View Full Version : PowerBook G4, iBook G4 or netbook?

2009-06-24, 17:34
Hi all,

My gf's 7 year-old (!) Toshiba Satellite finally bit the dust. She'd like a suitable replacement, not looking to spend more than $500. Though she wouldn't need to do anything fancy on the replacement, she does like to have multiple programs up and running simultaneously, usually Thunderbird plus some combination of Firefox, iTunes, AIM, or Hulu desktop. No need to lug it around everyday; she'd take it out of her place perhaps 2 days a week.

The options are the final versions of the Powerbook G4 12" (1.5 GHz, 1.25 gb RAM) and iBook G4 12" (1.33 GHz, 1.5 gb RAM) as well as a Lenovo S-10 or Dell Mini.

My questions:
1.) Which would be better for her multitasking?
2.) For those out there using a netbook as their primary computer, how much do you miss the optical drive (if at all)?
3.) If it comes down between the PowerBook and iBook, which would account for better multitasking and overall performance: the PowerBook's extra 170 MHz and dedicated 64 mb of VRAM or the iBook's extra 256 mb of RAM?

Thanks in advance :)

2009-06-24, 17:48
The two Macs are going to perform equally for the types of applications you listed, as the difference in RAM and CPU speed is minimal at best. If you do go for a Mac, either would be a good choice.

2009-06-24, 19:34
Dell Mini! I don't miss the optical drive one bit, and honestly the multitasking is gonna be fine. I run Pidgin, Firefox with 3-5 tabs, Thunderbird, OpenOffice, and Rhythmbox music player all one 1GB of RAM. (I'm on Ubuntu, so I can't speak for Hulu Desktop). All Dell Minis now ship with 1GB of RAM, so she should be cool. It's a solid choice for someone doing just web and office tasks.

2009-06-24, 20:47
My 1.67Ghz Powerbook G4 is hot enough to make waffles with once you hit YouTube and similar processor-intensive websites... so it's actually quite terrible as a laptop unless your g/f has teflon thighs.

I look forward to an around-the-house Mac that's as light and thin as the netbooks I saw at the store today!


2009-06-24, 21:39
I would say the netbook because it's only a matter of time before people stop making software that runs on G4s.

Snow Leopard will be Intel only and once people start writing applications targeting features only available in Snow Leopard (and beyond) then your computer really starts to lose its usefulness.

At least with an x86 based computer you can be reasonably certain that you will be able to run the latest software for years to come.

2009-06-24, 23:47
Thanks for the replies:)

She's always had a thing for PowerBooks, but after captain Drew's statement, she may be more inclined to forgo that option...haha, I wouldn't describe her thighs as Teflon ;)

The netbook is looking more appealing, though I guess a part of me really wants her to officially make the Switch

2009-06-24, 23:51
Why not try and score a macbook off ebay?

2009-06-26, 15:40
I believe there is a very nice MacBook in the Nova bazaar that's being sold for $500.

2009-06-26, 15:53
Yeah: http://forums.applenova.com/showthread.php?p=639128

2006 model, but it's Intel so you won't hit any PowerPC road blocks with new software.

2009-06-26, 16:21
Netbook. Reasons why:

- There's actually new software being written for them. PPC Macs are a dead end.
- The hardware would be brand new. This is especially important for the screen and battery (both of which tend to become pretty bad as notebooks age).
- Portability.

Old notebooks are just sucky to work with. They have too many hardware failures. She just had an old laptop die on her - why would you want to replace it with another old laptop?

2009-06-26, 16:33
I believe there is a very nice MacBook in the Nova bazaar that's being sold for $500.

Exactly. I think that's the way to go...fast Core 2 processor, plenty of RAM, still under AppleCare...and it matches ime_NY's (girlfriend's) budget. This really does seem to be a case of things working out perfectly!

I can't believe that a 12" PowerBook G4 would be the best you could do for $500. Not when there's a Core 2 Duo/2 GHz/2 GB RAM (those are the specs of my brand new Mini, and that was $650!) in the Nova Bazaar. :eek:

ime_NY: If the old PowerBook and iBook were the only possible options, I'd go with a netbook. But they're not. You can get a much better deal, so I'd jump on it...srsly.

You mention that portability isn't a huge issue, so why get a netbook at all? You're trading power for portability. And I really don't think my netbook would be able to handle Thunderbird, Firefox, iTunes, AIM, and Hulu Desktop all running at once!

Yes, a netbook would be shiny and "new." But it just doesn't seem to be what she's looking for. If she wants something good for multitasking and doesn't care about the size, then getting a netbook is just silly.

Dorian Gray
2009-06-27, 13:57
What screen size and resolution did the seven-year-old Toshiba have? Depending on that, a netbook screen might be a shock to the system. On the other hand, it might be okay. A ~1.6 GHz Intel Atom is probably faster than the Toshiba's processor, though only by a bit.

I would avoid buying an iBook or PowerBook today. They're still absurdly expensive on the used market, despite being very old (with the problems Luca mentioned) and very slow (most of them slightly slower than a modern netbook).

The $500 MacBook sounds like a reasonable option. It would be roughly 5x faster than a netbook, but you might not need that performance. The screen is bigger than a netbook's, but so is the size and weight. And it's not a new machine.

If you're looking at netbooks, consider the HP Mini 2140 (http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-details.asp?EdpNo=4420056&SRCCODE=GOOGLEBASE&cm_mmc_o=VRqCjC7BBTkwCjCECjCE) (recently replaced by the arguably inferior Mini 5101 (http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF05a/321957-321957-64295-3841267-3955550-3973865.html)). This netbook is nice because it has a rugged metal build, decent design, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet, an ExpressCard/54 slot, and a great keyboard. The downside is the low-res screen (1024 x 576 on most models) and just okay battery life.

The Samsung NC20 (http://www.samsung.com/us/consumer/detail/detail.do?group=computersperipherals&type=mobilecomputing&subtype=netbook&model_cd=NP-NC20-KA02US) is a netbook-inspired, 1.5 kg machine with a 12.1-inch (1280 x 800) LED-backlit display, a nice Via Nano processor, great battery life, and a price of $510 at Newegg (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16834131031&Tpk=samsung%20nc20). Unfortunately the white model isn't available in the US.

2009-06-27, 15:48
My Powerbook 867mhz 12" Powerbook G4 just came back to me from a sale that turned into an extended loan -- but sometimes you just accept these things when it's family. The book is still in great shape and still held just under 3h battery life, but the adaptor cord was cut a couple of weeks ago, hence the return to me. All it needs is a new adaptor.

I'll let it go cheap to an Applenovian who wants it. PM me.

2009-06-28, 02:20
Damn I can't believe I let the awesome MacBook in the bazaar go. O well, let me fill you in on what has happened.

There was no purchase of ANY laptop. Instead, I did what I think a good boyfriend had to do in this situation: I offered her my baby, my iBook G4. My Switch mac. I installed leopard, iLife, iWork, and other apps she uses. I even placed it in its original box and wrapped it up in Christmas wrapping paper and duct tape. I gave it to her tonight and taped her using the mac for the first time (I had recorded my first mac unboxing). We just finished installing her files and setting up her preferences. I even gave a walk through on using apps etc.

Hopefully this will last until she's ready to purchase her first mac. I figure letting go of my first mac will lead to her becoming a mac fangirl.

Thanks to all of you for your responses and help :)