Thinking about buying a powerbook g4 12" 1.5Ghz

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by jjahshik32, May 10, 2008.

  1. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    I'm thinking about buying a powerbook g4 12" 1.5Ghz model because I'm just simply in love with that particular model. I remember I owned it back in 2005 for about a year before selling for the intel mbp and I do miss it..

    For web browsing, downloading, ichatting, word, mail, itunes is fine to carry around.

    I already have a 15" mbp and love it and will be my main machine but I'd love to carry the 12" powerbook around.

    Anyways I found one on ebay and the guy claims that it only had 20 hours of use and the pictures it does look brand new! And he gaurantees that its brand new as it was boxed up and never used more than a day or two.

    My one fear is that he's asking $949 for it but what if it has some kind of problem with it in the future then its $900 down the drain..

    What do you guys think? Keep looking for the $540 price?
  2. aaronw1986 macrumors 68030

    Oct 31, 2006
    You won't find one for 450...700 is more reasonable. I would suggest you look into a Macbook. Why do you need the powerbook, is the MBP too big?
  3. jjahshik32 thread starter macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    Its more of a lust thing. Something about older g4 processor and the 12" powerbook form I just love. If I can find one for $650 I'd probably buy one.. but I guess my only fear is if the logic board will fail or not.. since I would not know if the person selling their powerbook has had service or not. I'm a bit iffy on replaced logic boards as in my experience from talking to many people with failed logic boards get them replaced and only 6-12 months later failing again.
  4. TheReef macrumors 68000


    Sep 30, 2007
    NSW, Australia.
    They are really nice computers. Really nice. I want mine back… it suffered from a bad GPU :(
    It's not until it's gone that you realize what a great computer it really was. :(

    I don't think I'd spend a lot of money on a new one though, the Macbooks look very nice and I'd get the extended warranty for piece of mind.

    The PowerBooks do get very very hot though which I suspect is what caused my failure, it would hurt to touch it sometimes, my advice would be to run it on reduced performance if you did end up get one.
  5. FireArse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2004
    Love affair with the 12PB


    Can I just say I fully understand your feelings and honestly find myself in your situation.

    The first OS X Mac I saw was a friends 1GHz 12PB and I fell in love with that shape/looks and just sheer build quality.

    My first Mac was bought about 2 years later (Dual 2GHz G5 - I needed the horsepower for 1080P Video encoding etc) and found myself looking at a portable unit to accompany the Desktop.

    I bought a faulty 1GHz PB which didn't start, it was diagnosed by a Mac Genius and was said to need a new Logic Board. I took it apart, and found for whatever reason the optical drive stopped the unit from booting. I unplugged the optical drive, and hey presto - I have a fully working (dirt cheap) 12PB. Two things wrong with it:

    • Not the 1.5GHz
    • Dad stole it off me!

    I found myself really wanting the 1.5. Found one on eBay and bought it. Turns out the chap forgot to mention it had a year and a half left of warranty - absolute steal for this machine!

    All in all, I'm very lucky with my PB's. They are both clean and well looked after. Cosmetically they are in fine shape. My advice: get a 1.5 or 1.33 and get Crucial RAM to max it out. They are incredible machines and the build quality is far higher than the MacBooks or MacBook Air. These things are solid - the 1.33 and the 1.5 have all the issues ironed out. Top top quality product - but beware, the parts are pricey...

    And yes - I prefer the PPC architecture to the x86 arena. Having written machine code for both - I'd prefer PPC any time of day

  6. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Damn, my money was on a Mac mini.

    Ok folks, time to pay up - who had the odds on the 12" PowerBook?
  7. jonswan macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2007
    The 1.5 Ghz PB 12 inch is a much sought-after machine - I've had one eye on one for years. Had a 1.0 but with Leopard it ran too slow. Also the age was a problem, not knowing what was round the corner. I say that if you love the form then go for it but I'd keep it under $700 to be honest. I think Apple made a major mistake in ditching that particular model - considering the numbers of people who pine for them...
  8. iToaster macrumors 68000


    May 3, 2007
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    I have to say, the 12" is no powerhouse, but it is certainly worth it. As the former owner of a MacBook and MacBook Pro, I have to say that there really is a difference (however insignificant to others, I like it). I got my PowerBook for about $650, it's maxed out, but there's a dent in it (and the hard drive just died, but I'll resurrect it). Definitely go for the max spec though, the last models are always the best (besides, only the 1.5 has the scrolling trackpad).
  9. Jacques91 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2008
    Verrieres-le-Buisson, France
    Thank you all. After reading your posts, I've started to change my mind, and I'm seriously considering buying this 12" laptop for the following reasons:
    I'm a keen photographer and I travel mainly with my motorcycle (as a mean of transportation, and of course, lack of space suggests a very compact laptop.)
    As far as home equipment is concerned, I am hesitating between different desktop models, and a large display (24" ?) is the main "driver" (mainly to show movies and slide shows).
    Is this 12" a good companion for a motorcyclist (vibrations/shocks resistant) ?
    Does anyone have an all terrain experience with this PB ? Does it perform well with latest version of iPhoto ?
    Thank you in advance for your feedback.
  10. askthedust macrumors regular


    Jan 17, 2003
    Keep powerbook 1.33 or go macbook?

    Was considering getting a macbook and getting rid of my 12 inch powerbook. I replaced hard drive to 120GB and the memory is maxed at 1.25 gb. Even got the battery replaced by apple. Runs tiger just fine but wasn't sure if it woudl handle leopard too well.
  11. thechidz macrumors 68000


    Jul 25, 2007
    New York City
    the 12" form factor just feels more secure to me because of the squareness of the shape... the 13.3 is great for widescreen movies but the form feels lopsided when carrying. just my $0.02
  12. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    The 12-incher is a really nice computer, i've had a 1.33GHz that apple replaced with a 1.5GHz after my logicboard went dead. I've also had a battery replacement.
    Be aware, the 12-inchers are old computers, the battery will probably have low capacity, even tho it's a computer that haven't been used much.

    Also if you compare the screens on the 12-inchers to the the new MBP it will look pretty dark and dull.

    If you want a reliable lightweight computer i'd go with a MBA,
    but if you decde to go the 12-inch route be aware that you might have to use some money to get it up and running like you want.

    The G4s also use old memorychips and harddrives and those are really expensive compare to newer technologies that's in the MB and MBPs.
  13. Solo13 macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2008
    My thoughts/experience:

    I've had my 1ghz 12 incher since a couple of months before the 1.33 ones came out (great timing me!).
    Not had a problem. The battery is pretty rubbish now, but most of the time I can plug in, so not much of an issue for me.
    The RAM is only at 768MB, though I've been planning to max it out for ages, my funds get pulled in a few too many directions, and it hasn't happened yet. I have however swapped the stock 40gig harddrive with a 5400rpm, 160gig one. Dunno if it's changed, but the options here were 7200rpm and 120gig, or 160gig and 5400 rpm. So slight speed increase vs a bit more space, your call. It's not that tricky to do, but does take a while.
    99% of the time it's fine running leopard, and at least feels speedier than it did under tiger, iPhoto is a bit slow, but it's entirely possible a 50% faster processor and more RAM would be a huge help there.
    As far as build quality goes, it's pretty awesome. Only negative I have is the optical drive failed a little bit out of warranty, but that could be due to the little spill it had when it was sat on one of them slide out keyboard shelf things you get on some computer desks when the shelf decided it no longer wanted to be part of the desk. Since, and before, it's been in and out of a couple of rucksacks, without a proper case, generally in a bubble wrap sleeve thing, or an A4 padded envelope, or similar, sometimes just wrapped up in a jumper! Often with cameras, flashes, food, drink, tools in the same bag, though not always in the same bag compartment. Oh yea, before the hardrive upgrade, all my music was on an external maxtor drive(this has since died) which would nearly always be in the bag too.
    It's also been pulled off the top of a cupboard (about 4 feet up) by the clumsy feet of a 2 year old and the power cable, which put a bit of a dent in the front right outside corner, where my right hand rests when typing, which has separated the outer aluminium body shell from the chassis on the inside slightly, and the battery isn't quite flush underneath, but it all works, and has done for a couple years. Was worried the hard drive would've had it after that. It's also been pulled off a chair in a similar situation, no damage.
    It was in my rucksack when I was knocked off my bike by a car deciding to get most of the way past me before turning off the main road (I was fine, my bike was fine, their car was pretty badly scratched), and another time more recently when for some reason I decided to bin it and get some gravel rash to the face.
    My boss thinks it's "cute".

    Long post eh, but do quite like my little grey slab of goodness.
  14. FireArse macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2004

    Amen to that :)

    There is one thing about the PB I noticed today, the hinge allows the screen to go further back than a MacBook - makes using the PB easier while standing up (if your ever find yourself needing to do such a thing)
  15. quas1t macrumors newbie

    May 1, 2008
    Another fan of the 12"

    I too will raise my voice in praise of the 12" PB. I have a 1.5GHz and with 1.25GB of RAM it handles loads of multitasking quite smoothly (still keeping it on Tiger of course). Like many I had been holding out to see if a 12" MBP would eventually show up, but with the release of the MBA I've rather given up. Even having "upgraded" to a 15.4" MBP for primary use, I still prefer the 12" PB for things it can handle (which is pretty much everything but video editing) and games; it is definitely my favorite laptop to date. Of course my true dream would be a 12" MBP without optical drive, but with all the ports and dedicated graphics, however with Apple's product differentiation scheme it would seem that the debut of the Air ruined any chances of seeing such a paragon of mobile computing any time soon.

    If there is a single complaint I might have about the machine it's that while ideal in size, these things are uncannily heavy. I mean, it's still lighter than the 15", but whenever I take it along for the day, the small size makes me think it's going to be hardily noticeable, but by the time I've walked half a mile it starts to feels like a brick. A high build quality brick to be sure, but still.
  16. Wild-Bill macrumors 68030


    Jan 10, 2007
    Love mine

    I'm typing from my 12" PB right now, as I'm relaxing on the couch. I got the 1.5Ghz back in Nov 2005 and have since upgraded it to a 100 gig 7200RPM drive, 1.25 gigs of RAM, and Leopard. I love the form factor. Sure, it's got some dents here and there, but that's one of the downsides to the aluminum they used to make it - it dents easily.

    Apple's biggest mistake, IMO, was killing off the 12" Powerbook. I bet if they brought it back, it could be one of their best selling laptops. I know I'd buy one.
  17. timsutcliffe macrumors 6502

    Jun 18, 2007
    Love it

    I'm always on mine, it's a great machine, only 1GHz, but it copes just fine with what i use it for.

    If this thing died, i'd definitely consider getting the last PowerBook rather than a MacBook. I think i'd pay slightly over the odds for one if it had only been used for two days. Haggle on the price and get it!
  18. Solo13 macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2008
    Just for the guys still running tiger on theirs, unless there's a major reason not to, at least try leopard out if you can. It def feels more responsive, and has some pretty useful features. And my spec is worse than some of yours.
    I'm not sure how the license works now, but I'm pretty sure previous versions let you install on 5 home machines before you were breaking any "rules"
  19. joekix macrumors 6502


    Feb 2, 2007
    earth, long beach CA to be exact
    i love my 12" powerbook. i have a 17" mbp, & my work recently got me a mb, but i still find myself on my powerbook 95% of the time. it goes everywhere with me, and there is no other computer i would want. :D

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