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Old Aug 2, 2004, 12:58 AM   #1
Brother Michael
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iBooks G3: Still a good running machine!

Hello all!

I have just spent an entire week basically using my "new" used iBook G3. I have been a huge Mac fan now for about the past year and have been looking for a way to get into them. Considering I already had a good PC desktop machine, I saw no reason to buy another desktop, plus I wanted the ability to be mobile in my computing. So I came to the conclusion that I needed a laptop. I have spent the past 6 months tossing around the idea of getting either a 12" Powerbook or a 12" iBook (brand new) or getting an older 15" Powerbook...

The fact that I am a student and that there simply were not enough weeks in the summer to make the amount of money I really needed to buy a Mac and still get other tools (like my Camcorder) and have money left over for school. Thus I decided that I couldn't afford a new Mac nor did I NEED one that badly. Still I WANTED a Mac, I wanted to have something different than my Windows Machine (and for a while I was considering getting an older PC laptop and putting Linux on there).

Well about 2 weeks ago I made my decision, I bought a used 12" iBook G3 on eBay for about $500 including the shipping charges. I bought an older G3 because I wanted to save money on my computer, I did not see the need to buy a new laptop when my school has Powermac's that have the ability to do all my required school work. I was able to fulfill my want without blowing my budget.

Alright, enough about me and my issues with computers, on to the review of the book!

So what does my computer have "under the hood:"

PowerPC G3 Processor @ 600mhz
256 Meg RAM
8 Meg VRAM
15 Gig Hard Drive
CD-Rom/DVD Rom
12" LCD
OS X "Panther"

The Good:
Total cost with shipping $500
Far better than comparable PC Notebooks
Runs Panther very well

The Bad:
No Airport card
No OS disks
Only 8 Meg VRAM
Cannot run Garageband (not a huge problem, but would have been nice since I am a bit of a musician)

So what do intend to do with this computer?
Not a whole lot. I bought this laptop to use in class to take notes with Word, to use the internet on the go, web, AIM, email, take to the library. I figure the hard drive storage space isn't a big problem as I was going to buy an external hard drive anyways (another reason the iBook is superior to a comparable PC laptop...the firewire port).

Who should buy a computer like this:
If your needs are very simple, such as email, web, aim, word processing, iphoto, etc. and you want to get familiar with Mac OS X and do not want to spend 1000 dollars or more, then a G3 iBook is perfect.

What I would not do is spend almost $1000 on a G3, if you can find one for 500-700 (and 700 is really pushing it), then it is a good buy, anything above 800 and buy new. Basically, buy something cheap that you can take with you and get familiar with and save your money for a Powermac G5.

Mike
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Old Aug 2, 2004, 03:42 AM   #2
CmdrLaForge
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Congrat to your switch. I have a G3 900 MHz iBook and I am quite happy with it as well.
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Old Aug 2, 2004, 08:02 AM   #3
Abstract
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Yeah, if you're paying more than $750 for a G3, you're getting ripped off, I say. A new iBook 1GHz G4 costs about $1000 and up, and a "used" iBook 12" 800MHz G4 would (or "should") cost $100 less than that (it should cost much less, but resale values for Macs are very high...). So an iBook 900GHz G3 shouldn't be bought for more than $750 or so. I don't know what the eBay prices are, but quite frankly, prices higher than that mean it's not worth it.

Anyway, good review. I'm so sick of all these "Will a new iBook be able to handle websurfing and MS Word, or should I buy a Powerbook?" type questions when an iBook G3 600MHz would handle all that like an absolute champ. The iBook G3 800MHz is still great, IMO, so if anyone can get one for under $700, get it.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 12:33 AM   #4
Brother Michael
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Seriously, I love this thing. I use it more than my desktop. I had a very distorted viewpoint of this book, becuase I was on a Powerbook high for so long. I really like it.

Just thought I would share again
Mike
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 01:31 AM   #5
virividox
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i have an ibook 500 mhz its still running panther quite well; sure it lags here and there but i can get some photoshop work done as well; i upgraded the ram and added an airport card too its a happy little machine gets the work done.

dont use it as much as my powerbook, but when i dont feel like carrying around 17 inches to do simple work then i use it or lend it out to my 'rents
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 01:50 AM   #6
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ha ha! I have an iBook of the exact same specs, except I bought mine when it was brand new for about $1200. I almost bought the powerbook G4 677 which was $2000 at the time.

I used it for everything when I first bought it, even editing in Final Cut Pro 3. I don't know how I did it all with the 15 gig HD, but it somehow worked.

The only things I use it for now are writing scripts and other texts in Final Draft and watching DVDs.

It has its share of battle scars, It has big smudges right in the middle of the LCD and the disk drive's release device is broken so I have to open it manually and keep it closed with white tape.

But other than that it has been a pretty decent computer, although I do regret not getting the powerbook.

have fun,

-cody
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 04:42 AM   #7
BornAgainMac
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I just sold my old iBook G3 with the same specs except it had an airport card and 640 MB ram and 2 old batteries and 1 new battery, and a build-to-order option of a 30 GB drive. Price $600.

I agree that it was a nice machine. I sold it to a new Mac user. The iBook keyboards have been improved a lot since then. I like the older iBooks look and feel from the outside. Something about the new ones don't seem the same.

512 MB ram that fits under the keyboard cost about $150 2 years ago. The airport card may be harder to find now. I used it a lot and never had any of the motherboard problems that people have reported. Perhaps because I don't place it on a blanket or on the carpet and cause it to overheat. I know a PC user that had to replace their motherboard 3 times because they placed their new laptop on a blanket.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 08:30 AM   #8
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it IS a great machine- I have a "tricked out" iBook G3, and I use it for everything-they're tough too.......mine has been run over, and yet it still lives (i am typing this on it right now!)
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 08:44 AM   #9
dvdh
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I'm using a iBook G3 900, and couldn't be happier with it. It isn't exactly the fastest machine, but for the money I paid a year and half ago, it has more than served its purpose. Wrote my Masters thesis on it (put it together in Quark 6), I use it for Photoshop (nothing insanely intense) computer modeling in FormZ, and the occasional FCP3 work. These tasks it performs admirably. I will likely replace it in another 6 months to a year, but until then I have little doubt it will serve my needs.

About the one you just bought . . . should do absolutely fine for the tasks you listed. If you happen to have a chance and the $$$ get yourself a 512 MB chip for it. That should make a noticeable difference in how well it runs with multiple apps open. Use airport cards can be bought on ebay starting at about $30.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 09:57 AM   #10
18thTomorrow
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Nice review.

Brother Michael: What color is it, just out of curiousity?
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 10:05 AM   #11
Mord
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i also have a 600MHz g3 ibook but the one with a mobility radeon and 640MB ram it's a nice machine and it's running tiger nicely.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 10:19 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BornAgainMac
I like the older iBooks look and feel from the outside. Something about the new ones don't seem the same.
I'm not sure what you mean by this but I kindof understand what you mean, my dad has a g3 600 megahertz iBook and it doesn't quite look like the iBooks I saw at the apple store the other day. Not sure which I like more though.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 12:33 PM   #13
BornAgainMac
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sharewaredemon
I'm not sure what you mean by this but I kindof understand what you mean, my dad has a g3 600 megahertz iBook and it doesn't quite look like the iBooks I saw at the apple store the other day. Not sure which I like more though.
The old G3 600's had a glass like finish on them. Perhaps a coating around the white shell. I noticed it changed when the iBooks reached 900Mhz or around there. The newer iBooks feel more like the eMac now. The old iBooks felt like they were waxed and polished. When I touch my powerbook, it feels like a laptop the Terminator would use. It has a very cold metal feel.
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 01:24 PM   #14
Merf
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Wow thats nice. I need to get my self something like that so I can store pictures on it when I'm traveling. I'm leaving for norway here in like 5 months and I will need a mobile mac. Does anyone have one thats pretty good but they don't want to much for it? Right now I'm just running on a old G3 imac. So the difference won't be too much

Merf
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Old Aug 5, 2004, 02:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Merf
Wow thats nice. I need to get my self something like that so I can store pictures on it when I'm traveling. I'm leaving for norway here in like 5 months and I will need a mobile mac. Does anyone have one thats pretty good but they don't want to much for it? Right now I'm just running on a old G3 imac. So the difference won't be too much

Merf
while this is very off topic, I was wondering where you get the name "Merf"??

I use it all the time with this one friend of mine, I think she started it. But we use it more like a catch phrase and in place of "Hello" or "Goodbye".

merf,

-cody
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