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  1. #1
    LABachlr's Avatar
    LABachlr is offline Registered User
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    Arrow How to speed up a PowerMac G4, or is this as fast as it gets?

    I used to work on Macs a while ago, but I went to PC because of a larger client base. However, I would like to get back into Mac's as well.

    In any case, I have a potential client who has the following system:

    PowerMac 4,5 v. 2.1
    800MHz
    100Mhz bus
    768MB

    He is running Jaguar and claims that his system is running slow. He says that it has been running slow ever since he got it. He is comparing it to PC's of today. He has the MS Office suite installed, and was told by various sources that the programs in that suite run slow. Is this true?

    He has pleny of RAM, as you guys can see, and he has about 55GB left on his HD, so there is no lack of space that would cause the system to slow down.

    He was also told that he should run a disk optimization program on his system.

    The thing is, as I got talking to him, he mentioned that he usually has the following programs open at all times:

    Entourage
    Contacts Manager
    Safari
    MS Word
    MS Excell
    MS Powerpoint

    I know that on a PC with the above specs (even with the cpu a little faster to match the speed of a mac 800MHz cpu), having all of those programs open at once would definitely slow it down. I told him this, but he still feels that his system could be faster.

    The way he tested the speed of his system over the phone with me was by hitting Option + P for the printing dialogue window to come up. He counted, and said that it took a full 2.5 seconds for it to come up. Is this normal? He only had Text Editor, Contacts Manager, and Safari open at the time.

    Is this a case of the user expecting too much from the computer, or is his system slow. I'm sure you guys might need more info, but this is all from just talking to him on the phone, and I have no more info right now.

    Is there a benchmark program that I can have him run to see if his system is up-to-par with regards to speed? If so, could you guys post the link, and the minimum benchmark results that this system should get?

    Just to give you some info, this system is on a network in a building, and the network is absolutely infested with spyware, viruses, and trojans. I just cleaned up two other systems in the building that were completely taken over by pop-ups and trojan horses. One system could not be saved and had to be reformatted.

    Are there any viruses for Mac, or at least for Jaguar? I know that there are very few viruses for Mac's, which is pretty cool, but is it still possible? He has had the system for two years, and has Norton AV on his sytem, but I'm sure the virus definition subscription has run out. Also, he stopped using Norton anyway because it was slowing down his system. Speed is really important to him.

    In any case, if you guys could just give me some pointers on how to troubleshoot the speed of this guy's system, I'd appreciate it. And free tools to do this that I could download would also be a great help.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
    chevy's Avatar
    chevy is offline Maverlous Da Vinci
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    1) 10.3 is faster than 10.2
    2) is there anything open in the background ? Look in the Activity Monitor, even tasks that have a low CPU (sometimes less than 5%) can degrade reaction time. Sometimes background applications can cause problems, like Konfabulator.
    3) correct the permissions (disk utility), as bad permissions can cause instabilities.
    4) it may be usefull to make a clean install ??

    I am writing this email on an old 400 MHg G3 runing 10.3.4, and I don't feel it's slow as long as I don't ask for some CPU demanding task.
    My current machine is an iMac Core 2 Duo 2.16 GHz 24" and a MacBook Pro 13" with MacOS X 10.6. My oldest Apple was born in 1977.
    GS/P/>SS d-(++) s+: a+ C+(C) U* P L+ E--- W++ N- o+ K? w O-- M++ V PS+ PE+ Y- PGP t+ 5 X+ R tv-- b+++ DI++ D+ G e+++ h---- r+++ y?
    Time is not changing, I'm just traveling through time.

  3. #3
    powermac's Avatar
    powermac is offline iMac Dual 2.0 17'
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    If he has never maintained the system, it may be slow with a lot of apps taking the cpu over. Chevy has a good point, a clean install is a pain in the a$$, but it also solves a lot of problems. In this case, it is probably recommended.

  4. #4
    perfessor101's Avatar
    perfessor101 is offline Registered User
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    Smile

    Taking the questions in order:
    1. Microsoft applications on the Macintosh tend to be memory hogs and are suspected of having memory leaks, so with all those apps open, even with 768 MB of RAM, there may be paging to the swapfiles going on. In the Finder Go menu select go to folder and enter "/private/var/vm/" and see if there are any swapfiles. This will tell you if any significant paging is taking place. In addition, assuming he is using Office v.X there have been five patches released by Microsoft. Some of them are related to security issues but some also deal with performance issues. The patches are available here.
    2. File and disk defragmentation are not a bad idea at all on his machine. In Panther (OS X 10.3) there is some limited drive optimization but even there, occasionally running a full blown defragmenting utility such as Drive 10 1.1.5 or TechTool Pro 4.0.2 can be helpful.
    3. I just tried the Command+P on my G4/1.25 with 1.5 GB RAM running Safari and it took less than a second to come up. On a G3/600 iBook with 640 MB of RAM running MS Word v.X took 7.79 seconds. Given these were single trials I would not place too much weight on either number as being representative of anything.
    4. There is an excellent benchmark utility that will test not only his system but allow comparison with other similarly configured Macs called XBench
    5. At the present time there are no known viruses, trojans, or spyware capable of infecting OS X. That is subject to change at any time. However it is possible for a Mac to forward an infected file to other computers. There are three anti-virus utilities for OS X, Norton Anti-virus, Intego Virus Barrier, and Virex 7.2 or 7.5 beta. NAV has been implicated in reduced system performance and Virex for OS X is only available as a perquisite for subscribing to .Mac.
    There are some basic steps you can take for improving system performance. These include
    1. Upgrading to OS X 10.3 (Panther). OS X is still a relatively young and immature OS so each release has brought improved performance over its predecessors.
    2. Obtain either Cocktail or Onyx and run them regularly to flush all the log files, clean out the caches, etc.
    3. Institute a regular maintenance schedule featuring TechTool Pro 4 or DiskWarrior to keep the file system healthy. I prefer TechTool Pro because I can set it and forget it until a problem is detected.
    4. Defragment the hard drive
    5. If there are any third party utilities, haxies, etc running in the background, disable or remove them from the system.
    iMac 3.06 GHz core 2 Duo OS X 10.5.8
    MacBook Air OS X 10.5.8
    MacMini core 2 duo OS X 10.5.8

  5. #5
    Perseus's Avatar
    Perseus is offline Registered User
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    Ive always wondered if the bus speed has anything to do with overall performance...cause I know for a fact the new machines have a lot more. I am not sure I am only making a small guess.
    PowerMac G4 | Dual 500 MHz | 640 RAM | OS 10.4.6 | CD-R/DVD-R | 64 VRAM
    PowerBook 100 | 4 RAM | OS 7.2

  6. #6
    perfessor101's Avatar
    perfessor101 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Perseus
    Ive always wondered if the bus speed has anything to do with overall performance
    Bus speed is a definite contributor to overall system performance, although what the exact level of contribution is would be hard to say. But all else being equal the machine with the faster bus speed will be the fastest.

    When most people talk about bus speed they are thinking of the system bus but don't forget there is more than one bus in every computer. There is the system bus, the memory bus, the IDE/ATA bus, the firewire bus, the USB bus, PCI bus, etc and each of these makes its contribution to overall system performance. That's one reason why putting a faster CPU in an older machine seldom, if ever, yields performance equal to a newer machine running the same CPU at the same clock rate.
    Last edited by perfessor101; July 11th, 2004 at 08:33 AM.
    iMac 3.06 GHz core 2 Duo OS X 10.5.8
    MacBook Air OS X 10.5.8
    MacMini core 2 duo OS X 10.5.8

  7. #7
    mi5moav's Avatar
    mi5moav is offline Registered User
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    well with your friends rational I have an 800mhz imac and it takes 4 seconds to open print dialog so damn he has one fast mac for a 3+ year old machine with only a 100mhz frontside bus opening all those apps on.

    Compared to my HP running at 2800 on AMDS scale it takes me 4 minutes to cance a print document of 300 pages where it takes 18 seconds on the mac. Everything is relative. If I had a bat in my hands and was stuck in dark alley with gates and ballmer I would probably want barry bonds arms, if I were trying to get away from 1000 rabid pit bulls on my bike I would probably wish for lance armstrongs legs.

  8. #8
    Natobasso's Avatar
    Natobasso is offline Tech-Bot 5000
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    You know, if he's opening the print dialogue box and it's slow, it may not even be his computer necessarily but his print connection. Is he connected to a print server or is it a straight computer to printer connection? Some printers that are queried by a mac are faster than others. For example, my canon 950i at home reacts a bit faster than the canon fiery at work (even though the work computer travels at light speed compared to my home printer) but that's simply because my home printer is not served among a company full of people.

    Are there other peripherals connected to your client's computer? Any other USB or Firewire devices connected? Let us know some more particulars.
    This is definitely an interesting question.

 

 
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