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Thread: Advice needed: used G4 Powerbook or MacBook?

  1. #1

    Member Since
    May 11, 2007
    Advice needed: used G4 Powerbook or MacBook?
    Hello, I am a new Mac user - looking to purchase one primarily to use Garageband to demo songs for my band.

    I have two options budget-wise, and I'd like to hear from people who know Macs a lot better than I do - which choice is the smartest?

    1. A used 2003 12" titanium G4 Powerbook with a brand new 60Gb hard drive (old hard drive was broken, new one has a five-year warranty according to seller), 867 Mhz, 256 MB, brand new battery, superdrive, iLife & latest OSX Tiger installed

    2. A new 13" MacBook white 1.83 GHz/512 MB/combo drive , etc. the standard $1099 MacBook at the Apple Store.
    PRICE - $1099

    I have been trying out the G4 and it seems a bit sluggish with Garageband - but will the new MacBook be the same? Is the Superdrive better than the base factory combo drive on the Macbook? Am I foolish to spend $500 on a 4-year old laptop? Is it smarter to double the money and get a new one?

    All advice is appreciated!

  2. #2
    Registered User
    Member Since
    Dec 03, 2006
    Definitely go for the Macbook. It's Intel based, Core2Duo, and will last you much longer. Bump the Ram to 1gig and you'll be laughing all the way to your 1st number 1 album

    Als,o the Superdrive is able to burn both CD's and DVD's - the Combo drive is simply a CD RW and only reads DVD's.

  3. #3

    GWR's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jan 07, 2007
    Interior Alaska
    I went with a refurb'd 12", 1.5GHz, PowerBook G4 recently due to it's small size and durability. It's only real use is a mobile Mac. No heavy computing. I did upgrade to 1.25G of RAM. I like the fact it has the Superdrive and the AL case. My iBook G4 lasted a long while (and is still working) but the case did develop some minor cracks.
    If there was a 12 or 13 inch MacBook Pro available, no question of what my choice would have been.

    Good luck either way.

  4. #4

    Osiris22x's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 25, 2004
    Portland, OR
    This is a no brainer. If you can afford the MacBook, then go for it. The performance difference between a G4 and a Core Duo is mind blowing.
    Roger Michaels
    Apple Certified Consultant

  5. #5

    D3v1L80Y's Avatar
    Member Since
    Feb 02, 2004
    GarageBand is only sluggish on the G4 due to the low RAM.
    Put at least a GB of RAM in there and you will be fine with the PowerBook.
    $500 for that G4 is a steal, I would take that offer any day.

    If you end up liking the Mac, then save your pennies and get the MacBook another day. Use the G4 to learn the OS, get used to it, and if you end up not liking it, then you aren't out a grand.
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  6. #6

    Member Since
    May 18, 2007
    yeah I'd go with this and get the Powerbook. Get as much RAM as it'll take (1.25GB). I've got the 1GB version of the 12" powerbook and it's still as quick today as when I bought it 4 years ago. A great machine

  7. #7

    Member Since
    Jun 21, 2007
    To add to this... i've been meaning to shift to a MAC since a long time...
    One of my friends is selling his Powerbook 1.67, 15" / 2GB Ram / SuperDrive / 100GB HDD etc..extra charger, mouse, bag .the whole hog & its selling for almost the same price of a new white mac book (the mac book will of course have 120GB HDD but 1GB Ram & an Intel processor)

    My use would be more for work & music & movie watching (while on the go)... lots of document / pdf / excel / ppt editing & viewing.
    I also like to dowload & burn movies & edit them.

    The only thing i know i cant do on a MAC is upgrade my blackberry

    Anyways my question is...should i go in for the powerbook or the mac book?
    BTW the powerbook is in supurb condition.

    Also how slow is VIRTUAL PC, if i need to run windows (though i might now, as i always have access to a Windows PC at office & home)

  8. #8

    Member Since
    Mar 11, 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by hypermaster View Post
    Also how slow is VIRTUAL PC. . . .
    Like watching any paint dry, it depends on the humidity.

    I ran Virtual PC for a while in my G3 350-megahertz blue-and white, running Windows 95. It was as slow as the reviews of the time said it would be: OK for nothing intensive if you've nothing better to do with your time. Games would run better on an Etch-a-Sketch.

    A G4 would be faster, but not by much, and a Windows OS more recent than 95 might erase even that advantage.

  9. #9

    Member Since
    Jun 21, 2007
    thanks a ton.... it might be better to buy the macbook then...but still.. a POWERBOOK is tempting...cause i'm not going to be using VIRTUAL PC much..mostly for upgrading my blackberry , but i guess i should just do that on my PC anyways... i can sync my blackberry anyways now on a MAC.

    OR do u think, its still better to stick with something new?

  10. #10

    Member Since
    Mar 11, 2004
    Quote Originally Posted by hypermaster View Post
    OR do u think, its still better to stick with something new?
    Assuming that's directed at me. . . .

    Our approaches to the Mac are very different. I've owned them since '90 or '91, so I obviously prefer them. But you've never had one and may not like it. Paying $500 for an old 'Book might make more sense, but you'd have to separate its age-related speed and other issues from the performance you'd get from a new one, and might expect despite its age.

    The PowerBook is four years old. My five-year-old dual 1-megahertz G4 certainly feels the pinch, so a single-processer 867 for me would be out of the question.

    As well, the PowerPC is yesterday's technology, so it has a lot more past than it has future. It wouldn't surprise me if support for the PowerPC is dropped in a couple or a few years. So I wouldn't buy the PowerBook.

    These issues extend to the Windows world, as well. Would you buy a four-year-old Windows computer after knowing the requirements of Vista, and just around the corner the even heavier computing power that will be required?

    Of course you could buy the PowerBook and sell it after a short while without taking too much of a hit if, like after buying a used car, nothing too expensive breaks. It has no warranty.

  11. #11

    Member Since
    Jun 21, 2007
    Thanks for your input Brown Study, this makes things more clear now.
    Your points all noted & i think your right, its better to be future proff, rather than to be stuck with something that is already already DEAD even before i buy it...

    your also right in saying, that i'm a new mac user & this might be a good way of learning....
    i'll be buying the mac book (black) itself..rather put that little extra now itself.

  12. #12

    xstep's Avatar
    Member Since
    Jun 25, 2005
    On the road
    Elizabeth, I personally think that for Garage band you will be better off with a a newer Intel based Macbook or iMac. There are technical reasons I believe that you will be able to do more with the MB. The dual processors are both used in GB and the memory bus is faster. GB and music produciton in general is tough an any system, so the faster the better.

    Also that G4 price isn't that great given it's speed, memory and age.

    You can save a little via the online Apple store if you buy a refurb too. The 'but' is that you may have to wait for the item you want to become available. You could try phoning Apple sales though.

    If you need portability then a laptop is great, but if you don't, then consider the extras you get for the same price investment in an iMac.

  13. #13

    Aptmunich's Avatar
    Member Since
    Mar 09, 2004
    I'd definitely go with the Macbook.

    The Titanium Powerbooks had an issue with the hinges cracking after a while and they're really expensive to replace ($120 a hinge). If you're going to be carrying it around with you to band practises and the like, you'd probably end up running into this issue sooner or later.

    You'd also need to buy RAM to get any sort of decent performance and the older types of RAM can be difficult to find and expensive. (believe it or not, but 512MB of RAM for my mum's 450Mhz titanium powerbook costs around 120€).

    You'll also have a lot more horsepower in that macbook for other stuff you might want to try later. If you're in a band you might film a concert of yours and edit that...

  14. #14

    Member Since
    Jun 02, 2007
    hi, i'm in a similar position, i've just returned an ibook g4 to the seller on ebay who i bought it off. it's logic board had bitten the dust. Anyhoo, for me, its between a powerbook G4 and a used Macbook (both are quite cheap on ebay.)

    I was wondering, how much more reliable is the macbook than the old powerbook?

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