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Old Feb 18, 2006, 11:07 PM   #1
MNSUGrad07
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A Used iBook as a holdover computer.

Hey everyone:
First off I have been a lurker on this site for MANY months now but I just joined today. Everybody seems so helpful on here so I have a question.

I am a graduate student in urban planning. I currently have a POS Gateway Notebook. A close friend of mine is offering to sell me his iBook for 500 bucks. Here are the specs on it:
g3 900 Mhz
12 inch screen
640 MB Ram
OS 9.2 and OS 10.2
Combo Drive
40 GB HD
I don't need my computer for anything major. I use it mostly for word, powerpoint, iTunes, internet, the only "intensive" thing I use my laptop for is Adobe Illustrator. I use it for simple outlines of plats (drawing lines mostly ) My university has Office for 60 bucks.
I have wanted an iBook for a LONG time and I think this is a good way to enter the Mac world. How long would the iBook be useful for, further down the line (1-2 yrs.) I would like to upgrade to a MBP or a MacBook (or whatever Apple is calling them) Is this a good deal? Thanks in advance for everyone's help.
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Old Feb 18, 2006, 11:10 PM   #2
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Well, I don't have much idea when it comes to foreign iBook values but it does seem a little inflated.

IMO, the iBook is the single best switcher machine. It's great in that it combines the experience of OSX with the experience of an Apple laptop, at a good price for people who don't want to leap straight into a PowerBook or Mac Book.
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Old Feb 18, 2006, 11:12 PM   #3
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This is a nice computer, but a first generation iBook G4/800 with otherwise similar specs can probably be had for $50-100 more, and would probably be better.

Also, does it have a wireless card? The Airport (not express) card that the G3 iBook uses is hard to find, and expensive. So if it doesn't have one, I'd say avoid it, personally.
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Old Feb 18, 2006, 11:16 PM   #4
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mkrishnan makes an excellent point (as usual). The G4 iBook was far superior to the G3 one. That was one of the more significant updates in Apple's recent history.
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Old Feb 18, 2006, 11:17 PM   #5
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$500 U.S.?

That's expensive for such an old computer.

As mkrishnan said, you can easily get a better machine for a little more.

Check eBay, Craigslist, Apple refurbs, etc.

$500 is a rip off, whether your "close friend" knows it or not.
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Old Feb 18, 2006, 11:36 PM   #6
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And then you will slowly, but surely, lust for an iMac. It's sadly unavoidable. But you will still love your iBook. I still love mine.
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Old Feb 18, 2006, 11:37 PM   #7
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500 is insane

You can get a NEW iBook G4 for only ~ $800 now with rebate off amazon IRRC
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Old Feb 18, 2006, 11:42 PM   #8
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Sorry I should have clarified that its coming with an Airport Card, an extra battery, and a copy of Illustrator. He just got a new iMac, lucky him. With the deal question secondary, how long would this computer remain useful? I am a poor student so as much as I want a blazing fast machine I also much be realistic.

Last edited by MNSUGrad07; Feb 20, 2006 at 01:45 AM.
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Old Feb 18, 2006, 11:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNSUGrad07
Sorry I should have clarified that its coming with an Airport Card, an extra battery, and a copy of Illustrator. He just got a new iMac, lucky him. With the deal question secondary, how long would this computer remain useful? I am a poor student so as much as I want a blazing fast machine I also much be realistic.
I think the simplest answer is that, if it runs the software you need now, and you're comfortable not upgrading it, then it'll run indefinitely using the software it has now.

In terms of upgrading, it's on the very old side for current software. In particular, it runs on Jaguar (10.2), and in general, less and less software runs on this version of the OS anymore, since it's so out of date. It would probably run Panther fine, but then you're going to get into spiraling upgrade costs. If you can run Office and Adobe on it and be happy, then just don't upgrade anything.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 12:54 AM   #10
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If you really don't need the portability, you might also want to consider getting a refurb Mac mini. Throw in a mouse, keyboard, and monitor for another $150-$200 and you'll be in much better shape.

You can pick up a decent refurb mini for about $430 and the specs will be a lot better.


For example,

Refurbished Mac mini 1.25GHz
1.25GHz PowerPC G4
512MB DDR333 SDRAM
ATI Radeon 9200 with 32MB DDR video memory
40GB Ultra ATA hard drive
Combo drive (DVD/CD-RW)
DVI or VGA video output
Built-in 56K Internal Modem

Save 15% off the original price
Original price: $499.00
Your price: $429.00




If you're looking for portability, Apple has this refurb iBook right now.


Refurbished iBook G4 1GHz/ 256MB/ 30GB/ Combo/ E/ 56K/ 12-inch TFT

Original price: $1,099.00
Your price: $699.00


The mini, of course, would offer much better bang for the buck IMO.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 03:23 AM   #11
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I wish I had the 800-1000 to drop for a new computer. Sadly I need something, my Gateway which I have had since October is already giving me problems, what a shocker, haha. Anyway I feel that I am getting a good deal, but maybe I am just blinded by my desire to get my 1st Mac. How would this machine be for a first Mac, I am only planning on having it for 12-18 months. Will the computer remain useful for this period. I know many people can have use their Macs for 5 or 6 years, is this true? Sorry about all the questions and thank you to everybody who has responded and helped!
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 03:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNSUGrad07
I wish I had the 800-1000 to drop for a new computer. Sadly I need something, my Gateway which I have had since October is already giving me problems, what a shocker, haha. Anyway I feel that I am getting a good deal, but maybe I am just blinded by my desire to get my 1st Mac. How would this machine be for a first Mac, I am only planning on having it for 12-18 months. Will the computer remain useful for this period. I know many people can have use their Macs for 5 or 6 years, is this true? Sorry about all the questions and thank you to everybody who has responded and helped!
I'd offer him $400. For $500 you can get a faster Titanium Powerbook G4 in decent shape. Plus I heard these 900mhz had bad logic boards.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 03:59 AM   #13
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Thanks California:
He said he is willing to bargain with me so I will see what happens. Will this machine meet my basic needs for 12-18 months?
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 08:52 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MNSUGrad07
Thanks California:
He said he is willing to bargain with me so I will see what happens. Will this machine meet my basic needs for 12-18 months?
Yes.

450-500 for a machine which yourself will know if it's in good shape (no dent's major scratches) and comes with the software you need (otherwise a costly expense) seems pretty good value to me. Especially with the spare battery etc...

I'd go for it. Is there such a huge performace leap between G4 800 & G3 900mhz.. Surely the extra 100mhz would offset some of the extra core benefits of the G4 over G3.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 01:43 PM   #15
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Four hundred is what I'd offer and no more. No eBay fees, no shipping hassle for either party and no hard feelings if it isn't working in a year. At 500 bucks, you'd expect more from the seller.

Keep in mind you can get a refurbed G4 iBook for 620 from Apple so the 400 bucks would be my limit on an older machine.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 01:57 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkrishnan
This is a nice computer, but a first generation iBook G4/800 with otherwise similar specs can probably be had for $50-100 more, and would probably be better.

Also, does it have a wireless card? The Airport (not express) card that the G3 iBook uses is hard to find, and expensive. So if it doesn't have one, I'd say avoid it, personally.
you mean "(not extreme) card". right?
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 05:12 PM   #17
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Well I went over to my friend's this afternoon and messed around for a little bit on the computer. Its still a pretty snappy machine. I am used to my Gateway with a 1.4 GHz Cel. M Processor, so I am not sure how they compare. The machine is in good shape, just a few scuffs on the case, which I am assuming is par for the course with these cases. He is willing to come down to 450 fo the computer. So before I take the big leap with this machine, will it remain useful for one or two years? I wish I had the money for a new machine or even a refurb. but my 4 month old Gateway is already giving me problems, so I would like to dump this machine fairly soon. Any comments, like always, are greatly apperciated!
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 06:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corywoolf
you mean "(not extreme) card". right?
Yes, I do. Sorry.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 06:16 PM   #19
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don't do it, I logic board fault may hit you, it did me and my friend I had an iBook G3 700 and he had the iBook G3 800, we both had to get them repair.

I would hunt around for a G4, is worth it, and you could find something in that price range too.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 06:21 PM   #20
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Buying from friends is always awkward. The market price is what someone is willing to pay not what the seller thinks it is worth. It seems a little high compared to a refurbished from Apple with a warranty. What price are they selling for on ebay, take into account the expenses and hassle of a transaction, read the advice again here, and then make what you feel is a fair offer. There is no need for haste, there are plenty of iBooks around.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 06:21 PM   #21
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Okay tell him four thirty five. Remind him that for a little more than 200 bucks more you can get a refurbed G4 iBook. And check status of out of warranty logic board replacement -- has this board ever been replaced? You can call Apple with serial number but your pal should tell you.

Down the line, you may want to put a faster bigger hard drive in it, which is what I would do, because then when you sell it, you can always put the 40 gig back.

Good luck with it. Sounds like your friend took good care of it -- he already upgraded that oem hd.
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 06:33 PM   #22
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Good machine...

I'd say go for it. I had that machine, gave it to my wife when I upgraded to a G4 1.33. The G3 still runs 10.4 well and will do all the things you want to do with it. If you go to some of the sites that sell used Macs $500 is about right. They are holding their value well. As far as the logic board issues, Apple is still covering those. I had one changed on my iBook G3 900, worked great after that. If you can get it for less, than do so. The $699 iBook, will most definitely need more Ram. Which will run you another $50 - $100. 640 Ram will operate 10.4 fine. Good Luck!
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 10:25 PM   #23
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Good to hear from another Minnesotan. He is will to go as low as 425 for it. Ebay is going between 450-600 for the same iBook's, I am suprised they hold their value so well. He understands the logic board issue, he has never had to have it replaced. When was the 900 last manufactured, fall of 03? If thats right I have until Fall 06 to get it replaced if it becomes a problem right? Weren't a majority of the logic board failures on the 500-700's? Thanks guys!
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 10:36 PM   #24
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I know you don't want to hear it, but you ARE getting ripped off. Even for 425. Get a better computer for the same amount of money. I can't tell you more that it is too expensive...
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Old Feb 19, 2006, 10:46 PM   #25
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Badandy,
Could you please expound on why you think I am getting a bad deal. Most of the other sites are charging between 400-600 for the same computer, minus the Airport Card and the Extra Battery. This being my first Mac I am a lil leery of spending 700 or 800 on a computer with a system I am unfamilar with. I would be much less upset if I only spent 400 or 500 on switching if I decided it's not for me (not that its going to happen, but you never know)
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