Best OS for an old eMac... Jaguar? Panther?


Hi guys...

About 2+ years ago I bought my mother an eMac for Christmas...
700 mHz G4 w/ Combo Drive... currently 756 MB Ram

I was wondering what Os would best fit this system efficiently...

The unit came with Jaguar... and although Panther and Tiger are superior.. I realize there is a cut-off as to where the system begins to get more sluggish with sophisticated upgrades...
My understanding is that Tiger would be slow as molases with this set-up... so I'm wondering if Jaguar is the optimal OS or would Panther be an improvement...

As I should be migrating over to Tiger in the near future... my Panther software becomes available... so it's no cost issue

She doesn't use the system for too much... but I do want to make sure that she get the most performance possible, since the hardware is quite limited.



Crotchety UI Nitpicker
Panther > Jaguar. That simple. No matter what system you have, Panther will be as fast or faster than Jaguar.

With Tiger, it's a little different, at least for now. I find performance MUCH slower than with Panther. For the most part, that might be because Tiger wants more RAM, and my paltry 256 is becoming even more of a bottleneck. But some things are definitely not RAM-related. Quartz performance seems much slower now (a game I'm developing saw its frame rate drop in half upon upgrading to Tiger). Most people don't report such poor performance, though, so YMMV.

Lt Major Burns

"Dicky" Charlteston-Burns
yeah, panther definately - i believe it's the definative version of X. very fast, clean, and expose is just the best thing invented

The Ghost

In the Machine
I'd go with Tiger if your machine fits the requirements (below). Most appear to reporting faster performance than with Panther. I get at least faster app startup/quit, OS startup/shut down, repair disk/repair permissions, clone internal, and faster surf Camino/Safari. Why not be on the frontier?

Tiger Requirements:
Macintosh computer with a PowerPC G3, G4 or G5 processor
Built-in FireWire
256MB of RAM
3GB of available hard disk space (4GB if you install the developer tools)


We have a knackered old powerbook that runs at something like 500mhz at work. My colleague did a fresh install (which probably helped) and installed tiger and the machine is a lot faster now compared to when Panther was installed. Hope this helps.


Tiger is much faster than Panther which was faster than Jaguar. You won't get all of the eye candy but you have a decent amount of ram.


Does anyone know where to find an idiot's guide - line by line - set of instructions for a fresh install? Never done it and I am scared to death but I HAVE to do this.

Looked in FAQ's in various places but couldn't find.

Thank you,


Translator, Web Developer
Mikuro said:
Panther > Jaguar. That simple. No matter what system you have, Panther will be as fast or faster than Jaguar.
Quite true, I'm running Panther on an iBook 333 and it runs fine...much faster than Jaguar.

One of the greatest things about Apple and MacOS in particular is that future iterations run BETTER than older ones ::ha::


Barking at the moon.
I've got the same 'ol grandpa-eMac as you. 700mhz G4 with 640 megs of RAM. I finally upgraded to Tiger (after buying an external DVD-R/W to install it) and it seems to run just fine. It's tough to give a speed comparison between Panther and Tiger, but I can tell you there wasn't any significant change one way or the other.

I'd go for it if I were you. These old eMacs are still holding their own.


Very similar eMac here. Panther was great with no problems at all. Tiger is running fine although at 512 Ram I'm saving up for more. A couple more point releases for Tiger will help and many vendors haven't updated their software yet which may be the deciding factor.