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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

PowerBook - Is upgrading my RAM worth it?


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christos3000

 
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New to Mac as of 2 weeks ago, so far I'm loving it! (please forgive me if any of my questions are dumb, I'm new to the scene)

I was recently given a PowerBook G4 with 1.33 GHz PowerPC processor, and 512 MB of RAM. The OS version is 10.3.9. 3 questions:

1. Is upgrading to 2 GB of RAM worth it if all I ever do is surf the web? I usually have 2-3 firefox windows open, with like 5 tabs open in each window. My gut tells me that I'm not really going to notice much of an improvement if I get more RAM because what I'm doing is hardly RAM intensive.

2. Any point in upgrading to the latest OS? Is it going to run slow on my machine, even if I moved up to 2 GB of RAM?

3. Since I have a "PowerPC" processor, does that mean I can run Windows XP using Parallels?


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Zoolook

 
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I'll take them in reverse order.

You cannot run WinXP in Parallels. You can only use Virtual PC, but be warned, it will be slow.

I would say the OS upgrade might be worth it, even just for browsing. Firefox 3 (which is quite a lot better than 2) needs at least 10.4 to run.

With this in mind, it might be worth upgrading to 1GB of RAM and installing Tiger or Leopard. The latest upcoming flash player (10) will also need at least 10.4, and brings in some performance improvements.

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skaheadpunk

 
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1. If you fancy it, do it, if you don't think you need it don't bother.

2. Same applies. If you're going to upgrade to 10.5, at least 1GB of RAM is probably a good idea. 10.4 should run fine.

3. No, only Intel-based Macs are supported with Parallels.
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Zoolook

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skaheadpunk View Post
3. No, only Intel-based Macs are supported with Parallels. There used to be a version of Bootcamp for 10.4 (I think, never used it myself), but that was discontinued. You could install 10.5 to use Bootcamp to run Windows, but not Parallels.
No, bootcamp will not work on a PowerPC machine (G4).

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoolook View Post
No, bootcamp will not work on a PowerPC machine (G4).
Sorry, wasn't overly clear on that one, thanks .
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christos3000

 
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Thanks for all the quick replies everyone!


Sounds like upgrading the OS is actually pretty important just so I can run the latest versions of everything (10.3.9 won't recognize my iPhone either).

In which case, upgrading the RAM becomes a no-brainer too.

Do you guys think 10.5 will run reasonably quickly/smoothly with 2GB of RAM and a 3-year old 1.33 GHz processor?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christos3000 View Post
Thanks for all the quick replies everyone!


Sounds like upgrading the OS is actually pretty important just so I can run the latest versions of everything (10.3.9 won't recognize my iPhone either).

In which case, upgrading the RAM becomes a no-brainer too.

Do you guys think 10.5 will run reasonably quickly/smoothly with 2GB of RAM and a 3-year old 1.33 GHz processor?
Yes it will. 2 GBs of RAM will be just perfect for your machine.

So when you said you would ONLY use it for surfing, that wasn't strictly true. The latest versions of iTunes and Quicktime need at least Tiger. iTunes 8 is just around the corner, and this may need Leopard.

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andy_bon

 
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christos3000

Parallels sucks. If you want to do something basic, like watch "windblows" clock tick over, or use the in built calculator it's fine. Forget anything though which requires full graphics acceleration. Until they can effectively emulate 3d graphic performance I wouldn't bother.

andy_bon
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Originally Posted by andy_bon View Post
christos3000

Parallels sucks. If you want to do something basic, like watch "windblows" clock tick over, or use the in built calculator it's fine. Forget anything though which requires full graphics acceleration. Until they can effectively emulate 3d graphic performance I wouldn't bother.

andy_bon
I can play HL2, CT Source, Unreal Tournament 2003 and frequently watch WM11 DRM video via Parallels.

Agreed, it's not as fast as bootcamp, but what you said is pure nonsense.

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andy_bon

 
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Zoolook

I've tried on numerous occasions to use Parallels 3 on my MBP 2.4 ghz 4gb ram, without success. I use graphic intensive programs such as AutoCAD MEP 2009, and parallels just can't cut it. Yes 3d acceleration is provided but on 64 mb graphics memory, I have 256mb and would like to use it!.

At the time i used it, it also only supported Direct X8, I don't know if this is still the case. Unreal Tournament 2003 requires 256 mb ram and 128 video mem, HL2 needs 256 ram + DirectX 7. Games like these, in todays standards, are fairly low demanding on pc requirements. I would like to be able to play todays more graphically enhanced games.

Typical quotes from the net:

“I purchased Parallels 3 (two copies actually) because of what was said about the product. I knew a VM wouldn't ever be as fast as native booting but "near native" was taken as fact. I was figuring 75% to 50% speeds.

-New! Run today’s most popular PC games on a Mac with support for 3D graphics
-Play the hottest 3D games! OpenGL and DirectX support lets you explore a whole new world of 3D games and applications right on your Mac. Play Half-Life 2 and work in Sony Vegas at near native speeds right in your Parallels virtual machine.
-Play Windows-only 3D games, such as World of Warcraft, Half-Life 2, and Unreal Tournament
-Render in complex 3D CAD programs such as 3DMark
-Work with CPU-intensive video and sound editing software such as Sony Vegas
-Run mission-critical 3D applications on your Mac
-Enjoy your favorite Windows-only games and graphics applications directly in your Windows virtual machine at full native speed without rebooting

And all those lies are just on three pages! Let alone all the free advertising from other sites stating these same claims. I have a Mac Pro, 4GB of RAM, nothing running on the OS X side and I'm lucky if I can see the bird flying on the HL2 splash screen where you pick "New Game" I maxed out all the settings I could for the VM and yes I did enable DX."

“Basically, if you're expecting to do anything related to multimedia or graphics, don't use it. As I use 3d animation in my workflow daily, I require a lot of power. Parallels is crap for that. If you need to use lightweight Windows programs, great, it'll work. But anything remotely data-intensive: forget it. And games? If it's been released since 2004 it probably doesn't work well. At all.”

We cant all be talking "pure nonsense". Personally I would love to be able to use Parallels, but despite maxing out my Ram to 4gb, having a 256 mb Nvidia 8600m GT graphics card, it's not, or wasn't in June 08, effectively useable. I appreciate that if you want to use old games, do basic surfing, and don't mind the jumping movement of desktop windows, parallels might be for you.
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Uh...Anyways...Back to the original questions. If money is an issue with you in upgrading your laptop, you could just upgrade your RAM to 1GB and you'll notice a significant difference in speed. I would also say upgrading to tiger would be the best bet for you.

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