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Ask Shawn Your Own Question

Shawn, Computer Engineer
Category: Mac
Satisfied Customers: 275
Experience:  15 years of Mac software and hardware troubleshooting experience, 10 years of programming experience
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I need help upgrading my powermac G4

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Hi, I have a powermac g4 and don't know whether is is a sawtooth model from 2001 or something else. It is getting too slow. I'd like to upgrade it but do not know how or the model? Should I buy a whole new system? Here are the specs for this computer:mac osx 10.4.11, processor 733 mhz power pc G4, memory-896 mb SDRAM.
Hardware Overview:

Machine Name:     Power Mac G4
Machine Model:     PowerMac3,5
CPU Type:     PowerPC G4 (2.0)
Number Of CPUs:     1
CPU Speed:     733 MHz
L2 Cache (per CPU):     256 KB
Memory:     896 MB
Bus Speed:     133 MHz
Boot ROM Version:     4.2.5f1
Serial Number:     XB1351NZKSD
Sales Order Number:     0100515702XB1351NZ1234123412341234

If you need other information, let me know.
Thanks for you help, i need it.
Hello Lisa,

Your options for upgrading this machine to speed it up are:

1) Max out the RAM ($100) -

This will have the greatest effect on squeezing speed out of your machine

2) Upgrade the processor ($260) -

This will increase the speed of your machine only if you do a lot of processor-intensive work like graphics.

The major bottleneck with your computer (I have the same one) is the specification you sent me called Bus Speed. Bus speed is kind of like the size of the pipes that connect all of the houses to a source of water. 133 MHz is a very small pipe, meaning regardless of how much you upgrade things, the overall speed increase will not be very large. The newest machines are 1.6 GHz (1600 MHz) - far faster.

So, if you really want to keep your current machine then I'd recommend the RAM upgrade as a stopgap fix to make it last another year or two. However, if you're looking at new machines, you can get a base model Mac mini for $600, or an iMac for $1200. If you're a teacher or a student, Apple gives education discounts too. These machines would be far faster than any upgrade you could apply to your G4.

I hope this helps! Let me know if you have any more questions. Kind regards,


Shawn and 2 other Mac Specialists are ready to help you
Hi Lisa!

This message should give you another link to leave feedback - thank you very much!

As for where to buy your new computer, if you have an Apple store in your area then you can see and try all of them very easily. If not, you can still look at them online by going to

As far as choosing which one, it depends on your needs. The Mac Mini by default does not come with a monitor, meaning you can continue to use your old monitor (depending on which monitor you have, you might need an adapter) and keyboard. It's also a very small machine and is particularly quiet.

The iMac is an all-in-one machine that includes a nice LCD flat panel display, DVD drive, and CPU in one piece.

The base model iMac is 2.4 GHz with a 20" screen, while the base model Mac Mini is 1.83 GHz, so you'll notice a speed difference there too.

Let me know if you have any more questions and I'll be glad to help. Kind regards,


Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I had to ask shawn another question pertaining to the same problem so I only gave him a donation for $15 for the just the first question. So I didn't pay him for the 2nd question because it was related to the same question. He was great! Thanks for the help. Lisa
Hi Lisa,

Thanks for your message! I asked the moderator to close your other question.

Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help! Kind regards,