Apple’s Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard runs surprisingly well on 867MHz PowerBook G4

“I recently wrote about how nicely Leopard runs on PowerPC Macs. I just acquired an 867 MHz PowerBook G4. It needed some work (broken screen and no keyboard), but I have restored it and it works fine,” Simon Royal reports for Low End Mac.

“This is the slowest Mac to officially be supported by Mac OS X 10.5 “Leopard”. For anyone wondering whether running a such a high spec modern OS on an older Mac works well, I say go for it. You will be surprised. I was,” Royal reports.

“I am no stranger to old Macs and pushing them to their limits, but this is by no means stretching it on an 867 MHz G4. Leopard really runs very smooth, very fast, and is more than just useable,” Royal reports. “You could never run Microsoft Windows on a computer that meets the stated minimum system requirements and expect it to be useable.”

“I have been using my 867 MHz PowerBook G4 running Leopard for the past few days, and nothing lags on it. The Finder is snappy, CoverFlow is surprisingly sprightly. Running the usual bunch of apps – browsers, email clients, photo editing, and office suites – nothing seems to cause me any pain or stress the Mac out,” Royal reports.

Much more in the full article here.


  1. I use Leopard on my 12″ 867mhz AluPB and it runs fine. I use it for business when I do Keynote presentations with lots of snappy transitions and embedded vids.

    However, I also use Leopard on my 1Ghz TiPB, which now has only 512MB ram, as one slot doesn’t work, and it runs Leopard faster than my 12″ AluPB. I figure that is due to the video card in the AluPB is terrible.

    Either way, I’ll get a new aluminum Macbook or a refurbed MBA soon, as both of my old Powerbooks are a bit old. I may get a cheap 32Gig SSD to experiment with on the 12″.

  2. This is a subjective thing to be sure.

    I have a 1.25 MHz PowerBook G4 and Leopard seems slow as molasses to me on it compared to my other computers. It works okay, but saying it isn’t slow is a bit much.

    I am thinking of going back to Tiger just to make the thing more useable actually.

  3. Leopard runs fine on my 450 MHz. G4 Cube. The interesting thing is that there doesn’t seem to be much of a difference between the Cube and my 1.5 GHz PowerBook – frontside bus anyone?

  4. I’ve been running Leopard on my 867 MHz Titanium with 768 MB of RAM quite well (mail, surf, 4D database programming) for a while, then I switched to Alu iMac for my main machine. It was satisfactory. For example, running Tiger, especially after 10.4.3 update, was faster then running 10.3.9. on it, but running 10.5 over 10.4.6 was not faster at all. It was fast enough, though.

  5. This is old news… I have an original G5 iMac flat panel running Leopard with no issues. It is snappy and responsive. My original lamp iMac required a hack to get Leopard installed, yet it to runs decently as long as you are not trying to do anything graphically oriented such as iChat. The PowerBook G4 is also running Leopard with no issues.

    Now I won’t say these machines are as fast as my original MacBook or my new MacBook Pro, but my daughter uses the PowerBook for her homework, my son uses the G5 iMac for photoshop and 3-D terrain building, and I am looking for a buyer for the Lamp. Again Macs have fantastic life durations and can even run a revision or two of the new OS after their prime.

  6. For all those who have issues with Leopard’s performance, they definitely aren’t because Leopard is slower than Tiger (it isn’t). Here’s my story.

    Old (very old; 8 years old) Cube (450Mhz) was upgraded to Leopard (in Target mode, from another, officially eligible G4 Mac). After the upgrade, it was very slow, which was a disappointment. After reading some forums, I backed the box up, wiped the HD out and installed a fresh copy of Leopard. I migrated users and apps via Migration Assistant. Surely enough, Leopard is as fast, and in many tasks even faster, than Leopard.

    It is well known fact that Leopard has a lot of optimised kernel and finder code, which makes routine tasks faster, no matter what computer you’re using it on. Obviously, on slower computers, these differences will be most obious (can you really tell when a task was completed in 170 milliseconds, vs. 210 milliseconds?).

    Leopard came out after Vista. It runs perfectly well on an 8-year old Mac. I’d like to see anyone try to run Vista on Pentium II 450MHz PC with 1GB of RAM.

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