Cheap Mac Buying Advice

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by xoreu, Nov 12, 2006.

  1. xoreu macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    #1
    I have been looking to make the switch to a Mac for a while now, and I'm getting more serious about it now. I have a couple of questions that I'm sure you can help me answer.

    A small note: at the moment, I can't spend too much money on a new computer, so I'm looking for something fairly cheap.

    Looking at eBay and craigslist, many of the Macs on sale are old G4/G5 models. Considering the fact that I'm not planning to buy new computers for 2-3 years, how do these models compare with the newer ones and are they worth buying?

    Specifically, I'm looking right now at a 1.25 G4 eMac that I think is reasonably priced: it has a Superdrive, its RAM is upgraded to 1GB, and it has a wireless card and a 2nd monitor video adapter. Plus, the owner is throwing in speakers and an iSight camera. It's priced at $600. Should I go for it?

    Another question is this: I've seen the previews of OS X Leopard, and I really like it. I'm thinking of waiting the extra 6 months and then buying a computer already with 10.5. But I also seem to remember that right before the release of Tiger, the prices on Panther Macs fell. Did this (and will this) really happen? If so, should I wait a few months and then buy a new computer?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Reflow macrumors 68000

    Reflow

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    Location:
    NJ/PHL
    #2
    Well if this is first thought you should go ahead and buy the iMac. You can always upgrade later on to the newest os. I first started on a lombard G3 powerbook and loved it. So go ahead
     
  3. erikamsterdam macrumors regular

    erikamsterdam

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Location:
    amsterdam
    #3
    Why not spend a little more and buy a Mac mini with a cheap screen. A 17" tube is less than $100 these days. That way your computer will last you a lot longer.
    The G4 is just getting really long in the teeth...
     
  4. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #4
    macmall has iBook G4 12" for $799, which i think is much better than that emac
     
  5. CrackedButter macrumors 68040

    CrackedButter

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    Location:
    51st State of America
    #5
    Get the cheapest iMac, it is a great price for what you get. Even better if you are a student.
     
  6. erikamsterdam macrumors regular

    erikamsterdam

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2006
    Location:
    amsterdam
    #6
    If you compare that to a $1100 Macbook it is *so* overpriced. It may be cheaper, but the performance/price ratio is just very poor of the iBook.
     
  7. budugu macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #7
    The price itself considering the isight (1GB/DVDRW) is almost right. IT depends on what you want to use it for though! I would not want to use CRTs any more ... much less buy a computer that has one built in. The nearest imac is atleast (350$ away student + Tax). I sold my ibook 12" (512MB RAM/Combo) for 650$ (no isight) awhile ago.
     
  8. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2003
    Location:
    Penryn
    #8
    The eMac seems a little overpriced. I would consider it at $500 but not $600. I have a 1.5 Ghz PB and it's a little on the slow side after playing with the Intel Macs. I would highly recommend getting an Intel Mini.

    I'm planning on getting a Mini after Leopard comes out, I don't see the point in plonking down another $130 just for the new OS. It's possible that Apple will lower the price on the Mini, but I wouldn't count on it.
     
  9. xoreu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    #9
    More questions

    This is a late reply, but I'd like to thank you guys for your advice. Based on it, I decided to pass on the eMac (which, interestingly, still hasn't been sold) and I pretty much decided to wait until Leopard and iLife '07. But then...

    Up above, clevin posted this deal:
    I wasn't particularly interested, since, as erikamsterdam pointed out, it's expensive compared to its benefits, and, really, I don't need a laptop. I mean it would be nice, and definitely more convenient, but I can survive very well with a desktop, and I'd rather spend the extra money on better specs.

    But now, I've found a deal that has the exact same specs (1.33 G4, 512 RAM, 40 GB HD) but for $325. I had decided to save up and wait until spring/summer, but now I'm not so sure anymore...
    I've worked (and sometimes still work) on a very similar laptop. It's not the greatest thing in the world, but, for me, it manages quite well.

    This is the cheapest "workable" Mac I've seen, desktop OR laptop, and it has the obvious benefits of the latter. I'm unsure again, so I have to ask the same question: should I go for it?
     
  10. Mernak macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA
    #10
    I would personally go for the the iBook G4 1.25 gHz for $325. The laptop is cheaper, and will run just fine for everyday tasks. It mostly depends on whether or not price is a significant factor, or when you need the computer. I consider that price to be a steal for 325 and would personally get it if I needed an entry level mac. Plus if you do get a new mac eventually the laptop can be relegated to word processing, internet, etc on the go and would not really need that much power, so you get a powerful desktop and a computer for the road.
     
  11. Maxwell Smart macrumors 6502a

    Maxwell Smart

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2006
    #11
    Is 325 a good price for an ibook 1.25? absolutely. Would I go with an intel mini anyway? Yes, because if it were me, I'd want to be sure I could go smoothly with it into the future. G4s are only guaranteed OS support up until Leopard, so I think If I were in your boat, I'd much rather pick up a refurb'd intel mini. Then again, that's just my $0.02 ;)
     
  12. xoreu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    #12
    Ah, contradicting advice again!

    This is new to me: do I understand correctly that the G4 computers won't be supported by Leopard? Or is it for all versions after Leopard?
     
  13. Mernak macrumors 6502

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    Apr 9, 2006
    Location:
    Kirkland, WA
    #13
    G4 is supported by Leopard but is not sure to be supported by any future OSes (as of leopard the G3 is not supported). An intel mini is also a good idea, especially refurb, but since you do not have a setup it will be more expensive than just the mini. Of course I'm biased, I like laptops much better than desktops. A lot depends on personal preference and how much you are willing to spend. To tell the truth, the mini will definitely be faster than the powerbook. whether or not it justifies the price difference is your choice. If you are looking for a computer that you will keep for awhile, then go for the mini, if this is more of a temporary "holdover" then I suggest the powerbook.
     
  14. xoreu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    #14
    Now I understand, thanks.

    I guess this purchase would be more like your "holdover," since I'd like to get Leopard and iLife '07, and buying them separately when they come out would cost about half the price of a new Mini - something I'm not ready to pay.

    I guess I'll be able to survive on a slowish iBook for a while. If anything, I still have the newer Windows computer. Ideally, I'd be able to get a Mini (or, even better, an iMac) some time after 10.5 comes out. The reason I'm so hesitant is, if it so happens that I can't upgrade, I'll be stuck with an old computer with good, but already outdated software; mad at myself that I didn't have the patience to wait until everything was upgraded. That's why I'm going for the cheapest models - so I can get a better computer later.
     
  15. cecildk9999 macrumors regular

    cecildk9999

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    East Coast
    #15
    $300 is a good price for a laptop, especially with the specs you described. Even though all the buzz is about Leopard, I don't think that the new features are enough to get into a buyer's frenzy about; you'll be perfectly happy with everything a 10.3 or 10.4 system has to offer, and when you buy a new computer, 10.5 will be icing on the cake. It'll also be good to give 10.5 some time to get the bugs worked out, so you might not be looking to buy for well over a year from this point. That's just my 2 cents. :D
     
  16. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #16
    A 1.33GHz iBook G4 for only $325 is a great buy! :eek: :)


    I used to own a 12" 1.33GHz iBook G4 and it was a great little computer. :)
     
  17. xoreu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    #17
    Thanks! Your posts are very reassuring. :)

    In addition to that, having looked at the eBay prices for similar computers, I am getting more and more confident that this will is the computer I'll get.

    I guess I'll start inquiring about its condition, etc.

    But if others have comments or thoughts, I'd love to hear them anyway - I still have lots of time to make the final decision.
     
  18. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #18
    I'm afraid $325.00 might be too good of a price for that machine.

    If it works out GREAT, but cover yourself by making sure your transaction has
    recourse through Paypal or your credit card or hope it's a local pick-up.
     
  19. xoreu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    #19
    Luckily, this is through craigslist, so it is a local pick-up, but thanks for the heads up anyway. I'll wait to make a final decision until the seller gets back to me with some more detailed info.
     
  20. Quboid macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    Location:
    everywhere
    #20
    You diecison is made man. There's nothing that can beat $325.
     
  21. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #21
    Make sure you get all the original Mac OS X installation discs and hope
    that the seller also has the iLife installer disc.
    There's a chance it may only come with iLife '05

    No discs could indicate that the unit is stolen.

    Definitely register yourself as the new owner with Apple.

    If there's any problem with the serial number, they'll let you know.

    Log on to make sure it boots up, then check the System Profile
    ( Blue Apple in the top left corner ) " About this Mac "
    It will tell you what you've got for Processor, OS version, RAM, HD space etc.
    Hopefully the seller has kept it current and you're up to 10.4.8
     
  22. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #22
    I agree, an iBook G4 for only $325 kinda makes the decision for you. :D

    Good advice to follow if you decide to buy the iBook. :)
     
  23. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #23
    Not trying to burst your bubble on that price, but a 12" 1.33 GHz iBook G4
    in good condition is well worth $500-$700.00 depending on conditon, RAM
    software etc.

    Refurbs are listed at Apple for $799.00 with full factory warranty.
     
  24. cecildk9999 macrumors regular

    cecildk9999

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2006
    Location:
    East Coast
    #24
    of course, some people just don't know the value of what they're selling is. Obviously, you want to be careful in your decision to get it, but if the seller is basing his/her price point by a straight-up spec comparison to say, a macbook (esp. w/out considering a PPC/Intel difference), then it's just your benefit. Good luck!
     
  25. xoreu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2006
    #25
    Thanks for your advice - I'll be sure to check everything before buying it.

    Is there a way to check if it hasn't been stolen right there, on the spot? I know it would tell me that if I register with Apple, but is it possible to check the serial number before registration? This isn't very important, I was just wondering.

    In the meantime, I'll be waiting for a reply from the seller - it's the day after Thanksgiving, so I'll probably have to be patient. :(
     

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