need a portable, PowerBook any good?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by mac000, Jan 25, 2008.

  1. mac000 macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2005
    I would like to get a portable 12" pb as a note taker for college. The MacBooks are a little too big and the air is too expensive, but the pb's are running upwards to $600 and I've read they have heat issues and warping etc. They arnt exactly super light either are they? I've looked at ultraportables like the thinkpads x61, they seem robust and good for traveling and not being damaged but I dont think windows makes bootcamp. Should I spring upwards to 500$ for a pb; or are they not a backpack laptop?
  2. Reflow macrumors 68000


    Mar 30, 2005
    As a PB 12" user it never over heats on me. I does get a little warm but nothing to bad. Never had any warping issues ether., but I really take care of my machines. The best bet would be eBay or Craigslist to find a good deal. Also some people like me try to keep a hold of it since there is no other 12" model out there. Good luck in your search
  3. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Actually, just last night I was holding my 12" PB and remarking that at 4.6 pounds, it still felt very light in my hands.

    I think that at $400-600 you can't really go wrong. The 12" is a good machine, and while it won't run at lightning speed, it will run Leopard quite satisfactorily, and certainly enough to run Office 2004. Possibly the only issue with buying a used 12" PB for school is that the battery will probably not be up to snuff. When new, my battery could run for 5 hours (wifi and bluetooth off, minimum brightness, running Word). Today the battery is getting near 4.5 years old, and I think it could manage 45 minutes. A new battery would cost you another $130 or so.

    If you consider that people in the MacBook Air threads are still holding up the 12" PB as one of the best form factors Apple ever made, I think it would be a good choice for what you need. And frankly I'm amazed to see that they still command as much as they do in the resale market.
  4. Jebaloo macrumors 6502

    Sep 12, 2006
    I use a 12" PowerBook for e-mail, web duties. Nothing beats it on the train. If the need arises I often to graphics work on it, photoshop CS3 etc... No problem.
  5. timsutcliffe macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    Very good

    I'd definitely say it was a good idea, i love mine. It's nice and small, if not superlight. One problem might be the battery life as was already mentioned, but overall it's a very nice little machine.
  6. BanjoBanker macrumors 6502


    Aug 10, 2006
    Mt Brook, AL
    I have and love a 12" PB. As previously mentioned, it is not the lightest at 4.9 pounds, but never feels that heavy. Try and find the most recent version you can and plan on replacing the battery. A spare power brick might not be a bad idea either. I know you will be happy with it for taking notes in a college setting. The aluminum case is tougher than you think, mine looks as good as new. My wife keeps asking me if I am going to sell mine since I bought a C2D BlackMac, but I can not seem to bring myself to part with it.:)
  7. hockeysc23 macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2007
    Are you already in college and taking notes on your laptop? I found when I was in college that laptops were not very effective for taking notes. Most of the notes relate to other points or you need to draw diagrams so I would consider this in deciding if you want a laptop for note taking.
  8. mac000 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Sep 6, 2005
    Yes I am, no thats not really what I'm worried about. I'm just wondering whether buying a G4 powerbook at this point for about $500 is worth it?
  9. notjustjay macrumors 603


    Sep 19, 2003
    Canada, eh?
    Well, only you can determine that :) But as you can see there is definitely a following of people who own 12" PB's and refuse to part with them (myself included). I have one friend who's offered several times to buy my PB, and each time I considered it but ultimately decided to keep it for a little while longer. (I even posted a feeler here on MR -- people offered $600 -- but I'm not selling.)

    Consider the cost of any battery, RAM or HD upgrades you might want to do to a used PB if you intend to keep it in active service for schoolwork. You can live without a new battery if you know you'll be near an electrical outlet for most of the time you're in class.

    Still, you won't find any better portable Apple laptop for less than twice the price of a used 12" PB.

    Also, one other nice thing to consider is that before Apple moved to MagSafe, their old-style power connector was generic enough that there were lots of 3rd party AC/DC adaptors (and external battery bricks) so you have lots of options there. I've got an "iGo" AC/DC adapter in addition to my Apple one.
  10. cygni macrumors regular


    Jan 1, 2005
    I just purchased a pismo powerbook yesterday for the same purpose!
    It is 14in., 400mhz, 20gb HD, some amount over 512 mb ram, and cost $200.

    I decided to get an older PB because I want to carry something not too expensive during commutes and the older macs are really durable. They will also run panther fairly well. So if you are in the market for a simple note taking machine, don't forget to look into the older PBs.:apple:
  11. maxrobertson macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2006
    Oooh. I always thought those looked beautifully professional. Sweet deal too.
  12. joekix macrumors 6502


    Feb 2, 2007
    earth, long beach CA to be exact
    just got my powerbook (check the sig) last week and it's become my main computer. i have a beast in my mbp, but the size of the 12" makes it really flexible to use. i'm going back to school next month, and i wanted something really portable. it's also great for my job too. it pretty much does everything my mbp does, just not as fast, but it holds its own. good luck!
  13. Victor ch macrumors 6502a

    Victor ch

    Jun 19, 2007
    San José, Costa Rica
    I miss my 12" PB so much... really its a shame she died. Even-though she was pretty beaten she worked perfectly until sadly the HDD died and my dad said no more fixes for her, new machine:D I am very happy with my MacBook and enjoy her blazing speeds but 1.33GHz 60GB and 512 of RAM was enough for me in school. Shame they are discontinued I would have bought a replacement when she died. Im not going to buy one now but Im in the market for a new computer later this year and the only thing that can make me change my mind of that sweet 17" MBP with HD screen is one 12" aluminum "pro" Mac.

    If you need it just for taking some notes then go for it, just make sure she's perfect state. 12" PB are not heavy, they warm up a bit but besides that I found them perfect.

  14. TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    Nice deal, the G3 PowerBooks are great computers. Solid and durable with a soft casing.
    Just upgraded the hard drive from 6Gb 4200rpm to 80Gb 5400rpm, it's running Panther really great, I might try Tiger soon :p

    On mine, I get around three to three and a half hours of battery life doing basic stuff in textedit, they can take two batteries making them great for UNI or school.

    Our 12" 1.5 Ghz PowerBook was also excellent, but it did get a bit hot when doing stuff in iDVD or games, the graphics memory died after playing Colin Mcrae Rally Mac :( must have pushed it too hard.
  15. thechidz macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2007
    New York City
    its tough to find a good one for 500. if you can find it at that price the battery will be shot... i would say at least 650 for one with a good battery
  16. steeler macrumors regular

    Jan 30, 2008
    I have a 15" G4 Powerbook and love it. It's small enough to take places, but has the larger screen and other features to make it my primary workhorse.

    I would definitely consider a 12" G4 Powerbook if I wanted something smaller. From what I've read they're great travel machines. Probably one of the best (overall) that Apple has made to date. I've been watching prices (looking for Mac for my son -- another thread here) and the nice 12" Powerbooks go for a lot on eBay. Sometimes more than equal spec 15" machines.

    It wouldn't surprise me if you found a good G4 12" Powerbook for around $500, but it will be tough -- definitely worth it, IMO.

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