Please help me determine a fair price for this PowerBook G3

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Elan0204, Oct 26, 2004.

  1. Elan0204 macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #1
    I'm considering buying the following PowerBook G3, and need help determining a fair price to offer the seller. Here are the specs:

    PowerBook G3 (seller's says it is a Wallstreet, but EveryMac.com seems to believe it should be a PDQ Model based on the processor. What's the difference??)
    G3 266 MHz
    512MB RAM
    Modem is broken, but ethernet jack works fine.
    DVD Drive and Card
    New Battery (actual battery life not specified)
    USB Card
    FireWire Card
    "SCSI dock cable and every other cable you could need"
    "Screen has no dead pixels" (size not given, but should be 14.1" accroding to EveryMac.com)
    Hard drive size not specified (waiting on answer from seller)

    Also, can anyone tell me if this PowerBook will run Panther? I think I would be stuck at Jaguar, but wanted to make sure.

    Also, does anyone have any advice on whether or not I should even buy this model PowerBook?
     
  2. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #2
    No, i think the Lombard is the oldest Panther supported computer.
    You can install OSX with Xpostfacto, but i've heard that older powerbooks has problems with the graphics (they only runs in 256 colours).

    If you are planning to install osx, go for 10.2, its the safest.
    And the little extra few things that os 10.2 don't support and 10.3 does, would run horrible slow on the pdq. (The walstreets and pdq models are often mixed up, many calls them wallstreet II series)
     
  3. TLRedhawke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    #3
    The PDQ IS effectively the Wallstreet, but with a standardized 14" screen, and the same motherboard across the line. It won't run Panther natively, so yes, you're stuck at Jaguar. As for the price, I'll try to figure this out in US pricing, but forgive me if I'm a bit off, being Canadian and all.

    512MB PC133 SODIMM is worth $100 at least. The DVD drive, believe it or not, can go for $100 on its own, though the card is most often bundled with it. The USB and Firewire cards are worth $30 each. Cables don't matter. Most likely he hasn't swapped out the hard drive, so expect it to be from 2-6GB. The machine alone is worth $100-200. Offer him $250, but let it go as high as $300 if he complains. More than likely he'll take the $250. I suppose you could go as high as $350, but that's pushing it. Most of the price in this item is the add-ons and upgrades.
     
  4. Elan0204 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #4
    Thanks, TLRedhawke! I'd love some more input on pricing though, so others please feel free to weigh in.

    Also, can anyone recommend a Mac OS X compatible wireless network card that I could put in the card slot of the PowerBook?
     
  5. pinto32 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Location:
    PA
    #5
    I am too lazy to actually figure out the pricing (sorry), but if you don't mind doing a little research yourself, you could always go to eBay and see what the "going, going, gone" prices are for this class of machine. Its not perfect, but it might give you a good idea. As far as the wireless card, cnet.com is a great resource, it gives you rating of their signal strength and range (I got a Netgear router and card based on thier reviews last year).

    Keep in mind that you probably wont get very good graphics performance with this model, considering the strains that Quartz (osX GUI) puts on the video card, but if your needs are modest, I assume you will be fine.

    Assuming you do get this machine, this site will help you squeeze some extra performance out of it: http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20020221092653868
     
  6. AmbitiousLemon Moderator emeritus

    AmbitiousLemon

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2001
    Location:
    down in Fraggle Rock
    #6
    TRedHawk's pretty accurate. The computer sans extras is only worth $100-$200. The wallstreet is the thick g3 powerbook.

    The real gem of the G3 powerbook line is the pismo. Very nice computer even today. Load it up with two batteries and you get ~9 hours battery life. The lombard and wallstreet have 66mhz buses and very slow graphics. The pismo upped the graphics and bus speeds (100mhz) considerably and therefore are still good computers today. The poor graphics and bus of the lombard and the wallstreet make it pretty obsolete. These were both very nice machines in their day, and I actually prefer the styling of the G3 powerbooks over todays machines, but OSX is just too demanding for these machines.

    This little application can give you all the details of every mac ever made. Pretty useful little app: http://www.mactracker.ca/

    Be warned that the DVD drive will not be able to play DVDs in OSX. You will need to boot into OS9 for DVD playback.
     
  7. hello world macrumors newbie

    hello world

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    #7
    I still have this machine, and though I never use it, selling it is more trouble than it's worth.

    I'll warn you, that though I still love everything about this machine (almost as much as the Lombard/Pismo) and its personality, there is very little that you can do with it now beyond the internet.

    I wouldn't pay more than 200-250 for it, and even then I hold on to that for the next PB update, or get a new iBook.
     
  8. TLRedhawke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    #8
    Actually, the machine isn't entirely that bad, though it lacks a lot of the features that make the Pismo especially desirable. Sonnet sells some processor upgrades for it so that it can run a fair bit better, but the lack of video ram, as well as onboard USB and Firewire do cripple the machine somewhat.

    That being said, since this particular machine does include USB and Firewire cards, it wouldn't run too badly. I wouldn't rely on it as a mobile machine, due to weight and undoubtedly unexceptional battery life, though it would run fairly well as a dual battery system. With a processor upgrade (which goes up to G4 500MHz) the machine can handle many of the current applications. I considered grabbing one of these myself, but instead opted to work on a Franken-Pismo.
     
  9. Elan0204 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #9
    Thanks for the additional advice everyone. I too am a bit worried about the age of the PowerBook, and would definately prefer a Lombard or Pismo, but unfortunately they are outside my planned budget. I'm really looking for a secondary computer to use only for typing and wireless surfing on the go (although even then I may limit it to portability within my home). I have used a Beige G3 266MHz with 288MB of RAM, and it seemed to be able to handle those task OK. The PowerBook should be comparable, right?

    Although, I am a bit concerned about the size of the Wallstreet/PDQ PowerBooks. I didn't realize they were so much larger than the Lombard/Pismo. I was hoping to spend only about $200, though, which I figure is not going to get me anything better than a Wallstreet/PDQ.

    Thanks for the note about the DVD drive, AmbitiousLemon. I didn't know that. I wasn't really planning on watching movies on the PowerBook, but that is still annoying.

    As for the battery, the sellers claims it is new, and gets 2.5-3 hours out of it, which isn't bad. The installed hard drive is the original 4GB hard drive. Anyone know anything about upgrading that? I think I read something about Wallstreets having problems using the latest ATA drives.

    I took a look on eBay, and it seems like Wallstreets with worse specs (less RAM, generally no PCMCIA cards) than this one are going for over $200, and sometimes over $300. It seems like that is a above what people here think it is worth, but eBay tends to be overpriced. Any other thoughts on price would be appreciated.
     
  10. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #10
    FYI: my Lombard works just fine as a portable - browsing, emailing, iTunes, writing docs, etc. No speed demon, no, but not obsolete. The Wallstreet would probably be just fine running Jaguar, as, spec-wise, it's pretty similar to the Lombard (just doesn't run Panther officially).
     
  11. TLRedhawke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    #11
    Lombard is considerably thinner than the Wallstreet or PDQ. Certainly, a PDQ will function quite well as a wireless word processor, or as we like to refer to them at work, a "glorified typewriter", but you do have to consider the weight. Granted, the extra size and weight also provides a 2nd PC Card slot. eBay is overpriced on this model, as it tends to be on many models. That's what happens when you allow the world to make their best offer. For the money you want to spend, this is a great deal. I've seen early clamshell iBooks go for about that much, with nowhere near feature parity.

    As for the hard drive, it really shouldn't have an issue with them. The only real concern would be software support. OS 8 or 9 may have trouble with a larger drive on this machine, but OS X should have little trouble with it. The service manual for the product doesn't seem to indicate any problems with larger hard drives. I don't know how high you intended to go, but all in all, it shouldn't be much of an issue. Whatever you do, use at least a 5400 RPM drive though. If it's a new battery, it's not an issue. In fact, that battery sells for $100-150 alone, so bonus for you.

    As for the price thing, it's not that I think the machine isn't worth $300-400, it's that I don't think the vendor in this case is going to hold out for it. We all want you to get the best deal possible. My original price recommendation stands. It's rather surprising what older Macs (especially laptops) are worth nowadays. Apple machines have this odd tendency to maintain a rather high price point as they age, especially by comparison to PCs. Admittedly, part of this is due to the style factor, but another part of it is that Apple machines are overengineered at times. That is, a machine that is 6 years old, like the PDQ in question, is capable of running current applications. Apple eliminated it from running Panther, but it's certainly capable. Moreover, it's more than capable of running applications written for OS 10.2 and 10.3. Think you could run Photoshop CS on a Pentium 2 300MHz?

    Anyway, there's no need to have second thoughts. If this is all you can afford to spend, then this is quite clearly the machine for you, and you'll be getting a great deal on it.
     
  12. Elan0204 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #12
    Thanks TLRedhawke for the great response. I've contacted the seller and am hoping to hear back soon.

    I probably won't bother with upgrading the hard drive. It's not like I need more than 4GB on a secondary computer. The only reason I would really consider it is to put in a 5400rpm/8mb cache drive for the increased performance. It seems like the boost could be significant, but I'm not sure it is worth the cost.

    TLRedhawke, you seem to be know a lot about the PDQ, so you wouldn't happen to have any recommendations for a low cost, OS X compatible, PCMCIA wireless network adapter, would you?
     
  13. timsq macrumors regular

    timsq

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2004
    Location:
    New Orleans
    #13
    No Details here...

    $300 max for everything $175 for the Computer only. Only Macs over 600 Mhz are worth more than $300-$500. Unless they are processor upgradable.
     
  14. TLRedhawke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    #14
    The Aria Extreme is one of the more popular Mac compatible cards. These things were formerly called "Orinoco" for reference. The girl on the TiBook 2 seats down from me appears to be using a Linksys card, however. The best way to do this is to check out http://www.macwireless.com, as they specialize in all of this.
     
  15. TLRedhawke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    #15
    Hmm...actually, MacWireless is good, as they make all their own cards, but they can be a bit pricy. Cisco cards and Aria Extreme work natively with Mac OS X, but most brands do not. However, http://wirelessdriver.sourceforge.net/ is the page for an open source driver to support a number of third party cards. They only have a driver up to Jaguar, but that's just perfect for you.
     
  16. Elan0204 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #16
    Thanks again TLRedhawke! That open source wireless driver looks great. I'll just buy one of the compatible wireless cards, as the I think the cards at macwireless.com are overpriced.

    Thanks to all your help, I've decided to go ahead and make an offer on the PDQ/Wallstreet II that I described in my first post. Hopefully, the seller will accept. I hate waiting to get a response back by email, I get so anxious wondering why I haven't heard back. Thoughts lke, "was my offer too low, and I've offended the seller?" always fill my head.

    Your recommendation on what to offer the seller aside, what do you think this PowerBook including the extras listed is worth? Would you say that $300-$400 is probably the fair market value considering the extras? If I'm paying anything less than $300 is is fair to say I got a pretty good deal?
     
  17. TLRedhawke macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2004
    #17
    The machine with all the extras is most probably worth $300-400 all totalled. So, if he takes an offer of under $300, then you're getting a good deal.
     
  18. Elan0204 thread starter macrumors 65816

    Elan0204

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2002
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #18
    Thanks TLRedHawke. I'll post here again to let you know what happens.
     

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