PowerBook G4?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Iphone3GS11, Sep 12, 2009.

  1. Iphone3GS11 macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2009

    So here it is...

    I’m a sophomore in high school and I’m 16, we just started the school year and were told that we could use our laptops in our classes for note taking and research. Unfortunately I don’t have a laptop because my father is against them for whatever reason. I do have a pretty good desktop computer (check my signature) that I got 2 years ago and I thought that I could maybe look for an older apple laptop for a "playing" around computer for school. What would you recommend?

    I’ve been looking on eBay for Powerbook G4's only because they are around $400, here’s what I’ve been looking for...

    1.33GHz Processor. 512MB Memory 60 GB HD

    Here’s one that I found 512MB Memory


    Is this worth getting one like this... I’m not trying to spend a lot of money on a laptop since i already have a nice desktop... I’m not sure what to do and I don’t want to make that wrong choice..

    Any thoughts??

  2. fireshot91 macrumors 601


    Jul 31, 2008
    Northern VA
    If it's just for note-taking, in say Word, or TextEdit (Basically, the OS-X equivalent of Notepad), then I'd say just get a G3 Clamshell.
  3. kellen macrumors 68020


    Aug 11, 2006
    Seattle, WA
    I've seen the 12" powerbooks go for less than 200 usually for around 1ghz.

    12" PB are pretty neat. I would suggest that route. Especially if just typing.
  4. DavieBoy macrumors 6502


    Jan 8, 2009
    New Jersey
    Yea, I have a 1GHz and a 1.6Ghz PowerBook that are only used for note taking. If you up the RAM you could run leopard on it pretty well. It actually works fine on my 1Ghz with 1.5gb Ram. Again, all I use it for is to word and textedit for my grad classes. I have a brand new macbook but I like using the 17" laptop in the middle of class. I would suggest trying to get one on craigslist so you could check the battery cus they can be expensive to replace. Or ask the ebay seller about the battery numbers so you could know what to expect.
  5. Iphone3GS11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2009
    Thanks guys

    if I got the 12' powerbook for under 200 on eBay, let’s say I need to use the internet and other things, are they going to be terribly slow, because as my dad says you get what you pay for, if I spend $200 on a powerbook G4 am I going to be getting a piece of S***? Or will it be good?

    I want a notebook that I will be able to use the internet on it, listen to music on, take it on trips to places and play on it in the car and hopefully when internet tethering comes out on the iPhone use that, I’m looking for a computer to “mess” around on but still have a good one. Not a piece of crap.
  6. Iphone3GS11 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 12, 2009
    OK sounds good,
  7. eVolcre macrumors 68000


    Jan 7, 2003
    WHy don't you look at a Dell Mini 9/ MSI Wind and go the hackintosh route?
  8. mac&cheesey macrumors 6502

    Dec 21, 2008
    PowerBook G4 - advice

    The Dell Mini9 suggestion is a good one. However, for notes and general "usability", I would stick with the G4.

    I have a Dell Mini9 hackintoshed. I love it. It's a great little computer. But for extended use and especially for note taking I would take a G4 over the Mini9 any day. The extra screen space is noticeable and the size of the keyboard is the deal breaker (for me at least).

    I recently bought a 12" G4 PowerBook off of eBay for $350. It is in great condition (the battery sucked but I replaced it). It runs Leopard smoothly with no issues. Yeah, it's a bit slower than my uMB but I love to use it (I'm writing this reply on the G4 as the uMB sits about 1 foot away). Like I said, I got mine for $350 and that is the 1.5GHz / 1.25GB / 60GB / Combo Drive.

    If you take your time and look constantly on eBay and Craigslist I'm sure you'll be able to find a great PowerBook for the right price. Also, check with your local Apple resellers. They sometimes get trades in and put them up for sale. let them know what you're looking for and they'll keep you in mind when one comes in.

    Good luck,
  9. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    While there is nothing wrong with USING an old Powerbook G4 if you have one, I certainly wouldn't buy one at this point. It is obsolete tech (esp with Snow Leopard out) and things like batteries and hard drives are likely to be a point of failure. Better to buy a brand new machine that has a warranty, like a low end Dell. Or save your money and buy a MacBook.
  10. mwolenski macrumors newbie

    Sep 21, 2008
    Get It

    The only computer I own is a 12" PowerBook G4 1.5ghz. I absolutely love the size of it which is why I bought it in the first place. I know the newer models would be much faster but this one meets my needs.

    Most everything I do is online; youtube, flash animations / games, and streaming AOL Radio. I will note that I have trouble playing HQ videos on youtube but the regular quality plays fine even in fullscreen.

    I also have a fairly extensive iTunes library, mostly on an external drive as the machine only has 80gb. I have several movies and TV shows which will play fine, however I tried an HD show and playback is choppy.

    I use iPhoto '08 a lot too. It is a little slower than I'd like it to be it works well enough; I just have to be patient.

    My only complaint is that recently the fan has been running more and more and can get really noisy. I think that may be have something to do with running Leopard. It wasn't as noticeable when I used Tiger.

    I would highly recommend it for what you want. It would be great for taking to class because it is small and light. It's also beefy enough to be a second computer for you when you're on the go.
  11. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    I reverted back to the 12" Powerbook sold my Unibody Macbook because it was too big and, for Word and mail, not that much faster. In fact, NOT FASTER AT ALL with Word, but more difficult to use on the fly with interviews because of the reflective screen.
  12. icbreeze macrumors member

    Feb 17, 2008
    From my opinion if your using only applications such as microsoft products or some light adobe programs like photoshop or illustrator (nothing over 100mb .psd files) you should be fine with an powerbook.

    I've been using my lil' 12" 1.5GHz powerbook for about 4yrs now and have no problems so far. lol i haven't even needed to get it serviced and i've like dropped it on tiles, carpet, cerments and etc....

    I still push my powerbook to its limit. As a uni student studying industrial design i run a lot of cpu intensive programs i.e. most of the adobe suit all at once and have firefox/ word and itunes all open as well. It still works like a charm, though it lags a bit in between switching to each program. I myself am still on Tiger and i don't plan on upgrading to the new MBP until the new cores arrive eariler next year.

    A powerbook will last you indefinety so long as you take care of it and treat it with respect. lol just dont be like my friends who eat food ontop of it and put it in there bags without a outer casing before starting to complain that there laptop doesnt work after 2yrs of using it.
  13. Veinticinco macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2009
    Glad to see some staunch defence of the tried and trusty G4 PowerBook.

    Those who write them off with a pathetic sneer, citing obsolete tech, have obviously never used one.

    Anything 1.33Ghz and above with 2GB RAM will be more than capable of your needs, and plenty more besides.

    The cult 12" is a great laptop for travel/school and you could do a lot worse than take *California* up on his kind offer.
  14. Veinticinco macrumors 6502a


    Feb 25, 2009
    Very true. I confess I 'baby' my laptops and they've repaid that care many times over.
  15. Eric S. macrumors 68040

    Eric S.

    Feb 1, 2008
    Santa Cruz Mountains, California
    Another vote for the 12". A 15" laptop is pretty bulky to be lugging around all the time.

    It would not be terribly slow. Performance would be decent.
  16. RKO macrumors 6502


    Oct 21, 2008
    Long live the 12" G4 PowerBook. Mine is fours years old and yes time has made it obsolete. It is small and robust, still looks great and keeps running like a steam engine. It's my favorite for word/music and light web browsing. Runs leopard okay and is so portable. Even with having a new mac, I just can't see myself letting it go. Sad I know :eek:
  17. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    Ok, you could use one, but even the top end ones are slower than anything you could buy today. The slowest macbook (non-pro) has a CPU that's between two and three times as fast as the fastest powerbook (geekbench ≈900 vs ≈2300). Personally I wouldn't buy one, they're too expensive for the performance. I would much rather spend the extra for a macbook with the advantage of modern software support. What's my laptop? An iBook G4 800Mhz that I bought new back in the day. It's usable, but it's not quick (compared to my intel desktop).

    That said if you really want one, I'm sure they'll get the job done. My mum still uses a Powermac G4 MDD 1.25GHz, and my dad only recently replaced his G4 400! Bear in mind that old laptop screens tend to be dim, and flash on PPC is hopeless, so youtube will be almost impossible.
  18. kindablue09 macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2009
    +1 for the 12" powerbook. I still have my 1.5 Ghz model and use it every day for note-taking in class. If its any help I use microsoft office, voodo pad (sweet note pad program, you should look into it), and the interwebs. The down side is that I still only have 512 ram so office is a bit laggy, especially when I have to deal with a ppt doc with a lot of graphics. The biggest restrictions as far as the internet goes is the bandwidth of the network I am on and flash (doesn't work that well).

    The downsides to the 12" in general is that the screen will be a bit dimmer than you are used to (still very usable, unless you are sitting in the park when it is very sunny), and the battery will probably be shot. Replacements are ~100 and now I have a 5.5 hour battery life :).

    Its sounds petty, but I love the laptop for its keyboard and size. Simply The best keyboard that I have ever used.

    Also, I run tiger. Used to run leopard, but once I got my iMac there was no point to run leopard, it just slowed it down a bit.
  19. ingenious macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2004
    Washington, D.C.
    Used an 867MHz 12" PowerBook G4 as my main machine through 2005 and as my secondary machine (and primary laptop) through Oct 2007. It was a great machine and handled anything I threw at it. I could've cried when it finally bit the dust.

    I still have it sitting on a shelf...

    Anyway. Tiger on it ran great. I don't remember if I got Leopard on it before the logic board finally gave out. I bought my mother one last fall (upped RAM to 1.5 GB) since she does mostly Word and webmail. She loves it, and it runs great. Leopard runs fairly well and provides better compatibility with newer apps than Tiger, but Tiger would probably be a tad faster.

    Go with the 12". One of the best laptops Apple ever made.
  20. dacreativeguy macrumors 68020

    Jan 27, 2007
    On the contrary. I've owned one since 2003. It worked fine then and still works for basic tasks using the latest OS and software. If you currently own one, you'd agree. I simply recommended against spending any money on such an old computer at this point. There are plenty of newer, better options that only cost a few hundred dollars more.
  21. California macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    Actually flash on the 12" 1.5ghz powerbook was almost as good as my Powermac Quad with the Quadro video card... That 64mb vram on the Powerbook also pushes my 30" Cinema Display -- at a lower resolution of course, but still pushes it very very well.
  22. leighonigar macrumors 6502a

    May 5, 2007
    Pleased to hear it. Perhaps it is the ATI cards which don't work right with it as on CPU the MDD I have here is about as quick as the 1.5GHz PB. We have a lot of old macs here (emac 1GHz ATI R 7500, PM MDD 1.25GHz ATI R9000 pro, iBook G4 800Mhz ATI MR 9200, PM G4 400 ATI Rage & G3 400 ATI Rage) and none of them will play a youtube video smoothly. The PM MDD almost does, but almost is not that useful.
  23. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    I'd get a netbook. It's cheap, portable, and has long battery life. If you're going to be taking notes in class, you're going to need something that will last all day. Netbooks these days could last 6-9 hours..that's something that a powerbook could not do. Also note that if you get an old powerbook, you'll likely get an old battery as well. Batteries that are over a year old tend to have significantly less capacity. Finally, a netbook with 1 gig of ram is significantly faster than even the best 12" powerbook. Trust me, I've owned both a 12" powerbook 1.5 ghz with 1.25 gig ram and a netbook and the netbook was much faster.
  24. nsbio macrumors 6502a


    Aug 8, 2006
    Longer battery life is a definite argument in favor of a netbook. Buy that if you expect to be untethered from a power outlet for more than an hour or so.

    However, other than that, G4 is a viable option. I do not quite understand critiques of G4 powerbooks being slow in day-to-day operations. For many users, those operations include logging in, checking e-mail, going to a web page, typing or editing a text doc, in various order. For this type of tasks, a G4 machine is as fast as the latest Intels. You might "save" time by having Safari load a couple of seconds faster, but at the end of the day the difference between the two machines is negligible. By the way, Leopard Finder is almost as sluggish on the newest Intel iMac as it is on a G4, and don't even get me started on Office, where any Mac regardless of what guts are inside of it feels like the old 386 forced to run Windows Vista.

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