Buying a Used 12" PowerBook G4: Questions

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by joshspazjosh, Feb 25, 2008.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2008
    I already have a 20" Intel Core Duo (not Core 2) iMac. I am a college student and would very much like a laptop, so I was thinking about buying a 12" PowerBook G4 on the cheap at eBay. A couple of people at my school have it and it seems like it would be a good and cheap companion to my iMac.

    Things I would use this laptop for: Internet, music, iWork '08, the occasional bit of Photoshop work (or maybe just Pixelmator work), capturing DV video with iMovie (but not editing, I would do that on the iMac)

    Here are some questions:

    1) I know there was a recall of PowerBooks a while back... does this include the 12"? Would I need to send it in very soon after I bought it?

    2) Did the 12" come with Panther or Tiger? Will I need to buy a Tiger install disc to upgrade?

    3) I'd like to run Final Cut Studio 2 on it... not that I would edit video, but I do like Soundtrack Pro, and sometimes I like to do a quick effect in Motion. Is that even possible on the G4?

    4) Is this generally a good decision?

    Thanks so much!
  2. macrumors 68000


    Mar 30, 2005
    1. The only recall I know of was the battery

    2. It shipped with panther and later with tiger

    3. Yes if you get the last generation model

    4. Not really as 12" PB still hold their value unless you get an older one (older one most likely won't run FCS well) someone said they saw one sell for 1,800 on eBay the other day.

    I personally would get a low end MB.
  3. macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2004
    I just found a 12" powerbook on Craigslist for a friend as her first mac. She's loving it. The one I found on Craigslist had a fresh install of Leopard, but I do believe most powerbooks shipped with Tiger.

    iMovie 08 will not run on the G4, but iMovie 06 will.

    I'd go for it, especially for class and research and general surfing, but don't expect it to work the video transfers quickly.

    Photoshop Elements or Pixelmator work fine.

    Good Luck
  4. macrumors member

    Nov 12, 2007
    Back in November, I upgraded from an older 12" Powerbook to my current mid-range Macbook.

    I had the Powerbook for 3 years of university, and I'll be honest, at the time I loved it! That being said, once I installed Leopard, I could start to feel it getting long in the tooth. Stick with Tiger if you can.

    I don't know if I'd trust it to do any major video editing. If you just wanted it to run Office apps, music, and web browsing while you're away from your MAIN machine, I honestly think you'd be set.

    But, if you had the extra cash lying around (don't students always ;-) the new Macbooks are incredible little machines.

    Good luck with your decision!
  5. macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    This. The MB will outperform the PB in every conceivable manner one can test. I'd only get the PB if I absolutely needed to run PPC only applications.
  6. macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2004
    The reason I won't go for a MB are:

    • Footprint is smaller on PB
    • Matte screen is nicer on PB
    • Aluminium build quality of PB is far superior than on a MB

    Computationally I agree, but aesthetically I disagree with your comment.

  7. macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2005
    Denver, CO
    I have an 12" PB Rev A (867, w/ 1gb of memory, running Leapord) and would LOVE to get rid of it. It's a dog, has trouble playing YouTube videos, and is really only good for the web (non-video).
  8. macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    I adore my 12" powerbook, its fantastic. Without a doubt the best mac i have ever owned: sweet size, great battery life, so durable (half a bottle of coke in the keyboard and a huge pang in the side prove this), and in general just really really reliable.

    i wish i hadn't panged it though, it kind of spoils its aesthetics:(
  9. macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2004
    In a house. On a street. In a city.
    I use my 12" Powerbook (last revision) daily to maintain a website and for the occasional Photoshop-ing. It's great! And it runs Leopard without feeling slow. Plus, if you prefer the small size, there's really no other current Mac option. I say, go for the PB.
  10. macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2008
    Ours has been incredible. My wife used it to pay bills on the couch for a few years. It never left the house.

    It'll be hitting the marketplace here soon. Just gotta wipe it and re-install Tiger.
  11. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Feb 25, 2008
    Thanks so much for your input! I think i am going to get it.

    I was planning to just run Tiger on it, so Leopard isn't a big deal. FCS isn't a deal-breaker for me either, just something that would be handy when I'm shooting video.

    One more question: I am kind of... very active? I've replaced about 10 iPods over four years under warranty because I shook them around too much in my pocket and the hard disks failed on me. Since the Powerbook isn't pocket-size, I'm pretty sure I won't have this problem, but does anyone have any case recommendations (if they are still even manufactured) for this model that offers more protection then the padded back compartment of a Timbuk2 messenger bag?
  12. macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2005
    'Ol Smokey, UK
    i use a tucano second skin, although it didn't protect mine enough when i dropped it 4' onto a hard floor!

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