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I repair Apple devices. Is it worth sinking any $$$ into a PowerPC Mac?

     As a person who repairs Apple computers and smartphones as a hobby and job, I recently received several PowerPC Macs, ranging from a PowerBook G3, up to a PowerMac G5, and a few in between. A few of them require money to be sunken into them for repair. I was wondering if it was really worth it to repair the machines if they are so old, and this would be a great place to find out. They would be nice collectable items. Thank you in advance.

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Only if it's worth it to you. I still use PowerPC Macs quite often, but I wouldn't spend a lot of money on parts. You can often get the parts for these machines for free. Can you list all of the Macs you got? Some are worth more than others in terms of collectability. 

Main System: Phobos

AMD Ryzen 7 2700 (8C/16T), ASRock B450 Steel Legend, 16GB G.SKILL Aegis DDR4 3000MHz, AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB (XFX), 960GB Crucial M500, 2TB Seagate BarraCuda, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations/macOS Catalina

 

Secondary System: York

Intel Core i7-2600 (4C/8T), ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3, 16GB GEIL Enhance Corsa DDR3 1600MHz, Zotac GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB, 240GB ADATA Ultimate SU650, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

 

General Use Mac: Mid 2011 27" Apple iMac

Intel Core i5-2400 (4C/4T), 16GB Various DDR3 1067MHz, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB, 500GB Crucial MX500, 1TB Seagate Barracuda, macOS High Sierra 10.13.6/Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

 

Mac mini (Used as macOS server): Late 2009 Mac mini 3,1

Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 (2C/2T), 8GB DDR3 1067MHz, NVIDIA GeForce 9400 256MB, 480GB OWC Mercury Electra 3G, macOS Sierra 10.12

 

Storage Server: Clover (soon to be retired after more than a decade of reliable operation)

Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 (2C/2T), 8GB DDR2 800MHz, 160GB Western Digital Caviar SE (boot), 1TB Western Digital Caviar Blue (2x, storage), FreeNAS 11.3-U1

 

Main Laptop: Mid 2017 13" Apple MacBook Pro

Intel Core i5-7360U (2C/4T), 8GB LPDDR3 2133MHz, Intel Iris Plus 640, 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD, macOS Mojave 10.14

 

Machines below are in use on a temporary basis for Folding@home work

 

Folding Box 1: Dell OptiPlex 990 SFF

Intel Core i5-2400 (4C/4T), 16GB DDR3 1333MHz, MSI GeForce GT 710 2GB, 1TB Samsung 860 EVO, Windows 8.1 Pro

 

Folding Box 2: Lenovo ThinkCentre M73

Intel Core i5-4430 (4C/4T), 8GB DDR3 1600MHz, 500GB WD Caviar Blue, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

 

Folding Box 3: Dell Precision Workstation T3500

Intel Xeon X5675 (6C/12T), 24GB DDR3 1333MHz, AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB, 500GB Seagate BarraCuda, Windows 8.1 Pro

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For modern daily usability? No

For the sake of a hobby? Yeah they’re pretty fun to work on and with

 

If the goal is to refurb and resell, there is a market for PPC macs, people like them and have a variety of uses for them, from wanting to be on a different architecture to just playing around with an old mac.

 

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3 minutes ago, AppleDolphin said:

     As a person who repairs Apple computers and smartphones as a hobby and job, I recently received several PowerPC Macs, ranging from a PowerBook G3, up to a PowerMac G5, and a few in between. A few of them require money to be sunken into them for repair. I was wondering if it was really worth it to repair the machines if they are so old, and this would be a great place to find out. They would be nice collectable items. Thank you in advance.

Their okay collectors items, but actual value isn't that much really, more of the fun and sentimental values.

Chicago Bears fan, Bear Down

 

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2 minutes ago, AppleDolphin said:

They will have more value.... eventually.

The question is when "eventually" will be. Their value is going up, but slowly. I bought a Rev. A Bondi Blue iMac G3 in early 2020 for $50 with a bad analog board. If the CRT was working I could probably sell it for $100-$150. That's not a lot of value for a Rev. A iMac in truly mint condition. Also, some PPC Macs just plain aren't worth a lot. 

Main System: Phobos

AMD Ryzen 7 2700 (8C/16T), ASRock B450 Steel Legend, 16GB G.SKILL Aegis DDR4 3000MHz, AMD Radeon RX 570 4GB (XFX), 960GB Crucial M500, 2TB Seagate BarraCuda, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations/macOS Catalina

 

Secondary System: York

Intel Core i7-2600 (4C/8T), ASUS P8Z68-V/GEN3, 16GB GEIL Enhance Corsa DDR3 1600MHz, Zotac GeForce GTX 550 Ti 1GB, 240GB ADATA Ultimate SU650, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

 

General Use Mac: Mid 2011 27" Apple iMac

Intel Core i5-2400 (4C/4T), 16GB Various DDR3 1067MHz, AMD Radeon HD 6970M 1GB, 500GB Crucial MX500, 1TB Seagate Barracuda, macOS High Sierra 10.13.6/Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.8

 

Mac mini (Used as macOS server): Late 2009 Mac mini 3,1

Intel Core 2 Duo P8700 (2C/2T), 8GB DDR3 1067MHz, NVIDIA GeForce 9400 256MB, 480GB OWC Mercury Electra 3G, macOS Sierra 10.12

 

Storage Server: Clover (soon to be retired after more than a decade of reliable operation)

Intel Core 2 Duo E8500 (2C/2T), 8GB DDR2 800MHz, 160GB Western Digital Caviar SE (boot), 1TB Western Digital Caviar Blue (2x, storage), FreeNAS 11.3-U1

 

Main Laptop: Mid 2017 13" Apple MacBook Pro

Intel Core i5-7360U (2C/4T), 8GB LPDDR3 2133MHz, Intel Iris Plus 640, 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD, macOS Mojave 10.14

 

Machines below are in use on a temporary basis for Folding@home work

 

Folding Box 1: Dell OptiPlex 990 SFF

Intel Core i5-2400 (4C/4T), 16GB DDR3 1333MHz, MSI GeForce GT 710 2GB, 1TB Samsung 860 EVO, Windows 8.1 Pro

 

Folding Box 2: Lenovo ThinkCentre M73

Intel Core i5-4430 (4C/4T), 8GB DDR3 1600MHz, 500GB WD Caviar Blue, Windows 10 Pro for Workstations

 

Folding Box 3: Dell Precision Workstation T3500

Intel Xeon X5675 (6C/12T), 24GB DDR3 1333MHz, AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB, 500GB Seagate BarraCuda, Windows 8.1 Pro

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In a IDEAL case you would perform component level repair, but that requires skills, and tools.

 

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4 minutes ago, AppleDolphin said:

They will have more value.... eventually.

Eventually is potentially multiple decades, but at the same time it can go lower in its value, since theres a decent amount of PowerPC Macs still out in the wild.

Chicago Bears fan, Bear Down

 

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As a collector item maybe, it depends on which models. For usability, no. I have a Mac mini with a G4, a "bondi blue" iMac G3, a clamshell mac in mint condition, and an iMac G4 (swivel monitor). Even when not connected to the internet the UI is laggy with a fresh install of Mac OS 10.5(?) on the G4's. The iMac G3 isn't great to look at for extended periods of time with the CRT monitor. The ibook is actually nice to use, the frosty white keyboard just looks cool and the ibook makes a cool electrical/mechanical noise when running. Hard to explain.

You could also think of it as, if you don't find/purchase the parts needed now, it may be harder to find parts in the future.

 

CPU - FX 8350 @ 4.5GHZ GPU - Radeon 5700  Mobo - M5A99FX Pro R2.0 RAM - Crucial Ballistix 16GB @ 1600 PSU - Corsair CX600M CPU Cooler - Hyper 212 EVO Storage - Samsung EVO 250GB, WD Blue 1TB

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  • 1 month later...

The PowerMac G5 may be worth refurbishing to operation, and you may be able to get a few bucks since some people are still locked on that platform, though by this point the number is getting pretty small. Still, there are a few studios who use them.

 

Like it or not, there are some situations where upgrading hardware isn't an option. My father clung on to his Core Duo Macbook for as long as he possibly could, because as soon as he got rid of it, his $3,000 Sound Devices AD / DA converter was basically useless because it could not work with a 64-bit capable system. This kind of thing is more common than you might think. Last time he upgraded his mac, the cost of upgrading software packages added almost $4,000 to the purchase cost as well. Sticking on the same old software platform can allow people to avoid that kind of upgrade. Crummy situation to be in, but very real none the less.

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