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How can I speed up my PowerMac G5? Answered

I've got a 2003 (gosh, is it that old?) PowerMac G5 that is really starting to show its age.  Heck, my iPod and iPad play videos more smoothly than it can!  Everything from importing photos to movies to photoshop is slow.  And forget about games!  Unfortunately I'm not in a financial position at the moment to buy a new Mac (and forget about suggesting a PC, because I will refuse!), so the only thing I can do is try to squeeze a bit more speed out of the computer I have.  Got any ideas?  Here are the current specs:

Dual 1.8GHz PowerPC G5 processors
RAM maxed out at 4GB
1 TB and 500 GB hard drives installed
DVD burner
Mac OS X 10.5.8 (the last version that will run on PPC)


The computer you have shouldn't be THAT slow, not much slower than today's low-end computers. 4 gb RAM is pretty decent and should be enough even nowadays. Main problem is most programs are not updated anymore for the ppc platform and the last compatible versions are aging, especially those from Apple itself. One useful exception is tenfourfox which even comes in a g5 optimized version. VLC is still pretty up to date, too.

A new SSD will make your computer boot faster and open programs quicker, otherwise it won't make much difference. I agree that a clean install would probably be most useful (and without spending more ;-) )

Here is a bunch things you can try

1. Reinstall OS X
2. Upgrade the Ram or get an SSD
3. Buy Clean My Mac (http://www.macupdate.com/app/mac/30017/cleanmymac)
4. Repair Desk Permissions (That's in Disk Utility)

I think the max memory for your machine is 8gb not 4

Another option is to add an SSD hdd... preferably from OWC
The cost is not as high as they used to be and if you are planning to upgrade to a newer machine in future, then you can re use the SSD... that way it won't be an over capitalization!
A 40GB Pro or 50GB Pro RE OWC ssd hard drives are $90-150 and the performance increase would be tremendous.

Naturally, you'll have to use the ssd hdd as the boot drive and a second drive to store data/apps etc...

I was thinking of that... but would it really make that much of a difference if i've only got an SATA bus?

Well, my OWC ssd just arrived today and I installed it only about an hour ago.
If you like, I'll send you a feed back on the general results, once I use it a bit longer.
So far, boot up is crazy fast.. :-)

Sure, that would be great!

Deactivate any software, keep track of product keys and installed software, and ***reinstall OSx***

If you haven't done so since 2003, (I do so about every two years for all the house's computers,) you will be *very* surprised at the speed increase.

It was faster when you first got it, right? So why not put it to that same state?

Get a PC... I'm not being sarcastic... Macs do appear to be faster at first, however I am involved in video production, and have used both macs and PCs. My home PC has 2 processors, and a good amount of ram. A friend of mine has 16 processors and a adequate amount of ram. My PC can produce a HD video in 24 hrs. To produce a similar video on my friends Mac would take about 48 hrs.

Bottom line: GET A PC! (Windows 7 is pretty decent)


7 years ago

Maxing out the RAM as you already have is probably the only worthwhile hardware upgrade. I would start by trying to clean all the applications that run in the background. Check the activity monitor and close any that you don't need running. It may help to delete any programs or files that you no longer use or need, defragging can be helpful sometimes too.
If you have external storage, if all else fails or is of little help, save the things you want to keep and do a clean install of the OS.

I definitely need to see what's running in the background. Maybe I can kill some processes hogging resources. A clean install may help, too. Not sure if I have enough external storage to do that, though.

For a first run, I'd suggest trying CCleaner. It's fast and free and it quickly removes all unwanted clutter that is hogging your pc's speed :) I routinly do it on my pc and my pc runs a lot smoother since. Don't expect your computer to be superfast after one useage but it definitly will help :)