What is a PowerBook G4 12" Worth?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by zepharus, Mar 22, 2008.

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  1. zepharus macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2007
    I have the chance to buy a PowerBook G4 12" in excellent condition with the following specs and Items for $460 Shipped. Please let me know if this is a good deal or not....

    867 MHz PowerPC G4 processor

    640 MB DDR SDRAM

    32 MB nVidia GeForce4 420 Go Dedicated Graphics Card

    DVD/CD-RW Combo Drive

    40 GB Hard Drive

    802.11g AirPort Extreme card

    Bluetooth connection

    10/100Base-T Ethernet

    56K modem

    Firewire/ USB/ Sound in-out/ Mini-VGA port

    Up to 3 hours of battery hour

    10.9 by 8.6 by 1.18 inches and a mere 4.6 pounds



    Microsoft Office 2008 (THE LATEST EDITION FOR MAC)

    Final Cut Express 3.5

    Apple iLife 2008

    Roxio Toast Titanium 9 – CD writing software (The latest Edition)

    Codec Packs (Necessary to watch DIVX and other media formats)

    Accessories and Extras:

    Additional - Extra Battery x1

    US Power Adapter

    Tragus cooling Pad/ USB Powered
  2. markrivers macrumors 6502a


    Feb 9, 2008
    Valencia, California
    i think you have to factor in the software that came with it.
    does it still have warranty? apple care perhaps?

    if so, that's a bargain!
  3. zepharus thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 7, 2007
    No Apple care but it comes with all that software, which to me screams OMG I buy the software and get a free powerbook lol

    On a side note, will this powerbook be laggy and slow as hell or?
  4. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    I think it'll be usable but not fast by any means. My PB 12" is more than capable still, but its the last generation (1.5 GHz G4) model. If you are willing to put up with a bit of sluggishness, the one you are looking at should be fine. Make sure, with the software, that the discs are included. Just having it preinstalled on the HDD doesn't do you much good long term. If the discs are all included, that strikes me as a pretty good deal. Still, personally, I'd tend to look for a later generation model, but everyone is different in terms of their "need for speed" :p
  5. minicoop503 macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2008
    Just be careful with all that software

    I bought an eMac with Office 08, and just found out today thats it's a pirated copy, that the person paid nothing for, and increased the price of the computer.
  6. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    I tend to agree because the only Mac that compares (perfect size) is the MacBook Air and that costs a tad bit much for what you get in my opinion.
  7. Azmordean macrumors 6502

    Mar 10, 2004
    Silicon Valley
    Yeah - the last generation PB 12" have a lot to offer for a frequent business traveler. You get a super-portable size, a relatively light weight, yet have a swappable battery and an optical drive. And the speed is more than sufficient for internet, email, MS Office (particularly 2004, which runs great since the PB is PowerPC), and so on.

    Apple just doesn't have a computer in its line right now that fills that gap. The Air is super-portable, but with serious tradeoffs (no optical, no swappable battery) that a lot of business travelers may simply be unable to deal with. The MacBook is an option but it simply doesn't feel or look as professional as the 12" PB, and its a good bit heavier. And the MBPs, while fine traveling companions, are obviously heavier and bulkier. So I think the 12" PB is a good buy - but I would look for a 1.5 GHz one. I just don't think I'd be happy with anything much slower than that.
  8. e12a macrumors 68000


    Oct 28, 2006
    seems about right for one that is under 1 GHz.
  9. Marlon_JBT macrumors 6502

    Sep 22, 2003
    Detroit, Michigan
    That sounds like a good price.

    But like everyone else has said, it will NOT be a speed demon... these days at least. That machine right there is 5 years old now.

    But oh boy were they reliable. I'm using mine right now. :) (I never put Leopard on it... still got Tiger)
  10. PowerBookRelic macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2008
    i think that is a great computer, just want to reiterate about the speed. I have a 1.5 GHz PBG4, and for internet/word/email/music, it is great, but anything more than that and I start to get frustrated. Even now, when I have a lot of software running with multiple tabs and such, it starts to slow down (awaiting MBP updates :cool:)...but if you are using it as just an ultraportable it should be fine. I wish I would have gotten a 12" instead of a 15", but I guess I never thought they would get rid of that and not find anything to replace it with....
  11. taylorwilsdon macrumors 68000


    Nov 16, 2006
    New York City
    If "codec packs" are in the listing, then all that is pirated. I'll tell you that right now, and I know from personal buying experience.

    NEVER PAY EXTRA for software with a computer unless you are getting the original factory box, all intact serials, original disks and you can verify it in your hands before you pay.
  12. Watabou macrumors 68040


    Feb 10, 2008
    United States
    How did you find out it's pirated? I thought you couldn't tell?
  13. HawaiiMacAddict macrumors 6502a

    Dec 28, 2006
    On one of my Macs of course
    Aloha zepharus,

    The other thing you may want to consider is resolution of the screen itself. I was a DOS/Windows user from 1989 until 2006 (when I came to the light and bought my first Mac :D), and the only complaint I have about Apple's laptops is the screen resolution. When I used PCs, screen resolution was paramount to me - I wanted the maximum number of windows on my desktop. Of course, Expose and Spaces (you mentioned that it has Leopard installed) would somewhat negate that requirement.

    For example, I use a Dell D810 at work that has the same dimensions as my MacBook Pro ( they both have the widescreen 15.4" display), but the D810 gets 1920x1200 while my MacBook Pro can only manage 1440x900. I can't imagine how much worse you'll get on a 12" display. I think it's high time Apple either engineer, or find a manufacturer to provide, displays that can match "the other guys."

    That being said, I've heard lots of people rave about the 12" PowerBooks. I know that I'm just a babe in the woods, Apple/Mac-experience wise, but I don't think I could do with anything less than a 15" laptop, although that's just me. I absolutely LOVE my MacBook Pro and will never go back to the Dark Side, but I wish that I could get the higher resolution.

    Also, the comments on speed are spot on. A coworker gave me a PowerMac G4 Gigabit Ethernet (see my sig), and while it runs just fine, it is noticeably slower than my Intel Macs. I maxed out the RAM and was forced to replace the power supply (but the original power supply lasted fat least 7.5 years, so that's not too shabby), but it runs Tiger like a champ, albeit a tad slowly. Of course, that's really not a problem, as the kids (my nieces and nephew) are really the only ones to use it at present. It's actually a replacement for my last desktop PC - I gave it to my wife when I got my iMac so that she could learn how to type - to further my goal of a PC-free household. Now, if I could only convince my brother-in-law to make the switch hehehe :D

  14. minicoop503 macrumors regular

    Feb 11, 2008
    well, he gave me a cd-r disc that he burned it to, and it had a word file on it with 14 serial keys, so I got suspicious.

    Then, i went on google and searched for a torrent for it, started downloading it, and it had the SAME EXACT word file in it. Same keys and everything.
  15. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Bottom line, the whole system is only worth as much as someone wish to pay for it. Doesn't matter if it's drenched in diamonds.
  16. DannySmurf macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2005
    I agree with taylorwilsdon. When I'm shopping for a used computer, whatever software may or may not be on the machine does not affect what I'm willing to pay for it. I don't care if it has Final Cut Pro and Office 2008 super ultimate edition and the most awesome-l337 version of CS on it. If it doesn't come with the CDs (in other words, if I can't take the software and move it elsewhere), then there is NO VALUE ADDED BY IT.

    So, if your seller is offering you the software on disk with the computer, snap it up; all of that software is totally worth it. If what you're actually paying for is a computer on which this software happens to be installed, skip it. This computer, by itself, is not worth $460, despite what some others are saying.

    Remember, this is a computer that is more than FIVE YEARS OLD. Beyond the speed considerations (as has been said, it will not be a speed demon regardless), all of the parts in this computer are FIVE YEARS OLD, including the hard drive and the video card, both of which (on average) do not last five years. You could very well be buying a lemon.

    If I could see this computer working and test it for an hour or so myself, I would probably pay no more than $350 for it (if it were the 1.5GHz model, I'd probably be willing to part with $500-600 for it, but it's only 867MHz: not even 1GHz!). If I couldn't see it, or it was being shipped to me from elsewhere, I would pay no more than $200. This machine is far too much of a risk.
  17. masterfu macrumors member


    Jun 25, 2007
    The price is fine, but I would definitely be downgrading to Tiger just because of the speed issue. I tried Leopard on my 1GHz PowerMac G4 with 1GB ram a while back, and it was depressingly slow... Therefore, make sure all the software cd's come with it so you can reinstall them. Other than that, yeah it seems fine.
  18. Signal-11 macrumors 65816


    Mar 23, 2008
    2nd Star to the Right
    I dunno, I did a little bit of shopping for a used 12" PB G4 in the past few weeks and if you wait around, you should be able to pick up a 1.5Ghz, 1GB RAM model (the last 12" Apple made) for around $5-600 on ebay. To me, you're going to be hurting on speed with the configuration you've mentioned.
  19. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    Ebay is always the best way to judge the used market price for any given model. Check for completed auctions.


    As you can see, these Macs go for the mid-$400 range.

    FWIW, I own this exact model. I run Tiger on it, without any serious performance issues.

    Edit: This computer might be more than five years old, but not necessarily. They were made until September 2003. Still, pretty old.
  20. DannySmurf macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2005
    There's a difference between what something goes for on eBay and what it is actually worth. A 12", 867MHz may fetch around $450 on eBay, but I don't think it's actually worth that much. The minimal amount of fraud protection may be worth a little extra to you, however.

    But if you're buying that same computer from "some guy" who's going to ship it to you (with or without sketchy software), it is absolutely NOT worth the same price as you would pay on eBay. There's a lot more risk there.

    I think the worth of a 867MHz G4 is dubious in any case, and IMO, it most definitely is not worth $450. Considering that if you wait a bit, you can probably find a 1.5GHz 12" machine (a much more worthwhile -- and modern -- purchase) for around $600, buying the 867MHz model for more than a token amount is simply foolish.
  21. nstchief macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2008

    I had one of the 867MHz 12 inch Powerbooks when they first came out in 2003. I loved the portability, but I ended up upgrading to a 1.5 GHz 15 inch powerbook a year later for the speed and because portability really wasn't that different...for what that's worth.

    Also, I seem to remember that my 867 MHz 12 inch machines ran super hot to the touch (especially after one of the later 10.2 updates), and this issue was less with later 12 inch Powerbooks.
  22. Kwill macrumors 68000


    Mar 10, 2003
    Don't be gullable

    If the software licenses are being transferred, then it's a great deal. Use the software, throw away the computer and you're still ahead. (Just kidding.)

    My spider senses are telling me that the software is copied from discs at someone's job so you would not be able to obtain tech support or upgrades. Also, the battery, at best, lasts an hour by now and the monitor is probably pretty dim. Is that worth $460 bucks to you? It's your call. I would rather pay for a portable without all the dubious software that includes a warranty.
  23. IJ Reilly macrumors P6

    IJ Reilly

    Jul 16, 2002
    These are altogether puzzling remarks. A thing is not worth what someone will pay for it? If that's not its value, then what? Is it really better to rely on what "some guy" on a message board says it's worth?
  24. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    You're considering spending more than half the price of a new (2007) Macbook on a five-year old computer. This is a bad idea, regardless of what any Powerbook fan tells you.
  25. DannySmurf macrumors 6502a

    Jul 7, 2005
    Well, the original poster asked for advice here, didn't he? And I may also be "some guy" to him, but I have no more than an academic interest in whether he buys the machine, so he can reasonably expect that what I'm telling him is impartial... or at the very least, much more impartial than anything the seller tells him, don't you think?

    Do you seriously not think that there is a difference in value when you buy something from somewhere reputable, as opposed to when you buy the same thing from someone you don't know and will never meet face-to-face, and who cannot reliably guarantee its condition?

    To me, risk (or lack thereof) has value associated with it. If I'm buying something that may be sketchy (or its seller may be sketchy), I am willing to pay less for it. If it turns out that it's a lemon (but I have no way to verify that first), I'll do what I can to minimize my loss... in other words, it's worth far less to me.

    On the other hand, if I'm buying the same thing from someone I know (or a reputable store, website, etc), or I can see its condition in person before purchase, I'm willing to spend quite a bit more (possibly many times more, depending on the item), since it's quite likely that any major problems would be apparent up-front.

    You may be willing to pay top dollar for something you've never seen and can't verify from someone you don't know. If so, that's your damage; I think that's stupidity.

    I also happen to think (and ALL of our thoughts on the price of the machine are relevant, since the original poster did, in fact, ASK US whether we thought it was a good deal) that paying $460 for a computer that old and slow is silly, regardless of what the masses on eBay think.
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