Why are Powerbook G4s so expensive?

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I see them selling on ebay for $800+. For that price I can get a brand new PC laptop that would totally blow it away in every aspect of performance. So why are they so expensive then?

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Jon's picture
Jon
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Because people want to run OS

Because people want to run OS X. Unless you are ready to drop over a grand on a MacBook you have to stick with a PB G4. If you want a big screen, but not the giant price tag, you gotta stick with a G4 as well.

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They're actually getting a lo

They're actually getting a lot cheaper within the past year. Back before I got my first MacBook Pro last May, I had been looking at buying a used G4 for a long time and even the 400MHz models were selling for at least $700 for one that wasn't destroyed and had a working screen. At least now you can find ones like this ebay link that is a decent speed for the same price.
edit by eeun - fixed link to restore page formatting

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TJH
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Also, the Titanium G4's haved

Also, the Titanium G4's haved turned into somewhat of a collectors item because of their unique looks. Personally I think they are a lot nicer looking than the current line up (nice thin screen which can be moved about 170 degrees back, even bezel around the whole screen, etc.) Strangely enough a lot of the macs that I still see in advertising are the PB Titaniums. Although MacBooks are starting to pop up more now.

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For my money ...

the aluminum 15" PowerBook G4 is the absolute pinnacle of an easy to live with, durable, functional computer. The screen has enough resolution for me to do my work, but things are big enough for me to be able to see (my vision is going). It's just the right compromise between portability and screen size. The 17" machines are nice, but too big to be used as actual laptops. The 12" machines are nice, but the second you need to do something in filemaker pro, excel, and word all at the same time - you need to hook up an external display in order to get it all done. (at least for me).

Now, I'm waiting for the 15" MacBook Pro that I put a requisition in for at work to be ordered. Those machines are pretty nice, but the PowerBook G4 15" will always have a place in my heart. (this is why I've had a bunch - a 500 mhz tibook, a pair of 667 tibooks, a 1.25 aibook, a 1.5 aibook, and now a1.67 aibook. - the 1.25 and 1.67 aibooks were work issued)

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the last laptop with a PowerPC chip running Mac OS X

It's a bit like asking "Why is the [expensive] iPod so successful?", when I can go buy a cheap non-descript MP3 player for $25.

-----

I see these as "desirable" laptops because they:
- have a PowerPC inside, perhaps the last laptop we'll see with this type of chip
- run Mac OS X, which comes with a price, but has lots of benefits over the alternatives
- don't suck so badly like a brand new [cheap] PC laptop, the crap laptops I see are deplorable, I see no value in buying a "brand new" laptop

My friend asked me about her new MacBook Pro: Why is the case so frigging hot?

And, tell me you haven't seen way too many "compromised" (Microsoft Windows) PC systems?

Add to this, only a few PC laptop makers have managed to merely copy the function and design of Apple products. I am not saying Apple's products are perfect, but they are pretty damn good, and they have lasting value as seen by the prices you mention.

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Just about any core/core2 duo

Just about any core/core2 duo based laptop is going to run hot, even the ones made of plastic and two inches thick when closed. Frankly, a laptop that runs hot is not something that's exclusive to apple. Now, I'll admit that the heat is more noticeable due to the aluminum construction - but that's the way it's been since 2003. I recall my 12" 867 mhz PowerBook G4 being horrifically hot compared to the 500 mhz iBook g3 that came before it.

The PowerBook G4's are great machines, though I have to concede that I really like the MacBook Pro 15". The 17" has the same problems as the 17" PowerBook G4, and the 13" MacBook has a nice screen - but it's painful for me to use - and the reliability issues of the 13" are too great for me to recommend it.

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Re: the last laptop with a PowerPC chip running Mac OS X

mmphosis wrote:

It's a bit like asking "Why is the [expensive] iPod so successful?", when I can go buy a cheap non-descript MP3 player for $25.

-----

I see these as "desirable" laptops because they:
- have a PowerPC inside, perhaps the last laptop we'll see with this type of chip
- run Mac OS X, which comes with a price, but has lots of benefits over the alternatives
- don't suck so badly like a brand new [cheap] PC laptop, the crap laptops I see are deplorable, I see no value in buying a "brand new" laptop

My friend asked me about her new MacBook Pro: Why is the case so frigging hot?

And, tell me you haven't seen way too many "compromised" (Microsoft Windows) PC systems?

Add to this, only a few PC laptop makers have managed to merely copy the function and design of Apple products. I am not saying Apple's products are perfect, but they are pretty damn good, and they have lasting value as seen by the prices you mention.

Do you mean to say that all PC laptops are cheap quality? I would have to disagree, I have used many laptops that are of very good build quality. Mostly Acer and ASUS laptops. Also, I used to run OS X on my old PC laptop, and it ran almost perfectly... I had 3D acceleration and everything, parallels worked. I don't see why PowerPC is a pro, since the G4 chips are outdated now and I can get a dual core laptop for the same price, with a much better video chipset too. Apple laptops have still yet to match the functionality of IBM laptops...

Oh and as for compromised Windows systems, I have seen that, but only with my friends that don't know very much about computers. I run my Windows boxes without antivirus, antispyware, or anything like that, and I have zero problems with them. I've also seen Macs that have been "compromised", because of people not using an admin password, setting up SSH improperly, etc... As you can see in my signature I am a Mac user, so don't think I am just a troll or anything.

Also I never liked the iPod. I don't like how you have to use iTunes with it, and how you cannot (easily) copy music back off of it, and how it scratches so easily, and how it cannot play OGG files. I think that Creative makes far superior MP3 players. Just my opinion on it, don't get mad iPod fans Smile

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??????

No offense my friend, but if all of those things are the case - then what would be your purpose in making this post on an apple forum?

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Creative, pfff. It took them

Creative, pfff. It took them until about a year or so ago to finally release one with a color screen. Take a 30GB Creative, and put it next to an iPod from the same year. The creative is about 1/4" thicker, heavier, wider and taller. THEN put the older iPod next to a new Creative.

Also, iTunes is a much better music management program than anything else I've ever used.

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Re: Just about any core/core2 duo

iantm wrote:

Just about any core/core2 duo based laptop is going to run hot, even the ones made of plastic and two inches thick when closed. Frankly, a laptop that runs hot is not something that's exclusive to apple. Now, I'll admit that the heat is more noticeable due to the aluminum construction - but that's the way it's been since 2003. I recall my 12" 867 mhz PowerBook G4 being horrifically hot compared to the 500 mhz iBook g3 that came before it.

The PowerBook G4's are great machines, though I have to concede that I really like the MacBook Pro 15". The 17" has the same problems as the 17" PowerBook G4, and the 13" MacBook has a nice screen - but it's painful for me to use - and the reliability issues of the 13" are too great for me to recommend it.

One thing I noticed is my new MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo runs considerably cooler than my old Core Duo did. I don't know if it has to do with improved case design or if the new chip just runs cooler.

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Re: ??????

evilrobot wrote:

No offense my friend, but if all of those things are the case - then what would be your purpose in making this post on an apple forum?

Because if I ask on a PC board, I'll just get people saying "LOL MAC SUX"... I was hoping here I could get a better answer.

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re: hoping here I could get a better answer.

So have you? (And please ignore snippy remarks made by a very small minority of individuals.)

My take is that historically most (if not all) recent Apple computers are well made, stylish, can run most current software, and are scarce enough that demand generally matches or outstrips supplies. I'm not at all surprised to see values holding well above what one would expect similar contemporary wintel machines to fetch. Several-year-old Macs get handed down, reused, where wintel machines get put out at the curb or dropped at the breakers' yards for recycling.

I, for one, appreciate your wider viewpoint and don't consider your questions at all blasphemous. Smile

hth,

dan k

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Also, it isn't necessarily a

Also, it isn't necessarily a requirement to use iTunes with an iPod. There are a few solutions to use them under Linux with programs such as Rhythmbox.

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Re: Also, it isn't necessarily a

Jon wrote:

Also, it isn't necessarily a requirement to use iTunes with an iPod. There are a few solutions to use them under Linux with programs such as Rhythmbox.

I don't use Linux though. I just don't like how I can't simply drag and drop my music, then copy it back off later.

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Pennywise and Pound-foolish.

I've always been shocked at how much used Macintosh laptops sell for. I can understand them holding their value better then PC laptops simply because they're a comparatively rare commodity, but it's just mind-boggling when you look at eBay auctions and find two year old machines being sold for up to 75-90% of the cost of a brand new *Apple* laptop. (Leaving PCs out of the equation, here.)

My personal threshold for buying just about anything used is I have to get it for, ball park, at least a 50% discount off the price of an otherwise comparable new item. Once you reach that level you really need to start thinking about issues like warranty coverage and whatnot, and in general you can make a pretty good case for the new item. It seems to me that laptop computers make for a particularly poor value proposition when buying used, as they *do* wear out, and they're subject to all sorts of abuse on a regular basis. It's not like you're buying something relatively indestructible like a blender or KitchenAid mixer. Laptops are fragile, and when buying one sight unseen (ie, eBay) you have *no idea* how the previous owner treated it. At my company I've seen things like a Titanium G4 with the screen broken off at the hinges because the owner was in the habit of *whipping* the machine open with one hand. (One day, of course, the hinge seized in the middle of the operation.) Do you really want to buy that machine the day before the screen snaps off? You're certainly not going to see that abuse in an eBay item photo. $800 is *way* too much money to risk on something like that.

I guess at this point the justification for continuing to trade G4 laptops at all is they're the last and best portable things to run PowerPC Mac software on. (A couple years ago the price of the last Titanium G4 laptops was similarly inflated because they were the fastest portable thing you could boot directly into OS 9. Within that niche market you could sometimes find the 1Ghz Titaniums bidded up to sell for more then a brand new 1.25 Ghz Aluminum.) At this point unless you're in specifically in that market I'd have to say it's insanity to get one over a new or refurb MacBook unless you're *really* worried about the reliability problems the new machines seem to have. But at least you'll have a warranty on the new one.

Of course, I have three used G4 laptops myself, all of which were in pretty abused condition when I got them. They were free, however, so I figure the value proposition was pretty good. ;^)

--Peace