New(er) maching to replace pismo

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I want to purchase a g4 portable of some kind. I am avoiding the Titanium powerbook due to the fact that I am, in fact a student and need some degree of ruggedness, although I take really very good care of portables. Frankly, I love the pismo, which is outfitted with a 20gig HD and 512mb of ram, running 10.4.10, and I would love to have something as amazing in a newer model. I have been considering the 12inch PB g4, and the ibook g4. Trying to keep my budget bellow $500. I will NOT buy a PC maching and run linux on it, so don't reccomend it.
Thanks!

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Bad price point

$500 isn't a good budget number for buying a used Mac laptop. That's about $100 less then anything with an aluminum skin regularly goes for. It's also about 60% of what a refurb MacBook would cost you, which featurewise is a near match for anything but the *very last* 15" Powerbooks, (The 1.67Ghz higher-res-screen models.) and is much faster then *any* of them.

Craigslist shows Titanium G4s, which you don't want, running in the $350-$500 ballpark. Aluminum G4s flirt with $600 on the low end. That's pretty much the spread on eBay as well. iBook G4s are solidly placed at $500, but the build quality is awful and they have that well-known motherboard failure problem. Personally I wouldn't even consider them. Given all that I'd recommend one of the three options:

1: Save another $400 and get an Apple refurb Macbook. I'd recommend this. Particularly if you want to run OS X 10.5. The one advantage a G4 had over Intel, being able to run Classic programs, is now officially gone.

2: Save another $100-$200 and get a 15" Aluminum G4. I say 15" instead of 12" because honestly there's not that much point in paying $500 to get the same cramped (1024x768) screen as your current Pismo. They also accommodate more RAM (2GB vs 1.25 or 1.5GB.) then the 12" ones. Make sure it doesn't have a bad motherboard RAM slot or white spots on the screen *before* you lay down cash.

2a: Same as two, but wait and watch like a hawk for a 15" Al to turn up for $500. You probably can get one if you're patent. It'll either be a first rev (1/1.25Ghz) one, or be aesthetically challenged, but if it's fully functional and you can live with the dents go for it.

3: Get a bigger hard disk for your Pismo and wait. (See option 1. If you really love your Pismo and it's in great shape you could even consider a G4 upgrade. It's technically a waste of money but the machine is a known quantity.)

--Peace

seth_381's picture
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$500 ?

$500 is a bit of a bad buget, most laptops (Used Apple) can go up there. Since you're on a buget I would recommend an iBook but if you're willing to spend more for a powerbook then do it. But really the 12" PB is nothing but a rebranded iBook in aluminum. They essentially have about the same RAM Max.

westieg3's picture
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never ever get an ibook. most

never ever get an ibook. most hellish computing experience i've ever had.

what about a processor upgrade for the pismo? assuming you're not bothered by the limited vram, i do believe that the 1ghz upgrade for the pismo falls within your budget (assuming it's still available).

not really any other good mac laptop within your budget. ibooks are horrid, and the tibooks are the only other thing in your budget. lovely things....until they break. even my albooks have their issues as well. mine suffered the mysterious death of a ram slot, and apple doesn't cover my model in the recall for that issue.

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GEOS's picture
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My girlfriend just got a nice

My girlfriend just got a nice 867MHz 12" Powerbook off ebay for $370. If you are willing to go for an ebay Mac and don't mind playing the bidding game, you can get one for a decent price.

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eBay and Warrantys

If you are afraid of buying on ebay, I have never tried them but a lot of people say the squaretrade.com warranties are a good deal. We bought a Samsung Digital camera for $130 and paid $24 for an in store 2 year extended warranty at Circuit City. A three year warranty with similar specs (I read all the small print and it seemed pretty straight forward) from Square Trade costs $13. We are thinking of buying it too so we have double coverage!

Square Trade also sells damage warranties but, alas, not in Idaho.

Not affiliated in any way...

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Titanium PB

I frankly LOVE the aesthetic quality of the Titanium G4, however, I would hate to fall in love with it and then have it break, taking my heart with it.

I love the Pismo, but I consider it to be in "fix up or trade off" state, the screen has a couple of dead pixels, (just annoying) the battery is way-worn out, and the internal fan has failed. All just minor annoyances, but enough to keep it from being a real portable. I might just put a fan in it and buy a battery and count my blessings.

Terrified of the ibook g4 now.

Thanks.

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coius's picture
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Hey!

The iBook G3 and the 1st Gen. iBook G4's had the problem. The rest of them were fine!! I have several friends who have bought iBooks after the 1st gen (Including me) and they work wonderful. They are downright reliable. It was the early G4s (up to 1Ghz) and all the iBook G3 Dual USB ones that had the problem. Don't think that the later G4s had the problem. Apple fixed all that.

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I have an ibook g3 700 and re

I have an ibook g3 700 and rev a albook 867. The g3 has been more rugged but the 867 is quite fast. If the 128 of built in memory and only 1 expansion slot isn't a big deal I would say go for one! That budget is a bit limiting though. If you really want something to last that is current in technology, I would go for a refurb macbook.

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Computing...

I have no problem with being on the low end of things. But as far as being on the low low low low end as compared to the low end, I prefer just the low end. I kind of feel like getting a g4 is going to keep me closer to that end of the spectrum. If it weren't for logic boards unexpectidly giving up the ghost, I would be all for the ibook g4. On the other hand, I would also be all in for a TiBook except I fear it's fragility.

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Let's get this straight . . .

TiBooks are not horribly fragile. It's only when you compare them with Apple's later portables with the improved-type hinge design that they come up looking a little less than robust. Keep in mind there are still an awful lot of TiBooks still in service.

With only a modest amount of care, TiBooks are fully as durable as most any laptop out there. Shame about the bubbly paint around the edges, but that hardly affects their usability.

IMHO, if one's budget is limited to $500 or so, a TiBook is an excellent choice. You can buy a very nice clean DVI model for thereabouts or less.

dan k

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westieg3's picture
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who cares about bubbly paint?

who cares about bubbly paint? sand it off and paint i black! Laughing out loud

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Eudimorphodon's picture
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Reconsidering Titanium...

dankephoto wrote:

IMHO, if one's budget is limited to $500 or so, a TiBook is an excellent choice. You can buy a very nice clean DVI model for thereabouts or less.

If you *really* can't do any better, then I'd agree that a Titanium is a "reasonable" choice in the under-$500 category. (Which just goes to show how awful the choices are for that budget number.) I guess I'd take one over an iBook G4, if only for the bigger screen.

However, and I can't stress this enough: if you go shopping for one if at all possible *handle the machine* before paying for it. Titanium machines have a very specific weakness: even a fairly minor impact on one of the front corners will crack the metal around the keyboard loose from the plastic frame. Once this happens the machine will feel "floppy", even if it *looks* okay. Admittedly it may last a long time in this state if you're careful with it (my Titanium's been "floppy" for the three years since I got it for free out of the work junk pile... which it ended up in after the screen snapped off because of a seized hinge), but it's a bummer. Not so much in a "free" machine, but a *serious* buzzkill if you're paying any money for it. I'm sure all that flexing can't be good for the internal bits.

Again, I'd *really* recommend just biting the bullet and saving money for an Intel machine. When it comes to performance-per-dollar used Powerbooks are ridiculously overpriced. After seeing how "Leopard" performs on a 1.5Ghz Aluminum 15" Powerbook the thought of running it on anything slower makes me break out in hives.

(Of course, Leopard basically sucks, but that's another story.)

--Peace

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TiBook

I feel some what reassured about a Tibook now, except the fact that I buy most of my computer-related stuff off of ebay as I live in extremley rural southeast Oklahoma. However, the next time I am in the Tulsa or Oklahoma city I will see if I can't find one for sale that I can actually inspect.

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westieg3's picture
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the tibook is like an old saa

the tibook is like an old saab. it's wonderful.....until it breaks.

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unknown1's picture
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Re: TiBook

Mr.MestaHTeague wrote:

I feel some what reassured about a Tibook now, except the fact that I buy most of my computer-related stuff off of ebay as I live in extremley rural southeast Oklahoma. However, the next time I am in the Tulsa or Oklahoma city I will see if I can't find one for sale that I can actually inspect.

http://www.lowendmac.com

Has listings of the best prices for most of the different Macs available. These are reputable dealers from all over North America. I have talked to the people at nearby (in Salt Lake City 350 miles away!) http://www.Expercom.com and they seem to be pretty knowledgeable and offer a 90 day warranty on most everything they sell, along with a complete description of the particular unit you are looking at. Hope this helps...

Russell in extremely rural SW Idaho.

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From experience, I can say th

From experience, I can say that:

-My friends freshman year had iBook G4s (that would be fall of 2003, oh damn i am getting old) and they were rock solid. one of my friends is still using it. Solid, especially if you get a last-rev one with the Sudden Motion Sensor.

-I had a 667mhz TiBook and after 3 years of student man-handling it was just about destroyed. Broken hinge, broken paint, broken optical drive, broken PC card slot. That being said, the little bugger is still ticking!

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