How to buy a good Clamshell?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by, Aug 10, 2007.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2007
    I need a simple word processor, spreadsheet, internet, note-taker for school. I have a new MacBook... but I'm a little worried about bringing it with me around campus. Accidents happen, and in my current financial situation, it would be a great loss. Besides, I do not need all that power for taking notes or working on a paper.

    So I was thinking... a clamshell, with a Hardrive upgrade (let's say 40GB), a new battery, and the wireless card built in.... would that be a good option? So where to buy and what is a good deal vs a bad deal?

    How much is a good deal on a decent clamshell?

    How much is a decent clamshell with an up'ed HD and the wireless?

    and how much is a pricetag new battery?

    So in other words, what would you expect to pay? Also, what do I look for to find a good deal? I'm using e-bay and I'm just a bit worried about being ripped off... I know NOTHING about clamshells, since I joined the Apple crowd a year ago with this MacBook right here. Thus, people who sell, own or did own clamshells... please help.

    Also, this is my first post here on MacRumors... so Hi everyone! :)
  2. Flashtastic macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2007
    Hi there,

    I was in your situation, and considered the iBook Clamshell, but the small screen resolution (800x600) put me off (Mac OS X really should have at least 1024x768). I got a great deal on a PowerBook G3 for around $200 Australian with 320MB Ram, 6GB HD, 400 Mhz. It's fantastic, fast enough for internet browsing, Word, and even presenting keynotes. It has a 14" and 1024x768 screen resolution. (From eBay.)

    I picked up an airport card (NOT extreme) for around $70 Australian. (NOTE that ONLY PowerBooks with FireWire have airport slots (these models are sometimes known as PowerBook Pismo - DON'T buy a PowerBook Lombard if you want airport!). You should confirm that the Powerbook has Firewire before buying!! ALL iBooks have airport card slots.)

    It works great connecting to the school wireless networks and isn't too heavy to carry. It also has the added bonus of an extra USB port, firewire and monitor out.

    An 80GB hard drive would set you back around $80 Australian, but these can be hard to install.

    I recently saw a PowerBook G3, with Airport already installed, 1GB Ram, 20GB HD and two batteries for $500 Australian.

    Hope that helps a bit, sorry I don't know how much iBooks are worth these days.

  3. d_and_n5000 macrumors 6502a


    Oct 6, 2005
    Clamshells are rather old in the computer world—they may start at around $75 for original Tangerine or Blueberry models with 3 GB hard drives, 32 MB RAM, and no firewire, to upwards of $500 for a Key Lime Special Edition with a 10 GB hard drive and at least 64 MB RAM, with FireWire, a DVD-ROM drive, and a recent battery. It's hard to come up with a good, solid estimate, because they vary so widely. A 60 GB hard drive from iFixit will set you back a good $60. A battery on eBay will be around $40-$50. You will probably also want to upgrade the OS, especially if it is still on Classic.

    And do keep in mind that the iBook you're looking at has a rather low screen resolution(800x600), and is a beast to take apart to upgrade. You may want to consider a G3 PowerBook, which will set you back more but will give you a more workable screen resolution(1024x768) and an easier to upgrade CD drive bay. The rest of it is also easier to take apart. May be something to look into. Just make sure to get a FireWire model if you want to run Tiger.

    Note: All prices are in USD$. YMMV.
  4. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 10, 2007
    Thank you for responding,

    The low resolution is fine, and I can live with any setup (including the original ones)

    The only thing I really care for is
    A. Wireless
    B. New Battery
    C. upgraded HD to 20GB+

    Other than that I would like it to be in decent condition visually.... no big cracks, scraches, missing keys, you know.... just well kept.

    Will someone give me a rough estimate? Can I aim for under $300?

    Another question, how would an older Clamshell deal with Mac OS X Tiger? I would like Tiger... but I imagine that might be like Installing XP on a '95 Toshiba. If Tiger is too much will it run Panther or at least Jaguar? at good speeds?
  5. kymac macrumors 6502a


    Nov 4, 2006
    i think that a later rev. of the g3 ibooks would be a better choice, more portable in my opinion. my moms still works great, and my ten year old brother just bought one for about $350 preowned.
  6. Flashtastic macrumors newbie

    Jan 22, 2007
    Yes I think you could get all of that for less than $300 US. How much less, it just depends on who's bidding.
    If you want to run Tiger, your mac must have FireWire which rules out the first gen iBook G3.

    The Firewire iBooks were available in the Indigo, Key lime and Graphite colours.
    iBooks that don't have FireWire and won't run Tiger but will run Panther include the Blueberry (lighter coloured than Indigo), Tangerine and er Graphite.
    (If your looking at for a Graphite model, make sure it has FireWire!)

    Panther is running great on my PowerBook G3, with 320MB Ram. Get as much Ram as you can! The graphics cards on the iBooks were quite weak, so they may not play nicely with all the visual effects of Tiger.

    Good Luck!
  7. SteveG4Cube macrumors 6502

    Jul 22, 2002
    MontCo., PA
    You can run Tiger fine on a rev. a iBook. I have it on mine and even with 128mb it wasn't bad. With an additional 256mb it's great for basic stuff. The genie effect and other visual things aren't any different than on my 800mhz G4 eMac.

    The trick is getting Tiger to install. I found it easiest to take the hard drive, stick it in a firewire case, and install it from my iMac G5 (gotta have access to a PPC mac with firewire for this to work). Since you plan on a hard drive upgrade anyway, that's definitely the way to go. Taking the computer apart for the HD swap isn't hard, just take your time and remember which screws go where.

    Basically, you'd be looking at about $50-150 for a rev.a iBook, $25-50 for the additional ram, $50-75 for an original airport card, and $50 for a hard drive. Then of course a copy of Tiger for PPC. If you feel a little daring, you can overclock it quite a bit too.

    helpful links:

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