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Old Jun 14, 2010, 10:34 AM   #1
drewdle
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iBook G3/G4 Advice

Hey guys. Thanks for being so helpful with the B&W G3 thread. Decided that when it comes time for a tower, a MDD is in the cards, probably a dual 1.25Ghz. However, at present the iMac serves the desktop role surprisingly well, so it's on to laptop consideration.

All I need is something to write on/take notes on for school. Internet would be a plus, but not a necessity. I plan on pulling all the documents back onto the iMac (and thus the backup drive too) when I get home each day. The MacBook is probably getting sold, and while I could keep it and use it in this capacity, it really is overkill for what I need, and I've already had one issue with it (trackpad flaked out at the 3 month mark).

There are two machines I really like and would consider, first of which is an iBook G4, probably the 12". I actually had one of these, but returned it when I had buyer's remorse about the then-coming switch to Intel (should have kept it). Any speed would be fine. I remember this machine had incredible standby battery life. The crux is the second machine, which is an iBook Clamshell. If I could find a 366/466Mhz machine with FireWire, that would be fantastic, but I have two reservations about this. One is just the sheer age of the machines at this point, especially being subjected to daily university life, although they seem to have a reputation for being pretty durable. Second would be their usefulness as an internet appliance; AirPort only supports B wireless on these machines, so if I did want to use it for internet, I would be kind of boned. Overall, I love the look/feel of the clamshell (I've played with one before), but I guess the G4 would be more practical.

If it were you, what would you do? (And don't say keep the MacBook. )
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Old Jun 14, 2010, 05:15 PM   #2
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Definitely the iBook G4. If the G3 is like mine was, it will have troubles on the internet especially with flash pages. The G4 will be quicker and handle it better.
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Old Jun 14, 2010, 05:23 PM   #3
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The only problem I see with your plan is that any of the laptops that you listed are going on 5 years old now, if not more. By now, the battery's are all but dead, and the "incredible" battery life you mentioned is non existent. Thus, you would be forced to shell out another $100+ for a new battery. I'm not really sure its worth it unless you can get one of those machines for free or dirt cheap.

Also, I would stay away from the iBook G3's. They are limited to 800x600 resolution, which is all but unusable by todays standards. Also many iBook G4's have problems with the LCD connector going bad, causing a corrupt screen. Be aware of those defects.
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Old Jun 14, 2010, 06:01 PM   #4
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the iBook g3 clamshells are lovely little laptops, and collectable too , and certainly could handle wordprocessing , but the second thing is internet which they do not handle that well , the later firewire iBook g3 clamshells are a bit better on that side due to double the vram @8mb

the iBook G4 are more versatile especially the later they can handle nearly everything as good as their equivalent desktops (eMac , iMac g4,mac mini g4)
and they take airport extreme and bluetooth 1.1 the later models take more ram and take bluetooth 2.0
so if you can afford one then go for one of the latest 1.33 models , but for your needs a ibook g4 800mhz should be sufficient , max out the ram to 1gb
new batterys are still to get quiet cheap so you can enjoy up to 5 hours battery life in theory ,most times about 3 hours depending on usage , still enough i suppose , as you might find a wall plug somewhere to give it a quick extra charge
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Old Jun 14, 2010, 08:37 PM   #5
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If it were you, what would you do? (And don't say keep the MacBook. )
keep the MacBook... sorry, just had to...

i have both (actually all 3) of the machines, and would put a solid vote in the G4 iBook category.

the g3 is fun for getting looks and comments, not so much for actual use...

the 12" 1.33ghz g4 ibook is/was very solid.

with that said, if you really care about battery life, or time away from an AC adapter, the 14 " 1.33ghz is a way better bet. i've had one for years, it's totally stable, lasts for 5-6 hours on battery while actually using it to surf/movies/etc.

i also have a 1.42 14" ibook, but they seem to have issues with heat and the wifi/bluetooth adapter the that the 1.33 did not. just saying, 5+ years with not a single problem, running 10.4.?, and loving every minute of it. best of luck.
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Old Jun 15, 2010, 12:47 AM   #6
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I had heard bad things about the ice-white iBook G3 in terms of reliability, but was not aware these issues manifested themselves in the G4 iBooks too. I wonder why the 1.33Ghz models were more reliable than the 1.42? The one I owned briefly was a 14" 1.42 equipped model, but again, that was in 2005.

I realize I'm likely going to be after a fresh battery for whatever machine I end up with, so I'm looking to get as much machine for the money as I can (reasonably speaking of course) so that I can buy a fresh battery closer to the start of school.

My two reasons for looking at Clamshells were, yes, the looks it would get, and their reputation as relatively indestructible field computers. I don't know if that still counts for much ten years after they were discontinued, but I like the idea of a robust computer. It may seem silly to be after a computer partly for it's looks, but suffice it to say it's a style thing. All of Apple's computers are now plain white or plain silver rectangles. It's the same reason you'd buy a VW Beetle as your first car. It's not fast, it's not cavernous inside, and given the right weather it can be downright cantankerous. But that's all part of it's charm. Also, I suspected that I wouldn't get any worse performance than my 300Mhz B&W G3 tower on the internet, which is still livable so long as Flash isn't involved. Of course, correct me if I'm wrong on any of that.

The turn-off for the Clamshell units is the price of some of them. Lime Green and Graphite 466Mhz models (with their upgraded graphics, on-chip L2 cache, DVD drive and FireWire port) seem to range between $100 for broken or severely worn in units to $200-300 for a lightly used, well kept example. You can get a 1.33Ghz iBook G4 for around the $300 mark, and it's half as old and three times as powerful. It just doesn't have the character.

Thanks for the input so far. It seems like most of you are leaning towards the newer machines. Are there any reasons to avoid the Clamshell aside from age or speed? I can work around those two obstacles as need be, but am wondering if it's worth it just to have a giggle that I'm doing my homework on a lime-green laptop.
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Old Jun 15, 2010, 12:53 AM   #7
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The iBook G4 that I owned was by far the most reliable laptop that I have ever had. I never had any trouble with it and the battery life on a new battery with it is better than my non-unibody MacBook Pro. If you're not going to be doing anything too demanding the iBook should work perfectly for you

(Has it really been 6 years since I bought the iBook? )
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Old Jun 15, 2010, 07:31 AM   #8
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I have a g3 imac 400 mhz/256k ram, a g3 powerbook pismo 500mhz/512 ram and a g4 powerbook titanium 400 mhz/512 ram and all three work perfectally for me. i would see no problems with a ibook or a powerbook for what you want to do with it except for it not being quite as fast as a new macbook or macbook pro. my buddy has a g3 ibook with the dual usb/firewire ports and has no problems with it either
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Old Jun 15, 2010, 10:34 AM   #9
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Don't do the Clamshell. If they had a 1024x768 screen then maybe I wouldn't be so adamant about this. I own 3 of them, and while cute, they are not good for much. Even word processing is difficult on such a tiny screen. With 576MB of RAM in my 366MHz models its still far too slow. The clamshells are also very heavy. They weigh more than a 17" MacBook Pro! So you really don't want to be hauling that thing around with you all day.
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Old Jun 15, 2010, 03:41 PM   #10
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If you haven't seen it yet, Macintouch did a survey on Powerbook/iBook reliability here:

http://www.macintouch.com/reliability/laptops.html

It seems that the last generation of iBooks G4 were one of the lowest case of issues and I agree they are really reliable. I have a friend who still uses the white G4 iBook and it performs without a hitch. Take note besides the obvious wear and tear of the components like the hard disk, you also have to remember that the iBook's 5 year old CCFL backlight won't be very bright anymore and you might have problems taking notes in bright classrooms.
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Old Jun 16, 2010, 04:24 AM   #11
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the thing with the backlights is very important as it can be expensive to replace, and it all depends on the previous owners , some people have used the iBooks as their main computer , so loads of wear and tear , but you still can get some owned by some businessman/woman who only took a couple times a year on a business trip and took it in for a service to apple every couple month too
my second mini G4 is such a example belonged to my GP who had since he bought the mini in feb.2005 got it to apple store to get it cleaned inside every 6 month and changed ram and harddrive every 12 month with all related bills and even a major overhaul every 2 years , not because it would have been necessary just for precaution as the mini was only used to store some older documents in his private office
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Old Jun 16, 2010, 09:28 AM   #12
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What I would do...

If I was in your situation, I would go for the iBook G4. However, I would suggest sticking an SSD in it, and maxing out the Ram. I'm getting an SSD for my PowerBook soon. I have a friend that has a SSD in his iBook and it plain out screams. Its a wonderful little bugger for typing papers for school, internet, research and projects. Flash is not very good on it however but if you are a youtuber just add /html5 on the end of the url (http://www.youtube.com/html5) and it plays MUCH better. Now, my final suggestion on the iBook is to use OS X 10.4 Tiger. I really do not recommend putting Leopard on those machines because it really makes them slow. If you have any final questions, let me know. Peace.
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Old Jun 16, 2010, 01:18 PM   #13
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I think the more practical way to go is the G4, all things considered. Thanks everyone for the input. As of yet, I don't need one, but we'll see what school brings.

I just found out my tuition is going to be DOUBLE what I thought it was, thanks to the fact that I'm in the Fine Arts/Theatre program. Cheap, cheap laptops.
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Old Jun 17, 2010, 09:02 AM   #14
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If you could find one for the right price, a PowerBook G4 Aluminum would also work well. The screen is much higher resolution and it definitely looks more professional. People keep asking me if my PowerBook is brand new for some reason...

Plus you'll benefit from faster... everything, really.

I don't see that someone has asked this question yet... why exactly are you wanting to sell your MacBook? It's certainly faster than any of the G4 laptops you'll be getting to replace it, whether or not it's "overkill". I'm not even sure it's really overkill... for example, Office 08 takes forever to load on my PowerBook G4 (especially Excel). I needed it for all the XML Office files I'd get from people at school. Even iWork can be slow when on the battery. There were plenty of times where I was seriously wishing that the darn thing would just load faster. Yes, my PBG4 is maxed out. An iBook G4 will be even slower.

Don't get me wrong, for the most part this computer does its job. But I'm not so sure the MacBook really is overkill. I know you said not to say it, but the wisest course of action, I think, would be to keep the MacBook. Your system is still fully supported by Apple, you can use most of the latest technologies, etc. An iBook G4 will just push you back further. You may think it's overkill now, but what if as you get into college you want to run something that requires more oomph?
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Old Jun 17, 2010, 12:34 PM   #15
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If you could find one for the right price, a PowerBook G4 Aluminum would also work well. The screen is much higher resolution and it definitely looks more professional. People keep asking me if my PowerBook is brand new for some reason...

Plus you'll benefit from faster... everything, really.

I don't see that someone has asked this question yet... why exactly are you wanting to sell your MacBook? It's certainly faster than any of the G4 laptops you'll be getting to replace it, whether or not it's "overkill". I'm not even sure it's really overkill... for example, Office 08 takes forever to load on my PowerBook G4 (especially Excel). I needed it for all the XML Office files I'd get from people at school. Even iWork can be slow when on the battery. There were plenty of times where I was seriously wishing that the darn thing would just load faster. Yes, my PBG4 is maxed out. An iBook G4 will be even slower.

Don't get me wrong, for the most part this computer does its job. But I'm not so sure the MacBook really is overkill. I know you said not to say it, but the wisest course of action, I think, would be to keep the MacBook. Your system is still fully supported by Apple, you can use most of the latest technologies, etc. An iBook G4 will just push you back further. You may think it's overkill now, but what if as you get into college you want to run something that requires more oomph?
Well, there are a few reasons.

Firstly, money. When I bought my MacBook back in October, it replaced a 2007 era MacBook and a MacMini, both of which I sold to get the new machine. My wife sold her similar era MacBook to get a new one as well, as she wanted the better battery life of the newer model. However, this was not to be, as a month after she bought her machine, she knocked a glass of water into it, and not having any other machine for her schooling, she bought another new one (despite my protest that she could have gotten by with something a little older). Thus, money is of the essence presently.

Secondly, I've had a revolutionary change of heart over the last six months. What I did with the older two Macs to get this new one was silly. I had two computers that were perfectly suited to my needs, and I ran out to buy a new one only because of a few new features and the fact that my current machines had lost their lustre. However, you can't dwell on the past, and those two Macs are gone. What I have realized, however, is the money I poured into said new computer was a waste. I use little of it's muscle or space, and in fact, I haven't used the MacBook since I got the iMac two months ago off a friend. This alone should speak to how simple my computer needs are. iTunes, OpenOffice, Adium, and Safari are all I use. So there is no reason why I can't recycle another person's previously good equipment. I may not have the same reassurance or warranty that one gets with a new Mac, but if the iMac and the G3 are anything to go on, I don't really need that reassurance. I'll just keep everything backed up and, when they do kick the bucket, I'll buy another one, for another $200-400, keeping my costs down and continuing to recycle.

So, selling the MacBook will be a good thing. For both my wallet and conscience. I hadn't considered a PowerBook G4; I think I'll look into that. I recall hearing that the 12" is one of the best laptops ever made.
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Old Jun 17, 2010, 11:12 PM   #16
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Fair enough. Personally, I would consider how much of the money I'd sunk into an Intel MB vs how much I'd recoup from the sale. Figure out what ratio is worth it to you and if you can get it, great. If not, you've got a better computer than what you'd get with an older one.

I know a lot of people that love the 12" ones. Take a look at the 15" ones as well... they sound relatively big, but a 1280x854 resolution fits a lot more than 1024x768 and it's not very heavy (makes my 15" IBM ThinkPad feel like a bowling ball in my backpack). Plus the Aluminum MBPs come with more features than the iBook G4s typically do (far more advanced video cards, bluetooth, etc). When the difference is relatively little (difference of a couple $100 between iBook G4 and PowerBook G4 vs over $1000 between iBook G4 and MacBook) it pays to get the extra oomph. I never realized how much difference there was until I got my PBG4... compared to the iBook my family had, it was night and day.

Congrats on continuing your education! Are you working on undergrad school, or is this grad school?

And, hey, if you want to trade my PBG4 is in great condition
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Old Jun 28, 2010, 11:18 AM   #17
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Thread Necromancy! Just a quick update.

First of all, thanks everyone for the info. Now I looked at a number of PowerBook and iBook models online and elsewhere, but once I tallied up the costs for a new battery and HDD (which I figured would be the two major thorns in my side on a used machine) I was looking at better than half the cost of a new Mac, or in other words, $500-600. Not feeling nearly that rich, I revisited the idea of a Clamshell, and ended up settling on a university-surplus Gaphite 466Mhz SE model! *can hardly contain self* This was the laptop I'd always wanted years ago. But before you think I've made a brash decision, I'll present some facts to back me up.

1) Needs. All I need is a computer that can MSN, do word processing, and perhaps crawl onto the internet from time to time. All of these things (Adium, OpenOffice, Safari 4) can be done on the B&W G3 with 320Mb of memory, and while slow, it's still usable. I figure the extra 166Mhz of CPU and twice the memory will sort out the expediency problems. Sure, wireless internet will be slow, but that's not the main purpose of the machine, and a FireWire port allows me to keep a standing backup of the machine at all times (and not have to wait three days to make one either).

2) Cost. Barring catastrophic meltdown, for the machine, a new HD (I'd like an SSD, but I'd settle for a run of the mill standard drive, whatever as long as it's not 10 years old), and a fresh Li-Ion cell, I'm going to be out maybe $250. If bad things do indeed happen, I figured I could pull parts machines from Ebay to keep it going (as it's not the ONLY computer), or if the screen hiccups, maybe do the XGA upgrade using a screen from the Ice iBooks.

3) Awesomeness. I've always had a soft spot for the coloured Macs, and I think that we'll get along just fine, as I understand the little thing's limitations.

So, I just wanted to reassure everyone that I did take your help into account, and thought long and hard about it before going ahead with my own plans. If my plans fail terribly, then I suppose it'll be back to G4s, but at least I'll be able to say I'd tried.
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Old Jun 28, 2010, 11:26 AM   #18
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For all the money you'd invest in a clamshell iBook you're better off finding an iBook or Powerbook G4 with a decent battery for around the same price. Look around on eBay and just wait for the right one to come up.
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Old Jun 28, 2010, 12:35 PM   #19
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If I was in your situation, I would go for the iBook G4. However, I would suggest sticking an SSD in it, and maxing out the Ram. I'm getting an SSD for my PowerBook soon. I have a friend that has a SSD in his iBook and it plain out screams. Its a wonderful little bugger for typing papers for school, internet, research and projects. Flash is not very good on it however but if you are a youtuber just add /html5 on the end of the url (http://www.youtube.com/html5) and it plays MUCH better. Now, my final suggestion on the iBook is to use OS X 10.4 Tiger. I really do not recommend putting Leopard on those machines because it really makes them slow. If you have any final questions, let me know. Peace.
I really agree with your perspective, the iBook G4 is an excellent choice. I use it daily and I find it very valuable, convenient.
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Old Jun 28, 2010, 10:11 PM   #20
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For all the money you'd invest in a clamshell iBook you're better off finding an iBook or Powerbook G4 with a decent battery for around the same price. Look around on eBay and just wait for the right one to come up.
This isn't exactly timely advice since he's already bought the iBook...
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Old Jun 29, 2010, 01:14 AM   #21
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This isn't exactly timely advice since he's already bought the iBook...
Was gonna say, I'm not sure if you guys noticed how I worded this, but I have in fact already bought the Clamshell. I have my hopes, but if things go awry, then it'd definitely be for my foolhardiness, and I'll probably look at PowerBooks. I just have such a fondness for these old machines that I figured it needs to be worth a try. I know what kind of performance to expect as I have the B&W tower, and having said that, this iBook definitely is better outfitted.

I'll keep you all posted when it shows up. I'm stoked.
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Old Jun 29, 2010, 08:24 AM   #22
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Good luck. I do hope everything works out for you, let us know how it goes.
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 08:21 PM   #23
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I really would advise against buying any iBook G4. I went through one and my friend went through another, both 12" models; mine was the 1 GHz model and his was the 1.33 GHz model. Both have the soldering problem where a chip loses contact with the logic board and the computer freezes. It took me a while to figure out which chip and repair it, and it still doesn't always work right. iBooks...any iBook in my opinion is a waste.

Also, character is nice, I agree, but when it comes down to it who really thinks about the guy with the cool coloured laptop at the end of the day? Go for functionality, and if looks come along great. My advice would be to buy a 12" PowerBook G4 if you are going to buy into legacy equipment. I got one for $250 on Craigslist with a 1.33 GHz processor, Superdrive, airport, bluetooth etc. and a NEW battery.

OR...
get a macbook
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 08:28 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by Davy.Shalom View Post
iBooks...any iBook in my opinion is a waste.
I disagree completely, my iBook was the most reliable Apple computer I have ever owned. My MacBook Pros have all paled in comparison to the reliability of the iBook. I never had a single problem my iBook G4 but I've had my MacBook Pros repaired 12 times and replaced 4 times. (These were all for serious hardware faults, I was not being OCD about the issues.) This is just my experience of course, and my current MacBook Pro has worked fine (knock on wood) for over 2 years, but it has an Nvidia 8600M in it, so, it too is going to have a major hardware failure.
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Old Jul 5, 2010, 11:43 AM   #25
drewdle
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Originally Posted by iBookG4user View Post
I disagree completely, my iBook was the most reliable Apple computer I have ever owned. My MacBook Pros have all paled in comparison to the reliability of the iBook. I never had a single problem my iBook G4 but I've had my MacBook Pros repaired 12 times and replaced 4 times. (These were all for serious hardware faults, I was not being OCD about the issues.) This is just my experience of course, and my current MacBook Pro has worked fine (knock on wood) for over 2 years, but it has an Nvidia 8600M in it, so, it too is going to have a major hardware failure.
Glad to hear it! I've seen people with similar experiences, including my resident Apple tech, who's most reliable laptop is still his TiBook 1Ghz. We also get iBooks in all the time for routine maintenance (Leopard upgrades, memory and hard drive replacements, etc) that are still going strong, where most of the Intel Macs are in for problems. There's always the exception that proves the rule, but in general, I can corroborate your feelings on the matter.

My iBook is on the local courier's delivery truck as we speak. Just a matter of waiting for it to get here. I'm like a kid on Christmas morning.
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