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View Full Version : Left the dark side and bought a used iB G4




evebittheapple
Oct 31, 2010, 06:32 PM
Hi guys,

I'm a Mac noob who just bought an Apple iBook G4 A1055 sight unseen from an auction. I asked my Silicon Valley compi expert relative if this was stupid. He said it depends. I don't want to keep bugging him (saving him for later:)), so I wonder if anybody here can help me figure out my next moves. Such as: what do I need and where should I get it, and is used/refurb/eBay OK?

This is an experiment in terror for me, but I wanted to try something new, and I figured I'd learn about Macs on a cheap machine. The specs:

Processor: Unknown
CPU Speed:933Mhz (I know, you're yawning)
Hard Drive: 40GB (probably laughable, but I mostly want it for web/word processing)
RAM:256MB (also a throwback, I gather)
Drives: CD-Rom
Battery: Yes
Dimensions: 13"x 10..25" x 1.5"
Screen Size:14.1"
No webcam, no power adapter, no accessories included.
Cosmetically, some exterior scratches, but it cleaned up pretty well. I used a clean pencil eraser and it took off a ton of gunk.

When it was tested, it powered on and retrieved specs through BIOS.
Condition's good, although the battery hasn't been tested and may not hold a charge. It was shipped minus software, including operating system software.

Any ideas much appreciated!

eve



Epsilon88
Oct 31, 2010, 06:50 PM
Hi guys,

I'm a Mac noob who just bought an Apple iBook G4 A1055 sight unseen from an auction. I asked my Silicon Valley compi expert relative if this was stupid. He said it depends. I don't want to keep bugging him (saving him for later:)), so I wonder if anybody here can help me figure out my next moves. Such as: what do I need and where should I get it, and is used/refurb/eBay OK?

This is an experiment in terror for me, but I wanted to try something new, and I figured I'd learn about Macs on a cheap machine. The specs:

Processor: Unknown
CPU Speed:933Mhz (I know, you're yawning)
Hard Drive: 40GB (probably laughable, but I mostly want it for web/word processing)
RAM:256MB (also a throwback, I gather)
Drives: CD-Rom
Battery: Yes
Dimensions: 13"x 10..25" x 1.5"
Screen Size:14.1"
No webcam, no power adapter, no accessories included.
Cosmetically, some exterior scratches, but it cleaned up pretty well. I used a clean pencil eraser and it took off a ton of gunk.

When it was tested, it powered on and retrieved specs through BIOS.
Condition's good, although the battery hasn't been tested and may not hold a charge. It was shipped minus software, including operating system software.

Any ideas much appreciated!

eve

As far as I can see, all you need at this point is the power adapter, which you can get on eBay. I recently bought a 1.33 ghz iBook w/ 1.2 gb of RAM. I used it for a few days and then put it away. Permanently. The reason is that it can't handle basic tasks like YouTube and flash video. Many websites didn't appear correctly, and it was faster to browse the web on my iPhone. Plus, I found the screen dimness annoying. In the end, I figured that the amount of lost productivity time on my iBook wouldn't make sense.

However, I had the 12 inch model, so the 14 incher may be more comfortable to use. Go ahead and buy the adapter, but I wouldn't bother spending money on anything else unless it's absolutely necessary to the functioning of the computer.

evebittheapple
Oct 31, 2010, 07:04 PM
As far as I can see, all you need at this point is the power adapter, which you can get on eBay. I recently bought a 1.33 ghz iBook w/ 1.2 gb of RAM. I used it for a few days and then put it away. Permanently. The reason is that it can't handle basic tasks like YouTube and flash video. Many websites didn't appear correctly, and it was faster to browse the web on my iPhone. Plus, I found the screen dimness annoying. In the end, I figured that the amount of lost productivity time on my iBook wouldn't make sense.

However, I had the 12 inch model, so the 14 incher may be more comfortable to use. Go ahead and buy the adapter, but I wouldn't bother spending money on anything else unless it's absolutely necessary to the functioning of the computer.

Thank you for the quick reply, Epsilon. Rats, I forgot to consider YouTube. Is there anything I could do this machine to make it YouTube-able? And what OS do I need, given what I want it for?

I'll go find an adapter now.

eve

Barnz63
Oct 31, 2010, 07:17 PM
OS X Tiger (10.4) will work great on that machine.

You can always add more ram. Try OWC for prices.

When you try youtube videos, select the lowest resolution, then the next higher resolution, to see what works the best. Also, try the mobile version of youtube. It should play the lower resolution there. Just add an "m" and dot after the www , but before the words youtube, on the youtube url.

It is an older machine, but it's up to you if you want to spend more money.

kjs862
Oct 31, 2010, 07:23 PM
you may also want to check out datamemorysystems.com for RAM

kellen
Oct 31, 2010, 09:06 PM
You are going to have to buy more ram to max it out and an ac adaptor. After that, I wouldn't put any more into it.

evebittheapple
Nov 1, 2010, 07:13 PM
Thank you all, Barnz, that's a great bit of intel re YouTube. What's OWC, please?

Thanks, too, kjs--datamemorysystems seems like a very decent outfit. Now I just have to figure out wth it all means.

And practical thoughts appreciated, kellen. What's the max on it if I now have 256MB?

Barnz63
Nov 1, 2010, 08:03 PM
OWC, Other World Computing, is actually at macsales dot com. It has memory, harddrives, software, power supplies, batteries and too many things to list. I've bought all my RAM from them. They have a lifetime warranty.

You can search their website by clicking a tab, at the top of the web page, named "My OWC" and pick the computer you want to search for parts or accessories for.

evebittheapple
Nov 2, 2010, 07:03 AM
OWC, Other World Computing, is actually at macsales dot com. It has memory, harddrives, software, power supplies, batteries and too many things to list. I've bought all my RAM from them. They have a lifetime warranty.

You can search their website by clicking a tab, at the top of the web page, named "My OWC" and pick the computer you want to search for parts or accessories for.


Sounds like a great source, Barnz. Thanks again!

farmermac
Nov 2, 2010, 08:29 AM
You may have left the dark side but you stepped into 2003 apple with that iBook. I wouldn't base your opinion of apple based on that experience. I wouldn't put a dime more into the iBook including a power adaptor.

mariov
Nov 2, 2010, 08:49 AM
And practical thoughts appreciated, kellen. What's the max on it if I now have 256MB?

You should be able to add 1Gb extra. You need that and a power adapter, and the os, of course.

If it totals less than $200, (computer and upgrades) itīs still a good buy.

evebittheapple
Nov 3, 2010, 03:24 PM
You should be able to add 1Gb extra. You need that and a power adapter, and the os, of course.

If it totals less than $200, (computer and upgrades) itīs still a good buy.

Thanks, Mariov, for solving that little mystery. And farmermac, a certain Broadway show tune started playing in my head as I reread your post; you know, "Oh, there's nothing halfway/About the Iowa way to treat you/When we treat you/Which we may not do at all...." I appreciate your take-no-prisoners attitude!

I confess, I didn't expect the OS X 10.4 to be as pricey as I'm finding. I take it it's hard to find. Anyone have a cheapish source better than eBay?

iMpathetic
Nov 3, 2010, 03:33 PM
Yeah, you can add another 1GB of RAM, but listen: I actually used one of those as my main computer (12" though) from around early 2007-2009. Please don't sink money into it, because unless all you're doing is maybe sites like Craigslist or Macrumors with no video and nothing else at the same time, you're going to be disappointed. I loved mine because it was reasonably new and snappy when I first got it (right after the intels came out -- paid $700 for a 1.33!) but it started to be unable to handle things.

I see MacBooks on eBay all day in the $450 range. If I were you, I'd try and save up for one of those. Or, you could always put OS X on a reasonably new PC you have around, provided you're up for it.

Here's a pic of the old iBook. I actually miss it now that I'm writing about it....:(

http://img.skitch.com/20101103-ck3ef3irfs3ejwr82hr5sar8d4.jpg

evebittheapple
Nov 3, 2010, 04:06 PM
Yeah, you can add another 1GB of RAM, but listen: I actually used one of those as my main computer (12" though) from around early 2007-2009. Please don't sink money into it, because unless all you're doing is maybe sites like Craigslist or Macrumors with no video and nothing else at the same time, you're going to be disappointed. I loved mine because it was reasonably new and snappy when I first got it (right after the intels came out -- paid $700 for a 1.33!) but it started to be unable to handle things.

I see MacBooks on eBay all day in the $450 range. If I were you, I'd try and save up for one of those. Or, you could always put OS X on a reasonably new PC you have around, provided you're up for it.

Here's a pic of the old iBook. I actually miss it now that I'm writing about it....:(

http://img.skitch.com/20101103-ck3ef3irfs3ejwr82hr5sar8d4.jpg


How kind of you to provide a pic, iMpath. Yes, that's what I want MINE to look like--actually functioning! And thank you for your smart advice.

I wanted a cheap used first Mac that the average thug wouldn't be that interested in stealing. (Brooklyn, REPRESENT!) So I got this baby dinosaur through a police auction. My Silicon Valley rellies (in the computer biz) are great sources for all kinds of stuff, and when I turn up at the holidays, they can probably help me, get parts from their friends for me, and so on. But I like a challenge, and I want to see if I can get this little iBook that could to power up. All these posts are helping me to do that.

OS X 10.4 has been suggested--does anything else make sense?

Love your location, by the way.

farmermac
Nov 3, 2010, 08:08 PM
And farmermac, a certain Broadway show tune started playing in my head as I reread your post; you know, "Oh, there's nothing halfway/About the Iowa way to treat you/When we treat you/Which we may not do at all...." I appreciate your take-no-prisoners attitude!


Sorry if I came off rude. I have to admit I had to look that up. I just hate to see people paying lots of money (ie: getting nickel and dimed) to get old machines to run and then be disapointed because the PPC processors just cant handle basic youtube video.

You can punch in the serial number into a mac serial decoder (google that) and it will tell you the original OS that came with it. It may have been tiger. You can call apple and request original restore discs for your machine, they are cheap. Some people have gotten them for free even.

Nameci
Nov 3, 2010, 09:56 PM
Thanks, Mariov, for solving that little mystery. And farmermac, a certain Broadway show tune started playing in my head as I reread your post; you know, "Oh, there's nothing halfway/About the Iowa way to treat you/When we treat you/Which we may not do at all...." I appreciate your take-no-prisoners attitude!

I confess, I didn't expect the OS X 10.4 to be as pricey as I'm finding. I take it it's hard to find. Anyone have a cheapish source better than eBay?

send me pm...

evebittheapple
Nov 3, 2010, 11:05 PM
Sorry if I came off rude. I have to admit I had to look that up. I just hate to see people paying lots of money (ie: getting nickel and dimed) to get old machines to run and then be disapointed because the PPC processors just cant handle basic youtube video.

You can punch in the serial number into a mac serial decoder (google that) and it will tell you the original OS that came with it. It may have been tiger. You can call apple and request original restore discs for your machine, they are cheap. Some people have gotten them for free even.

No offense taken at all, farmermac; I found your directness bracing! You must watch the whole movie ("The Music Man," Robert Preston version only) to relate to the song--it's well worth it for his performance alone. And since my friends tell me I'm the most frugal person they know, I really am grateful for your decoder and restore disc advice.

iMpathetic
Nov 4, 2010, 08:29 AM
How kind of you to provide a pic, iMpath. Yes, that's what I want MINE to look like--actually functioning! And thank you for your smart advice.

I wanted a cheap used first Mac that the average thug wouldn't be that interested in stealing. (Brooklyn, REPRESENT!) So I got this baby dinosaur through a police auction. My Silicon Valley rellies (in the computer biz) are great sources for all kinds of stuff, and when I turn up at the holidays, they can probably help me, get parts from their friends for me, and so on. But I like a challenge, and I want to see if I can get this little iBook that could to power up. All these posts are helping me to do that.

OS X 10.4 has been suggested--does anything else make sense?

Love your location, by the way.

I figured a pic might help!

Have you actually bought it, then? I will say this -- you can get a maxed 1.33GHz for 250 or so. That extra bit of CPU speed would be a giant help. If you were to stick 10.4 on it and not clutter the poor 40GB drive, it would be a fun little netbook. You CAN do YouTube provided you keep it at 360p.

I would take back about half of my previous post if you got the faster model. Because it won't be your main machine, I think you could have fun with it! My aplogies for my cynical post. I was midway through a SL install on a Gateway laptop... :p

raysfan81
Nov 4, 2010, 08:04 PM
I confess, I didn't expect the OS X 10.4 to be as pricey as I'm finding. I take it it's hard to find. Anyone have a cheapish source better than eBay?

Keep an eye on your local Craigslist. Many-a bargain can be found on there!

TheAngryKiwi
Nov 6, 2010, 02:39 AM
Hey Eve!

I commend your little experiment! I started out on much older Macs (an LC575 from 1994!) a few years back and fell in love with Macs using eMacs at my middle school.

I would definitely stick with 10.4. Add a 1GB stick to your machine (plenty of helpful advice already given above!) and it should perform well enough with Tiger. To go to Leopard (that's 10.5) would be silly. Your iBook barely meets the CPU requirement and there's not much extra functionality to be found on 10.5 for a G4 system. I have a friend with a G4 PowerBook (1.67GHz and 512MB of RAM) and it doesn't perform that well on Leopard at all. Tiger is the sweet spot for pre-G5 Macs.

Also, when you come to install 10.4, make sure to 'Customize' the install and remove all unneeded languages and printer drivers. This will give you more space on the 40GB drive and make the machine a little snappier.

Good luck!

evebittheapple
Nov 12, 2010, 10:46 AM
Keep an eye on your local Craigslist. Many-a bargain can be found on there!

Raysfan, I too am a bargain hunter. I do check CL. For this, though, I had no luck. But it's always an option.

evebittheapple
Nov 12, 2010, 10:52 AM
Hey Eve!

I commend your little experiment! I started out on much older Macs (an LC575 from 1994!) a few years back and fell in love with Macs using eMacs at my middle school.

I would definitely stick with 10.4. Add a 1GB stick to your machine (plenty of helpful advice already given above!) and it should perform well enough with Tiger. To go to Leopard (that's 10.5) would be silly. Your iBook barely meets the CPU requirement and there's not much extra functionality to be found on 10.5 for a G4 system. I have a friend with a G4 PowerBook (1.67GHz and 512MB of RAM) and it doesn't perform that well on Leopard at all. Tiger is the sweet spot for pre-G5 Macs.

Also, when you come to install 10.4, make sure to 'Customize' the install and remove all unneeded languages and printer drivers. This will give you more space on the 40GB drive and make the machine a little snappier.

Good luck!

Thank you, Kiwi; this is excellent info for the future.

Meanwhile, however, this experiment has been truncated. I couldn't get the silly thing to boot up at all, contrary to the specs supplied, so I returned it to the auction site. They have nicely agreed to a full refund. But I'm hunting again.

Many thanks to everyone on the thread for the wonderful responses. I'll be back as soon as I have another experiment.