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What can I do to bring my PowerBook up to date?

Hi there

I have an ageing PowerBook G4 12" that has got so slow and rickety we've mostly been using it for storage. Now I'd like to get it running properly again. I understand that I can upgrade the RAM from its current 256MB by adding another 1GB, is that correct? Can I add any more than that? I also want to strip it back and load up at least Tiger. Is there anything else I can do to improve its performance?

Also, any tips for buying RAM?

Thanks so much


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What specific model do you have? if you tell me I can tell you what specifics you can do to upgrade and optimize your machine.


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Depending on the speed of the processor, you can definently run OS Tiger, and with a 867Mhz or faster CPU, and 512MB of ram, you can run leopard, if you want to really overhaul it, drop in a 7200RPM hard drive, another 1GB of RAM, and a SuperDrive if you don't have one in it already.

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IMHO I don't think that someone who has zero experience with computer repairs can handle a PB 12" optical drive replacement. The 12" PB is a complicated computer to dismantle and to reassemble. Replacing the optical drive means that the logic board has to be removed and you have to go thru a 54 steps procedure to do it. The internal wiring is hard to reinstall and there are many small and fragile cables connectors that have to be disconnected and reconnected in the process. I've done it many times but always needed high resolution picts as references to guide me when reassembling the machine.

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Hello, and thank you both for responding. The model is PowerBook G4 with 1.33GHz PowerPC G4 processor. How would I go about putting in a new hard drive and SuperDrive? I've never done anything like this before; is it the sort of alteration a novice could handle?

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The hard drive shouldn't be as hard as the SuperDrive, here's a guide, and you will need a 2.5" IDE hard drive: PowerBook G4 Aluminum 12" 1-1.5 GHz Hard Drive Replacement

This is a lot easier then the optical drive.

Here's the guide in case you want to look over it: PowerBook G4 Aluminum 12" 1-1.5 GHz Optical Drive Replacement


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IMHO, SuperDrive is almost useless, except for those of us who work with video (it comes handy when you need to give someone a piece of footage to watch). Recordable optical media is faulty, and 2.5-inch USB enclosures let you back up your whole drive even on the go.

On the other hand, the faster your HDD, the lower are load times. I have a cheap 60GB SSD in my PowerBook — no miving parts, no noise, no worries. Don't forget to add

mount -uw -o noatime /

to your /etc/rc.local — it restricts changing flies' 'access-time' field only to write operations, thus improving drive's performance greatly and significantly prolonging drive's life.

Of course, additional RAM is a must. The more RAM, the better.

Also. There's a company selling a kit for installing secondary HDD instead of optical drive - Optidrive, AFAIR — check them out.

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