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

Need buying advice on 12" Powerbook G4/iBook G4


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oftimeandspace

 
Member Since: Apr 29, 2011
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I'm currently trying to find a decent used 12" Powerbook G4 for basic computing needs. I'm a pretty light user--Internet surfing (mostly Apartment Therapy/news sites, which can be image heavy), word processing, iTunes, some Youtube/Hulu, and downloading music/video. I'm an uber-broke grad student so I'm looking to keep cost below $300 (though cheaper is even better).

Thus I'm thinking a Powerbook G4 is my best bet. I've found a few eBay auctions that look promising and wanted to ask for advice on them. Do they look like good deals? Or should I hold out for something else or even look at an iBook G4?

Apple PowerBook G4 12" 1Ghz/768 RAM/120GB HD/Combo | eBay

Apple PowerBook 12" 1.33GHz 60GB DVD Airport Extreme | eBay
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pigoo3

 
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I would say that both are pretty good deals (for e-Bay). Sometimes you can get lucky and get a better deal on your local Craig's List. But under $200 for either one I consider to be fair.

I would prefer the 2nd one (the 1.33ghz model)...but it seems to have a broken CD/DVD drive...so this could be an issue. The 1st one is good as well. It does have a slower cpu (1.0ghz)...but the CD/DVD drive seems to work.

Your choice of course.

Good luck,

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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oftimeandspace

 
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Thanks for the quick reply!

I know the 2nd one has a broken dvd combo drive, but I assume that won't be too much of a problem. I never use the combo drive on computers- I tend to stick with the pre-installed OS and never buy new software. Plus there's always the handy IFixIt if I do decide to repair it at some point.

I also looked on Mac2Sell and was quoted $120 for the 2nd Powerbook. So should I try to find more deals around that range?
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I would try to find a cheap macbook or a netbook of some kind before going with a 12inch powerbook.

Dont get me wrong this was my dream computer at one time but I think you will be less than impressed with the battery and there is a good chance this thing will stutter a lot just on youtube videos.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftimeandspace View Post
Thanks for the quick reply!

I know the 2nd one has a broken dvd combo drive, but I assume that won't be too much of a problem. I never use the combo drive on computers- I tend to stick with the pre-installed OS and never buy new software. Plus there's always the handy IFixIt if I do decide to repair it at some point.

I also looked on Mac2Sell and was quoted $120 for the 2nd Powerbook. So should I try to find more deals around that range?
Hey...it sounds like you know your stuff mentioning iFixit & Mac2Sell...that's always helpful!

If you don't use the CD/DVD drive...then the faster cpu (1.33ghz) and lower price ($179.00) of the 2nd would seem to be fine for you. Of course you have shipping to deal with which brings the price closer to $200.

The 1st one has a starting bid of $129.00...so if you're lucky...you could get this one for much lower than the $199 "Buy It Now" price. But who know's...either auction could end 5 minutes from now...if someone decides to "Buy It Now".

As far as the Mac2Sell value of around $120. I definitely use Mac2Sell values in conjunction with e-Bay prices to continuously keep on top of used Macintosh prices. Honestly...I don't see too many "full-fledged" Powerbook G4's of this quality/spec's (reasonably fast cpu's, decent ram, built-in Airport & bluetooth) for $120. I also really like the 12" size for portability & compactness.

A while ago I purchased an 867mhz 12" Powerbook G4 for $80 off my local Craig's List. That was a pretty good deal...but it has a slower processor than the one's you're looking at...and the one I bought was pretty beat up. But these deals are VERY rare...so if you look for one around $120...you may be looking for a longggg time! If I saw a 1.0 or 1.33ghz 12" Powerbook G4 for sale on my local CL for $120...I would snap it up in a heartbeat!!!

When you start talking used prices for computers that are:

- 5-8 years old
- laptops that are very popular especially with built-in WiFi
- costing under $200 bucks
- LOWEST price for used older MacBooks starting around $350-$400

...prices can get very "fluid". Under $200 ($179-$199) to one person (who has minimal requirements for a mobile computer) could be a "drop in the bucket"...and they might snap it up right away.

If you wait for a deal around $120 for one of these...you may be waiting a while. And if you do find one...you need to be lucky enough to be the first person to e-mail the seller...AND be able to jump right in your car to pick it up IMMEDIATELY...otherwise someone else who can...will get it first!

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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oftimeandspace

 
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I've looked on my local CL and the deals are seriously lacking. $300+ for a Powerbook G4 with weak specs...no thanks.

As for CL, it always strikes me as a little shady. Yes I can check the laptop out before purchasing, but who's to say it won't crash the next day? And then I'm out my money and laptop without any warranty.
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pigoo3

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oftimeandspace View Post
I've looked on my local CL and the deals are seriously lacking. $300+ for a Powerbook G4 with weak specs...no thanks.
Pretty much as I expected. You also have to realize that GREAT deals on CL happen very quickly. For example:

- seller posts a great deal at 11am (let's say a 12" Powerbook G4 for $120)
- 1st interested buyer e-mails or phones the seller at 11:15am
- buyer receives reply from seller at 11:25am
- buyer agrees to buy the computer at 11:26am
- buyer & seller are able to meet at 12:00noon
- 12:15pm seller deletes Craig's List posting

At 1:30pm "YOU" (a potentially interested buyer searches Craig's List)...and sees nothing. Never realizing that at 11:00am, just what you were looking for was listed, sold, and deleted by 12:15pm.

Quote:
Originally Posted by oftimeandspace View Post
As for CL, it always strikes me as a little shady. Yes I can check the laptop out before purchasing, but who's to say it won't crash the next day? And then I'm out my money and laptop without any warranty.
Nah...IMHO the vast majority of computer deals on CL are legit. You just got to be well versed in what used prices are for used computers...and you need to know what to look for, and take your time to carefully check out something you buy (looking, listening, and smelling)...yes even smelling can tip you off to a problem!

You don't "really" get any warranties from stuff you purchase from e-Bay either. From the sellers perspective on e-Bay...who's to say that a buyer receives a laptop...it's working fine...then the buyer accidentally drops it or spills liquid on it...then claims that the seller shipped a broken computer. So there's risks for both the buyer & the seller with e-Bay.

IMHO...CL is a MUCH better way to purchase used computers!!!

If you REALLY want a warranty...you need to pay a lot more for a new or refurbished computer from Apple. You're NOT going to get a $120 dollar computer from Apple with a warranty. And in any case...when buying a 5-8 year old computer...you really cannot expect any sort of warranty anyway.

- Nick

- Computer slow, too many "beachballs", read this: Beachballs
- Computer seems slower than it used to? Read this for some speedup tips: Speedup
- Almost full hard drive? Some solutions. Out of Space
- Apple Battery Info. Battery
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pod

 
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Don't discount the last incarnation of the iBook. I have the 12" 1.33 Ghz mid 2005 iBook with 1GB RAM installed. I do all the usual stuff without problem: surfing, iTunes, Youtube etc. I also run Adobe CS2 on it... can be a little slow with larger Photoshop files but is still a very useful machine. The only drawback is the tiny 40GB Hard drive but I use an external hard drive to store larger files so no problem.
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