2ndhand iBook in use

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by zarusoba, Jun 7, 2007.

  1. zarusoba macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2006

    I'm helping my Mum (ie. Mom) buy a secondhand Mac laptop. I'm thinking of either a G3 iBook or G4 iBook.

    She wants it for internet and word-processing, but our budget is limited.

    Do you think MacOS X on the G3 would be OK, or would it definitely be better to go for the G4?
  2. Igantius macrumors 65816

    Apr 29, 2007
    What sort of cash are you realistically thinking of spending?
  3. Dynamyk macrumors 6502a


    Jul 8, 2005
    I'd get the G4. I loved my G4 with all my heart, it's a solid solid laptop.
  4. munckee macrumors 65816

    Oct 27, 2005
    The first mac I owned was a 2nd-hand iBook G3 running OSX 10.2. I maxed out the ram (640 MB I think). It was perfect for word processing and internet.

    Just be wary of the G3 iBooks; they had logic board issues. I had mine replaced something like four times under the apple replacement plan which has since expired. For that reason alone I'd urge you to go for the G4.
  5. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    The G4 iBooks generally tend to have a very strong quality reputation among recent Apple products. Mine is still going very strong, although there is apparently an issue that affects some of them related to solder failure. Also a lot of the older iBook G4s have new batteries as of last year as a result of the recall....

    A couple things:

    - If you get a G3, that's fine, but try to get the "snow" / "dual USB" / etc models that look like the iBook G4, and try to get one with an 800 or 900 MHz G3. Try to get one that already has max possible RAM as mentioned above, or else shop around and budget for memory. Also make sure that the seller reveals its warranty / service history -- you want to know how old it is and whether it was ever repaired in the logic board issue. I'm not 100% on this, but my personal feel is that you're better off with an older one that has never been repaired or symptomatic, because you're getting a "lucky" one.

    - I think the G4 is a better choice generally. If you go for one, make sure to ask the seller if the battery is affected by the recall. If they are not sure, push for serial numbers, check yourself, and make sure that you can replace that battery if they have not already done so. It takes six weeks or more to get a replacement, so you probably don't want them to send it in now if they have not. But you *really* do not want to be using the old battery. I think there was at least one report of someone who had one of these that had been fine for several years (as had mine), then tried to keep the old battery instead of sending it back to Apple, and then had a fire after having owned the battery for years. The new batteries are just fine, as are the non-recalled ones. Just make sure you are not using a battery that was recalled and never replaced.

    Overall, I'd say that my guess is that the very first revision of the iBook G4 will still set you back a little more than those late G3s -- the very first G4s (800 MHz) have generally gone for $400-500 on eBay in the US, recently, while the G3 900MHz frequently goes for about $300.

    Other things to think about:

    - take into account whether the notebook has an airport or airport extreme card already -- good for resale (by the time you ditch it, very few people are going to want a laptop with no wifi!) as well as for your use.

    - If budget is very tight, Office apps and Firefox are just peachy on top of Panther (10.3) -- which also reduces the memory you need overall generally by about 128MB. So if you can't afford a memory upgrade, try to use Panther instead of Tiger. I would not suggest using anything older than Panther, though.
  6. zarusoba thread starter macrumors 6502

    Feb 3, 2006

    Thanks for the advice, everyone.

    G3 iBooks in Australia go for about $400 I think, whereas G4 iBooks go for for $600 to $700.

    It depends what my Mum is willing to spend, but obviously the cheaper the better.

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