View Full Version : symptoms of too little memory? (Dumb Questions)

11-09-2006, 02:52 AM
What are some symptoms of to little memory (ram)? I finally got an operating system running on my 500mhz Imac. I'm using OS 10.0 and at the monent I only have 192mb of ram. Anything I can turn off for the time being to get my machine to run a little faster? At this point in time I can't tell if the computer processor is struggling or if the Imac just needs memory. Thanks--Jeremie

Jay Carr
11-09-2006, 03:38 AM
Open up the program Activity Monitor and try to find out exactly what it is that is eating up the RAM. Some of the biggest hitters on my computer are FireFox, Word, and iTunes.

11-09-2006, 04:02 AM
I don't think that I have Activity Monitor. Where do I find it?

11-09-2006, 05:09 AM
I'm using OS 10.0

10.0 ??? Really?
10.0 is an extremely ancient version of OS X. It was mostly considered as a beta version (not quite ready for prime time) and no one should now be using it since far, far better versions of OS X are readily available.

You can usually get a copy of older versions of OS X on eBay quite cheaply. Make sure that you get a retail version of the CD, not just an upgrade or "restore" disk (that came with some particular model of Mac).

You should check on the Apple web site to see if there is a firmware upgrade available for your Mac model.
Some of the early iMac models need a firmware upgrade in order to function with anything beyond version 10.1 of OS X - and this firmware upgrade needs to be run from OS 9 before you install OS X 10.2 or later.

11-09-2006, 09:38 AM
It seems that newer OSX are better optimised, so even on older mashine they take less recources.
I had iBook G3 500 performing better with Tiger than Panther.
But the first thing to do is to max the RAM or at least search how much is optimal.
This site would have lotsa info about getting old mac to performe.

11-09-2006, 06:10 PM
I have been changing ram out and no matter what I do when I check to see how much I have it wont go past 192mb. Do I have to reset something for it to recognize?

11-09-2006, 06:52 PM
Have you checked your firmware, to see if that is up-to-date? Your iMac will support up to 2 x 512 MB, or a total of 1 GB of memory. You may need to assure that the firmware is updated before your iMac will recognize all that memory. You will need to boot to OS 9.x to upgrade the firmware, if you need it.
Boot to Open Firmware (hold option-Apple-o-f during boot), the top line of text on that screen will have your Mac model (like PowerMac4,1)then the BootRom version, which should be 4.1.9xx if you are up-to-date.
If you need it, you can download the update from here - http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=75130
Again, you must boot to OS 9.1 or higher to update that firmware.

11-09-2006, 07:05 PM
I only have OS 10.0. When I installed OS 10.0 it asked me if I wanted OS 9 and I declined. By the way, it turns out I had more sticks of 64mb of memory than I realized and I have now found a stick of 128 so i'm good to go. Computer didn't have problems I did--Jeremie

Jay Carr
11-09-2006, 07:22 PM
If you still looking for Activity Monitor, look under ~/applcations/utilities.

And honestly, you should get a newer version of OSX. Tiger is only 130, and you could probably find a copy of an older one on eBay.

11-09-2006, 08:10 PM
I would like to have a new OS but I have a non DV Imac and I was told later versions of the OS are DVD installs, and that you need a certain OS point to upgrade from and I am really just kinda lost. Whatever OS I buy I don't want to pay much for it. $130.00 is about a third the cost of a newer Mac Mini. If someone on here wanted to sell me an install cd I would consider buying if the price was right. It could be a burned copy for all I care. I realize now that I need OS9 to have things like AOL Instant Messanger, and I would like to have that to. The next OSX install I do I won't skip the OS9 half of it, thanks--Jeremie

11-09-2006, 08:26 PM
I would like to have a new OS but I have a non DV Imac and I was told later versions of the OS are DVD installs, and that you need a certain OS point to upgrade from and I am really just kinda lost.

Somebody is giving you very bad wrong advice. I checked this forum, and the bad advice was not given to you here. In fact, in post #5 of this thread (http://forums.macosxhints.com/showthread.php?t=62796), hayne pointed out to you that you would be better off with 10.3.x or 10.4.x. When hayne says something, it is a very good idea to listen carefully, because he's right.

Your iMac G3/500 is not a DV iMac, it's newer. It's improved over the DV iMacs. So that's strike one against whomever is giving you this bad advice.

Second strike against them is that your iMac G3/500 has FireWire, and is therefore compatible with even the brand-spanking newest version of OS X, Tiger 10.4.x. You CAN run Tiger 10.4.x on your iMac. OR, for less money, you can run Panther 10.3.x.

Now, it sounds like you don't have an internal DVD drive that you can use to install from DVD media? In that case, you can either
1. send to Apple to get OS X Tiger on CD media, or else
2. use another Mac with a DVD drive to install from with the magic of FireWire Target Disk Mode, or
3. buy an external FireWire DVD drive, or
4. Install Panther, OS X 10.3.x, which comes on CD, not DVD.

By the way, the third strike against whomever is giving you this bad advice is that you don't need a certain OS point to upgrade from. You do need OS 9 to update your firmware if that hasn't already been done, but once that's done you no longer need it for anything.

And you don't need OS 9 to have things like AOL Instant Messenger--it's free and available for OS X, or you can use iChat, which is free and included with OS X, and is an authorized AIM client.

By the way, do a search on ebay for OS X 10.3.x Panther. I think you'll find that you can buy it quite inexpensively. Just get a full Install CD set, not a CD marked for another Mac. That usually will not work, despite what the seller may claim.


11-09-2006, 08:42 PM
When I try to install AOL Instant Messanger I get a notice that says I either need Classic OS9 or OSX 10.1 or later. I only have OSX 10.0. Thanks for all the info Trevor--Jeremie

11-09-2006, 09:01 PM
Ah! I'm sure you're right. Very little software anymore is compatible with OS X 10.0. But the solution I would suggest for you is to upgrade to 10.3.x. Other than for updating your firmware, which you need to do if it hasn't already been done, you don't need OS 9.


11-09-2006, 09:34 PM
FYI, you can get a retail version of Panther on CDs for as little as $10 on eBay! Just make sure to get the FULL RETAIL VERSION and not some restore disk for a specific computer. And AOL Instant Messenger sucks. It's not updated anymore! Use iChat in Panther!

11-09-2006, 09:45 PM
If you do get Tiger, before you do that you should first install at least 512MB RAM and upgrade to at least a 40GB hard drive just to make it a good experience. At that point Tiger should run well.

Mac OS X made a huge leap forward in 10.2 and smaller but significant leaps in 10.3 and 10.4. You will not find much software that runs under 10.0-10.1, because they are missing too many components that are now considered standard. 10.2 and up are also much faster, and that's important when you have only a 500MHz machine. Put in the RAM and HD and then upgrade the OS.

11-09-2006, 10:00 PM
Hard drives seems to be pretty cheap these days. Best Buy has a 120 gig hard drive for $49.99. What are the most gigs my Imac will recognize? Thanks--Jeremie

11-09-2006, 10:15 PM
128/137 GB (depending on how you count your GB). A 120 GB hard drive will be completely recognized.

Your iMac needs 3.5" ATA (not SATA) drives.


11-09-2006, 11:20 PM
Whats the difference between ata and sata? The hard drive box says Mac compatible--Jeremie

11-09-2006, 11:30 PM
SATA are new drives with a different connection. Older computers (like yours) use ATA drives. If you get an SATA drive, you won't be able to plug it into your Mac!

Also be sure to get a drive under 135GB. Older computer (like yours and mine) can't use larger ones without some new ATA card thing. (I think)

11-10-2006, 12:42 AM
FYI, I have a 700mhz G3 w/ 384 mb of ram and it runs tiger fine. I use it for simple stuff, like testing wireless connectivity and logging into mac domains, etc. I don't do anything major but perhaps iphoto every now and again and that doesn't take a lot of system to download and organize my pics.

I have a 500MHZ G4 running tiger and tiger server, and it actually runs pretty well as well. Then again its my learning rig, I trash it constantly toying around with OS X. It may not do much other than have me configure it over and over again, but it does take a beating.

It kind of sounds to me like you got the standard opinion of people who don't want to mess with older technology. I know because I have been there before. I have had several clients in the past want me to fix their HP laserjet 4L and 5L which were in all honesty, they were work horses. They printed forever and had real little maintenence issues. However, once they reached their age and needed repairs I always told my client to just go invest in a new printer. It made more sense to me. There are tons of reasons I could list, but that is starting to get off topic.

Your machine could easily run panther very well, and if I am remembering correctly I think they maxed out at 768 mb of ram. I think that one slot was built in and the other could take up to another 512mb stick. I would consult crucial.com first, they would list your specs and your max amount.

The HD install in all honesty is not quite worth it. Those iMacs are not too easy to rip apart. If you plan on paying the labor for an internal one to be put in, you could have already bought an external, or an internal + enclosure and spent just as much or more money. You can run your apps and OS off of the 20 (or is it 30?) gig HD inside and add an external and keep all your data on it. Plus you get the functionality of a portable HD. You could take your files with you. Just make sure to always keep back ups though:D

So I think that the external may be a better investment, and it won't cost you labor to have it put in. Also, there are no dumb questions. To quote the Simpsons (and I may be slightly off on this one)..

Carl to Lenny: Thats how you learn stupid, you ask questions!

11-10-2006, 02:04 AM
I really enjoy your writings tlarkin. The case is pretty easy to get apart. I thought I had a hard drive failure when I first got the computer so I learned how to get it apart and quick! This computer is going to be used for tracking and editing vocals for my band.