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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:01 AM   #1
Adokimus
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12" Powerbook G4, too old?

I found a decent deal on a 12" 1.5Ghz G4 Powerbook through craigslist. But, with Leopard around the corner and everything shifting to intel, how snappy will a G4 really be? I will mostly be using microsoft office and the internet, watching videos, and the occasional photoshop, etc. In other words, I don't intend to really push this machine to it's limits, but will a G4 be useful and quick for the next two years? Right now I use my 2.0 Ghz Core 2 Duo PC while I save up for my MBP, so will a G4 seem sluggish to me even on these simple tasks? I guess I'm just worried buying a 4 year old computer. Though, I would have already bought it if it weren't for the fact that I'd have to dip into my MBP savings. The form factor of the 12" pb is just so appealing. What do you think?

Thanks for any advice.

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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:10 AM   #2
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Well, if you are really set on a 12" PB, why not? You could almost certainly sell it on eBay for what you pay for it, so it's not like you'll lose money.

Two tangential thoughts.

First, the 12" PB you saw is far from the only one that you'll ever see for sale. There will ALWAYS be another one available.

Second, why not wait for Leopard to come out and for some owners of 12" 1.5 GHz PBs post their impressions?

To answer your question, I would think that the PB would be fine for what you wrote you'll be using it for. I have a 15" 1.33 GHz PB and on the uses you just described my PB is fine (though it is not my everyday computer). Will the 12" last 2 more years? I couldn't begin to say.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:11 AM   #3
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1.5GHz G4 is the fastest one you can get, but it's definitely not fast anymore. It's the last revision that Apple was still selling until like March 2006.

For basic **** like word, internet, itunes, and even a little bit of photoshop you should be fine if you have a little bit of patience.

If you really like the form factor, I say go for it because Apple doesn't make a laptop like that anymore.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:16 AM   #4
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with the RAM at 2 GB and 128 MB vRAM, my 1.67 is quite responsive. I've used some newer intel MacBooks and iMacs, and really can't tell much of a difference when performing the tasks that you are describing.

I say get it if it's a good deal. It should last through Leopard's run at least. If you change your mind, PM the link.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:26 AM   #5
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Well, he wants $600, but I think I can get him to $550. The negative side is the 512mb ram, which will cost about $100 to max out. But, still seems like a decent deal. What do you think?
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:30 AM   #6
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Condition? Does it come with the box, manuals, restore discs, cables, etc?

If it does, and it's in good shape, go for it!
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:34 AM   #7
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The 12" PowerBook's a fantastic machine and so beautifully small. It will run fine for the applications you mention (Office, web browsing, light Photoshop etc) but bear in mind that if you want to do any kind of video encoding such as ripping a DVD to put onto your iPod etc it takes AGES on a G4! Just something to consider...
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:41 AM   #8
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Experience

I bought my current laptop, the 1.5ghz, 12" PBook G4 a few months after it came out (making it about two years old) and I absolutely love it.

I don't foresee any problems running Leopard (be sure to max out the ram) whatsoever. I also plan on keeping it until the come out with a replacement as the Macbook is just too big for my taste (I know that's relative, but I travel extensively and take my laptop everywhere, so even a half pound counts).

You also get much better battery life with the 12" G4 than the new Macbooks. Sure it's a bit slower, but for writing/internet work, it's hardly noticeable.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:43 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FJ218700 View Post
with the RAM at 2 GB and 128 MB vRAM, my 1.67 is quite responsive. I've used some newer intel MacBooks and iMacs, and really can't tell much of a difference when performing the tasks that you are describing.

I say get it if it's a good deal. It should last through Leopard's run at least. If you change your mind, PM the link.

Agreed. I have both a 1.5 GHz 12" Powerbook and a 2.16 C2D MacBook, and for Word, Safari, Mail, Keynote, iLife, I can't notice much of a difference in speed. Things like Photoshop, FCP and Aperture are another story, but for the majority of consumer computing tasks, the 12" is nearly as fast as the new Macbooks (although it does have weaker Airport reception).
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:50 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kwajo.com View Post
Agreed. I have both a 1.5 GHz 12" Powerbook and a 2.16 C2D MacBook, and for Word, Safari, Mail, Keynote, iLife, I can't notice much of a difference in speed. Things like Photoshop, FCP and Aperture are another story, but for the majority of consumer computing tasks, the 12" is nearly as fast as the new Macbooks (although it does have weaker Airport reception).
I have the 12" too and love it. It does slow down when using iPhoto and Mac Family Tree but it's a good solid computer.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 11:57 AM   #11
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I don't know... I have a G4 15" powerbook with 1 GB ram that was quite snappy when I first bought it (about 3.5 years ago) and have upgraded the OS each time a new one came out. It has gotten frustratingly slow and I have tried every remedy available to speed it up, including reinstalling OSes, defragging, etc. I removed Dashboard and any other unnecessary items I could live without. I can't have more than one Adobe app open at a time, and Microsoft Office's programs run very slow sometimes, as does Safari if I'm using a bunch of tabs. If you were going to use the original OS the 12" powerbook came with, it would be one thing, but I'd think carefully about buying this computer and expecting it to handle Leopard and be snappy. As another poster said, there will always be another one available for sale, and you can find out from other buyers after Leopard comes out how processor-intensive it REALLY is. My computer has functioned fine and I'm happy that under pretty heavy graphics use it has lasted this long but I have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of Leopard so I could upgrade to an Intel machine that has Leopard as its original operating system so I wouldn't be slowed down anymore.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 12:06 PM   #12
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I find my 1GHz G4 12" powerbook to be better than my new 2GHz macbook.

When waking from sleep, the pb starts almost instantaneously where as the macbook takes about 15 seconds before I can use it. Same with fast user switching, it was very quick on the powerbook but painfully slow on the macbook.

The screen seems so much nicer on the 12" too, the fonts seem so much clearer and the matte screen isn't so easy smudged.

I find the 12" PB much nicer and I'm going to sell my macbook and repair my powerbook.

The things I will miss from the macbook are: 2 finger scrolling (really awesome!) and photobooth.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 12:21 PM   #13
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The only thing wrong with my 12" G4 PB is that it cannot boot Windows. If I had that option available, this would be my only computer, ever. I love it that much.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 01:06 PM   #14
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A 1.5GHz 12" PowerBook will definitely be fine for the things you want to use it for. I've been using my Rev. A, 867MHz, 640MB RAM 12" PowerBook almost every day for the last 4.5 years, and for all that time, I've never had to replace anything (However, based on the sounds the hard drive has been making in the last couple of weeks, it seems to be on it's last legs). I hope to get a MacBook in December/January, because 867MHz is a bit too slow, 1024x768 resolution means I have to keep almost every window maximised, and it is a constant struggle to keep around 3GB free on the archaic 4200RPM 40GB hard drive. Other than that, it is a great little machine, and must get some points for still being Apple's smallest laptop ever.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 01:11 PM   #15
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well 550 even after having to upgrade the ram... for that model sounds like a really good deal. That means 650 for a nice small laptop... which is really a good deal. On ebay those models still go for 750-850 depending on condition, and most of those don't have upgraded ram either. So.. 550 then 650 with the ram is a really good deal for a powerbook like that.

If it's in good condition i'd definitely look into it, also ofcourse look at it, use it .. etc before you buy it, but other then that... I'd say a 1.5ghz g4 will be able to keep up with the tasks you mentioned for a while yet. I woulda kept my g4 867 tibook had I not had a reason to have to run windows It was still keeping up with all that stuff fine.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 01:37 PM   #16
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I like the 12 inch PowerBook G4. My sister purchased one (with the help of Macrumors) and she loves it.

It has 4-5 hour battery life. Going from a Mac Pro to a PowerBook like hers, one would think it would kill me. The speed difference is minimal as far as internet, iTunes, and iWork goes.

She has a 1.33 ghz G4 PowerBook, with 768 megs of ram, enough ram for her.

My sister could care less about Intel, it's not like Apple is going to take to your laptop away if it is PPC.

Leopard is going to support PPC, that's another 2-3 years left of support. By then, she should afford a MacBook.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 01:41 PM   #17
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If you're using word, it actually might be faster than some of the Intel Macs, since it won't run in Rosetta. Web browsing and stuff should be close to equal. I'd say it's a good purchase if you really want it.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 01:44 PM   #18
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Quote:
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If you're using word, it actually might be faster than some of the Intel Macs, since it won't run in Rosetta. Web browsing and stuff should be close to equal. I'd say it's a good purchase if you really want it.
Yeah that's one I forgot to mention. On my sister's PowerBook, Word/PowerPoint loads in 2-3 seconds. The Mac Pro chugs along when opening it, it takes about 5-10 seconds. Rosetta is a cool technology but its something to avoid.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 02:23 PM   #19
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Isn't there a rumor of an ultraportable coming around Leopard?

Maybe you should wait to see if it realizes.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 03:00 PM   #20
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I I will mostly be using microsoft office and the internet, watching videos, and the occasional photoshop, etc. In other words, I don't intend to really push this machine to it's limits, but will a G4 be useful and quick for the next two years? ...... The form factor of the 12" pb is just so appealing. What do you think?

Thanks for any advice.

-Ado
I have one and absolutely love it, as you said the form factor is perfect!

As for your purposes it should be more than adequate, I would max out the ram to 1.25 MB though, if you plan on installing Leopard.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 03:13 PM   #21
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I have one and absolutely love it, as you said the form factor is perfect!

As for your purposes it should be more than adequate, I would max out the ram to 1.25 MB though, if you plan on installing Leopard.
Where would I be able to buy the extra ram? I looked into crucial and OWC, but they only sell 1GB modules (not 1.25GB) as a max and it seems as though there's only one slot on the 12" G4. Does anyone make 1.25GB? I couldn't even find it on Apple's site. Anyone know how to deal with this?

Thanks again for all the help so far.

-Ado
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 03:21 PM   #22
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Where would I be able to buy the extra ram? I looked into crucial and OWC, but they only sell 1GB modules (not 1.25GB) as a max and it seems as though there's only one slot on the 12" G4. Does anyone make 1.25GB? I couldn't even find it on Apple's site. Anyone know how to deal with this?

Thanks again for all the help so far.

-Ado
check your system profiler, there are two slots, but one might be soldered to the board (likely 256 or 512). I forget. And no, you're not going to find a 1.25 GB module, 1 GB sticks are the max for PPC laptops
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 03:22 PM   #23
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Dude...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adokimus View Post
Where would I be able to buy the extra ram? I looked into crucial and OWC, but they only sell 1GB modules (not 1.25GB) as a max and it seems as though there's only one slot on the 12" G4. Does anyone make 1.25GB? I couldn't even find it on Apple's site. Anyone know how to deal with this?

Thanks again for all the help so far.

-Ado
The powerbook came with 256 ram soldered into the motherboard (damn those last generation iBooks and their 512 soldered in!!!!!), so all you have to do is buy 1 gig stick and toss it in the empty slot.
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 04:05 PM   #24
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i say go for it
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Old Oct 15, 2007, 04:35 PM   #25
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It will be a great computer for you if it has enough memory and a big enough hard drive. Those two factors are probably more important than the chip speed for your computing uses. I'd get the PB and enjoy it personally. Those are really well designed computers.
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