12" Powebook G4, how is it?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by airjuggernaut, Jun 30, 2008.

  1. airjuggernaut macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2007
    Hey everyone.

    Well lately, I've fallen in love with an apple product, an old one actually.

    The 12" Powebook G4.

    I've seen a lot of postings online for various models, and all of them seem too expensive for 3 year old computers, except the oldest and slowest 12" powerbook ever made, the 867mhz Powerbook.

    Now I'm wondering is this thing even worth buying?

    I was planning on using the powerbook for surfing, word processing, iTunes, and maybe to play some really old games like Diablo 2.

    I already have an Intel iMac so I'm not worried about the entire Snow Leopard thing.

    Is the Powerbook Worth it? Or should I just save up for a more modern and elite computer like the MacBook?

    Is the 867mhz REALLY slow?

    Can the powerbook handle sites like YouTube and flash game sites, or programs like Skype and MSN?

    Thanks :)
  2. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030


    Jan 10, 2007
    I think the prices you are seeing on the 12" Powerbooks (not the 867 Mhz ones) are a testament to their higher than average resale value. The same can be said for many off Apple's computers.

    That being said, my 1.5 GHz 12" PB can accomplish all the tasks you are looking to do and more. It's not a speed demon by any means, but it's the perfect form factor, runs Leopard just fine, plays Flash, etc, with no problem.

    I've had mine for 2.5 years and I'm not ready to part with it. The only way I would is if Apple smartened up and released a 12" MBP like everyone BUT Apple knows they ought to.
  3. Bobjob186 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 16, 2005
    Laguna Beach
    I just sold my 12" pb 1.33 and I loved the thing. The thing is I also have a macbook and going back and forth between the two is literally brutal in sense of performace. I took the 12" everywhere though because it's just so darn small and sleek, battery life is pretty good too. For what you want to do it's good, but what I hated most was when I played high quality AVI's the fan would run full blast the whole time, oh yeah and the wifi reception is really low compared to other mac laptops. I'd buy another one in a heartbeat, but only as a side computer, not for my main stuff.
  4. shurgie macrumors regular

    May 16, 2008
    I use my Powerbook for everything really, I can run many things seemlessly. The only downfall in my opinion is that I find it gets very hot while working on it, while that could be just mine it is something to keep in mind. Good Luck.
  5. thechidz macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2007
    New York City
    you're not the first

  6. MacFanatic08 macrumors member

    Jun 1, 2008
    The 867MHz ones can handle youtube beautifully. Leopard might be kinda slow on it, but, it'll run. :)
  7. shurgie macrumors regular

    May 16, 2008
    I'm running Leopard on a
    Model Name: PowerBook G4 12"
    Processor Speed: 1.5 GHz
    Memory: 1.25 GB

    And it runs great, while it's a little faster than the one you're looking at it will probably run just the same, maybe a bit slower. But in my mind, I use this as my main computer most of the time. And does a great job at Youtube, browsing and everything you asked about.
    I'm sure you'd be very happy with it, I say go for it.
  8. Spock macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2002
    I have the 1ghz DVI version and it runs 10.5 pretty well, it has 768 of memory and the combo drive, resale beats a lot of newer PC laptops. I love the little thing.
  9. snowfall macrumors member

    Mar 18, 2005
    I've had the 1.33 GHz version for the last 3.5 years, and love it... but I have finally noticed it starting to get slow on a few things.

    Youtube and most web apps run just fine on it, but I have noticed that a lot more pages are piling on the flash, which my PB's been having some trouble with.

    I upgraded the ram to 1.25 and put in a 100 GB 7200 RPM drive (a scary operation) about a year ago, and both really helped speed up the machine. But still, I'm imagining I'll finally make the leap to a MacBook within the next 3 months, as much as I don't want to.
  10. Silencio macrumors 68020


    Jul 18, 2002
    I've had my 1.33GHz 12" PowerBook for over three years now. Such a lovely little machine. I wish the screen were a little brighter and I wish the thing could take 2GB of RAM, but I can live with those minor nits.

    I mostly do web, email, Office 2004, Terminal, and Remote Desktop / VNC on the machine and it does those things well enough. I have a Mac Pro at home for my heavy lifting, so I'm not in a huge hurry to trade in the PowerBook yet. I probably will end up with a MBA in a year or two, but I doubt I could bring myself to ever sell the ol' PowerBook.
  11. airjuggernaut thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2007
    Thanks everyone, I'm really now set on buying the Powerbook :D

    Just a few questions, later on if i want to upgrade the machine, could I just buy the motherboard of a higher spec model, let say the 1.5ghz and switch it with 867mhz motherboard I already have in the computer?

    Also would the PowerBook be able to handle World of Warcraft?

    And finally, are the USB's on it 1.1 or 2.0?
  12. kiskadee macrumors newbie

    Dec 26, 2002
    buy an old 12"pb? YES and no...

    I bought the first gen 12" pb as soon as they were available in Belgium. It's not in a great condition (bents in the casing, "screenhook" broken,...) but i still love it's design. If I could (and had the money) I would buy a new one in a heartbeat.

    But... the 867mhz has no USB2.0 (use Firewire HDD's instead of USB...). I think newer versions have USB2.0 and faster hard drives.

    On the other hand: the keyboard of the pb is way better than the keyboard of my current macbook.

    Has someone experience in replacing the casing of a pb12"? Is it worth it voor a 867mhz and is it difficult?
  13. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    If i were you i'd just get the high spec model now and be done with it. Getting inside those things is NOT easy its probably the hardest computer to open sans the iMacs

    I also have a 1.5GHz model (replaced my MacBook with it) and yes it runs youtube/flash sites and pretty much any general task i throw at it like a champ. Obviously you cant do heavy stuff like Motion or something but its still very much a capable machine.

    I use mine browsing/word/music/iPhoto and just typed a 2500 word essay on it easy. I love it. I think you'd enjoy the performance even more if you run Tiger on it. Leopard seems to demand a wee bit extra.

    PS im not sure about WoW...i don't play it
  14. MAcNIAC macrumors regular

    Oct 27, 2006
    my wife still uses my old 800Mhz G4 iBook.
    it does safari, iTunes, and office just fine.
    so an 867 Powerbook will be fine for what the OP wants, especially if you get the RAM maxed out.
  15. solidgoldmini macrumors regular

    Sep 14, 2004
    In a house. On a street. In a city.
    Another 12" PB lover. I take my 1.5GHz PB everywhere with me. As a 2nd computer it will be great. Doing any work on it for long periods can be a bit tedious as the screen starts to feel a little too small, but then again, you can always attach a monitor if needed.

    Get one, you'll love it.
  16. GreatDrok macrumors 6502a


    May 1, 2006
    New Zealand
    I had a 12" 1.5Ghz G4 PowerBook and I also liked the form factor. However, I didn't like the temperature the thing ran at, and even when it was hardly doing anything the fans would be blowing at about 3000rpm. I don't know why, but it also didn't feel as quick as my technically much slower 14" 933Mhz iBook G4. The screen quality was poor and it wasn't very bright. The keyboard was good but the lack of backlight seen on bigger PBs was a shame. Battery life wasn't any great shakes either.

    Overall, I would say it isn't really that good a deal. These days I would definitely take a BlackBook or a MacBook Air over the 12" PB. The size difference isn't all that great frankly and the screen on the new machines is much more usable despite the glossy finish.
  17. airjuggernaut thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2007
    Thanks again for the fantastic replies.

    Unforuntely the going rate for PB's always exceeded my budget, so now i'm looking at an iBook G4, which is pretty much the same thing though.
  18. cwheatley macrumors member

    Dec 24, 2007
    stillwater, ok
    I love the 12" PowerBook.

    If by some magic you are able to get enough money to get one, I would highly recommend it, but I would highly recommend against opening it up any further than to replace the hard drive. It took me between an hour and a half and two hours to completely disassemble mine (following the iFixit guide), so it isn't for the feint of heart. (I had to disassemble it to replace the DC connector). Bloody beautiful things they are, though. I felt like I was taking a knife to the mona lisa.
  19. airjuggernaut thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2007
    I'm not technically challenged, so I would be more than up to it, to open the PowerBook :p

    Unless if I get a call back from one of the jobs I've applied for, there is no way I could afford the PB :(
  20. arnette macrumors 6502


    Nov 22, 2002
    Manhattan Beach
    I have a 1.33Mhz 12" and it's my everyday machine. DO NOT open it up, if you get one. My logic board was replaced by Apple and it was not the same computer when I got it back. The hinge didn't close evenly and eventually the screenhook bent. Because it can't close properly, it never goes to sleep so my battery life is now about 10 min!

    However, it's the best computer I've ever owned. The perfect size, plenty fast for most web apps and light usage. I don't think I'd buy a used one today. There are too many advantages to a newer, faster computer... the 12" PB is full of nostalgia but unless you're running a museum the point of a laptop is to do work.
  21. joekix macrumors 6502


    Feb 2, 2007
    earth, long beach CA to be exact
    i use 12" pb even though i have a mbp and a mb from work. i love that it is so portable and for what i use it for (email, web surfing, hulu), it's perfect.

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