7 Replies Latest reply: Dec 16, 2009 12:12 PM by Duane
Goldilocks88 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
I bought my iBook G4 in 2004 and am finding it is running quite slow (especially internet!) and has very little memory. I can hardly store anything on it - I bought an external hard drive and store all of my files, music, pictures, etc. on it. It seems my programs take up a lot of space.
I have been wondering whether I need to buy a new computer, but I'm sure there are things I can do to my iBook to upgrade it, but I don't know what!
Can anyone help me figure out what things I can do to make it run faster and how I can get some of the upgrades? I really don't know much about computers.
MEMORY: I have 768 MB of memory - 256 MB built-in and 512 MB added. I'm assuming I can buy more internal memory? Any advice what to get?
OS: I am still running on OS X 10.3.9. Can I just go out and buy (or download?) a newer operating system?
MAINTENANCE: I have never really done anything to "clean out" my hard drive. I don't know how or what I would even be looking for. The only thing really on my hard drive is software. All my files, etc. are on the external drive, which means they are not backed up. Not good. What can I do to clean out my computer?
Please help! I am so confused.

iBook G4, Mac OS X (10.3.x)
  • Lyssa Level 6 Level 6 (17,525 points)
    Goldilocks88: Welcome to Apple Discussions! I'll do my best to offer you some advice.

    1) If you're having Internet troubles, it may be due to the browser you're using. OS X 10.3 is an old operating system and not all browsers are fully compatible. You could give Camino a try and see if things improve.

    2) To get a good look at which files/folders are taking up what space you can use Disk Inventory X: http://www.derlien.com/

    3) Your computer can have a 1GB module installed underneath the keyboard, which would replace the 512MB module that's installed right now. The two places I recommend for purchasing memory are crucial.com and newegg.com. The 2004 iBook's RAM is PC-2100 DDR266 200-pin; PC-2700 RAM would also work.

    4) You would have to buy a new operating system. You can purchase Tiger or Leopard; your computer will NOT run Snow Leopard. If you choose to go with Tiger, you'll have to check with 3rd-party retailers, such as Amazon.com. Take a look at Texas Mac Man's post here: http://discussions.apple.com/thread.jspa?messageID=9755670&#9755670. If you choose to go with Leopard, you can try calling the Apple online store to see if they still have copies in stock. If not, you'll have to check with places like Amazon.com.
    Do NOT purchase gray discs--these are machine-specific and none of them will work with your iBook.

    5) There isn't a whole lot of maintenance to do with the iBook; it's more important to keep adequate hard drive space free at all times. You want 15% or 10GB (whichever is larger) of the drive free at all times.

    6) You can backup your data to CDs, another external hard drive or to DVDs, if a DVD burner is available to you.

    7) One thing to keep in mind is that your internal hard drive could be nearing the end of its life. Hard drives tend to last 3~5 years, and yours is certainly closing in on that 5-year mark. An aging hard drive can make a machine slow down and can cause issues with software that is installed. Replacing the hard drive in an iBook is a task you can do yourself, but it can take several hours. If you're interested in replacing the drive, let me know and I'll post links to some suitable options.

    I know that's a lot of information--hopefully some of it helps you! If anything is unclear, I can try to explain better.


  • thanna Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Lyssa. I'm new to this forum, but am upgrading my wife's G4, with more RAM. Will a new HD improve speed or performance as well? If so, I would appreciate some info on how to replace one. I've worked on PCs a good bit, just never opened the G4.

    Also, we are on OSX 10.3.9. How would an upgrade to Tiger or a newer OSX improve performance? Do you think going to Tiger 10.4.X is the right move for an upgrade, or would you go to something even newer?

    Help from anyone here would be greatly appreciated, as the cost of a new unit is not in the budget for this year. Thanks!!!!!
  • Duane Level 10 Level 10 (117,955 points)
    thanna, Welcome to the discussion area!

    Replacing the hard drive may improve performance especially if the disk runs at a higher RPM and has a larger buffer than the disk currently in the iBook.

    You can find guides on how to replace the drive at iFixit.com

    OS 10.5 runs great on my iBook G4. Probably someone can make better recommendations is you indicate which iBook G4 you are working with.

    I would also recommend that next time you start a new thread and that way your question will get much more visibility.
  • thanna Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Duane, and thanks for the input. I'm kind of new to the forum idea, and appreciate the suggestions. I've heard that some of the newer OSX versions improved in several areas, and may have made file conversion between Apple and PC much smoother. We have been planning to replace the ibook with a PC, and a good friend advised we should update the ibook first, before we go "backwards", in his words. It's been a great little machine, but the performance is like a turtle, very dependable, but slow as... well a turtle. We have also had issues moving files between Office for Mac and PC versions of Office.

    I have ordered a new RAM card, to max out the memory, and am considering the new HD and OSX. Any more suggestions anyone has would be welcomed. thanks again... Mark
  • Duane Level 10 Level 10 (117,955 points)
    I'm really surprised that you would invest money, time, and energy into upgrading when you are going to replace the iBook.

    For years I used a Windows laptop for work and an iBook for personal use. Regardless of the impressive specifications of the Windows laptop, the iBook always outperformed and was more reliable than the Windows laptop.

    If you need Windows, it would be much better to get a MacBook or MacBook Pro rather than a standard Windows laptop.
  • thanna Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi Duane. I may not have worded my previous post very well. I am trying to upgrade the ibook, at a far lower cost than getting a new windows pc, and postpone or (best case) forget about making the switch. I use a Windows laptop all day, every day, so I certainly understand the limitations, but other than the stability, we have never seen the advantages in the Apple ibook, that we had expected.

    I've ordered the RAM card, so I guess my simple questions at this point are: 1. Should I purchase OSX 10.4.x, which I can get in "upgrade" form for the 10.3.x, or get 10.5.x, which requires a full new install, since it won't "upgrade" from 10.3.x? Will 10.5.x do that much more for us than the 10.4.x version, and how much more is involved in doing a "full new install"? Thanks... Mark
  • Duane Level 10 Level 10 (117,955 points)
    OS 10.4 and OS 10.5 are both sold as a full install. When you run the installer you can choose to either upgrade a previous system or do a new install. There is not a less expensive "upgrade" package.

    OS 10.6 has an inexpensive package intended for upgrading those that have an Intel-based Mac currently running OS 10.5. It is the first time that Apple has created and sold a package intended as an upgrade only package.