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Is a PowerBook G4 Worth Buying?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Jony Mac, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    I've been tossing around this idea and wanted to get some other opinions. I currently have a 2009 unibody MacBook, but I am thinking about purchasing a PowerBook G4 for my wife.

    She currently has a Dell Inspirion 8600 which the battery is shot on and it is slow. I'd like to get her a Mac, but trying to save money I was looking at PowerBook options. I am aware that upgrading beyond Leopard wont happen and I think I'm okay with that since she still runs XP.

    She will use this mainly for email, web, facebook, (facebook games), YouTube, etc. I'm not sure how in depth she'd use iTunes or any of the iLife suite.

    For what I mentioned above will a PPC PowerBook handle her needs? I only can compare how these apps / functions run on my current Mac which is far different than a PowerBook.

    If you could leave a reply or perhaps a suggestion or two that would be great.
  2. macrumors P6


    It won't be able to handle websites that are full of Flash and some YouTube videos may not play correctly. But if you where to get one, get a 1.5Ghz or faster one and max out it's ram.
  3. macrumors 65816


    I've seen Facebook games crash a brand new dual-core Mac with gobs of RAM. What are those stupid scripts doing? Doesn't anyone know what streamlining is anymore? It's no wonder the servers keep crashing.

    It's not the computer that is getting slow. It's the inefficient sites and software that are sucking more resources to do the same thing they did before with far fewer resources available.
  4. macrumors 68040


    Personally I am insecure without two Mac computers. I like having PPC machines around because I do have a lot of old media, including Mac floppy discs, that I might want to access at some point.

    What is most important to me about older Macs now is the video card, so I can drive my Apple Display.

    I have made my Display run off a 12" PPC Powerbook with 64mb of vram...

    Very cool.
  5. macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    So if I can find a 1.5GHz G4 and 1GB of RAM or more do you think this will be enough? As I said I only have my current Mac to go by since I've never owned a PPC.
  6. macrumors 601


    You may be able to get away with a late, high-end PB, but I think it would be easier to just get an early model MacBook which shouldn't be a ton more expensive. It will be useful for far longer than a powerbook.
  7. macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    I was thinking of that. The only problem is most people really don't take care of their MacBooks. Too get a MB in good condition I'm around $500 - $700 which I'd rather not spend that right now, which is why a PB was more appealing.
  8. macrumors 68000


    I'm going to 2nd the suggestion to go with 1.5GHz or better. I'm pretty pleased with how my 1.5GHz 12" handles modern day web and Leopard OS. Rarely do I find myself wishing it had more power when using it for daily tasks. I can only imagine having a 1.67GHz processor and a little faster graphics card can only make things even more pleasant.
  9. mrsir2009, Oct 27, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 17, 2011

    macrumors 604


    Its all down to lazy programming and bloated apps that don't actually need to be bloated :rolleyes:

    Get a late 2006 or early 2007 MacBook Pro ;) My dad has one. They shouldn't be very expensive now. Some are going for as low as $400 on auction sites :) If you find a bargin you could get a 15 inch one for $400... Maybe $450, $500 max. I've used one, and they are pretty great computer with good speakers. (BTW they seem to last forever!)
  10. macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    I've tried finding a early MacBook. On Ebay its hit or miss, either the early ones are expensive still, or the laptop is in bad condition. I still have not found a perfect match.

    Comparing to what my wife has now, (Inspirion 8600; 1.6GHZ Pentium M, 1GB of RAM, 60GB HD) would she see any difference with say a 1.33GHZ or higher PPC G4 with 1GB of RAM?

    Anyone have any other places to suggest where to check? I've looked on craigslist also.
  11. macrumors 604


    What country are you in? Because in New Zealand (where I live) there are a couple of 2006 MacBook Pro bargins on TradeMe. Mind you, if you live in Australia you can also use trademe (I think).
  12. macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    I'm in the US ..

    What about the question I asked earlier comparing specs? Would she notice a difference ?
  13. macrumors 601


    Looks like it would be roughly the same performance.
  14. macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    Hmm..thats what i thought. Hopefully I can find a MacBook then.
  15. macrumors 68000


    Have you ever used a single core Pentium M? They're trash! The G4 will smoke that thing in everyday use. The clock speed may be similar, but I can assure you there is a huge difference in how the CPU's work. A 1.6GHz pentium M is basically a PIII at heart.
  16. macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    So based on what I mentioned my wife will be using it for, do you think that a G4 is good enough? If so what minimum requirements should I look for?
  17. macrumors 6502

    Hey. Recently I decided to get an iBook G4 to save money. It is 1.33 ghz and has 1.2 gb of RAM. To be honest, it was a mistake. If you save up $200 more and buy a decent Macbook, this is what you will gain:

    - compatibility with modern software. EG: Microsoft 2008 and 2011, newer versions of Firefox
    - faster speed and larger hard drive. In the end, this will save you hours and hours of time (over the long term)
    - better multitouch functions. I'm not sure about the Powerbook G4, but you can't do the 2 finger scroll with an iBook G4. I really miss this feature.
    - more assurance that your data is safe - if you are using a 6 year old laptop, there are much greater chances of hard drive crashes
    - basic functionality - on my iBook, there are quite a few things that I can't do online b/c of the age of the machine. eg: YouTube is really jarring to watch.

    With this in mind, I wouldn't spend over $150 for a Powerbook G4. What you will lose in productivity time (and being forced to use old software) will erase any gains you made by buying a cheaper product.
  18. macrumors 68000


    An additional $200 is almost doubling what the Powerbook would cost. Naturally paying close to 2x more for anything is going to get you a better product. The whole idea here is that he's trying to not spend a lot of money. Also, Office 2008 only requires a 500MHz G4, and yes later Powerbooks do include 2 finger scrolling. I'll also say that reliability on Powerbook hard drives has proven much higher than on 2006 and 2007 MacBooks which are being suggested by many people. I personally have serviced several of these systems that needed drives replaced (Apple even admitted they were faulty and provided an extended warranty that just ran out 2 months ago). So I don't see anybody's data being safer on one of those. I'm not trying to argue here, but I just wanted to clarify some things. An Intel system is obviously going to have a longer support life, but its going to cost more to get one that isn't prone to problems.
  19. macrumors 68040


    the early fist generation Macbook's are a gamble a big one, and not worth the money people ask for , you looked at ebay so you must have seen loads of them sold as not working and with all sort of problems
    so if, then i would only ever buy a 17" macbook pro of that time

    read carefully


    and for the powerbooks loads of known issues too ,like failing ram slots in the 1.5 and 1.67ghz models

    SO if you find a MacBook or Powerbook ASK the owner if he had apple care or in case of MacBooks still has and if he had any parts replaced by apple if no apple care and no parts replaced better walk away as they do not get better with age
    if not better walk away from a ebay deal there is a reason why so many get sold as for parts or repair and not working

    your best source are apple certified repair technicians , they have sometimes some sources like company`s where they maintained their Mac's who now upgrade
    and they have a reputation to loose , so they wont sell you rubbish and check before they sell as they have the diagnostic equipment and dont rely on magic crystal balls ,ok might be a bit more expensive ,but a well maintained apple laptop is well worth the money, one that was not even cleaned inside in 1, 2 , 3, 4 ,.... years is worth nothing at all

    you might find one that looks like it came fresh out of the factory on the outside but is full of dust inside and so the risk is parts like processor harddrive constantly overheating because of the dust ,and most times over years already ,so you look for trouble and failing parts sooner rather then later
    but you can get one that had the logicboard replaced , display replaced , battery replaced by apple under apple care and is clean inside , but has a dent or a scratch on the outside ,
    the later is worth something as its likely to last another 3 years , the first is in my opinion only good for spares (to replace the shell of the one with the dent )
  20. macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/532.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0.5 Mobile/8B117 Safari/6531.22.7)

    Thanks Everyone. I am impressed with the replies so far compared to other forums I've joined.

    I'd like to find a MacBook so any software. / OS I add to mine I could also upgrade to my wife's.

    I am planning on doing this as an Christmas gift so I do have some time yet to hopefully find one.

    I doubt she'll use office or iWork. Probably iTunes and maybe iPhoto. Mail for sure and safari/firefox. So this is why I figured PowerBook. In addition tons of early MacBooks are in bad shape as mentioned. I just find it hard that many people don't take care of them, where the PowerBook users seem to have done so.

    Again thanks fir all the replies. Does leopard run pretty well on a PB G4? iLife 08 too?
  21. macrumors 68040


    yes leopard runs on the Powerbooks , but i urge to choose a later one with at least 1.25ghz and maxed out ram

    and its true there seems to be a change in "caring for my Mac"
    and a lack of knowledge , every computer needs cleaning inside from time to time ,
    but as apple made that really hard with every new laptop or desktop apart from the powerMac's /MacPro's people forget about that cleaning and believe a mac never needs cleaning inside ,

    i was on the lookout too for the cute Powerbook 12" 1.0 ghz(dvi) ok it takes only 1.25 gb ram but it looks just gorgeous and i am not a youtube fanatic , so its still perfect for emailing , surfing , office , but all i found so far had been either well overpriced or in a condition like it had been fallen of a lorry on a motorway and ran over by several cars or with dead batteries or not charging ones or scratches on display ,unreadable keys , excessive wear on the trackpad , with smudges all over :(

    here thats how a Powerbook should look like even after years of usage then its worth something and people are happy to buy it
    and if it has a new battery and harddrive fitted then you know it was cared for ,as it had to be opened and at least most of the dust fell out then :)
  22. macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    Indeed that should be how it looks.

    I just saw a 15" 1.67GHz; 1GB Ram; 80GB HD PowerBook G4 go for $315. Is that about the price I should expect or should I expect to get one cheaper?
  23. macrumors 68040


    pricing depends mostly on region even from town to town different ,at the end it all depends on the condition really , i would not argue about the price if the condition is right to justify the price ,if its fully functional with a new battery and really cared for and not kicked over school yards its well worth even more

    someone who cared for the Mac deserves a little appreciation
    and you should honour his care
  24. macrumors 6502

    Jony Mac

    Oh I totally agree, I dont believe it was a new battery though. I just want to watch that I don't over pay for something by a lot.
  25. macrumors 68040


    here its often quiet low in pricing , but it gives you a indication what things should be worth in "average condition " read" still working and lots of scratches and dents and 5 minutes battery life left " :rolleyes:


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