Tiger performance on iMac G4 17" 800MHz

tevion5

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 12, 2011
1,738
944
Ireland
I recently acquired a beautiful 17" iMac G4. It came with a ton of original software, including the restore to 10.1 discs as well as retail 10.2 and 10.3 disks! The seller never even mentioned all this stuff. Really old versions of AppleCare, iTunes and Xcode too.

Anyway, I bounced it all the way up to panther, but I was still quite limited in functionality. So I got a tiger disc and eventually got it running 10.4.11. I got itunes 9 as well and it's happily sharing music with my modern macs.

However, it only has the stock 256MB ram. (From looking at the old website, the previous owner maxed out every option when he got this thing). But indeed, tiger with 256 MB ram is very sluggish at doing anything.

I have ordered a SODIMM 512MB and a regular 512MB ram card (I know the right speed and sizes) but I'm wondering will the ram make much difference or is it the processor slowing me down?

(I have also ordered the original airport card)

Also, a long shot, but is there any chance the 800MHz iMac G4 can run leopard well? (I know you need to use postxfacto or whatever to make it run 10.5 at all)
 

harrymatic

macrumors 6502
Dec 30, 2013
331
20
United Kingdom
The RAM is definitely holding this machine back - my 800MHz iBook G3 has 640MB and Tiger is perfectly fast doing most things.

If you turn off some of the eye candy in Leopard and disable the Dashboard, you'll get OK performance - not as good as Tiger but not too bad.
 

Ih8reno

macrumors 65816
Aug 10, 2012
1,339
164
I have a 700mhz imac g4 maxed the ram to 1gb and it runs tiger just fine. I haven't bumped it up to Leopard so I can't help you there.
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,246
13,090
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
Leopard really does well with about 1GB of ram. If you can get it to 2GB then all the better.

We often say to turn off the eye candy for Leopard, but what does that mean. Well, it means not using icon previews in Finder. It means avoiding using CoverFlow to view folders and it means using Onyx to turn off animations and such. You can also turn off Spotlight, which helps and if you really have issues you can disable virtual memory.

In any case I have run Leopard on machines with 400mhz and 450mhz processors and done just fine. One of the Macs at work is running Leopard right now with about ~200mb ram. Of course it has 1.75 when I stuck Leopard on it, but that ram has migrated.

I used TDM to get Leopard on the machine. It's a bit slow, but I'm not using it for anything heavy other than Chicken of the VNC and as a print server.
 
Last edited:

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,872
368
Inside
I have Leopard running on a 800Mhz G4 iMac. It runs it fairly well when properly tuned for the machine's speed. It can't do some stuff overly fast, but it works. I do recall that installing the 10.5.8 combo update took about 45 minutes to complete.
 

gavinstubbs09

macrumors 65816
Feb 17, 2013
1,386
247
NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
So LeopardAssist didn't work out so well for me, so I threw the iMac in Target Disk Mode and booted the Leopard disc on my G5 and installed it from there. So far so good, the install jumped from 2 hours down to 1 then hangs around the 50-59 minute mark. Now it's down to 40!
 

Attachments

tevion5

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 12, 2011
1,738
944
Ireland
Leopard really does well with about 1GB of ram. If you can get it to 2GB then all the better.

We often say to turn off the eye candy for Leopard, but what does that mean. Well, it means not using icon previews in Finder. It means avoiding using CoverFlow to view folders and it means using Onyx to turn off animations and such. You can also turn off Spotlight, which helps and if your really have issues you can disable virtual memory.

In any case I have run Leopard on machines with 400mhz and 450mhz processors and done just fine. One of the Macs at work is running Leopard right now with about ~200mb ram. Of course it has 1.75 when I stuck Leopard on it, but that ram has migrated.

I used TDM to get Leopard on the machine. It's a bit slow, but I'm not using it for anything heavy other than Chicken of the VNC and as a print server.
So even with one gig ram and leopard glamour tuned down, the 800MHz processor is still not enough for a comfortable experience in 10.5?

So when I have the 1 gig installed, tiger will run lovely with the 800MHz G4 yeah? :)
 

eyoungren

macrumors Core
Aug 31, 2011
21,246
13,090
ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
So even with one gig ram and leopard glamour tuned down, the 800MHz processor is still not enough for a comfortable experience in 10.5?

So when I have the 1 gig installed, tiger will run lovely with the 800MHz G4 yeah? :)
I didn't say that. ;)

Doing this should make Leopard run better on lower specced Macs.

One of my employee's at work ran Leopard with 1.75GB ram on a 450mhz G4 AGP for 5 years. Adobe CS4, QuarkXPress 8.x, Acrobat 6 and 9 Pro and Suitcase Fusion.

She did everything I did on that Mac. Little bit slower, but it got the job done.
 

tevion5

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 12, 2011
1,738
944
Ireland
I didn't say that. ;)

Doing this should make Leopard run better on lower specced Macs.

One of my employee's at work ran Leopard with 1.75GB ram on a 450mhz G4 AGP for 5 years. Adobe CS4, QuarkXPress 8.x, Acrobat 6 and 9 Pro and Suitcase Fusion.

She did everything I did on that Mac. Little bit slower, but it got the job done.
Soooo, 10.4 or 10.5, I'll leave it up to you ;)
 

tevion5

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 12, 2011
1,738
944
Ireland
I have obtained an AirPort card and two appropriate 512MB ram chips making my 800MHz G4 iMac a full 1GB.

I got a copy of Tiger on CD's and has successfully updated it to 10.4.11. I use TenFourFox as my browser and got an old version of Onyx too.

It seems to run alright, but it is nowhere near as fast as it felt under MAC OSX 10.2 that came with it. Is there any way to speed up performance?

I would have imagined that 800MHz and 1GB RAM would have been fairly generous for Tiger but it still isn't very fluid.
 

catzilla

macrumors 6502
Dec 15, 2013
380
28
Rhode Island
I have obtained an AirPort card and two appropriate 512MB ram chips making my 800MHz G4 iMac a full 1GB.

I got a copy of Tiger on CD's and has successfully updated it to 10.4.11. I use TenFourFox as my browser and got an old version of Onyx too.

It seems to run alright, but it is nowhere near as fast as it felt under MAC OSX 10.2 that came with it. Is there any way to speed up performance?
What are you using for a HDD? I'm running that machine with 10.5.8 thanks to Leopard Assist and I seems fine for my uses. But, I mostly use it for basic browsing on forum sites like this one.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
I have obtained an AirPort card and two appropriate 512MB ram chips making my 800MHz G4 iMac a full 1GB.

I got a copy of Tiger on CD's and has successfully updated it to 10.4.11. I use TenFourFox as my browser and got an old version of Onyx too.

It seems to run alright, but it is nowhere near as fast as it felt under MAC OSX 10.2 that came with it. Is there any way to speed up performance?

I would have imagined that 800MHz and 1GB RAM would have been fairly generous for Tiger but it still isn't very fluid.
What speed hard drive is in it? Also, did you remember to apply thermal paste when you had it open?
 

tevion5

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 12, 2011
1,738
944
Ireland
What speed hard drive is in it? Also, did you remember to apply thermal paste when you had it open?
It's a stock 80GB HDD, so I would assume 5400RPM? But I'll have to check.

Paste? Just because I opened it to change the ram?! :O

----------

What are you using for a HDD? I'm running that machine with 10.5.8 thanks to Leopard Assist and I seems fine for my uses. But, I mostly use it for basic browsing on forum sites like this one.
I would like to leave it with Tiger as I need the classic environment for compatibility reasons. Otherwise I would attempt to install leopard.
 

Intell

macrumors P6
Jan 24, 2010
18,872
368
Inside
You must always reapply the thermal paste to the one or two points, depending on the model, to the inside of the dome on the G4 iMac. Failure to do so will lead to overheating and a possibility of permanently welding the two halves together.
 

L Oquence

macrumors regular
Jul 10, 2014
242
15
Tiger should work fine on just about any g4 with a gig of ram. probably a hardware problem. perhaps the thermal paste from earlier.
 

Altemose

macrumors G3
Mar 26, 2013
9,089
444
Elkton, Maryland
It's a stock 80GB HDD, so I would assume 5400RPM? But I'll have to check.

Paste? Just because I opened it to change the ram?! :O

----------



I would like to leave it with Tiger as I need the classic environment for compatibility reasons. Otherwise I would attempt to install leopard.
If this is indeed the stock hard drive then it would be a 5,400 RPM drive for this model. The machine may be downclocking due to overheating from the lack of thermal paste on the contact points.
 

tevion5

macrumors 68000
Original poster
Jul 12, 2011
1,738
944
Ireland
If this is indeed the stock hard drive then it would be a 5,400 RPM drive for this model. The machine may be downclocking due to overheating from the lack of thermal paste on the contact points.
Performance does feel identical to as it was with 256MB internal RAM and 512MB expansion RAM. As the internal ram card took far longer to arrive, I was using it without it for several weeks. It's performs identically so I suspect the thermal paste is not the issue.

Strange how I never even heard of the paste during disassembly guides :/
 

robertdsc

macrumors regular
Jan 28, 2014
202
5
I've ran Tiger on a Digital Audio 466 with 768 MB of RAM for several months as a daily driver. Aside from the gargantuan web browsing issues involving JavaScript, I got through without any issues.

That Mac now has 1.5 GB of RAM and is now a backup server. I've acquired several other G4 & G5 machines since. All of them run Tiger with at least 1 GB of RAM.
 

roadbloc

macrumors G3
Aug 24, 2009
8,779
211
UK
I tired Leopard on my iMac G4 (800MHz 1GB RAM) and the performance was sluggish. I recommend sticking with Tiger. It runs super smooth.