Mac virgin looking for cheap laptop

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by cusm, Jul 24, 2006.

  1. cusm macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    #1
    I have never had a Mac before but would like to get one. I am looking for a cheap, would like to stay under between $150-400 range, laptop to watch DVDs, do some basic Office and surf the web - and all wirelessly.

    I need a lot of help, I have been reading but I need a lot of help.
    Which OS do I need?
    Is a G3 enough and if so what speed?
    What about wireless?
    Any cheapos with USB 2.0 and/or firewire?
    Any other questions or requirements I am forgetting?


    Thanks everyone.
     
  2. Eraserhead macrumors G4

    Eraserhead

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #2
    10.4 (Tiger, the latest version) is useful as a lot of Mac software requires it, i wouldn't go any lower than 10.3 (Panther), for both you will need at least 512MB RAM.
    Probably, I think a G3 will be fine, i'm not sure on the exact speed you need, a G3 may not be supported with 10.5 (Leopard) (probably due in January 2007), more info will be known in a week or two, so from that perspective a G4 may be more future-proof.
    If it is a G3 iBook it will have original airport, if it doesn't come with a card I would try and get a newer G4 model as original airport cards are very expensive (over $100). All iBook's ever made come with the option of wireless internet
    All iBooks (i believe ever) have firewire, you need a G4 iBook for USB 2.0

    Overall I'd get a G4 iBook if it's within your price range. Realistically you are going to need to spend closer to $400 though :(.
     
  3. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    Stuck in the middle with you
    #3
    You can probably get pretty decent G4 book at a price near the top of your range, and a decent G3 near the middle. If you're not used to macs and just want to try one out, don't spend a ton of money on something fast enough to run 10.4. 10.3 is a lot less demanding and you can find a much cheaper computer capable of running it.
     
  4. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    The Msp
    #4
    LIke others have said, your best bet looks to be a low-end G4 iBook or mid to high-end G3 iBook. I would also look at a Powerbook G3 Pismo if I were you. They have USB (though I think it's 1.1) and Firewire, and run decently fast. Plus, they have the added ability to swap drives and batteries in and out, and they were the first Powerbooks with a built -in DVD decoder card (for movies) as well as a slot for internal Airport. Any other Powerbook before the Pismo won't have those options. It is larger than an iBook, but I think they're much cooler computers in general.

    I ran Panther (10.3.9) on my Lombard, which was a 333Mhz G3, and it ran pretty well. As with any laptops, especially the older ones, you'll want to max out the RAM, though PC133 SO-DIMMS are pretty cheap nowadays.

    Edit: I wouldn't try to run Tiger (10.4) on an older G3, btw. It'll run if you use XPostFacto, but it'll probably run decently slower than Panther. Stick with Panther, you'll love it.
     
  5. Navintar macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2006
    Location:
    California
    #5
    Check out http://www.macauthority.com. They have a refurbished 12" ibook G3 for $369. The ibook probably doesn't come with an airport card, but you can buy separately a used one for much cheaper.

    If you're not interested in getting a new one, at least you know that the used one shouldn't cost more than this.
     
  6. falcon1 macrumors regular

    falcon1

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Location:
    Georgia
    #6
    Do you know anywhere where I can get a refurbished iMac, the one where the screen moves around? My price range is from $100 to $500. I mainly want this one to play around with and just play games on so it doesn't have to be the fastest computer but I still want it to be decent fast. I want it to come with a keyboard and mouse but if not and its at a good price thats ok. I want to order it online because I live in a relatively small town without alot of big chain companies.
     
  7. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Up the irons
    #7
    As someone had pointed out before, the PowerBook G3 (FireWire) aka "Pismo" would be a cool thing to look into. I have seen a bunch of them on ebay. I have also seen Pismos with the upgraded processors. From a G3 to a G4 500mhz to 550mhz. 3rd party processors but they significantly improve the machine.

    I am running a G3 "Pismo" 400mhz and Panther runs really well. Tiger seems to be a big of a drag on the G3 machines and low end G4s. For someone who's just going to watch a dvd, and do word processing, Panther and Tiger wont be much of a difference. Panther just seems a little more zippy from my experiences.

    So look on ebay for a G4 Pismo :) Probly will cost you between 200-500 bucks.

    Yeah the USB is slow, connecting an iPod and sending songs takes a little longer, but the FireWire is nice.

    Moives have run great on this little machine. No problems there.
     
  8. KingYaba macrumors 68040

    KingYaba

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Up the irons
    #8
    You wanted an airport card? You just install it under the keyboard in the Pismo and your set to go. Again, ebay is your friend :)
     
  9. killuminati macrumors 68020

    killuminati

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2004
    #9
    I just checked eBay and there are a lot of iBook G3s going for around $300.
     
  10. generik macrumors 601

    generik

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Minitrue
    #10
    Does it need to be a laptop? You can actually get a very handsome Mac Mini for that price
     
  11. cusm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    #11
    I thought about a Mini in the living room for this, but I would like to have a portable DVD player, and with my XBox 360 and my XP MCE machine, I am only missing internet and Office functionality in the living room.



    One more question, do you have to use the Airport cards with the G3s, or can you use a PCMCIA wireless card with them?
     
  12. blackbook macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2006
    #12
    um... try craigslist... lots of people are just trying to get rid of the G4 iMacs. They're used, though. I just saw one for $350 in the NJ Craigslist.
     
  13. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    The Msp
    #13
    The iBooks have no PC Card slots, but the Powerbooks do. I used a Microsoft PCMIA wireless card that I got offa the marketplace here for $20 on mine. Google is your friend in this case, as there are sites dedicated to seeing what cards work in older Macs and which don't. Also, which work with OS X and which don't.
     
  14. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #14
    A G3 Mac might be okay, if you're planning on using it mainly for mail, documents, browsing and stuff.

    I'm going to be replacing my own G3 because of the increasing number of graphics apps and devices (such as DVD burners) that will not run on my G3.

    And it's only gonna get worse.
     
  15. cusm thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    #15
    Your G3 will play DVDs, correct?

    I have another PC that I can/will use for anything big, I am just looking for something to use as a portable DVD player, use email and the internet - including watch trailer/video on - and use to do some Word/Excel files. I see deals all the time for $400 PC laptops, but I want to jump into the Mac world, but I am not ready to jump in 100% and I thought a laptop would be a great stepping stone.
     
  16. livingfortoday macrumors 68030

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2004
    Location:
    The Msp
    #16
    G3 iBooks (the white ones) will play DVD's, and Pismo Powerbooks will. Earlier G3 Powerbooks need an Apple DVD Decoder PC Card in order to watch DVDs.
     
  17. macbrooke macrumors regular

    macbrooke

    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2006
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario!
    #17
    Im running Panther on the old clamshell and its fine.
    its a 366 with maximum ram configuration.

    I run Tiger on this laptop my 600 with 640 ram and its quite nice.
    I have a highspeed connection and this computer is quite fast.. I was amazed.

    you can run Tiger on a G3 I think you just need to have plenty of Ram.. I have been told you need at least 256 for Tiger alone.

    so I would not rule out Tiger on an older G3...


     
  18. JackSYi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2005
  19. Xeem macrumors 6502a

    Xeem

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #19
    Best Book under $400

    On eBay for $399: Titanium Powerbook G4, 550 mHz, 512 MB RAM, 16 MB Mobility Radeon, 20 GB hard drive, DVD-ROM/CD burner, with Tiger installed. Looks like no Airport card, but it has a PCMCIA slot (and I know from my old TiBook that the Linksys 8011.g card sold at Walmarts everywhere works great in it).

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Apple-Macintosh...ryZ14909QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

    I really don't think you'll do better than this for under $400.
     
  20. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Location:
    Reality
    #20
    No, just a CD drive.
     
  21. ImNoSuperMan macrumors 65816

    ImNoSuperMan

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2005
    #21
    WOW fantastic Deal. Too bad, it`s already gone.
     
  22. Xeem macrumors 6502a

    Xeem

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #22
    Yeah, I was hoping cusm would check the thread before the auction ended, but a deal like that doesn't stay up for long.
     

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