Tweaks/Tips to Increase iBook G4 Speed?

Discussion in 'Mac OS X System & Mac Software' started by Amie, Sep 9, 2006.

  1. Amie

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    I have a 2004 model iBook G4 running OS X 10.3.9 (Panther). And while I still love my iBook, I've noticed lately that it isn't as speedy as it used to be. It's still pretty fast, but just not as swift as before. I don't want to change OSs. I don't want to upgrade the memory. At least not yet. Could someone please post some tips and tweaks that would help speed it back up a little? For instance, if I clean out my hard drive and remove JPEGs that I don't really need, etc. ... would stuff like that help? I do weekly maintenance--running permissions repair via Disk Utility and cron scripts via MacJanitor, and I also use Onxy for cleaning and housekeeping, etc. But I'm sure there are other tweaks and tricks of the trade that I'm not aware of. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. Mikuro

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    How much RAM do you have? (You should put that in your sig.) The best way to speed things up depends on your amount of memory. For example, when I had less than 256MB of RAM, I found that restarting frequently (every day or two) gave me better performance, but now than I have 1GB, I find the reverse to be true (now I only restart about once a month for system updates).
     
  3. powermac

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    Amie,
    Certainly sounds like you are doing everything to keep a well maintained system. Of course leaving space on your Hard Drive helps as well.
    I have a G4 PB 1.5ghz 512MB ram. Although I am not a power user, I find just regular maintenance and restarts every few days, keep things running smooth.
    Also, I have an external HD, where I keep my media, and other apps. Only the essential programs I leave on the internal HD. This leaves a lot of space on my HD for the system to swap, etc.
     
  4. Viro

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    There really shouldn't be anything you can do to make your Mac perform faster. If there was, it shows that Apple haven't been diligent in choosing the operating parameters of your Mac.
     
  5. Amie

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    I know the best way to speed things up is to upgrade the memory--that's why I specifically wrote in my original post that I didn't want to do that just yet. I'm looking for other alternatives right now.

    By the way, I still have the original 256MB that my iBook shipped with. According to a little test that I ran by looking at figures in Activity Monitor, I don't need more memory at the moment.

    Like I said, it's still fast ... just not *as* fast.
     
  6. Amie

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    Not necessarily. For example, Apple might have been diligent in choosing operating parameters ... but ... wouldn't those operating parameters (and speed at which they function) run better on a nicely maintained system rather than a cluttered one with less space/memory? Of course! There are always tweaks to be made. :)
     
  7. nixgeek

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    Is it possible that after playing around with your parents' MacBook that now the iBook (which didn't seem slow before) all of a sudden seems slow to you? I know that it happens to me once I try a computer that's faster. Then that experience subconsciously becomes the basis for comparing the speed of my older computers and they start to "feel" slow. :)
     
  8. Amie

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    Hahahahaha! That's funny! Why? Because my parents bought their MacBook last week and have just NOW--as in today--opened the box. Such computer fanatics they are! And believe me, it's been pure torture for me seeing that beautiful machine all boxed up like that. Oh, how I wanted to break it in!
     
  9. eric2006

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    It's still slower than your iBook running say.. Word. Especially with the amount of RAM it ships with. Also, you already know this, but 256 MB RAM is not going to give you even near to the performance your iBook can achieve. It has to use virtual memory and write to the (slow, notebook) hard drive everytime it runs out of memory. 512 would be decent, 1 GB optimal.

    (you can get a gigabyte of RAM for about 100 bucks)

    (that's a lot cheaper than a MacBook)
     
  10. Amie

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    I'm pretty sure I read somewhere in my iBook System Profiler and/or manual that the most RAM you can add to this particular model is 512MB. So, I guess the 1GB is out of the question for me. :(

    If I do decide to upgrade to 512MB, what do I do--just buy it online and then take it to the Apple store (where I bought my iBook) and have them install it? How much would they charge?
     
  11. eric2006

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    You can add up to a gigabyte to that model, by using a gigabyte chip (in the link in my other post). Apple sells gigabyte chips for your laptop, so they work. Crucial memory advisor also confirms this. You have 256 MB built-in memory, and one slot open. If you add a gigabyte chip, you'll have 1.25 GB memory, actually. You could opt for a smaller size chip, but you'd have to throw it away if you ever wanted to upgrade your memory again.
     
  12. Mikuro

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    Well, a knowledgable and intelligent human will always be able to fine-tune things a bit better than any OS. :) But it's very hard to make recommendations, since anything general probably would be done by the OS as Viro said. Without knowing exactly what someone does (and how they do it) every day, it's very hard to beat the OS at optimizations.

    But I have certainly improved upon things on my system, like the OS's built-in defragmentation, for example. By creating a second partition to store downloads and large files, I keep my startup volume from getting severely fragmented. As it stands now, I never bother defragmenting my startup volume, because it's more trouble than it's worth. However, before I took an active approach to preventing serious fragmentation, I really noticed the difference by defragmenting every month or two.

    So I have no idea if that technique is sensible for Amie or anyone else. For most people, it's probably unnecessary. Apple's handling of fragmentation is a great general-purpose fix. But there's no way for an OS to handle these things perfectly in all circumstances.


    But since you do only have 256MB of RAM, like I said in my last post, restart daily. Also, you might want to give some thought to using a second partition — startup volume fragmentation is a much bigger problem the less RAM you have. But again, I don't have the specifics I'd need to say for sure what makes sense.
     
  13. fryke

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    Backup the entire iBook to an external drive, then erase the internal drive and setup OS X again from the start. Only bring back those things from the backup you really need. This _will_ make your iBook faster. But it'll take some time, of course, to do. Bit like spring cleaning.
     
  14. Amie

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    Thanks to you all for your replies and suggestions.

    If I do decide to purchase additional RAM, should I buy it online from a reputable site (cheaper that way, I imagine) and then take the RAM and my iBook to the Apple store and have them install it? It makes me a tad nervous taking apart my iBook like that. I'd much rather have a professional do it. About how much would Apple charge for something like that?
     
  15. dmetzcher

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    With regard to buying additional RAM, I'd have luck with RamSeeker.com for iBook RAM. Cheapest prices I've found. If someone knows of a cheaper list of vendors, please post it.
     
  16. eric2006

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    Apple charges $ 50 for "basic" hardware work. It's free if you're under warrantee. Installing RAM is relatively easy on that iBook; pop off the keyboard, take out the AP card, then stick in your RAM. It's easy to do, and harmless with the proper precautions (no static, take out the battery and pull the plug, etc). Defiantly not worth 50 bucks. Here's a guide:
    http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/83.4.0.html
     
  17. Amie

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    Eric, thank you so much! I just might try it. I'm nervous, though. I don't want to ruin anything on my precious iBook! :eek:

    Don't I need to wear a pair of those anti-static gloves when I do this? They always use them at the Apple store whenever they open computers to work on them. Where would I purchase a pair?
     
  18. Vinchenzo

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    I bought a second hand iBook G4 for my wife sometime last year, because her HP/Compaq C60 laptop was dying, and I was thinking she would be better off with a MAC of some kind as Windows tends to be more problematic for her. However, because of difficulties with WiFi connections it went into semi-retirement. Just this week I decided to see if we could get it back out and speed it up by adding some more RAM chips. I contacted Offtek, from whom I had some chips for other projects. This was the reply I got today:

    Hello Vincent,

    Thank you for your email. Unfortunately the maximum RAM supported for this model is 1.25GB and can not be expanded any further than what you currently have installed.

    I am sorry that I could not help you further with your query.


    If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Regards

    Chris Cooper

    UK Customer Services

    [​IMG]

    (Me) = He knew what ram was already in it, as I had to give all the machine's specifications, including regarding the memory capacity, and current total. It goes painfully slow at the moment, and I get frequent beach balls, and incidents of having to restart. I can just about do one thing, and then have to restart. So, I am looking into other ways of speeding it up. I haven't checked the size of the internal drive yet, but will look at that, as I have a notion that it is quite a large drive, and possible larger than the original shipped drive.
     
  19. DeltaMac

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    It would help to know which iBook G4 model you have.
    Go to the Apple menu, then About this Mac, and click the More Info button.
    Your System Profiler will launch.
    Under Hardware Overview, what is listed for Model Identifier? That will be something like PowerBook6,5

    The largest factory hard drive would have been 100GB, but most iBooks would have 60GB or smaller.

    If you want to try the full task, on a near-15-year-old laptop, then I would suggest that you backup the hard drive to an external firewire drive, then boot to a compatible system on an external drive - or boot to an OS X installer DVD. Run Disk Utility, and erase the hard drive (including re-partioning the drive, making sure there is only a single partition.) Then reinstall OS X. You do that from the installer DVD, as that would be its main purpose :) Restore your files and apps from your backup disk. That "nuke & pave" of the hard drive CAN sometimes help make the performance closer to what you might like. But, it's still old hardware, running an old system, with internet support and browser support just not as good as you might like. The end result is a system that will always be slower than you might hope for. DON'T compare this to a new system. You will be disappointed.

    If that hard drive rebuild takes a long time (more than 3 hours, for example), or fails with an error of some kind, that may mean that the hard drive is failing. It takes a laptop IDE drive (not the modern SATA connection), and the old IDE drives are not easy to find. There are PATA SSDs, although you would need to search for that. You won't ever need to worry about a noisy drive motor or read head failure, as there are no moving parts in an SSD, and also will give a more responsive system.
    You will be limited to Leopard (OS X 10.5.8), nothing newer can work on the G4 processor, and some users say that the older 10.4 (Tiger) is a better system on a G4.

    BTW, replacing a hard drive is quite challenging. There's 50 tiny screws to remove to get to it (I counted them once when I was working in a shop, as the customer thought it was a simple, 5-minute job), and the laptop is completely disassembled - not just a small door or panel, or something as easy as removing only the bottom case. Don't EVER do this without some method of keeping the loose screws organized, and under control.
     

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