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Improve performance of Macs with PPC chips

Older Macs used to use a type of chip family called PowerPC (PPC). You’ll probably know them as G3, G4 or G5 Macs. If you’re still using one of these machine, you’re probably noticing more and more that they feel very slow when you are using a web browser, or you have multiple browser windows or tabs open. Why is this?

Quite often it’s because of the plethora of banner adverts on web pages. These banners are made in Adobe Flash, and this makes your computer work a bit harder for every piece of Flash on display. This presents PPC Mac users a particular problem. Why?

  1. Flash Player for OS X has never been as highly optimised as it is for Windows. So if you have two identical computers, one running on Windows and the other on OS X, the machine running OS X will have to work harder to show the Flash content.
  2. Flash Player running on PPC chips is much slower than running on Intel chips. It’s something to do with being big-endian and little-endian if I recall. Think of it in terms of Intel chips reading left to right, PPC reading right to left. Flash Player is designed to read things from left to right, so if you’re using a PPC chip, it has to translate every.
  3. PPC chips are slow in modern terms. Even G5 powered machines have less grunt that a typical Core 2 Duo powered modern Mac.

So what can you do? The best solution I have found is only use Firefox for browser, and install the Flash Block plugin. This will block all Flash content, unless you click on it. Presto, instant performance boost.

Got performance problems with your Mac? Don’t want to spend a huge amount on a new Mac? Based near Bath or Bristol? Get in touch…

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