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Switcher Hangout The place for switchers to discuss their new machines, and how to work with OS X. General support can be had here for newbie stuff, like "How do I restart my new iMac?" :)

G4 optimization (OS 10.4.11)

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Member Since: Jan 24, 2011
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My current G4 (my first mac, price was right, and all that) clocks at 400MHz, has 512MB Ram, plus an additional 64MB simm, so it is actually at 576MB if I am correct.

HDD (internal) is 30GB, 17GB Free. I also have an external HDD 150GB. I have a 6GB HDD I have been considering putting in, but even on a G4 I cannot see the benefits of such a small drive.

I ordered new RAM, will be upgrading it to 1GB (2GB if the G4 will allow it, I have heard two different versions of that story).

Yet, as it stands, the processor is only 400MHz, and a new Mac and a CPU upgrade are not within my budget at the moment, but definitely in the 'must have' section of my list of things to get.

Anyway, what are some solid ways to tweak the OS to get better streaming video playback? I know that the 400MHz wasn't created to handle high quality video streaming, but there has to be things I can do to at least improve performance. Youtube vids are choppy at best, I can't even tell the difference between a video and a slideshow anymore. Audio plays fine, video is crap.

So, software tweaks to increase performance? Anyway to use my external HDD as either pure Virtual Memory, or migrate the entire install to the external. I already used superduper to clone the my internal HDD to the external, but read that the G4 was unable to boot USB. I am on tiger (10.4.11) so I am pretty sure no updates will be available, kind of old, lol).

Thanks ahead of time.
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The RAM should help, but beyond that I don't think there's much you can do. That's a very old machine and today's Flash (which is what you're struggling with there) is just too resource-hungry to work with with that processor.

Try a Quicktime-only site for comparison (most movie trailer web sites have a QT trailer) and see if that works better.
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G4 ibookboy

Member Since: Jan 30, 2011
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i have g g4 powerbook first generation titanium powerbook that has a 400 mhz processor and 512 ram, it will work on youtube fine if you set it to 240p on youtube. also can try mactubes and set it for quicktime player. my tibook is running os x 10.4.11 as well. just got a g4 ibook 1.2/512 as well that became my laptop and the tibook became my desktop.
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I hate to break it to you, but the 400mhz processor is not going to cut it with streaming video. Netflix, Hulu and almost all YouTube content will be unwatchable. One of the posters said 240p might work, but I actually doubt even that.

Try Apple Trailer Movie Trailers - iTunes and see if the lowest quality video plays back - it might.

Even so, investing in a Gig of RAM will be good if you're happy to just use it as a grab and go workhorse for word processing and maybe some audio, but it's not going to cut it in the world of online video. Even a 1ghz G4 now would struggle with a lot of streaming content.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is stoned to death.
- Joan D. Vinge

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Older Mac's do not like YouTube. My 733mhz G4 w/ 1.5gb ram, it was still, like you, choppy at best, even on 240p.

Even after adding a Radeon 9800 Pro 128mb, it improved slightly, but they just were not watchable.

One thing you can do is use Terminal to disable Dashboard, which can actually help overall system performance.

Use this command line:

defaults write mcx-disabled -boolean YES
followed by:

killall Dock
To re-enable it, simply replace "YES" with "NO" at the end of the first command, and repeat "killall Dock"
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Member Since: Jan 20, 2011
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Mac Specs: Late 2012 Mini - 2.5GHz i5, 16GB RAM, 256GB 840 Pro SSD, 250GB HD

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I agree with everyone else... a 400MHz G4 is simply far too old to do anything anymore. Your best bet is to sell it (Believe it or not, you can still get about $50-75 out of it!) and buy at LEAST a 1.0GHz G4 with at least a gig of RAM if you can afford it. That is about the bottom line when it comes to playing videos on YouTube.

A 1.42GHz eMac can be had dirt cheap on eBay, and can play videos just fine. In fact, I just bought one off eBay for $44.99; all I had to do was install the OS and upgrade the memory from 512 to 2.0GB. I only bought mine because I got absolutely sick of Windows PCs and couldn't take it anymore.

APPLE EMAC DESKTOP COMPUTER 1.42ghz 512mb 80gb sale - eBay (item 300514834118 end time Feb-12-11 07:54:34 PST)

I am currently using a 1.42GHz eMac with 2GB of RAM, and I am able to do everything I need to do, including running iTunes while surfing the web and playing videos, etc. I haven't had so much as a hiccup. I'm running OS X Tiger as well.

Late 2012 Mini - 2.5GHz i5, 16GB RAM, 256GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD, 256GB HD, Yosemite
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