View Full Version : buying 12" ibook/powerbook - vendor or private?

4th December 2007, 05:15 PM
Hello there!

I've decided, after much research, that I want a 12" G4 laptop. iBook or Powerbook is unimportant as I want the form factor, but it looks like I'll end up with an iBook as there seems to be more of them around.

Here is my question: should I buy a used G4 from a dealer and wear the extra price in exchange for (perhaps) more peace of mind (eg A (http://ittools.com.au/product_info.php/cPath/102/products_id/982), B (http://ittools.com.au/product_info.php/products_id/1049)), or should I buy privately and take the "risk". There is also a middle ground of commercial traders who advertise mainly through the trading post. (eg: 1 (http://www.tradingpost.com.au/iteminfo/adnumber_WM2262965453_off_4_sect_Computers%2c+Phon es+%26+Business_sort_otRZSQ1BJDZfdRZSQSearchDispla yPriorityIndAVSCotRZSQ1BJDZfdRZSQFirstPublished_sq t_2_srch_ibook_state_9_stpg_1_subs_Computers_), 2 (http://www.tradingpost.com.au/iteminfo/adnumber_W119894310951_off_3_sect_Computers%2c+Pho nes+%26+Business_sort_otRZSQ1BJDZfdRZSQSearchDispl ayPriorityIndAVSCotRZSQ1BJDZfdRZSQFirstPublished_s qt_2_srch_ibook_state_9_stpg_1_subs_Computers_), 3 (http://www.tradingpost.com.au/iteminfo/adnumber_W1094410106179_off_1_sect_Computers%2c+Ph ones+%26+Business_sort_otRZSQ1BJDZfdRZSQSearchDisp layPriorityIndAVSCotRZSQ1BJDZfdRZSQFirstPublished_ sqt_2_srch_ibook_state_9_stpg_1_subs_Computers_))

Compounding this is that I'm in Brisbane and most/all of these vendors, private and commercial, are in NSW or Victoria.

None of the big dealers in Brisbane have any 12" G4s in stock and I want one now, damnit. :D

Advice appreciated. :)

4th December 2007, 05:35 PM
If you buy it from a vender you are stuck with a fixed price

Private - you can bargain with the people.

Why not just get a MacBook instead?

4th December 2007, 05:40 PM
It'll take a while to find a good one, but if you can try for a 12" Powerbook. They're much more reliable (few problems have been reported with these, unlike iBooks), better graphics and it will simply last you longer, and with better resale value.


4th December 2007, 05:56 PM
I agree the 12" PB is a great machine, but it is getting long in the tooth. For the expense of getting one shipped to Brisbane, I reckon you are better off with an ex-demo or old model Macbook with a guarantee.

If you go for the PB, get one that is unmarked - no dings etc, so you know it has been well looked after. Re the risk - a dealer will give you 3 months warrenty max, so it is really a question of picking the best machine you can find, pay the postage and take a deep breath. Its gonna be a relatively old machine, so its pot luck (hence the advice to get a macbook)

I'm with Byrd to steer clear of the iBooks.

4th December 2007, 06:13 PM
$899 for those specs (first vendor link) is ridiculous, definitely go private IMO.

4th December 2007, 06:23 PM
I too agree.
Get either a Powerbook 12" 1.33Ghz + or a Macbook.
I my self own both a 1.5Ghz 12" and a 1.83Ghz macbook fantastic machines.

4th December 2007, 08:43 PM
Why not just get a MacBook instead?

Because it's too big. ;)

I always said, after my previous laptop which was too big and heavy, that if I had another laptop, I'd have the smallest one I could get. There's only 100g difference between a Powerbook and a MacBook. But still, 100g is 100g.

Also, the current MacBooks, nice as they are, are completely overpowered for what I'd use one for. This is sort of a philosophical stance with me. I try to only buy technology that is "just enough" which for most people means "hopelessly under powered and under featured". Hence, I (only) have a 1G 2nd gen Shuffle, a Motorola F3/Motofone and an Intel Mini.

Thanks for the advice to go with the Powerbook.

4th December 2007, 09:06 PM

It might be 100GMS heavier but its got more guts and its going to last you longer..

What sort of stuff would you be planning on doing with the Powerbook? It'd be interesting to know

4th December 2007, 09:49 PM
What sort of stuff would you be planning on doing with the Powerbook? It'd be interesting to know

The same thing I do every day, try to take over the world!!!1!!1!!


Surf the web, write stuff in TextWrangler (not code, just prose), write stuff in M$ Word, crunch the occasional minimal dataset in Excel (or another spreadsheet app), write Keynote/ppt presentations, use Skim to mark up PDFs, and other text-generation stuff. Nothing I will do on the laptop is computationally intensive. I don't to graphics/p-shop/etc. For the vast majority of the time, the processor will be idle as I puzzle out what to write next.

4th December 2007, 10:14 PM
I suppose thats fair enough,

so go the 12' powerbook :)

5th December 2007, 09:35 AM

Even people who sell used Powerbooks are asking me whether I should consider a MacBook.

5th December 2007, 09:50 AM
If that is all you are going to be using it for then the G4 PB should do you fine. I would max the Ram and install Panther on it and you should have a good little workhorse. Maybe a hard drive upgrade too depending on how much data you will store on it.
What is your budget by the way ?


5th December 2007, 10:27 AM
Why upgrade the HDD? Text, and even Word and PPT/Keynote files are tiny. OTOH, I'll be backing up religiously in anticipation of HDD failure (*knocks on wood*).

Why Panther specifically?

Max ram is certainly in the pipeline.

Budget is up to about $1k, depending on spec, condition, etc. Preferably around $750, I suppose.

5th December 2007, 10:37 AM
Everyone says size matters - would you be interested in a 15" PowerBook I've had for sale in the past?? (http://forums.mactalk.com.au/showthread.php?t=36891)

5th December 2007, 10:38 AM
Newbies can't see FS threads. ;)

Also, thanks, but no, only after 12".

5th December 2007, 12:52 PM
Well I guess if you are happy with a 40Gb HD , then that's fine.
Bear in mind which 12" PB you go for;
867 MHz 12" Al PB has a 40Gb 4200 RPM HD
1.33 MHz1 2" Al PB has a 60Gb 4200 RPM HD
1.50 MHz 12" Al PB has a 80Gb 5400 RPM HD
Taken from www.everymac.com (http://www.everymac.com)

Now the 4200 RPM HD's are slow. The best thing you can do for an upgrade speedwise for a laptop after maxxing the Ram is to put in a quicker HD.
I ripped out the old slow one in my Pismo and put in a 7200RPM drive and after the 1Gb of ram I installed , it is the best thing I could have done. Major improvement.
If you buy one of the later ones that has the stock 5400 drive , then that may be as fast as you need anyway. It's up to your hip pocket to decide.

Why Panther ? It seems to be the best OS for older Powerbooks. Most of the goodies of the newer OS's but not the overheads of needing a faster CPU to utilise it.


5th December 2007, 01:15 PM
Cheers, Stewie. Food for thought. :)

6th December 2007, 04:41 AM
I have a G4 ibook (and no, not selling) and truly, its just excellent for text based stuff. Ive got 768mb ram in it, and its only the 1ghz model with the combo drive, but it still works for what I want it for. Its also running Leopard pretty easily. I have a new iMac for desktop but for getting about and doing stuff on the run, my iBook is perfect. No intention to upgrade until I absolutely have to.

6th December 2007, 08:54 AM
I have a 12" 1.5Ghz G4, 80gig HD (will be 160 gig next week) and maxed out 1.25Ghz or ram. It's a superb little beast. Faster than my 17" (1.5Ghz as well). I paid close to 850 for it a few months ago, privately.

I would never trade this thing for a macbook. Owning a 12" powerbook (esp the final, most powerful model) is owning part of apple history. It's like having a 3rd gen ipod. I have both, and I think its' fantastic. Apple will probably never make another aluminium laptop (not any time soon) that was as powerful as it was in it's time. It's a truely mobile machine without any of the setbacks (has all the ports you need, big hd, lots of ram and superdrive)

I think its a good idea. Keep waiting and a good one will come along. If not, I'll sell you mine.......for a price ;)

6th December 2007, 09:42 AM
@ eek

I think that's what my PowerBook will become - a mighty old-school portable beast for the next few years when I eventually upgrade the HDD if/when it dies. If only it hadn't suffered the lower ram-slot issue (sadly it's not on the repair program list).

6th December 2007, 10:00 AM
For portability , the small 12" PB's are in a league of their own. Coupled with a reasonable processor and they are indeed little beauties. If all you are doing is text based work then these would be ideal.
As both kyte and eek mention , it's portability as well as connectivity make these ideal mobile solutions.
I love my G3 series PB's esp . their 14" screens but lugging around a Pismo or even worse a Wallstreet in a bag with all the associated plugs/cables/adapters etc , a lightweight portable solution they most definitely are not.
I think a lot of people would love Apple to come out with a sub-notebook for this very reason.
Somewhere between an iPod touch and a MBP.


6th December 2007, 10:14 AM
I think a lot of people would love Apple to come out with a sub-notebook for this very reason.
Somewhere between an iPod touch and a MBP.


I think maybe I would consider an upgrade under these conditions. I love my iPhone but for general stuff its useless. A subnotebook would do the deal very nicely... the ibook is still a bit heavy once you add all the accoutrements.

12th December 2007, 10:41 AM
It came today!

http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2201/2103880625_85a893b5b5_o.jpg (http://flickr.com/photos/newnowknowhow/2103880625/)

12th December 2007, 11:07 AM
Nice one.. well done.

Was it completely factory spec? or had the hard drive etc been upgraded??


12th December 2007, 11:14 AM
It's a factory-spec 1.5GHZ PB. So 512M ram, 60G HDD (system profiler says closer to 80 :confused: ), Superdrive etc.

happiness is using corporate wireless broadband to do software update. :D

12th December 2007, 01:42 PM
Where did you end up getting from?

12th December 2007, 01:54 PM
From Noel at http://www.macsasnew.com.au/

Yes, it was more expensive than buying privately. But buying privately doesn't get you an ex-apple Australia PB with 3 months warranty.

26th December 2007, 07:56 PM
yeah why is that?
i mean i joined for the purpose of a localised for sale forum

26th December 2007, 08:25 PM
yeah why is that?
i mean i joined for the purpose of a localised for sale forum

You've joined for the wrong reason then.