Concerns of buying a Powerbook G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by jmack549, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. jmack549 macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2007
    I am considering buying a Powerbook G4, and I'm a little concerned. I bought a Sony Vaio on Ebay about 6 months ago, and it recently just died, thus my interest in a Powerbook. I really want a Macbook, but the money just isn't there.

    What should I look for in terms of problems on the Powerbook?
  2. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    I would say they are pretty solid computers. It really depends on how their first owner took care of them.

    On 12" powerbooks heat warping is somewhat common especially on the earlier models like the 867mhz. I have the last version, the 1.5Ghz and the edges have warped out a little bit.

    All aluminum powerbooks have the potential problem of the aluminum surface getting black spots on them from just usage.

    TiBooks are subject to hinge problems and paint cracking. Additionally because the hinge design are poor it can over time wear out the LCD cables and lead to screen failure.

    I believe there were some logic board issues on the 15" Powerbook if I remember correctly.

    Like I said they are pretty solid, high end computers. Stay away from the TiBooks and you'll be fine.
  3. CalMin macrumors 6502a


    Nov 8, 2007
    +1 what Erik said.

    I've had my 1ghz Powerbook G4 since 2003. Only issue was a dead HD which was replaced under Applecare. The display isn't as bright as newer laptop's but I only notice when I compare side-by-side.

    Make sure you max out the RAM of any G4 if you want to install Leopard and you will do just fine.
  4. mahonmeister macrumors 6502

    Jun 9, 2006
    Redlands, CA
    The PowerBook is a good computer, but the CPU is just so slow. I have the 1.5GHz 15" version and I max out the CPU very often just doing simple things. It works ok for browsing, music and other basic stuff, but don't expect much else from it. Using Google Earth is quite choppy, gaming is pathetic (even with old games) and HD video (even 720p) is too much for it, iTunes coverflow is choppy, flash is slow, video compression is slow, etc.. It's so frustrating.

    Go with a core duo MacBook or a pc.
  5. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    The other thing on G4 Powerbooks is that the lower memory socket burns out on some machines -- this requires a new logic board to repair. Only some of the models are covered by an Apple warranty extension for the issue -- the 1.0, 1.25 and 1.33 GHz models are not covered IIRC. Effectively, this limits the machine to 1 Gb total RAM. Be wary on any used Powerbook G4 15" and 17" model, that it doesn't have a lower socket problem. Keep in mind the machine continues to operate perfectly, just does not register any RAM installed in the lower socket, so it is possible (though unlikely) that the seller might have the problem and not be aware of it.
  6. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    As others have stated, try to find an aluminum PowerBook G4. They seem to have the least amount of problems as far as PowerBook G4s go.

    The only other alternative would be to look for an iBook G4. I used to be the proud owner of a 12" 1.33GHz iBook G4. No problems ever, quite the reliable machine and plenty of speed for browsing the web, listening to music, and other general computing needs/tasks.

    Good luck hunting for your next Apple laptop computer! :)
  7. ErikCLDR macrumors 68000

    Jan 14, 2007
    Oh yea I should also add 15" and 17" are better too (not just screen size) because I believe they go up to 2gb RAM. 12" only go up to a measly 1.25 and I think 867mhz 12" only goes to 640mb which is just sad.

    Keep in mind though that PPC's will become obsolete faster than a used intel mac will. Maybe you should save more and buy a refurb macbook when you get the funds.

    I might be selling my 12" 1.5ghz 768mb 80gb SuperDrive PowerBook. Its a great computer for everyday use but I just would like something faster for when I need to edit videos. I also need a bigger hard drive and I am almost at capacity with all of my necessary files on it. I honestly have no idea what this thing is worth though.
  8. macmike47 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2007
    On the road
    Yeah, but not the pc.
  9. CRAZYBUBBA macrumors 65816


    Mar 28, 2007
    actually the 867 mhz ones do go up to 1.128 gb of ram

    For me it's not about becoming 'obsolete' every computer becomes obselete sooner or later, alot of newbs argue that the g5 is obselete while others (Like me) still use our G3s. If it does what you want at the price that you want, you should buy it.
  10. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I have to disagree here. My 1.67ghz pb is still quite snappy using aperture, photoshop and standard everyday use.
    If the pb is affordable and the more updated hardware isnt then i wouldnt hesitate on a pb. But id rather get the rev d or e.
  11. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Good point, if it still gets the job done for you it is not necessarily 'obsolete'. :)
  12. SpookTheHamster macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    G4s aren't that bad for power. I used to play Halo fine on my 12" PB (1GHz, 512MB), and used Photoshop a lot. The Al PBs were great machines, and the 12" is in my opinion one of the best sized notebooks ever made.

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