Powerbook G4: IT’S HAPPENING

Oh my god it happened.

So back in January 2012 I was greeted with a Powerbook G4 on my back doorstep. it was beat to hell and needed love, but I was able to get it into shape. new plastics, titanium bits, and a replacement Wireless card were all it took, as well as an 80-gig hard drive upgrade in the process, to bring  Powerbook on the brink of being thrown away to modern usage spec again.

This was a Titanium Powerbook 500MHz, the first-gen Powerbook G4.

After things started failing on it (one RAM slot died, screen was blotchy in spots, battery failed, fan wouldn’t kick in and the laptop would get very hot, ATI graphics almost desoldered itself from the board on one occasion too…, CD drive was dead when I got it) I left it on a shelf hoping that one day I’d find the drive and money to fix it.

I can honestly say right now that day has not yet come, and never will come.

A couple days ago, I was called up by my friend a few blocks from me; he deals with scrap metal in his garage as a full time job now since he can’t do much else; He fell out of a tree while hunting and broke his back, and has been wheelchair-bound ever since. he’s getting better since he used to not be able to feel his but and he’s now able to feel that a bit more as the days go on… and I wish him the best in acquiring his full mobility back. No one should have to deal with that.

Anyways, back to the story.

He called me up saying he had some pretty interesting items he wanted me to take a look at (since I can value out computers pretty easily, since I watch craigslist and eBay constantly when I’m looking for things.)

He had 3 big boxes in his pickup. they were all Apple laptops– with G4s!

They were mostly iBook G4 12.1 and 14-inch models for the first box.

The second box was aluminum Powerbook G4’s of 15 and 12.1 inch sizes, all beat up and in various states of assembly. they were all abused being taken apart for the hard drive. I wish they were left in, just boot and nuke since OSX doesn’t remember where files are when you’re done deleting them… it’s a bit more safe than Windows in terms of file recovery, but you CAN still do it either way, it’s just a tad harder because of the way the filesystem is laid out.

ANYWAYS. So the third box was all 15 inchers, a single 12.1-incher and 3 17-inch models. only half of them worked, probably the result of being taken apart, so I assumed a lot of stuff either had shorts from the hard drive caddies inside or the cables not being connected was to blame. I didn’t bother with fixing any of them, i just tested to see if they worked. someone came later and bought them all off him for a pretty penny, lemme tell you, but not before I found this bad boy:

I had brought my TiBook G4 500 with me to see if I needed to use the hard drive to test any of them out, if any needed testing or parts. I didn’t know what to expect. closer to the time the man was coming to buy them, I asked if I could swap out a working one with my powerbook, since the screen was still good (which is good enough in most cases for the guy that bought them all.) I was given a yes and placed it in the car before bothering with anything else.

Fast forward back to home after the matter, and I have a powerbook in front of me.

I worked quickly, taking it apart without any help from the internet, dropping in a hard drive, and carefully closing it back up.

I powered it on and waited. Everything went smoothly from start to desktop. so then I clicked the Apple menu and went to About this Mac…

What I saw shocked me. Heavily.

Yeah. if you know G4’s, you know the 1.67GHz G4 was the fastest ever offered in a Powerbook. in fact, only two 15 inch models ever had one of that speed.

and then you see the RAM? DDR2. Only ONE model was ever sold to the public with that RAM.

The last model.

So what did I get out of this? +100 credit points for knowing my shit when it came to old Macs, got my friend a pretty penny more than he actually paid for them, amounts undisclosed (I really have no idea how much he paid or was given anymore.)

and, a trade-up of my first-gen Powerbook G4 for a last-gen Powerbook G4. the BEST Last-gen Powerbook G4. the HR version.

Here’s all you need to know about the Mac, courtesy of PowerbookMedic.com’s wonderful serial number identifier…:

and with that, I’m out. I’m exhausted.