Laptop to run OS X Leopard for under $500? or less?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by longm1210, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. longm1210 macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2009
    i really am looking into getting a laptop. im 16, have no job (and have never had one, i know im going to miss the freedom :p) and would prefer to get one made by apple

    i want one that can run leopard, and is as cheap as possible
    when i first started researching, i was hoping to find a powerbook G4 for $300 or less. that seems impossible now, so im going to be willing to save.

    anyway, so what do you reccomend? and i would be fine with doing hackintosh so long as the laptop doenst look like crap and has a dvd burner (since none of my family's desktop computers have them)
  2. waiwai macrumors regular

    Feb 24, 2009
    Although I'm all for Apple. In your case if you can't afford it, don't bother until you can. another thing is... do you really need a mac? i mean from the sounds of it, u just want something that looks cool and different then what the rest of your family has... and ur not looking for functionality... which is a dumb way to spend money when you dont have it...

    Get a job and work a few months and you'll have enough to buy a new macbook or something...
  3. longm1210 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2009
    bro you just contradicted yourself lol. but yeah thats why i was aiming for a powerbook G4, 17" maybe, i think theyre the sexiest laptops ever sold by apple.. the unibodies are 2nd
  4. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Plenty of new netbooks can be had for <$500, and many even run OSX. MSI Wind and Dell Mini 9 are popular. Don't think either has a DVD burner (?) but that's only an external away...
  5. redsteven macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2006
    Woah, that's a little harsh. I didn't take "as long as it doesn't look like crap" to mean he only wants a 17" Macbook Pro.

    A g4 iBook might be cheaper than a powerbook.

    Just be aware that if you want to play any 3D games, you're gonna have to spend a lot more money to get a decent graphics card in a mac.... and no mac laptops have upgradable graphics cards.

    I'd recommend a new white macbook. It's the cheapest laptop Apple sells that has the new integrated NVIDIA graphics (which are a hell of a lot better than the old intel GMA's). It still wouldn't be a graphics powerhouse, but unless you're a hardcore gamer it would probably suit you fine.
    It's still gonna run you $949 though (with education discount). And don't forget to add tax to that... and applecare if you would want it.

    If you're NOT interested in gaming at all, then go ahead and, like you said, look for an old g4 powerbook or ibook.

    The hackintosh route could certainly be cheaper, but it sure sounds like it takes a hell of a lot of work to get it (and KEEP it) running, so you better know what you're doing.
  6. longm1210 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2009
    i'd like the idea of not having to carry a portable hard drive around everywhere with me lol, plus the screens are so small on those!
  7. gan6660 macrumors 65816


    Aug 18, 2008
    I bought a 15inch g4 powerbook on ebay in december for $200 and sold it a week later for $350
  8. longm1210 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2009

    the most i would be interested in is MAYBE WoW.. but i doubt it. it will be mostly used for (idk im allowed to say this here :p) torrents, school work, and maybe some stuff at church.
  9. bbnck macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2009
    The cheapest is MacBook and if you try and buy a used one on eBay I doubt it'd fetch anything under (guess) $300 less if its in moderate condition. If you are on a tight budget there's the Mac Mini at $599 but you might be able to fetch a used G4 Mac Mini cheaper on eBay. The Mini is £499 in the UK, way too expensive so I've had to buy a G4 mac mini for £285/$400ish which comes with 512MB memory + 60GB hard drive.

    It's true a lot of the reason everyone wants to buy a Mac is because of Mac OS X, no denying it, that's a good reason why I'm buying a mac mini but after seeing countless videos I can see how OS X will be definitely easier and more pleasant to use.

    If you really want a Mac, go for a used Mac Mini and save up for a Mac notebook.
  10. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Well, if you've got a limited budget, you have to compromise somewhere. I'd rather have a new machine with modern (if weak) technology than an old iBook, but that's just me.

    FWIW, most netbooks can be optioned with large HDDs, I've seen some with 160GB options.

    You might be able to find a used plastic MacBook with the Intel graphics for only slightly more than your price range. If you're set on used, I would at least look for an Intel machine. PPC won't be supported much longer.
  11. longm1210 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2009
    can you go into depth when you say that PPC wont be supported much longer? people say snow leopard wont be able to run on it but i heard that its not that many new features anyway.
  12. DesignerOnMac macrumors 6502a


    Jul 23, 2007
    Look on eBay, most iBooks are priced between $150 and $500.00. Don't get a G3, the lowest you want will be a G4 in the $400+ range.

    For what you want to do, no need to concern yourself with Snow Leopard. Leopard will do you just fine.
  13. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    For your needs, an iBook G4 will work great. (FWIW, mine plays Halo nicely. :D) I had Leopard on mine for a little while, and it was decent with the stock 512 MB of RAM, but you're going to want more then that (Max it out to 1.5 GB if you can.)
  14. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    It's not just the new OS, but new programs that will stop being supported. Lots of programs are still designed to run natively on PPC and Intel, but that will change. I think, before long, and especially once SL gets here, you'll find that new software will no longer run on PPC machines. Programmers just aren't going to take the time to write code that runs on both platforms, especially after Apple stops doing it. There's already some freeware programs that only run on 10.5 - I think that problem is going to become much more pronounced once Snow Leopard comes out.

    That said, a PPC machine will always be able to do basic tasks like word processing, internet, and email. But imo an Intel machine is a far better investment. :)
  15. Aldaris macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2004
    Salt Lake
    Be wise here

    My sincerest advice, especially for a 16 year old, would be to save up and get a new macbook, here's the reasoning and the logic;

    Get something with tech-life that would last you well through your high school years- something that will function well and can exist with all the new specs.

    When I was 14 I got my first computer a PC from a local store, total crap (Totally Awesome- Totally Sucks - And Totally out of Business) A year later I got my first mac a 700 Mhz iBook 14" loved it and it served well in high school. I did have a meager part time custodial job that I used specifically to buy it, something you might want to look into, not toilets per ce, but a job of some sort. get something you can get some good use out of.
  16. trip1ex macrumors 68000

    Jan 10, 2008
    Leopard needs a ~1ghz G4 cpu.

    As long as you don't expect too much then ~1gb RAM and a ~1ghz G4 cpu will work. Multimedia stuff is where you'll run into trouble.
  17. longm1210 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2009
    thanks everyone for the advice. the reason im really leaning away from a brand new macbook is because
    1- i REALLY want the 17" screen. my ideal setup IMO would be 17" 1.6 ghz w/ 80gb hard drive, upgraded RAM to 1.5gb, and an external hard drive. i think this setup would let me do everything i want and more, i forgot to mention that i LOVE photoshop and need a bigger screen to see what im doing. portability wont be an issue because i wont be taking it to school every day. it would be a in-room computer that i could take on the road when out of town.

    2-the macs people buy into are like $1500, and then pros are up to $2500. once im in that price range, i'd rather invest in car!

    i would put more thought into this post but my parents are kicking me off the computer. another reason i would love to get a laptop :eek:
  18. Mr_Brightside_@ macrumors 68030


    Sep 23, 2005
    This is really good advice. While my 1.33 iBook does exactly what I want at a reasonable pace (CS3, FCE for example), buying one right now, as your first Mac, may not be the best first experience with a Mac. That being said, you seem set on the PowerBook, and it's great that you have a clear idea of what you want. Does it have to run Leopard? Just wondering. I wouldn't worry about SL. Regardless of whether or not it will run, Leopard, or, lo, even Tiger will be fine IMO. Just a thought.
  19. redsteven macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2006

    You're interesting in photoshop? You do NOT want to get yourself an old G4 then. You should definitely get an intel.

    And Demosthenes is 100% right. There's actually a lot of **** out there that won't run on Power PC's anymore, especially if it's one that can't run Leopard.

    That G4 isn't even going to be able to use all the features in the newer version of iLife. And you WANT iLife... and not the 2004 version that's gonna come on the G4 you buy.
  20. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I'd also suggest that the time has passed where it makes sense for general purpose users to get a G4... I think a used Macbook (any revision / version, meaning probably an older plastic one, either Core Duo or C2D, with a slight preference for the latter) would be a much better option, and if you're patient, probably not totally impossible at $500.
  21. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I also second buying an older white macbook. But personally I would avoid the Core Duos. They were the first Intel model. I'd get a C2D macbook. I have one, and they have better graphics, and more RAM space.

    I have a white 2.4 ghz C2D, and it's fab. 4GB and a 320GB HD make it really smoke, and it rips through anything I throw at it. (I'm not a games player). You don't need to add these upgrades straightaway - just buy a low end C2D, and upgrade as you get the money. They're cheap upgrades anyway.

    You can also add a large LCD display later. I have a 15'' PowerBook, and while I love it, TBH, the size and weight was often a real hassle. My Macbook is only a little smaller and lighter, but the impact is dramatic. I've carried it around 10x more than I ever carried my PB.

    You could also consider a netbook. There's some good ones for $300-400, which leaves you money for a monitor or some upgrades, and you get a brand new netbook plus warranty. (don't forget to buy a Leopard DVD! Get it off eBay or something like that).

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