Used Pismo...What to look for...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by rlowe82, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. rlowe82 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    #1
    Hey everyone--

    I'm looking into buying a used Pismo because I really really like them. I've never bought used before, so naturally, I'm a bit skeptical.

    What should I look out for in a used computer? What kind of questions should I ask the seller?

    I'm also looking at buying from an Apple Authorized Reseller. They offer warranties usually of around 30 days. Is this enough?

    I guess buying used these days runs the same risk as buying new, but the lack of a solid warranty worries me.

    If you've had any experiences buying used laptops, please share!

    Thank you!

    --Richard
     
  2. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

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    Oct 29, 2003
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    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    #2
    Ask for a digi shot of the screen just after they've pressed the +/-Brightness on the screen. If they can get the meter on the screen when it's shot, that'd be good. Pismo screens are usually pretty good, very few dead/stuck pixels, but some tend to be a bit on the dim side.

    I doubt anyone will give you any more than a 30 day warranty... since they're ~4 years old already.
     
  3. VooDooPope macrumors member

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    Jun 9, 2004
    Location:
    The Heights, Houston TX
    #3
    My Pismo was the most reliable Mac I've ever worked with (I've been working on them since 1987) until a leaking roof soaked it. It never crashed, didn't have any dead pixels, and was running Panther with Photoshop CS, Illustrator CS and running a presentation at a clients office just days before it's death.

    Good luck finding a good one.
     
  4. f-matic macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2003
    Location:
    brooklyn
    #4
    pismo questions...

    i also have a pismo that's held up really well, it's an extremely reliable machine... even though i picked up a new pb 12" recently, i still have to say the pismo holds the favorite spot! anyways, here's some of the issues that i've seen with other pismos that you may want to ask about...

    1) battery life -- same with all old laptops, but worth asking about. my battery lasts around 45 minutes at the moment.

    2) i've read that some of the early pismos had firewire problems, but this was quickly corrected. but you may want to check about firewire.

    3) audio ports -- kind of common with old powerbooks too, but the audio in and outs are susceptible to developing loose connections.

    and it's always a good idea to ask about previous repair history, if any, to get an idea of problems that the machine has developed and where / when they were fixed.

    that's about all i can think of! in general i'd say the pismo is about the best laptop apple's ever made, and one of the most problem-free. good luck finding one!
     
  5. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #5
    I recently sold my Pismo 400 on eBay. The only problem I ever had with it was the DVD-ROM drive failing, which is apparently not uncommon. Applecare replaced it, so no problem.

    The screen looked great, the battery was only good for about 45 minutes, everything worked well.

    So I would say that as long as everything is working, it'll probably be fine. And asking for a repair history, if any, is always a good idea.

    Fabulous machine.

    Best,

    Bob
     
  6. tamara6 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #6
    About half the Pismos out there have a dvd drive that has failed. Apparently Apple used two different manufaturers, and the drive from one in particular was prone to failure. I do not remember the specifics, but you can find that info on the net - google for it. Then check the Pismo you are thinking of buying to make sure it has one of the good drives.

    I have a Pismo and my drive failed. It started failing maybe 2 years ago, and it took about a year for it to die completely. I have a friend with a Pismo purchased around the same time and her drive works perfectly.

    Or, I suppose, you could just plan to replace the drive with a combo drive, I think they are something like $350 or so.

    The battery is also a problem. Mine lasts about 20 minutes right now. You can buy new batteries, too, and get 5+ hours from them. That is another $150 or so, I think.

    I love my Pismo. It has run every program I've thrown at it. But, unless you get a really good price on one, and it is perfectly functional in every way, I'm not sure that it is a great computer purchase today. I feel like it is just too likely that something will fail sooner rather than later. You might find a new iBook to be a better buy.
     
  7. furrina macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    In tha 212
    #7
    As my new 15" -er just arrived, I 'm about to sell my trusty Pismo and I'm not terribly thrilled about it...It has been such an amazing machine, it's even actually pretty fast (I hit a wall when I found I can't run FCP 4 on a G3).

    What to look for: I agree with everything in this thread, battery life about 45 minutes (used batteries avl. cheap on ebay!). Mine has no bad pixels or anything.
    Pluses to look for:
    -- Lots of RAM.
    I actually upped the RAM on mine so it's around 386 megs,
    -- Airport card. I'd imagine most people would have added this but it wasn't included automatically when I bought it.
    --If you can find one in which someone has put in a 7200 rpm HD you're so lucky, I imagine most people would remove it before selling but you never know.
    -- Extra SW is always nice.

    I'm going to try to sell mine for $600. can anyone tell me if that's reasonable?
    p.s. my DVD drive never failed, I just watched a movie yesterday.
     
  8. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

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    Oct 29, 2003
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    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    #8
    luckily i can get about 1:40 with light/medium use out of the battery still.
    they're going on ebay for around $450-$650 depending on what's on it, and what else is included.

    Dont expect the original feet though... i've see lots of missing IR ports too.
     
  9. Flowbee macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Alameda, CA
    #9
    I love my Pismo, too. I bought it used last year, before the the iBook G4's came out. If I was shopping today, I would seriously consider a refurb G4 iBook over the Pismo. A Pismo in 'very good' condition will still cost you between 500 and 600 dollars. Add to that some extra RAM and a new battery and you're probably only a couple hundred dollars shy of the refurb G4. And the refurb will come with a 1 year warranty.

    The Pismo is still a surprisingly great computer. I've been able to run just about any app I need on it. But that's starting to change. Garageband won't run on it. As mentioned above FCP4 won't run. And I'm sure as we move into the Tiger era, there'll be more 'killer apps' that the Pismo just won't be able to handle.

    As I said, I love my Pismo as much as anyone, but unless you can find a good one (that doesn't need to be upgraded) for $600 or less, you'll be better served in the long run by spending a little extra money on a G4 iBook.
     
  10. rlowe82 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2004
    #10
    Wow! Thanks for all the infomation. I really appreciate it.

    One more question though: the reason I liked the Pismo is because I've heard it's durable while the iBook's have had structural problems with logic boards and casings. Are the iBook G4's sturdy? I know the Snow White iBook G3's have had major problems.

    Thanks!
     
  11. Flowbee macrumors 68030

    Flowbee

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Alameda, CA
    #11
    The Pismos are very durable. Probably the most durable of Apple's modern notebooks. I haven't read about any major problems with the G4 iBooks (the G3's were a different story).

    If you're only interested in web surfing, email, and iTunes, the Pismo might be a good choice. Just keep in mind that the most durable notebook in the world won't do you any good if you can't run the apps you need.

    Just something to keep in mind as you're making a buying decision. For the record, I'm not planning to replace my Pismo any time in the near future. It still does everything I ask of it (Photoshop, Live 3.0, Office, Quicken).
     
  12. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

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    Oct 29, 2003
    Location:
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    #12
    Consider this..

    Pismo G3/500/128/4gb (off ebay, A/B+ condition) = $550
    HD: $150'ish
    RAM: $250-$300 (2x512mb sodimm)
    Airpot: $60-74
    G4 upgrade $300-$380 (G4 500-550mhz)

    that's up to $1400 for a 4 year old PB, to be updated to the first G4 tiPB's.

    Refurb iBook G4 1GHz/256MB/60GB/Combo/E/56K/ 14" TFT = $1200

    Do you wanna spend that much for the dual bay's, 8mb video...
     
  13. furrina macrumors regular

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    Mar 31, 2004
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    In tha 212
    #13
    I wouldn't put in a g4 upgrade in a pismo at this point. It's rather expensive, doesn't add much speed, and I think the apps that won't run on it before still may not be supported on the upgrade.

    IMHO the best thing you can throw in it (after RAM, though not sure a gig is necessary) is a bigger faster HD as the 4 or 6 gig HD is practically useless.
    OWC sells a 7200 60 gig internal fw HD that is easy to install, and faster (hd speed, that is) than even the current Al book HDs. And it's only about $250.
    That will make a pismo a very useful machine if your needs are limited and you can save the HD and put it into an i -or powerbook if you get one in the future as it will still probably be faster than the installed one.
     
  14. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

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    #14
    that'd still be $1000 without the G4 upgrade, and even if you only had 512mb, add in the extra for the drive, and it's still around $1100... my 5400rpm drive dropped my battery 30 mins.. a 7200 would easily put me at just under an hour of charge.

    im just saying, if they really wanted a computer that's useful for a few more years, it may be better to get a refurb.. unless the 2 bay's make it that much more attractive.

    Much much to consider. Though, my red apple logos does make it stand out.

    edit: i haven't come across anything that I couldn't use, btw :)
     
  15. tamara6 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2004
    #15
    It is true, changing the HD (and adding an airport card) are really, really easy in the Pismo. The original HD was very small, on mine it was 10 GB, so putting in a bigger, faster HD is a good idea (if the used unit you are considering doesn't have that already)

    I, too, think it would be crazy to put a processor upgrade into this Pismo now. If you buy one with a G3 processor then you know what you are getting. If you really want a G4 then you should get an old TiBook instead.

    The Apple specifications say you can only put 512 MB of RAM in a Pismo (http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=43126), in case that is an issue for you.

    One other thing you might want is the little plastic placeholder thing that you can put in instead of the dvd drive. That makes the unit a little lighter, and can be pretty handy. It came with the machine when they were new.
     
  16. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

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    #16
    "Weight Saving Module" very nice when travelling without the need for the DVD player. Like when I go camping or hiking. :)
     
  17. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #17
    Pismo RAM

    Although Apple does say that 512 is the max RAM a Pismo supports, I used mine for years with 1 Gb. Probably the reason it was as competitive as it was for as long as it was....

    Best,

    Bob
     
  18. Crikey macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2004
    Location:
    Spencer's Butte, Oregon
    #18
    I guess this quashes my comment, which was to be careful. My sweetie has a Lombard (model prior to Pismo but pretty similar) assigned from her work. This thing worked okay under Jaguar, but the Panther upgrade really did a number on it -- many activities that use a lot of CPU or disk I/O cause lockups now. Examples: copying a ~1GB movie file from/to the Lombard via Ethernet, trying to compress that large of a movie file, etc. Apparently (from what she read at Apple's support site) many other Lombards were similarly afflicted. Worst part is, her work won't let her reformat the drive and go back to Jaguar (!), so she just has to be careful what she does with it.

    Cheers,


    Crikey
     
  19. wide macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #19
    yeah, my pismo's feet keep falling off and the infrared port cover seems to be missing. i actually didn't even know what that was until i saw a diagram. anyway, i got my pismo for free, so no complaints here :)
     

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