My (new) Powerbook G4 15"

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by andyriot, Jul 2, 2012.

  1. andyriot macrumors member

    Jul 1, 2010
    Hey guys, I have been looking for a cheap way to score a laptop for my simple daily tasks like browsing, email, documents, light web work, etc. Only requirement being, it has to be an Apple. I couldn't bring myself to buy a cheap ass dell no matter if I would use it a lot or not.

    Anyways I thought about the older MacBook Pros for a bit, as they are being sold around $400-$500 and thats not too bad for what they are. But then it hit me! I saw a PowerBook on craigslist and the skies cleared! I thought that would be perfect for what im looking for. I still have my Intel iMac for my real work, but the PowerBook G4 could be a decent daily workhorse. Only problem was I had never used an older generation Mac before. I have always had an Intel based machine.

    So, to shorten the story a bit. There were a couple PowerBooks for sale in my area but everyone seemed to be asking (IMO) outlandish prices. Like were talking $200-300 -- and upon researching on "apple value" sites I do see that they are supposedly worth around $200-$250 so I guess that's fair though you can find newer macbooks (13" white) for that price as well.

    Well I found a guy asking a minimal ammount, $165 for a supposed "mint condition" 15", with 1.5 ghz cpu, 1.5gb ram, 80gb harddrive. Not too bad! So I met up with the dude, and came prepared. I checked all the stuff that I knew could go bad or wrong. I let him know up front I am very familiar with computers and that I knew what I was looking for/at. He was just a CL flipper and had no idea, so he quickly stopped treating me like an idiot and let ME tell him what was up (LOL).

    I tested the wifi, worked great. I tested the superdrive, worked great. I tested the USB ports, worked great. I tested the sound -- and I guess because we were in Panera and it was louder, I thought I was only getting sound from the left speaker -- so I brought that up to him that only one speaker works. Also, the battery. The battery is poor but what is to be expected from an '04 machine. It was listed at 26% health from original in CoconutBattery. So I told him that as well, the battery was toast and would HAVE to be replaced.

    In the end, I beat him up on the price a bit, and I guess my demeanor knowing about computers, I told him look man here is where i'm at with the couple things wrong -- I will offer you $80 for it. He winched like I was hitting him down low, and countered with $85. I thought that would be a fair deal, so I jumped on it.

    I think he lost money on that one, cause he said well since I was able to make extra on my last deal, I can do that price for this. Also, we made a somewhat business arrangement that when he gets laptops to flip (windows/mac) I can wipe them and reload whatever OS he wants on them for a minimal fee. He says he gets like 10 at a time and fairly steadily.

    Sweet! So I head home to play with it... reload a fresh version of Leopard with all the Intel code stripped out -- the thing runs phenomenal!! EVERYTHING works! That speaker I thought was out? Nope! Both work great!! (hahaha) The battery is indeed toasted, but i've already ordered a new one from Amazon for like $18.

    Not only did I pay $85 for it, I think he will soon be paying me to do some work for him. And its in PERFECT condition (battery aside). No dents, dings, nothing. I couldnt talk other people down past $250 with the exact same machine!!

    What do you guys think? Good score? Good price? I've read around a bit here in this subforum but if you guys have any tips for using a PPC machine on the daily then let me have it! So far its performing admirably! :D
  2. Goftrey macrumors 68000


    May 20, 2011
    Wales, UK
    Welcome to PowerPC land - you'll like it here, we're a friendly bunch :p

    Great buy at a great price! I paid £95 (150 USD) for mine boxed, in mint condition with all the original documentation etc, which is the one up from yours (1.67ghz).

    They really do run well under Leopard - even mine with 1gb RAM.

    I'd install TenFourFox &/or Camino as you're browser if you want really snappy performance - but to be honest, I still use Safari 5 as it's my personal all round favourite. MacTubes is a must, although under Camino YouTube runs smoothly @360p (it's playable in the browser in Safari, but it's a lot easier on the CPU and buttery smooth in MacTubes). G4FanControl is a great utility to control the fans but Flash seems to be the only thing that really sets them off (the G4's are dead quiet by the way, much quieter and cooler than the early MBPs). iWork '09, iMovie HD & iLife '09 work really well.

    You could always upgrade the RAM to 2gb and maybe stick an IDE SSD in there to give you the full feel of what one of these beasts can do.

    But apart from that, enjoy it! In my opinion my PowerBook is my personal favourite machine I've ever owned- I've mentioned this before, but there's a special 'magic' that comes with a PowerBook G4, a warm, friendly feeling when you turn it on and start using it. Sounds cheesey, but it's true :p
  3. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    I've got two 17" Powerbooks. Both are running Leopard and the Office 2008 suite. I'd suggest Aurorafox over TenFourFox as you are running Leopard. Aurorafox IMO is faster then TFF and it's built for Leopard only.
    Good score on the PB. I got my two 17" PB's for $150 and $250 respectively two years ago off eBay. Sellers don't know what they have as the PB I got for $250 is the dual layer high definition version (and was not advertised as such). Both Macs were "damaged" which is why I got them so cheap. But repairs were moderately simple and not expensive. My 1GHZ needed a new screen so I found one for $80 (complete, not just the LCD) on eBay. A far cry from the vendors wanting $300 or more just for the LCD.
    My wife's 12" PB I picked up for $75 on eBay. $50 for the Mac and $25 for a replacement screen. The seller rolled it down a flight of stairs and thus wrote it off. It's perfect now. And last but not least I got my son earlier this year a 1GHZ Titanium 15" from a corporate reseller. Again, bad screen (which I swapped out). $24 with shipping.
    So you are right in there. $85 is excellent for what you got.
  4. kevin242 macrumors member

    Jul 28, 2006
    ten four fox is good, but i prefer webkit in leopard. It makes safari run great, if you must use a firefox browser, try Aurora fox, its made for leopard not Tiger and it runs great on my powerbook 1.25ghz with only 1gb of ram.
  5. Lil Chillbil macrumors 65816

    Lil Chillbil

    Jan 30, 2012
    I think that maxing out the ram would be a good investment
  6. mike457 macrumors 6502

    Sep 10, 2010
    I just bought a Powerbook 400, missing the keyboard and the power supply, for $10. The 400 was the first Apple laptop I owned, back in the day, and I felt sorry for the poor thing. It turned out to be as originally configured with the world's noisiest hard drive and still fully working. The seller knew nothing about Macs and didn't realize that the cable to the hard drive was loose. I bought a used keyboard and power supply for $30, put in an old hard drive I had kicking around, added a couple of old ram chips to take it up to 512, and installed a Belkin F5D8013 to get wireless N. With some cleaning up, she runs Tiger beautifully. :)
    People do ask really high prices for old Macs, and the websites quote ridiculous prices for laptops that are seven or more years old. You found a bargain yourself, and (better still) one that needed no extra work.
  7. eyoungren macrumors Core


    Aug 31, 2011
    ten-zero-eleven-zero-zero by zero-two
    Nice find!
  8. mayuka macrumors 6502a


    Feb 15, 2009
    Max out your RAM, install Leopard. My Powerbook G4 1,5GHz runs very smoothly and blazingly fast with it. Only at the graphics side its not a breathtaker speedwise. I use it for smaller live performances. It never let me down. Using Ableton Live, Traktor 3 and Soundtrack Pro 2 on it.

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