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da2005pizimp
May 29, 2011, 11:50 PM
I am interested in buying an Apple laptop, since I have no room for a desktop. I am thinking about a Powerbook G4 to start on since my funds are limited and this would be my fist real mac. From what I can tell I can get either a beat up macbook for about $400 or a pretty good condition G4 for about $250ish. I was wondering on what the thoughts of those who have had both were? I only really use my laptops and desktop for web surfing, itunes, and word processing/excel spreadsheets. Any and all advice is greatly appreciated.



iLucas
May 29, 2011, 11:58 PM
Even the first gen MacBooks will be much more up to date than a powerbook g4 as only G4's with 867 mhz or more can go to leopard without leopard assist. All macbooks can go up to snow leopard, but if you decide to go with macbook instead of a powerbook g4 try to get a core 2 duo. If you want the newest word then the macbook is your best bet. I have both a macbook and a powerbook g4 and i love them both but if i had to pick one it'd be the macbook. Search eBay for one that isn't so beat up.

Nameci
May 30, 2011, 12:39 AM
go for the macbook if you can afford it...

BigBeast
May 30, 2011, 12:45 AM
OMG PLEASE don't waste your money on a Powerbook. They were great in the past- but they are VERY old and you will not be happy with it. You don't have to get a beat up Macbook either. $400-500 should get you a decent shape Macbook that's only a couple years old. If not, it's overpriced. Best thing is to save up your money a little longer and get a Macbook (or a 13" MBP on eBay) that you'll enjoy for a long time.

alust2013
May 30, 2011, 01:09 AM
OMG PLEASE don't waste your money on a Powerbook. They were great in the past- but they are VERY old and you will not be happy with it. You don't have to get a beat up Macbook either. $400-500 should get you a decent shape Macbook that's only a couple years old. If not, it's overpriced. Best thing is to save up your money a little longer and get a Macbook (or a 13" MBP on eBay) that you'll enjoy for a long time.

Eh, $400 will get you a late 06 or 07 model. Any decent condition unibody is worth more than $500.

To OP, I'd save up some more. The G4 is out, period. It's just not relevant anymore. If you don't need the computer right now, it's best to buy something that's at least in decent shape.

Nameci
May 30, 2011, 01:13 AM
Yup the PowerBook is out, but I am still using them, lol. It still get the job done. But I would not recommend it for the OP.

Furrybeagle
May 30, 2011, 01:22 AM
Any Intel Mac will be way faster than even a top of the line PowerBook G4. A 1.4 GHz MacBook Air scores over double a 1.67 GHz PowerBook G4: http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-benchmarks/.

Not to say the G4 isnít usable, but itís going to be an exercise in patience. Flash especially runs pretty poorly on it; YouTubeís video player can get pretty choppy.

cocacolakid
May 30, 2011, 01:44 AM
The older technology is cool and nice, but if this is going to be your main computer and your budget allows you get an Intel-based MacBook, by all means pass on the PowerBook.

$400 will get you in the ballpark for an older MacBook, you just have to be patient. If you can bump that up to $500 you'll obviously get a little nicer shape/specs.

Keep your eyes on eBay and Craigslist. An idea of what you can get for about $500, here's two shops that sell them regularly at that price... (I've never bought from either place so I can't recommend either with any experience)...

http://www.macofalltrades.com/Apple_Notebooks_s/5.htm?searching=Y&sort=1&cat=5&show=30&page=1

http://www.wegenermedia.com/cmb.htm

Low End Mac also has a list of deals on MacBooks (and PowerBooks) that is updated once a month or so...

http://lowendmac.com/deals.shtml

Last thing, you really want 1GB of ram or more if you're going to run Leopard 10.5 or Snow Leopard 10.6 on it. Don't buy anything with less. With 1GB at least you can use it without headaches when it arrives, but you can also max out the ram when you get more money.

mabaker
May 30, 2011, 05:08 AM
Any Intel Mac will be way faster than even a top of the line PowerBook G4. A 1.4 GHz MacBook Air scores over double a 1.67 GHz PowerBook G4: http://www.primatelabs.ca/geekbench/mac-benchmarks/.

Not to say the G4 isnít usable, but itís going to be an exercise in patience. Flash especially runs pretty poorly on it; YouTubeís video player can get pretty choppy.

Funny thing is you can see how RIDICULOUSLY close the Integer performance of a G4 processor is to the one of Core 2 Duo, especially considering itís a damn old chip!

Itís amazing to think what would have been if Apple bet on PPC after allÖ which then again seems to be the case with the ARM architecture. yet iOS is by far not what I would love to have on my home Mac!

adcx64
May 30, 2011, 09:00 AM
It's worth spending more money now, and be future proof, rather than saving money to get an older model that might not run the software you might need somewhere down the road. I still love my iBook G4 and eMac though!

Nameci
May 30, 2011, 10:35 AM
Sorry for the off topic, but i really love the PPC performance more than the intel one. It is kind of more "apple" to me, more unique. Intel Macs for me are just PC's in apples clothing.

brycemason
May 30, 2011, 10:41 AM
Yeah, get the C2D macbook. Unless you just enjoy using older technology the newer computer is so much more capable for things that most people like (Facebook, YouTube, flash, games) that they would be really disappointed using a G4-based mac. Definitely do not want that to be your first apple experience.

That said, the computer I use more now is a Powerbook G4 12, after I got through with some prodigious upgrades. It still browses most of the web fine and I do all sorts of word processing (Word and LaTeX), statistical analyses, and even some graphics editing. Honestly, it's perfectly fine unless you need heavy motion graphics or flash or games.

Nathan21585
May 31, 2011, 12:09 AM
Go with a MacBook. I actually just picked up a early 2008 MacBook Pro 2.54GHz on eBay for $550. I just needed some of the newer programs that I couldn't run on my PowerMac G5.

KurtangleTN
May 31, 2011, 01:31 AM
Just watch eBay carefully, you'll find a good Macbook for a good price if you're patient. Craigslist is also nice but people do seem to have a tendency to overvalue (so you can drop the price down if you email).

You might save a bit in initial cost with a Powerbook but the likelyhood of the battery needing replacement is higher on the PowerBook, adding more cost to it.

Geekbench gives the top of the line PowerBook G4 a 879 rating. The oldest Macbook (Core Duo, 1.83ghz) rated 2298 (higher is better). A 2.0ghz Core 2 Duo (late 06) hits about 2601, and for comparison's purpose the Macbook they're selling today 3375.

The low number for the PB should be enough, you can find a decent condition CD MB for about $350-$400.. the late 06 C2D (better bet) typically around $375-$450/500 (depends on condition, battery, etc). Save up and you'll be a lot better off. The newer PBs still go for like $250-$300 anyway it seems, so it's not really that big of a premium.

adcx64
May 31, 2011, 04:29 AM
Keep in mind that if u want to runmac os x lion, u need a c2d Mac

kevin242
May 31, 2011, 04:46 PM
Like everyone else, if I had 400 dollars to spend on a mac laptop I would go with a Macbook, but I didn't. I thought I would offer a devils advocate point of view in favour of the powerbook. I picked up a 15" Powerbook g4 1.25mhz 1gb of ram for $165 from Craigslist about 3 weeks ago. My portable choices under 200 dollars was either a used netbook that may run a hacked OSX on a tiny screen or an older toshiba/dell/hp etc laptop that could run linux. Either way it involved making a compromise. This Powerbook (with the addition of a bluetooth mouse, leopard and ten four fox) is pretty much everything I need. It gets me around the web with little problem and I can use it for video/photos (Photoshop), Word etc.. The only time I feel the pain of using an older mac is when I need to encode a video from one format to another or at times when streaming videos online (the g4 is not always up to the task dropping frames). It's still better (minus the video streaming) than my girlfriends windows 7 laptop. I would recommend it to anyone on a budget.

Performa636CD
May 31, 2011, 07:14 PM
Just to pile on: get the Macbook.

I have a 1.33 G4 PowerBook and it cries just running Safari. Might run better with Panther rather than Tiger, though.

da2005pizimp
May 31, 2011, 09:42 PM
Thanks for all the replies, I guess I was just hoping that I could get a powerbook to work until around the holidays, hopefully by then I could get a newer macbook.
My problem with buying a used macbook is that I don't want to shell out the 500 or 600 for one and have it crap out on me, especially if I spend my entire budget on one.
I guess I will just wait until I can get a new/refurbished macbook

chrismacguy
Jun 1, 2011, 05:48 AM
Thanks for all the replies, I guess I was just hoping that I could get a powerbook to work until around the holidays, hopefully by then I could get a newer macbook.
My problem with buying a used macbook is that I don't want to shell out the 500 or 600 for one and have it crap out on me, especially if I spend my entire budget on one.
I guess I will just wait until I can get a new/refurbished macbook

A PowerBook would be quite a lot more likely to crap out on you than a MacBook just as the PowerBook could be anything from 6 months to 3 years older (The Aluminium ones came out in 2003) - heck even my last Gen PowerBook G4 has had issues with its fan. My First gen and 2008 MacBooks haven't had any problems yet. And with the older MacBooks there isn't that much that can go wrong that isn't fixable by some means.

coldmack
Jun 1, 2011, 04:10 PM
Since the real Mac Heads aren't here to tech people properly here, I'll step in. For one the Powerbook is better built and more durable no matter how you put. Not mention you don't have to deal with the common intel cpu heat and whine, or the white Macbook''s color fading or turning yellow, which is also all to fickey common. Then lets get to the specs, the Macbook is marred with Intel cpu and the equally garbage intel gma950 gpu. On the other hand the Powerbook has the more reliable G4 cpu and a better ATI gpu most recently the 9700 and before that the 9600, which you will notice specially when playing back video be it on youtube or native.

Bloodstar
Jun 1, 2011, 11:49 PM
the Macbook is marred with Intel cpu and the equally garbage intel gma950 gpu. On the other hand the Powerbook has the more reliable G4 cpu and a better ATI gpu most recently the 9700 and before that the 9600, which you will notice specially when playing back video be it on youtube or native.

I wouldn't say the Intel CPUs would mar a machine... though the G4s may be more reliable, I haven't had enough time with an Intel Mac to verify... and from my experience, both are equally reliable machines. (Of course, I'm going by my desktop PC.) However, you're very much right about the GMA950 - as far as I know, the last-generation (and even the 9200) iBook G4s have an edge graphically.

If you'll be doing more CPU-oriented things, you will easily want to go for the MacBook. However, if you need a bit more GPU oomph, go for a PowerBook.

(If, however, you see a 9400M MacBook... I'd go for that. I've heard they're decent machines, though, again, I haven't had any experience with an Intel Mac to be able to judge. I'll let others fill that void.)

alust2013
Jun 2, 2011, 12:04 AM
Since the real Mac Heads aren't here to tech people properly here, I'll step in. For one the Powerbook is better built and more durable no matter how you put. Not mention you don't have to deal with the common intel cpu heat and whine, or the white Macbook''s color fading or turning yellow, which is also all to fickey common. Then lets get to the specs, the Macbook is marred with Intel cpu and the equally garbage intel gma950 gpu. On the other hand the Powerbook has the more reliable G4 cpu and a better ATI gpu most recently the 9700 and before that the 9600, which you will notice specially when playing back video be it on youtube or native.

A. I have never heard a CPU whine, and the G4s were hotter.

B. Specs. Any Intel machine will smoke any G4 machine at any task. Also, it's extraordinarily rare for any CPU to fail, so the G4 isn't any more reliable. The complaint about the GMA950 is legit, but the ATI 9700 isn't really relevant anymore either. As far as youtube goes, only the most powerful G4s can handle it anymore, and not HD content. The older machines can't offload onto the GPU for youtube anyway, so that's also a moot point.

You simply can't expect a 6-7 year old computer to be able to compete anymore, and as a point, let's look at geekbench. The most powerful PowerBook ever made scores a whopping 848. The least powerful Intel Mac ever made (1.5GHz core solo mini) scores a 1386 (also beating out the most powerful G4, the dual 1.42 MDD). The least powerful MacBook ever made scores a 2283, nearly three times as high as the PBG4. I think that shows a pretty clear winner.

coldmack
Jun 2, 2011, 01:41 AM
A. I have never heard a CPU whine, and the G4s were hotter.

B. Specs. Any Intel machine will smoke any G4 machine at any task. Also, it's extraordinarily rare for any CPU to fail, so the G4 isn't any more reliable. The complaint about the GMA950 is legit, but the ATI 9700 isn't really relevant anymore either. As far as youtube goes, only the most powerful G4s can handle it anymore, and not HD content. The older machines can't offload onto the GPU for youtube anyway, so that's also a moot point.

A. All my intel toting Mac friend have a nasty whine with their machine, which G4 powerbook never has. Not to mention they always complain how very warm their machines gets(have to take their word for it), while mines doesn't. As for HD video I thought flash 10.2+ fixed that, as it allows the offloading to the gpu on most gpu, the 9x00 series included, with only the first gen i core and above supported, no?

chrismacguy
Jun 2, 2011, 05:07 AM
A. All my intel toting Mac friend have a nasty whine with their machine, which G4 powerbook never has. Not to mention they always complain how very warm their machines gets(have to take their word for it), while mines doesn't. As for HD video I thought flash 10.2+ fixed that, as it allows the offloading to the gpu on most gpu, the 9x00 series included, with only the first gen i core and above supported, no?

Lets see now:
1) None of my Intel Portables I've ever had have ever had or shown signs of any form of CPU whine, this includes a First Gen 15" MBP, First Gen MacBook, a Black MacBook from 2007, and my current White MacBook from 2008 and 2011 MacBook Air.
2)HD Video doesn't work at all well on my PowerBook G4, in fact nothing over 360p works well using Flash. Btw it is the very-last gen Hi-Res screen 15" model at 1.67Ghz with 128MB VRAM Mobility 9700 and 2GB RAM. And thats with the latest build of flash under 10.4 and 10.5.

Badrottie
Jun 2, 2011, 06:41 AM
Since the real Mac Heads aren't here to tech people properly here, I'll step in. For one the Powerbook is better built and more durable no matter how you put. Not mention you don't have to deal with the common intel cpu heat and whine, or the white Macbook''s color fading or turning yellow, which is also all to fickey common. Then lets get to the specs, the Macbook is marred with Intel cpu and the equally garbage intel gma950 gpu. On the other hand the Powerbook has the more reliable G4 cpu and a better ATI gpu most recently the 9700 and before that the 9600, which you will notice specially when playing back video be it on youtube or native.

thank you very much you made me happy and i bought a 15" Powerbook 1.5Ghz with 1GB memory for only 200 last month...It works great it makes me feel like I am using a MacBook Pro :)

alust2013
Jun 2, 2011, 07:23 AM
A. All my intel toting Mac friend have a nasty whine with their machine, which G4 powerbook never has. Not to mention they always complain how very warm their machines gets(have to take their word for it), while mines doesn't. As for HD video I thought flash 10.2+ fixed that, as it allows the offloading to the gpu on most gpu, the 9x00 series included, with only the first gen i core and above supported, no?

The only intel macs not supported with that update are the ones with only intel integrated GPUs, which do suck other than the most recent one. I don't think those GPUs are supported from what I have seen. Even if they are, youtube still sucks on a G4. It simply isn't relevant anymore, save for very basic use.

kevin242
Jun 2, 2011, 01:57 PM
Just to pile on: get the Macbook.

I have a 1.33 G4 PowerBook and it cries just running Safari. Might run better with Panther rather than Tiger, though.

actually it will run best with Leopard and Ten Four Fox. You should give it a try it's like (aside from hd shockwave) a essential upgrade imo.

Just to chime in again. The Powerbook g4 (specifically mine) aside from encoding video and HD youtube videos is perfect for my needs and all I could afford to spend on a portable computer right now. It's not such an irrelevant machine when I put it against anything else new or used in the 200ish dollar category and OS X leopard is still better than Windows and there is no Photoshop for linux. Since my main CPU intensive tasks for a laptop are Photoshop editing and playing divx/xvid/mkv videos full screen (hd or otherwise) with VLC it does those tasks perfectly. For everything else (word, web, email etc..) its fine even at 1 gig of memory with safari and ten four fox running in different "spaces" with itunes playing... so it's not irrelevant if you are on a budget or dont want to carry around a super expensive laptop. I'd love to have a mac book pro btw, and will when I can afford one. I'm just saying dont write off the Powerbook g4 just yet as they offer a lot of portable Macintosh goodness for the buck.

coldmack
Jun 2, 2011, 03:38 PM
Lets see now:
1) None of my Intel Portables I've ever had have ever had or shown signs of any form of CPU whine, this includes a First Gen 15" MBP, First Gen MacBook, a Black MacBook from 2007, and my current White MacBook from 2008 and 2011 MacBook Air.
2)HD Video doesn't work at all well on my PowerBook G4, in fact nothing over 360p works well using Flash. Btw it is the very-last gen Hi-Res screen 15" model at 1.67Ghz with 128MB VRAM Mobility 9700 and 2GB RAM. And thats with the latest build of flash under 10.4 and 10.5.

I don't care for HD on a laptop, nor is it HD res, but I can get 480p video to play perfectly fine on my Powerbook with out any stuttering. 360p for the most part is fine with me, but if 480p is an option you bet I will use it as it offers better audio imho.


thank you very much you made me happy and i bought a 15" Powerbook 1.5Ghz with 1GB memory for only 200 last month...It works great it makes me feel like I am using a MacBook Pro :)
If you can I'd spend the extra 20-35 to max out the ram, for those just in case scenarios.

As for the other saying you can't do much on a G4, I have yet to find a limitation on my particular G4, heck I even use to to edit videos on it with Final Cut Express 3.5 with no hiccups or issues at all.

I don't get why people are spending more money to get that garbage-fest intel Atom cpu for the less money you can get a 12in Powerbook or even less 12in iBook and get a better G4 gpu, ATI gpu, build quality, durability, the sexiest Apple notebook ever made, plus its not marred by the dead dogs known as Wintel.

Huntn
Jun 2, 2011, 03:46 PM
I'd say Macbook because the odds are you will get more life out of it over a Powerbook. Yes, you'll pay more to do so but I think it will be money well spent. :)

In-Correct
Jun 10, 2011, 11:22 AM
You should first make sure that there aren't others selling both types of computers for a lower price.

I recommend the PowerBook, but that does not mean that it is best for you. It depends. A Powerbook can do everything I need for everyday use, but I doubt my everyday use needs are the same as yours.

Videos will be a problem with PowerBooks. Especially Adobe Flash. :eek: This is because Adobe Flash does not support PowerPC. You can still get Adobe Flash, but it will be an older outdated version of Adobe Flash.

Unfortunately the PowerBook you will run into trouble with support for it in the future. Most of the software developers will think that you are betraying Apple :apple: because you aren't constantly buying the newest :apple: thing.

The PowerBook is more durable...and it is less noisy...and far more heat tolerant. :) But not as supported. The Macbook is.

But at the same time it should be called PCbook. But since you can only put Mac OS X and not boot Mac OS 9.2.2 on a G4 PowerBook, you might as well get the "MacBook", because PowerBook cannot load the newest OS X, which is very important in having the newest OS X.

I might be wrong, but I think that the PowerPC Macs have an equal amount of support as Mac OS 9.2.2... (they both have minimal support, and mostly from third party open source people) so because of that fact, then the only reason to have a PowerBook, and anything :apple: with Power/PowerPC Hardware, is to run Mac OS 9.2.2. so you should probably begin your :apple: laptop purchasings with a MacBook.

I hope I provided many helpful and useful tips. Good luck.

AdrianK
Jun 10, 2011, 03:09 PM
but if 480p is an option you bet I will use it as it offers better audio imho.

Not so. Bar 240p, audio is almost identical across the board.

240p, H263, MP3, flv - 59kbps, 22.05KHz, Stereo
360p, H264, AAC, flv - 120kbps, 44.1KHz, Stereo
480p, H264, AAC, flv - 120kbps, 44.1KHz, Stereo

360p, H264, AAC, mp4 - 120kbps, 44.1KHz, Stereo
720p, H264, AAC, mp4 - 128kbps, 44.1KHz, Stereo
1080p, H264, AAC, mp4 - 128kbps, 44.1KHz, Stereo

stevemiller
Jun 15, 2011, 12:23 AM
arg. i shouldn't get drawn into these debates, but i feel my g5 entitles me to at least state my opinion.

@coldmack, there are indeed plenty of usage scenarios out there where a ppc mac is fine, and there's nothing wrong with loving and appreciating classic mac hardware, but your bias against intel-based macs is just plain ridiculous.

as i said, i have a g5 powermac from 2005 and a first-gen unibody macbook pro from 2008. both machines have served me wonderfully and for light usage i wouldn't miss one for the other. but make no mistake, my powermac, which is the second most powerful ppc model apple ever released, is positively smoked by the macbook pro in any computationally demanding task. i've never bought the whole superior "feel" of a ppc processor. they're all number crunching slabs of silicone that'll either deliver your your 1's and 0's or won't. and whatever anecdotal complaints you can come up with about your friends' problematic intel hardware can be just as easily be matched by anecdotes of ppc tribulations and glowing intel reviews.

the fact is, a platform that is no longer supported is going to have gotchas, and that shouldn't be glossed over. if you're collaborating with others using newer versions of software, you may run into compatibility headaches. browsing the web doesn't necessarily require the most powerful machine, but it is also a constantly changing medium, and being stuck on older browsers and older plugins will run you up against more and more limitations as time goes on.

everyone has different needs, and if ppc meets those needs and best fits the budget, then sure. but its not helping anyone to try and paint everything black and white. intel is not a "garbage-fest" and it doesn't "marr" a person's computer. while you "don't care for HD on a laptop", others might find value in it--there are such things as external monitors that a lot of us use...

so in general, a good deal is only good if its useful. $200 could get someone exactly what they need, or it could become $200 more that they'll have to save up towards another machine if it turns out the powerbook doesn't work with software X or website Y that matters to them.

thats my 2Ę

burnout8488
Jun 15, 2011, 08:26 AM
It's fine being a ppc fan and all, but when you're spewing things that are blatantly false about them, it's a little ridiculous.

Any intel mac is going to be MANY times more efficient than a ppc Mac. PPC processors are HIGHLY inefficient compared to a C2D.

Even the most base MacBook will outperform most of the later G5s in browsing and video watching, without breaking a sweat.

PPCs generate tons of heat doing seemingly mundane tasks.

Do I still love using them? Absolutely, but I would never recommend one to a friend that actually has real work to get done on their computer. For a first Mac they are GREAT, as long as you've "test driven" one first and know what it can and cannot do.

so in general, a good deal is only good if its useful. $200 could get someone exactly what they need, or it could become $200 more that they'll have to save up towards another machine if it turns out the powerbook doesn't work with software X or website Y that matters to them.
This.

And in regards to "coldmack," if your G4 PowerBook doesn't get hot, then you haven't turned it on. My C2D MacBook ran SO much cooler than my PB.

lbmontez
Jun 15, 2011, 11:23 AM
My PowerBook does get pretty warm, but no warmer than the Intel Macs, based on using my mom's computer before she killed it. (Of course, my apartment is like a fridge, so I don't mind the warm lap :)) It's all just a matter of what you plan to do or not do with the computer. I know your situation...I really wanted a MB, but couldn't afford one on my current budget so I sprung for an iBook G4 "Mid 2005". When I can afford a newer MacBook I'll go for it, but for now the iBook will do. If it's your first mac, go for a maxed out G4, just keep your expectations in check-they don't run the absolute latest software but they do function well. Again, all depends on what you want to do and what you need it to do.