Macbook vs Powerbook G4 12"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by gibbo132, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. gibbo132 macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2010

    Im changing my MBP for an iMac and I do still need a machine for the road.
    I was suggested to use a BT keyboard with my iPad which would serve 50% of my needs for a road machine.

    I need the machine to be able to run pages (08 is what i have at the moment) and copy my photos from my SD/CF cards to back them up when i am on the road (what the iPad can't do).

    All heavy editing etc is done at home.

    Would a Powerbook G4 12" suffice for these tasks? I used to own a Macbook 6 years ago so I know that it would be fine for those tasks.

    The Powerbooks look fantastic, and are around half the price of a good Macbook.

  2. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    The iPad can do the photos back. Apple's Camera Connection Kit doesn't do CompactFlash cards, but I've seen others from China that do.
  3. gibbo132 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2010
    No, the iPad doesn't have enough space on it. It would almost be a no brainer if I could copy the photos to a hard drive through the iPad.
    Each RAW file from my camera is around 25mbs, 2 8GB cards is half the capacity of my iPad! I only have around 6GBs left!
  4. Intell macrumors P6


    Jan 24, 2010
    You won't get much more space on a Powerbook's drive. At the most, it'd be 100Gb and 40Gb at the least. They are upgradable either 320Gb or 500Gb. I can't remember what the biggest PATA 2.5" 9mm tall drive size is right now, I'm thinking it's 320Gb.
  5. gibbo132 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2010
    I wouldn't say that space on board the Powerbook is a massive issue, I can plug a portable firewire external drive into it!

    Would it have enough power in it to do those tasks?

    I did manage to find a SSD that was PATA! That would make it a speedy machine!
  6. milbournosphere macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2009
    San Diego, CA
    Your heaviest task besides pages work sounds like it's likely to be IO. If you're going from your camera card to the mac via the firewire bus, you'll probably be okay. I'd try to stick with a usb 2.0 model just in case. If it's just IO and word processing\light browsing you're doing, a loaded up powerbook could probably get it done.
  7. macrominnie macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010
    How about going for a low end 11 inch MacBook Air 3rd or 4th generation ?

    The late 2010 11 inch models go for less than 700 dollars from reputable venders. The 2011 low end refurb is $850 online at Apple. (If you wanted the Thunderbolt connection to connect to your iMac, it would be the 2011 model. That's the big difference between 2010 & 2011)

    It's a bit more money, but there's no worry about keyboards, cases and add-ons. iPads are great, but the 11 inch MBA is pretty light, sturdy, faster, and easier for keyboarding & more substantial software: iphoto, iwork, etc. Because USB 3.0 flash drives have become pretty cheap, it's also easy to take extra lightweight storage if you need it.

    The big advantage of the iPad is battery life. The 11 inch MBA's won't run all day long without some charging. The iPad 3 screen is nice but the 11 inch MBA screen is very good. The iPad is lighter and has a camera. If portable gaming is important, go iPad.

    I find the iPad nice for browsing, the occasional app, and portable music. In everyday function, the weight difference between the iPad and the MBA seems small. The difference between either and the smallest PB or MB is much bigger.

    I have 4 different small portables: PB G4, iPad, MBA and MBP 13". Outside the home, the MBA almost always goes with me. If something super lightweight is needed, I get by with an iPod touch or iPhone.

    The iPad 3 is faster than the previous ones, but slower for browsing than a 2010 MBA. Another big MBA advantage is that if the home computer has a problem or if you have a visitor, the MBA is a quite usable backup for most things even at home.

    Unless the price needs to be very low, go for the MBA. For a little more cash, you get a lot more flexibility.
  8. gibbo132 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2010
    I had originally thought about an iMac and MacBook Air. The total price does slightly put me off however. I feel a new iMac and used MacBook would do the same for much less. The laptop really does only need to do word processing and copying photos. A MacBook would run CS4 as well. It's hard to justify the extra cost of a MacBook air
  9. macrominnie macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010
    On re-reading, it seems like the main issue is arranging storage for the iPad. External storage is <shaking fists at Apple> inconvenient on the iPad. The input & WP options for iPad are pretty workable.

    There are a couple of types of workarounds: the Hyperdrive by Hypershop (maybe buy a case and slip in your own drive) and the GoFlex Satellite by Seagate.

    Both a little pricey for what they are, but they are portable options. Search the forum threads. Here' one that discusses them:

    It's great that the needs are known very specifically. The Powerbook G4 has its charm. The white Macbook Core2 Duo's are less than a half pound heavier, and a bit zippier. If you shop around, you may be able to find early Core2 Duo (not Core Duo) for prices in a similar range to the PB G4.

    Weight is an important factor when there;s a lot of travel. The GoFlex satellite and Hyperdrive add-ons would be more flexible if you update machines in the next few years.
  10. gibbo132 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2010
    The PowerBook g4s are hugely appealing! They certainly have something in them that makes be really want to own one!
    But then in practicle terms a MacBook c2d is more feasible!
    I have been watching PowerBooks go on eBay between £80-150, for a MacBook I'm looking at £250-400.
    I have looked into the options of the external backups for photos however I feel that they are massively overpriced. I would much prefer a fully functioning mac, over clunky external drive/ viewer.
    It sounds funny but my heart and wallet say a PowerBook g4, my head says MacBook.
    Looking at videos on YouTube they show leopard running very nicely on a g4.
    The downsides to it are of course cases, and most importantly battery's! I'm weary of the Aftermarket eBay battery's!
    Decisions decisions!
  11. macrominnie, Apr 16, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012

    macrominnie macrumors member

    Nov 20, 2010
    I agree on all the points. One thing Steve Jobs showed very well is that good design counts for a lot. The PB G4 has a good design. If you like it, go for it! Price-wise it's a very small indulgence.

    The only caution would be to avoid sinking too much into upgrading or replacing things, unless you have plenty of funds. Money sunk into extras could easily go a long way into a newer devices/peripherals. (32 gB USB 3.0 flash drives are going for 22£ on this side of the pond, for instance.)

    I have run Tiger on a PB G4, and I have seen Leopard running well on them, but have no experience with Snow Leopard. Amount of installed RAM might be a big factor for the later Mac OS's running well.

    Surprisingly, I have had very good luck with after market batteries, from many different vendors, for many different vintages of Macs. While I keep a skeptic's eye on Amazon reviews, they have seemed helpful guides for choosing after market batteries.

    Happy power-booking.
  12. gibbo132 thread starter macrumors regular

    Jan 8, 2010
    Thanks :)
    I think I will probably try to buy one cheep, that way if it dosen't meet my needs I can sell it on without loosing money!
    Just FYI the PowerBooks won't run snow leopard, that was only for intel macs!
  13. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    In this day and age, anything running on PPC architecture will hold you back. 10.5.8 is the latest version of OS X you can run on a 12" PBG4 and they're limited to 1.25GB of RAM. Anything remotely modern, including web browsing will be ungodly slow.

    I owned a 12" PBG4 back in the day. They were great little machines for their time, but software was also a lot less complicated back then. Any MacBook will be several orders of magnitude faster.

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