View Full Version : Thinking of buying my wife a used Powerbook
Mar 15, 2009, 06:48 AM
A couple of years ago I replaced my wife's ageing iBook G3 with a celeron laptop as she preferred windows :eek:
The thing is it runs like a dog and takes ages to boot up and do anything on it due to bloatware, antivirus and other software. I could do a clean install and start again but I'm thinking that I might get her a used Powerbook G4 as she is using my iMac more and more because she cannot stand the laptop.
I'm looking at 15" 1ghz - 1.33ghz models but wonder if it will suffice for her. She mainly uses her laptop for surfing and word but as I only have Office for Mac X then this should be okay. I'd like to put Leopard on it and iLife 09 but wondering if the machine is capable based on her requirements.
Any advice greatly received.
Mar 15, 2009, 07:40 AM
Get only the last revisions of the powerbook. they have bluetooth 2.0 usb 2.0 and better video cards.
I'd try to find either the 1.67ghz ddr2 high resolution screen 15"
or the 12" powerbook 1.5ghz.
Or the 12" or 14" iBooks with 1.33ghz and 1.42ghz respectively.
The last revisions of the ibooks and powerbooks were the best and fastest.
Mar 15, 2009, 07:55 AM
I currently have, and still use, a PowerBook G4 1.67GHz 15". It still runs great, although it can get pretty hot at times of heavy use (I find an ice pack wrapped in a small towel keeps it cool).
Some things to keep in mind:
1. You can NOT run Windows on G4 processors.
2. You can run Leopard (in fact it runs very well), but you will not be able to run Snow Leopard on a G4.
3. Get iLife 08 not 09 if you can. iPhoto 09 does not run very well on a G4, it will run but slowly and some features don't work well.
4. Office 2004 works better than 2008. I upgraded to 2008, but quickly downgraded b/c 2008 is slow. 2004 is pretty fast, just get all of the updates.
5. Use XSlimmer and Monolingual, they will remove programming for Intel machines and other languages. This opened up almost 5GB of space on my hard drive. Hard drive space can be limiting, so space is crucial.
6. Battery life. Older batteries don't hold much charge. You may want to purchase a new battery.
7. Most PowerBook G4's come with USB 2.0, bluetooth, and wireless card - but check the one you buy.
8. Have fun, they are good computers. If the screen is dirty, use a microfiber cloth, wet one end and use the other to dry.
Mar 15, 2009, 08:02 AM
And RAM caps out at 2GB, pretty easy to install. You can buy more from DMS, they make good quality RAM that is very affordable.
Also, there have been 2 recalls:
1. batteries, check the serial number (search the Apple site for a list of serials that qualify)
2. memory expansion that reads RAM. This was a bigger issue. Search the Apple site), the recall is now closed so if that computer you were buying wasn't sent in and should have been - you are out of luck. Apple will replace if the computer needs it, but you might have to pay a few hundred dollars. This might be an issue. Mine died b/c I missed the recall, no notice was sent out and currently there is a lawsuit pending against Apple for the lack of contact and quick ending of the program. Just research the serial number of any used Mac before you buy it.
Mar 15, 2009, 08:17 AM
The easiest solution would be to set up a separate user account for her on your iMac. If she just does web surfing and uses Office, you could find time to share, right? (wink).
I have an old PowerBook G4 (550 Mhz). It runs Tiger just fine, and works well with Office V.x and Office 2004 for Mac. It runs Safari 4 beta very well. However, it heats up pretty quick when trying to run any video, whether it's a DVD or videos from the iTunes store. It also stutters with streaming web video. I would say that playing video is the one area where it shows it's age.
Mar 15, 2009, 08:37 AM
I say go for it. I'm running the Powerbook below and it's my only computer. Excellent for the tasks you've listed, but only really shows it's age when trying to watch YouTube stuff.
Also, they're beautiful machines. I've had people ask me when Apple released a 12" Macbook Pro. :P
Mar 15, 2009, 09:23 AM
Well, for what she is going to use it for, it'll last her a few years. I have a snow iBook G3 (one of the first revisions, as it still has the old school font Apple used to use) and I use it mainly for word processing, and it runs like a charm. I usually dont go on the internet because I dont think it can handle flash very well...but safari is nice and fast. After all, it is an old G3. So I'd say buy it and get the mac box set, but dont bother waiting as Snow Leopard is expected to only run on intel machines.
Mar 15, 2009, 10:29 AM
OK, I'll be the bad guy and say; Get her a new or used Macbook. I have seen several clean Macbooks go for $600. I have (actually gave to my son) a late 1.5 PB and it is a great machine but why not upgrade several notches while you're at it?
Mar 15, 2009, 11:16 AM
Just wanted to chime in: my wife has a 15" 1.33 GHz G4 that runs Leopard quite nice. I just upgraded to 1.5 GB of RAM before installing Leopard and my wife couldn't be more happy (well, she could if I won the lottery, but that's another ticket).
She usually just browses, listen to music, manages her iPod, uses email, iCal, Skype (w/ecamm), iChat/adium, and the ocassional office document.
It's a more than capable machine for all of those tasks.
Mar 15, 2009, 12:14 PM
Yeah really for the price of them nowdays skipping the Pbook range entirely and get her into even a core duo Macbook would make more sense.
If hell bent on the Pbook stick to 1.5ghz and above really.
Mar 15, 2009, 12:42 PM
As a PowerBook owner, I saw if you can find a newer, used MacBook - go for that. It all depends on what you buy. My biggest concern would be the memory expansion problems in some PowerBooks, it may not be a concern for the particular one you buy - just be sure to research the serial number first.
But a MacBook would last longer, so spending a couple hundred more on a used MacBook would save money in the long run. Eventually fans stop working, batteries die...
Mar 16, 2009, 02:03 AM
Why a PowerBook? Those things are getting a bit long in the tooth if you ask me (you did ask me, right?) :D Why not a refurb white MacBook?
Mar 16, 2009, 07:33 AM
Discussed it with my wife and she has asked me to rebuild her windows laptop and if that dosn't work she wants a white macbook for Christmas.
She would rather we spend the money at the moment on a holiday in summer.
Thanks for all the advice. Looks like the general opinion is to wait and get a whitebook.