What do I need to know about this TiBook?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by tobefirst, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. tobefirst macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #1
    Work is getting rid of a couple of laptops, and I have the opportunity to pick one up for what I consider to be a good price. Let me know if you agree. The laptops are pretty decently used, so I'm not expecting a whole lot out of the one I'll get.

    I'm hoping you guys could help me out a little though. I know a little bit about the computers, but I don't know everything. Here's what I'd be getting:

    Powerbook G4 Titanium
    400 mhz
    DVD-rom
    386 mb RAM
    (Purchased in September, 2001)
    Cost for me: US$150-200

    Aside from that, all I have available to me until next week is the serial number. So, what can you guys tell me about this computer? Is there somewhere I can plug in the serial number and find out more about it? What am I going to need to look out for? What should I add (aside from some more RAM)? Anything else I need to know before making the purchase?

    The computer will come as is, and since I have a copy of Panther lying around, I'll be installing that.

    Aside from all that information, I don't really NEED the computer to do anything specific. I have an old copy of Photoshop 7 that I may throw on there, and Illustrator 10. How well will these run/not run?

    How hard is it to install a wifi card? New battery? New harddrive? Anything else I may need to install?

    So, basically, in all my rambling, I'm just asking for some thoughts on this. Thanks!
     
  2. sw1tcher macrumors 65816

    sw1tcher

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #2
  3. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #3
    Good price.
    Battery and RAM are easy to upgrade, hard drive is moderately easy.
    Look for defects in the LCD screen 1st thing, and for any cracks in the housing or the hinges. Does it open up straight and stay open without wobbling? New screens and hardware are NOT cheap or easy.
    Check the AC power input on the machine itself. If it is loose and wiggly, walk away. Test the CD drive, see if it mounts CD's reliably. If you can get TechTool Pro (a commercial program) or the Apple Hardware Test CD that would have come with the machine, boot from the CD and run some tests.
    Try to get the OS CD's that came with the machine.
     
  4. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #4
    An Airport card is a little tricky to install on the TiBooks, but not impossible. I've done it myself. You need a Torx (sp?) screwdriver and you will basically have to take off the entire bottom plate. Once you get that off you slide the Airport card into it's slot (I believe it is on the right hand side when the computer is upside down) and attach the antenna cable. Be careful putting the bottom plate back on, as the metal can bend and get dented easily. The TiBooks (especially the earliest ones) Didn't have great Airport reception, they made the mistake of putting the antenna inside the metal body. I believe they fixed it in later models and now the antenna is located on the sides of the display on the AluBooks.
    Hope that helps.
     
  5. tobefirst thread starter macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #5
    The girl that used it said she took pretty good care of it (and she seems like someone who would). She said it gets like 3.5 hours of battery life, which I kind of find hard to believe. Does that sound right? That seems like an awful lot for such an older computer, but this would be my first laptop.

    She said that the only thing that really annoyed her was the "memory problem," and by that she meant the small 10gb hard drive and not a RAM problem. I made sure that she was talking about hard drive space and not problems with the RAM. She also said there was a screw missing in the back. (??)

    Any other thoughts?
     
  6. Anonymous Freak macrumors 601

    Anonymous Freak

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2002
    Location:
    Cascadia
    #6
    As for the battery life, that model could get up to 5 hours new. And the battery might be a recent replacement. Also, if it was almost never discharged, it would have more life. (I tend to completely discharge and recharge my battery every day, so the original battery on my 3 year old PowerBook is now down to less than 50% of it's life. Yet my sister's 3 year old iBook can go maybe 80%, but she uses it plugged in 75% of the time, and almost never drains the battery beyond the 33% mark. I'm usually seeing red by the end of the day on mine.)
     
  7. tobefirst thread starter macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #7
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure it was plugged in most of the time. She very rarely took it home because she was frustrated about the lack of HD space, so maybe the battery is that good. I was hoping for 2 hours. :)

    Thanks for the insights, guys, and keep them coming.

    Hopefully I'll be able to take the book home for a night or two and play with it before ultimately deciding.

    If I can get it for $150, I'd be willing to put another $150 into it to make it better. Where would that money be best spent? Will this book work with an airport extreme card, or just the regular airport card? Can I use a generic wireless card?

    I don't have a wireless network at my house, so any part of that money would have to buy a wireless router, too.
     
  8. big macrumors 65816

    big

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2002
    #8
    impossibly slow plan on surfing and word processing.... I borrowed one and could barely get any work done. For less than $200, its a GREAT buuy!
     
  9. tobefirst thread starter macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #9
    This'll be my third computer, behind a Power Mac Dual 2.5 and an iMac G4 800, so I'm not too worried about speed. This is more or less a toy for me.
     
  10. aptmunich macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 29, 2004
    #10
    Go for it: its a sexy machine, great as a basic mobile machine.
    As others have said, don't expect brilliant performance, but it'll do word processing and surfing nicely.

    Photoshop and illustrator should also be ok with more RAM.
     
  11. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    look on ebay for 550MHz VGA logic boards they are cheap and give you quartz extreme graphics (very noticeable difference) and a faster cpu.

    not too hard to replace for a cheap good upgrade.
     
  12. Stampyhead macrumors 68020

    Stampyhead

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #12
    It will only work with the original Airport card, no Extreme. You could use a third party wireless card, but it would be external (plugged into the PCMCIA slot) rather than installed inside. It's kind of a pain because you have to remove it before putting it in your computer bag. Most non-Apple wireless cards don't have Mac driver software, so you would have to get that from another source. A Google search would probably help you with that. I had one once, but I can't remember what kind nor can I remember where I got the drivers. It was too long ago...
     
  13. RidgeRacerType4 macrumors newbie

    RidgeRacerType4

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Location:
    San Antonio. TX
    #13
    Previous Tibook owner experience

    Well, I had a 400mhz G4 powerbook with 256mb of Ram and no Wifi and I can tell you that it still has some years left in it (probably 2 or more left after some modifications). The "memory problem" can be a problem but it is minor if you don't mind plan to stuff it with music and movies. For me, the fact that it had a small harddrive helped me work more efficiently, by forcing me to have only what I absolutely needed. You will want to upgrade the Ram to the 1 gig max (standard practice) and even more so if you want to run tiger on it, as tiger is a memory hog. As for the Hard drive space, after moving from a 10giger on the Tibook to 100giger on the Alubook, I found that more internal hard drive space is really over kill after about 20 gigs (if you consider bare essentials plus all the apps you'd probably ever really use), anything after that is usually used for luxury (i.e. movies, music, games, etc...), 10 gigs is managable (I have filled the tibook to the point where it was down to 45mb [not a good thing] but the powerbook never skipped a beat). So if you need more space and mobility I'd suggest either a portable Hard drive or an ipod (I went the ipod route) because when you look at it, chances are, you won't need access to everything you have all the time (unless you are doing some file intensive work obviously) and the things you most likely want to quickly access (like music, pictures, ical, addresses, notes, etc...) can be done with the ipod these days. Also a portable optical burner (CD/DVD/ or both) can free space, because if you are storing media, chances are, you will want to back it up to disc anyways. So, I found with some peripherals here and there, everything can be taken care of, and usually you won't need to carry all of them. In fact, you can use them on other machines, so there is a bit of flexiblity to it. As someone here already pointed out, it is also fairly easy to upgrade most of it's internal parts, you can look it up more in detail at:
    "http://www.powerbooktech.com/knowledge,type-4.htm"
    "http://www.pbfixit.com/Guide/" or
    "http://eshop.macsales.com/Tech/manuals/mercurycombos/OWCMercuryOpticalManual72.pdf"

    Overall for $150-$200 it's a steal considering it goes for about $400-$600 on ebay and other online stores and it's a great machine.
     
  14. tobefirst thread starter macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #14
    Thanks a lot for your input, guys. All this information has made this purchase for me even more of a steal. I'll have to put a little bit of money into it, but it'll be cool to have. I get to "test drive" it next week before I buy it. Now I can't wait! :) Thanks again.

    (Feel free to continue adding advice or thoughts!)
     
  15. applemacdude macrumors 68040

    applemacdude

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    Mar 26, 2001
    Location:
    Over The Rainbow
  16. tobefirst thread starter macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #16
    Alright, guys, I've got the computer in front of me now, and it looks to be in great shape for being 4 years old. The girl who had it even had the box, so I get to add the box to my collection! :)

    The only major issue I've seen so far is that it appears that the latch that holds the lid closed doesn't seem to be working. The hinges work fine, it just doesn't latch.

    It's charging right now, and then I plan on seeing how long the battery will last.

    Regarding running the Apple Hardware Test, she didn't have her discs (they are likely with the guy who manages our hardware). Will test discs from another Tibook work, or do I absolutely need the ones from this specific computer?

    What do I do with that disc? I've never used it on my other Macs (thank God). Do I have to boot from it, or can I just insert it, click on an icon and have it do it's thing?

    I appreciate the help with this. I can't wait to use this thing! :)
     
  17. big macrumors 65816

    big

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2002
    #17
    one thing... extremely important, ALWAYS open the titanium powerbook lid with BOTH hands!!!! I've replaced hinges, it is no fun.
     
  18. tobefirst thread starter macrumors 68040

    tobefirst

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #18
    Thanks for the advice! I'll be sure to do that. Is the latch fixable?
     
  19. big macrumors 65816

    big

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2002
    #19
  20. idea_hamster macrumors 65816

    idea_hamster

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    NYC, or thereabouts
    #20
    Latch, hinges and screen

    I have a 500MHz TiBook from Feb. 2001 (talk about Rev. A!) and it still performs admirably, running Photoshop 7, GoLive and (if pressed) Final Cut.

    I did have a loose hinge and a broken latch. I went to TekServe in NYC and while they tightened the hinge with no problem, the latch was a bit tougher.

    First, they said that I would need an entire new case top piece ($600 and 1 week -- :eek: ). After they saw my dismay, they checked with some of the techs, and then fixed it on the spot for $1.90 plus $40 labor, because it turned out that someone had the specific tiny part laying on his workbench.

    Lucky, but I'd check these parts.
     
  21. dmw007 macrumors G4

    dmw007

    Joined:
    May 26, 2005
    Location:
    Working for MI-6
    #21
    Sounds like you got a good deal. Enjoy your new toy.
     
  22. Xeem macrumors 6502a

    Xeem

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    Minnesota
    #22
    I recently had the exact same model Powerbook, with the same 384 MB RAM but a 5400 rpm 40GB hard drive, and I was very happy with it. Photoshop 7 and Illustrator 10 ran smoothly (better than on my dad's 450 Cube with 576 MB), but some of that was probably due to the faster hard drive. I used a Linksys PCMCIA wireless card I bought for $50 at Radioshack, and OS X automatically detected it as an Airport card. Even with 384 megs of RAM, this powerbook is capable of DIVX/XVID playback in VLC media player, giving it some lasting entertainment value.

    My book had two problems:

    1) When the hinge snapped (and boy did it ever!), the entire screen snapped off. This happened before I owned it (it originally belonged to my dad), so I had to use it as a desktop model. Still, it was not a bad deal for the $200 I paid.

    2)The restraining arm on my top RAM slot had broken off, and thus the RAM was held in by a makeshift little bar that eventually broke off while the PB was on, sending the RAM right out of the slot and crashing the computer. To my horror, I discovered that the Powerbook would no longer even try to boot (and still remains dead).
     
  23. YS2003 macrumors 68020

    YS2003

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2004
    Location:
    Finally I have arrived.....
    #23
    My Ti PB is the first Mac I bought. So, it has a special meaning to me when I started computing on Macintosh platform. As my sig shows, I maxed it out to 1 GB for RAM. I also added the Belkin Wifi card. Tiger is running well on this Ti and I still use this Ti. It has been a desktop queen for its entire life so it is no scratch to it and in a mint condition. I think you will enjoy your 1st gen Ti PB at the price your company offered.
     

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