View Full Version : New XPS2+SonomaPM vs Powerbook

Feb 26, 2005, 04:09 PM
I thought this would be an interesting topic, plus I'm actually in the market for a ~$2200-2300 notebook, preferably a desktop replacement... The new Sonoma coupled with a revamped GeForce6800( :eek: ), I mean, maybe I could deal with windows for this kind of power vs. a R9700 and a 4 year+ old processor...

Intel/Windows seems to be significantly upping the mobile line, do you think this will somehow compell Apple to get something new out soon?

Anyway, any thoughts? I know its Dell, but... it looks like it would pack a lot of punch both for gaming and for digital audio work... its apparently on par with the PB for battery life (using the P-M) as well...

Feb 26, 2005, 04:12 PM
You got a link to this laptop and its specs?

Feb 26, 2005, 04:21 PM
The Dell page is here (http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/productdetails.aspx/inspn_xps2?c=)
I saw a breif review recently, cant find the link though... :(
It apparently uses the new "Sonoma" chipset, (P-M 533fsb) with some sort of mobile 6800 Ultra, and can at least (potentially) support sata!

Feb 26, 2005, 04:24 PM
Ah found this (http://hardware.gamespot.com/Story-ST-15427-1541-x-x-x) (clearly unbiased :rolleyes: ) preview...

Feb 26, 2005, 04:29 PM
OK, well, obviously that Dell will wipe the floor with any Apple laptop (2GHz P-M on a 533MHz BUS, 256MB 6800 PCI-E). The Apple doesn't stand a hope in hell :eek:

But, what do you want to do? If you want to game, and can get along with Windows then go for it. But, if you want to work, and prefer OS X, you'll be amazed (as I was) with how fast PBs feel despite the numbers.

I recently got a 1.5GHz 15" stock (512MB, 80GB, 9700 64MB). And as a fairly long time critic of the PowerBook I was, and am, amazed by how fast it feels. The new ones with their slightly faster processor, and faster harddrive, plus if you up the RAM to 1GB (with 3rd party memory ;)) will do anything pretty much as well as the Dell...apart from game of course.

Feb 26, 2005, 04:35 PM
I love that the "amazing" battery life is two hours :)

Feb 26, 2005, 04:42 PM
edesignuk, Speed with common apps was a slight worry of mine, as I have a PM (G4 800/10.3/1024ram) right now and it seems quite sluggish with Safari and Office2k4, even Word...maybe I should try and get to an Apple store... Also, what is your battery life like, especially when using wifi? Do you see the "spinning beachball" much with safari? Also do you find the PB fragile? they look rather delicate or 'petite' (at least!)

Feb 26, 2005, 04:44 PM
Really? That was a slight worry of mine, as I have a PM (G4 800/10.3/1024ram) right now and it seems quite sluggish with Safari and Office2k4, even Word...maybe I should try and get to an Apple store... Also, what is your battery life like, especially when using wifi? Do you see the "spinning beachball" much with safari?
I use Firefox, and unless I'm loading a page with a lot of big images I don't see a beach ball.

I'm sitting in the living room now on battery life, using WiFi with BT disabled, just over 3hrs left on the battery :cool:

Feb 26, 2005, 04:46 PM
wow sounds nice :) . Hmm, the age old question of gaming vs stability and style...

Feb 26, 2005, 04:48 PM
wow sounds nice :) . Hmm, the age old question of gaming vs stability and style...
That's what it boils down to. Only you can make that decision.

Feb 26, 2005, 04:49 PM
The dell is going to be much, much more powerful and more durable. They have better support (in my many experiences). you're getting a much better deal performance-wise at least (until the spyware builds up -- you really can't let it happen). but in a year, when you see dual-core powerbooks, you're gonna be pissed that you bought a dell.

one of thebest things about apple is that you can get a top-of-the-line powerbook (w/o top of the line ram) for about 2500 dollars, as opposed to over 3500 bucks for the dell that is configured with an 100 gig hd and the higher-end processor.

Just thought I'd let you know one more thing about the dell: it will start to look like absolute **** after using it, with palmgrease and all. the paint wears away and make it look disgusting. actually, the paint hasn't rubbed off ... i guess the palm rests just get stained, somehow (and i don;t use my computer with dirty hands). the good thing about the dell is that once it starts looking like crap, it's alright to draw on it and scratch it for fun. you should see my palm rests right now :)

Feb 26, 2005, 05:07 PM
lol, I used to "re-label" the buttons on my old PC keyboard ('self destruct' ect.) :) But for the days of my old Compaq, it looked bad in beige from day 1 and looked exactly the same right up to death. :D
Actually, I configured the XPS2 (100Gb, wireless) and with the education discount its ~$2300 (w/ 512mb, know I would need to upgrade that...) So its right on par w/ the 17" PB.

Hmm, I know Apple will probably release something totally new very soon, (I was hoping they would have already so the decision would be a no brainer! :rolleyes: ) but I'm not sure if I can wait another 6+mo as I really need a laptop or atleast a new desktop if not for this term then definitely for the Fall05 term... though I really am attached to the speed/stability of OSX, considering the Dell already has all new technology, plus it could play all the games I miss...so basically for me its ibook (temporary solution until a revised PB) vs pb (and hope that it does tiger/future apps fine,) vs the XPS2... hm, thank you for the replies its always interesting to see the pros and cons of Apple vs PC elucidated...

Feb 26, 2005, 05:24 PM
why do people think all gamers want these (IMO) ugly case-modified PC. its the complete opposite of what apple do, instead of adding perspex, lights, weird patters and crap Apple just release pretty visually amazing pieces of art.

but yea. no matter how fast a computer gets, if its running XP its crippled.


i bought a Gericom P4 3.2ghz with HT, 7200rpm 60gb HD (8mb buffer of course), 768mb ram, Geforce FX Go5600 128mb. it takes about 3x as long to boot up than my PowerBook at a measly 1.5ghz. why? virus scanners, spyware stuff, all clogging up my system. which is needed to run windows if your going to be online.
but on the same hand it did run Farcry and Half Life 2 very well.

BUT you don't need me to say this. your here because your a mac user and you already know windows faults.

ps. that laptop looks alright but its not my style at all. its kinda 90's Sony.

Feb 26, 2005, 06:22 PM
I used to have an Athlon Thunderbird (pretty fast a couple of years ago) running XP and all that lark - played the best games, got tonnes of spyware (Theres nothing you can do par getting it checked on system boot), viruses, pop ups, crashes, driver problems, configuration problems, GUI problems...I could go on. And then I switched to an emac. An EMAC : Apples "Low End" education system, and you know what - it's better than any PC Ive owned. I technically went down in spec (Clock cycles, bus speed etc) when I got it - but you can do work with it. You actually get stuff done instead of spending all your life on technical helplines because the latest driver has a conflict issue with your audio card or somthing. Go with the mac every time. I've had a play with the PB G4's rev D and they're amazingly powerful for the listed spec. On top of that, they look good, the software is all compatible, there is no spyware and there is no viruses!

Feb 26, 2005, 06:28 PM
I totally agree the XPS2 is quite tasteless, the eponym "painted whore" seems amazingly fitting compared to the PB!! Durability would be a real + though, especially considering their "accidental damage protection" program...

If PCs are so bad (having tried to build and maintain one at one point I tend to agree!) then why do so incredibly many people choose them over Macs?

From what I am hearing though, the issue's not even it being a Dell, or being more/less powerful or fast (hw), but rather the efficiency of an OSX laptop vs the problem riddled WinXP...

PS I've had almost the same experience, getting a fast PC, playing tons of games, and dealing with tons of problems, then switching full-time to a mac and having almost no problems whatsoever... The thing is though, that I really do miss some of the games, plus I hate seeing Mac games that have higher requirements full-price 2-3 years after they've hit the 'bargin bin' for PC... so I guess its just sorting through the tradeoff...

Feb 26, 2005, 06:43 PM
I just posted about this in a previous thread, but recently I had to do some stuff on a P-M laptop (Vaio Z1). Admittedly, it was only 1.3 GHz, but it still has a 400MHz FSB and 1MB L2. RAM was slightly less than my PowerBook, but comparable, and it had plenty for the basic tasks I was doing. And this thing felt DOG SLOW next to my wimpy little 1.33GHz rev. C PowerBook G4. Trying to do more than one thing at a time was like asking for the special-est of favors. General system operation really made me miss my computer.

I also have had a chance to use a Thinkpad X31 (I may be slightly off on the exact model number, but it was definitely a X-series from '04), P-M at 1.7 GHz (I think, 90% sure), with 1GB RAM. I didn't do even as much with it as with the Vaio, just web browsing and ssh-ing into my server to edit some web pages, but it did not feel any faster than my PB.

Now, I am NOT saying that these laptops aren't actually faster, or aren't better for you or anyone else. I am saying, however, that it might be a little too easy to be blinded by some of the specs (especially FSB) of PC laptops. In real life, what kind of performance we experience from our computers depends on so many variables, of which raw MHz is but one. On this board, obviously, most people feel more productive on a computer running OS X, and I do think that should figure into any comparitive speed discussion-- yes, it's not hardware, but it's too big a factor to ignore. Simply having to run anti-virus/spywire on a Windows computer takes a % tax off the top of your CPU's capabilities. In sum, you may in fact be using your computer for things that highlight the Dell's undboubted strengths and advantages, but then again you might not. Only you can answer that.

Lastly, the XPS series does not really have a direct competitor from Apple, speed issues aside. That thing is a beast. Apple just doesn't (at the moment) make anything that looks remotely like that. I don't just mean that in the superficial sense, either; size and weight are legitimate grounds for comparison when it comes to laptops. This Dell just isn't as portable as a PB, if that matters to you.

Feb 26, 2005, 07:07 PM
Tom's hardware has a preview of that notebook.


The doom three benchmarks alone are pretty staggering. They didn't call the article the "...return of the king" for nothing...


Feb 26, 2005, 09:25 PM
You can get a 7200 RPM HD on that Dell. Man that thing must zoom. Although I agree that they arent really for the same market, Apple really needs to have a 7200 RPM drive as an option on the next revision.

Feb 27, 2005, 02:12 PM
Wow that Tom's Hardware preview was impressive! It even dominated the X800(xt)!! Thats amazing that they have a notebook capable of that kind of comperably high performance vs desktops.... arg, which to go with!! :o The PB is so small and reliable and sleek, d+mn you fx5200/9700 and your relative outdated-ness!!
Its interesting that the P-Ms seem slow, I've noticed just doing little tasks like webbrowsing on a PC takes a bit more patience since you can't just intuitively 'tab-away' like in safari...

Feb 27, 2005, 04:31 PM
well, I think its come down to compatibility+Screen Resolution (very much a fan of multi-tasking and word/webresearch,) vs somewhat older (though perfected) technology so I'm going to go will the XPS2. I'll still have my 'ole Quicksilver for anything I need an Apple to do, and maybe I'll upgrade to a PMG5 or an iMac a little down the road. I just can't justify spending $2k on a computer that doesn't offer absolute desktop-type performance. Plus ~1200x1900 is higher rez than my 20" lcd!! Finally, to step back into the world of gaming!! :D Thnx to all for their posts and insight, maybe I'll be able to join the PB club next time!! :)