Price I should pay for a Powerbook G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by Think creative, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. Think creative macrumors regular

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    #1
    I'm looking around these threads and realized I just miss the old style powerbooks. the 15 or 17 from 2005 have great keyboards, and while I have new macs (like this amazing iMac I'm writing this post on) if I upgrade to a new battery, and figure out how to put an SSD on one of those old guys, it would kinda be the perfect coffee shop writing machine right? From what I've gathered, my favorite writing software program (scrivener) even gives away their first version of software that works on Tiger. So, the question I have is, how much should I pay for one? And what should I look for, and anything I should be careful to watch out for? Second question is, how much should the SSD/adapter cost. Last question, any advice on screen writing software that would work on one of these things? It looks like there's a ton of old games that I used to love to play as a kid available for free thanks to legacy software (thanks community!) but I can't believe how excited I am getting thinking about using old but awesome tech in the year of our lord 2019.

    Edit. Also wondering about photoshop? Old versions still available to find easy enough, and do they count for legacy software?
     
  2. dbdjre0143 macrumors 6502

    dbdjre0143

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    #2
    The question of "How much to pay" is a big one that depends on many factors:
    • How big of a hurry are you in? You can often find better deals with some patience.
    • What model are you interested in? You mentioned 2005, so are you looking for only the last-gen DLSD Powerbooks or would a lesser model meet your needs?
    • How much is it worth to you? The value of an older machine varies a lot from person to person so its a reasonable question of how much you're personally willing to pay.
    To answer more concretely though, I'm typing this on a last-gen late-2005 15" Powerbook. I got it over a year ago, and paid about $80. I was able to get it for that price because the seller listed it as "locked", meaning it had a user/password in place which was of course removed when I reinstalled the OS (which I would have done anyway). They had listed it as a Buy It Now of $100 IIRC, but I made a "Best Offer" to get it.

    I've read about several others here who have gotten machines for significantly less by buying locally, but in my area, PowerPC Mac sales are pretty non-existent. You can almost always get one of the "lesser" G4 Powerbooks for much less than that on eBay as well. Once again, it all comes down to what you want and what its worth to you.

    Best of luck! Hope to see you active in this forum on your very own PowerBook soon! :apple:

    EDIT: Also, one suggestion. Take the suggested price on EveryMac with a massive grain of salt. Those prices are often significantly higher than what I would expect to pay. For example, their "Expected Retail" for my laptop is $250-$350 at the time of writing! (https://everymac.com/systems/apple/powerbook_g4/specs/powerbook_g4_1.67_15_hr.html)
     
  3. Think creative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #3
    Thanks for the thoughtful response. I was looking to get in at no more than $100, so I'll keep my eyes open on ebay. There's nothing local. AS for the year, I just figuring going with the newest. Again, all I'll be doing is word processing, (hopefully screenwriting) and if there's an easy way of using old photoshop that's still good, and maybe playing games like age of empires. Whatever runs those programs, and I'll be happy. I'm still not seeing great guides about replacing the old hard drives with small SSD's though. I'd love to see if I can get everything done for $150 ish. I'm also curious what a new battery will give me, battery life wise If I was just word processing at a coffee shop :)
     
  4. dbdjre0143 macrumors 6502

    dbdjre0143

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    #4
    As far as the SSD goes, the generally accepted route is putting an mSATA SSD in an mSATA -> IDE enclosure. At that point, you can just follow an iFixit guide for replacing the hard drive and it should just work. Some folks here advocate for one brand or another, but I just used a cheap one from China on eBay, and it worked out fine for me. Of course, as with any such things, YMMV. I think at the time I paid around $5 for the adapter. I waited around until I could grab a cheap price on an mSATA SSD when I got mine, so I only spent $37 for the drive itself. I haven't priced them recently to see where they are now.

    Personally, I think it would be worth hunting down a 1.67 GHz model, though I am curious how much better the last ones with the Dual-Layer Super Drive, High-Res screen, and DDR2 RAM are than their Early-2005 counterparts. I've only used the Late-2005 models myself, so I don't really have a point of comparison, but I certainly have no-regrets on purchasing the last and most powerful model.

    In terms of your question on battery life, I bought the cheapest battery I could find on Amazon for mine. At the time, I paid $15.99, though it looks like they've gone up a bit since then. I've been happy with the results though. I haven't really tried to see how far I can stretch it, but I would estimate that it still lasts over 2 hours after a year of regular usage. That is with the screen brightness cranked up and under moderate to heavy use (mostly on the web, which you'll quickly learn can ramp up the fans quickly these days). I'd hope to do better with mostly word processing. One thing to note is that if you're interested in the device being truly portable, I'd advocate for staying away from the 17" models. While I don't mind lugging around the weight for the added screen real estate, the batteries for the 17" Powerbooks are hard to come by and expensive.
     
  5. Hrududu macrumors 68020

    Hrududu

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    #5
    Definitely true! If you want a 17" notebook, I'd advocate going for a MacBook Pro instead of the PowerBook. I got myself a 17" DLSD 4+ years ago and it has a totally flat battery. To date, I've never found a good price on a replacement, so its just married to the power brick.
     
  6. Think creative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    thanks everyone for the good feedback. I was always thinking of the 15 inch, so that's good to know. I'm keeping my eye on an old 2003 powerbook on ebay, (it's under $40...) and we'll see if I win it. I think (considering I plan on doing no web browsing on it other than just downloading legacy programs, it should be fine since it still runs Tiger). Last question.... is photoshop out there for this thing? I remember hearing they released a free legacy version awhile, but not sure if it's power pc or early intel. and new batteries are still around $20.
     
  7. dbdjre0143 macrumors 6502

    dbdjre0143

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    #7
    I don't know what you consider a good price, but if you're still looking for a battery, I think Operator Headgap Systems had the best price I found on new batteries for my old 17". I found out about them because they're a site sponsor for EveryMac so you'll find links to them all over the place over there. They didn't have the batteries listed online, but when I called the number, they had them in stock still.
     
  8. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

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    #8
    I'd have thought the 12" is a more logical choice - more portable, in theory - less pixels to push = greater battery life, and as you're only writing go for an earlier model, save money on the SSD which won't bring any benefits to writing anyway and get 2 batteries.
     
  9. phunigai Suspended

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    Nov 12, 2018
    #9
    anything under 100 bucks is fair for a fully working pwerbook, in 2008 i paid $200 for G4 12” loaded with CS3. OWC is givng batteries away for these powerbooks only 4 bucks!
     
  10. dbdjre0143 macrumors 6502

    dbdjre0143

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    #10
    I come from a slightly different school of thought. I realize that the OP is primarily writing, but if I'm at a coffee shop and want to watch some YouTube or browse this forum ;), I'd like to be able to without feeling like I'm handicapped. (Of course I say this having watched your YouTube demo videos on way lower-spec'ed hardware than I would expect to run as smoothly as they do...)

    From looking up 2003 models, that means that OP is either looking at 1.25 GHz or 1.0 GHz. Based on my experience with a 1 GHz iBook, I would probably not go that route unless I was set on not using it online. I realize others around here get by just fine with less, but I consider myself fairly patient and I found browsing with the 1 GHz CPU a chore. Of course, the PB can take more RAM and I assume has a better GPU as well, so it isn't a direct comparison.

    Like @Dronecatcher said, none of that matters if you want to keep it to mostly writing. Some people prefer a distraction-free work environment. I'm just not one of them. ;) If you dip into Photoshop though, that extra screen real estate and CPU grunt will definitely come in handy.
     
  11. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

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    #11
    Huh?
    --- Post Merged, Feb 25, 2019 ---
    This is where these kind of discussions tend to go odd shaped...in this instance, wanting to write and do photoshop begs the question why not a Macbook Pro - same keyboard/form factor, potentially 5 times the power?
     
  12. dbdjre0143 macrumors 6502

    dbdjre0143

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    #12
    A fair point indeed, but there are the reliability issues involved with the early (same form-factor) Macbook Pros. I realize that doesn't affect all of them by any means but I'm not well-versed enough to know which ones are good or bad.
     
  13. weckart macrumors 601

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    Nov 7, 2004
    #13
    The only battery I can see is for iBooks and at $100 a pop. At $4 the eBay sellers will swoop on macsales in seconds.
     
  14. phunigai Suspended

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    Nov 12, 2018
    #14
    look in garage or some other part of their website, i k ow friday i saw one that might have soLd out
     
  15. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #15
    For the record, Adobe Photoshop CS4 is the last version that will run on PowerPC Macs. Adobe never advertised that fact because the main CC installer assumes Intel. But if you find the individual installers, they were all universal (except where Intel WAS a requirement).

    I don't know about screenwriting, but Office 2008 is the last PowerPC version. I prefer 2008, but most people here prefer Office 2004.

    Lastly, I have a 128GB mSATA SSD in my 2003 17" PowerBook. Works just fine.
     
  16. z970mp, Feb 25, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019

    z970mp macrumors 68000

    z970mp

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    #16
    So did I, and that's why I bought one.

    What a mistake that was.

    The 15" is the only real way to go. The 12" is a more illogical choice - a crappy GPU, is impossible to open, gets hotter at a faster rate, does not have backlit keys (a must for writing), and a fairly limiting RAM ceiling, among others.

    I'm trying to get rid of mine now (along with an iBook G4) in the hopes of getting a 15" in either exchange or with acquired funds.

    And no, in such a small space as laptops allow, SSDs make life much easier, speaking from experience. Better battery life, cooler operation, faster data transfer, swap, etc...

    OP, get a 15". Preferably a 2005. The DLSR and early 05 model before it both have the same GPU, yet the DLSR has more pixels to push, and DDR2 RAM does not make that great of a difference. So given that, you'll also get more out of the early 05's GPU than the DLSR's. It will also be cheaper, less sought after, and more commonly available, so you'll have an easier time securing one while getting more value out of it.

    Don't make the misstep I made...
     
  17. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #17
    I agree with you on the 12" but not the 15". :D

    There is no room to rest your wrists on the 12". If you're in a crowded coffee shop where only the 12" can fit on a table I suppose that'd do. But every time I use one of these I get hand cramps from trying to keep my fingers hitting the right keys.

    As to the 15", my only disagreement is that it's not the 17". :)

    The coffee shops I go to have big enough tables to support my 17", my son's 15" Thinkpad and a tablet.

    I have a picture from way back when showing my two 17" PowerBooks and my son's iBook all out at the coffee shop table. :)
     
  18. z970mp macrumors 68000

    z970mp

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    #18
    Not everyone wants to carry a heavy desktop replacement around town all day.
     
  19. Dronecatcher macrumors 68030

    Dronecatcher

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    #19
    I have the 17" and 15" DLSDs and the 12" at 1.33Ghz - I love them all but the 12" is my favourite - it feels more solid and all of it's perceived shortcomings (RAM, GPU and lower speed) don't have any impact...and I can control the CPU speed - something that can't be done on the DLSDs.
     
  20. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #20
    :oops:

    I like my desktop… ;)
    --- Post Merged, Feb 25, 2019 ---
    I must commend your stick to it-ivness on the 12".
     
  21. z970mp macrumors 68000

    z970mp

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    #21
    I love my desktop.

    When it's on my desk. ;)
     
  22. Think creative thread starter macrumors regular

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    #22
    I wanna see that picture! and now I'm debating between a 15 and a 17. I was never into a 12. I have big hands and all that. I'm fine with something like a 2004 or 2003 ( there are a few available now on ebay for cheapish) 15, but I'll be patient and look over the next month or two before I pull the trigger. As for not wanting something more powerful... I have that at home. I'm writing this on a 5k iMac, and I am going to get and upgrade a 2010 white book soon for my powerful mobile work station for when I go on week long trips. But for local coffee shop writing, I love the old style keyboards, and I have my phone for internet when I'm out and about if I want to. When I'm sitting at the desk at the coffee shop (or the library, or a park bench) I want something that's got no web cam, and just has a classic look and a great keyboard. It's why I'm also resurrecting an iPod classic too.
     
  23. pl1984 Suspended

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    Oct 31, 2017
    #23
    A little over a year ago I ended up purchasing a number of PowerBooks for low cost. For example I purchased a 17" PowerBook 1.5Ghz, 2GB RAM, 80GB HD, SD, for the low price of $25 (including shipping). You can read more about it here:


    And:


    How did I acquire such a system for a low price? It was being sold as-is, for parts. The only issue with it was its inability to retain NVRAM settings (details in the second link). Otherwise it worked fine and easily worth the $25. If you're willing to take a risk you might be able to score something for very low cost.
     
  24. RhianB, Feb 25, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019

    RhianB macrumors 6502a

    RhianB

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    #24
    I reallly like the feel of my 17” but be prepared to pay as much or more as you paid for the powerbook for a replacement battery, should you need one. Still you can find some serious deals if you’re patient. I got mine cheap ($40usd minus a $20 dead hdd refund) but the battery is dead as a door nail (disclosed in original ad) so lives as a cool desktop ATM slave to a wall socket.

    I think a 15” is an ideal compromise if for nothing else the batteries are much more accessible & affordable.

    I love my 17” for its keyboard as well. The thing absolutely slays to write on & the matte screen is awesome.

    I did the msata+ide adapter swap as well which was straight forward with the right tools & ifixit guide - probably a half hours worth of work.

    You should totally buy one. They really are awesome looking & feeling writing/composition machines & definitely worth the money. 6EB7E3D2-6EEE-43A0-BA78-81E5A53675C4.jpeg
     
  25. eyoungren macrumors Core

    eyoungren

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    #25
    PowerBook on the left was being used to help someone with a QuarkXPress file via email. The one on the right is the one I was browsing the web with.

    My son is using his then iBook G3 which had a bad Airport antenna. So I was internet sharing to his Mac via ethernet cable. I had a script set up that would turn Internet Sharing on or off based on the BSID I was connected to.

    Oh. This was 2010 sometime.

    Gunnar and Macs.jpg
     

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