pl1984

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After reading several threads where forum members bid on as-is or parts only systems only to find them fully functional I decided to browse through Ebay to see what I could find in a MacBook. While doing so I stumbled across a 12" PowerBook 1.5GHz system being sold as-is, parts only. The seller did not have a power supply and therefore was unable to test it. Nothing unusual about this until I looked at the price...a mere $18.00 and some change **shipped** This wasn't $18.00 and change plus shipping, it was $18.00 and change including shipping. Having had a few beers I decided what they hey, I've wasted more money on more foolish things. So I hit the BIN button and lo and behold it arrived in today's mail.

I grabbed my iBook power supply, plugged it in, and hit the power button. No boot chime but it did start and booted into OS X, or at least partially. Nice, it is a system that powers on and partially works. Grabbed my Leopard DVD, popped it in the drive, and it booted to the installer. Even better, a fully working system. I ran System Profiler and Disk Utility and everything appears to work. Nice find for $18.00 and change.

So I have this system and do not know what to do with it. It's a 1.5GHz system, 1.25GB RAM, 80GB HD, SuperDrive, etc. It appears to be a fully loaded (and purchased that way) PowerBook. Unfortunately it does have a few bruises (as seems typical of these things). Slight bends on the corners of the system and a small dent in the right palm rest. A couple of dead pixels on the display in the very lower right corner of the screen. Haven't had an opportunity to test the battery life, need to install a new OS first. Overall in pretty darn good condition for the price.

For $18.00 and change (I get the feeling I basically got the system for free and just paid for the shipping). I think it's a keeper. I need to exercise the HD to ensure it's not on its way out (anyone have any recommendations for a test program?) Once I've done that a new OS install (suggestions? I have 10.3.x, 10.4.x, and 10.5.x)
 

swamprock

macrumors 6502a
Aug 2, 2015
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I have the same machine, same specs, running 10.5.8 with an OWC SSD drive in it. It's my carry-around machine. Without the SSD (or at least a 7200 rpm drive), though, I'd probably use something else. The SSD makes it perfectly usable with Webkit, TFF, MS Office, etc. With PPC Media Center and Coreplayer, I can download and watch 720p video from YouTube. Just my experience...

An mSATA drive with a SATA to IDE adapter would work just as well as an OWC drive, at a much lower price.

Xbench is a good program for benchmarking your hard drive.
 

bobesch

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2015
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Congrats, that has been a real occasion! You've got the latest and greatest 12" PowerBook and with maxed out RAM. Great device. I've got one too - now with an mSATA SSD drive-replacement and dual-boot for Leopard and Tiger/Classic.
My main usage (with Leopard):
Web: email (native Client); browser (webkit for Leopard/TenFourFox/TenFourFoxBox); fax-machine
Office: MSOffice'04/'08; LibreOffice; PDFpenPRo/Skim, DEVONthinkPro
Entertainment: iTunes; CorePlayer; VLC-media-player; iPhoto
Connectivity: File/ScreenSharing, webDAV
Virtualization: VirtualPC7 with Win2000pro and WinXPpro-fundamentals
Tiger is also great and faster than Leopard, but lacks of some compatibility to Apps, that require Leopard.
But with Tiger you may run os9-applications/games in Classic mode.
Lots of threads here about other people's favorite use ... Have fun!
 
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Dronecatcher

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Zero out the HDD before you install the OS - this will give it thorough shake down and isolate any bad sectors too.
Tiger runs faster than Leopard on this machine but the latter gives you software benefits but also turns the fans more.
The form factor makes it's the best PPC portable but the battery condition will govern that...
 

bobesch

macrumors 68000
Oct 21, 2015
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Tiger runs faster than Leopard on this machine but the latter gives you software benefits but also turns the fans more.
Oh yes, the fan's.
There's "G4FanControl" to reduce fan-activity (but lifting the threshold for GPU/CPU up to 65°C) making the little kind kind of a steam-book :D
 

pl1984

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Zero out the HDD before you install the OS - this will give it thorough shake down and isolate any bad sectors too.
Tiger runs faster than Leopard on this machine but the latter gives you software benefits but also turns the fans more.
The form factor makes it's the best PPC portable but the battery condition will govern that...
I'm in the process of zeroing out the drive now. I think it's on its way out. Wasn't considering replacing it with an SSD but if it's failing I may do so. Not sure if I want to go through the hassle or expense. It's a nice system but I'm unsure if I'm willing to put money into it. But then if an SSD is similar cost to a spinner then I might install one.
 

MagicBoy

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May 28, 2006
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PowerBooks are IDE where the majority of 2.5" SSDs are SATA. You'd have to go second hand as IDE drives have been out of production for years. There are 2.5" adaptors on popular auction sites for pocket money that will turn mSATA or M.2 stick format SSDs into IDE. Most IDE native SSDs are generally overpriced and utter rubbish.
 

pl1984

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PowerBooks are IDE where the majority of 2.5" SSDs are SATA. You'd have to go second hand as IDE drives have been out of production for years. There are 2.5" adaptors on popular auction sites for pocket money that will turn mSATA or M.2 stick format SSDs into IDE. Most IDE native SSDs are generally overpriced and utter rubbish.
Yeah, any replacement spinner would likely have hours on it too...making it risky to replace. But then I don't plan on using this for anything important. But then an M.2 stick with an adapter to make it work with IDE might be worth it. I could always use the M.2 drive in something else should I decide the PowerBook is no longer of interest. Any recommendations on adapters?
 

MagicBoy

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I just grabbed a random chinese one off eBay for £5. No brand, just a white plastic box with a circuit board in it. Using that with an SSD recycled from a broken tablet computer.

Oh and make sure the M.2 drive is SATA. NVMe won't work.
 

Dronecatcher

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Jun 17, 2014
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I'm lucky that I've never bought a secondhand PPC with a failing drive, so installing a SSD would defeat the object of having a bargain computer. However, a 7200RPM HDD can be had from China for around £8 - though having never bought one, I can't verify they really are NOS.
 
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weckart

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Nov 7, 2004
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Yeah, any replacement spinner would likely have hours on it too...making it risky to replace.
Not necessarily. I just bought a 160GB spinner from China. It was sealed and new old stock. Besides, spinners go on for years. I still have old ESDI drives that keep on keeping on.
 

pl1984

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Not necessarily. I just bought a 160GB spinner from China. It was sealed and new old stock. Besides, spinners go on for years. I still have old ESDI drives that keep on keeping on.
It's a little ironic a new HD will cost me almost as much as the system :) I think I'm going to ask around and see if anyone I know has an older system from which I can scavenge a hard drive. See what's available on CL. Maybe someone has some older systems they're trying to dispose of.
 

weckart

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Nov 7, 2004
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It's a little ironic a new HD will cost me almost as much as the system :) I think I'm going to ask around and see if anyone I know has an older system from which I can scavenge a hard drive. See what's available on CL. Maybe someone has some older systems they're trying to dispose of.

Not really ironic if you bear in mind that a 160GB IDE 2.5" hard drive is not exactly run of the mill then or now. Given that SSD prices are on the up, unfortunately, you have the choice of going second hand or coughing up. A smaller 40GB or 60GB IDE hard drive should come in at half what I paid for mine and that ought to be enough for occasional use.
 

pl1984

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Not really ironic if you bear in mind that a 160GB IDE 2.5" hard drive is not exactly run of the mill then or now. Given that SSD prices are on the up, unfortunately, you have the choice of going second hand or coughing up. A smaller 40GB or 60GB IDE hard drive should come in at half what I paid for mine and that ought to be enough for occasional use.
I did browse Ebay yesterday and found some inexpensive IDE 2.5" HDs. I think for the time being I'm going to hold off on doing anything with it. It's usable as is but there are definite signs something is wrong with the HD.

Since I intend to use this system more for hobbyist types of things I'm not concerned if it eventually fails. I installed a fresh copy of Leopard on it yesterday and, aside from the HD, all appears to be working great. For $18.00 and change this is a decent little system (too bad the case has some bends, seems to be very common with the 12")
 
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