Thinking Of Getting A G4 iBook Or PowerBook
May 27, 2008 11:06 AM   Subscribe

I've currently got a HP Mini-Note 2133 running Ubuntu. I was going to take a stab at installing OS X on it this coming weekend when I realized I could get a 12" iBook or PowerBook G4 for roughly the same price and it would still be small enough I wouldn't mind carrying it around with me all the time and it would run OS X with no hassle. I'd keep my MacPro as my primary workstation that I use for image editing and such, this would just be for email and for surfing the web on the go. If I get a G4 era laptop and install Leopard on it (want to use Back to My Mac after I roll my own dot mac) will I have any issues? I've only recently become a Mac user after years on Linux, so I never used a PPC-based system. Will application like Camino, Mail, Adium, etc all run with no problems? This is what the universal binary thing is all about, right? Anything else I should be aware of? Any tips or tricks for slimming down 10.5 to make it run better on the older hardware? Thanks!
posted by Brian Puccio to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
Until I recently purchased a brand-new Macbook, I lived on a 12" 1.33ghz last-gen iBook running Tiger and then Leopard. For basic web-browsing and email purposes, it works just fine - I haven't run Camino in a while, but Firefox performed acceptably. But yeah, everything should run fine - remember, only very recently have things gone 100% Intel, so the PPC world isn't some ancient artifact, just an older generation. You've still got quite some time before pre-Intel machines are truly problematic.

...just make sure you get a full gig or more of RAM.
posted by Tomorrowful at 11:19 AM on May 27, 2008

I recently updated my wife's 1.5GHz G4 Powerbook to 10.5. The only hiccup I've seen so far is that Apple's DVD player app hangs when you try to run it, forcing a hard reboot. Not a big deal, just use VLC or some other DVD software instead. Other than that, no problems with speed or responsiveness. I think I have the RAM at 1.5Gb. And the universal binary thing works as advertised. You shouldn't have trouble running the software you want.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 11:33 AM on May 27, 2008

Quick response to Lazlo: My own DVD player software worked perfectly, so that's not a universal problem with upgrades to 10.5 or any such thing.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:30 PM on May 27, 2008

I run 10.5.2 on a first generation G4 Mini I have hooked up to my TV. Obviously, I only run media stuff on it; but I have no problems whatsoever.

The *really* interesting part is that the install disk I used also installed FrontRow, and it works just fine. I bought a Griffin AirClick USB remote off of eBay for $15, and it works great (after installing an update from Griffin's website to control FrontRow).
posted by vertigo25 at 12:32 PM on May 27, 2008

My girlfriend inherited my 12" iBook and (until the motherboard died a few weeks ago) found it met her needs as a main machine very well, up to and including light photoshopping.
posted by thedaniel at 3:11 PM on May 27, 2008

My 1.67Ghz PowerBook G4 is still going strong. The only thing I wish it could do but can't is run Parrallels or VMware Fusion :(
posted by Haydn at 5:29 PM on May 27, 2008

Tomorrowful: It's true that the DVD player problem isn't universal, but it isn't just me either. It is specific to Powerbooks with a particular graphics chip, and it can be avoided in the update process. More information is here if anyone cares.
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 5:42 PM on May 27, 2008

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