Buying Macs on EBay?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Laurencia7, Dec 31, 2013.

  1. Laurencia7 macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    I've been comparing some older iMacs, and Mini Macs on EBay to buy for my mother. She only uses the PC I got her for email, and bills but it's not running fast anymore. BUT I wanted to ask your opinion on buying used Macs on ebay and if anyone had experiences?

    Some offer a return policy, some do not. But the Macs they are offering in my price range are iMac g4 or iMac 2002 or g5's and I'm not familiar with those models. Many people are watching the items so I see interest but I'm not sure if it would be an upgrade or whether it's worth it.

    Here's a few I was looking at:

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I trust you guys, and I only mainly had concerns on quality of the older macs lasting long, what shape they are in, and if it is a good buy or not. or if they can be upgraded with other OSX software.

    I have a Macbook 10.5.8 but never upgraded to Lion or SL because I was afraid the programs I have on it now, would not work if I upgraded.

  2. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    Check out the Power PC section about limitations on these models. I recently bought a 23" 1.25Ghz iMac G4. It runs fine but is sluggish on internet stuff. It may not be worth the money and hassle vs possibly upgrading her PC.

    Have you checked Craigslist? It might be less expensive and you won't have to worry about damage during shipping or anything like that.
  3. Laurencia7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    Thanks David,

    I was worried the ram would be underpowered. Just seemed like a good deal for a Mac. I'll check craigslist but never dealt with items from there. I have upgraded her PC to the max 1gb of ram it can handle, and scrubbed and partitioned her hard drive it's still slow. I just figured a Mac would be a better system.

    If I end up buying one of them, I'll let you guys know. Thanks.
  4. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    Check what your budget is and do some good searching on Craigslist.

    I've been wanting a Power Mac G4 Quicksilver... just because they're awesome. I was bored the other day so I looked around for some G5s. They're selling for less than a G4 with loads more power and expandability. Maybe look into an Intel mini that can run some of the newer software. What could get annoying with her is if she gets some links to modern websites or Youtube things could get buggy. There are options but they're not as elegant as one that "just works."

    Has she ever used a Mac before? Does she want to switch to OS X? My mom doesn't and actually likes her Windows 8 laptop at work. I looked at the cost of upgrading her current PC (from '03). I think for MB, RAM, CPU, ODD, and Retail OS was going to be about $415. It wasn't going to be the best but way better than what she has now. I can later put in a faster HDD and get a smaller form factor case whenever they don't look ridiculous.

    Just something to maybe think about as I've been looking in to this myself.
  5. Laurencia7, Dec 31, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2013

    Laurencia7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    Exactly, thanks so much. I bought her this PC a few years ago, and it's refurb but it was never very fast so I upgraded the Ram but the MB only allowed up to 1gb of expansion. She is always complaining to me that it does not load fast and it's a pain. She wanted a tablet, but I cannot find good brands or used ones I feel comfortable buying within my budget.

    The last thing I need is to buy her something that's worse than her PC now. I just figured since I have an older Macbook and it's been great to me I could buy her a Mac too. If you find anything let me know, I found a few G4's and a few others on other websites but nothing within my budget right now. I mean she doesn't use it very often so I don't want to buy her a great mac so it can collect dust, you know? and then have spent too much.

    LOL I told her she could buy a new one anytime but she does not feel it's a good investment considering she never uses it. I just figure when she does she should not be annoyed at it.

    Good to know the G5's are faster, I'll look into them thanks!


    Just checked the stats on the PC she has and it's far more powerful than I thought.
    Microsoft XP 2002 Professional
    Intel 4 with 2.40 GHz CPU
    2.50 GB Ram
    37 GB HD

    So I gather it's far more superior to this underpowered macs?
  6. oldhifi macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2013
    get it off Amazon..much better sellers that wont scam you..
  7. Laurencia7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    Thanks, I bought my Macbook off Amazon new. I agree.
  8. oldhifi macrumors 65816


    Jan 12, 2013
    I have bought several USED electronic items off Amazon with no problems..

    I just don't want to see people getting ripped...its very hard to get a refund through paypal..I lost money with them..
  9. gavinstubbs09 macrumors 65816


    Feb 17, 2013
    NorCal boonies ~~~by Reno sorta
    My first iBook G3 was bought in 2011 from Amazon for $170. My mom wouldn't buy one off eBay and that was the cheapest Mac laptop at the time. Talk about losing money!

    I have bought many macs off ebay; iMac G4 ($50 w/free S&H), 2x iMac G5's, Mac mini G4, and a 2GHz Power Mac G5 ($40 S/H + $10 bid). Out of them all I've had issues with 2. One was a 1.9GHz iSight iMac that I regret buying, avoid any iMac G5 possible. The other was with the G5, it arrived with a almost dead graphics card. I wasn't all that mad about the PM because I got it so cheap.

    That said, this is the cleanest one of them all and the one I'd go with. It's in good shape and the seller will let you return it. It is a 800MHz which is slightly lower than the Leopard system requirements. The PPC Archive will have a guide to hack it soon enough. It does have 256MB of Ram so if you get it, order 512MB of each type here:
  10. Laurencia7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    Really? I used paypal for something and the company was taking out money without my knowledge for almost a year. I filled out a paypal form, and they refunded every dime.

    I ended up buying her a Nook HD+ for her needs, it's fast, the display is very clear and larger than most tablets, and they are on clearance so it was affordable. She loves it, so win win.
  11. trewyn15 macrumors 6502

    May 13, 2013
    I'm going to agree with the Amazon statement. I've gotten scammed too many times on eBay and told it's the 'cost of doing business'.

    I won't sell on ebay now unless requested by my family for some things.
  12. Altemose macrumors G3


    Mar 26, 2013
    Elkton, Maryland
    As a die hard Power PC user, I can tell you that any Flash based activity is going to be painful. G3s are not worth your time as well as low end G4s. For the most basic tasks, an 867 MHz single G4 is necessary. Remember that clock speed is not everything and a dual 800 for instance is going to out do the 867. Try to go with a dual processor PowerMac or a high end iMac.

    Some models to watch for include the iMac G5 which are notorious for capacitors blowing, as well as late model PowerMacs as they were liquid cooled. These PowerMac G5s include the dual 2.5, dual 2.7, and quad 2.5. The quad is mostly reliable but still features a liquid cooling system. All other G5s are generally reliable.

    G4s are generally reliable. I would recommend installing Leopard and using Time Machine as it is a very old computer to boot. Plus Leopard is going to have the biggest PPC software support and the latest copy of Flash and hacked Flash plugins. Use TenFourFox for web browsing as it is the best browser. With these you shouldn't have too many problems.
  13. bigeasy_uk macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2005
    Leamington Spa, England
    It's nice that you are getting your mum a new computer, bit I wouldn't get mine a PPC mac. Too much hassle with things not working well due to the unsupported architecture. I'd be looking for an early intel Mac mini. It might cost a little more to buy, but will save you a fortune in time on the phone talking through computer issues.
  14. thats all folks macrumors 6502a

    thats all folks

    Dec 20, 2013
    Austin (supposedly in Texas)
    I would caution strongly against a PPC mac. As much as I think the G4 iMac is the best design of all, I wouldn't want to use one. Half the internet will be unavailable or so slow as to be not worth it. H264 playback is a hardware feature built into graphics cards. No G4 has this feature and can't be added in. The G5 iMacs are notoriously unreliable and G5 towers are huge energy hogs.

    Also,any machine more than a few years old starts to be a candidate for hard drive failure. G4s use PATA drives. Not something for which there is an easy supply of replacements.

    At the minimum, go for a Core 2 Duo system, at least 2GB RAM and plan on replacing the hard drive (both because the stock hard drive is old and tired and a newer (good) drive will add performance. I would consider a Mac Mini (mid 2007 - late 2009). I've seen so many older iMacs with screen problems. Laptops I would want to buy in person as there are so many potential issues with a used laptop, it's almost impossible to experience it all through the internet.

    At this point the 2006 (first gen) Mac Pros might be the best buy at around $400 (or less if you accept a few dents). It's easy to work on and provides some level of upgrade-ability. I have one hooked up to my television that I use most every single day. And there a still a few at work performing basic services. The Mac Pro line are tanks. I've never has one die. I've just replaced them for performance needs.

    I have bought at least 20 Mac Pros and a bunch of parts off of Ebay, mostly without incident. Check the sellers current and recent activity and reviews to determine if they appear reasonable.
  15. adam9c1 macrumors 68000


    May 2, 2012
    A PPC processor machine will not run anything remotely new.
    OS X 10.5 is the latest (Leopard) that it will run.

    Unless you have a need to run legacy apps stay away.

    If you can afford a Mac Mini (even core solo) it will run 10.6 Snow Leopard which will give you access to the Mac App Store, note that many apps will from thevstorevwill want newer operating system...

    At least you will be ok browsing the Internet, it will be slow ut doable as you will be able to play flash.

    If you decide to buy a G5 machine do not buy the liquid cooled one as they are prone to (catastrophic) failures due to leaks.


    BTW I have purchased my 2009 4,1 Mac Pro on eBay with no issues. You need to look around for a reputable seller with good return policy.

    Stay away from the "bad" or "parts" or "as is" units.


    Also if you are doing bills online the bank web page most likely will not open on a legacy browser.

    I think for around 180-225 you can get an Intel based Mini if you look hard.

    Good luck.
  16. davidg4781 macrumors 68020

    Oct 28, 2006
    Alice, TX
    I would think if you're dropping $400 on an '06 Mac Pro you might as well spend a bit extra and get a late model Mac mini. You'll get Mavericks, USB 3.0, and all the other fun stuff that come with a modern Mac.

    Either way, OP said she already bought her a Nook.
  17. Laurencia7 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 3, 2009
    Thanks guys, I will keep this in mind. It always seems like a good deal, but I figured they were underpowered machines.

    I Got her a Nook HD+ it's simple interface, big clear display, typing ease, fast, and meets her needs. She likes it. Plus they are discount now because B&N are liquidating and out-sourcing their tablets.
  18. gooser macrumors 6502a

    Jul 4, 2013
    i primarily use ppc macs and i'm very satisfied with them but that's just me. i would have second thoughts about getting one for someone else.

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