Are You Planning to Upgrade Your G4 Mac to Leopard?

by Todd Ogasawara

I'm definitely planning to upgrade my MacBook to Leopard when it becomes available. And knowledgeable Mac users tell me that my G4 based Mac mini (1st generation model) and iBook G4 should be able to be upgraded too. The question is: Does it make sense to upgrade a G4 to Leopard? Both G4 boxes are still in frequent use. But, I wonder if it is worth the effort and slightly higher cost (family pack vs. single upgrade). The G4s can't, for example, seem to be able to smoothly display 720p movie trailers in Quicktime. iTunes is fine but with only 512MB RAM (and I don't intend to upgrade RAM on these boxes) Garageband balks on even some of my little experiments brought over from the MacBook.

So, what are you other G4 owners planning to do? Upgrade to Leopard? Or stay with Tiger (or maybe even Panther)?


Michael McGuire
2007-05-02 08:16:29
If you are not going to give your old G4s more memory then I would not recommend it. Just start a trust fund to replace them in 2008. The year I believe will see major upgrades to Apple laptops.

I am running Leopard on a DP 1GHz G4 w/ 1.5GB. According to Xbench the performance is about the same for Leopard as it is for Tiger. I don't think that would be true for your boxes.

Michael, :-)

2007-05-02 08:53:21
A silly question - will the family pack definitely cover both intel and ppc editions? I seem to remember having very different OS install disks for my Mac Mini G4 and MacBook Pro.
If it does then I will most likely upgrade to keep everything the same - if not then I doubt I will upgrade either.

2007-05-02 09:21:06
I just say that I'm keeping around computers with older versions of Mac OS X so I have a broad test base. :)

2007-05-02 09:36:13
Depends if there are any 'must-have' features.
I haven't seen any features in Leopard previews that I can say are "must-have'.
2007-05-02 09:47:57
I think I will get a new Mac when Leopard ships...Leopard running on my G4 1GHz Powerbook - hm I don't know. Sometimes I'd like more speed...I think with Leopard is the right time for more power! :-)
William Hall Dillon
2007-05-02 10:05:52
I'm running the Leopard beta on my Gigabit Ethernet Dual 500 G4 and it runs just as fast as Tiger did. I need more ram (I have 512Mb), that's obvious, but I'm currently happy with it.
2007-05-02 10:39:21
I'm using an old Sawtooth that's been upgraded with dual 1.3Ghz G4s, and Leopard runs fine on it. I do have 1GB of RAM though.
2007-05-02 11:18:06
I have an old dual 450MHz G4 that I am passing along to a family member and I will definitely be adding Leopard. In fact I was quite upset when I heard of the delay because I can't wait for its ability to allow me easy remote control of the computer from 800 miles away :-)


Rob Potts
2007-05-02 11:57:33
I have a house full of G4's that I plan on updating. I'm love to move to a new MacPro desktop but just can't seem to justify it. All my G4's still have plenty of life in them. As long as Apple continues to develop software for PPC and Intel, I have no reason to replace them. My systems include:

2002 QuickSilver 1GHz DP w/1.5GB RAM
2003 - 2004 eMac 1.26GHz w/1GB RAM
2005 Mirrored Door 1.25GHz SP w/1GB RAM
2005 PowerBook 1.67GHz w/1GB RAM

2007-05-02 12:20:26
For the G4 macs I have, Tiger isn't an option.

My TiBook G4 400mhz will be downgraded to Panther. All of the software I use on it (TextMate, Camino, FileMaker) will run fine on Panther and it's better not to take the disk / performance hit of Tiger's indexing system and dashboard. It's not a Quartz Extreme capable machine so even the eye candy will be pretty lame under Leopard. Panther is the best use of this machine's abilities.

On the other hand, my G4 MDD PowerMac and 12"AlBook will be moving up to Leopard. Leopard's performance hits are barely noticable beyond what Tiger demands. I do expect to wait for the first service pack before upgrading though. Objective-C 2.0 is going to require a LOT of teething time under real world conditions, and I don't want it chewing up my data.

2007-05-02 15:55:00
I am planning on upgrading my 800MHz iBook G4, especially if I can get a definitive answer on adding 1 GB of memory. Some say it's possible, Apple says 640MB is the max. Anyone know for sure?

2007-05-02 16:38:08
I wouldn't bother if the G4 machine does not support Core Image.
2007-05-02 18:05:47
Well, I've had my Dual 867mhz - G4 for five years now and it has served me well. Also, I haven't upgraded to Tiger yet. I haven't been able to afford it but I will probably get that or Leopard. Depends if I save up the money for Tiger and Leopard is coming out which is more likely to happen. So, yes I'll be upgrading my G4 to Leopard.
Steve R.
2007-05-02 18:09:04
Doug - look in the aftermarket - you probably can get 1 GB.

Everyone else - if you don't go with the upgrade, I just installed Red Hat Fedora Core 6 on my G3 iBook ('Tangerine Toilet Seat') and it runs quite well. Perfect for fileserver, firewall, or home/business use. I may try Ubuntu, if I can get a PPC install disk. Can't hurt to try it...

If you decide to recycle the G4 machines, though - there is still a great aftermarket for them on eBay.

2007-05-02 22:29:39
I have a 1.5 GHz 12" Powerbook with 1.25 gigs of RAM; Tiger runs just fine on it. I don't plan to upgrade to Leopard as of now unless the "secret features" are compelling or there's some software that I use that requires Leopard. Leopard seems to be a rather incremental upgrade.
Kevin Buterbaugh
2007-05-03 06:15:59
I'm planning on sticking with Tiger for the life of my PowerPC based Macs and (almost) immediately going to Leopard for the Intel based one's. The reason is simple: Tiger was developed on and for PowerPC based Macs and Leopard is being developed on and (primarily) for Intel based Macs.

As an aside, yes, I know Uncle Steve said that every version of MacOS X has been compiled and run on x86 architecture machines - but that doesn't mean it was ever thoroughly tested on those machines.

I personally believe current owners of Intel based Macs will see a lot of the quirky problems they're currently experiencing go away with Leopard. Conversely, I think owners of PowerPC based Macs will start seeing some quirky problems (that Apple sure won't rush to fix) with Leopard.


Glen Hentz
2007-05-03 06:59:08
I just updated my G4 iMac to 10.4.9 and that's where it will stay for the rest of its life. I plan on purchasing a 24" G5 in the next year, so no sense in upgrading my G4. Plus, my MBP will be my Leopard model.
Kevin S.
2007-05-04 00:10:10
Thanks for asking this question. My only computer is a 1GHz iBook G4 and I have been wondering about this myself for some time now.

I am planning to wait and see what other G4 owners who install Leopard have to say about it after maybe the first two updates. If others report no resulting weirdness and only a negligible overall performance hit, and if performance of applications I use heavily, such as Safari and Finder, are actually enhanced, and the software I currently use and enjoy most begins to require Leopard for updates that would enhance my experience, then I may update to Leopard.

I will also be considering the price and performance of refurb Mac minis and iMacs around the time 10.5.1/10.5.2 comes out. Although I'm running 10.4.9 at the moment, my iLife suite is still from 2004. Thus, buying a refurb Mac would not only get me Leopard pre-installed, but also the next version of iLife as well, and for perhaps only a few hundred dollars more than the price of the software alone.

Would I upgrade to Leopard on my iBook G4 (which would become my secondary computer) if I buy a Mac mini or iMac with Leopard preinstalled? No. I don't make enough money to do that.

Todd Ogasawara
2007-05-04 01:40:07
After reading through the comments, I think I may keep my G4 boxes at Tiger. I'll start saving $$$ for either the rumored Apple subnotebook w/flash drive or a Mac mini/iMac after Leopard comes out. Paul's question about whether family packs will upgrade both Power PC and Intel based boxes is also something to consider. I guess we'll find out later this year. I hope Apple doesn't take 5 years to finish Leopard :-)
2007-05-04 11:14:59
re: Paul's comment;

I think what he means is his Mac Mini and Macbook Pro came with branded grey restore discs specifically for those two machines. In general, the OS releases in the past were not hardware specific (except that it has to be an Apple machine and meet the system requirements). I hope they give you the PPC and Intel installs in one box, or maybe as a universal installer. I don't want to purchase two family packs just because I have a powerPC and an intel mac.

2007-05-09 13:24:28
I'll be upgrading to Leopard on my 12" powerbook. I may also be doing a memory upgrade...

This upgrade will largely be for newer versions of the developer tools; I have little other reason to update.

Bill Grau
2007-05-17 12:43:46
I have mac-mini 1.42GHz 512 MB RAM QE no CI
and iBook 1.33GHz 768 MB RAM no QE no CI
They both run Tiger quite well...
I am planning to upgrade a partition on mac-mini to Leopard,
and the iBook fully to Leo.
The reason I am doing this is that Leo will introduce the new technology Software Core Image. This will allow me to watch videos on them using Video controls such as Brightness which I cannot do with Tiger as I do not have Core Image (ATI Radeon 9200 does not support it)...
2007-06-12 08:58:18
"I am planning on upgrading my 800MHz iBook G4, especially if I can get a definitive answer on adding 1 GB of memory. Some say it's possible, Apple says 640MB is the max. Anyone know for sure?"

I'm running a 12" 800MHz iBook G4; it runs just fine for me with a 1GB module.

2007-06-13 21:04:15
Doug- I was trying to find out the same for myself regarding the 1GB upgrade. Have you tried this yet? What were the results?
Herb Alexander
2007-06-15 14:06:14
I looked at Leopard which is written for Intel based Macs. I don't think I'll buy either 10.5 or an Intel based Macintosh. It's too much cash and I don't see any benefit. I am running Tiger, 10.4.9. on a dual processor MDD G4. I also have a PC which is useful for some things I can't do on the Mac and quite fast.

John Figueroa
2007-07-11 06:20:01
My question is whether or not my laptop which is a 400 MHz PowerPC G4 with 1 GB of SDRAM will meet the requirements for the upgrade. I currently have Tiger installed but this is an old laptop. Anyone have any ideas??
Gareth Cunliffe
2007-07-24 03:30:38
I'm hoepfuly going to upgrade to Leopard on my iBook G4 1.04Ghz, max ram. It's most def going on my iMac Core2, but one problem with my iBook is that is doesn't even support coreimage because of its now measly 32mb of graphics memory. I want to..but like yourself, I'm asking myself, is it worth it?!
Mark Stephens
2007-09-10 12:56:45
I just upgraded my Mini Mac G4, 1.42Ghz, 80GB from 256mb of RAM to 1GB. I think I am going to wait and see how the new Leopard system is received before dishing out the cash.

However, I am going to be tempted to keep up to date.

2007-09-16 06:14:14
iBook not support Core Image rite? How about Core Animation in Leopard?
2007-09-25 17:29:48
will it work well on my powerbook 1gh with 2 gig ram?
2007-10-10 12:36:42
I have a G4 iBook with 768 MB of RAM that would be a candidate for a Leopard upgrade. I've got my sight on an Intel based iMac which if I buy it after Leopard ships, would ship with Leopard. On the other hand I can upgrade the iBook memory to 1.2 GB and buy the Leopard upgrade for an amount that seems reasonable to extend the life of the G4 iBook. Even in light of the newer Intel machines, the G4 remains a decent and useful performer. I'm at least glad that Apple is still supporting the G4 with the next OS. My initial thought right now is that I will upgrade the G4 iBook to Leopard.

2007-10-28 16:41:15
umm i just upgraded my ibook g4 with leopard and it CRASHED hardcore. Has never had a single hickup since the day I bought it. i'm livid.
2007-10-29 21:14:29
I have a ?
When tiger came out my bonehead friend gave me tiger buy forgot to mention that it wasn't a licensed copy. Thus I have been unable to install new software for like two years. Will I be able to install Leopard and have it run alright. I've got a 12" pb with 1.33ghz 768mb etc.
2007-11-01 17:52:44
Kat, did you get that issue resolved? I have a 1.33 GHz Mini (upgraded to 1MB RAM) that I'm considering upgrading from Tiger to Leopard. I'm hesitating because I fear a performance hit.
2007-11-07 09:39:02
I have a mirrored door dual processor 1ghz G4, with 1.5 GB RAM
and I installed leopard. I dont like the way it runs. You can tell the difference between tiger and leopard. Too sluggish for my taste. I'll stick with Tiger.
On my MacBook Pro runs great though, I'll leave leopard on that one.
John French
2007-11-11 19:25:25
Basically, yes, it will run on both old macs (i'm writing in leopard on an iBook G4 right now), but some things like cover flow will be a bit slow- I'm also feeling the effects of only 512MB ram, running more than 3 or 4 apps is painful- but for the most part it runs fine. The family pack is more expensive, yes, but actually the only difference is the license- I was going to get it but the apple store employee told me to just get the single user pack. There's no copy protection like on windows, so you can install it on multiple macs, it's just questionably legal. Also, there is only one disc for intel and powerpc macs, I used the same one for my MBP and my iBook.
2007-11-26 21:02:41
I just upgraded my office Intel based mini and my aluminum powerbook with 512 MB RAM (one of the last ones made) to Leopard. In the office everything runs much as it did before. The powerbook was maddeningly slow opening Mail, Safari and Word the first time I tried, and I was regretting putting on Leopard, but subsequent times it worked fine. I assume it took awhile to switch whatever had to be switched for the applications to work in the new operating system, and once that had been achieved (which took longer than on the Intel Mac - it took longer to install Leopard as well) performance was faster. On the whole I'm glad I have Leopard, mainly because of the stacks feature - I like to look at my wallpaper, for which I use photos of things that are important to me, without all those file icons getting in the way. Stacks was why I got Leopard, and it's worth it to me even if I don't use the other features.
2007-11-28 20:40:00
I am going to upgrade my G4 and Max out the RAM put a new Graphics AGP Card in it so I think it will run ok maybe even fine not sure yet. what the results may be.
2007-12-15 15:40:33
My ibook G4 133 GHz / 512 MB is sluggish since upgrading to Leopard; intend to downgrade back to Tiger.