Tips on speeding up my Powerbook G4(used) to max speed..?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Johnny7, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. Johnny7 macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2010
    Hey guys, I've had this used powerbook for a couple of weeks now and need tips/answers for getting this thing up to max speed. First, I was wondering if it'd be wise to reinstall mac osx. Looking at the applications on this machine, mac osx was installed around 6 years ago but I am a long time PC user so I am not sure if re-installing an os is as effective as it is on a PC. (It's running tiger 10.4.11 btw). It had maxed ram when I got it. It just seems sluggish to me. What are some freeware/trial software I can put on here in order to get it up to speed? Any tips/idea are welcome!

    --Also, by sluggish I mean that when I am running an application I get the pinwheel a LOT, even in simple programs like firefox or word 2004.--

    [specs if you need 'em]
    PowerPC G4 processor
    Original HD-40GB Hitachi
    Running Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11
    1.25GB of Ram
    12" Screen

    Thanks in advance! :D
  2. VanneDC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2010
    Dubai, UAE
    what speed is that g4 processor?

    makes tons of difference if its a 1.5ghz or 700mhz

    first things id do first is go Sys prefs -> utils -> Disk Utils -> select your drive and repair permissions..

    than and check how much free space you have left on the drive...
  3. kepner macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2003
    Upgrade it to Leopard. (And, sure, a fresh install wouldn't hurt. You typically don't have to start fresh with Mac OS X, but in the case of a used machine, I would.)

    Also, if you can afford it, put an SSD drive in there. Just put one in my MacBook. I haven't seen the pinwheel since. It's amazing how much faster your machine seems when you don't have to wait for the hard drive to spin anymore.
  4. alust2013 macrumors 601


    Feb 6, 2010
    On the fence
    Only problem there is that the powerbooks used PATA rather than SATA, which has a significantly lower bandwidth and can't fully take advantage of the speed of an SSD.

    You may want to try reinstalling (or upgrading to leopard), and if that doesn't work, the hard drive may just be going out. You can still find PATA/IDE hard drives for reasonable prices online.
  5. Johnny7 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2010
    Oh, my mistake, it's running a 1.0GHz processor.

    I was debating putting leopard on this machine, but wouldn't that slow it down more? Or is it as fast as tiger? But, even if I lost a little speed, I'd probably put it on anyway. Any ideas of where to get a leopard disk for a price less then 70 bucks or so?

    Repair permissions worked great btw :) Thanks

    As for the hard drive, I'd have to consider it, I was planning on doing an upgrade but I'm too much of a wuss to dismantle this machine to that extent :eek:. But I will still consider it!

    Thanks for the tips so far, very informative!
  6. kepner macrumors 6502

    Sep 7, 2003
    No. I had a 12" PowerBook when Leopard came out, I upgraded and I remember it being faster. (This is probably hard to understand, since the *other* major OS slows down with every upgrade. Mac OS X typically gets faster with each upgrade.)

    You ought to be able to find one cheap on eBay.
  7. Giuly macrumors 68040


    I recently installed Leopard on a PowerMac G4 with 800MHz and 2GB RAM, and it's not significantly slower than Tiger, IMHO. My 1.33GHz PowerMac G4 runs Leopard Server w/ 1.5GB RAM (it's even kind of usable with 384MB RAM, but I wouldn't want to use that on daily basis) just fine as well.
    I used the 800MHz PowerMac a couple of days for surfing (while updating ROMs etc.), and I had no problem with it, exept it doesn't really play YouTube (I guess due the 32MB Radeon, as it ran the same with both 550 and 800MHz). A 2.66GHz MacMini is a whole different thing, nonetheless…

    So from me you get: Go for Leopard.
  8. Johnny7 thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 31, 2010
    Alright, leopard it is! :)

    Thanks for the info guys!:apple:
  9. PowerGamerX macrumors 6502a


    Aug 9, 2009
    Yeah, since you have a decent amount of RAM Leopard wont be much slower, and you'll have some new software choices as well. Who doesn't like that?

    Also, be sure to change it to Better Performance when on the plug. Up in the right corner, click the battery icon, and select it from that dropdown menu.
  10. VanneDC macrumors 6502a


    Jun 5, 2010
    Dubai, UAE
    unless you MUST have the features of leopard, id stick with Tiger.. (but that is me, i like my stuff lean and mean :)
  11. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Jun 6, 2005
    It's nice that the RAM is maxed, but it's not really enough.

    You can save a little memory by disabling Dashboard... search for the terminal command that does it.

    If you have a browser open all the time, definitely install a flash blocker ("click to flash" for Safari is great). Also, install the iStat menu bar app to monitor your free RAM (or use activity monitor). Shut down your applications as often as you can, especially the browsers.

    The SSD thing is a good idea, if you can find one at a good price for a capacity that you can live with. If the system is wanting for memory, it's going to page out to the HD, and then have to read that back in. Even if the SSD is PATA, that process of reading back in will be tons faster than a spinning hard drive.

    I just don't think you'd have many options for PATA SSDs. Some outfit was selling them in 1.8" form for MBAs... they got great reviews, for what it's worth. There's one (a 2.5") on NewEgg for ~$120 that might work.

    I used to have a 1.5 GHz 12" PB—my first Mac—and I adored it, but you'll have to weigh how much you want to sink into an old, old machine.

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