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Lawrence of Berkley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I'm thinking about installing Leopard on my trusty Powerbook G4. What we have here is 1.5Ghz processor, 2GB RAM, the ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 video card and a 100GB HDD that's 75% full. I run the usual apps such as Mail, Safari and iTunes, but I also use Lightroom 2.2 to check my photos in the field and run slide shows (The G4 is not the primary cataloging and developing machine), Routebuddy mapping and GPS tracking, and Photoshop CS3 for small images and very quick manipulation, and Powerpoint X. Everything runs just fine on 10.4.11. Given that, would installing 10.5.6 work in this environment or am I just asking for trouble?

Powerbook Aluminum 15" 1.5 GHZ, Mac OS X (10.4.11), 2GB RAM
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (64,125 points)
    It might work, but I'd want more disc space than that. Especially since photo editing needs as much disc space free as you can get.
    I would just leave everything as is, unless you know for certain all your software works with Leopard, and your data is backed up, and you need Leopard for compatibility for a specific reason.
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    Hi, Lawrence. You would certainly need a bigger hard drive to run Leopard, but a 250GB drive would only cost $90 and you could install it yourself. So why do you want Leopard? Is there a new feature in it that you're dying to have, or an application upgrade you really need that requires it? If the answer in either case is yes, $90 isn't a big investment to make your computer Leopard-ready, and once you've done that Leopard will run nicely on it.

    Of course if upgrading to Leopard is merely an appealing idea and there's no pressing reason to do it, leave well enough alone: what you've got is apparently working for you. But even in that case, a bigger hard drive would be useful and may soon be essential.
  • Lawrence of Berkley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    To clarify, the reason I'd install Leopard is to increase system performance. My policy is to keep the OS as up to date on my machines as practical. Yes, everything is running A-OK and no, there is no particular feature I want in Leopard other than I like the way it looks and feels on my desktop Mac. The goal is to get the most out of this 4 1/2 year old G4...without screwing it up.
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (64,125 points)
    Installing a new operating system is no guarantee of an increase in performance.

    Your mileage may vary with Leopard.
    If it ain't broken, you shouldn't fix it.
  • eww Level 9 Level 9 (52,975 points)
    The goal is to get the most out of this 4 1/2 year old G4...without screwing it up.


    Well, a brody and I can both assure you that if you install Leopard on your existing drive, you'll be screwing it up — soon, if not immediately — by overfilling the hard drive. If you aren't going to replace the drive, delete enough files from it before installing Leopard so there will be a minimum of 15GB of free space on it afterward, and maintain that minimum amount of free space at all times. If you don't keep at least that much free space, Leopard will run slowly, and if you allow the free space to diminish to significantly less than that, it will slow down further and become unstable, jeopardizing the integrity of your data.

    As a brody says, there is no assurance that Leopard will speed anything up on your computer. But you can be sure it will demand more of your RAM at all times, and that it will produce the opposite of the desired performance improvement if you don't give it enough room to breathe.
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (64,125 points)
    On the other hand, if you are not happy with the performance of 10.4.11, there are things we can help you with to discover how to improve the performance of 10.4.11 that do not involve updating. So let us know where performance could be improved for you, and we can tell you how that might best be done.
  • Lawrence of Berkley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I think I'm going to leave well enough alone at this point. What I'm reading from everyone is that it may work, but there is no clear advantage. My choice is to get a newer Intel based laptop. Thanks to everyone who contributed!
  • a brody Level 9 Level 9 (64,125 points)
    If you get a newer laptop, be sure to read this migration tip:

    http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?threadID=435350&tstart=0
  • David Anasco Level 1 Level 1 (125 points)
    While I don't have the HD space issue that you have, I do have the same 1.5 PB with just 1.5 gigs of RAM, my HD is just 80 gig. I have had no issues with Leopard. I am so glad I upgraded. While performance did not get better, my PB is not faster, but also it is not slower. The upgrade for me is that my feature set increased, with the new bells and whistles that come with Leopard. I am very satisfied with Leopard on my 1.5. Again, I don't have the HD space issues that you have, but perhaps you could trim things down a bit with a backup HD. Is it time to do some archiving? My 2 cents.
  • ~BobS~ Level 1 Level 1 (55 points)
    I recently replaced my 80GB with a 250GB and did a fresh install of Leopard to upgrade my Al PB G4 from Panther (10.3.9). Having copied all of my apps and data to a FW external and keeping the original drive intact I was pretty comfortable with the changeout process...it took about 1/2 hour to swap the drives and then a couple of hours to migrate the data and apps back over.

    I have found the PB's performance to be considerably improved...enough so that I'm holding off on an MBP purchase for a few months. I had always done my best to maintain the 10.3 install and hadn't had much success with improving its performance over time. I was approaching the free space limit on the HDD so I decided to upgrade and move to Leopard at the same time. I'm glad I did, though I'm staying with 10.5.5 for a bit until I'm confident that the .6 issues are resolve for most users.

    If you can spare the short money and the time it's a pretty straightforward upgrade that could pay off. Time Machine alone made it worthwhile for me. You can always revert to the old drive if need be.

    Good luck with whatever path you take.

    Message was edited by: ~BobS~

    Message was edited by: ~BobS~
  • Andrew Burke Level 1 Level 1 (15 points)
    This thread was a great read.

    Leopard has substantially slowed down my 1.25GHz PowerBook, so much so that I started searching around the Apple forum. I didn't know that I should keep 15 Gigabytes free on my PB for Leopard to operate smoothly. I usually have under 10 Gigabytes free, and doing this has made my PB sound like it's always "chewing on something".

    Thanks to all who contributed.

    -Andrew
  • Forbin17 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    I've been contemplating making this change as well, as my mac is just starting to get left behind.

    I am looking forward to getting a large external hard drive and upgrading to Leopard and this thread has gone a long way toward making my decision.

    I've been going back and forth with it, but I've cleared off my hard drive so that there is 60 GB worth of space.

    I use my computer primarily for music, listening and I hope to use it more for production and recording in the future.

    Is there anything else I should be concerned with?

    For instance is 512 MB of RAM going to be sufficient?
  • Lawrence of Berkley Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    RAM? Head over to Other World Computing, whip out that credit card and max that RAM out to 2GB. 512MB ain't nothing anymore, especially for any machine doing production. By the way, I take delivery of my Intel Mac next friday.
  • Forbin17 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    So Andrew, did having 15 GB free substantially change how your Powerbook performed with Leopard?

    Message was edited by: Forbin17
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