g3 vs g4 in used iBook

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ssledoux, Sep 17, 2006.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Would it be totally ignorant to consider a g3 iBook at this point? I'm trying to pick up something for my daughter to use for home schooling, iTunes, internet, pictures, and that's pretty much it.

    Where would a g3 max out as far as upgrades? Is a 600 mhz g3 even worth having?

    I'm looking at around $200 - $250 for the g3 (does have airport, 512 ram, OSX, though its probably jaguar, but I'm thinking I could upgrade at least to Panther, 600 mhz, etc.).

    Or, for around $550-600 on a good day from ebay, I can get a g4.

    What will my limitations be with this? Will I be sorry if I do the g3, or will it suit my needs?
  2. macrumors G3


    G3 is fine, as long as you have plenty of ram.
  3. macrumors demi-god

    Spanky Deluxe

    I'd really recommend trying to get a G4. I've fixed up a G3 600Mhz and two G4 iBooks and the G4s are certainly a lot more snappy. Most applications these days are full of Altivec instructions making the G4 faster clock for clock. The G4s also tend to have nicer graphics chips, supporting Quartz Extreme which makes a *big* difference imo.

    Edit: The G3 600 I used I upgraded to 640MB RAM and the G4s (a 1Ghz and a 1.2Ghz) I upgraded to 768MB RAM. The extra ram on all of the machines made a noticeable difference.
  4. macrumors 68020

    Keep in mind that Apple barely supports the G3 these days. The latest iLife (except iTunes) and iWork applications require a G4, and it's not entirely certain that Apple plans to support the G3 with Leopard.

    If you do decide to get a G3 iBook, I would recommend looking for a 700 mhz or higher because these models support quartz extreme, which really helps the user experience by providing 3d hardware acceleration for all of the eye candy in OS X. This makes the machine "feel" much faster than the earlier models.

    Having said all this, I have a 900 mhz G3 iBook and it is more than adequate for iTunes, internet and photos.
  5. macrumors 68020

    Leopard will not be supported on the g3, or its very doubtful. apple used to say it would but they have changed the wording around.
    anyway the g3 will be fine for everything she'll need, but anyfurther is in question. the g4 will futureproof it more and leave some room for expanding.
  6. macrumors 65816


    i say neither, go macbook. why? mac laptops have been underpowered for years before intel.

    but if you have to really because of the money, definitely a g4 powerbook or ibook.
    load it up with as much ram as you can, that will help. you may also want to upgrade the hard drive. doing so will help save your data. older hard drives are more prone to failure.

    so... at least you get some performance and reliability.

    if you dont upgrade hard drive, please regularly backup
  7. macrumors 68020

    You're missing the point here. It doesn't matter that the G3 and G4 are less powerful. The point is, they're plenty capable of handling the intended tasks. Plus, a new MB costs over $1000.
  8. macrumors newbie

    g3 or g4

    We actually own a g4 iBook and a MacBook. I want to purchase 2 more iBooks for my 2 other kids (we're trying to go all Mac and get rid of every Windows computer we have). $$ is definitely an issue here. Another MacBook is out of the question.

    I am pleased with what the g4 iBook does for what we need, so I was wondering what I'd lose going with a g3. I could afford nearly 2 g3's for the price of a g4 (unless I get a great deal - which I have been looking for).

    Since I am fairly new to Macs, a lot of what yall are saying is over my head. I mainly want to know with surfing the net, using iTunes, AIM, and playing with and editing pics, if there will be a noticeable difference in speed/performance between a g3 and a g4.
  9. Moderator emeritus


    If you get one of the "Dual USB" or later iBook G3s, that look like the iBook G4s, you should not be in such bad shape. The big things you'll miss are 802.11g (as opposed to 802.11b, so if you use a -g network at home, it will get dragged down by the iBook G3s) and perhaps bluetooth. Just make sure that they have adequate RAM for the OS version they run (get at least Panther), and big enough hard disks.
  10. macrumors 68020

    i owened a dual usb g3 ibook and it had a 802.11g extreme card in it. but unless you swap files around your house alot or have a very big house you wont notice the diffrence between the two. i say get the g3s, they are great machines and are sufficient for most. you wont be able to put newest software on them,or at least with out hacking them. I would run panther or earlier.

    sure their will be a difrence between the two. good enough for double the price, no.
  11. macrumors regular

    Get a Pismo. If you are looking at a 600MHz iBook then I say go for a Pismo PB. The iBook have a problem with the video card failing causing the computer to be unusable and too expensive to fix. Apple has a repaor program for them but only for 3 years from purchase and the 600's etc.. have all gone past that. The G3's (especially the early snow's) are really not adequate. Even though the pismo is technically slower it has more Cache memory which makes it faster and FSB - from memory at least. They are a better machine - you would have to get at least an 800 iBook to compare to it.

    Either that or run OS 9 on either of those and feel how fast they can really be. If all she is going to be doing is email web word etc.. OS 9 is a great way to save resources on older machines. It should feel very very snappy. Still get a Pismo though.

    Also with a pismo you don't have to use an "airport" card you can use an inexpensive pcmcia generic card for wireless. Best bet is Lucent Orinoco.

    Rokem: how did you get an Airport extreme into your iBook?
  12. macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    it's a tough choice...right now OWC has a special on used dual USB G3 iBooks. OWC is a great company to deal with, so it's tempting as a basic computer.

    Still, my motto has alway been "buy the most powerful computer you are willing to pay for", so I can't really say one way or the other.

    iLife can be demanding for G3s, but for just internet/iTunes the G3 should be more then good enough.
  13. Moderator emeritus


    Are you sure? Was it some sort of hack? Apple-history.com reports even the last iBook G3 in 2003 as Airport (and not AE).
  14. macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    I'm pretty sure that all G3 Macs are Airport only.

    Not that that is a bad thing; I'm using an 802.11b Airport card in my Power Mac G4 right now and it hums along nicely.
  15. Moderator emeritus


    Except when you are doing transfers on the intranet (from computer to computer), unless you have an exceptional network, you won't really notice it, yes -- that's true. I'm sorry. I don't think it's a major flaw. I think it might actually be a really good plan to get G3s.....
  16. macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    Good point - I can't, for instance, play a DVD (VIDEO_TS) over the network (I think you can do that with 802.11g?), but for surfing/downloading it really doesn't feel any slower than 802.11g with a DSL broadband connection.
  17. Moderator emeritus


    I've never tried it, but I know I can stream live video between my Mac and my DVR wirelessly. It takes actual transfer rates on the order of 300 kilobytes per second. Which is... about 2.4 mbps. Which means in principle it should still work on 802.11b, although you'd need to be close to the router.
  18. macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    I've tried viewing DVDs over the network between my 802.11b PowerMac G4 and my 802.11g PowerBook G4 and it skips constantly. The PowerMac is upstairs from the router (maybe 15 ft and through the floor), but I get very good signal.

    Fortunately, that's really the only limitation of the original AirPort that I've ever experienced.
  19. macrumors newbie

    confused more than ever now...

    So if I have an 802.11g router, it will or won't work with the g3's? That is the router I have and I do need to be sure the wireless will work on our network. The laptop will be in the same room, probably about 15 feet from the router.

    I'm sorry for being so difficult, it's just like a foreign language to me.

    FWIW, I am definitely looking at the g3's that look like the g4's. I'm trying to stay around 700 - 800 mhz and a decent amount of ram.

    Is it hard to add ram? Is it possible to FIND ram for the g3's?

    The deals at OCW look really great. I am wondering about this tag they say they have on the tops of the laptops; some kind of metal thing. Does anyone know about this??

    Also, does OCW have any g4's? I have searched and can't get any to come up.
  20. macrumors G4

    Lord Blackadder

    Sorry for the confusion...I think I can answer your questions:

    - Routers are always backwards compatible, so an 802.11g router will work with both 802.11g and 802.11b cards (and an 802.11n router should work with all three standards, but I'm making things more complicated than need be).

    - finding RAM shouldn't be too hard. OWC sells it, so does Crucial Technology and distributors like Chip Merchant or Mac Mall. Put those names into google and you should be able to search for RAM for a specific iBook model.

    - As far as I know there aren't any other laptops for sale at OWC, but there are lots of third party vendors to shop like macofalltrades.com or dvwarehouse.com. Resellers tend to have higher prices than ebay, but are usually easier to deal with if something doesn't work as advertised. You can also check the marketplace here on MacRumors for people selling iBooks - you won't be able to post in the threads there but you could private message a seller and make an offer.

    - The metal asset tags on the OWC computers are probably identification tags used by whatever company or school owned the iBooks before they were sold to OWC. They sound as if they might be glued on - a cosmetic issue, but nothing that would alter the function of the computers.
  21. macrumors 68020

    im sorry my bad. it was 802.11b. i feel dumb now.

    anyways the g3 with 802.11b will work with your g router. the gotcha is instead of the network running at approx. 54mbs it will revert to b speeds at approx 11mbs.

    the ram, there will be two tabs on the keyboard, top left and right, and it will raise the keyboard up and off. from here you can add airport cards and memory. http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=111918 official link.

    edit: dang. beat by lord blackladder.
  22. macrumors regular


    You can use your router, but you will only be using 802.11b speeds. Shouldn't make too much of a difference.

    It doesn't look to difficult to add the ram. Look here-->http://www.ifixit.com/Guide/Mac/iBook-G3-12-Inch/RAM

    It doesn't look like they have any g4 iBooks.
  23. macrumors regular


    WOW, you guys all responded fast. I must type slow. :D
  24. macrumors newbie

    access speeds

    Rokem says it'll slow me from 54 mbs to 11 mbs. That sounds like a large difference in speed. I'm running satellite - does that make a difference? Am I getting that type of speed anyway??

    Gosh I wish I knew what the right thing to do was! I have to worry about the $$ issue, but I have this daughter that isn't going to want to wait months!
  25. macrumors regular


    Buy the g3's and don't wait a day longer! try to get some ram etc and you don't get that 11mbps with the internet so it isn't a big deal.... it's just good! just buy it and make your doughter happy. if i had a choise i'd buy it

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