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Laptopless

Just a quick update to say that work on both S5 and Gatekeeper has come to a screeching, if temporary, halt.  On the last night of SXSW, my PowerBook started suffering frequent kernel panics with no apparent source—they happened after an hour of trouble-free operation, thirty seconds after logging in, ten seconds into the reboot process, etc., etc.  Occasionally, they’d happen in such a way that the computer could neither be shut down nor booted up with the power key.  I had to pop out the battery and start again.

And why didn’t I boot off the OS X install DVD that came with it in an attempt to fix the problem?  Because the DVD drive stopped working a few weeks ago.  For all I know, some short in its circuitry got bad enough to start panicking the kernel.  I hadn’t gotten it fixed because with all of the conferences and other work, I couldn’t afford to be without the machine for two days, let alone a week.  I’m just thankful that the system held out until after SXSW, when I have some time to spare.

So for the next several days, I’ll be working off of my trusty old G4/500, running OS 9.1.  Since it doesn’t have a local copy of Apache running (it being Classic OS and all), I can’t do live testing of Gatekeeper, so it’s on pause.  The laptop is also where I have Virtual PC running, so any further coding work on S5 will have to wait.

All this has me wondering, though—is it reasonable to run OS X on a G4/500 with 384MB of RAM and an ATI 8MB VRAM card?  I don’t have the hard drive space to do so right now, although I’m about to fix that.  I’m just wondering if it would be worth it to try to run OS X on this guy.  Anyone have any experiences along those lines?

29 Responses»

    • #1
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1104
    Basil Crow wrote in to say...

    I’ve run Panther reliably and decently on a G3 600 iBook with 640MB RAM. I’m sure a G4 500 would be almost the same thing. It was fast enough for me to reasonably browse in Firefox, code in BBEdit, run Apache/PHP/MySQL, and IM in Adium. I was truly impressed with Apple at that moment. An equivalent PC of that speed and memory would have chocked on even Windows 2000. As it was, I was able to work quite reasonably.

    • #2
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1118
    Pierre-Leo Bourbonnais wrote in to say...

    I run Panther on a G4 533 with 640 RAM too and it works well. You can use Apache as well, it should not slow down the machine too much. Good luck!

    • #3
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1125
    Sandy Smith wrote in to say...

    I run Panther on my G3 400 Lombard PowerBook. It’s not sprightly, but it’s usable in a pinch, and recently survived a trip to Qatar where I used it to connect to servers back in the US and do text editing and browser testing.

    You will, I suspect, find it fairly slow compared to your laptop.

    • #4
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1129
    Marc Pacheco wrote in to say...

    I run panther on a g4 400, for quite a while with the stock ati graphics card but with a chunk more ram and it worked fine. I’ve since upgraded the graphics card and that improved exposé and scrolling speed. That said if you bump up the ram a bit the system should be very usable. Apache runs just fine along with mysql and such, cpu usage hovers around 10% when I’m not doing anything.

    • #5
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1219
    Luca wrote in to say...

    I’m running Panther (10.3.8) on a TiBook 400 (with a 10Gb Hard Drive!), I usually have open iTunes, Firefox, Omniweb, SubEthaEdit, NetNewsWire Lite and Graphic Converter, it is nor lighting fast but still fast enough.

    • #6
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1256
    Geoffrey Sneddon wrote in to say...

    I used to use Panther on a TiBook 550MHz/512MB RAM, ran fast enough for me, my dad used to run it on a iMac 333MHz/1GB RAM, although it was rather slow.

    • #7
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1257
    Geoffrey Sneddon wrote in to say...

    Also, you can use the Firewire target disk mode to put the OS X CD/DVD in your G4/500, and start up from that… I think…

    • #8
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1300
    Manolo Bendala wrote in to say...

    Ha, ha! I run 10.2 (I haven´t had the time to install Panther) on a second-generation iMac (G3/266, 128Mb, 8Gb HD) at my office as a second computer. It works. Well, it sweats a bit with heavily Flash-oriented Web pages…

    • #9
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1306
    Tom Poston wrote in to say...

    Both my dad (2001 500mHz G3 iBook) and ex-girlfriend (2000 Pismo 400mHz G3 PowerBook) run 10.3 on their machines without trouble. Until a month ago I was running 10.3 fine on my old 667mHz TiBook.

    While these aren’t exact analogies, I think they show that you probably should be fine with the setup you have taking it to OS X.

    • #10
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1550
    Adam Rice wrote in to say...

    I have a G4/400. It might want more than 384 MB of RAM (I’ve got 768 MB), but it’ll run fine.

    • #11
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1638
    Greg Marine wrote in to say...

    I apologize as this is a little off topic. However, I am interested in the current state of S5. I have started using it for presentations but noticed one of your recent presentations has new enhancements over the version of S5 I got from this website. I appreciate this presentation format and appreciate your hard work on it. I came to know of it from spreadfirefox.com when they were asking for ideas for a Firefox presentation.

    Thank you and God Bless!
    Greg

    • #12
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1657
    David Smith wrote in to say...

    My PowerBook started KPing a while back, and it turned out the AirPort card had become unseated. Worth checking into.

    • #13
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1708
    Erik V. wrote in to say...

    I’m successfully running 10.3.7 on an original-release iMac w/ 256Mb. A bit sluggish in Photoshop, but it’s manageable.

    • #14
    • Comment
    • Sat 19 Mar 2005
    • 1800
    Steve wrote in to say...

    I’ve run 10.2 on a 400MHz Sawtooth G4 with 128M RAM. Performance was adequate if not exactly stellar. The fact that it’s a G4 helps a lot, since the GUI makes heavy use of AltiVec. 10.3 tends to do better than 10.2 on slower machines, so you should be fine.

    • #15
    • Comment
    • Sun 20 Mar 2005
    • 0459
    Chris Neale wrote in to say...

    Running Jaguar [10.2.something] on Mac Cube – can be slow, especially compiling Mozilla browsers – does work!

    • #16
    • Comment
    • Sun 20 Mar 2005
    • 0634
    The_Decryptor wrote in to say...

    I installed 10.3.3 on that exact same model i think.

    Apart from not having Quartz Extreme, it’s fine, there are some slowdowns when your opening apps, but nothing major.

    • #17
    • Comment
    • Sun 20 Mar 2005
    • 1604
    Kenny F wrote in to say...

    It’s totally do-able. I have Panther 10.3.8 running on a 1998 Beige G3 Desktop 233mhz/576ram/6meg vram. While the screen draw time is slightly sluggish, the OS works just fine! Photoshop, BBedit, Apache server, Itunes, etc… (I used XPostFacto to facilitae the OSX install.)

    But I don’t have Virtual PC (6) on the machine so I don’t know about that on such a slow G3 processor.

    Generally quite satisfied with the above set-up as a home-based OSX system to compliment my 15″ Titanium Powerbook (867mhz) which is my main developement machine. (Thanks to Virtual PC with IE5.0, 5.5, 6.0 FF1.0.1, Opera 7 for PC browser compliance!)

    Sorry to hear about your malfunctions.

    • #18
    • Comment
    • Sun 20 Mar 2005
    • 1607
    Rob Mientjes wrote in to say...

    All I know for sure is that you need more RAM to run it properly, and maybe the video card isn’t too spiffy… However, I was also quite surprised to see 10.3 run on a 400Mhz TiPB with 512 MBRAM. If it’s just temporarily, you’d do fine to use OS X, I think.

    • #19
    • Comment
    • Sun 20 Mar 2005
    • 2140
    Nick Cowie wrote in to say...

    A blue and white G3/300 with 192Mb and 10.2.8 handles the load as a development server and mac testbed in the office. No speed demon but reliable.

    My battered g4/550 powerbook with 512Mb and 10.3.7 is used for everything from photoshop to running Apache/PHP/MySQL.

    • #20
    • Comment
    • Sun 20 Mar 2005
    • 2210
    Philippe wrote in to say...

    Dual G4, 450Mhz, 640 Mb Ram is pretty good, including Classic.
    First generation Ti book, 400Mhz, 384Mb Ram, 10Gb HD is a bit sluggish in Classic, but text editors, Apache, MySql do run fine. Not a speed demon anymore, mind you.

    • #21
    • Comment
    • Mon 21 Mar 2005
    • 0235
    hi wrote in to say...

    :D

    • #22
    • Comment
    • Mon 21 Mar 2005
    • 0805
    Meitar wrote in to say...

    I’m going to have to agree with my fellow commenters above. I actually run Panther (10.3.8) on an ancient iMac SE:DV. (That’s a 400 MHz G3, though I’ve upped the RAM to 384 MB a few years ago.)

    No, it’s not really that fast, so I don’t like to load it up too bad. But I’ve been using it steadily ever since Tiger was first released and, well, it’s just great.

    Apple rules.

    • #23
    • Comment
    • Mon 21 Mar 2005
    • 1111
    Dave J. Lowe wrote in to say...

    Just to add to the dogpile… I’ve been running Panther on my blue and white tower (450 MHz G3) since it came out and every prior OS X version before that. Every update seems to make it faster, though I wish I had more RAM – 384 is the bare minimum I’d advise. Still, I don’t remember the last time it crashed…

    • #24
    • Comment
    • Mon 21 Mar 2005
    • 1258
    Eric Gruber wrote in to say...

    Hey Eric,

    I sold my iBook and had to use a Blue and White G3 to tides me over until my PowerBook arrived. Anyways, this thing had 450Mhz and some 4XX (I can’t remember) MB of RAM in it. It ran like a champ. I’ve even seen OS X.3 run on a Wall Street PB with little lag.

    However, if you start up Virtual PC … well, that’s another story …

    • #25
    • Comment
    • Mon 21 Mar 2005
    • 1501
    Shane Shepherd wrote in to say...

    I’m currently running OS 10.3.8 on a 400mhz G3 iMac and 384M RAM, an 800mhz G3 iBook w/ 764M RAM, (and a G5 iMac too!). I’ve had no problems with any of these configurations!

    • #26
    • Comment
    • Fri 25 Mar 2005
    • 0530
    Romain Lafourcade wrote in to say...

    I’ve added a brand new 100+ Gb hard drive and a Radeon 9200 graphic card to my G4/400 PCI with 1 Gb of RAM. Now it’s up to the task with Panther + Apache and PHP. Photoshop is really sluggish though.

    If your graphic card doesn’t support Quartz Extreme, I suggest you install PCI Extreme.

    • #27
    • Comment
    • Tue 29 Mar 2005
    • 1859
    Serge Melis wrote in to say...

    Running 10.3 on a G3/500/512 iMac, a bit sluggish due to the slower hdm but happily running…

    • #28
    • Comment
    • Tue 28 Jun 2005
    • 1512
    claus dettelbacher wrote in to say...

    Does anybody know, how I can motivate my 10.3-CD’s to install it on a 266 Powerbook with 512Ram and 40 GB HD??

    10.2.8 is running well – and now I need skype, which seems to be available only for 10.3.

    There is a Software called Sonnet PCI X Installer. Is this useful? When I insert the CD1 and click on install 10.3, it says, that the installation is not possible on this computer…

    • #29
    • Comment
    • Sun 5 Nov 2006
    • 0139
    Mike wrote in to say...

    I have OSX.3.9 running on an iMac 233MHz with 160 MB of RAM. It takes about 2 minutes to boot, but I only use it for web serving on occasion. In fact, I’m using it now!

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