PPC Mac for elderly parents, good choice?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Fast/Furious, Nov 19, 2014.

  1. Fast/Furious macrumors regular

    Fast/Furious

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2008
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    #1
    Hello,

    Getting tired of having to fix every little thing that happens to my parents' Asus laptop... they got it for "a good deal" at $300, yet, like most el-cheapo Windows computers it's a complete pile of crap that has had issue after issue. My parents can't stand it and I can't stand trying to fix it, considering it's less than a year old I personally don't think anyone should have to deal with such a crappy computer.

    So I was browsing Craigslist (dangerous habit, I know) and I noticed there are a lot of clean, used Powerbook G4s selling for around $50-200. Since Christmas is coming, I am thinking about getting them one of these.

    The question is, will the age and power of it be an issue? They will just be web surfing, watching Asian dramas online, downloading digital photos off a camera, etc... very basic stuff. Please advise!
     
  2. orestes1984 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #2
    Short answer no, long answer no, you wont even have enough power to stream movies, let alone the fact that without a high powered video card you wont be able to watch movies period. A H264 encoded 1080p movie was enough to use the full power of our iMac G5, a dual core G5 let alone a G4 will be worse.

    Install Linux on their PC, its fault proof and idiot proof, stick to a distro such as Ubuntu which has synaptic and an app store. Trust me, they wont have to worry about viruses and crap and it just works. Linux is the answer, nothing more nothing less.

    It will have all the drivers you need, can play flash, Macromedia, whatever else you need, and it works out of the box.
     
  3. tampasteve macrumors 6502

    #3
    I am a huge fan of PPC Macs...but I think you should go with a newer machine for them. Intel iMacs can be had on Ebay for under $100 with shipping if you watch the auctions and snipe a good one.

    They will likely run into issues with some websites, youtube of course, and others if you go with a PPC Mac. These are minor annoyances to us enthusiasts, but to someone not actually desiring a PPC for what it is, I personally think they will be disappointed.
     
  4. 556fmjoe macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2014
    #4
    Well, I wouldn't call Linux fault proof or idiot proof, but I agree that it would be a good choice here. Mint and Ubuntu are fairly stable, very easy to use, and should handle all the uses mentioned.

    A PowerPC Mac would be frustrating for them. You didn't mention which Asus laptop they have, but if it was $300, it's probably not too bad. The PPC will almost certainly be much, much slower. Very little software is supported today and they're full of security vulnerabilities. Watching their videos online would likely involve pain and suffering, if it would work at all. Plus, all the hardware in them will be at best nearly a decade old and hardware failures are going to become more likely.

    I like PowerPC Macs, but they take some effort to live with.
     
  5. Thanks pal macrumors member

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    Nov 18, 2014
    #5
  6. orestes1984, Nov 19, 2014
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2014

    orestes1984 macrumors 65816

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    Australia
    #6
    With the way Ubuntu is now it is pretty much fault proof and idiot proof, it has a rather Mac like user experience and you can't really do much at the desktop level to make it fall over.

    It's not susceptible to viruses, worms trojans, or other malware and you can pretty much surf anything with impunity. Updates are simple through the Ubuntu Software center.

    It's pretty much a fail safe environment for a computer novice these days and depending on how well you lock it down it can be pretty tamper proof also. If you're tired of fixing it all the time, lock it down and give them a USB stick.
     
  7. cocacolakid macrumors 65816

    cocacolakid

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2010
    Location:
    Chicago
    #7
    If all they wanted to do was check emails and do web surfing it would be up for the challenge. But streaming videos, while possible in some instances with some tweaks, just isn't something that a non-technical person is going to be able to keep up with because it involves tweaking things again once updates come out and dealing with a lot of headaches. And some things just can't be done, period. On top of that, at best, streaming video is going to be much slower, to the point that your parents will probably get frustrated very quickly.

    Your best best for your own peace of mind and their security is to put Ubuntu on that old laptop.

    Update: I use Ubuntu on several old PC's and it works great. Firefox is built in, you can add Chromium (linux version of Chrome), it has an app store for one click installations like the Mac App Store. It's a mile ahead of where Ubuntu was 5 years ago. While changing any OS takes some getting used to, if all they do is in the browser, Ubuntu will be great for them and you probably can get a good experience on the Asus laptop they have without paying a dime for newer hardware. At least try it, you can burn an Ubuntu live cd and use it without installing the OS at all.
     
  8. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #8
    In all honesty, if they are having issues maintaining a Windows PC that is just a few years old, then a PowerPC Mac is not a good match. PowerPC Macs are requiring more and more workaround for web usage today, and TenFourFox as well as Leopard WebKit can only go so far. If I were you, I would look online for a late 2009 or mid 2010 MacBook (White Unibody). They are insanely upgradable (8 GB for 2009, 16 GB for 2010) and are easy to repair if necessary.
     
  9. MysticCow macrumors 6502a

    MysticCow

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    May 27, 2013
    #9
    It all boils down to what they're doing. My mother, for instance, goes and looks for sewing/crafting patterns. Maybe she'll go online and check a news feed.

    My old iMac G3 is perfect for her with TenFourFox installed. Yes, it's going to run slower than even a G4, but it suited her needs perfectly. And when her grandchildren visit, they can play some old-school games on it, and they actually enjoy playing them.

    NOW, though, she is getting interested in things like videos online. Thankfully, she's in the beginning stages of this interest, so the G3 is going to hold for a bit longer. We're now looking for something Intel-ish and probably a touch screen computer due to arthritis creeping around the corner.

    If PPC fits their current needs, do PPC. If not, don't do it.
     
  10. Chundles macrumors G4

    Chundles

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  11. gooser macrumors 6502

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    Jul 4, 2013
    #11
    consider a chromebook. choose one with a sd card slot for the camera.
     
  12. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

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    #12
    They are very good companions for older people or those who do not want any thing to mess with.
     
  13. talmy macrumors 601

    talmy

    Joined:
    Oct 26, 2009
    Location:
    Oregon
    #13
    Don't bother putting Ubuntu on that Asus. If the system has had continuous problems it's most likely related to (cheap) hardware. Fanboyism aside, Windows can be 100% reliable. With the hardware issues, putting Ubuntu on it wouldn't get rid of the headaches.

    I'm also thumbs down on the G4, for reasons others have cited.
     
  14. Jessica Lares macrumors G3

    Jessica Lares

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    Oct 31, 2009
    Location:
    Near Dallas, Texas, USA
    #14
    You can probably get a 2011 mid/high end Windows laptop at $300 now. Do some research and get something with a SD card reader and DVD drive that's business grade.

    Don't settle for a 10 year-old machine or a device that needs the internet to work. Your parents are used to how Windows works at this point and it is going to be hard to get them to use something else.

    Chromebooks don't fit in with the way I use a computer, so I can't comment on them.
     
  15. Zotaccian macrumors 6502a

    Zotaccian

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    Apr 25, 2012
    #15
    PowerBook G4 laptops are too slow for comfortable everyday, serious use. There are faster and generally even cheaper alternatives which deliver acceptable performance, mostly Windows laptops though. If it must be a Mac laptop, just get any Macbook and it should sufficient. Both of my parents use Core 2 Duo based Windows machines and everything they need gets done without complaints about speed.
     
  16. poiihy macrumors 68020

    poiihy

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    Aug 22, 2014
    #16
    Chromium is the open-source browser that Google Chrome is based on. It is not specifically for Linux. Chromium and Chrome are almost exactly the same. You can get Chromium on Mac and Windows too, and I think you can get Google Chrome on Linux.
     
  17. chrfr macrumors 603

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    Jul 11, 2009
    #17
    The age and power are an issue, as is the lack of compatibility with any modern software they might want to download or use. These are the sort of people for whom the new entry level Mac Mini or a used Macbook that will still run 10.8 and up would be a much better option.
     
  18. PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

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    #18
    PowerPC machines, while they are good general-usage computers, I feel they should stay with people like ourselves who know how to use them in today's world. You can get an early Intel Mac for cheap, which would be better. Also, I would recommend a desktop for novice computer users... so many more things can go wrong if a novice computer user owns a laptop, vs. if they are using a desktop. You feel me there?

    ----------

    TenFourFox on an iMac G3? Isn't that painfully slow...? every aspect of TFF is already slow on my 800Mhz iBook G4. (w/ 768MB RAM). For some reason though, I only have OKAY luck with it on my PowerBook G4 1.5Ghz. The rest of my Macs, even if faster than that, don't seem to do well with TFF.
     
  19. harrymatic macrumors 6502

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    Dec 30, 2013
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    United Kingdom
    #19
    For the uses you mentioned, a PPC machine doesn't sound like a very good match. That said, my mum uses my old Powerbook G4 12" 867MHz daily for email, reading news and light general browsing. It runs quite well under Tiger with its 1GB of memory. Leopard ran terribly, but I think that might be more to do with the very slow stock hard drive it has installed.
     
  20. SkyBell macrumors 604

    SkyBell

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2006
    Location:
    Texas, unfortunately.
    #20
    I get by with two G4's for my daily uses, but I'm also a pretty light user; just basic web browsing, office apps and music management usually. YouView works great for YouTube, but any other online videos are a no-go. These machines are still alright for some heavier work, like working in Audacity and the like, but they aren't the best either. I do love me some Halo on my eMac, but I kinda doubt your parents would be much into "retro" gaming. ;)

    The short answer, just like most everyone else has already stated, is that no, a PPC Mac is really unfortauntely not the best solution to your parents computing woes.
     
  21. CYB3RBYTE macrumors regular

    CYB3RBYTE

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    Sep 2, 2014
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    Midwest
    #21
    OP, you should get them a Core2Duo MacBook. While I love PPC, $100 for a PowerBook G4 is steep. For that price you could get a later model Core 2 Duo MacBook that would be much better at streaming video and could last your parents a look longer as far as them being obsolete.
     
  22. harrymatic macrumors 6502

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    Dec 30, 2013
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    United Kingdom
    #22
    How well does it run on your eMac? I take it that you have the model with Radeon 9600 graphics. I find it runs quite well on my Power Mac G4, but then again I would expect it to with all the upgrades I've installed :rolleyes:
     
  23. CYB3RBYTE macrumors regular

    CYB3RBYTE

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    #23
     
  24. comda macrumors 6502a

    comda

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    #24
    Personally guys like us "nerds" so to say could probably get away with using a Maxed out G4, but (and not being rude) maybe the elderly may have some issues jumping through hoops to get usage out of it. Personally Im still able to do everything i need on my Emac G4. Or did before the Drive Died and it was a pain the hiney. But like being a late 2005 model with the last 1.42Ghz, 1gb of ram and an 80Gb hard drive running leopard everything worked. Flash too. Abviously not the best but perfectly on 240p. (to my surprise) But Facebook, youtube, Macrumors Word it was great. But to get it that way i had to work around old outdated version of firefox to work and i believe flash player 10.1

    Personally I believe the best solution for them is possibly a refurb tower. (Now im not advertising) but the computer shop i work at orders in Refurb towers from HP, Lenovo and these odd Thermal take PCs. Some of them being first gen i3's others Dual Core AMDs and still a few late 8400 Core 2 Duos that sell for $219-$399 depending on the model. People LOVE Them. As some of the Core 2 Duos and AMDs are Small form Factor PCs and are perfect as they are refurbished business class Pcs. They sell like crazy as we get boat loads and within the month they are gone. They have standard 4gb Ram, Intel onboard cars about a 500Gb cheap affordable and get the job done. One of the Lenovos is actually my workbench PC.

    Thats my suggestion to you.
     
  25. PowerMac G4 MDD macrumors 68000

    PowerMac G4 MDD

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    #25
     

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