The Low End Mac Mailbag

Leopard Running on a Dual 533 MHz Power Mac, DVD Player, and Quicksilver Road Apples

Dan Knight - 2007.11.09

Leopard Working on a Dual 533 MHz Power Mac

Dear Dan,

In response to the report of an unsuccessful install of 10.5 Leopard on Larry Martin's G4 I can confirm that I have successfully installed and run Leopard on my dual g4 533 MHz.

I hacked and created a new installation DVD which sets the speed check to 499 MHz - and upgraded over the install of 10.4 Tiger (rather than archive and install or a completely fresh install).

All seems to run well apart from the Apple Pro Speakers, which work but aren't officially recognised by the system (anyone else have this problem?) )- my configuration is as follows:-

  • Dual G4 533 MHz
  • 896 MB RAM
  • Nvidia GeForce 2 MX 32 MB
  • Firmtek Serial-ATA PCI card with 74 GB Raptor and 250 GB Samsung P120 attached
  • Belkin 5 port USB PCI card
  • Buffalo Wireless PCI card shows up as 'AirPort'

Don't know if this makes a difference, but this used to be a single processor G4 but I upgraded with a dual Apple original module off eBay - I assume that the motherboard, etc. wouldn't be different between dual and singles apart from the CPU module.

James Little


Thanks for your report. I received a follow-up email from Larry Martin indicating that he had received his 1.5 GHz CPU upgrade from OWC and now had to upgrade his firmware from 4.1.8 to 4.2.8 - that might have been the reason Leopard failed to boot. Right now he's trying to figure out how to boot into OS 9 so he can update the firmware - he doesn't has an OS 9 installer or have it on the hard drive.


Larry Martin's Dual 533

From Chris Kilner:


Larry is probably doing everything right with his dual 533, but it sounds like he is getting kernel panics - the most likely cause being RAM or an add-on PCI card. It seems like each new version of X has tighter tolerances for RAM.

Chris Kilner


Thanks for your suggestion. I'll forward it to Larry, who is also dealing with old firmware. I suspect that may be at the root of his problems.


Quicksilver Road Apples

From Joseph Burke:

I was just looking through the list of Road Apples (which has grown since the last time I looked at it) and I have a nominee (well, 2, depending on how you look at it), but first I have to take exception to the G4 Cube being on the list.

I thought that the Road Apples were machines that didn't live up to the performance potential of their hardware components. You state mainly aesthetic reasons for putting the Cube on the list. There is not one shred of evidence to show that the performance of the Cube was somehow hindered by it's design. Does the CPU return lower benchmark scores than the same CPU in a Power Mac tower? Is the hard drive access slower? The video? You do not cite a single performance related issue in the entire description of the Cube. Was the Cube a poor value for money? Yes. Did it have issues with the plastics? Yes. Was it inconveniently wired up? Definitely. However, I do not feel these issues qualify the Cube as a Road Apple, as they have no effect on performance. The Cube does everything that a comparably equipped G4 Tower does at the same speed. No Road Apple here.

You have defended the snow iBooks from being included as Road Apples when they have actual issues that cause the machine to stop working, so how can you include the Cube in the list when it has no such reliability issues? You have also stated that the Road Apple list is only meant to include performance compromises and not aesthetic or reliability issues. If this is so then you have to remove the G4 Cube or else expand the qualifications because as things stand, the Cube does not qualify as it has no performance compromising issues.

Now, on to my nominee(s) for Road Apple status. They are both Quicksilver models. More specifically the 733 MHz of 2001 and the 800 MHz of 2002. If the MainStreet PowerBook and Performa 600 can qualify based on their lack of cache memory, then these two Quicksilvers should also qualify for the same reason. The performance difference between the 733 Quicksilver and 733 Digital Audio is large. The 800 MHz QS can't even compare to the 733 DA. Apple took a big step backwards when they introduced these models.


We typify Road Apples as Apple's most compromised hardware designs, whether they perform well or not. True, most of our complaints are about hardware issues that hinder them from reaching their potential, but in the case of the G4 Cube it was design and marketing that made it a Road Apple.

As you admit, it was overpriced. On top of that, it had that really stupid heat sensitive power button on top that could shut down the computer without warning if your finger got too close to it. You didn't even have to touch the button. The Cube had very capable hardware, but it bombed on the market because it was overpriced in comparison to the Power Mac towers.

I'm still unsure what to do with the white iBooks, as the production defect is very real, yet it wasn't an Apple engineering decision to do that. It was accidental, where most Road Apples were deliberately designed with one or more hardware compromises.

I hadn't paid much attention to the differences between the entry-level Quicksilvers and earlier Power Macs, but a little research shows you've got a point. The 733 MHz Digital Audio has a 256 KB internal L2 cache plus a 1 MB L3 backside cache; the 733 MHz Quicksilver has no L3 cache. But we're also comparing a $3,499 top-of-the line model with a $1,699 entry-level model, so you've got to expect some differences. In benchmarking both machines, Bare Feats says, "The new G4/733 without L3 cache was only slightly slower than the 'old' G4/733 with L3 cache." The newer, less costly model was within 4-10% on every benchmark except for iTunes, where the older model was 30% faster. At less than half the price, a less than 10% slower machine is a steal.

The 800 MHz Quicksilver 2002 was essentially the same computer with a faster CPU, and it retailed for $100 less than the 733 MHz Quicksilver had.

In terms of performance, a difference under 10% is virtually imperceptible, although it can easily be benchmarked. It terms of compromise, the lack of a L3 cache didn't amount to much. And in terms of value, these 2001 and 2002 entry-level Power Macs had it all over the Digital Audio models.

Looking at the used market, prices for the 733 MHz Digital Audio range from parity with the Quicksilver model to about 10% more, and since it came with that L3 cache and a SuperDrive (vs. a CD-RW drive in the 733 MHz Quicksilver), it's probably the better choice from a value or performance standpoint.


Leopard DVD Player

From Carson Eggerding:

I have heard so many mixed reviews concerning the dvd player in Leopard. I have read numerous stories stating that it barely runs on G4s over 1 GHz, while in other articles I have seen success stories of it running "flawlessly" on G4s that run at 500 MHz. I was just wondering of you could shed some light on the issue, because right now I am completely lost!

P.S. I live in Grand Rapids too!

Carson Eggerding


Hi, neighbor! I don't have Leopard, so I can only relay what others have told me. I suspect there are two issues here: the graphics card and how big an image is being viewed.


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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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