Buying Advice: Tibook or iBook???


macrumors member
Original poster
Jun 7, 2005
Arlington, VA
I'm looking to buy a used laptop, and was wondering what would probably get me better performance and/or be more reliable. A 900 mhz G3 14" ibook, or a 500 mhz G4 15" tibook? I have found a 15" Powerbook G4 500 w/ 256 RAM, a 20 GB HD, and a DVD drive for $599. While I have found a 14" ibook 900 G3 w/ 128 RAM, 40GB HD and a combo drive for $699. Any advice/opinions anyone can give would be greatly appreciated!


macrumors 603
Sep 3, 2003
North Carolina
The iBook. Are you kidding me? It's twice as fast as the TiBook, with a bigger HD. iBook all the way. Plus, a 500 Mhz TiBook is ancient -- it may not last much longer.

mad jew

Moderator emeritus
Apr 3, 2004
Adelaide, Australia
wordmunger said:
The iBook. Are you kidding me? It's twice as fast as the TiBook, with a bigger HD. iBook all the way. Plus, a 500 Mhz TiBook is ancient -- it may not last much longer.

Fair points, but the 15 inch screen, double the RAM and the fact it's a G4, not a G3 still sway me towards the TiBook.


macrumors 6502a
Jul 19, 2004
Orange County, CA
totally, go with the G4 esp since it's cheaper. i would only consider the g3 if it was cheaper. also the resolution is better on the ti boook


macrumors 68030
Dec 17, 2003
Los Angeles, CA
It depends on the types of applications you will mainly be running.

If you're doing your basic internet/Office-type stuff, then I suspect both will run fine. If you were doing a lot of heavy stuff then 1 or the other might give you better performance due to CPU differences.


macrumors member
Mar 22, 2002
San Francisco, CA
The TiBook screens are indeed quite nice. I still get adoring comments about mine. If you end up getting one, you'll want to invest in a screen protector for it so that it doesn't get marred by the keyboard when the laptop is closed.

Secondly - and this comes after three years with my 800mhz tibook - it's really not that sturdy. I try to take pretty good care of it, but it's my primary machine and I'm a contractor, so it moves a lot with me. The frame has always had a lot of flex, and this results in some of the parts not quite fitting perfectly with each other after so long. It's actually been back to apple twice - once to replace the screen, and once to replace the motherboard. It seems possible to me that the mobo failure was caused by the inner frame just not being strong enough and the whole thing flexing when it really shouldn't. I wouldn't buy a used three-year-old TiBook unless I could look at it pre-purchase and see that it had sat on a desk for that entire time.

As far as the ibook goes, they're rock-solid. My sister has had hers - a 500mhz i believe - for almost 4 years now, and she treats it terribly, and it just soldiers on. In terms of physical reliability the iBook is in a totally different class than the TiBook.

As far as speed goes, it does a good job, I guess. I've got a gig of memory (it came with 512, and the extra made a pretty good difference) and a faster/bigger/better hard drive than the original, and can do lots with it. Pages is pretty slow as soon as there are images in the document. FCP works well for editing, but rendering is an overnight task - though it sounds like you won't be doing that kind of stuff. It's starting to frustrate me a little when I open a new browser window in mail and it takes a couple seconds to come up. I'm installing Tiger today to hopefully get another bit of zip out of it - will let you know how it turns out.

Demon Hunter

macrumors 68020
Mar 30, 2004
Go for the TiBook!!

I'm typing this on one. This thing is a tank, it gets dropped, has a dent or two, but man is it durable. Unlike the new PowerBooks you can't just slam the lid shut without doing some damage... the hinges on the TiBook are more forgiving, although if you're not careful they could crack.


macrumors 601
Nov 9, 2003
Dress Rosa
The powerbook paint issue is high over exaggerated. I've failed to see one tibook with flaky paint. Tiger requires 256MB of RAM so you'll either need to upgrade the iBook or get the Ti. And the iBook can burn CDs whereas the Ti can't. I think getting the iBook and upping the RAM a bit would work. Try saving a couple of hundred and try to get a G4 iBook.


macrumors regular
Apr 24, 2004
Go for the TiBook. It is cheaper, it has a G4, it has a better screen, it has more RAM....

A G4 500 will run circles around a G3 900. Mac OS X runs better on a G4.

Demon Hunter

macrumors 68020
Mar 30, 2004
That's true, the paint does flake to all hell. But then again the iBooks can look very dirty, with all that white plastic.

Again, it's a tank. Right now it's too hot for my bare legs, but a TANK! ;) They should've called this the PanzerBook.