Refurb PowerBook vs. black MacBook

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by jfsouza, Sep 18, 2006.

  1. macrumors member


    Sep 18, 2006
    Hello everyone!
    So here's my dilemna...
    I have a 1st gen iMac G4 right now, and I've been waiting about a year or so to get a laptop. At first I didn't want a MacBook Pro because I wanted the 2nd Gen with Merom. I recently realized that a MacBook Pro with Merom would be more expensive than a regular black MacBook and I decided I'd rather have sort of a bare-bones Mac laptop and one of those new 24in. iMac powerhouses. So I've decided to buy a laptop soon and get one of the new iMac's in the spring of 07 when Leopard comes out. However, I can't decide what laptop I want. It's basically a standoff between this refurbished 12" PowerBook Apple has on the refurbished section of its store or a new black MacBook. The PowerBook is the last generation of its kind so it is (or was) top-of-the-line. Here are the specs:

    - Apple Certified Refurbished PowerBook G4
    - 12.1-inch TFT Display
    - 1024x768 resolution
    - 1.5GHz PowerPC G4
    - 512MB DDR333 SDRAM
    - 80GB Hard Drive
    - Slot-load SuperDrive
    - NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 (64MB DDR)
    - Full size keyboard
    - 10/100BASE-T Ethernet
    - FireWire 400
    - Analog audio in/out
    - Mini-DVI out
    - Trackpad scrolling capability
    - AirPort Extreme
    - Bluetooth 2.0 + Enhanced Data Rates
    - Sudden Motion Sensor (SMS)
    - two USB 2.0 ports
    - Mini-DVI-to-VGA adapter
    - 56K modem (v.92)
    - $1,199

    I've always liked the 12" PowerBook as it has a small footprint, is light as 4.6 pounds, and is made out of aluminum.

    However, my father has a friend who works for Apple who can get a black MacBook for a base price of $1,270, which is a very attractive price. However, it seems like Apple will be updating it soon given the release of the Core 2 Duo processor, so I'd want to wait for the MacBook to be updated with that. It seems like such an update is right around the corner. But I really don't feel like waiting another month or so for it to be updated. It's not that I need a laptop right now for college but I'm just tired of waiting. I also prefer the feel of the PowerBook to the black MacBook and the G4 does have a dedicated graphics card.

    So, what should I do? They're both about the same price. Should I get the G4 or wait till the end of September to see if the MacBook is updated or if Apple releases a smaller MacBook Pro?
  2. macrumors regular

    Sep 7, 2006
    Thats funny I just sold that exact laptop, and then bought the 24 inch iMac. If I were you I would go with the Macbook. Although I would get the white rather than the black.
  3. macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2003
    I love my Powerbook. That being said, go with the MacBook, it is the future, which is Intel based. Its dual core and just all around faster. Plus you can easily upgrade the harddrive as you need to. That is what I would do, if I were you.
  4. macrumors 68040


    May 3, 2005
    Washington, DC
    MacBook, no question. It's futureproofed FAR better than the Powerbook.
  5. thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 18, 2006
    That's true, but I'd have that 24in. iMac as well... I mean I'm not really in need of a laptop that acts as a full-on desktop replacement as I'll basically be using it for notetaking, music, and internet use.
  6. macrumors 68000

    Mar 12, 2006
    Go with the blackbook. Now. I can wait all day. GO BUY IT!
  7. thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 18, 2006
    I just don't know - it's so mind boggling. I like the feel of the G4 a lot more. Yet I like the MacBook but I don't know if they're going to update it within the month to Merom and hopefully a dedicated graphics chip.
  8. macrumors G4

    Oct 14, 2005
    Sounds like your mind is made up. ;)

    FWIW, as cool as the aluminum PB looks, the screen of the MacBooks are soooo much better and I doubt you'd notice any size/weight difference between the two.

    The price difference between the two is $71. IMO, that either makes the PB very overpriced or the MacBook an extremely good deal.

    If you're not wanting to pull the trigger on the MacBook because Core 2 Duo is right around the corner, why the heck would you pull the trigger (for basically the same amount of money) for a PB?
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 4, 2004
    Tallahassee, FL
    Don't wait for the MacBook to get a dedicated graphics chip. The consumer laptops have never had one and odds are they never will.

    I'd go with the MacBook, the Intel chips are so much better than the G4.

    And the black MacBook is so sexy!!! :D
  10. thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 18, 2006
    Well, im not paying for it hehehe... but i suppose i'll wait out September and see what Apple comes out with - I wish a 13" or 12" MacBook Pro was on the way.
  11. macrumors regular


    Oct 22, 2005
    Portland, OR
    Let me get this straight: You're worried about an as-yet-unknown future upgrade to the Macbook line that would make the current Macbook a bit dated so instead of going with the up-to-date Macbook you're contemplating purchasing a Powerbook that hasn't been cutting edge for years now?

    Go buy the Macbook. I have one and love it.
  12. thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 18, 2006
    Well, I suppose that's true, though the PowerBook is not exactly slow by any means, and it is made of metal and has a preferable key layout (to me) at least.
  13. thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 18, 2006
    I guess Sept. 25 is the next "event" Apple is holding... hopefully we'll see some MacBook updates there.
  14. macrumors member

    Jun 28, 2006
    Chicago, IL
    Yes, wait till Sept. 25th. Although the rumors are that the Macbook Pro will see Merom while the Macbooks will keep Yonah and get a speedboost. But who knows!

    By the way, I love my Macbook. It runs quite cool, doesn't moo, pur, or moan, and the screen is very nice:)
  15. macrumors 6502


    Jul 10, 2006
    Even if there are updates, they will most likely only be to the pro line to differentiate them a little more from the consumer models
  16. macrumors 6502

    Jun 5, 2006
    I'm with you on this one. I'm debating what to get myself. 20" iMac and an iBook/PowerBook (I like aluminum waaay better), or a MBP. What I want to do is get the iMac and a 12" PowerBook that is around $700 or less.
  17. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 6, 2003
    I'm debating whether or not to sell my 12" PowerBook and was hoping to get around $700 or so. If you're interested...
  18. macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    That's not true. The old iBooks had dedicated graphics. That said, I don't expect the Macbooks to get 'em, but still.

    To the OP: if you DO decide to go with the PB, don't buy it from Apple. You can get a much better deal buying it from someone used.. they don't go for anywhere near $1200 anymore - it would just be silly to pay Apple's refurb price, IMO.
  19. macrumors regular


    Oct 30, 2005
    Montgomery, AL

    I agree, get a used one. I did and LOVE It. You'll save so much money.
  20. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 4, 2004
    Tallahassee, FL
    Oh yeah, I'm dumb. Forgot that my old iBook had some sort of ATI chip in it :D

    Still, I figure the integrated graphics card in a MacBook with enough RAM must be better than an older dedicated ATI one. (Which I think maxed out at 32mb, correct??) Anyone have any thoughts on that??
  21. macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2005
    Not sure why there are so many votes for the Blackbook.

    The OP is looking for something nice, "bare-bones", and portable to complement a powerhouse 24'' iMac.

    I use my 12'' PBG4 pretty heavily, and the processor doesn't get too taxed. If I had shelled out for a RAM upgrade, I'm sure that it would be running absolutely smooth right now.

    12'' PBG4 has size and weight to its advantage. Aesthetically, it looks better, in my opinion and to the opinion of the OP. It has a dedicated graphics card. And it runs cool. I tried heating mine up once with as much intensive work as possible and I don't think I passed 60deg C.

    I would say differently if the OP didn't havea 24'' iMac, but it's obvious that the laptop is supposed to be a portable computer to do light work. You do not need a C2D to do that. The only further consideration is dual-booting into Windows, but because the OP is even considering the PBG4, I'm assuming that it's not an issue.
  22. macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    Since your new iMac will be Intel and most of your software will end up universal binary anyway, I'd go for the BlackBook.

    Not to mention that you're going from a single G4 processor up to a 2.0 GHz dual
    core processor, which is darn close to the set-up in my Pro G5 2.0 DP tower.

    With no hesitation, add 1 GB RAM ASAP.

    I'm setting up my daughter's new MacBook as we speak, it's a very nice machine.
    Ther extra HD space in the BlackBook is very well worth it, since a lean install
    of the OS still takes up just over 10 GB (Intel with iLife'06)

    The extra screen real estate, brightness and quality are quite noticable over
    our 12" iBook.

    I do personally prefer the PowerBook's Keypad.

    But single 1.5 GHz G4 vs. Core Duo 2.0 GHz Intel,
    there's no question that the MacBook is a superior configuration for the money.
  23. thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 18, 2006
    Not sure what OP and C2D mean since I'm a newbie but oh well. Anyway, I do not have the 24" iMac yet but plan to get it in the spring of 07, with Leopard. Dual Booting would be nice, but basically the only reason I want it is so I can play RollerCoaster Tycoon again lol. And of course, I'd have that option on the new iMac. I like how the BlackBook has a widescreen which is nice for DVDs. And I believe the battery life is comparable on the two. I wish I could get it for less than $1,199 - especially that refurb one.
  24. thread starter macrumors member


    Sep 18, 2006
    The only thing that's keeping me from the BlackBook is the keyboard layout - it's just uncomfortable and I can't get used to it - one of my friends in my dorm has a white one and I just don't like it. Notetaking would be a far easier business with one of the aluminum keyboards. It's annoying how the keyboard is like almost recessed into the base of the MacBook.
  25. macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    The "12 PB keypad does feel more natural to me as well.
    I can't argue with you on that point.

    The MacBook definitely has a No Food Or Drink keyboard.

    Of couse, I use an Apple Pro External KB and 2 button Mouse anyway.

    If Apple was selling refurb 12" PB's for $999.00 it would be a tough call.

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