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Reconditioning a PowerBook - is it worth it?

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Post time: 2013-12-16 05:19:19 |Show all posts
I have a PowerBook G4 with virtually no battery and an old operating system.
Is it possible and worthwhile to get it reconditioned and updated with latest OS to use as a second laptop for internet and other simple applications?

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Post time: 2013-12-16 15:47:26 |Show all posts
If you updated it as far as possible, it could perform many Internet tasks like simple browsing and definitely email, and also be very competent for office-type applications and even simple graphics editing.
But this depends a lot on what you mean by "Internet." Keep in mind that the G4 is too slow to view many YouTube videos, and HD video playback is unusable on a G4. While web browsers are available, you would need to choose carefully because many of the popular ones are no longer updated for G4 CPUs, meaning they are not equipped with current speed optimizations for JavaScript, current security fixes, or even current HTML5 and CSS3 support that is used by many Web sites.
But if you find the right job for it, it could be almost as useful as new. My G4 found a good home hooked up to my TV and stereo, serving up iTunes music playlists and being a DVD player and living room web browser.

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Post time: 2013-12-16 13:53:59 |Show all posts
Anything is possible but you may find it difficult to obtain parts for an obsolete Mac:
Vintage and obsolete Apple products:
Obsolete products are those that were discontinued more than seven years ago. Apple has discontinued all hardware service for obsolete products with no exceptions. Service providers cannot order parts for obsolete products. These include ALL G4 models.

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Post time: 2013-12-16 12:18:21 |Show all posts
That not a bad computer. Admittedly, few if any G4s are working well on web videos any more but, for regular web pages, that one has some life left, IMHO. Mine mentioned above is much less competent yet the guy to whom I loaned it is ecstatic with its web performance (he has no desire to visit video sites).
The RAM can by upgraded to a total of 2G and there are some third-party solutions to make web browsing better. You can do what we did with my old PowerBook--make it the guest room computer.
The only potential issue I see is in the first two characters of the serial number, "W8." This is a factory location code and a lot of PowerBoks and G5 iMacs from that factory at the time those were new developed display problems--vertical lines on the screen that seem to get together and make more lines. There is an endless thread about that in this forum.
If you don't have the vertical lines by now, you probably won't get them. If you have one or two, there will be more as you continue to use the computer.
Even with vertical lines, you can use a W8 PowerBook as a desktop machine becasue the lines thing does not affect an external monitor.

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Post time: 2013-12-16 10:35:16 |Show all posts
Thank you Allen and Knucklesmac
Have just met with an Apple Store Genius and they have advised that they can't recondition it as the processor (PowerPC G4 (1.1)) is too outdated.
The details of the unit are
PowerBook G4 15"
Identifier: PowerBook5,4
Processor: PowerPC G4 (1.1)
Speed: 1.5 GHz
L2 Cache: 512kb
Memory: 1GB
Bus Speed: 167 MHz
Boot ROM Version: 4.8.6f0
Serial number: W8******QHY
Not keen to throw it away so i might put it on eBay or keep as a childs toy!
Thanks all.

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Post time: 2013-12-16 08:39:11 |Show all posts
Agree with Allen.
The one thing I'd like to add is what you have said about upgrading to the latest OS. You can't install the latest version of Mac OS X on these old PowerBook's. The most any 867Mhz or higher would accept is Mac OS X 10.5 leopard. Anything bellow 867Mhz would require Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.
They do lack some abilities like Flash support and can be outdated with some modern software.
There are a few people like us who still used the PPC PowerBook's finding various uses and still find them great machines to use. Know the limitations before spending lots and lots of money to reconditioning if it's not going to do what you would like it to.

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Post time: 2013-12-16 07:16:49 |Show all posts
I think you can get more useful responses if we knew more about your G4 PowerBook. There are many variants. The earliest are probably not very useful or worth fixing, but the last of the breed are still viable computers for many uses.
If it runs, do "About this Mac" and post what it says for your processor speed and Mac OS version; also post your screen size.
With that, I think the community can give you more "targeted" suggestions without casting about among the model variants.
I have a 1.0Ghz G4 17" from 2003 running OS10.4.11 on loan to a friend who thinks it's a dandy computer for the limited web surfing he does. I should point out that his other Macs are PowerBook G3s made in 1998 so he's in paradise by comparison. It's all relative!

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