Battery first, then upgrade? Upgrade first, then battery?
November 10, 2005 10:55 AM   Subscribe

PotentiallyStupidQuestionFilter: I'm looking to juice up my long-in-the-tooth titanium Powerbook (from March of 2002 -- 667 mHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, 30GB harddrive, etc.) with both a new battery (since the original one now gets approx. five minutes of life when unplugged) and OS X 10.4. Here's the weird question: Should I put the battery in first, and then update the OS, or do the OS update and then swap in the new battery? It might not matter at all, but I know that operating systems do have an impact on battery performance -- is that something I should be taking into consideration, or can I do either upgrade at any time without worrying about sequence?
posted by logovisual to Computers & Internet (8 answers total)
Unless your current battery is compete toast, it shouldn't matter. The main thing is that you want to be sure that your computer doesn't shut down during the OS install.

Also, you might want to invest in additional RAM.
posted by mds35 at 10:59 AM on November 10, 2005

It doesn't matter at all. You can change the battery at any time, the OS will not know the difference.
posted by knave at 11:12 AM on November 10, 2005

Best answer: It doesn't matter, but after you have done both, remember to calibrate your new battery.
posted by Mwongozi at 11:34 AM on November 10, 2005

I have the same: PBook 667. I recently upgraded the hard drive to 80GB ; added 1GB RAM and a new battery - it now runs perfectly for my needs. Note: I did not install the OS again - and battery life is very respectable.
posted by Sagres at 11:58 AM on November 10, 2005

I'd suggest getting a new HD and installing that. Find a really fast notebook HD and put a completly fresh copy of OSX on that, and you'll find it'll run like a dream. If you also get an external firewire case for the old drive, you can resurrect your old data, then you also have a handy portable firewire backup drive as a spare. Normally I wouldn't recommend a WD drive, but this one seems like good value for money.

A friend of mine was in the same situation, and ended up buying a new HD for his tiBook. A brand new, fast and modern HD, freshly formatted with a brand new install of OSX on, his tiBook practically doubled in speed. And he also had 60gb of disk space to play with :)

I'd hold fire on the battery, they'll only go down in price over time.
posted by gaby at 12:02 PM on November 10, 2005

Response by poster: The battery is actually the single most important component here, as I already have an iMac G5 (purchased about three weeks before they debuted the new ones, god durn it) to use as a desktop/primary computer, and all my key data's already been transferred to it, so I was planning to just use the old HD (but completely wiped and reformatted) -- I don't have to keep my music library on it or anything like that, it'd be far too small anyway. I just want a relatively nimble machine for mobile use; I don't do anything too intense (pretty much web browsing, IM, and writing if I'm using the laptop), but the 5-min battery life thing is simply unworkable. Thanks for the advice and suggestions, everybody -- I probably will spring for some extra RAM, too (since I need to do the same for the iMac, might as well order both chips at once).
posted by logovisual at 12:20 PM on November 10, 2005

There's a little bit of a hit in battery performance with 10.4 because of the additional indexing that occurs whenever files change due to Spotlight. More hard drive activity means more power consumption and slightly lower battery life. Every version of OS X before then seemed to get better battery life for my Powerbook, though.
posted by mikeh at 1:52 PM on November 10, 2005

My theory, which is probably disagreeable among the "constantly upgrading because that's how Apple stays in business" crowd, is to upgrade the battery, RAM, and HDD (if necessary) and avoid Tiger altogether. Quite frankly, unless you're really into Spotlight or Automator, the difference between Panther and Tiger is negligible.

Oddly enough, long long ago I asked a question here on AskMeFi about upgrading to Tiger and whether it was worth the price. I found out that the advice given to me, along with my intuitions, were correct. mathowie rightly said in that thread that Mail 2.0 was excellent, which I'm in complete agreement with, but that the rest of Tiger was ho-hum. I paid 15 bucks to upgrade (my university offers a significant discount) and found that if I had paid the full price, I would still be pissed off six months later.

When paying $130 for Tiger, one has to wonder if it's just as cost effective to simply buy a refurb Mac Mini (with Tiger build in) for $399. My opinion? It makes you seriously question the need to upgrade.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:49 PM on November 10, 2005

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