The unofficial death of the G4 processor - Macenstein

The unofficial death of the G4 processor

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

Does it mattter that your OS can run on a bare bones machine if the apps you use can’t?

Apple lists the current minimum system requirements for the upcoming Mac OS X Leopard as a very reasonable “G4 (800 MHz or faster)-, G5- or Intel-based Mac“. This was very welcome news for G4 owners like myself who like to try to keep as many of our machines as current as possible.

However, at this week’s iMac/iLife/iWork unveiling, G4 owners were dealt a stealthy blow to the gut. It seems iMovie ’08 lists its minimum requirements as “a Mac with an Intel processor, a Power Mac G5 (dual 2.0GHz or faster), or an iMac G5 (1.9GHz or faster).”

Now granted, video editing is one of the more processor-intensive tasks you can ask of your computer, but since the vast majority of iMovie users will still be using DV and not jumping to HD video en masse, it does seem a bit of a shame.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not one of those freaks who thinks every new iteration of the Mac OS or iLife should run on any hardware made in the last 20 years, but it does appear that G4 users might want to start saving those pennies to put towards some new hardware. I’d guess we have until iLife ’09 before iWeb “needs” a quad Core Duo.

17 Responses to “The unofficial death of the G4 processor”
  1. Matthew Smith says:

    Apple’s support site now features a free download of iMovie ’06 if you get iLife ’08. Apparently there are some features in the older iMovie that the new one lacks, and it seems it’s also being done so G4 users will have a program they can use for video editing.

  2. Joshua says:

    Tiger did okay on my 933 Mhz G4 iBook that I had before upgrading to a MacBook Pro, but I otherwise couldn’t imagine installing anything newer than Panther on a G4 were I to acquire one today, unless there’s a Tiger-only app that you desperately need.

  3. Count Macula says:

    So my 1ghz PowerBook can’t run iMovie?

    So Saadd.

  4. Scott says:

    iWork ’08:
    “Requirements: Mac computer with an Intel, PowerPC G5, or PowerPC G4 (500MHz or faster) processor • 512MB of RAM; 1GB recommended • 32MB of video memory • Mac OS X v10.4.10 or later • QuickTime 7.2 or later • iLife ’08 recommended • 1GB of available disk space • CD drive required for installation”

    Only slows down a little bit on a PowerBook G4 1GHz when playing with 3D charts. Otherwise works great.

  5. annonuem says:

    As far as I have read the new iMovie ’08 seems to be more a Toy as a Videoeditor and the good old iMovie ’06 works on our good old G4-Machines.

  6. huy says:

    I came to the sad realization that Leopard would be the last new OS to be gracing my 1.33ghz G4 a while ago.

    but if leopard lasts only even 1.5 years before the next major OS upgrade, my G4 will have lasted more than 5 years with the most up to date OS. That is pretty darn good in fast paced world of tech.

    As far as iMovie goes- i’ve heard mixed reviews about the iMovie anyways. Seems apple went a little too overboard with the beauty and didn’t concentrate enough on the brains. So it isn’t too much of a loss for me and iPhoto is pretty darn sexy now.

  7. jasonpoon says:

    it’s so sad that my PowerBook G4 can’t run the new iMovie…even Final Cut Pro run smoothly (most of the time) on my PB, how come the iMovie need G5 or faster machine?

  8. Arakun says:

    After killing of Dashboard and Spotlight Tiger runs faster on and uses less memory on my G4/400 than Jaguar or Panther ever did. Safari 3 does a good job as well keeping the load down. I had high hopes that I’d be able to run Leopard on my ancient PowerMac. Good thing I ordered a Mac Mini just two days ago.

  9. R says:

    I’m still using a 1GHz tibook with most of the bells and whistles working. It’s showing its age, but this thing is getting old and still chugging along. Actually, because it’s with me so much, it’s responsible for switching a number o f people– they can’t believe such an “old” computer looks so good (thin and well-designed), and that it can do such cool stuff. Exposé is great on this old machine– people think they’re looking at something they shouldn’t be seeing. “How old you say that thing is?” I love it. I’m going to have to replace it soon, but I won’t get rid of it until the thing keels over. Even then, I might mount it on my wall. 🙂

  10. NoFun says:

    “Apple lists the current minimum system requirements for the upcoming Mac OS X Leopard as a very reasonable “G4 (800 MHz or faster)-, G5- or Intel-based Mac“.

    Can you provide a link to this from Apple’s Website, please?


  11. dalas v says:

    I bet you will be able to edit the plist file to allow iMovie 08 to run on slower computers, but I also bet that the cool video scrubbing and breaking down of clips into 5 second thumbails will work horribly on anything less than say a 1ghz g4 with lots of RAM.

  12. Eiphren says:

    I too the free Mac class on iMovie tonight, and this program is awesome! I should preface this by saying that I run a PowerBook G4 Aluminum w/10.4.10, and I cannot run iMovie ’08 on my machine. I was pretty disappointed about this, but after seeing the power of this program, I understood why my machine couldn’t deal. I know that a lot of naysayers are heavily critical of this upgrade, but that’s the thing; this is not so much an upgrade as it is a totally new, 1.0 release. This program is really pretty sweet. I’ve been using iMovie since ’05, have used it in my classroom, and developed a full curriculum around it, and I am totally excited about rewriting my lesson plans to incorporate this new version. Don’t believe me? Go to your nearest Apple store and give it a go, or better yet, take the free class!

  13. niclet says:

    Tiger runs very well on my old PowerMac G4 400MHz (Sawtooth). A bit slower than my PowerBook G4 1.5GHz but wayyyy faster than the previous OSX, Panther. We’ll see with Leopard…

  14. IonQuest says:

    Apple has a very poor record with backward compatibility. Even Microsoft is better. What happened to the friendly Apple of the 1980s.

  15. Chris says:

    Poor record of backward compatibility? I’m sitting next to a 1999 iMac G3 running Mac OS X (10.4.10). For the record, that’s an eight year old computer running Apple’s most recent OS. It’s running iLife ’05, except for iDVD (simply because it doesn’t have a DVD burner, kind of pointless to run a DVD program without a burner).

    And that’s without any hacks. Of course, Tiger runs great on many G3’s that aren’t “supported” if you use XPostFacto.

    I’d like to see Vista running on an eight-year-old HP or Dell.

  16. Eric says:

    I run Tiger on a dual-533 G4 with 1.5 Gig of RAM. The initial install seemed a little shaky and marginally slower than Tiger on a few occasions, but once the updates started coming in and I bumped the RAM up from 512 to its current 1.5 GB, it matched and then passed Tiger and Panther for performance. My take on it is, max out the RAM (Which is pretty cheap these days) and give Leopard a try on older hardware, especially the dual-processor G4’s.

    Remember, the UNIX kernel hasn’t changed much over time — it’s the “window dressing” of the UI and extras like Dashboard that eat more system resources, and those can be tweaked or selectively shut off.

    G4’s will be excluded on the whole only when there is no longer a 32-bit PPC version of the OS. Until then, It will probably run on most, if not all G4’s, but it might not be officially supported by Apple. Many Mac models have been “unofficially” and even “officially” dropped from Apple support, but that rarely equals “Doesn’t run on a type XXX Mac” until the machine’s processor is no longer considered in the design of the OS.

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