Upgrade a G4 Desktop or trade towards 2007 MacBook?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by electrodyne, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. electrodyne macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2012
    Hello everyone. Try not to laugh or roll your eyes when reading this. I need some opinions.

    I have a 2002-era G4 Desktop that does not have a wireless internet card. It can also be upgraded in other ways (memory, etc.). I use it primarily as a Photoshop workstation and (obviously) using an older version of Photoshop. I also do some simple audio editing things. Running OS 10.3.3, 867 Mhz, 2 MB L3 cache, 384 MB SDRAM, DVD burner.

    I've been getting online via a PC laptop that belongs to a company I've been freelancing for. That job is ending very soon and the laptop must be returned. I've been considering getting a used 2007-2008 MacBook in the $300 range.
    Was considering the MacBook, mostly for the portability factor; which would be really nice, but that is not absolutely essential.

    Money is rather tight at the moment (otherwise I'd get something current). I was offered $100. for the G4 towards a trade-in through Power Max. However, a local Mac specialist will upgrade my G4 to it's maximum potential for about the same price. I'd like to get some opinions on which route I should go. Some questions I have are:

    - Would the G4 upgrade bring it up to the same specs as a 2007-era laptop?

    - Would a 2007-era laptop be able to be upgraded?

    - I don't yet have an iPod, and if I were to get one later this year, would I be able to use it with a PowerPC Mac?

    Any thoughts and suggestions are welcomed and strongly appreciated! Thanks in advance.
  2. Lil Chillbil macrumors 65816

    Lil Chillbil

    Jan 30, 2012
    I use a power mac g4 upgraded

    the specs are

    1.4 gigs ram
    80 gig hardrive
    400mhz powerpc proccesser
    running 10.4.11

    the g4 is the go to system when you want a mac for cheap that will do it all okay.

    the g4 is like a 1910 steam train its not fast but it will work to get you there in a pinch.
    but the 2007 is like a 1990 electric train works great but loses something.

    Personaly I would go for preserving the g4 tower find yourself a copy of 10.5
    get it up to max specs and you should be in business for at least the next 3 years by then g5 towers will be going for cheap and you can upgrade those and so on and so forth
  3. blackhand1001 macrumors 68030


    Jan 6, 2009
    Get the newer mac. Those g4's are very outdated and apple really gave powerpc people the shaft.
  4. TacticalDesire, Jun 1, 2012
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2012

    TacticalDesire macrumors 68020


    Mar 19, 2012
    I would go with the macbook. It will be faster and you will be able to run current software. Unlike a g4 on panther.
  5. tayloralmond macrumors 6502

    Mar 26, 2009
    Michigan, USA
    As much as I hate to say this, I'd recommend getting a newer Mac as well. If you had an MDD with dual 1.25GHz processors, I'd say save the money and upgrade the PowerMac. Unfortunately, 867MHz just doesn't cut it as a daily driver anymore.

    EDIT: If you decide to keep the PowerMac, you would be able to use an iPod because Leopard (even on PowerPC) supports the latest version of iTunes.
  6. mabaker macrumors 65816


    Jan 19, 2008
    If the money is tight then hold back until you can afford the MacBook. The G4 will do a wonderful wonderful job till then. Be patient and save up.

    As far as the performance is concerned - the power of Intel Core Duo is undeniable especially comparing mundane tasks like switching between 3+ Safari windows with flash running. Not to mention the MacBook will run Windows 8 if you need the newest and latest while being on a budget.
  7. Ariii macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2012
    If portability is your only concern, and you don't have problems with a lack of software support, I say you might want a $50 iBook or PowerBook, and you could keep your desktop. For more software support (Though networking is really hard) you might want to go with Linux, probably MintPPC, even though Leopard still has plenty of good applications left. If the guy can upgrade your OS to Leopard (If it's officially supported) then you would probably be fine. It sounds like maybe a 15" or 17" PowerBook G4 with Leopard might be the best option for you, and you can find them for about $150-200. You might even want to sell your iMac and get maybe a G5 with Leopard once you find a good deal. But if you need good support for more kinds of software, get the MacBook. You could even find a 2006 MacBook Pro that might be just as good.
  8. electrodyne thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 1, 2012
    All of these replies are appreciated. There's many pros and cons to this.

    In an ideal world, I'd be okay with upgrading the G4 and getting a used, older iPad, but that simply isn't feasible right now.

    But my follow up questions are:

    - Where in the world can one get a $50. iBook or PowerBook?? I haven't been able to find so much as an upgraded clamshell-style G3 iBook for under $200.
    I did come across a 12" 2007-era iBook for $249. with a 90 day warranty. The screen has some dead pixels on that too.

    - Does anyone recommend any online Mac re-sellers? Alternately, are there any Mac re-sellers that should be avoided? For the record, I'm hesitant to use Craigslist, in the event something was stolen or not in good shape.

    - Can an upgraded G4 or a 2007-era laptop run GarageBand or an older version of Logic?

    Thanks again!
  9. Ariii macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2012
    Yes, they can run GarageBand. I have it right now on my G4 iBook with Tiger and it runs pretty well.

    I suggest looking to eBay for laptops, as that's where you can find the best deal. If you have the restore disks for your iMac G4, you can install OS X on an iBook Clamshell. Puma runs pretty well with 192 MB RAM and can render pages decently with Camino, and using Classilla in Classic Environment is perfect. If you sort the price from lowest to highest, you can find a good deal on the iBooks. The white dual-USB models usually go for cheaper than the Clamshells, you'll just have to bid on it instead. If you get it for about $50, you probably couldn't get warranty, but as you'd already have your iMac to fall back on you'd probably be pretty good. I got a Clamshell with an upgraded hard-drive for $50 by looking hard enough. Here's a good example of one you can find for about $50 with OS X:


    You said 2007-era iBook. Did you mean an early MacBook? The last iBook model was in 2005, I'm pretty sure. Unless it's fully upgraded with the latest OS and all the new software, you could probably find one for cheaper. I found one exactly like that with a 50-day warranty for $189, and ran Leopard really well.
  10. Litany macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2012
    Back when PPC was still used, upgrading the CPU made sense. But ever since the G5, and especially the switch to Intel, its economically worthless. Even the bottom end Mini will be more than twice as fast as a fully maxxed out G4.
  11. Ariii macrumors 6502a


    Jan 26, 2012
    This is pretty accurate, except now you can find a used logic board for really cheap on a PowerPC Mac. It's a lot more expensive on a new one, obviously. But RAM will almost always be the same cost, though you can find it for really cheap on Other World Computing. And for what some people need, upgrades will be cheaper than purchasing a new computer and will give people what they need.
  12. Litany macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2012
    If you can find a cheap used part sure, but buying a new PPC CPU upgrade makes no sense.

    A dual 1.6 upgrade costs $320. http://eshop.macsales.com/item/NewerTech/MAXG47D1600/
    You can get a Quad G5 or a dual core 2.3 G5 for less that will be more than twice as fast, and you'll get SATA, PCIe graphics included!

    But no matter what you upgrade your PPC with, you're stuck with Tiger or Leopard and you can't run any new apps (or you're stuck with obsolete versions).

Share This Page