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Tweaking 10.4 for a mid-range G3: how to kill the eye-candy?

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Having just come into possession of a PowerBook G3 Pismo (500MHz,) I've been getting things all up and running and tweaked to my preferences as much as is possible. But while OS9 flies, OSX (10.4.11) is still a bit sluggish. Part of that, I know, is the RAM (512MB being kind of the practical minimum,) but as the machine is equipped with only a whopping 8MB Rage Mobility 128, I have a feeling part of the problem is the eye-candy. I don't, for example, need menu transparency, or drop shadows, etc. But, this being Apple, there isn't a way to turn it off that's easily accessible to the user. Even the tweak tools I've tried (TinkerTool and Onyx) don't allow much more than the disabling of some animations. I'm just wondering, is there a way to turn this stuff off? It might not be the key factor in performance improvement, but I'm willing to bet it's a factor.

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TinkerTool is the only utility that I've found that lets you disable some animations/shadows (which look terrible when turned off), but there isn't much else that you disable, or would be able to turn off.


The best performance tweaks for a lowly G3 is to disable Dashboard and Spotlight, and of course upgrade to a faster HD, max RAM, etc. Tiger on my Pismo runs quite acceptably for general web browsing etc, it's no slower than 10.2/10.3.



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Tiger Cache cleaner, Leopard Cache cleaner or whatever is what i use. You can find it on the web and use the demo


you will need to find the archived software


EDIT: Linky


Get TCC and run the demo. If you contact them you may be able to get a key. I have owned TCC, LCC, SLCC and Lion Cache cleaner. Indespensible tool for fixing a lot of things.

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When you say "stock", do you mean 1GB on a 400 Mhz or 500 Mhz? Mine is a 500 Mhz w/ 1GB and 10.4.11. It runs pretty quick. What I've found is that you do want to quit or disable loading anything extra in the background, such as, any 3rd party processes not used or installed by OS X. Also, and others will need to confirm this, but I've notice quite a performance boost when you have more than 10-20 GB of hard drive space left; maybe this correlates with the virtual memory swap file, as it changes size while operating.


My Pismo:


G3 PPC 500 Mhz (stock)

1GB SDRAM (maxed out)

1 x 60 GB PATA HDD (1 x 12 GB partition for OS 9.2.2, the rest for Tiger 10.4.11)

1 x 12 GB PATA HDD (right expansion bay; OS 9.2.2)

Airport card

2 x Li-Ion batteries

Tiger 10.4.11, OS 9.2.2, iTunes 9.1.1, Firefox 3.6.2x (ugh!), EyeTV, MS Office 2004, etc.


73s de Phreakout. :rambo:

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One of the problems when judging the "performance" of a machine is just how subjective it is. Is the problem that the GUI 'feels sluggish', or that the machine actually requires a lot of "wall-clock time" to do certain tasks, like opening large files or rendering a webpage? There are limits to how much magic you can expect from a RAM upgrade.


My benchmark for 10.4's performance on a slow machine is my old B&W with 576MB of RAM. Honestly, for the sort of tasks that machine is reasonably capable of performing that amount of RAM seems to be adequate. I did have it bumped to 1GB briefly (I removed it when I determined that the new RAM wasn't entirely stable), but I don't think it performed any better from a subjective standpoint. (Maybe if I'd had a lot of things running at once? But on such a slow machine I wasn't likely to be tempted to do that...) Swapping the G3 ZIF for a G4 ZIF (at the same speed, 400mhz) actually *did* result in a genuinely noticeable improvement in subjective speed, however. OS X's eye candy *really likes* AltiVec. Wall-clock time for long-running tasks didn't change much (and the machine benchmarks essentially the same as before when running non-AltiVec-aware code), but the GUI speed did pick up quite a lot. iTunes visualizations, the photo-scaling screensaver, dock minimization/restore animations, all went from "obviously slow and hitchy" to "Smooth". Maybe a little leisurely, but smooth.


Note by saying this I'm not recommending you spend the money for a G4 upgrade on a Pismo. For a machine that old it's good money after bad, and you could probably find a working PowerBook G4 for less than what the card costs that would run rings around it. And any G4 Powerbook will, with the possible exception of the very first 400/500mhz models that share the same non-Quartz Extreme-capable video chip. (Of course, those things were so fragile you probably won't have to worry about being tempted by one.)

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That's helpful. Thanks.


I had wondered about the question recently, as I have a spare Pismo 400 here that I thought I might have lightly tarted up and donated to a relative with an installation of X.4, but I think I'll think again. Currently it has Linux (MintPPC) on it, with 512MB RAM and a 30MB drive, but Linux is a bit unfamiliar to me, never mind the relative. The need for both RAM and processor together, however, would make upgrading the thing to be a viable Tiger machine an expensive proposition. Methinks not. I'll probably keep it, and keep Linux on it, as Mint is fast enough on it, and it's not a bad machine to tinker with as such.


My other Pismo (500) has a mere 256MB RAM in it, but it runs Mac OS 9.2 and a range of classic applications, so that 256 MB is plenty. It has gotten regular, intensive use for the past two or three years at the office, where niche applications and hardware are still put to good use.

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My iMac G3 has similar specs, and I've found that the best thing you can do is get a new hard drive, max out the RAM, kill Spotlight and Dashboard, and hope for the best.

My iMac Specs:

500MHz G3 Processor

512MB of RAM

120GB Seagate or Western Digital Hard Drive (MUCH faster than the original 20GB)

32MB Built-in Graphics

OS X 10.4.11 "Tiger"

OS 9.2.2

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Well, one of the 512MB sticks I bought is defective, so I'll have to exchange it :/ But even 768MB of RAM makes a noticeable difference in OSX (and of course in OS9 it's pure gravy...who'da thunk that memory usage could go up 10x in just a few short years...) The visual effects are still major overkill for an 8MB Rage Mobility (the shadows don't seem to be a problem, but the scaling effects choke noticeably; I think Onyx can disable 'em, but I'd really rather just have animated window outlines as in OS9 :() but at least everything else is running better...

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