Slow Performance



My mac seems to be running a bit slow and I was wondering if someone could help me figure out what it could be.

I have a 350mz g4 with over 1.2Gigs of RAM. i added the RAM. 2 sticks of 512mb and one 128mb.

i'm running the latest version of Tiger. I primariy use Adobe Creative Suite 2. This is where I can really "see" the slowness. It just takes longer to do things then it should.

What can be causing this?

Any help would be much appreciated!
Well, considering this is a 350 MHz G4, you can only squeeze so much out of it. however, you might also want to look into a new video card for that Mac. Since I'm assuming this model doesn't have the AGP slot, you might want to go with either an ATI RADEON PCI card like the 7000 or even the 9000 which would give you a boost in performance.

Also, you want to make sure that you have enough space available on your hard drive. Look into upgrading to something much larger than what was included originally with that G4, as a lack of space on the hard drive would also cause OS X to slow down.
This model does have an AGP slot (you've got more than 1GB of RAM, plus you're using 512MB sticks: something only the G4 AGP machines could do), so a good AGP Macintosh-specific graphics card would help.

I would recommend a processor upgrade over anything. You're fine on RAM, and upgraded video isn't going to speed up Adobe CS2 very much. A processor upgrade will make the most difference in this situation.

i can recommend the Sonnet-branded OWC Mercury Extreme-branded processor upgrades, in that order. Here's a page with compatible processors:,+&shoupgrds=Show+Upgrades

That particular machine you have is just begging to be decked-out, if your budget permits. With 2GB of RAM, a processor upgrade, a video card upgrade, and a few 7200RPM 8MB cache hard drives running on an ATA/133 PCI card, it would handle Adobe CS2 as well as just about anything else you throw at it.

that was great! i didnt realize it was 1. possible, and 2. so cheap for a processor upgrade. i'm looking then at the sonnet 1.8 ghz from the page you provided found here... Technology/SG41800/

that should work fine on my machine? just want to make sure before i buy it. i also saw a little note on the apple site saying this...

"Note: Mac OS X does not support processor upgrade cards. The amount of disk space required depends on your computer and the way you are installing Mac OS X."

this was found on this page...

i dont know if that matters or not, but i just want to check to make sure everything would be fine on my machine.

i really appreciate the help! this would be MUCH better than having to buy a whole new mac!

I would highly recommend getting one of the processors with a large cache, like the ones with 2MB of L3 cache.

Cache makes a big difference in performance...
Excellent choice.

Here's a site you may find interesting and helpful:

It's a database of feedback about different processor upgrade cards used in different machines. Strictly real-world user reports, no advertising fluff, so you get an exact idea of others' experiences with the upgrade.

I don't know which video card to recommend to you, as I don't own an AGP-enabled G4 machine, but from what I gather, the more you spend, the more performance you'll get. Just make sure it's an authentic, Macintosh-specific video card that is compatible with your exact model of Macintosh -- not a "flashed" PC video card off of eBay or something like that.

Thank you so much for your help on this. I really appreciate it. A great relief. I will definitely order that and continue to check out the forum for updates.

Thanks again,
As for the Mac model, I just checked on Low End Mac and indeed there was a 350 Mhz version of the Power Mac G4 ("Sawtooth") as well as the PCI model ("Yikes!"). I wasn't aware of this and I thank EDCC for the heads up. Of course, I don't remember it being mentioned in the originating post, which brings us back to the question "is it the PCI model or the AGP model?" Make sure of this before you purchase any video card.

If it IS in fact an AGP model, then be careful when buying an AGP video card. You won't be able to use the 8x AGP cards as they aren't compatible with 2x AGP (which is what the "Sawtooth" PMG4 uses). The voltage on the older AGP slots is 3 volts and many of the new cards out there are 1.5 volts. You'll need an AGP card that meets the requirements for your Power Mac G4 if it is the AGP model, otherwise you can fry your components.
Yeah. Make sure that the video card upgrade on that Mac is a 3 volt AGP card. Those will support AGP 2x/4x. Most current AGP video cards will only go as low as 4x and that's at 1.5 volts.
i have a question now with this. i'd like to add a second monitor to my setup. i need to get a video card for that, correct? do you think that i should then by TWO new ones, or would buying only ONE new one and keeping the one in there right now be fine? are they expensive? i know they range in prices, but what would be around the price i should go for and where would be the best place to buy one?

If you're going to get a second video card, it would have to be a PCI video card (as you've only got one AGP slot), and your selection is pretty narrow (one currently on the market, to be exact): Technologies/100436011/

Actually, Sonnet sells one as well, but it's only about $30 cheaper and comparable to a Rage 128 16MB card (old). This one's got 128MB of RAM and works nicely.

Of course, a lot of the AGP cards you'll find support two monitors on just one video card. It's usually specified in the tech specs on sites like You'll probably need an adaptor, which may or may not be included, depending on what monitors you'd like to connect. It's probably going to have one VGA port, one DVI port and an S-Video port, or a combination thereof.

If you're on a budget, I would say leave the current one in and get the PCI Radeon 9200 linked above for an easy two monitor setup (in fact, you can have three with that setup: one on the factory card, and TWO on the 9200). If you'd like to go all-out and have the budget for it, get a new AGP card in addition to the PCI Radeon 9200 -- which would theoretically support 4 monitors.

Other World Computing ( is usually where I look first.

While we're on the subject of upgrading, I think it might be safe to think about whether you want to put all this money into an aging machine, or whether the amount you'd spend souping it up would be better spent on a new computer. With two new video cards and a processor upgrade, you could be spending an upward of $700 - $1000, which would get you a low-grade iBook or a decked-out Mac mini.

One thing I can say about the early G4 enclosures is that they're sure easy to upgrade and are rock solid. Sometimes stability is worth much more than a shiny, new computer.
great! once again, thank you very much for all your help. both of you. i'll use all of this when i buy both pieces to upgrade my computer.

many thanks,
I have a G4/500mhz and I maxed the ram out and also bought a OWC Mercury 1.2ghz processor upgrade and believe it or not in my readings in the Mac community they are saying that Adobe runs better with less ram than more, now take into account these are G5's they are talking about but with my machine the OWC Mercury upgrade has helped the most and they were on sale @ $249.00
If you guys are still there, i have a problem now installing the processor upgrade. I need to have OS 9.2 installed on my machine in order to do the installation. I have OSX on my machine. How can I install this thing now?

Why do you need OS 9? Is it for a firmware update?

AFAIK, the processor should be plug-and-play. No cache enabler software, no throttle control software, no nothing. If it's a firmware update, that's a different matter, but if not, you may be able to get by without installing the software.
yeah, i need the firmware update to install. but i'm on OSX, not OS 9.2. which i need to be on to do the update. this stinks. i have no idea what to do. how do i do this in a simple way? i tried loading os 9, but then i need to get the updates. how do i do all this? and they say i'll need to pay a 15% restocking fee to return the thing. so i'm screwed out of around $50 just for that.

i'm at a loss. the sonnet customer service guy was a complete jerk. he wouldnt help me at all, and gave me an attitude for not having the firmware update.

any help at all would be much appreciated as you can tell i'm very frustrated.

What do you mean, "I tried loading OS 9" -- do you have an OS 9 install disk? If so, what happened when you tried installing it?