My laptop has been a bit long in the tooth for a while now. It’s a 12″ Mac Powerbook G4 circa 2003. It actually runs OS 10.5 pretty well, which is impressive considering it originally came with OS 9 (that’s — count ‘em — 6 operating systems ago). The most noticeable issue is that it struggles to play video such as YouTube, and if I’m working with a particularly large file (150+ MB) it struggles to handle it.
So I needed a new one, but didn’t want to drop a grand on it. What to do? Well, I found a fixer-upper on eBay for just over $400. Impressively, it’s last year’s model Macbook with maxed out RAM and a good size hard drive. The down side is that it lacks an optical drive, and the keyboard is en Español.
Got the computer in the mail Tuesday. Thanks to “Target Disk Mode” via Firewire, I was able to wipe the drive and install the OS without an optical drive. Had a small hiccough transferring my old data from my Time Machine backup, in that I had forgotten that my backup doesn’t include my applications. Re-doing the transfer from my bootable backup drive fixed that nicely.
So — I’ll be putting about another $100 into the computer, as I got an English keyboard assembly for $30, and an optical drive for about $75 (both on eBay). I even found an online auction for the *brackets* for the optical drive, which is handy since the computer I bought had the drive completely removed (“it was making a funny noise” I’m told).
So now I get to do surgery. Cool! I replaced the hard drive in the Powerbook a couple years back, so I have a bit of experience with cracking open laptops. Should be an interesting exercise, involving steady hands and very, very small screwdrivers.