New Speed for an Old Mac

Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics)My girlfriend’s Power Macintosh G4, formerly an ailing relic of the Mac OS 9.x era, is now a spiffy new Jaguar machine. A few days ago, I rolled up my sleeves, popped the tower’s side door open and installed the upgrades I bought at Macworld Expo: First, an additional 512MB RAM chip, which brings her grand total to 640MB. (To think, I once bought a pair of 16MB RAM modules for something around US$900!)

Second, I added a new IBM-Hitachi Deskstar 120GB internal hard drive. This saved me the hassle of having to pull off all the old data from the incumbent 20GB disk, and it gives her the added bonus of having two bootable internal drives. The Deskstar spins at 7200 rpm, which makes a much bigger difference than I had anticipated; the machine now seems to run much faster than its pokey old 450 MHz processor formerly allowed.

In fact, I had originally been skeptical about whether this Power Mac, which is already almost four years old, would perform acceptably under Mac OS X. Happily, I can report that with these additions its performance can be characterized as very responsive, and certainly more than sufficient for her not-unusual computing demands: email, Web browsing, MP3 playback, CD burning, instant messaging etc. Best of all, these upgrades cost a remarkably reasonable total of about US$210.