Old Apple Laptop?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by lonegeek, Aug 25, 2007.

  1. lonegeek macrumors member


    Jan 2, 2006
    So basically I've always wanted a mac.

    But I use ubuntu linux as my desktop and I see no reason to get a mac when I have this perfectly great computer for a desktop.

    So I realized, why not get an older apple laptop?

    Old ibook/powerbook g4?

    I wouldn't want to spend more than 500; preferably closer to 300 dollars though.

    What can I get around in that price range?

    Anybody looking to sell one?

  2. johantheolive macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2005
    I was in a similar position almost two years ago - had a bunch of money from the summer and wanted a mactop. Note, this was when the ibooks/powerbooks were still all that was available new.

    I believe I know computers (I do, but i'm trying to be modest here), so I look further into the specs of systems. I wanted something that was more than adequate for typing, web browsing, etc. and asked a similar question on some forum somewhere. The response I got was that buying a G3 vs a G4 was significant and that it would be much better to get something current. Ultimately, I got an ibook for my birthday and it didn't cost me a dime so I suppose it worked out for the better.

    ANYWAYS. I'm not sure you'll find a decent G4 system for under $500. I think they go around $5-600 depending. I'm personally considering buying a macbook and selling my ibook, which I'd hope to get 600 for (it has a gig of ram but stock otherwise, still under applecare). If you happen to be interested in it, its in great shape just had the logic board replaced earlier this year, no problems whatsoever.
  3. lonegeek thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 2, 2006
    I'm definitely looking at ibook g4s.

    One of my online friends is saying he will sell me his ibook g4, 1.33ghz, 512mb ram, 40gb hd for 300.

    It only has one issue, is that when you enable airport it kernel panics. D;

    I'm not sure what work around I could use for that though.
  4. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    The KP can probably be fixed with a reinstall. And for an old MacTop, there are surprisingly G3 iBooks on eBay for as high as $500. If you can get a G4 for $500 or less, go for it.
  5. johantheolive macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2005
    The airport is probably fixable, either by replacing the card or maybe just reinstalling os x (which you would probably do anyways when you get it). $300 is a steal for a g4 ibook. I would plan to add at least an extra 512mb of ram to it. I bought extra ram for mine before I had even gotten it.
  6. jczubach macrumors 6502


    May 15, 2007
    "but i'm trying to be modest here"
    how rare and refreshing:D please everyone, take note of this novel idea...
  7. lonegeek thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 2, 2006
    I looked up about the ibook g4s.

    The one I may be getting is the last revision, and it appears to be a problem that the airport would over heat and cease to work properly.

    So I'd need to get a usb wifi adapter.

    Anyone have any other input?
  8. johantheolive macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2005
    Interesting, I'd never heard that nor had a problem and I've had the same model for almost two years. Yes, if you lift off the keyboard the spot where the airport card is can be rather warm, but it has never given me trouble. Granted, I don't use the airport regularly, but have been for the past few days and no problems.

    But on a good note I just ordered meself a macbook so bye bye ibook, its off to a new home soon.:(
  9. vanmacguy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 13, 2007
    Not where you live.
    I tried this a while back.

    A friend of mine had an old G4TI book that he no longer wanted so he gave it to me. What a deal I thought.

    Well, the screen needed to be replaced. There was no power supply and the CD/DVD drive didn't work.

    After $250 total for a screen (eBay & installation), $80 for a power supply and still no CD, I've dropped close to $350. A friend gave me an old AirPort card (AirPort Express is not supported and you can't buy a non-Express card), the AirPort still doesn't work (even though the card does) and if it did it's 802.11B at best, which on some Wi-Fi routers will bring the speed of your whole network down to 'B'.

    So even though it seemed like a deal, it wasn't.

    I'm not saying don't get one, by all means do, but buyer beware! If it looks like it's too good to be true, it probably is.
  10. johantheolive macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2005
    While your point is very clear, one must recognize that the system he's getting is only two years old. In spite of this, you should definitely make sure the system works properly, airport aside. Why? As I said, $350 is a steal for it. Even after the trouble of selling it online, ebay or whereever, it would still net a significant amount more than $350.

    I must confess that for a while I had problems with my disc drive. It would pull in a disc fine, but wouldn't read it or even recognize the disc being in the drive. Worse off, it would usually not even detect the disc drive and report the only ATA device as the HD. I say usually because sometimes I could reboot it and the disc drive would seem fine until you try to use it. It would eat the disc, and freeze while reading it. The worst part? It was a fight to get any disc out. Sometimes, during reboot, holding the mouse button wouldn't work...other times it was fine.

    Then, out of the blue, a reinstall of the OS made everything hunky-dory. But, I ran into problems again when I tried to watch a DVD (Brick if you must know). It would play for a few minutes then freeze/crash DVD player. Then, in my frustration, I attempted to fix it meself (let's leave it at that) and a few days later it was in a box on the way to apple. It came back and hasn't given me a problem since.
  11. lonegeek thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 2, 2006
  12. zap2 macrumors 604


    Mar 8, 2005
    Washington D.C
    Old laptops, while fun to play with won't give you the true feel of OS X.

    I'd say buy a new laptop, and if you don't like OS X install Ubuntu, and forget about OS X. After that you'll never need to buy another Mac. And you'll know you tried.

    Also Ubuntu is a good OS, 2nd only to Mac OS X
  13. lonegeek thread starter macrumors member


    Jan 2, 2006
    I already use ubuntu for my main os.

    I don't want a new laptop, because I don't want to spend near that much money.

    And tell me...how would a 2 year old ibook g4, that came with 10.4 not give me the true feel of 10.4?

    Your saying apple released computers that came with osx but didn't give you the feeling of osx?

    That makes no sense at all .
  14. johantheolive macrumors newbie

    Nov 1, 2005
    The point is that older mac models don't compare to the current ones. Sure it'll give you a feel for the OS, but if you happen to like it you may end up unhappy with the speed. The G4 ibooks are good for basic usage - internet, music, typing...but beyond that you won't get terribly far.

    An analogy is in order. It's like buying a 2000 mustang vs a 2007 mustang. Either way you're getting a mustang, but i doubt anyone would argue which is all-around 'better' (whether it be performance or style).

    I play(ed) WoW on my ibook (graphics set basically at minimum) and it was definitely playable, but I wouldn't touch any kind of video editing or anything intensive. Thats why apple has two families of portables; if you want more power you gotta pay a premium (like everything else in life).

    My opinion is that a new or more recent model is better to start with, but the number one factor is money (in anyone's case). I say get the best for what you are willing to spend. And as I've said numerous times now, $350 for a mid-05 model ibook is a great deal (assuming all works). Even if you bought it and weren't happy you could sell it on ebay for more than you paid.

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