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

Just bought a Powerbook G4 - mistake?!


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Mightyquin

 
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Hi,

My old PC started playing up and I recently bought a new/old stock Mac Mini 2009 model. I had thought of converting to a laptop but do a lot of photography and need a large screen anyway.

Long story short, I thought I'd buy a s/h laptop just for web surfing when I don't want to be tied to the desktop (mostly at home just in other rooms).

I passed a shop yesterday and saw a Mac laptop, turns out its a Powerbook G4. I knew it was an older model but it had Leopard and updated itunes so I thought it'd do the job.

Just doing some research and now I'm worried I've bought something that's not going to suit. The alternative for me is a Windows laptop or netbook.

My Apple knowledge is really minimal - still a newbie. I'm not techy either, just know how to use computers!

Do I try to return the Powerbook at the weekend and get a more up to date Windows laptop, or is a Powerbook still a capable machine for web browsing, typing up the odd document, and maybe watching DVD's? (I'll use the Mini for any heavier applications like Photoshop and Itunes etc), and helpful to use the same/similar systems.

Advice appreciated.
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Lifeisabeach

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyquin View Post
Do I try to return the Powerbook at the weekend and get a more up to date Windows laptop, or is a Powerbook still a capable machine for web browsing, typing up the odd document, and maybe watching DVD's? (I'll use the Mini for any heavier applications like Photoshop and Itunes etc), and helpful to use the same/similar systems.
It's perfectly capable in doing all those tasks. In fact, it's no less capable today than it was 7 years ago. You are at a dead end in terms of upgrading the OS, and you aren't going to want to use Safari, Apple's browser.

However, you should find Firefox to be adequate. LibreOffice is just one of your options for typing up documents and even the current release still supports Leopard and the PPC platform. And DVDs… not a problem, though be aware that those slot-loading drives are notoriously problematic. After a couple years, the PowerBook I used to own would eject my DVDs with some sticky streaks on it. No idea what it was. Just test the drive out with something you don't value before deciding to rely on it.

Some things are no longer developed for Leopard and/or PPC hardware. Flash Player in particular is one, though you can still get ahold of the last version that does support it.

BTW… if you give us the specs and what exact model you have, and what you paid for it, we can better tell you if you got a good deal and if you may need upgrades like RAM. Hopefully you got the install discs with it as well… preferably the original ones since they have hardware testing software on them. You can get this from clicking on the Apple menu, top left corner, then selecting "About This Mac". Select "More Info" to get extra details.


Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyquin View Post

I passed a shop yesterday and saw a Mac laptop, turns out its a Powerbook G4. I knew it was an older model but it had Leopard and updated itunes so I thought it'd do the job.
My big concern is (since you bought this Powerbook G4 "from a shop")...is that you may have paid wayyy too much for it...considering that it's older technology & "shops" generally over-charge compared to other places where used computers can be purchased.

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Mightyquin

 
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Thanks for the replies.

Why shouldn't I use Safari? I was checking it out last night browsing with Safari, seemed OK. Did find that video content like You Tube is a bit of a problem though, not always running smoothly (but that could be down to using a dongle for BBand).

Shop - yes probably paid over the odds, 200, but it's very good condition wise, and comes with 12 months warranty. I now see they go from 100-200 on ebay depending on spec, but with the risk of buying a complete dud!

I usually check stuff out before deciding, but the shop was closing and I didn't want to miss out on what I thought was a bit of a bargain....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyquin View Post

Shop - yes probably paid over the odds, 200, but it's very good condition wise, and comes with 12 months warranty. I now see they go from 100-200 on ebay depending on spec, but with the risk of buying a complete dud!
If they're selling for 100-200 where you are on e-Bay...then I guess you didn't do too badly! It is nice to see , touch, and play with a computer before buying...and cosmetically...these computers can get pretty nasty looking (dents, dings, and scratches).

Enjoy it!

- Nick

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

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyquin View Post
Why shouldn't I use Safari? I was checking it out last night browsing with Safari, seemed OK.
Apple isn't maintaining Safari for Leopard, and while what you have will work for the most part, it will be left behind by emerging standards like HTML 5. Use it if you like, but plan on keeping Firefox around in case it chokes on something.


Please verify and include the exact model/year of your Mac and OS X version number (available from "About This Mac", then "More Info" on the Apple menu).
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EndlessMac

 
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I also still have my old PowerBook G4 and use it occasionally. It can be used for the task you are thinking of. I don't use it for any heavy usage but simple things like surfing the internet can easily be done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyquin View Post
Why shouldn't I use Safari? I was checking it out last night browsing with Safari, seemed OK. Did find that video content like You Tube is a bit of a problem though, not always running smoothly (but that could be down to using a dongle for BBand).
In addition to what lifeisabeach said, not having the lastest version of a web browser also means you don't have the current security updates. It's been awhile since I've used my PowerBook but I think the only two web browsers that still support Leopard on a PowerBook (PowerPC) with current updates are Camino and Opera.

I don't believe you can use the latest version of Firefox and Chrome is for Intel Macs only and not PowerPC Macs. If you didn't know Camino is basically a Mac only version of Firefox so it runs very similar to Firefox when browsing the web. I recommend at least trying it out.

As for the problem you're experience with YouTube that comes down to a combination of your video card, how much RAM you have, and your computer's processing power. Flash videos can be demanding on your computer. If your Mac Mini plays video okay then it's not your internet speed. If you haven't maxed your RAM you might want to think about doing that if you are planning on keeping your PowerBook for awhile.
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Mightyquin

 
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Thanks for the info.

My PB has a 1.25 processor and 1.5GB RAM. I can increase it to 2GB max, will the extra .5 be worth doing?

I've been using it over the weekend and it will be mostly fine for its primary purpose of a web browser and word processor. I don't want to load it up with music and photo files, although it would be nice to get You Tube working better. I found a link to clicktoflash.com which seems to have helped a bit.

Is it worth me buying the 1GB RAM though?

As a Mac newbie I think the idea of having the PB over a basic windows based laptop or netbook (my original plan) will help me get used to the Mini Mac too, which is going to be my main computer. I also don't have to worry about viruses etc., which seem to have affected every Windows computer I've had so far! Even a new work laptop became very slow after about a year of 'normal' use.
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Mightyquin

 
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Camino looks good, will download that.
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Just out of curiosity, where did you buy it from?

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I have a 12" Last Generation iBook with a 1.33Ghz G4 and 1.5GB RAM. I have 10.5.8 Leopard installed and while not SCREAMING fast, it's perfectly adequate for what you are wanting to do. Only thing don't' expect HD videos on You Tube to be smooth. If you set You Tube for 240p, videos should be smooth. My 1.25Ghz G4 Mini only has 1GB ram and does all the basics fine.

As far as 2GB ram upgrade, I would if I could. That machine probably takes a PC2700 DDR SoDim Laptop Ram. I know I saw a little difference when I went from 1 to 1.5GB on the iBook (max for my iBook).


How large is the screen? 12"? 15"?

For your limited usage it should be just fine. Just don't' expect 720 or 1080P video playback!

Also Safari in 10.5.8 overall still works fine but the new stuff on the net like HTML5 (Like LB pointed out) will not work. The latest Firefox is Intel Only but they make a Firefox spinoff called TenFourFox that is the newest Firefox but ported to run on a Power PC Mac. Give TenFourFox a try. It's just like the latest Firefox builds.
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Mightyquin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robduckyworth View Post
Just out of curiosity, where did you buy it from?
Hi, bought from a branch of CEX uk.webuy.com
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Mightyquin

 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dtravis7 View Post
How large is the screen? 12"? 15"?
Hi, it's a 15" screen. Thanks for your tips/info. I'm not expecting super quality video playback, just want it to work! DVD's play fine though.

Normal internet browsing with it is nice and responsive. I was a bit hasty in buying it without doing my research (I usually research stuff to the nth degree!), but it looks like it's going to be OK
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+1 for TenFourFox, it's based on the latest version of Firefox but designed to work with PPC machines such as yours.

Cheers

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mightyquin View Post
Hi, bought from a branch of CEX uk.webuy.com
Did they explain how the warranty works to you?

Cause if you're outside the 48 hour period you won't be able to return the laptop unless its faulty.

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