Is it totally insane to buy a refurb 12'' Powerbook?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ceruleanventure, Nov 21, 2006.

  1. macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2006
    For the millionth time I can't figure out what mac laptop to buy for my rapidly approaching study abroad semester. I understand how much better the macbooks are compared to the powerbooks (spec wise) but I can't get the 12" powerbook out of my head. To me the macbooks are just cheap and ugly looking (no offense to macbook owners because beauty is in the eye of the beholder)

    Does anyone think it's foolish to spend $1,199.00 on a 12" powerbook refurb from Apple?

    And why oh why is Apple insisting on such high prices for the now out of date G4s? :confused:
    Do you think they'll lower the prices soon?

    And if anyone has one of the newer 12 inch models for sale (and it's in good condition) let me know ASAP.

    Thanks for the help forum...I just need more input because I'm so indecisive lol.
  2. macrumors 6502a

    Jul 17, 2002
    Los Angeles
  3. macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2003

    in short, yes.
  4. macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    THe price is high because that's what people will pay.

    You want 12" screen, aluminum body and ultimate portability (and perhaps Classic)?, then go for the 12" and be happy.
  5. jsw
    Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    I love my base 12" PB (1.25 GB RAM, 1.5GHz, 60GB HD, combo drive). Battery life is very good, portability is great, and the looks are, IMHO, better than the MBs. That said, I think that $1199 is excessive for Apple to ask at this point, and I'm not sure why people would buy one at that price.

    As it turns out, though, my wife is - oddly enough - starting to want a MacBook (why, I don't know). I might consider selling mine (excellent condition, 1.5 years of remaining warranty, two new batteries, two carrying cases) if you can't find one elsewhere (PM me), but... I'd personally go with the MB over the PB unless battery life and the somewhat smaller size are most important to you.
  6. thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2006
    Yup, I am crazy lol. I've considered a refurb macbook pro but I've held back because of:

    the price $1,400 with only 512 RAM, I'd have to spend at least another $100 on RAM because I know firsthand how crappy Intel machines run with only 512 RAM, so I'd spend over $1,500 on a machine which would exceed my budget.

    The size, 15.4 just seems to large to carry around in a backpack through Europe.

    I've held off on macbooks because of their general fugliness.

    The powerbook is just so pretty looking....And it'd match my iMac and ipod muhahahaha
  7. macrumors 6502


    Apr 28, 2004
    i love my 12" still
    have taken it to Europe and back
    and all over the 50 states
    it is just so small and useful
    and, honestly, packed full of goodies

    is it worth $1200 to me?
    i'm not sure
    but- i sure do love it

    i've been debating up grading for a while
    and i've decided to keep the 12" and replace my mac mini w/ a 'real' mac pro once leopard comes out

    so- in short- yes- i'd get the 12" and a nice case for it
  8. macrumors member

    Jan 27, 2005
    As one who had a 12" PowerBook in Paris for 3 months last year while studying abroad, I'd say I wouldn't recommend it.


    The metal case cuts down seriously on your wireless connectivity. If you're on study abroad and more likely to need to "borrow" a stray signal, you should look into getting something that can do that better like, say, a 12" iBook. My wife had an iBook, I had a PowerBook, and 9 times out of 10 her laptop was able to connect to random, weak wireless signals that I couldn't get to.

    An iBook would also be cheaper - much cheaper - and, unless you're using it for serious graphics (unlikely since it's a 12" screen) you won't need the extra power from the better video card. Other specs aren't too different.

    Get a little iBook if you must have a 12" form factor. Otherwise, consider a MacBook, as others have mentioned.
  9. macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    Given it's pedigree the 12" Powerbook should be a classic.

    The last revision 12" model was:
    • The smallest notebook ever produced by Apple
    • The most powerful 12" notebook ever produced by Apple
    • The very last Powerbook to be sold by the company, ending 14.5 years of history (starting with the Mac Portable)

    It's quite a cool page on Wikipedia about the Powerbooks in general. I think we may even have one of those 1400cs models kicking around the office...
  10. macrumors 6502

    Apr 29, 2005
    Hobart, Australia
    Well I upgraded from a PB to a Macbook, and I must say that the performance increase is very noticable. I find the old G4 too be very frustrating in intensive applications after using the macbook. The widescreen is also quite nice.

    In short, don't get the Powerbook :)
  11. thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2006
    #11 those who own powerbooks:

    I've been reading some other posts on macrumors, and there has been many mentions of this model having "dim" screens, is that true?

    Also does anyone find the 12'' screen to be restrictive?
    Is the macbook's screen that much bigger?

    Thanks for all the help, it's really important that I get all the input I can since I've never used either a macbook or a 12" powerbook!
  12. macrumors 6502

    Sep 30, 2003
  13. macrumors 68030


    Mar 14, 2005
    I'm not aware of any other 12" notebooks that Apple has produced recently that better it. The 12" iBook - not that it was more powerful - was discontinued for general sale the same day as the Powerbook version.

    What's your point?
  14. macrumors 6502a

    May 8, 2006
    The high desert, USA
    you should look into getting something that can do that better like, say, a 12" iBook. My wife had an iBook, I had a PowerBook, and 9 times out of 10 her laptop was able to connect to random, weak wireless signals that I couldn't get to.

    An iBook would also be cheaper - much cheaper - and, unless you're using it for serious graphics (unlikely since it's a 12" screen) you won't need the extra power from the better video card. Other specs aren't too different.

    For what it's worth, I really like my 12" ibook. It is a very handy size, fairly light, does most things quite well (1.33, 1gb ram) and really does pull in wireless signals better than any computer I have owned... Heck, I even like the keyboard...
  15. macrumors newbie

    Oct 31, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    I've had a 12" G4 PB for two years, it's been great for the most part. The logic board fried last summer after I'd been running a 23" ACD non-stop for a few months, but they repaired that under warranty and the PB is still going strong. I won't upgrade to a MBP until/unless they produce another 12" model, the 15" is just too big to cart around. As for the MacBook, the keyboard really puts me off: the 12" G4 has a fabulous keyboard, while the MB feels like a ZX Spectrum if you've gotten used to typing on a PowerBook.

    I've also got an Intel Mini with 2GB of RAM, and although that's obviously faster you'd be surprised at the G4's ability to keep up with browsing, email and word processing. (This may change when Office goes Universal, I guess.) If you're looking for a machine to do fairly standard tasks, and portability and looks are important, then I'd definitely consider a 12" G4.

    As for the comments about wireless range, it's certainly true that you can't see quite as much as you can with an iBook (my wife has one of those), but the difference hasn't been significant in my experience. It would be nuts to avoid a G4 12" for this reason. And screen brightness... well, it's not as good as the new machines, but it's totally adequate for most tasks.

    The question lurking behind all this: why doesn't Apple realise that there's a big market out there for a 12" MacBook Pro, and that many of us who don't want to cart around a 15" or 17" laptop are still in love with aluminum?
  16. macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2004
    on the sofa
    Yes, my screen is not as bright as the latest Macbooks and it takes a few minutes for the screen to come to full brightness. But that doesn't limit its functionality. I love my rev C 12 inch Powerbook and it does everything I need it to do right now.

    However I would not pay $1200 for a refurb today. The Macbooks are more powerful and cost less.

    Have you considered a Black Macbook refurb for $1099.:eek:

    Refurbished MacBook 2.0GHz Intel Core Duo - Black
    13.3-inch glossy widescreen display
    1280 x 800 resolution
    512MB memory (2x256MB SODIMMs)
    80GB 5400-rpm Serial ATA hard drive
    SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
    Built-in iSight camera
  17. macrumors regular

    Dec 30, 2004
    The 12" PB is a nice little machine.(I like mine) It's a fairly nice compromise of features.
    If you don't really need the faster video card I'd say a 12" Ibook would be better just for the better wifi reception.(many times I've wished for an Ibook)
    The Ibook has terrific reception!
    $1200 is way too much to pay also.

    Also the new machines and their capabilities have a lot of appeal.
    A basic "brand new" macbook is $1100.00! I think that would be a better route.;)
  18. Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    I have a PB15. Love it. Hate to carry it. While easier than a PB17, the PB15 is still big.

    Got my dad a PB12. It is so much more portable and easy to carry -- and it's a full featured computer.

    Also, since you are carrying it in a backpack, you have to consider how to keep it protected from bending in your backpack. That adds weight to your set up. Something to consider.
  19. macrumors 68000


    Mar 30, 2005
    Have you checked the market place on this site. It's better then getting it off of apple's site and you can save some $$
  20. macrumors 68030


    Apr 16, 2005
    Mt. Prospect, Illinois
  21. macrumors 68000


    Mar 30, 2005
    Hey I just saw that one. Looks like a good deal to me but I would love it to still have ac on it. Oh well it up to the op on what he decides on
  22. macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    You might be able to save $200.00 or so buying a last released 12"
    1.5 GHz PowerBook used, but you'll be out of warranty unless the previous owner can transfer the remainder of their Apple Care to you.

    Refurbs generally come in pristine condition, but if it doesn't and you're not satisfied, you can return it for refund or exchange.

    There's a good possibility that someone purchased the PowerBook you're considering just before the MacBooks were released, then decided to
    exchange it. Or it was DOA.
    If it was open box, Apple can not sell it as new.

    I agree that the price seems a bit steep, but she's a classic.
  23. macrumors G3


    Mar 20, 2003
    San Francisco
    Compared to macbooks/macbook pros, yes. I got a great deal on a PB shortly after getting my MB, and for a while debated which one to keep. The screen made the decision for me - the PB screen looked dim and hopelessly washed out compared to the MB screen, which is fantastically bright and crisp.

    That said, my 1 Ghz 12" PB was the best computer I ever owned, for the time I owned it. It was a beauty, and had no problems at all.

    THAT said, I could never go back to a single processor G4 after dual core intel goodness at this point.

    In short... you may not like the looks, but a refurb macbook would be a much, much better buy than the powerbook. If you could get that same powerbook for, say $800 on ebay, then that's one thing, but $1200? It wasn't worth that a year ago, based on the tech inside.
  24. thread starter macrumors regular


    Jun 12, 2006
    You guys are right....

    I had a nice long talk with my only mac using friend and we weighed the advantages and disadvantages of all the available models.
    I settled for the $1,399.99 refurb macbook pro. It's a bit over budget but I (and my friend agrees) that spending that much money on a powerbook would be a waste. I'm hoping for a magical upgrade on my refurb (hopefully RAM upgrade) If not my friend pointed out that I can just pull the RAM from my Intel iMac (which is going into storage) and stick it in the macbookpro.

    Thanks for all the advice! This forum is always so helpful, despite my indecisiveness :)
  25. macrumors regular


    Aug 7, 2006
    Kansas. No, not on a farm.

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