Need Leopard advice


I am using a combination of an Imac which is about 8 months old and a used 12" G4 PowerBook running Tiger 10.4.11 that I bought on Ebay. The PowerBook has a 1 ghz processor and 1.25 gb ram and a 40 gb hard drive with about 17 gb free. It’s in excellent condition and everything on it works.

I use the PowerBook for Scrivener, and as a digital briefcase for correspondence, papers I need to read, etc, for my job. It works very well for both these things.

Now, my question: Should I upgrade the PowerBook to Leopard?

It already is a little ponderous compared to the Imac (which is to be expected, considering their age difference.) I have a large Scrivener file on it with all the research for my book. I moved ALL the research into Scrivener to simplify syncing back and forth between the two computers. It works very well. The PowerBook doesn’t slow down at all once I’m in a document. It types, highlights, etc, just as well as the Imac. But it takes a few seconds to open big software like Word, and it always pauses between opening documents in Scrivener, and sometimes puts up the beachball for a second or two. It has never crashed or even offered to crash with any software, including Scrivener.

I don’t want to upgrade if Leopard will slow it down further. It’s fine as it is, but I don’t want to go slower. Also, I’ve read on these forums about Leopard slowing Scrivener on older computers. I read all the posts, but I’m not entirely clear in my mind as to whether this has been resolved or not.

I apologize for the long post. I want to give you all the information you might need to help me figure this out. I have gotten wonderful advice from the people on this forum. I bought the G4 PowerBook instead of a G3 IBook because of advice I got here, and I’m glad I did.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.


So Wock will shoot me, but my general philosophy is “don’t break it if it works”. I have that philosophy because I work on large enterprise systems for a living and I don’t like getting woken up at 3AM because someone didn’t test an OS on my hardware all that well.

Wock provided me a long list of “great things in leopard” but my position is kind of like yours. I am happy with what I have right now (until KB puts out an update with a checkbox :wink: and don’t think it is worth the potential risk of some things not working the way I want them too.

So if you are happy with what you have and you have concerns about an upgrade, then I wouldn’t do it.

Leopard is a great OS, but Jaysen is right, if it’s working for you and you don’t feel any lack when working on the PowerBook, just leave it be.

There’s also a specific reason that it might not be a good idea to upgrade, actually, and that’s to do with the way the built-in Apple text system (which Scriv uses) is handled in Leopard. Another Scriv user on the forums (Alexandra, I think?) encountered this while also using a G4 - in Leopard, the onscreen text is redrawn every single time you type a character. On more modern systems this isn’t a problem, but on the G4 under Leopard it made Scriv almost unusable for her. So that’s another reason to stick with Tiger, I’d say.


Dissenting view. Thinking Leopard had a lot more to offer than Tiger, I upgraded my 1.2ghz, 1.25RAM, 80GB iBook and have had no problems at all. Glad I did it – in fact, the iBook feels a little speedier, and I like being up to date (software-wise). And I was right, Leopard rules. Loving Spaces, loving Time Machine, etc.

From what I’ve read, specs like ours are not a deal breaker – but available hard drive space is. Your 17 GB should be enough, although the more you’re able to free, the better.

Caveats: I am, to paraphrase the guy on Star Trek, a writer, not a Mac genius. And my iBook and I are locked in an apparent suicide struggle – which is to say, I keep pushing her to die so I can get a new computer, and she keeps working better than I hoped (or desired).

That said, consider this one vote for “do it!”

Unless there is something completely compelling, or a feature in Leopard that will significantly improve your workflow, I would hold off. In fact, I am in a similar situation with my Powerbook and have decided not to upgrade but rather wait until I can afford, or need, a new system. Leopard is a great OS, but you have to really take a look at it to see if it is worth your while. Good luck with the decision!


Unless you really need features specific to Leopard, I’d leave the PowerBook as is. You could run it, but just because you can doesn’t mean you should. :slight_smile: I’ve been running Leopard since a month after intro, but mostly because a few bits of software I use, like the new version of Omni things, require it.

If you still feel a need to partake in the joys of computer upgrading but want to keep the PB functional, find an old Windows XP box and put Vista on it. :open_mouth:

Vista? That sir was uncalled for. Take it back.

Surely Redmond wishes they could take it back, too. :slight_smile:

Hi there

Leopard can open very big text files in seconds ready for scrolling. In Tiger the same file would take several minites to open. (7 mgb).
I have a system comparble to yours.


Hi there

Leopard can open very big text files in seconds ready for scrolling. In Tiger the same file would take several minites to open. (7 mgb).
I have a system comparble to yours.


I’m on a Rev 1 MBP, and I did upgrade to Leopard, and really like it. I’ve never been one to fuss about icons, and in most applications I use regularly have the button bar turned off, but I prefer the general appearance of Leopard over Tiger. I keep my dock hidden down the right hand side, of the screen so have no issue with the 3D dock that some seem to have had.
For the first time, I’m really using spotlight, principally as an application launcher … only those applications that I use very regularly are in the dock, keeping it uncluttered, and when I want to use one of the others, Spotlight finds it instantly and a press of the enter key opens it … I no longer have to open a finder window for applications.
I love QuickLook … very, very, very helpful for finding the right document.
I tried Spaces, but found it not terribly helpful in fact, but I presume that that is just me and that others will be able to make really good use of Spaces.
Time Machine I’m just getting into, as using it meant doing a huge amount of re-organising on my external disks before I could set it up. In the end, I have acquired a huge Time Capsule, redone my wireless network and am using that … but I’m finding it innnccccrrrreeeeeddddiiiibbblly slow … like at the moment it’s backing up 29 MB of data, has already taken 5 hours over it and is only half way through. So I’m not sure … I will probably create a back-up space on one of the firewire hard disks and use Synchronize! Pro X for that …
Then there are those apps, like OmniGraffle 5 and others, for which you need to be running Leopard.
But over the last weekend, a friend with a MacBook had had some sort of problem while upgrading the OS, which resulted in it no longer booting into either OS-X or Vista under BootCamp (I ask you! … but I’m afraid she has to have it.) I got things working again for her, under 10.4.9, but it made me realise how much more I enjoy working under Leopard than under Tiger.
All that said, with the redrawing and text issue slowness that came up under another thread, if I was still using a PPC Mac, I’d stick to Tiger.
Mark …

Wow, even as I write this, Time Machine/Time Capsule has suddenly decided to wake up and has backed up another 12 MB of the total to be done … though it seems to have gone to sleep again now!

xiamese, you might use the Disk Utility to see how the Time Capsule is formatted. Hard to believe, but perhaps Apple did not set it up for optimum copying speed, which is Mac OS Extended (Journaled). I bought an external USB drive from LaCie and tried to run a backup out of the box: it took forever, and I discovered the format was for Windows! A helpful tech at Qdea, authors of the Synchronize! software, pointed out the better way to go, so I re-formatted (via Disk Utility), and now have a quiet, fast backup of my Home folder every night, via Synchronize! X Plus. And I’ve not used Time Machine at all. --droo

Has anyone tried this with a LaCie NAS drive? I’ve got one of the USB/NAS devices and it runs like a sloth on mogadon. I’m not sure whether you can reformat it as HFS+, certainly whilst retaining the NAS setup. I don’t want to brick the thing, since at the moment it works, albeit very slowly.

Select the drive and Get Info. That will tell you the formatting. If it’s set to HFS+, then the slow speed is either an issue with Synchronize! or your network. Suggest you check with support at the hardware or software sites.

In my experience, wireless is terrible for large volume data transfers. It’s fine for web surfing, but to move big chunks around you really need a wire.

OTOH, 29 MB isn’t that much in this day and age, so checking the disk format certainly won’t hurt.


After a day of frustration … my Time Capsule has been running all day; by the time it had finished that 29 MB and I had to do work in the meantime, it then said it was backing up 38MB … and sat there, with the barometer on complete for about 3 hours, with no sign of finishing off. I decided to stop it and turn Time Machine off … 2 hours later it is still apparently trying to stop.
With the wireless connection, in disk utility I can only examine the back-up partition and that is Apple Partition Map Mac-OS Extended, Case-sensitive, Journaled. I guess the reason it’s backing up 30 odd MB – which isn’t that much, you’re right – is that as I’m using an MBP it doesn’t get backed up when I take it with me to work.
I think my only solution is to connect the Time Capsule by ethernet and see if I can run disk repair and verify that way, or even re-format it. I will set up a bootable back-up on one of my external FireWire disks using Synchronize! Pro X — which I have been using for about 5 years until my move onto Leopard, and have always found very reliable — and only use Time Machine to back up the data files in my home folder.
I guess this means I’m going to have to rebuild my wireless network too … :cry:
And the Scrivener forum has been taking 5 to 10 minutes each time to open a page! I’ve had to click the link and go away to do something else while the server works out what it’s meant to be doing … that’s when it’s not eventually returning one of the error messages.

Mark in semi-high dudgeon!

It’s Win32 so I think I’ll give it a go with HFS+. TBH I’ve not bothered an awful lot as I got an old LaCie and hooked it up to a new Airport Xtreme via USB. As I’m still on Tiger whether or not it will do Time Machine is irrelevant. I’ll probably go Leopard when they bring out 10.5.3

Certainly as a straightforward back up using Chronosync over the wired part of the network, it works a treat.

Can anyone describe their experiences running Scrivener on Leopard, especially Scrivener loaded down with a lot of research, on an older computer like mine? Frankly, Leopard could do everything, including my laundry, and if it messed with Scrivener, I wouldn’t want it. I care about stability, speed (as in quick enough not to be annoying) and Scrivener.

Thanks again,


Don’t know how old your machine is, but I’m using Leopard on a 12" 1.5gHz Powerbook with 768 megs of RAM, and Scrivener runs perfectly. I now have three separate projects open, one with about 50 PDFs and text entries in the research folder, and Scrivener’s resource use is well below that of Mail, Safari and Devonthink.

Same (see my configuration above). Working on a script fairly groaning with the weight of .jpg reference pics I’ve collected for research, and it’s working fine.