Classic vs. OS X for specific tasks

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Joined: May 11 2007
Posts: 74

I have a powermac g4 cube that I can't get rid of. So, I want it to do something constructive for me. I was always fond of it's sound system (much louder and more crisp and clear than my macbook pro).

My iTunes library is on an external hard drive.

Anyway, the cube was running tiger and I found it to be really uncomfortably slow. I used to use this computer daily and I don't recall it being so slow.

So my question- should I reinstall a fresh copy of tiger, or should I also try os 9? I just want the computer to be snappier for playing music.

T

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cwsmith's picture
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Joined: Oct 13 2005
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Before you wipe the OS:

How much RAM is in the machine? It can take up to 3 sticks of 512MB for a total 1.5GB RAM.

How much space left on the internal HD? If you're over 90% full, the machine has no space left for virtual memory. If RAM is low too, the machine will be sluggish and will run HOT. The Cube can use up to a 127GB IDE hard drive (if larger than 127GB, the logic board will ignore the remaining space).

Check current spec and report back?

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Joined: Sep 16 2004
Posts: 274
Personally I prefer 10.2 or 1

Personally I prefer 10.2 or 10.3 for older machines. Tiger added a lot of "features" but on an older machine, I find it to be more bloatware than anything. I even have a 400 imac running 10.3 with no issues, I only run 9 on old world machines.

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Joined: May 11 2007
Posts: 74
No reason for the slow...

The hard drive is a 30gig, and I think more than 20 gigs were free. And it only has 512megs of ram, but I still feel that it should be snappier.

So what's this idea about running 10.2 or 10.3? Are those versions snappier on this hardware?

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Joined: Jan 20 2005
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The drive is 7200 rpm? If not

The drive is 7200 rpm? If not, that's the place to start. 10.3 is probably still faster than 10.4, but 10.3 is not updated much at all anymore. OS 9 would definitely be zippy on that machine. ITunes 2 is basic, but it'll do the job. Forget the internet, though, with 9. Heat is always a question with the cube, right? Are you doing all you can to keep it cool?

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Joined: May 11 2007
Posts: 74
Heating?

No. It's never really crossed my mind.
Proposals?

And when I tip it over while it's running, even by a slight angle to plug something in, say, to a USB port, it always shuts down. Is that a heating issue or something else?

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eeun's picture
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Joined: Dec 19 2003
Posts: 1891
I'd say that's an electrical

I'd say that's an electrical problem. Is it possible you have a slightly loose power connector that's losing connection when the unit is moved? Possibly a cracked solder on the inner connector?

If you can prop the cube on a couple boards so it's flat but you can still access the cords, you could give 'em a wiggle without moving the cube and put that to the test.

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Joined: Aug 22 2010
Posts: 10
What's the CPU speed? I run 1

What's the CPU speed? I run 10.4.11 on a G4 450 and it's pretty snappy for everything except the web. I run Firefox with NoScript and AdBlock Plus, and those both get rid of a lot of things that slow it down. But then, I have a GB and a half of RAM :/

Everything else runs pretty quickly. I'm tempted to try turning off Spotlight, as I've heard that takes up a LOT of CPU load. Far more than Dashboard, but that too can be disabled. I just have so many personal files that I'm hesitant to disable Spotlight.

Another thing that'll greatly speed up your vintage OS X experience is an optimized browser. http://firefoxmac.furbism.com/

These builds of Firefox are for G3, the two main G4s, and the G5. Make sure you match the build to the CPU in your Mac. The cube used a 7400. Unless you install Leopard (not recommended with 515MB at all) then you need to get one of the 3.6.x builds. Don't go past 3.6.8 or you're getting into pre-release territory.

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Hawaii Cruiser's picture
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Joined: Jan 20 2005
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Thanks for the link to the Fi

Thanks for the link to the Firefox builds for Mac! So I downloaded the 3.6.8 version for my MDD G4. It's called Namoroka? Where'd the name come from? I've discovered that one of the first things you should do is open the preferences for it, go to advanced, click on the update tab, and change from automatic updates to "ask first" because otherwise it will automatically update you to 3.6.10--the current pre-release. Now that I've got it on ask first, I'm wondering if I'm going to stay up to speed with security updates.

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Joined: Aug 22 2010
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Mine updated to 3.6.10 earlie

Mine updated to 3.6.10 earlier today with no issues. There's nothing /wrong/ with running the newer versions, but it is technically a pre-release. But it's still the Community Build from what I can tell. If you want to be sure, though, just check the page and grab the newest nightly that you wish to run.

As for the name, Namoroka is the internal name of Firefox 3.6. Only builds by Mozilla, Inc. and their licensees may carry the Firefox branding, all non-official builds use the internal name, and normally the generic blue Earth icon. The Mac Community Builds have a custom icon, which is acceptable by Mozilla, Inc.

If you want a good browser for Classic, give Classilla a shot.

http://www.floodgap.com/software/classilla/

It runs on 8.5-9.2.2 and from what I can tell is rock-solid. It's under active development, with goals being modern security, JavaScript, AJAX, and Plugin support.

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Sawtooth G4 - 450MHz
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HP Pavilion zv6000
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tmtomh's picture
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 568
YMMV, but in my experience OS

YMMV, but in my experience OS X eats memory for breakfast and so loves as much RAM as you can throw at it. I'd say do a fresh reinstall of 10.4 Tiger and - if you can - up the RAM to 1.5GB. I would guess that in that situation you'd have no speed problems for using the Cube as an iTunes jukebox.

As for the Web, I don't think any G4 machine is going to fly - in the past year or two I've been stunned at how slow G4 machines are on the Web; but they haven't gotten any slower, it's just that I've gotten used to surfing with a 3GHz Core 2 Duo machine.

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Joined: Aug 22 2010
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Big, Good Hint

Okay, I tried it. I disabled Spotlight and it's a night-and-day difference. On my 450 Sawtooth, Tiger runs like Panther now and I'm totally okay with that.

/Caveat/ - This disables all Spotlight-based searching! Finder and Mail in particular. I'm going to try it for a few days and see if I miss it.

Okay, here's what to do! Open Terminal and give it this:

sudo nano /etc/hostconfig

You'll see a line that reads "SPOTLIGHT =-YES-" Change this to "SPOTLIGHT=-NO-" then press Control+O, then press return to save. Control+X to quit nano.

Now, we're back at the tcsh prompt! Give it this

sudo mdutil -i off /

This will disable indexing for your root filesystem. Now...

sudo mduitl -E /

This purges the metadata databse for the root filesystem. I.E. it "cleans out Spotlight data."

Now, finally! Using an admin account, use Finder to go to /System/Library/CoreServices. Move Search.bundle out. Don't put it in the Trash, plleeaaase! You may want to revert and turn Spotlight back on. Search.bundle is the menubar icon for Spotlight.

Now, restart and you /will/ see a difference. Load times, animations, scrolling. Everything is just smoother and quicker for your old Macintosh.

Re: Web browsing on old Macs. No, they haven't gotten any slower, but something's sure changed. Seeing all this stuff bog down my computer sure doesn't help me to see anything in this "webs are the future" cruft. Why is it that I can run a real office suite and Photoshop together and be fine, but even /trying/ to use Google Docs or deviantArt Muro for painting is like trying to swim in molasses?

I don't see the value at all. What good is a webpage with a /crappy/ version of real software that runs slowly when we have actually good software already? Is that how worthless our time and effort is to these 21st century Web 2.0 people?

Sorry, I'm going to be sticking with real computing as long as possible. When that doesn't work anymore, I'm sure I can still find ribbons for an old typewriter!! Laughing out loud

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Sawtooth G4 - 450MHz
Mac OS 10.4.11, 9.2.2

HP Pavilion zv6000
AMD Athlon 64
Ubuntu Lucid Lynx 10.04

alk's picture
alk
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Joined: Dec 20 2003
Posts: 373
Wasn't there a problem with g

Wasn't there a problem with grounding on some of the capacitive power "buttons" on the tops of some cubes? This sounds familiar to me.

Yeah, check this out: http://support.apple.com/kb/TA27236?viewlocale=en_US

Does that fit the symptoms?

Peace,
Drew

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