Author Topic: Getting a Powerbook G4, need some advice :)  (Read 309 times)

Offline nemopod

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Getting a Powerbook G4, need some advice :)
« on: June 01, 2017, 07:26:30 AM »
Hi Guys!

First time posting here, I'm sure it won't be my last   ::)  I have been having an itch for old equipment this year. I decided to indulge my inner teenage self and get a Powerbook G4. I purchased this mainly for the nostalgia but I would like it fully functional and running as best as possible. I decided to stick to OS 9 because I haven't played with OS 9 since I was about 11 or 12.

It's a 550mhz model with 128MB or RAM and a 20 gig HD (I hope its not the original but as long as it works I'm OK). It does not come with an Airport Card, but more about that later. The ebay seller said the HD didnt have an OS on it. I'm hoping it just needs a fresh install and that the HD didnt go, also more on that later

I really want this machine so I can just run classic games like Quake 3, Unreal, Oni, Warcraft, Starcraft, ect. I would like the ability to surf the net but its not my main priority with this machine. If I am doing any websurfing it will be abandonware sites and forums like this.

When I purchase the machine I will probably keep it running as is for a little with a fresh install of OS 9.2. But eventually I will want to open this thing up and tinker with it.

1) The RAM upgrades are a given and with them being so cheap it would be silly not to get a full 1GB.

2) The Battery I will want to replace but not sure where to get. The charger I am hoping is in good enough condition but buying a back up wouldn't be a bad idea, also not sure where to get.

3) SSD upgrade? Is it possible? Will OS 9 recognize an SSD? Will it run? I am not a fan of having to hack a system to get it run, especially something as essential as hard drive operations. Are there any other site other than OWC that sell SSD's for powerbooks? If an SSD wont work, where can I get a reliable IDE drive for my Powerbook?

4) Wireless, I know the Airport range on this things sucks, should I still consider it? Are there faster wifi pcmia cards out there that will support OS 9? I really do not want to mess up the asethetic of the laptop with an external card but that first Airport is pretty much obsolete and I wont be able to use it unless I get an airport wireless base for my house, am I correct?   

Thank you big time guys, I should have the machine in by Saturday. So I will give you guys a report on the machine's functionality. Any other advice is greatly appreciated!

Thanks guys!
 ;D ;D ;D

Offline NamelessPFG

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Re: Getting a Powerbook G4, need some advice :)
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2017, 02:04:35 AM »
There may be aftermarket batteries for the old Titanium PowerBook G4s floating around, but if not, you could always have a worn-down one rebuilt with fresh cells so long as the charge circuitry's good.

SSDs present themselves just like a PATA or SATA HDD would, so compatibility in that respect is not an issue. However, OS X lacks native TRIM support, which assists the SSD controller's native garbage collection considerably. You wouldn't be getting the most out of an SSD as a result, and being limited to PATA speeds all but guarantees that.

Even then, the fact that it's a PowerBook means there just isn't any physical space for a typical PATA to SATA converter. You might be able to fit a CompactFlash adapter in there, but then there's the matter of how well CF cards stand up to SSD-like usage. It's probably still worth it just to eliminate the laggy HDD seek times, though.

Wireless-wise, you can forget about anything faster than 802.11b AirPort under OS 9, unless you want to use an Ethernet-to-Wi-Fi bridge of some sort, which is hilariously impractical for a laptop. OS X is a different matter, but constantly rebooting to switch OSes just for the sake of network access is as annoying as it sounds.

Offline nemopod

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Re: Getting a Powerbook G4, need some advice :)
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2017, 02:51:01 PM »
So heres an update on what's happened. I recieved the unit and it was in great condition. I am currently typing on it now. To my suprize the specs on the seller page and the spec of the machine werent the same but in a good way :) its the 667, 1gb of ram (two different ram makers, would it be smart for me to remove one?) and the build to order 48gig hd also a dvd/cdrw combo drive. I have an OS 9 CD somewhere in my office but I couldnt wait till monday, I downloaded what ever iso I could find that had OS 9.2.2, I'm not sure if that was a smart idea or not... but it was one from a 2002 PowerMac G4.

Once I got the machine to boot I started poking around, reformatted the HD and installed the OS. Everything seemed ok. I am running into date and time issues, the charger is also being silly, has to be just right to give constant power. I ordered an aftermarket one to see if that helps, if not im thinking a new battery, and if im still having issues then im guessing i will have to replace the psu inside the machine. Also the Pram has to be replaced im sure.

I ran techtools pro 3 and everything passed except for the date and time errors on certain files as well as something about bit tables? Not sure... Im worried about the HD... its 16 years old... sounds fine operated ok i guess, but should i be immediately concerned?

Now a big one for me is the graphics card drivers, for some reason i feel like the games im loading up should be running better... I could have sworn my ibook dual usb ran games better than this. I may have installed the drivers wrong... but I'm not 100% sure how to remove them and reinstall... or if a should just wipe the thing clean all together. Everything im playing is within the specs.

I could have sworn i remembered a utility that was a suped up ati driver, a 3rd party one... maybe I'm wrong....

Other than that I am really pleased and abosolutelty love my OS 9 experience so far :)

Thanks alot guys for your help.