Used PowerBook G4 Value?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by PowerBook-G5, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. PowerBook-G5 macrumors 65816

    PowerBook-G5

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    The United States of America
    #1
    First, if this needs to be moved, please by all means do move it to the best forum.

    So I was in a local pawnshop today and saw a PowerBook G4 on the shelf for $235 and was wondering if it's a good deal for the specs:

    Model number A1139
    17" display
    1.67ghz G4 processor
    1.5GB DDR2 RAM
    80 GB HDD (believe that it's an aftermarket one, Mactracker says it only came with 100/120GB HDDs)
    Mac OS 10.4.11
    Includes charger
    AFAIK they do not have any of the instal discs

    Overall, the machine is in great condition, except for some scratches on the bottom, mainly the battery. Also, the ExpressCard ejector button will not slide back into the side of the case, but I'm not sure if there is a trick to getting it back in or what. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures and was not able to test the battery while in the shop (it was completely dead when I started looking at it and I couldn't stay around all day to charge/test it or anything).

    Just looking for some input here. It's doubtful that I will buy it, but just in case I do decide buy this one or find one another time, I'd like to know what a decent price is. Thanks!
     
  2. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #2
    That's probably about $75-100 higher than I'd want to be on it. It is the last generation high resolution model(1680x1050) with the double layer super drive. This is one of the more desirable Powerbooks(I love my A1138, which is the 15" equivalent), but it still is a Powerbook G4.

    The PCMIA slot button should stay in if pressed in(past flush with the case) slightly. If it won't stay, I would take this into account.

    You will also want to upgrade it to 2gb of RAM. This isn't overly expensive, but something you need to factor in. Personally, I'd also want to upgrade the OS to Leopard-if you don't already have the disk, a retail disk will run you $40-60 on Ebay.

    Check the battery condition on it also-there's a decent chance the battery is shot, which will cost you a few more bucks to get a good working battery.
     
  3. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
  4. PowerBook-G5, Dec 27, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014

    PowerBook-G5 thread starter macrumors 65816

    PowerBook-G5

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    The United States of America
    #4
    $140 was about what I was thinking for it when I saw it in the shop, but it is a paean shop p, and you hardly ever pay the price on the sticker (unless you are a bad negotiator :p).

    The thing that bums me about it is that the machine needs, as you said, a Leopard install disc, which seem to be priced a bit higher than I'd like, and possible a battery. Also, if I was to get a Leopard disc, I would need a RETAIL disc and not a machine-specific one, correct?

    Finally, about the RAM: does upgrading from 1.5 to 2GB make a huge difference on PPC Mac running Leopard? I'm honestly just looking at the laptop just to have one (I love the design of these machines :p), and I'm not planning on doing any major work with it, maybe just a bit of word processing and light Safari browsing. Would 1.5GB be enough on Leopard for these tasks?

    Edit: Not related at all, but Altemose, I just realized that you also live in MD, so hello fellow Marylander! I thought that you were Canadian for some reason...
     
  5. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #5
    Since Leopard was released well into the Intel era, there are no machine specific disks for PPC computers. With that said, all Leopard disks are universal for both Intel and PowerPC. If you have the computer associated with a machine specific disk, you can clone the install onto a PPC computer. I've done this, but mostly as proof of concept as installing from a retail disk is much easier.

    As for upgrading the RAM-you might not see a huge benefit, but Leopard does benefit from as much as you can throw at it. With 1.5gb in the computer now, it most likely has a 1gb stick and a 512mb stick. A single 1gb PC2-4200 SO-DIMM will run you $4-6 on Ebay-I'd do it.

    By the way, if you are new to or re-entering the PowerPC scene, Safari on Tiger and Leopard is now very outdated. It is insecure and is also unable to render many modern webpages. Tenfoufox is a "fork" of Firefox that is still actively maintained for PowerPC computers. There's also Tiger and Leopard Webkit, which are Safari based, although Tiger is no longer maintained and Leopard is(from what I understand) near EOL.
     
  6. PowerBook-G5, Dec 27, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014

    PowerBook-G5 thread starter macrumors 65816

    PowerBook-G5

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    The United States of America
    #6
    Thanks for this information, because if I can get the price down on the machine, it will be my first PowerPC Mac. I actually did try to use Safari in the shop really quick, and, as you said, it couldn't really load pages.
     
  7. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #7
    Canadian? Far from it! :rolleyes:

    They handle well with Leopard and software from Gavin Stubb's PowerPC archive. I have a 15" 1.67 GHz model and it does well with Leopard WebKit/TenFourFox, Office 2004/2008, Adobe CS2, etc.
     
  8. PowerBook-G5, Dec 27, 2014
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2014

    PowerBook-G5 thread starter macrumors 65816

    PowerBook-G5

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Location:
    The United States of America
    #8
    I didn't mean to offend you, but sorry if I did.

    I think that I'll go back to the shop later next week (I have to travel this week and can't get back to the shop sooner) and try to get the machine for about $130. Seeing as it has been there for about two weeks already, I doubt that anyone else will get it before me. I may just call them when they open on Monday and try to get them to set it aside for me, which they'll probably do as I'm a semi-regular.

    Thanks for all the help that everyone has provided me with!
     
  9. Altemose macrumors G3

    Altemose

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2013
    Location:
    Elkton, Maryland
    #9
    I laughed and thought it was funny not offensive.
     
  10. weckart macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2004
    #10
    2GB would be better as surfing eats up RAM, plus Leopard puts a greater strain on resources than Tiger. The good news is that RAM for this model is cheap; about $3 for the 1GB stick required and so are aftermarket batteries. $20-$25 should see you right. Hold out on eBay and you can get Leopard for less than you think. You will have to bid on auctions and avoid the buy-it-now deals. Search for misspelt listings that others will miss and avoid those that end on Sundays.
     
  11. bunnspecial macrumors 603

    bunnspecial

    Joined:
    May 3, 2014
    Location:
    Kentucky
    #11
    I agree with this. The A1138/A1139 are easily still the most useable PowerPC laptops and among the most useable PPC computers period.

    Mine "feels" faster than any G4-based desktop I've used(although I admittedly don't have experience with anything faster than a single 1.25 or dual 1.0ghz desktop). It's no comparison to a G5 desktop, but still very pleasant for web browsing and with programs of similar vintage to the computer.
     

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