Opinions on a PowerBook G4 Aluminum?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by MaxMike, Dec 6, 2009.

  1. MaxMike macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2009
    Hi. I'm new to the world of Macs so I am a bit of a newbie. I've used PCs for my entire life but I recently got my 1st Mac. It is an eMac G4 700MHz and 512MB of RAM, with Tiger. It is a decent computer but I kinda want to move up to something with more power, but without the price of a new Mac. My friends knows someone on Craigslist that sells Macs (he bought iBook G3 clamshells from this person, iBook G4 1.33GHz, and others) and can find what I want. My other friend has a MacBook Pro 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo but has been reluctant to go to Snow Leopard. I was specific in asking for a late 2005-2006 PowerBook G4 Aluminum 1.67GHz. It would have Leopard and I would make sure it would have 2GB of RAM. Is this a good computer for everyday iTunes, Safari, and word processing? I currently have a Dell Latitude D620 Core 2 Duo with Windows 7, so would the PowerBook be slower at doing my usual tasks than the Latitude? I have heard about the lower RAM slot failing, and the display showing multiple lines of white. Are these common problems? Is there a specific version of Adobe Photoshop that I could/ could not buy to put on this laptop to do some high-end photo editing, etc.? I am in IT and passed Cisco IT Essentials and currently in CCNA 1, so I am not computer illiterate at all. Any tips on this? Experiences? Thanks for any help! =)

    P.S.: Should I try to get an older Apple iSight camera to have full use of iChat? And use Photo Booth =) lol
  2. Gabriel GR macrumors 6502a

    Gabriel GR

    Jul 12, 2009
    Athens, Greece
    Either I am too drunk, or that's just too many questions in a single paragraph.

    Do yourself a favour. Don't get another PowerPC Mac. They are old as **** and dead. Some people use them because they have to or because they love their machines. I would probably too. But it's 2009. Don't pay to get one...
  3. SkyBell macrumors 604


    Sep 7, 2006
    Texas, unfortunately.
    For starters, yes, it will be a bit slower then your PC for day to day tasks, but not by much. I notice very little difference in internet surfing between a G4 and a C2D. iTunes will probably be the biggest difference, with a little bit of lag, but nothing that can't be handled.

    Personally, I'd say it's a fantastic daily user. My 1.42 GHz eMac is my main machine running 10.5 on only 512 MB of RAM, and I can do all of the things you listed with ease, so a PowerBook like that with maxed out RAM should be terrific.
  4. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    I'd get a cheap MacBook and I definitely would run Tiger on the PowerPC machine, but that's just me.

    If you are going to get an external iSight, chances are the difference between the cost of the MacBook and PowerBook aren't going to be that much. If you are going to run Photoshop you'd want to stick to CS3, but once again, something with an Intel processor is probably the wiser choice here. What exactly is your price range?
  5. MaxMike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2009
    I would be getting the as said PowerBook G4 1.67GHz 15-inch for around $300 or even less. A 1.42GHz PowerBook G4 12-inch for $240 is also an option, but I can't resist the big screen, illuminated keyboard, and better spekers in something a bit more than an inch thick in the 15-inch. My friend, like I said, got an iBook G4 1.33GHz with 1.5GB RAM and it runs Leopard ok. I know it wouldn't stack up well to my other friend's MacBook Pro. Also, sorry for the really long first post. I tend to always make my questions very thorough and long =\
  6. MaxMike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2009
    My range is really $400 tops. That is why that PowerBook kinda fits the bill since it would be around $300. The same guy that has the PowerBook does also have a MacBook to sell. However, he wants $600 which is a bit expensive for me to spend. I was really looking for a decently fast Mac for me to use to get accustomed to Mac OS X, since I am most likely going to get a new MacBook Pro once I graduate high school.
  7. thegoldenmackid macrumors 604


    Dec 29, 2006
    dallas, texas
    That was a question that I was going to ask as well, which is how long is this supposed to last? If you are solely trying to get used to the OS, then the PowerBook should be fine. My only gripe would be concerning trying to run Microsoft Office - which was a disaster for me on my PowerBook.
  8. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Actually office 2004 runs very well on the exact machine the OP is looking to buy. I ran it for 4 years without issue.
  9. MaxMike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2009
    I was actually going to get iWork 2009. I didn't think this would be much of a problem on this computer - since my friend got it to run on the Power Mac G3 400MHz that we have at school in our IT technical major lab :eek:
  10. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    PPC is old.
    The C2Duo is at least twice as fast.

    When i use my iMac G5 (which is a lot faster than the G4s) I clearly notice webpages are sluggish if they have flash, iTUnes library and such takes a lot longer to open.

    I'm not saying that G4s are unusable, but they are indeed outdated and slow.

    Also if you buy a 3+ year old laptop, be advised that battery might be dying.
    Also laptops are often prone to get much hardware errors because they are carried around and thus have a shorter life than desktops.
  11. PMB macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2007
    New York
    Okay, broke this down to make it easier to answer

    Yes, it is fine for those tasks, just dont ask for to much more.

    Yes, it would be slower.

    I know of those problems, but i have not experienced any, but my PB has been babied all 5 years of its life, though i HAVE had a ram stick die, and another time after i have to tighten the hinges, it stopped recognizing a stick of ram, but a day of battery out, and not being plugged in, and it was recognized afterwards, and havent had a problem since.

    I would not try photo editing on this computer, it is doable, but i would definately look at a macbook pro for tasks like that

    For a webcam, i would get a generic webcam, the isight is a .3MP, and you can get much better quality webcams than that

    Background: i have a 1.33ghz 17" PB, that i have has for all of its life, and i continue to use it to this day, it is slow, but is perfect for what i need it to do, word proccesing, itunes, and still lasts long enough to get me through a 2hr lecture (i had to buy a battery recently, the original battery lasts about half an hour, but acts as a nice backup) it has 1gig of ram, i intend to update that eventually, but it is very expensive.
    performance wise, it has issues with sd youtube videos, but i have not had major issues with locally hosted videos.
    Heat, beware they can get more akin to a spaceheater than a computer, mine runs on avg 135F, and the fans dont kick in untill 138F
    I still love it though, and i will probably wont update for another few years
    I still have a windows laptop, a big heavy gaming laptop, which i use for all other tasks, since it FAR outstrips the PB, and it is only a 2.13ghz centrino, so you would notice a jump between PPC and intel, if you can save up some more and find yourself a used macbook pro, i think you would be happier that way
  12. whitemacbook macrumors member


    Mar 1, 2009
    don't **** around with powerbooks

    even a core duo macbook wouldn't be that much more.

    skip goin to the strip club for 2 weeks and put those extra singles towards at least a core duo.

    battery life on a powerbook will be next to zero nowdays anyway.

    yeah if you buy photoshop you want the APPLE OS X version
    the winblows version of photoshop won't do you much good running a ppc computer
  13. MaxMike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2009
    Like there won't be any difference in video playback, right? I have a lot of video from iTunes and I tend to watch a few daily (music videos, TV shows, etc.)
  14. MaxMike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2009
    LOL! Just to say, its not that I can't spend more than $400, its just that I don't want to. I'm 16 making minimum wage, so I am really trying to keep buying a car in 4 months a higher priority. However, I did ask the guy that I would be getting the PowerBook from if a Core Duo MacBook Pro would have a big price difference. If it is reasonable yet a little pricey, I may consider it ;-). Thanks for all of the comments everyone! :D
  15. powerbook911 macrumors 68040


    Mar 15, 2005
    That machine you list, with a 1.67 and 2 GB of memory would do things like web browsing ok.

    However, these machines are many times slower than current machines.

    I have a 12-inch Powerbook G4 1.5 GHZ with 1.25 GB of RAM (max it can take). It does these simple things ok, but there is no comparison on how much quicker a modern Core 2 Duo machine is going to be.

    I'd really recommend you don't invest money into such an old computer, but that is only my opinion. They were very nice computers. I even run Leopard on mine, but I think their time is coming to an end, they were again very slow by comparison to today's machines.
  16. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2006
    What day is it? the date!

    that is literally what I thought when I read this thread, with all the talk of obsolete hardware. Spend a little bit more money and get a superior Intel based Mac. PPC support has been dropped by Apple, consumers should follow suit.
  17. PMB macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2007
    New York
    If you read past all the "obsolete hardware" you would have noticed that the OP wanted to spend less than $400, so no MBP would fit into that range, but a PB would. just becouse apple moved all intel recently, and dropped PPC support does not mean that the computer is obsolete, many people still use PBs, and have no issues there.

    OP, i would weigh all the pros and cons, and if you can swing the money go MBP, if not, go with the PB it will do what you need fine, but I would also recommend asking for an up to date MBP as a graduation present (in 3-4 years, that is), that way, you can have your car and computer.
  18. melman101 macrumors 68030

    Sep 3, 2009
    I would venture to say that the video would probably not be as smooth as a C2D. I could be wrong, but I remember having issues with my 867mhz 12" G4.
  19. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2006
    I did read past all that. thanks for your concern though.
  20. apfhex macrumors 68030


    Aug 8, 2006
    Northern California
    I'll agree that the proposed PBG4 would be an acceptable machine for browsing, word processing and the like, but there are definitely some things it will suck at, and video playback is one of them. It might be OK playing SD videos from iTunes, but don't dare play anything HD, or any Flash video.

    With enough RAM (maxed out), Photoshop CS1 or CS2 should run alright.

    I think it will feel sluggish compared to the OPs C2D. I'd try to get an Intel model if possible.
  21. MaxMike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2009
    After reading everything and realizing how no new software or updates would really be coming out for the PowerPC processor Macs, I e-mailed the guy telling him that I will spend up to $500 for a MacBook or MacBook Pro. I already know that he has a "BlackBook" for sale for around $600, so I will try to talk him down to $500. I believe it is around 2.1xGHz Intel, upgraded 500GB HDD, and hopefully 2GB RAM. I would miss the backlit keyboard, better speakers, and bigger screen. But I have a USB light that i could always use, the speakers have got to be better than the mono one in my Latitude, and the smaller screen results in easier portability for me. I did ask him about a 1st generation MacBook Pro, though, but that may be unlikely for me to get due to how much I want to spend.
  22. quantum003 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 27, 2009
    Good lord. What a bunch of snobs. I can't believe the anti-PowerPC bias that is so predominate on this site.

    I have the exact model Powerbook G4 that you are describing. It's my "enjoyment" laptop: 1.67Ghz, 17", 2GB of RAM... I run 10.4 on it since it's slightly faster than 10.5. My Powerbook with the outdated, crappy old antiquated technology is PLENTY fast for all my web activities, my wireless printing, and yes... I even use it for Adobe CS3. :eek:

    I have a Macbook I could use for this purpose and I choose the Powerbook instead... I love the backlit keyboard, the larger matte screen, and the supple beauty of the aluminum G4 Powerbooks. The 17" is just gorgeous in my opinion.

    I have an Intel MBP as my "work" machine and a Mac Pro as my "primary" home machine, but I love my Powerbook G4 just as much. For one thing, I don't give a damn about Windows and don't need even a single installation of the operating system, so that advantage for Intel Macs doesn't mean much at all to me. My Mac Pro is plenty fast, I absolutely love it. But this Macbook Pro kind of sucks. I've had nothing but trouble with it... the SOB literally just kernel panicked on me the first time I tried to post this comment. I'm typing it for the second time since my early 2009 MBP is having a hard day. My Powerbook G4 has never once kernel panicked*. (*Your experience and mileage may differ :D)

    Just last night I met a guy who had recently purchased a 1.2Ghz iBook G4 running 10.4 for $225 from a friend of mine who sells used Macs on craigslist. This guy LOVES his iBook and uses it the same way I use my Powerbook. Are you going to tell him he should have spent $500-600 just because he can never upgrade to 10.6? Or because he can't run Windows? Or because PowerPC is "old outdated technology"? :rolleyes:

    To answer your question, YES, the Powerbook G4 1.67Ghz 17" with 2GB of RAM will run faster and be much more dependable than that piece of crap Dell Latitude.
  23. Mike Macintosh macrumors regular

    Mike Macintosh

    Sep 20, 2009
    Washington State
    I run Office 2008 on my Powerbook G4 12" it actually runs pretty decently.
  24. macuserx86 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 12, 2006
    I guess some people just have different perceptions of what is acceptable computational speed. I absolutely hate my PowerBook (and have for some time) but I still use it because I can't afford to replace it right now. It struggles with the simplest task and gets hotter than the sun. I know, the whopping power of a full 512K L2 cache and a whopping 167MHz FSB all coupled to a mobo that supports a max of 2GB of RAM should have future-proofed the design, but sadly the G4 became obsolete in terms of competitive power quite a while a go.

    Just look at the speed bump from October 2005 (17" PowerBook) to January 2006 (first 15" MacBook Pro): the (averaged) geekbench 2 scores went from 879 (17" PB) to 2291 (for the 1.83 GHz Core Duo). That says it all.

    spend the extra money on a machine that isn't already out of date. And yes I am being elitist and focusing only on computational power.
  25. MaxMike thread starter macrumors 6502

    Dec 6, 2009
    Here is what I'm using to help me choose between the PowerBook and MacBook. Right now the MacBook does seem more appealing. *Note: These are pros and cons are in regard to the MacBook.

    Portability (due to smaller screen)
    Faster dual-core processor
    Can run Snow Leopard (If Apple fixes bugs)
    Can run Windows
    Magsafe to avoid accidental drops
    Integrated iSight
    Better Adobe Flash
    Better speakers than Latitude
    Nicer looking screen (glossy)
    Keyboard of newer macs (I need to get used to "chicklet" style keyboard)

    Non-backlit keyboard
    Worse speakers (headphones are typically used instead of speakers anyway)
    Smaller screen
    Plastic construction (instead of aluminum)
    Weak integrated graphics (but most I would do is Adobe Photoshop. Really no Aperture, Final Cut Pro, or other high-end programs)
    More expensive [$300 more than PowerBook, will try to talk guy down on that to $200 more ($500)]

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