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Apple Notebooks Apple's notebook computers including MacBook Pro, MacBook, MacBook Air, PowerBook, and iBook.

PowerBook - Is a G4 Powerbook a good buy?


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ric duncombe

 
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I am looking for a replacement for my ibook which suffered a logic board failure. I need a compact model as i am about to go traveling, it will be used primeraly for using the internet, managing my photography workload (photoshop, lightroom) and playing football manager 2009 while on buses and trains and generally passing the time around the world!

I have found a powerbook G4 12'' model with 1.5 Ghz and 512mb RAM on ebay and it looks totally clean and has box, all cds, manuals a spare battery, new power cable and a soft bag for 400 (which is about $660 - please remember things like this cost a lot more in the UK regardless!)

Would this be a good purchase or should i be looking toward something a little better, as this money could buy quite a good spec windows based laptop brand new (although i would lose the 12'' portability - a netbook is no good as they will not run football manager due to the screen resolution) - if anyone has any other options i would be very grateful

any advice much appreciated

regards

Richard
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kahlil88

 
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PowerBook G4s are great - you may wish to upgrade the RAM to 1GB or more if you plan to run Photoshop (depending on which version it is). Other than that, it should suit your needs just fine. $600 is a good deal, as the 12" 1.5GHz model usually is valued at $650-900 by EveryMac.

I'm curious though...what kind of logic board failure are we talking about with your old iBook?

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ric duncombe

 
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i have the 4 beeps of death when i turn it on - No good boot ROM i think is the definition of this. i used to be able to fix it when turning it on by applying pressure to the area to the left of the trackpad - i dont know the insides of macs at all but perhaps something is loose inside and needs contact to function? in the end i could not turn it off for fear of it not working again but sadly i accidently let the battery run down about 3 months ago and i have not been able to get it going again since
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_nelsonc

 
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I recently bought a 1.67 Ghz Powerbook G4 on eBay for $468. It has 1GB of memory, dead battery ($120) and a flaky trackpad button (not fixed yet), but other than that, it works great. I bought it to replace a 600Mhz G3 iBook that was so slow it was driving me crazy.

I had bought and sold a 2.15 Ghz Macbook Pro when they first came out and there have only been a couple of times i have noticed performance to be less with the Powerbook. The G4 has the same backlit keyboard and auto dimming screen that the MBP had.

I think you will like the Powerbook G4, especially for apps that have not been converted to Universal Binary.
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kahlil88

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ric duncombe View Post
i have the 4 beeps of death when i turn it on - No good boot ROM i think is the definition of this. i used to be able to fix it when turning it on by applying pressure to the area to the left of the trackpad - i dont know the insides of macs at all but perhaps something is loose inside and needs contact to function? in the end i could not turn it off for fear of it not working again but sadly i accidently let the battery run down about 3 months ago and i have not been able to get it going again since
I haven't heard of the "beeps of death" but there was a common logic board issue the older iBooks had. For the iBook G3 it was the ball-grid-array GPU coming loose when it got too hot, which is why you must apply pressure to the area left of the trackpad. There's a relatively easy fix that involves putting in a shim for extra pressure, if you're brave enough to disassemble the beast. I've done it before and it works great, although my last patient had a slight bulge on the bottom, so maybe the shim was too thick

EDIT: If your problem is with an iBook G4, there is a slightly different fix.

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ric duncombe

 
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i have often thought that this would work - is there anywhere i can get some sort of a walkthrough guide to this? i have nothing to lose really and if i could attempt it tonight then i could potentially avoid getting a new machine as its a G4 ibook 1.33 with 512mb which is still a good machine
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ric duncombe

 
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ok i found a guide to do it folllowing your link - this could get messy but i will skip the gym tonight to see if i can do it - to be honest applying pressure has not worked since i last got a successful boot up in December, and ive done a lot of pressing, kneeling, standing, sitting since - but its worth a try - the Powerbook sale ends tomorrow so i have 24 hours!
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kahlil88

 
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Funny you have the same iBook as me, but I've read that this problem only effects the sub-1Ghz iBook G4s. I wish you the best of luck! Fortunately the iBook G4 is slightly less troublesome than the G3 to take apart.

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ric duncombe

 
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it looks impossible, im not sure i have any tools other than a phillips and whatever is in my kitchen draw, which could be interesting!! Thanks
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kahlil88

 
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I hope your philips is small enough. You may have to do some shopping. There are three torx screws (T8) but a small flat-head may work. A spudger is essential to pry it open once the case screws are out (looks exactly like a butter knife, but thinner).

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ric duncombe

 
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i was hoping a knife would do the job of the Spurger
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pigoo3

 
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Originally Posted by ric duncombe View Post
i was hoping a knife would do the job of the Spurger
There are a bunch of plastic "tabs" that hold the case together (as well as some screws). After you release a couple of the tabs, the rest get easier.

I would recommend doing a Google search for DIY instructions on how to disassemble an iBook.

- Nick
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Aptmunich

 
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iFixit: iPod, iBook, & PowerBook Parts and Accessories should have instructions on how to open your iBook.

I'd avoid the Powerbook... you can probably get MacBooks on eBay for not much more and they'll last you longer than a PowerPC machine.

With the powerbook 12", you were always paying a lot more for only a slight bit of extra power over the iBook.
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ric duncombe

 
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thanks Apt munich - they are about £200 more which it sounds silly to debate but, the macbook is getting a bit large, i need something i can slip into a rucksack and be pretty portable, which is why i considered the Powerbook as the screen is 12'' - there are other notebooks on the market at 12'' but they are far more expensive than the 15.5'' versions, i just dont want a full size laptop to haul around the world
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kahlil88

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aptmunich View Post
I'd avoid the Powerbook... you can probably get MacBooks on eBay for not much more and they'll last you longer than a PowerPC machine.

With the powerbook 12", you were always paying a lot more for only a slight bit of extra power over the iBook.
I would have to agree - the PowerBooks had a faster FSB and more VRAM, but the maximum supported RAM was less than that of an iBook running at the same speed. Plus two-finger scrolling wasn't a hardware feature (but hey, that's what iScroll is for, right?). On the other hand, I find aluminum to be nicer looking than white plastic, and disassembling them is a less painful experience (I get kinda scared popping off the keys though!).

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