Thinking of buying a 12" Powerbook

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by TheChance, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. TheChance macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2008
    I've always been a fan of my friend's 12" powerbook and now, since it's time for my first year of college, I wanted a portable laptop to go along with my Core 2 iMac. The thing is, being a college student, not a ton of money in my bank account.

    So, I was looking into used macs and I found a few online, but the one I was looking at was this:

    Does anyone have any reports from mac of all trades and should I go for the 12" or try and save and pinch pennies for a macbook?
  2. saule cogneur macrumors newbie

    Feb 15, 2008
    I would not buy anything with a Motorola processor. 10.6 which supposedly comes out in January will not support them. Most new programs run best on intel processors and need more ram the the PB can support. If you only want to write papers and use the internet, the Powerbook should work, but if anything breaks or goes wrong, you'll be on your own. A Macbook will have a much longer life span. Most colleges have ample computer labs, so I say go with that until you save up some more money.

    If you really want to get the PB, I suggest a reliable ebay seller. $600 + a $95 one year warranty is a lot (only $300 less than a student-priced MB), but $400 ebay prices are much more reasonable. Older computers are more likely to break on you to, so if you have the machine longer than a year, you should be prepared to do some fixing yourself. If you have to take the computer to a shop, you'll quickly be forking over the money you saved.
  3. jjahshik32 macrumors 603

    Sep 4, 2006
    At this point the powerbook are not a great decision to buy and rather just buy a macbook that's light years faster.

    I was contemplating the same thing just a month or two ago but came to my senses. Just for a couple more hundred dollars you can get the macbook which is 4x faster.
  4. DrivinWest macrumors regular

    Jun 17, 2007
    Republic of Texas
    I just sold a 12" PowerBook 1.5GHz 1.25GB RAM. It was an awesome machine and probably my favorite computer ever. That sad, it was really starting to show its age; video processing was painfully slow if even possible and some newer apps really chugged along.

    I'd suggest you look at a used Intel-based machine. You can probably get a used MacBook for what 12" PowerBooks are currently selling for.
  5. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    I love the 12" PowerBook, and although I can easily afford the MB, this machine has been my favorite machine of all time. I do have an CD Intel iMac at home if I really need the horse power, but I use my machine for everything from programming, web, mail, iTunes, iMovie, iPhoto.

    Contrary to common perceptions, it is not a slow machine, it is SLOWER than the new hardware, which is expected.

    I would go for eBay and the full system disks if you really want it, the online store you link is expensive for that model, considering that they don't give you the software that came with it. Look for something that still has applecare if you are concerned, they were sold well into 2006 and you should be able to find one.

    I like the size (very easy to throw in a bag and for travel), the display (I hate glossy on the MB), the keyboard is awesome (I hate the MB keyboard).

    my 2c, as a big fan of the 12" PB :cool:
  6. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    Waste of money at this point. Macbook's a far better machine in every respect, unless your need for PPC in an aluminum shell outweighs a desire to have a machine that will run any OS made after 2007.
  7. visiondancer macrumors newbie

    Feb 11, 2008
    It really depends on an honest evaluation of your budget. $400 may not seem like a huge difference, but sometimes it can be the difference between running (or increasing) a credit card balance and paying it off. If you're paying 20% on $400, it adds up.

    If you can afford the MacBook, it might be a better choice. The hardest part is figuring out what the long term cost will be--i.e. how many repairs. The only thing I've sent my 12" PB into apple for was a case wobbling issue--and it started wobbling again the day I got it back. (I then took it into the Apple store and the Genius took it to the back room table and leaned on it, and it's been stable every since.) One friend has sent her (first gen) MacBook in at least three times for major issues, but another (recent gen) has only had cosmetic wear (the infamous cracking along the thin plastic where the magnets hold the case together). But it's a 2-4 year-old machine you're looking at, and it's so hard to tell if you'll end up with a gem or a lemon.

    The only real advice I have is that when you're buying a 2-4 year old laptop, plan on spending $110-120 on a new battery, and plan on buying a new hard drive if you really want the best experience. I suspect that most 12" PBs on eBay have a battery cycle count close to mine--where the it stopped counting at 476 (it no longer increases).
  8. coupdetat macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    Do it, you won't regret it. I've had my 1.33ghz 12" for four years now and I absolutely love it. I can afford a new machine but I'm too attached to the Powerbook to let it go. The new machines are much faster, but to me nothing can replace the form factor and quality feeling of the 12" Powerbook. It's a serious work machine, where the Air seems gimmicky in comparison and the MacBook is too damn wide.

    You'll probably get a lot of compliments on your computer, too. I always get comments about it.
  9. Wireless Buddy macrumors regular

    Jun 8, 2007
    Baltimore, Maryland
    MacOfAllTrades is a great place. Their products are in remarkable condition. The 5 year old iBook I bought from them looked brand new.
  10. rodgertakeuchi macrumors newbie

    Jul 4, 2008
    maxing ram on powerbook 12"

    hey guys,

    i too have a powerbook 12, bought it right before they switched over to intel and i must say it is still a sexy machine. i dont think i will part with it since its the first laptop i ever bought and there is still a lot of use out of it... however it has shown its age which is why i do plan to switch to an intel mac soon.

    anyways just wanted to ask a question to those with 12ers... i have the base 512 config ram on it and was hoping to max out my ram. apparently says that it maxes out on 1280 megs, i wanna get the most for my buck but i have heard that it is better to have identical ram cards for opt performance... that said... i was hoping to just get a gig and put that in maxing for 1256 is that the only/best option?

    thanks in advanced
  11. alphaod macrumors Core


    Feb 9, 2008
    If you are looking to buy a nice supplement to a current computer, then yes a 12" PB would be nice, but as the main machine, I'd go with a MB.
  12. colonelsanders macrumors member

    Jul 11, 2008
    SLC, Utah
    Short vs Longterm Cost

    I would suggest that you save a little more and spend an extra $300 to buy a 1st Gen Macbook Core Duo. I've seen a few sites that sell them for $879 or $900. The logic is as you already are on an Intel platform and software you buy that isn't universal wont allow you to go between your two systems. In 2 or 3 years you will see this problem more and more. You very well may end up buying software for your imac that will make your $600 powerbook useless.

    Let me also say that for my first year in college (2000) I purchased a G4 APG 400 tower and by my 3rd year it was clear that laptops were king.
    For College you will want, either now or in a year or two, a laptop that you can throw into your bag and bring with you to study groups, presentations, class, library ect...

    Btw my Junior year I ended up buying a slightly used Powerbook 12in 867 because of the need for group work.

    Good luck on your decision. Remember to have fun, but just for your first year. ;)
  13. peapody macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    I love my powerbook 12" 1.33. If I could keep it I would, but my school is so windows based that it was hard for me to collect the necessary programs required. But man is that thing sexy.

    I eventually purchased a 1.83 core duo blackbook for around $800, and ended up selling it for $1500 on ebay. I had added some meaningless extras and inflated the price a bit. But having both...the macbook was much faster even though the powerbook was such a pleasure to use.
  14. coupdetat macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    Considering that my 9-year-old iMac was still file-compatible with new machines just goes to show how little the platform matters when it comes to a second computer. I HIGHLY doubt there will be any huge steps in word processing and office applications that renders a Powerbook obselete. You will run into problems if you need AutoCAD, Inventor, or maybe certain programming tools, so if you're majoring in engineering PPC Macs are a bad idea. I don't think going to the declining PPC platform on a second computer is going to affect you. You're definitely not going to "buy software for your iMac that makes your $600 powerbook useless".

    Keep in mind, you will have trouble with YouTube and other flash videos with a G4. Supposedly the new Flash 10 will help remedy some performance issues, but I'm not holding my breath. It's a plus for me, because my girlfriend is always sending me these "funny" YouTube videos and I just tell her my computer can't handle them :rolleyes:
  15. iShater macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002
    I was just using my 12" PB at the AppleStore in Northbrook, IL. A dude stopped by and told me that he has been looking everywhere to try to find a good one. He didn't have good luck on eBay so far. He loves it too. :D
  16. CaptainChunk macrumors 68020


    Apr 16, 2008
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've surely been enjoying my fully decked out 15" 2.6GHz MBP, but I still love my 12" 1.5GHz PBG4 to pieces. It's super-portable and I still use it for writing and web browsing when I don't want to lug my significantly bigger MBP around.

    Next to the 1GHz TiBook I had years ago, the 12" is by far my favorite Apple laptop.

    I never had trouble playing YouTube videos on my 12". HD trailers from Apple's website are a different story, though. But I can understand the reasoning behind your comment with the girlfriend. My brother's girlfriend is the same way. Hahahaha...
  17. Mindcrime13 macrumors member

    Jun 12, 2007
    hmm for 600 i got a PBG4 15" 80GHD 1.5Ghz, 2G ram

    its a great machine, i know that macbooks are new and all, but for what i use it its perfect, i run photoshop, final cut, and basic internet stuff, and it works flawless and fast, no regrets in buying it!
  18. MarcBook macrumors 6502a


    Jul 13, 2008
    United Kingdom
    It's fine...

    Unless you're doing hardware intensive stuff like graphics design and 3D modelling, a PowerBook should be fine. The 12" model looks better than the MacBook by quite a way, I think. I've also heard and seen from most people that Leopard actually improves the general performance of PowerBooks, and you never know, 10.6 might be PPC compliant too. Only the early builds we've seen require Intel.

    Anyway, Tiger and Leopard are great! I'm clinging to Tiger despite my MBP coming with the upgrade DVD. I love the 'old Apple' style before they went for the darker 'futuristic' design with Leopard. If you're just doing student stuff, a PowerBook should be fine. :)
  19. coupdetat macrumors 6502

    Jul 11, 2008
    I've read articles mentioning Leopard running sluggishly on PB's, but I felt a big increase in speed going from 10.3 to 10.5 earlier this summer. Then again, maybe there would have been an even bigger boost from 10.3 to 10.4. I'm very satisfied with it, and I usually have TONS of windows open when I'm writing for work. Probably about 40 tabs spread among 4 Safari windows, lots of PDF's in Preview, Pages, OmniOutliner, and TextEdit. The 12" PB handles it great!

    Oh, and heads up. They can be loud. When the AC is on in my house, the fan is usually off or running slowly. When ambient temps are over 80F, the fan is constantly on high and it's very annoying. The left wrist rest also gets hot from HDD activity when it's warm inside. I have an IBM X30 that was MUCH worse, but my friends' Macbooks seem to run cooler and quieter.
  20. quikssurfer macrumors member


    Feb 7, 2006
    I have a 12' pb 1.33 that is about 4 years old now. This has been a GREAT computer.
    To the poster above: Leopard runs absolutely fine on mine.

    I really don't use it much these days...
    I had considered selling the computer but I struggle parting with the little powerbook :(

    I'd entertain any offers though :)
  21. TheChance thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jul 10, 2008
    PM me the specs and we'll see if we can talk
  22. joekix macrumors 6502


    Feb 2, 2007
    earth, long beach CA to be exact
    i have 3 computers and i use my 12" pb 90% of the time.
  23. peapody macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2007
    San Francisco, CA
    I had the same configuration and certainly had the same separation anxiety. Eventually (actually recently) I sold it to it's next lucky owner and got me a MBP for a decent price..2.16 C2D fully loaded for $1200 :D
  24. johnsy macrumors 6502

    Nov 15, 2006
    That is a total rip off. $600 for something totally outdated! Plus no ilife and no OS disks... 512 MB ram! What is it- stone age? My man you will be making total mistake purchasing that. Unless you are so desperate to get something and after few months another thing. I would even consider buying PC laptop if your budget is tight. In any case check out refurbished macbooks, macmall deals or get additional $300. Remember that $300 is less than $1000. So in another words it is easier to add up 300 than to save $1000 from a scratch.
  25. Kirjava444 macrumors member

    Jun 8, 2008
    Other than the near-dead battery, my PowerBook G4 1.33 (running Tiger) is still quite nice for basic things such as the internet, word, excel, etc.

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