It’s a Good Time to Buy a Used Mac

Greetings and happy holidays, low-enders. It’s the most wonderful time of the year again!

With everyone more desperate than ever in these trying economic times, attempting to scrape together enough cash for that mystical and elusive unicorn called the iPad or the new ultimate portable (the 11.6″ 2010 MacBook Air), there are some diamonds in the rough to be had in bargain basement priced late model G4 PowerBooks.

12″ PowerBooks

12-inch Powerbook G4 Just recently, it seems that a decent stockpile of off-lease 12″ 1.5 GHz PowerBook G4 units equipped with SuperDrives have hit the eBay market. The average price is hovering around $275, down significantly from even a year ago, when these machines were still selling for around $400 or so. They are still selling for over $400 through dealers, with Power Max selling one of those very same 1.5 GHz units for $459 at the time of this writing.

14" iBook G4I happened to be in the right position to acquire one of these machines (in near mint condition and with a brand new battery, might I add) in exchange for ridding myself of a 14″ 1.42 GHz iBook G4.

I must say that the smaller ‘Book is better than the larger iBook and worth every penny (it makes you instantly lose netbook envy, if there is such a thing). At one point this was one of the most sought after PowerBooks, due to its size, weight, and capabilities. It’s the perfect airline and bedside companion, although it left me wishing for a backlit keyboard, but you can’t have everything.

Core Duo MacBooks and MacBook Pros

Black MacBookIn addition to these tiny PowerBooks, you can also get your hands on early Core Duo MacBooks and MacBook Pros in the sub-$500 range, or a hi-res 15″ PowerBook in the $300 to $400 range, all down $100 or so since last year. Not yet garage sale pricing on these machines, but certainly worth a look, especially for those early Intels, with the Mac App Store about to come alive in a couple of weeks.

Forthcoming PowerPC Bargains

Sadly, PowerPC Macs won’t be able to take advantage of the Mac App Store, but that may be one of the factors driving the price of late PowerPC models down so much, in addition to the king of the jungle looming, Mac OS X 10.7 Lion.

What does that mean to a Low End Mac reader? Everything! Better pricing on late PowerPC machines that run perfectly fine under OS X 10.4 Tiger and 10.5 Leopard means a huge incentive to bid or buy. These ‘Books will continue to service you well for at least another two to four years. It’s certainly the right time to buy, and you can now enjoy a late model PowerPC Mac for a fraction of the original price.

Just be sure to consider your needs when making any purchase decision.

For instance, if you don’t need the App Store, where’s your incentive to go out and immediately buy an Intel machine, aside from the fact that you might want to try out Lion? I’m sure that Lion will have a few more tricks planned, aside from a new look designed to streamline your desktop and gaining the ability to run software designed for it.

However, Leopard is just over three years old, and considering that many of our PC counterparts are still using Windows XP, now a 9-year-old OS, having a 3-year-old OS doesn’t sound so bad.

Try out a late model PowerBook. In a way, you are still helping stimulate the economy, since you are putting dollars in someone else’s hands that will (hopefully) get spent on something new and extravagant. As for this Low End Mac user, I am perfectly happy my new (at least new to me) 12″ PowerBook.

Happy holidays to all, and to all a great New Year!