8 Replies Latest reply: Oct 14, 2011 2:23 PM by BGreg
ccJames Level 1 Level 1

I have a 15" Aluminum PowerBooks G4 @ 1.67 GHz, with 2 GB of RAM. Here's the issue:


When I bought it, the machine had been fully wiped with a new installation of OSX Tiger put on it. I then upgraded it to Leopard. Each of the OSX versions seemed pretty sluggish, but most other PowerBooks can still keep up with Leopard. It's hard enough for mine to run Safari ALONE. And this is the last graphically updated version before the PowerBooks reached the end of the line.


My question is this: How could my Powerbook be running SO slowly? There is barely any data on it at all. I think that it is the battery. The battery is so old it only lasts around ten minutes. I remember reading an article that stated Apple laptops decreased 30% in performance when running only on AC power. Could that be the case?


This PowerBook is beautiful and I don't want to get rid of it. There should be no reason why it's so drained in performance. I've tried cleaning the machine out (software-wise, like using Onyx) but it didn't seem to work. Therefore, I turned to the Apple community to hopefully find an answer to my problem.


Any reply is appreciated! Thanks!

  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6

    One of the issue that can cause problems going from Tiger to Leopard is incompatible programs. Do you have any login items that need to be updated to work with Leopard?  To see if you have a login item issue, go to System Preferences, accounts, and create a new account with no login items. Reboot the system and log into that ID. If it works normally, there's a login program issue.


    I have a PowerBook 1.67Ghz, which runs Leopard fine, on battery and/or electricity.  I've never heard it said, or read, that a Powerbook under AC power is 30% slower. 


    One issue with older Powerbooks is the PRAM batteries are starting to die. Yours is dead if you pull the battery and disconnect AC power, then reconnect and put the battery in, then restart and you get a message that the system date was set back to 1969 or some other old date.  While not typically terminal, odd system problems can crop up that seem to only be solved by replacing the battery.  It's internal to the system, on a small circuit board.  If yours is dead, you might check with ifixit.com or macsales.com to see if they have a replacement.

    If your good with circuitry and soldering, you can buy a replacement cell battery and solder it in. 

  • old comm guy Level 4 Level 4

    Some random thoughts.


    Check your Energy Saver settings in System Preferences, especially anything to do with processor performance.


    Use Activity Monitor (in your /Applications/Utilities folder) to see if some one or more processes are hogging CPU cycles.  Enable the full-time CPU Usage monitor and see if your CPU usage is running away for no apparent reason.  If so, then look in the activity monitor and sort on CPU usage to find the cycle hogs.


    Check to see if Spotlight is gumming up the works by dragging your hard drive to the Privacy listing in Spotlight preference pane to see if the indexing is hogging CPU.  This could be a bigger problem with laptops that are not "running" as much as a desktop usually would be.


    More PRAM battery information in this thread. One sure-fire way to test the backup battery is to put the laptop to sleep, remove AC power, remove the main battery for five to ten seconds, then put the main battery back in and reconnect the AC.  If the laptop has shut itself down as a result of this routine, then the PRAM battery is toast.

  • Texas Mac Man Level 8 Level 8

    Boot in Safe Mode. See What is Safe Boot, Safe Mode? (Mac OS X) http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=107392

    Safe mode turns off startup apps & disables other files. It may take a while to run, but it usually "fixes" other problems. Have you repaired permissions & run Disk Utility from your OS X install DVD?


     Cheers, Tom

  • ccJames Level 1 Level 1

    The only things I haven't done so far are repairing the disk permissions and booting the PowerBook in safe mode. Spotlight has been turned off since I installed Leopard, the PRAM batteries seem to be fine (although the normal battery can't manage past 10 minutes), and nothing is hogging the CPU. The issue I'm having seems mainly to be with Safari. It's overly slow. Even when the page loads the scrolling is glitchy, it freezes, it's a horrible mess. I've been considering if Safari 5 just isn't meant for PowerBooks, and maybe I should downgrade Safari?



  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6

    Did you say whether you see the same issue with Firefox or Opera, as alternate browsers?

  • ccJames Level 1 Level 1

    I thought that it might just be Safari 5, so I ran Camino and Camino did seem to respond quicker than Safari did, especially when viewing videos (like on YouTube). I can't figure out why Safari is too slow, but I don't want to downgrade Safari and wipe out all my bookmarks. So it seems this issue is ONLY with Safari 5.

  • Allan Jones Level 7 Level 7

    See if "About this Mac" is reporting all your RAM.


    There was a known issue with 15" PowerBooks with 1.5G and 1.67G processors having one RAM slot fail. If that happened, Safari, which likes RAM, might go walkabout.

  • BGreg Level 6 Level 6

    I know that Firefox and Opera can import bookmarks from Safari, should you decide to go that route.