. Hopefully though the experience is a little better than using a G4??

My intel Mac knowledge is a little rubbish, so excuse a possibly dumb question. But can I expect as good or better performance running PPC software on a late 2006 MBP?

If you've took the time to read all this, thank you! And if you go so far as replying, thanks again :-D
 

Amethyst1

macrumors G3
Oct 28, 2015
9,448
11,626
However I have a soft spot for the Macbook Pro, specifically the one that succeeded my G4 15" Powerbook. I think the fact they look the same and this was Apple's first laptop, since dropping PPC, has me interested.
If you're keen on getting a MacBook Pro that looks like a PowerBook G4, you have four generations to choose from, each available with 15" and 17" screens:
  1. Early 2006 (MacBookPro1,x). Core Duo (32-bit). Max 2 GB RAM, OS X Snow Leopard. Known for running a bit hot and for heat-related ATI GPU issues. Matte screen coating is a bit "aggressive" in some people's eyes.
  2. Late 2006 (MacBookPro2,x). Core 2 Duo "Merom" (64-bit). Max 3 GB RAM (you can install 4 GB but only 3.xx will be addressable), OS X Lion (officially) or Mavericks (unofficially). Also known for heat-related ATI GPU issues. Matte screen coating is a bit "aggressive" in some people's eyes.
  3. Mid 2007 (MacBookPro3,1). Core 2 Duo "Merom" (64-bit). Max 6 GB RAM, OS X El Capitan (no way to go further due to missing CPU instructions). Widely known for NVIDIA GPU issues. Those that have a green dot sticker on the RAM bridge have a revised logic board/GPU that is generally considered to be safe. Those that still have the original GPU are at high risk of dying.
  4. Early 2008 (MacBookPro4,1). Core 2 Duo "Penryn" (64-bit). Max 6 GB RAM, OS X El Capitan (officially) or Monterey (unofficially). Also widely known for NVIDIA GPU issues. Those that have a green dot sticker on the RAM bridge have a revised logic board/GPU that is generally considered to be safe. Those that still have the original GPU are at high risk of dying.
I just wanted to get people's thoughts, do you have one? What do you think? I was going to ask if you can surf the net on them, but as I do that with both my PB, G4 iBook, I'm guessing the answer has to be, yes they can. Hopefully though the experience is a little better than using a G4??
I have both a 15" and a 17" mid-2007 MacBook Pro. Both are equipped with 4 GB RAM, SSDs and revised GPUs. The 15" has a nice bright glossy LED-backlit screen, the 17" has a matte CCFL-backlit screen. Yes, you can surf "teh net" on them, and they're much, much, much faster than any G4. Even better, if some website just plain refuses to work in any browser available to the version of OS X you're running, you can just virtualise Linux or Windows and use a totally current browser that way.

But can I expect as good or better performance running PPC software on a late 2006 MBP?
That depends on the software. For instance, I found MS Office v.X to run just fine via Rosetta but Adobe Creative Suite 2 was quite sluggish.
 
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MBAir2010

macrumors 604
May 30, 2018
6,686
6,136
there
The one I'm looking at is 2.4Ghz with 4gb ram, 500gb HD..Which I believe makes it a late 2006 model?
did you see this exact model online somewhere?
and
El Capitan can use iCloud services for now
while this OSX does have the capability to recognize most recent iPads and iPhones.

Personally I would love to get my Powerbook G4 back, but 3 MacBook is more than enough!

have fun!
 
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Amethyst1

macrumors G3
Oct 28, 2015
9,448
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The one I'm looking at is 2.4Ghz with 4gb ram, 500gb HD..Which I believe makes it a late 2006 model?
The late 2006 only went up to 2.33 GHz.
If it's 2.4 GHz, it's a mid-2007 or early 2008 model. Take a look at the RAM bridge. If there's a "green dot" sticker, it means the machine has a revised GPU and can be considered "safe". If there's no "green dot" sticker, it's likely to have a faulty GPU, which is very likely to eventually die. And once this happens, the machine will be completely dead.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Penryn
Aug 31, 2011
29,057
27,345
I have the 1,1 - 2006 MBP. It's 17". It's also stuck on Snow Leopard.

App wise you can run Office 2008 and 2011 and for Adobe as high as CS5. Not sure about CS6.

Performance wise, if all you're running is apps (and not a browser) and you stick to the versions that the last PowerPC Mac could handle then there's a slight edge. The main issue here is RAM as the 1,1 is the same as the last PowerBook.

It will also run hot, so getting a copy of smcFanControl or MacsFanControl is essential. That said, the thermal threshold before you might damage something is greater on the Intel Macs than on PowerPC. PowerPC you are pushing it at temps above 135º. I've easily hit temps on my 1,1 in the 170º range and had no problems - not that I wish to continually do that.

Lastly, it's Intel so processing will be quicker.

As to browsers, this is where you're kind of between a rock and a hard place. It's only recently that browsers for this era of Intel Mac have started to pop up. The Mac is too old to run newer versions of web browsers and too new to run current PowerPC browsers (without Rosetta). But Rosetta kind of defeats the point because now the processor is working harder.

Thankfully @wicknix has been giving us some good browser options lately. Still, I wouldn't ask too much of the 1,1 in regards to website use.
 

Haemoglobin

macrumors regular
Original poster
The late 2006 only went up to 2.33 GHz. If it's 2.4 GHz, it's a mid-2007 or early 2008 model. Take a look at the RAM bridge. If there's a "green dot" sticker, it means the machine has a revised GPU and can be considered "safe". If there's no "green dot" sticker, it's very likely to have a faulty GPU, which is very likely to eventually die. And once this happens, the machine will be completely dead.
No it's one I've been offered online, so not one I can flip over to look inside sadly. I think I read on here that if the GPU dies, the chip can be replaced if one is able to find someone on here offering the service to do so. Is that right?

I have 1.55Ghz G$ 15" Matt screen Powerbook, i absolutely love it and use it regularly for writing. I only took posession of my first intel make last month, when a friend gifted me a white Macbook. The plastics are a bit flakey, but not as bad as some I've seen.
 
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Haemoglobin

macrumors regular
Original poster
IF the board doesn't have the green dot, would it be advisable to get the GPU chip looked at? I'm sure i read on here, someone saying there were people on the board who were replacing the chips. Basically doi.ng the repair Apple made to the boards that were recalled. If i understood properly
 
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profcutter

macrumors 68000
Mar 28, 2019
1,514
1,230
I think that might be dosdude that replaces the chip, but as far as I know it’s on a one-off basis. I’d check and get confirmation before purchase.
 
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Amethyst1

macrumors G3
Oct 28, 2015
9,448
11,626
No it's one I've been offered online, so not one I can flip over to look inside sadly.
You could ask the seller to remove the RAM cover and take a picture of the RAM bridge. When I went shopping for my MBPs, I did just that. I wouldn’t have bought (or buy) an MBP that doesn’t have a known-good GPU.

I think I read on here that if the GPU dies, the chip can be replaced if one is able to find someone on here offering the service to do so. Is that right?
Yeah. @dosdude1 can do it.
 
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AF_APPLETALK

macrumors 6502a
Nov 12, 2020
636
888
I have one of those. I got it from shopgoodwill.com, and there’s often more on there of this exact vintage/body style you’re looking for.

I have a first generation intel, MacBookPro1,1. It runs Snow Leopard really well, it’s all very fluid. I don’t have an intel Tiger install disc (only ppc), but I’m sure it would run even better.
 
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TheShortTimer

macrumors 68030
Mar 27, 2017
2,853
5,015
London, UK
Good advice from @eyoungren and @Amethyst1 as usual - and no, they didn't pay me to write that. :D

Just to add, I have the MacBook Pro 1,1 - it was my first Intel Mac and unsurprisingly the performance represented a huge improvement on my 400Mhz PowerMac G4 and although I've largely retired it from regular use, it remains very much a viable machine in numerous arenas. As I type this reply, I've got it chugging away on a data recovery mission. :)

However, I would not recommend it as your first/only Intel Mac because you'll soon become frustrated with its limitations: as has already been pointed out, the maximum RAM capacity is 2GB and then there's the 32 bit Core Duo CPU - which prevents you from running macOS releases beyond Snow Leopard and 64 bit versions of Windows or Linux distros for that matter. You'd have to be content with just running nothing more advanced than 10.6 - and make no mistake - Snow Leopard runs like the clappers on that machine but you'll face a dead-end if you ever want to use a dual boot with a later macOS version.
 

cheesygrin

macrumors regular
Sep 1, 2008
118
232
I can't really pass comment on the hardware, but all I will say, coming from an IT background, is that if you're using machines that old to surf the net, you must be very careful, as software support / security updates went out many years ago. You say you're already using old Macs for this, so I guess you maybe know the risks, but thought it was worth mentioning.
 

Larsvonhier

macrumors 68000
Aug 21, 2016
1,601
2,921
Germany, Black Forest
The MBP 4,1 also came in the versions
- glossy screen, highres (1980x1200), LED backlit
- matte screen (1680x1050 afaik), CCFL backlit

As I had both (and kept the glossy screen version), I´d advise to head over to the highres version - backlight control under Mojave...Ventura (!) works well there. The CCFL backlight needs additional tool/driver tinkering that dosdude1 patcher and probably Open Core Legacy Patcher (OCLP) don´t do oob.

With an SSD and 6GB RAM it´s still a very usable and capable machine, even for day-to-day usage in 2023.
 

Larsvonhier

macrumors 68000
Aug 21, 2016
1,601
2,921
Germany, Black Forest
I can't really pass comment on the hardware, but all I will say, coming from an IT background, is that if you're using machines that old to surf the net, you must be very careful, as software support / security updates went out many years ago. You say you're already using old Macs for this, so I guess you maybe know the risks, but thought it was worth mentioning.
That´s why modern macOS in a patched version make more sense on those machines than sticking to Apple-max.-supported OS.
Difference to PPC machines: Intel arch makes them more vulnerable to modern threats!
 

TheShortTimer

macrumors 68030
Mar 27, 2017
2,853
5,015
London, UK
Wait a minute - so you no longer want me to get you a "free" beer per day?

Ooops! Sorry...

9650b736-130a-458c-88e6-a804b0750761_text.gif
 

AphoticD

macrumors 68020
Feb 17, 2017
2,283
3,462
@Amethyst1 has outlined the series well...

There are few pre-unibody MBP models which don’t have some kind of problem. So if you intend to buy, don’t spend too much, unless the seller can prove the GPU has been replaced.

I have a few of these Macs in my collection... here’s a snapshot;
A08A9582-FFED-46AF-A9D0-5A687D7AD4C7.jpeg

5 of the 15” models are in good working order (2 have green dots). 10 of them are not working, and require quite a bit of work to repair/combine into fully working units.

The majority of these I picked up for around $20 - $50 (all as “not working/parts” units). This was over a hugely optimistic period I was going through during 2017/2018. This restoration project has mostly been shelved, awaiting a good rainy week or two.

I have recently done some work to restore the MBP 17” (Early 2008) using some parts from a donor MBP 15” and a PBG4 17”. I have been very happy with this model and it’s big screen. It runs (unsupported) Catalina very well and powers through most common tasks as expected. Unfortunately it has no green dot (confirmed 602 series GPU), so I intend to just enjoy it while it lasts and will make some effort to improve it’s cooling.

I feel like @B S Magnet has hit the nail on the head with passive cooling techniques using thermal pads spread over the heatsink to better disperse heat from the CPU/GPU. I intend to apply these techniques to some of these units and will document before and after temps to share on the forums.
 

Haemoglobin

macrumors regular
Original poster
Thanks for the reply guys, given the possible GPU pitfalls, I'm going to hold off getting the unit I saw. Especially given the seller never replied to my request about opening the battery bay to look for a sticker. I might keep my eyes peeled for one that is 1. Cheaper 2. Has green sticker

I'm currently repairing a friends A1278, it's having some hard disk issues, which I'm not sure are down to the flexi cable or the onboard SATA controller. Originally thought the internal 1tb drive was faulty, but hooking it up via usb boots the system fine, albeit it the system seems a bit broke as the cursor won't stop spinning upon login. I've tried other drives via usb, restoring to them and the system boots fine. It's only once I connected them internally that the headache begins. He's offered to sell it me, which is very tempting as it's 2.5ghz i5 and 16gb Ram.
 
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AphoticD

macrumors 68020
Feb 17, 2017
2,283
3,462
I'm currently repairing a friends A1278, it's having some hard disk issues, which I'm not sure are down to the flexi cable or the onboard SATA controller.
I have commonly replaced the flex cable on these models to resolve intermittent, non-boot condition and random lock ups (spinning wheel).

It’s a fragile part which can be subject to trapping dirt/sand/crumbs between the top case and the flex, which then imprints and/or rubs at the flex cable as the hard drive rubber mounts allow slight movement inside the case.

I would recommend wrapping the replacement flex in some protective tape and then seal it down onto the top case to prevent more gunk from trapping underneath and reduce movement.
 

Haemoglobin

macrumors regular
Original poster
Thanks for the advice! I've bought a replacement and I'm really hoping it solves the issue. As this does appear to be a common fault, I'm hoping that's all this is. I do know someone who had the SATA controller fail on them, so I was concerned this could be the issue. But until the cable arrives and I put the drive through it's paces, I won't know. I tried using Carbon Copy Cloner and on the first copy through i was fine, but on the second it ran for 10-15 minutes and then the graph went to zero KBs, indicating zero transfer between drives and the system locked up with spinning wheel.
 
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