: Price check...


Pamela
May 17th, 2004, 12:38 AM
OK. I've been at this site for over a year and trust most of your opinions on macs. I'm having real trouble unloading my powerbook, unlike last time, and I'd like to know why.

What do you think this system is worth?

Keep in mind that it is perfect mechanically and perfect physically almost perfect (except for a few recent scratches on the bottom) and is 6 months old with 6 months left with applecare (and it comes with a laptop bag)

Be brutally honest. Also, keep in mind(for comments on what I should do) that I'm *trying* to keep up with upgrades for running the CAD and 3D graphics programs for school and my "last" computer will be the G5. (this 128mb video card in the 17" 1.5 is making my mouth water)

ok. That's it. Here are the specs.

17" 1.33_GHz PowerPC G4
512_MB DDR SDRAM
80_GB Ultra ATA Hard Disk
DVD-R/CD-RW Superdrive burns CD-RW AND DVD-R discs
Mac OS X 10.3.3
Apple applications include Mail, iChat AV, Keynote, Safari, Sherlock, Address Book, QuickTime Pro, and Developer Tools
Currently running and installed applications on the drive: Maya 5, Vectorworks 10, Adobe CS Suite, Powercadd, Macromedia MX suite, Microsoft Office etc...(for understanding of current performance level...not for sale)
17 inch active-matrix display, 1440x900 pixels resolution
PC Card Slot
Built-in AirPort Extreme 54Mbs 802.11g wireless networking
Built-in Bluetooth
Built-in 10/100/Gigabit Ethernet
Battery
Battery charger
Full-sized keyboard with 78 keys, including 12 function key, 4 arrow keys (inverted "T" arrangement), and embedded keypad, ILLUMINATED with ambient light sensor
Solid-state trackpad
ATI Mobility Radeon 9600 with AGP 4x and 64 MB of video RAM
2 built-in stereo speakers
DVI port for external monitor support
Firewire 400 port
Firewire 800 port
USB 2.0 port
S-video out port
56k internal modem with FAX capability

mac-yyz
May 17th, 2004, 11:04 AM
How much has a apple dealer offered you in on a trade? This way you save some of the gst and pst, if you are in Ontario for example...

TroutMaskReplica
May 17th, 2004, 11:58 AM
Pamela, my feeling is you should stick with this machine. The updates to the powerbook line were pretty minor this time round. Even given the type of work that you are doing, is it worth the hassle of selling and buying and setting up just to get a barely perceptible improvement in OpenGL performance and a marginal improvement in clock speed? Most pros out there don't have equipment like yours never mind students.

I honestly think you would be disappointed with the new 17" Powerbook.

Your next major upgrade should be to the G5 Powerbooks when they come out, probably later this year or early next.

Macaholic
May 17th, 2004, 12:10 PM
I'm inclined to agree witth Troutmaskreplica, Pamela. As a matter of fact, if you use any memory intensive applications, such as Photoshop, Maya (what do designers use for CG mockups [or "visualizations"], anyway?) or MacCAD, you'd probably want to get more than 512MB of RAM for your current Powerbook.

TroutMaskReplica
May 17th, 2004, 12:20 PM
Ouch! That's a good point, Macaholic. Upgrade that ram right away. Nothing will give you a bigger speed bump.

Kosh
May 17th, 2004, 12:30 PM
I'd say it's worth about $2700 - $3000. Let's face it, you can get a 15-inch 1.5 G4 Powerbook new from Apple with the features of your Powerbook for $3299. Your Powerbook has a bit bigger screen, but is slightly slower CPU and older graphics chip.

I'm with the last two posters. Keep it, upgrade the RAM, and possibly look at getting the AppleCare extension.

andreww
May 17th, 2004, 01:00 PM
My co-worker just paid 3300 for a perfect version of the same machine with extra applecare included.

Goobernatorial
May 17th, 2004, 01:01 PM
I think you should get at least $3000.00 for it, considering you can pick one of these up from a retailer new for $3500.00

I know that with tax that comes up to a lot more than $3500, but you have to take into account the peace of mind a person gets from buying something new from a reputable retailer, I'm sure you are a perfectly honest person to deal with but a private seller will never be as secure a place to buy a computer as a Certified Apple Dealer. Also a new machine will have a full year warranty on it, comes with the most up to date software. and not have any scratches on the bottom. Not to mention the joy of cracking open a brand new box and unwrapping all those goodies inside.

You also have to keep in mind that the 1.5Ghz is only $3699 from apple and for $140 more you can get a faster harddrive and a better vidcard which is actually a pretty good deal, most people interested in buying a 17" powerbook will most likely be a power user and will want the most bang for his/her buck.

Just my 2 cents.

Goobernatorial
May 17th, 2004, 01:03 PM
I also forgot to mention that a lot of people trade in their old macs when they buy new ones, which is another advantage of buying from a retailer.

monokitty
May 17th, 2004, 01:23 PM
I'm leaning toward $2800 tops, as well, like Kosh.

maximusbibicus
May 17th, 2004, 01:44 PM
I'd peg the value at $2800 to $3000 as well.

I think that the used Mac market has changed quite dramaticaly in the last 12 to 18 months. Just over a year ago, the top of the line iBook 12" was a 800MHZ G3, 128MB , 30GB machine, Combodrive and it retailed for $2399 plus tax. A base G4 iBook (that far surpasses those specs)can now be had for $1500.

With every new introduction (with the exception of the PowerMac line), the computers are getting better, but dropping in price.

The pricing structure of the Pro models has always been (approx) 2500 for base, 3500 for mid, and 4000 for the high end. This has been a constant, at least for the last 6 or 7 years.

In the other product lines, the pricing structure has changed dramatically.

Buying Macs, using them for a year, and then selling them for minimal loss is not as easy as it used to be.

A couple of years ago i bought a Quicksilver 733 and Mitsubihi DiamondTron 19" for 3100 after tax. A year later, i got 2400 for it, after adding a modest amount of RAM.

Less then a year after buying my current powerbook, i can't come close to getting what i think is fair resale. What i have discovered is that i am looking at the value as if the market was the same as last year's.

In this "new" market, the value has just plummeted to a point where i am better off just keeping it.

Pamela, keep that sucker, max the RAM, and get Applecare. If it is still not good enough for you, get a desktop. I respect that you may need a lot of horsepower, but people have done more with less.

Pamela
May 17th, 2004, 02:34 PM
I'm not stupid guys. I have a gig of ram in it. I'm just not selling it with a gig of ram.

I'm not inclined to buy from a reseller and trade in because I think most of their prices are inflated and they wouldn't give me much for my powerbook.

What I'm worried about is that when the G5's come out my current powerbook will be worthless. The last powerbook I had (the 1 ghz 17") is already worth half of what I bought it for. Thank god I sold it to get this one. I'd like to be able to the same with this one. But a $2000 hit is pretty hard to handle. (After taxes I paid close to $5000 for this thing) Not to mention it's only 6 months old. At this rate it won't be worth jack when the next line comes out and I'll end up losing so much money in the long run. That's the only reason I upgrade...so I don't have to shell out as much money with each upgrade. I did the same with my pc's.

What a conundrum.

edit: maximus....thanks for that reply. That is something along the lines of what I was thinking. The mac market really has changed. I think that's what explains it.

TroutMaskReplica
May 17th, 2004, 02:49 PM
on another board macdoc was advising people to buy behind the market or opt for ibooks until the g5 book are introduced as the g4's will take a much larger than normal hit in value.

why can't you continue to use this powerbook for a couple of years?

Pamela
May 17th, 2004, 03:15 PM
no reason I can't wait...other than the fact that I don't want to have to shell out another 5 grand at once in a year or two when I buy the top of the line again.

Pamela
May 17th, 2004, 03:16 PM
dp

Goobernatorial
May 17th, 2004, 03:47 PM
There is an ebay auction for the same powerbook here:
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=14909&item=4130517140&rd=1

The final bid was $1,975.00 US which is $2,758.83 CAD so there's answer for a price.

Digital_Gary
May 17th, 2004, 03:54 PM
I don't want to have to shell out another 5 grand at once in a year or two when I buy the top of the line again.
I hear ya. It is hard to save up and then drop a huge amount on one purchase. If you look at it though, you are spending more in the long run if you continue in the manor you have been.
I have customers that do this everytime a new model comes out. For what they do, 20 minutes saved works out to big $$$. To them it is worth taking the hit. For most other people, it just isn't worth playing the game.

Kosh
May 17th, 2004, 04:06 PM
I don't want to have to shell out another 5 grand at once in a year or two when I buy the top of the line again.
But if you keep buying and selling your Powerbook every 6 months, your going to pay just as much. You already said yourself your losing about $2000 if you sell this one. To go from your next one to a G5, you'll probably lose another $1500 (at least).

You're trying to save money, but from what I see you're going to pay just as much. You're just going to spread the cost over a year or two.

Pamela
May 17th, 2004, 04:52 PM
I might pay as much over time...that's fine. What I have a problem with is paying out $5000 EACH time. I'd rather smaller hits over time...it's easier to maintain. Smaller hits and I get to keep up with technology.

Anyway, I appreciate everyone's response. I guess I'm looking at $2800-$3000. Maximus answered my biggest question though. That being that the mac market is changing.

Is that a good thing?! lol!

Mantat
May 17th, 2004, 05:05 PM
Why do you have to have the top of the line PB? Why not just keep the one you have right now and buy a G5 desktop later. SO you would get a much faster machine when working from home and can use the still powerfull G4PB when you are on the road.

Sorry to say that but your view of finance would drop any company to bancrupcy (sp?). You should never buy something thinking that you are going to sell it back in a few months and selling it sooner just to save on you 'theorical' lose. We are not talking about the stock market here. This is a tool that you use to work. You should get the best tool for the job at the best price point for you. From what you are saying, the option I said above (G5 + PB) would allow you the best of both world and unless you buy the top of the line G5, it wont cost you that much more (probably 1000$) if you take into account your theorical lose of selling your current PB.

TroutMaskReplica
May 17th, 2004, 05:12 PM
what's a 'theorical lose'?

Mantat
May 17th, 2004, 05:53 PM
She says that by selling her PB right now, she would lose 2000 (dif between selling price and bought price taking into account that she has to buy a new model afterward).
So let say she sell the PB and buy a new one for 4000$, the new PB would have cost her 1000$ + 5000$ from the first laptop. So it would be 6k$ for a single laptop while she can keep it right now and buy a G5 desktop in a few months.

Of course, this option would cost her more in the end but she will have 2 computers and the marginal cost is very low for the gain it gives.

Sonal
May 17th, 2004, 11:14 PM
If we want Apple to put out newer and better stuff at lower prices sooner and sooner, then you have to pay the price somewhere -- in this case, resale values. But I'm not a big believer in depending on resale values.

I might pay as much over time...that's fine. What I have a problem with is paying out $5000 EACH time. I'd rather smaller hits over time...it's easier to maintain. Smaller hits and I get to keep up with technology.
I don't know how the numbers shake out, but my instinct is to believe that you're actually paying more by selling and keeping up. Particularly as resale values continue to drop.

Another option is to take what you would have paid in small hits, put it into a good savings account (ING, PC Financial -- something with interest) and perhaps add to that account by putting away some small amount, say $25 or so, every week.

Assuming you were going to put an additional $1000 over the resale value into your next computer, by saving it and adding $25/week, you'd have $2300 in one year, plus (at ING's current rate) about $60 in interest -- nearly cutting that big $5,000 hit in half.

We all know we're all going to replace our machines eventually. Rather than dropping a ton of cash all at once, it just makes sense to put away a little money on a regular basis for the next one. It adds up pretty fast.

Of course, this way you don't always get to have the latest and greatest. But why bother? It's expensive and in many cases, unnecessary.

NBiBooker
May 17th, 2004, 11:34 PM
I'm taking Sonal's advice on this topic. Great point. I think my iBook G4 will be great for another 2 years (with Applecare Warranty) at which point I'll be ready to take the hit on a G5 Powerbook.

I mean $25 bucks a week for 52 weeks adds up to $1300 a year. 3 years from now that's 3900 (without factoring in interest). You just can't beat that.

Well I'm going to crash, with dreams of G5 powerbooks in my head.

kent
May 18th, 2004, 12:02 AM
Pamela - believe me, I know computing power is necessary for design and architecture, but all these "small hits" add up to a big wallop ... add up what you lost on the last machine combined with what you'll lose on this one. You will NOT see any difference between a 1.33 GHz processor and a 1.5 GHz (look at the performance tests ... a second here or there of increased performance - whoopee) processor and unless you're doing some massive renderings in Form Z or Maya or gaming, your current 64 MB graphics card is ample. You can run vector-based CAD on anything: my old 550 MHz PC runs CAD like a pro. Additionally, if first REV apple products are any indication, I'd probably wait until all the inevitable bugs are worked out of the yet-to-be released G5 powerbook. The economics of constant computer ungrading doesn't work. Save your money for a REV B G5 PB, you have a really sweet machine and for what you need the recent upgrade won't offer any major advantages or performance enhancements. When the G5 comes out, there will be a strong market for used G4 powerbooks - local dealers of used G3 powerbooks in Vancouver sell them within days of receiving them. The best way for you to soften the financial blow is to start your own design company and right-off the machine over 5 years (or 20% per year) and depreciate it annually...otherwise, you've just fallen into the consumerism/obsolescence trap that companies like Apple love to set - the entire technology-based industry is based on engineered obsolescence.

TroutMaskReplica
May 18th, 2004, 11:13 AM
i'd just like to clear up something. you will see slightly better OpenGL performance due to the better card. your Maya renderings however, are not affected by the speed of the graphics card - this is a processor intensive function and has nothing in any way to do with the graphics card.

so when you're working with your 3d models you should be able to have slightly higher complexity to your scene before you start dropping frame rate and navigating through your scene becomes choppy but i must stress the difference will be slight.

of course you know if you are dropping frames there are ways to manage the complexity of what's on screen in any 3D software so that you are not always seeing everything on screen at the same time - via layers or whatever scheme your particular software uses. you can also reduce the polygon count for the screen preview without affecting the quality of the final render. this is the way it is done in the real world. not by constantly upgrading equipment.

you will save a few seconds on large renders due to slightly higher clock speed. but it's not worth spending thousands on.

(( p g ))
May 18th, 2004, 01:54 PM
It's really no different than buying a car. Sure, it would be great to buy a new one every year, but there are some practical and obvious reasons why most don't do this. Leaving the financing issue aside, you'd be forever eating the depreciation plus the costs (taxes) of buying new. It wouldn't take long before you would be in the hole by several thousands (even tens of thousands). As a business owner, there's another important reason why buying new on an almost annual basis is a bad move: you can only claim annually a 30% capital cost allowance on computers (but 45% starting next year).

As for whether the Mac market has changed, I think it runs deeper than that. The economy remains soft and a lot of people are taking a hit from higher energy prices...people are being more practical about their purchases. On top of that, Apple users who want to sell their used Macs have to compete with a world supply of PCs that are *substantially* cheaper...to say nothing of the imminent release of a newer G5 line by Apple.

My advice: just keep throwing RAM into the sucker and enjoy what you have...it's heads and shoulders above anything else out there.

kent
May 18th, 2004, 01:54 PM
You're quite right troutmaskreplica: renderings in Maya or Form Z are NOT affected by VRAM, but the modeling phase is. The more VRAM a computer has the easier a big model (with lots of detail) is to work on. The processor is only responsible for rendering the model. I was referring to the size of the model not the end result (i.e. the rendering. Sorry for any confusion, I use the two terms (model and rendering) interchangeably...

hmto
May 18th, 2004, 11:33 PM
Beat me to the punch "pg". This is no different than a car purchase. There is a point when the depreciation gets to be a softer blow when trading up and usually happens 4-5 years down the road. Granted with tech items we are talking shorter periods but 6 months to chase negligible benefits makes no economical sense in any sense be it business or otherwise. Seems to me you should be using a pro desktop for the work you do and an earlier post had mentioned such a scenario with your pb. 2 G's every 6 months is killer especially when you can still probably fetch 2 for the machine in say another two years down the line. I still recall when you sold you first gen 17" and seems to me you lost about 2 G's in that transaction. That would make 4000 if you sold this for 3000. What you also failed to mention when speaking of plunking down 5000 for a new machine in the near future is the proceeds from the sale of your current machine would offset that. No potshots Pamela, but me thinks you are foolish with regards to money sense in this situation.

hmto
May 18th, 2004, 11:34 PM
Beat me to the punch "pg". This is no different than a car purchase. There is a point when the depreciation gets to be a softer blow when trading up and usually happens 4-5 years down the road. Granted with tech items we are talking shorter periods but 6 months to chase negligible benefits makes no economical sense in any sense be it business or otherwise. Seems to me you should be using a pro desktop for the work you do and an earlier post had mentioned such a scenario with your pb. 2 G's every 6 months is killer especially when you can still probably fetch 2 for the machine in say another two years down the line. I still recall when you sold you first gen 17" and seems to me you lost about 2 G's in that transaction. That would make 4000 if you sold this for 3000. What you also failed to mention when speaking of plunking down 5000 for a new machine in the near future is the proceeds from the sale of your current machine would offset that. No potshots Pamela, but me thinks you are foolish with regards to money sense in this situation. graemlins/nuts.gif

iMatvei
May 18th, 2004, 11:49 PM
It's good to hear you guy' advice in this thread. We, too often, get caught up in upgraditis.

I second the powermac+powerbook/ibook combo for pamela. Seems like you need all the performance possible and that a powerbook will always leave you wantin'

elmer
May 19th, 2004, 10:53 AM
The other thing about upgraditis -- the more machines you own, the larger chance that one of them will have a defect.
On the other hand, if you always sell in less than a year, then you are always getting free warranty.
hmmm.

Sonal
May 19th, 2004, 12:43 PM
The other thing about upgraditis -- the more machines you own, the larger chance that one of them will have a defect.
On the other hand, if you always sell in less than a year, then you are always getting free warranty.
hmmm.
On the other hand, given the money you would needlessly spend by taking the depreciation hit through constant upgrading, you could probably afford 3 years of AppleCare. Hmmm.... smile.gif

(( p g ))
May 19th, 2004, 01:14 PM
No matter what you own, there will always be a newer, faster computer just around the corner. The question is whether the bump-up in speed will pay any dividends to your business. In my view, the difference in speed between a top G4 and a G5 just isn't worth the dough. If I need more disk space, I'll plunk down $200 and get a firewire external...more RAM, I'll jam another gig in there...but buying new every year is a recipe for throwing bad money after good (just my opinion). For a business to be successful, there are just too many other things where money like should be invested (e.g., advertising, marketing, memberships, staff, etc.) I'll buy another Mac some day, but that purchase will be determined by my needs (and my accountant!), rather than my wants.