Mac OS X 10.5/Leopard on an old PowerBook (PPC) G4 1 Ghz with 512MB of RAM & 60 GB HDD?

Discussion in 'Apple' started by Ant, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. Ant

    Ant Guest


    I have an old PowerBook G4 (PPC) with 1 Ghz CPU speed, 512 MB of RAM,
    and 60 GB of HDD. If I were to do a fresh clean install of Mac OS X
    10.5/Leopard on it (still have 10.2.8 on it and seems fine, just old),
    then how will it perform? Will it be slower? Or should I just wait until
    I get a new Apple notebook/laptop (e.g., MacBook)?

    I am a heavy user who likes to run Fink stuff for X11, play hungry power
    games (e.g., MacMAME, Quake 3 Arena and its mods)

    Thank you in advance.
    "We may have no malevolent intentions toward an ant heap, but if we want
    to build a house on the same site..." --Rendezvous With Rama
    / /\ /\ \ Phillip/Ant @ (Personal Web Site)
    | |o o| | Ant's Quality Foraged Links (AQFL):
    \ _ / Remove ANT from e-mail address:
    ( ) or
    Ant is currently not listening to any songs on his home computer.
    Ant, Oct 22, 2007
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  2. Ant

    David Empson Guest

    [Note: followups limited to c.s.m.portables]

    If you only install Leopard and don't do any hardware changes, it will
    probably be slower, due to Leopard's increased memory requirements. If
    you also install more RAM, it will be faster than 10.2.8.

    A 1 GHz PowerBook G4 can be taken up to 1, 1.25 or 2 GB of RAM,
    depending on which model you have. Even 1 GB will be a big improvement
    over 512 MB.

    My experience with later updates of Tiger (10.4) is that it tended to
    bog down with 768 MB of RAM on my 667 MHz PowerBook G4, not running
    anything heavy duty. The only way to avoid this was to not run too many
    applications at the same time, and keep an eye on runaway memory usage
    by some applications (particularly Safari) by regularly quitting them. I
    expect Leopard will be even hungrier.

    768 MB was plenty while I was running Panther (10.3) and in the early
    updates of Tiger.

    A 60 GB hard drive shouldn't be a problem, but Leopard will take a fair
    amount more space than 10.2, so make sure you have plenty of free space
    prior to the installation, and keep at least 5 GB free at all times, in
    case it is needed for virtual memory or temporary storage.
    If you are thinking of getting a new laptop, then buying Leopard now
    will let you get a head start to becoming familiar with it, but I would
    recommend getting more RAM as well. It will also let you run a lot of
    newer software that isn't compatible with 10.2.8.

    If you are expecting to buy a new laptop soon, the cost of buying
    Leopard and RAM may not be worth it: the money would be put to better
    use saving up for the new laptop.

    Your experience of Leopard will be vastly different between a new laptop
    and your old one. I was stunned at how much faster my new MacBook Pro is
    compared to my old PowerBook G4.
    You might not be able to use a MacBook for some of those. A MacBook Pro
    is likely to be a better choice if you are doing anything involving
    heavy duty graphics.
    David Empson, Oct 22, 2007
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  3. Ant

    Ant Guest

    Even with low memory like 512 MB of RAM?
    "The ambitious one makes friends with the elephant, then tramples upon
    the ant." --Indian
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    Ant, Oct 22, 2007
  4. Ant

    Marc Heusser Guest

    Should work ok, at least 10.4 ran well on such a machine, and generally
    newer systems ran rather faster than slower.
    We'll know for sure on Friday :)

    Marc Heusser, Oct 22, 2007
  5. Ant

    Bob Campbell Guest

    Since you are coming from 10.2.8, it *might* be faster. 10.3 was
    faster than 10.2, and 10.4 was faster than 10.3. But 10.5 is *not*
    faster than 10.4, at least not for me.

    However, if you were coming from 10.4, I'd say it's going to be slower.
    10.5 is noticeably slower than 10.4 on my MDD dual 1.25 Ghz G4 - even
    with 1.5 GB RAM. Boots slower, minimizing apps to the Dock is not as

    The days of new versions being faster than old versions are gone - at
    least for PPC machines. There is a reason why Apple said 867 Mhz is
    the minimum CPU speed. Yours is barely above that, and you definitely
    need more RAM.

    I would put 10.4 on that machine if I were you, along with another 512
    megs RAM.

    Bob Campbell
    Bob Campbell, Oct 29, 2007
  6. Well, - that's not my experiences. I have a QuickSilver dual 1ghz with
    max. 1,5gb RAM. I upgraded directly onto my existing tiger 10.4.10.
    Restarted and noticed a definite increase in startup time. - 10.4.10
    took apprx. 11 secs. to boot to usable mode, and now with 10.5 it took
    only 7 wecs. to usable mode.

    Yesterday I then decided to make a totally clean install from scratch.
    OK, the installation time was quite long, but after installation and a
    restart, the boot time now is apprx. 4 secs. to usable mode.

    All processes are indeed faster in Leopard towards Tiger. - My guess is
    quite near to an increase with 40-45%. where the upgraded from Tiger to
    Leopard version only increased with apprx. 20-25%.
    Well... More RAM will even increase both speed and performance in
    10.2.x, and surely with both Tiger and Leopard a total of 1 gig will be
    the best.

    Cheers, Erik Richard

    Rgds. Grüße, Mvh. Erik Richard Sørensen, Member of ADC
    <> <>
    NisusWriter - The Future In Multilingual Textprocessing
    Erik Richard Sørensen, Oct 30, 2007
  7. It is definitely faster for me for most things on a 12" 1 GHz PowerBook
    G4 with 768MB of RAM, at least once the re-index and backup was done.
    (Some things, like System Preferences, were even faster while that was
    still going on.) However, I have noticed a few odd slowdowns, such as
    posting in MT Newswatcher causing a spinning beachball.
    Steven Fisher, Oct 30, 2007
  8. Ant

    Bob Campbell Guest

    Wow, that's the exact opposite of what I'm seeing. 4.10 boots in about
    6 revolutions of the gear at the bottom of the screen. 5.0 takes about
    12. Same drive, just partitioned.

    Bob Campbell
    Bob Campbell, Oct 30, 2007
  9. Ant

    David Empson Guest

    If so, that would the fist report I've seen of Leopard running on any G3

    I tried getting it going on a 400 MHz iMac G3 via a back-door method
    (booting off an external hard drive) and it never got past the Apple
    logo and spinning pinwheel. There might have been an issue with total
    installed RAM so this wasn't conclusive.

    Has anyone else tried running Leopard on a G3 (which was supported by
    Tiger), and got anywhere?

    I also haven't seen any report of it running on a "Yikes" PowerMac G4
    (first model, 350 or 400 MHz G4 with PCI Graphics rather than AGP), with
    or without an upgraded processor.
    David Empson, Nov 22, 2007
  10. Ant

    Andy Guest

    Runs fine here, seems a bit unfair to be blaming the OS and making
    ridiculous statements like 'It should not have been released'. Tried


    (Running 10.5.1 on a G4.)
    Andy, Nov 22, 2007
  11. That's very possible, if you install it from an external HD, where
    Leopard has been installed in a machine that supports the Leopard installer.

    I've done the same on a QuickSilver that wouldn't let me install 'Leo'

    Cheers, Erik Richard

    Rgds. Grüße, Mvh. Erik Richard Sørensen, Member of ADC
    <> <>
    NisusWriter - The Future In Multilingual Textprocessing
    Erik Richard Sørensen, Nov 22, 2007
  12. 'Fine' is 'fine'... I've installed it on a Dual G4/466mhz by cloning the
    10.5.0 from another supported computer, and then updated to 10.5.1. It
    IS running both fine and fast - even faster than 10.4.11!

    And so far I've had no problems with it.
    Argh kwatch! - why not install the Leopard just following the standard
    install. I've also seen Leopard on a single G4 800mhz and indeed it is
    both faster and more stable than 10.4.x.
    Of course there are apps that aren't supported by Leopard, but updates
    are already coming up.

    'MIE'? do you mean 'Internet Explorer'? - If so, it has never even run
    well on any OS X! - The only reliable MSIE version was the old ver. 4.x
    for Os 8.x and 9.x.

    cheers, Erik Richard

    Rgds. Grüße, Mvh. Erik Richard Sørensen, Member of ADC
    <> <>
    NisusWriter - The Future In Multilingual Textprocessing
    Erik Richard Sørensen, Nov 22, 2007
  13. I've heard of it, but not seen it myself...
    To make Leopard run on any Mac lower than 800mhz, ou must install the
    Leopard to another disk.

    There are three main methods to do it the best way...
    1, Hook up the recipient machine as a 'target disk' to another computer
    with a similar type of processor - i.e. don't use a dual machine if the
    recipient machine is single CPU.
    2, Install Leopard on the recipient machine's HD by taking out the HD
    and mount it in the machine, where ou already run Leopard and boot from
    the Leopard DVD and install to the new disk. - After installation, put
    back the HD into the recipient machine and boot it. It might be showing
    the grey Apple logo for very long time - up to half an hour.
    3, Install Leopard on an external Firewire HD and use a sufficient clone
    app like Intech QuickBack. QB will copy _any_ file from the external HD.

    This method requires that the recipient machine can boot from another
    system that is able to run fx. QuickBack - fx. a Tiger partition.

    After cloning the leopard onto the wanted partition/disk, select the
    Leopard volume in 'startup Disk' and reboot. - again it might show the
    grey Apple for a very long time before booting.

    I haven't seen Leopard on a Yikes either, but I have used method 3 to
    get Leopard onto a QuickSilver (orig. 867mhz) that has been very much
    changed in the firmware, - so much that the Leopard installer recognizes
    the machine as just a Dual 466mhz - though it's a Dual 1,8ghz. The
    changes in firmware was needed to keep the OS 9.2 bootability with the
    GigaDesigns 7447A Dual 1,8ghz processor. After the cloning onto one of
    the 4 HDs, the QS started up and the grey Apple was on the screen for
    about 15 mins. before it loaded. But then it also booted in a second or
    so, - so fast that the startup dialog only gave a glimps on the screen,
    before it was ready to use. Nex reboot started the machine in 5 secs.
    ready to use!

    systemprofiler told me that it was now a Dual 466mhz, so I installed
    the GigeMeter controller software, rebooted - and indeed the machine now
    is a Dual 1,8ghz and it is running so fast that I've renamed it to

    - Of course it isn't as fast as my MacPro Quad 2,66ghz, but it is quite
    a lot faster than with 10.4.11. Both the 10.4.11 and the 10.5.1 are
    'clean installs'. On this Dual 1,8ghz I also have a Tiger 10.4.11 disk
    with all the Apple developer tools. - some of these tools do indeed slow
    down the system, but still quite fast.

    Sure i hope that ryan at OWC soon will have a new version of XPostFacto
    out with leopard support. this will then give possibilities for direct
    installing of leopard on normally non-supported CPUs like the Sawtooths,
    GigabitEthernet, DigitalAudio and Quicksilvers with CPU speed lower than

    Cheers, Erik Richard

    Rgds. Grüße, Mvh. Erik Richard Sørensen, Member of ADC
    <> <>
    NisusWriter - The Future In Multilingual Textprocessing
    Erik Richard Sørensen, Nov 22, 2007
  14. Ant

    Eric Lindsay Guest

    OS X 10.5.1 seems to be running fine on my 1.25 GHz 15 inch Powerbook
    G4. I upgraded my memory from 512 MB to 1.25 GB prior to installing, as
    reports said that seemed a critical resource in Leopard. I just did a
    regular install over the top of my existing Tiger (which was installed
    over the top of Panther). No benchmarks. I won't declare it faster, but
    it certainly doesn't seem any slower.

    I did have connection problems from safari and other internet
    applications via WiFi from my iMac G5 about a week after installing
    Leopard. The G4 also had connection problems. The WiFi failure also
    poisoned Ethernet connection via cable, which came back up instantly
    when WiFi was turned off. Put considerable time into searching for
    causes (there are several forum threads on the Apple Discussions). I put
    the IP address of my ISP's DNS into my ADSL Router, and haven't had any
    WiFi connection problems since.
    Eric Lindsay, Nov 23, 2007
  15. Ant

    David Empson Guest

    Yes, I am aware of that and have done it myself.

    The only successful reports I've seen have been on "Sawtooth" (AGP
    Graphics) and later models, not "Yikes" (PCI Graphics).

    There is an item in the latest Other World Computing newsletter saying
    that Leopard does NOT work on the Yikes model, even if you install a
    third party G4 processor upgrade which gets it over the 867 MHz barrier.
    The same applies to the Yosemite (Blue & White G3).

    This suggests that (as I suspected), Leopard no longer includes drivers
    for the logic board chipset on those two models, or it has some
    requirement such as AGP, or Firewire built into the main chipset rather
    than being a separate component, or a new enough firmware revision which
    includes features such as Firewire target mode (which is not supported
    on those two models).

    If so, this means that the "Pismo" PowerBook G3, slot-loading iMac G3
    and all iBook G3 models may theoretically able to run Leopard, since
    they have a Sawtooth-like logic board design with AGP, but the G3
    processor and video hardware might be a stumbling block. I'll need to do
    some more research.
    David Empson, Nov 23, 2007
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