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You are here: MacNN Forums > Hardware - Troubleshooting and Discussion > Mac Notebooks > Erratic CPU behaviour on 15" G4 PowerBook

Erratic CPU behaviour on 15" G4 PowerBook
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Oct 10, 2006, 03:32 AM
 
Nothing dramatic happened but this weekend my well abused and world traveled work horse started having issues. The CPU drops from the average 70-100% usage to 5-30% inexplicably for minutes or more at a time, then back to normal - so much so the machine is almost unuseable.



1.33ghz 15" G4 PowerBook
OS X 10.4.8
2x 512mb RAM (crucial)

Any suggestions, any help, would be gladly received!
     
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Oct 10, 2006, 04:31 AM
 
Uh, 70-100% CPU usage is not normal. At idle, your processor shouldn't go much above 20 or 30%. Also, you really need to clear some space off your hard drive. Weird things will start happening with such little space left.

Steve
     
jools  (op)
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Oct 10, 2006, 04:56 AM
 
Thanks Steve-
When I've been running Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Mail, and Skype concurrently you'd expect a higher CPU usage. In this instance I am unable to operate one application without interruption.

As for the hard drive, I have worked with less available storage without issue, so it should not be cause and I've just increased available space to 6GB without improvement.

Thanks anyway.
     
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Oct 10, 2006, 06:10 AM
 
Hey-

Had a similar problem this weekend with my G4 1.25 Powerbook. I was doing some work mastering with Waveburner which is a cpu intensive task. Finished up, burned a disc, closed all of the programs and went down to my DAW. When I got done a couple of hours later I went up to start surfing the internet and all of the sudden everything was super slow, beachballs everywhere, with just firefox and mail open. Maxing the CPU. Thought at first it was bad RAM or a dying hard drive but everything checked out.

Close everything (takes about 5 minutes with beachballs), restart, and then reboot. Same thing. Weird files in my trash...all xml files... repair permissions, run disk warrior, reboot again, even zap the pram, everything,no joy - the computer is still running like a dog. It almost seemed like I had a windows virus or something.

So, luckily I had just backed up all of my files to a fw drive, decide to do a fresh install. Of course, the Tiger disk won't verify when I boot to it. I give up for the day.

Next day, I figure out that if I do a custom install without drivers or languages, the osx disk works. Reinstall, reboot, and run software update. Computer has been running fine on 10.4.8 for the past two days.
     
jools  (op)
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Oct 10, 2006, 09:25 AM
 
Thanks Dewhast-
Sounds familiar and I even remember some xml files appearing in my trash last week unexpectedly. Unfornately I am in London and my Tiger disk in San Francisco, so I am hoping for something less drastic than a fresh install. I'll have the discs fedexed as backup if no alternative solutions come up.

In addition it appears that Regents Street Apple Store has no available Genius appointments this week!
     
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Oct 10, 2006, 02:41 PM
 
If things are running slow, the easiest and quickest thing to do is to go to Activity Monitor and organize processes by % CPU. You really should not have had to do a complete clean reinstall to fix this. There must have been some process running, even after reboot, that was slowing things down. You could either force quit it or delete the preferences for the app. Mac OS X is not Windows. OS reinstall is just about the last thing you have to do to debug a problem.

Steve
     
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Oct 10, 2006, 05:00 PM
 
I agree that a clean install is not always the best, but I did search activity monitor and couldn't find anything out of the ordinary and I've been having beachballs on and off (not as bad as described above) since installing 10.4.8. Update on top of update on top of update can sometimes cause some problems that a clean archive and install will take care of nicely. I didn't say I had a windows virus, I said the computer was responding in a similar fashion.
     
jools  (op)
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Oct 13, 2006, 10:25 AM
 
Steve-
The activity monitor reveals nothing running which would be slowing down the system. I have removed a couple of third party preference panes and old files but still have the system freezing without explanation. Utilizing the force quit applications window, I am able to watch each application as it stops responding and resumes, including the Finder.

Thanks.
     
   
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