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Bought a Apple Titanium PowerBook G4 of Ebay - Pleasantly Surprised

PowerPC Macs - MacRumors Forums - forums.macrumors.com
Last month, I bought a PowerBook G4 Titanium 667 GHz - seller said 1 GHz, but it turned out to be a 667 MHz. Anyway, its not a big deal, was just hoping it was at least working.

Got a new charger with it too, so that seemed worthy enough to part with $177 ($79 + 100+) for shipping). Import duties to Jamaica added another $60. I was so p*****! Considering this is almost a 20 year old laptop, it definitely was not worth that amount. Anyway, I had no choice, but to pay for it.

I was really anxious; hoping its not gonna be a DOA or looked beat up compared to pictures I saw on Ebay.

Upon arriving home, I opened up the heavy USPS packaging and suddenly I went back in time. The first noticeable difference is how heavy it is. This is a 15 inch model by the way, but for a 17 year old laptop, the previous owner kept it in pretty good condition. The battery even keeps a full charge for up to 4 hours.

The first immediate issues I encountered and saw were the peeling of the white paint on the chassis. I was already aware this was a common issue with these models, so I concluded this was expected, but the fact it started doing this out of the box kinda made me nervous. What I saw next was dent at the side, not detrimental, but really obvious. If you ignore it, its not a bother.

Anyway, the moment of truth came when I booted it up. It had OS X Jaguar 10.2.8 installed. Played around with it a bit. There was a Mac OS 9 folder with some old apps like Photoshop 6 and 5, Office 2001 - I probably should have saved these.

Another pleasant surprise was the fact that the previous owner included the original restore discs for this model. I'm talking about everything this laptop would ever need to bring it back to its original factory state - Mac OS 9.2.2 and Mac OS 10.1.1. These were labeled PowerBook G4 Restore Discs, but she also included Restore Discs for PowerMac G4 and full legit OS X Jaguar reinstall discs too - these look like retail discs, because the discs are in the Jaguar fur print. Maybe this PowerBook was bought around the time Jaguar was just going to launch and the user got them as a complimentary upgrade.

I bought this originally as a historical piece; nostalgia really. So, I was itching to reload Mac OS 9 and Mac OS 10.1.1. Restoring was tricky. I originally used the factory PowerBook G4 discs, which reinstalled Mac OS 9. This ended up wiping the disc and setup a fresh install. The next thing I did was boot from the Mac OS 10.1 disc, thinking I would be able to just partition the drive and install OS X there. Turns out when you do partition from within the OS X installer, it erases OS 9 drive too. So, I had to install OS 9 again.

Eventually, it was setup the way I wanted - OS X on 20 GB partition, Mac OS 9 on a 8 GB partition.

Having this device means a lot to me. I remember in 2002 when I bought Macworld and seeing the price for a machine like - $3,500. Now, its mine for about $240. I know, its pretty useless for what most users want out of a computer in 2018. Surprisingly, you can still get some things done on it. For instance, I took out some old audio discs and played those. Started watching Spiderman DVD on it. So, if you want an offline device for basic tasks, its pretty good.

Speaking of basic, there is just something magical about OS X's and even Mac OS 9's simplicity. OS X was sparse back then, but there is an elegance to it. I will keep playing with and see what I continue to discover. What definitely don't like is the touchpad. Todays Touchpads are amazing to use. The lack of gestures and the size makes for a lacking experience.

I also picked up a iBook, which I'm hoping to get soon. I honestly have spent too much on these old stuff.

If you have any suggestions about taking care of it, please do share. I don't know how many years is left in it, but if I can extend as long as say Macintosh 128K, that would be great. One thing I going to minimize doing is opening and closing the lid a lot. Instead, I will keep it open most of the time and cover it when not in use.

 


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