My Powerbook Won't Die

HughJigo

macrumors member
Original poster
Aug 29, 2007
44
23
For the last five years I have really hammered my 12" PowerBook. Sometimes literally, when I have hammer-and-punched some of the warps out of the case.

I have tripped and yanked it off tables numerous time, breaking the tips of the power cables off inside the machine. I've dropped it. I've braked hard and watched it fly off the passenger seat.

The paint has been scraped off by thousands of hours of cuff-button friction and my nails have gouged holes in the letter keys, but it is all cosmetic. There's nothing structurally wrong with this thing.

A joke's a joke. I'm in serious danger of not being able to justify getting a new MacBook Pro. I'm just a writer. I don't need really need graphic and audio capabilities. I don't even really need formatting capabilities to be honest. I could do my work on an iPad dock, really.

But I do want a new machine. Five years is long enough.

Come on, please, give me a compelling reason to retire this one.

Were these 12" PowerBooks an anomaly, or when I eventually buy a new machine, am I destined to another half decade or more of the same machine?

Why won't it die!
 

instaxgirl

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2009
1,438
1
Edinburgh, UK
But I do want a new machine. Five years is long enough.

Come on, please, give me a compelling reason to retire this one.

Were these 12" PowerBooks an anomaly, or when I eventually buy a new machine, am I destined to another half decade or more of the same machine?

Why won't it die!
My iBook G4's the same, which was fine when I was a struggling student, delighted that my computer was older than everyone else's and still more reliable, but since I left uni and was able to get some cash I've been trying to find a way around it (not much thanks to give the old thing is it?)

My battery might as well not exist anymore and, most importantly, my power cord has torn and is held together with electrical tape. Apple no longer sells iBook power cords, guess I will have to buy a new laptop . . .

There are a few other oddities, but they're very few - the few times I restart it the sound normally disappears needing a PRAM reset or two to bring it back, the optical drive makes a god awful noise (but still works :rolleyes:) and it doesn't seem to like my external hard drive very much anymore.

The external thing's driving me nuts (since everything lives on there) so it's pushing me to buy a new laptop as soon as they're updated (macbook vs pro? Undecided) instead of waiting for the back to school deal.

I am going got be furious when I buy a pro that ends up conking out after 3 and a half years though :p
 

aerowave

macrumors member
Jan 21, 2008
97
0
Chippenham, England, UK
I'm in pretty much the same situation! I've got a refurb first-gen Core Duo MacBook Pro which I've had since they were available on the store, feels like about 3/4 years now. It's on Snow Leopard, with a maxed out 2GB of RAM, and literally no damage to it apart from a two small dents.

It's normally confined to my desk now, connected to my keyboard/mouse and 24" monitor, as the battery life is getting a bit poor (less than an hour) and I've been waiting for ages for it to go wrong or break or something to push me to replace it!

I used to do a lot of creativity work with CS3/4 and iLife, but now I tend to just use Safari and Mail! So I'm thinking about getting an iPad for those purposes and selling the laptop to go towards a high-spec Mac Mini for the creative stuff as working in iLife (especially iMovie) on the laptop is getting a bit slow with each new version Apple releases.

(the mac mini in my signature is my file server, its a G4 1.25GHz one so I don't have plans to use that lol!)
 

student_trap

macrumors 68000
Mar 14, 2005
1,879
0
'Ol Smokey, UK
For the last five years I have really hammered my 12" PowerBook. Sometimes literally, when I have hammer-and-punched some of the warps out of the case.

I have tripped and yanked it off tables numerous time, breaking the tips of the power cables off inside the machine. I've dropped it. I've braked hard and watched it fly off the passenger seat.

The paint has been scraped off by thousands of hours of cuff-button friction and my nails have gouged holes in the letter keys, but it is all cosmetic. There's nothing structurally wrong with this thing.

A joke's a joke. I'm in serious danger of not being able to justify getting a new MacBook Pro. I'm just a writer. I don't need really need graphic and audio capabilities. I don't even really need formatting capabilities to be honest. I could do my work on an iPad dock, really.

But I do want a new machine. Five years is long enough.

Come on, please, give me a compelling reason to retire this one.

Were these 12" PowerBooks an anomaly, or when I eventually buy a new machine, am I destined to another half decade or more of the same machine?

Why won't it die!
my 12" powerbook is also still going strong: and has had numerous falls, dents and half a litre of coke spilled in it.

More over, I also still use an 8 year old imac and a 11 year old ibook which are also both without any issues.

Before the intel switch, apple's machines were more reliable, and when you bought one you expected it to last well over 5 years, even if it was not capable of doing the most modern of tasks.

Since intel, it has been a bit of a mixed bag. But I did once work out that around 90% of the intel macs that I own (and those of my friends) broke within the first 3 years. With applecare, this isn't a problem, however when compared to previous machines that lasted 2-3 times as long, the fact that the new ones die so soon today is a real shame:(.
 

skottichan

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2007
879
901
Columbus, OH
Awesome, I love stories like this. Sadly, my PPC history is pretty bad (had a G3 iBook with a recalled mobo, a 12" G4 PowerBook that went through a half dozen mobos, and a 14" G4 iBook that had a bad GPU problem).

Fortunately my Intel Macs have been great, my dad's got my original MacBook and she's still running strong at close to 4 years old. My little brother is like you, his first gen MBP is still going strong, no matter how he abuses it, he just wants to justify buying a new one (he's a writer too).
 

mikes63737

macrumors 65816
Jul 26, 2005
1,134
246
I dropped a graphing calculator from about 6 feet up onto my closed MacBook Pro and it just made a tiny little dent in the top case. Very durable machines, but I'm scared what would happen if I dropped it.

If you're only writing on it, there is zero reason to upgrade. But if you're doing anything else (even web browsing), you will notice a difference. "Safari is snappier" on the new machines. I couldn't tolerate the browsing on my Mac Mini (original PPC) because it was so slow.

An iPad actually could be perfect for you.
 

jweinraub

macrumors 6502
Jun 26, 2007
306
139
Sol III
Same with my 12" Powerbook. It fell several times, replaced hard drive so its bigger, dvd burner replaced because it died. Several screws were leftover after reassembling. ESD spreaders broken. Cat attacked it several times. Just a piece by cd slot is warped.

Gets very hot during use, and flash games (farmville, etc) are unplayably slow.

Other than that, it works like a champ. I am at a point though I have a list of apps I need to use that are Intel only.

I don't have a lot of money. Is Mac Book Pro 13" worthy replacement? I am still saving for a 27" iMac. My only Mac is the Powerbook.
 

techound1

macrumors 68000
Mar 3, 2006
1,977
7
I don't have a lot of money. Is Mac Book Pro 13" worthy replacement? I am still saving for a 27" iMac. My only Mac is the Powerbook.
If you're getting by with the PB, a MB will suit you just fine. If you like the Al look, though, the MBP is hard to beat. You can grab a 13" MBP in the refurb store for less than $1K. You can add the free printer (after rebate), and resell it ebay to rake in another $60-ish too.
 

tommyboy21

macrumors member
May 22, 2006
59
1
Los Angeles, CA
Agreed...my PowerBook G4 15" is still kicking.

Another story of a quality product here. I have a PowerBook G4 15" (the last one of the PPC models) coming up on 5 years of use this fall. It's crazy to think that Apple made the switch to the Intel chips that long ago...but also crazy to think that my laptop has lasted this long. They definitely made these as solid as a rock, the only problem I've had was battery issues (went through 4 in about a year - under AppleCare though). Since then things have been smooth sailing. I'm still amazed that I can run the programs I have on here, like FCP and Photoshop. I'm thinking this next revision of the MacBook Pros will be the version I jump to, but I'm not sure I'm ready to give up this workhorse. And I'll be sorely disappointed if the new models don't last as long or have more problems. To the original poster: I'd say keep saving for the next generation MacBooks and then when they price them too high just buy an iPad. ;) Anyway, here's to our laptops lasting another 5 years! :)
 

notjustjay

macrumors 603
Sep 19, 2003
6,040
111
Canada, eh?
I had my 12" PowerBook for 5 years too. I finally sold it to a friend, who used it for a while and then gave it to his fiance (now wife). I don't know if they still have it, but it definitely lived a long and happy life.

The stock hard drive did die and I replaced it with a new one, which was a harrowing experience as a friend and I had to disassemble everything to get to the drive. We even managed to rip the keyboard ribbon cable out of its connector -- I was ready to shed a tear for the death of my little friend but we managed to clip it back together (it was just crimped on -- whew!)

If I didn't need to use intel-based apps, I might still be using it as a secondary machine instead of my little netbook.
 

SkippyThorson

macrumors 68000
Jul 22, 2007
1,513
498
Utica, NY
This thread makes me happy. :)

I have, and use, the 2 machines in my signature on a daily basis. My iMac G4 (which is my favorite computer of all time) and my iBook G4 (which is basically the best little laptop ever to land on the face of the earth) are just the most durable machines I've ever encountered.

My iPhone syncs to my iMac, because I use its more-than-enough-for-me 80gb drive for media and backups of my important work. My iBook and its 40gb drive have been more than enough for me. I've purged the unnecessary stuff to an external. Both run Leopard just fine, and both are backed up to Time Machines. Both do everything I need them to, which include light Office 04 use, light internet browsing, iChat-ing, and casual entertainment. I love them.

The only problems I can list are:
1) I blew the input jack on my iMac when Apple told me I could use the 1/4 guitar cord, in place of the 1/8 sound cord. 2 days later, catastrophe, so I though. I remedied that with a cheap $2 usb sound card on eBay from Japan, and it's been fine for my guitar playing around ever since.
2) My iBook decided that, under Tiger, that the F1-F5 keys no longer wanted to function to control sound and brightness. Turns out, when I used separate older keyboard, settings got messed up somewhere, and the upgrade to Leopard fixed it.
3) Battery life on my iBook has declined, if that can be considered bad with the original battery from 2005. It is at 66% with 596 charge cycles, and I get about 2 hours of life from it nowadays. It's actually, again, plenty for me.

Anyhow, enough of my rambling story. The PPC machines were just great. Simply great. My buddy has an iBook that's still kicking as his Xbox-Wifi-retriever, and both my uncle and another friend still uses their eMacs daily.

I think, nay, say, that you should keep that little thing until it can't give you any more. I know that it definitely has a lot left to give you, and can come in useful now and then, should you still keep it around. Resale value isn't great, but it's what you'd expect. I would personally keep it just to keep it. An iPad might be just what you want to do the work you do, while keeping a full laptop around just for the instances where you need the full O.S. capabilities.

Wow, that got long fast. I took a nice trip down memory lane though. Kudos to all who read it without skimming. :p
 

Cougarcat

macrumors 604
Sep 19, 2003
7,766
2,545
My PowerBook won't die, either. 5 year-old 15". Which is unfortunate, because I really want an iPad. :) Part of that is my fault; I changed the PRAM battery last week because it started to think it was 1969. I could have done away with it at that point, but it works fine for in-class notetaking, which is what I use it for now that I have my iMac.
 

instaxgirl

macrumors 65816
Mar 11, 2009
1,438
1
Edinburgh, UK
OWC sells replacement iBook Power adapters

http://eshop.macsales.com/search/power+ibook
Thanks for the link, but for such an old computer it's almost not work it anymore. It'd end up costing me £50 to get it shipped over.

Battery life on my iBook has declined, if that can be considered bad with the original battery from 2005. It is at 66% with 596 charge cycles, and I get about 2 hours of life from it nowadays. It's actually, again, plenty for me.
Lucky - mine gets about 15 minutes :(
 

nsbio

macrumors 6502a
Aug 8, 2006
634
0
NC
My PB 15'' is on its 6th year and is working just fine. It is my main computer at home and it does everything I ask it to, including presentations, writing, occasional image editing, etc. It had a couple of problems with its logic board while under warranty (once the ambient light sensor and another the infamous lower memory slot failure), and I replaced the original hard drive with a 250Gb one to fit all the crap that I accumulated over the years, but it has been very good ever since.
 

wbe858

macrumors member
Jul 30, 2008
97
0
Greensboro, NC
mine sorta died...

Okay so i was like you till the other day when my fiance came over and knocked my lovely powerbook on the floor. :eek: Well it got a nasty dent where the power plug is and i thought all was good though....oh how wrong was I.

The very tip of the power plug got caught deep in the plug and I have tried everything I can think of to get it out but have just about given up since i have other computers.

However i must agree this powerbook has lasted forever and would have kept working if not for this. :(
 

lamina

macrumors 68000
Mar 9, 2006
1,754
41
Niagara
Please take pictures and show us. I think the 12" PB is the best machine Apple has built. It's the perfect size for portability, and as you've proven, they are tough.
 

Quad 2.5 G5 =)

macrumors 6502
Mar 29, 2009
319
0
I'm using a 12" PB right now :eek:)
I'm using my iPhone 3GS right now, and I still have my 12" PB..can't seem to let that thing go. It's got a 320GB HD, and maxed out on RAM. I have had small problems with my Intel-based Macs, but the PPC Macs just keep going on, only at a slower pace, but my Quad G5 still rivals my MacBook Pros, somehow. With the games I have on it (Sims 2, CoD 2, RoN, and X-Plane 9), the Quadro FX 4500 seems to be a nice card to run games, even if it is not make for gaming. I have heard about hacked 7800 GTX cards working on it, and I'm considering replacing the Quadro with said card, if the performance is better.
As for my Intel 'Books, my recently acquired first gen MBP is running like a tank, and takes everything I throw at it without complaint, the only exception being that it is a bit slower than my C2D MBP.
 

itsbrad

macrumors newbie
Jan 2, 2010
8
0
My TI Powerbook is 8 years old and still running strong, although I need a new battery. Other than that I have nothing but positive things to say about it.