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Powerbook G4 Lower Memory Problem

edited January 2013 in PowerBook
Hello, my name is eddie and I just got a Powerbook G4 1.5 ghz 15" which had a few problems. First, I had to replace the hard drive which only took about a 1/2 hour. Then I wanted to update the memory to it's max, which is 2gb! When I installed the memory and started the machine, it only shows 1gb although both stick are in. When I looked into it I have a problem with the lower memory slot, which seems to be common for this model! I tried to reset the pram using the key strokes, but nothing happen? So I don't know what else to do?? Can you give me some suggestions on how I can fix this issue... Thanks....

Answers

  • Hi! Thanks for the post!

    Unfortunately the RAM slot issue is a hardware problem which has to do with these older PowerBooks slowly developing defects over time, and there's no fix. Be happy that both slots are non-functional, because that happens too! :-) Just to verify this is the issue, I would try the memory that you have gotten working in the bad slot, in case the module you previously put in the slot was bad, or the wrong type. Make sure the RAM is correct for the machine -- a 1.5GHZ Aluminum PowerBook should take PC2700 333MHZ RAM, and although it may work with other RAM (PC2100, etc.) the machine will not perform optimally. Also, make sure the modules are of the same specs, because often the machine will reject one module if the two are different.

    I would try resetting the PMU before doing a PRAM reset. You can do this by shutting off the machine, and then holding in the power button for 5-10 seconds, until you hear a loud tone. I would then try to reset the PRAM. When you do the PRAM reset, make sure you hold down all four keys (option, command/Apple, P, R) immediately after hitting the power button. If the screen turns white, you are too late, or for whatever reason it's not working.

    If none of that works, I'd power on holding down the option key. This should display the option menu, but if your machine happens to have a PRAM/open firmware password in place, you will see a picture of a padlock. And if that's your situation, it would actually make sense, since an open firmware password will generally prevent a single PRAM reset. If this is what's going on, watch my video to correct the problem:



    Thanks, and let me know how it goes!

    John
  • John, thanks very much for you time & comments. I found everything very helpful and informative! This is my first Mac computer so I'm taking everything very slow, trying to understand and learn a new operating system!
    I reset both the PMU and PRAM and neighter fixed the problem. Should I think about replacing the board or save that money toward another Mac??

    Thanks for everything....

    Eddie
  • Thanks, I appreciate it!

    PowerBook G4s aren't worth a lot these days, so paying even $80 to find a replacement board and then putting the time in to do the swap is hard to justify. I'd vote for saving your money and buying a MacBook at some point. However, a PowerBook with Leopard and 1GB is perfectly usable for most functions. Leopard will actually run fairly well with as little as 512MB. So unless you feel like you're aren't able to do what you want with this computer, it may be an adequate machine to get you by until a MacBook is feasible.

    Good luck!

    John
  • Hey John,

    The last time we spoke (text), you gave me some great info!! Now I need a bit more help! As discussed before, I have an older G4 with 2gb of memory although 1gb is not being recognized. Here are the specs on my machine:

    Model Name: PowerBook G4 15"
    Model Identifier: PowerBook5,4
    Processor Name: PowerPC G4 (1.1)
    Processor Speed: 1.5 GHz
    Number Of CPUs: 1
    L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
    Memory: 1 GB
    Bus Speed: 167 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: 4.8.4f1
    System Version: Mac OS X 10.5.8 (9L31
    Kernel Version: Darwin 9.8.0
    Boot Volume: Horvath HD
    Boot Mode: Normal

    I can't seem to install Firefox or Tuneupmymac because of the architecture! Is there anyway I can update the OS to something more current given my old architecture!

  • Hi Eddie! A G4 can only use up to Leopard, so as far as that goes you're stuck unfortunately.

    As for the RAM, try swapping the modules in the slots. If it recognizes the other module in the good slot, then you know both modules are good. This is important because in addition to slots going bad, these PowerBooks are touchy in terms of RAM, so certain modules won't be recognized even though they have the right specs. But if both are recognized in the good slot, you know it's a slot issue and not a bad RAM issue, in which case there's not really anything you can do, unfortunately. G4s are definitely starting to show their age.

    Thanks, and good luck!

    John
  • Hello again John,

    I need a little help again because it's time to replace my PowerBook G4. Here are the specs on my machine:

    Model Name: PowerBook G4 15"
    Model Identifier: PowerBook5,4
    Processor Name: PowerPC G4 (1.1)
    Processor Speed: 1.5 GHz
    Number Of CPUs: 1
    L2 Cache (per CPU): 512 KB
    Memory: 1 GB
    Bus Speed: 167 MHz
    Boot ROM Version: 4.8.4f1
    System Version: Mac OS X 10.5.8 (9L31
    Kernel Version: Darwin 9.8.0

    At this point the architecture is so old, most apps don't wanta load or run correctly! So I like to replace this machine with a Macbook Pro, but I don't know which one to purchase? I'd like one with i7, but my budget may not allow it! So please give me a few suggestion on a good/fast/reliable model to purchase for around $700! If you know of a good website(s) that sells quality refurbs please forward it as well!

    Thanks in advance.... EJSDAD
  • Hi Again!

    If you're willing to spend as much as $700, I'd really recommend spending a hundreds or two more and buying a refurbished laptop from Apple. The reason is that they are in 99.99% new condition, and they come with a full one year Apple warranty, just like a new machine. It's totally worth it. Here's the link:

    http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/mac

    As far as which one to buy, pretty much any of them will leave your PowerBook lightyears behind. You'll want a non-retina machine in order to keep the price low, and probably also a 13", unless you're willing to spend a couple hundred more for 15"...the main difference in the 15" besides screen size is that they have a second graphics chip which can more easily drive an external display than a 13".

    Thanks,

    John
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