Older iBooks, decent buy?

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
I've got a friend who might be willing to sell me his aging iBook, and I've got some questions about it's capability & reliability. The model, firstly, is a white 700mhz G3, 12", Airport, 16mb ATI Rage & 382mb 100mhz RAM. It's loaded with Panther & Office v.X, which is a very nice start indeed.



He's had problems with logic boards, whatever those are (PC user here) in the past, but overall the unit seems quite stable and useable. Since it's available to me for quite the steal (400-600 Canadian), I figure it might make a good interm laptop before I head off to University. What do you guys think?



Also: Is it possible to hook up that model to an external monitor (no, I don't mean TV), or potentially achieve dual-monitors?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 12
    gongon Posts: 2,437member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by blackwave

    I've got a friend who might be willing to sell me his aging iBook, and I've got some questions about it's capability & reliability. The model, firstly, is a white 700mhz G3, 12", Airport, 16mb ATI Rage & 382mb 100mhz RAM. It's loaded with Panther & Office v.X, which is a very nice start indeed.



    He's had problems with logic boards, whatever those are (PC user here) in the past, but overall the unit seems quite stable and useable. Since it's available to me for quite the steal (400-600 Canadian), I figure it might make a good interm laptop before I head off to University. What do you guys think?



    Also: Is it possible to hook up that model to an external monitor (no, I don't mean TV), or potentially achieve dual-monitors?




    You didn't say what you want to use it for, but I'd say it's good enough for small to intermediate scale programming work, text processing, listening to music and surfing the web. Might not be fast enough for the very latest video codecs, but most video should play fine with VLC.



    Logic board = motherboard.



    You can hook it up to an external monitor and drive it at the same resolution than the iBook (mirroring the screen). Since it's Rage based, it can't be hacked to support anything more. If it had a Radeon it could be hacked to do almost everything the Powerbook is capable of.
  • Reply 2 of 12
    randycat99randycat99 Posts: 1,919member
    I'd be careful if logic board problems are already in the units history. Go look on the Apple website about a logic board replacement program. There should be a place to type in a S/N to see if you have an affected unit. If so, those things are like ticking time bombs, AFAIK. The thing is going to fail, sooner or later. I don't think Apple has a real fix for the inherent problem. So the only thing they can do is throw in a new logic board as they go bad, repeat ad nauseam... I've also read there is a reoccuring problem of wires eventually becoming severed where they pass through the hinge to the screen.



    So be wary of stepping into this pool.



    Others feel free to speak up if I am off-base. I only speak of a single bad experience I had, followed by concurrent research into the issue (which would have given me serious hesitation of making the purchase had I done the research sooner). I got my fingers crossed and knocking on wood (hell, might as well rub my belly, too) that I don't experience anything similar on my iBook G4 model. Apple hooked me up with an utterly SHWEEEET refurb unit, so I'm worried of seeing something bad happen that could balance out my utterly happy experience so far.



    I think this whole Apple Service Package thing is a bit off-putting. It's pretty damn expensive, imo, and in the case of these laptops, it is literally like handing them over $250+ or so ahead of time for a repair that will happen. I suppose there is a "peace-of-mind" component that would justify the extra expense, but there is something about Apple selling things that *will* break vs. *might* break (but unlikely) that rubs me the wrong way.
  • Reply 3 of 12
    Ah, I concur with your warrenty troubles. This laptop is, as you say, amoung those predestined to fail. I believe it has undergone two logic board replacements and is now running off a fairly new one that's been working quite well. I too am troubled by this very unsatisfactory problem, however I'm told that Apple replaces these logic boards free of cost or hastle. (The shipment process irks me tremendously, however)



    I wanted to use this as a mobile unit, escentially. MSN, Internet, iTunes, Word, ext. Nothing particularly fancy. I wanted it to also last me a year and a half - what becomes of it beyond then is irrelevant to me, to be perfectly honest.

    Some more opinions would be really appretiated.
  • Reply 4 of 12
    vox barbaravox barbara Posts: 2,021member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by blackwave

    Ah, ...



    don't hesitate, - it is a decent machine for all purposes, even photoshop runs well. Well i don't know canadian dollars compared to us or even euro, but i would pay 700 euros, if M$ office is included. it wouldn't be by no means a blatant rip off



    best
  • Reply 5 of 12
    randycat99randycat99 Posts: 1,919member
    I agree that they ran great. My former one ran great. I was really surprised how well a G3 ran OSX. It really is a small difference next to the G4 I have now, imo. A G3 with .5 MB of full-speed L2 cache is a tough hombre, no doubt. However, all of that was bashed against the rocky shore the first time I really got my laptop heated up with heavy use- high CPU utilization + GPU access for a prolonged period (running [email protected] while "exploring" and doing other stuff). I even heard the fan spin-up. All was well until the next time I went to use it, and then all hell broke loose- screen corruption and sporadic sleep issues. Somethin' had seriously gotten fubarred (and I was already aware that my unit was on "the list" for affected units). Ironically, that was the day I had just been to my local Apple Store help center. They kindly offered to check to see if they had a history on record for my iBook S/N. I said, "Sure, why not?" [foreshadows the need to leave a pandora box untouched] This revealed a chain of visits to Apple warranty work for [pauses...] logic board replacements. I think it was on its 3rd by time I got it, and I joked with the help guy that according to the dates of these repairs, this unit should actually be quite due for one now. The help guy went into damage control mode and said that these things are really unpredictable. It could go out tomorrow or never again, he assured. I agreed, albeit nervously. Well, the rest is history, right?



    So I maintain- it's a ticking time bomb, a risky purchase at best. Yes, Apple will replace them at their own cost (if it's on "the list"), but I personally don't fancy a device that is scheduled to go down in flames (almost literally) on a regular basis. Running your computer always under the gun of not overheating it or else also strikes me as a very awkward position.



    On a slightly related issue, is it bad practice to use your laptop with it sitting on your lap or on a pillow on your lap? Heat does accumulate, and Apple does make the warning that it should be set on a hard surface so the rubber feet allow that slight airspace on the bottom of the case that is supposedly an integral part to dissipating heat from the internal components. I'm just wondering how crucial an issue is this. Will it "self-destruct" under such conditions (even with the fan there to assist cooling), or should it be OK? I'm really wary of this, because that is seemingly how my former G3 iBook went out.
  • Reply 6 of 12
    So much for that suprior Apple build quality. I guess my concern isn't so much for the speed & capability of his machine - I'm relitively farmilliar with it and confident that it'll suffice. My problem is with it's very self-destructive nature. As far as I'm concerned, from what little the owner has hinted (I haven't had an oppertunity to probe yet), it IS on the list. Cost, then, is not as big of an issue. Still, I'd rather not have my investment traveling cross-country constantly - unless of course I'm going with it. Do you think Apple would pay for that too, first class? ...Didn't think so.



    Also, of the 'logic' (what an irony) board breaks, is it not possible for the rest of the unit to suffer adverse effects? ie: Processor, RAM, video or screen fizzle?
  • Reply 7 of 12
    Oh, and as comparison for you, Vox, one Canadian dollar is equal to 1.3 U.S. dollars. I'm sure you can make a translation from there. All I'll say is that 700 euros is a massive amount of money that would damn near pay for a new G4 unit.
  • Reply 8 of 12
    vox barbaravox barbara Posts: 2,021member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by blackwave

    Oh, and as comparison for you, Vox, one Canadian dollar is equal to 1.3 U.S. dollars. I'm sure you can make a translation from there. All I'll say is that 700 euros is a massive amount of money that would damn near pay for a new G4 unit.



    Alright, just to clarify the issue, i'd draw 700 Euros out of my pockets (aproxi 750 $) IF the machine were bulletproofed. IF NOT - DO NOT.



    btw, show me a chest to pull a damn new G4 unit for the bucks you mentioned. We are still talking portable machines here? Not to mention a Office X v. included, which is still updateable. I'd considering THAT a pretty good deal. Thoroughly.



    greetings
  • Reply 9 of 12
    I should also mention that it has a handy year and a half of Apple care left. w00t.
  • Reply 10 of 12
    blackwave

    i know all about the logic board problem. my mom purchased an ibook in sept 2002, i think it was a g3 700mhz. the logic board problem flared up, and after sending it in to apple 3 times, they gave her a g3 900mhz in may 2003. well, that flared up too, and after sending it in about the logic board another three times, they sent her an g4 800mhz a couple months ago. she's had applecare so she hasn't paid for any of this. the biggest thing was frustration, so my advice to you is to make sure you're in the habit of backing up your stuff reguarly. and then who knows, you just might get the new ibook g4 1ghz. because the time bomb description is very accurate.
  • Reply 11 of 12
    curiousuburbcuriousuburb Posts: 3,325member
    IIRC, the 700MHz iBooks had Radeons, not Rage GPUs.

    If so, you can run the spanning hack for true dual-display support.
  • Reply 12 of 12
    ...If anyone wants to double check that for me...



    Also, how would I go about getting that exchange from Apple to a new unit? Just complain enough?
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