How powerful are G4 powerbooks?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by weekend warrior, Dec 17, 2008.

  1. weekend warrior macrumors member

    Nov 19, 2008
    I really want to ditch this PC laptop and dive headfirst into the mac world. I've been flip flopping between wanting a macbook/macbook pro/powerbook for a while now and I'm getting seriously feed up with myself.

    The problem is that i cant really justify spending upwards of $1000 for a new computer when my current one works fairly well (for windows). So I think an old school powerbook might be the answer I'm looking for. I've seen them go for $300-400 on ebay and just want a confirmation that this will be fast enough. I only plan to use it for internet, music, the iLife package type things, no games, no photoshop. But I want to make sure that it'll do these good enough to leave me with a good impression of OSX.

    So what do you think? Still a very capable machine? I've also seen powerbooks with both leopard and tiger. which is better for me? more features of leopard or better performance of tiger? anything i should look out for when buying a 5 year old machine?

    It's also very likely that i would put this back on eBay after 2-3 months and get a new macbook/pro if i fall for OSX. Advice?:confused:
  2. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000


    Feb 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    I have a 1.25GHz powerpc g4

    it will be kinda slow

    using flash slows it down a lot

    effects take ages to render in iMovie, but it is usable. i do half of my editing with ppc

    office and iTunes work fine

    most websites are great if not much flash.

    Try to get the fastest G4 you can get!!

    P.S. leopard will be fine
  3. LeoFio macrumors regular

    Jul 30, 2008
    New York
    I have a 1.5Ghz powerbook running Tiger. As long as it is kept healthy throughout its life, it still runs fairly well. Mine runs pretty much like the day I got it, but response is slowing as programs and media become more advanced. Macs don't show their age as much as a windows pc does.

    Still boots up in less than a minute; itunes, iphoto, etc run great, albeit a few seconds of initial load time; I play around with ArchiCAD on mine, and graphics are fine as long as the model doesn't become overly complex. Like the previous poster said, imovie will be a little slow, but not entirely unbearable.

    As long as you find one in good condition (make sure of no dents), you should be fine for what you want to do with it. Also, one could always make the argument that Apple hardware was better back in the day ;)
  4. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    If you are rally willing to spend $1k I'd look for a low end Macbook with an Intel CPU.

    Edit: I have a mintish 12" G4 PowerBook 1.33 and a unibody MBP 2.53.

    Both get a ton of use.
  5. Tastannin macrumors 6502


    Sep 19, 2003
    Just keep in mind that if you keep a close eye to refurbs and old "new" stock, you can pick up a essentially new MacBook for about $750-$850. You'll be able to use it as your PC, boot right into Windows or use Parallels/Fusion/VirtualBox (Free) to virtualize Windows right on your OSX desktop.

    You'd get a much better machine that would come with a built in webcam, DVD burner, and would be a better intro to OSX. You could even ditch your old PC if you were so inclined. Don't tip-toe, jump in head first! LOL.
  6. Kan-O-Z macrumors 6502

    Aug 3, 2007
    Refurbished current 2.1GHz model Macbook $850 straight from Apple:

    I would buy this over a used powerbook. I know this is a little out of your price range but if you're willing to spend about $850, you'll get a killer computer that will pay itself off because it will last a good 4+ years in terms of usability. As someone else said this thing will have enough power to do a lot. You could upgrade the RAM to 4GB for like $55 from Macmall!

    The Powerbook on the otherhand is in it's last stages of usability and might not be supported in the next OS. Why buy a computer that is already struggling today and will need to be replaced in another year or so in terms of usability....if you're looking to run the latest software.

    My vote is go for a refurb macbook for $850 or a new one from Macmall for $919! You'll love OS X even more when it's running super fast and super capable :)

  7. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    I don't want to sound rude, but I find that a lot of people on this forum really underestimate PPC machines.

    By no means are they slow. Sure, compared to a brand new MBP, they may seem a little sluggish, but they are extremely usable machines. If you get a PowerBook with maxed out RAM, you will have a great machine. You're not missing much, if anything, from the "OS X experience" by buying a G4.

    I use a 1.3 GHz iBook G4 for my daily computing needs. I haven't used my Intel Mac mini for weeks, because my iBook is a very capable machine, even with only 512 MB of RAM.

    I find it sad people automatically dismiss PPC machines as "slow and outdated".
    It's a statement that is far from the truth.
  8. dplatt macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2008
    Something else to watch out for on powerbooks is corrosion of aluminum on the palm rests because of sweat/perspiration. I have a G4 1.67 and it does the basics reasonably well. If you do decide to go this route make you you upgrade the memory.
  9. yoyo5280 macrumors 68000


    Feb 24, 2007
    Melbourne, Australia & Bay Area
    I overestimate mine. for the things i need to do (video related) it crawls along. everything else it runs like a dream.
  10. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    The problem is that most people tend to overestimate the value of their g4 powerbooks when they sell them.

    Good little machines, solidly well built. A later model PPC should do fine with basic tasks like surfing, email, word processing if the ram and hard drive are sufficient.

    3-400 would be a decent price for one. Much more than that, and you'd be better off saving for a 1st gen macbook or macbook pro. (or even mac mini). Good luck.
  11. iBlue macrumors Core


    Mar 17, 2005
    London, England
    I think they are decent machines and they would suit you fine for what you want to do with it. I am writing this from a 1.5 ghz G4 with a mere 1.25g of RAM and it works great for light use. Flash does slow it down and Leopard is a bit clunky on it, but it's not bad by any means. However, if you have $1000 to spend, you may have better luck with a refurb macbook. The memory allocation is a lot better with the intel machines and it keeps you a bit more current.

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