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View Full Version : Need Your Advice: Powerbook or MacBook Pro?




edmonton
Mar 24, 2006, 10:48 AM
I will become a new switcher soon, from IBM ThinkPad.

My interests lie on either the latest Powerbook or the 1.86GHz Duo Core MacBook Pro. Due to the limitation of the budget, I cannot go too far.

The sweetest price I can get for these babes are:

CAD$1624 for a refurbished 15" Powerbook G4 (1.67GHz/512MB/80GB/SuperDrive/ATI 128M VRAM) directly from Apple using a coupon I got;

or,

CAD$2099 for a brand new 15" MacBook Pro (1.83GHz/512MB/80GB/SuperDrive/ATI 128M VRAM) from Apple using my student's discount.

Moneywise, I certainly lean towards the Powerbook since I can use the money I saved to max the RAM and I am sure it will run perfectly for me.

However, I do love the option the Intel Mac offers to install Windows XP natively, and I will love to have a free iSight as I do video conferencing a lot. I just don't know if all the additional features and performance boost worth the extra CAD$500.

What's more, I do have a bigger concern towards the new MacBook Pro: the NOISE issue. I read a lot of complains from HERE (http://www.macintouch.com/readerreports/macbookpro/topic4057.html), and I am quite worried about it.

The one thing I am not comfortable with my former ThinkPad is that the fan is always spinning at low frequency to keep the Centrino CPU at around 40 degrees, even when I was doing nothing. i.e. I am easily distracted by the noise my laptop made. This is one of the main reasons why I want to make the switch. I test drived my wife's iBook and I love it. Though it might not be as powerful as my ThinkPad, it's always quiet. The fan seldom works though the CPU temp is always above 45 degrees. The thing is, I don't mind it generate heat (I am using external keyboard/mouse), I need it to be quiet.

My request to you guys is, give me some advice on which one to get, the classical Powerbook, or the shining MacBook Pro? For those of you who already got a MacBook Pro, can you justify the noise issue? Is MacBook Pro really noisier than Powerbook G4?

Thank you for your attention. Your input will be highly appreciated!



bokdol
Mar 24, 2006, 11:25 AM
I will become a new switcher soon, from IBM ThinkPad.

CAD$1624 for a refurbished 15" Powerbook G4 (1.67GHz/512MB/80GB/SuperDrive/ATI 128M VRAM) directly from Apple using a coupon I got;

or,

CAD$2099 for a brand new 15" MacBook Pro (1.83GHz/512MB/80GB/SuperDrive/ATI 128M VRAM) from Apple using my student's discount.

Moneywise, I certainly lean towards the Powerbook since I can use the money I saved to max the RAM and I am sure it will run perfectly for me.

Thank you for your attention. Your input will be highly appreciated!

i dont know much about the MBP but my 12 inch powerbook picks up a lot of fan noise when i try to run world of warcraft. but if i had a choice i would go for a mbp instead of a powerbook. i dont mind high noise. alotof computer i have have load noise. plus your more future proof with the mbp.

Kingsly
Mar 24, 2006, 11:46 AM
The MBP noise issue is not nearly as bad as people make it out to be. Mine has it and it not any worse than the high pitched whine emitted from CRT television (which people never complain about)
Get the MBP.

munckee
Mar 24, 2006, 12:18 PM
I just bought a 12" PB (used). I'm waiting until some of the bugs are worked out with the MBP. My original intent was to keep the PB only until CS3 comes out (most of my needs deal with adobe software), but so far I've been really happy with my PB. May just decide to hang on to it for a while.

MattyMac
Mar 24, 2006, 12:37 PM
wait and see the specs of the new macbook (ibook) that may should be coming out soon..maybe the specs would be good enough for your needs. Maybe a couple weeks from mow...hopeully!

tribe3
Mar 24, 2006, 12:55 PM
Those refurbs are overpriced IMO...

I have the MBP and I'm very happy. It's very fast and when all apps become Universal it will only get better.

If you get the 1.83 you WILL NEED at least 512MB more RAM.

I would get the MBP with no hesitation

brikeh
Mar 24, 2006, 01:09 PM
Im very happy with my new 12 inch pb. Maxed out the ram and its plenty fast for my needs.

jacobj
Mar 24, 2006, 02:07 PM
As far as the noise is concerned don't worry about it.. honestly I am using an MBP right now and with even the lowest of ambient noise around you cannot hear a thing from the machine..

sel1965
Mar 24, 2006, 02:16 PM
Same here, no noise what so ever! Don't let a few scare you off. I am using my MBP right now and I do about 10 hours a day and noise is not a factor. You will be better off in the long run with a MBP!

ozone
Mar 24, 2006, 02:32 PM
Can't speak to the noise issue, but I bought a 17" PB (1.67 GHz) on deep discount and it's NICE:D . I don't hear any noise, and it's a lot faster than my current TC4200 Centrino tablet.

Really, for ordinary purposes, this thing is more than fast enough. I'm not keen on iSight because a lot of places I go forbid cameras (keep that in mind if you do consulting or research).

So, I don't think you can go wrong with a PB or MBP. However, if you get a PB, I'd make sure you were getting an adequate "discount" on it.

edmonton
Mar 24, 2006, 04:08 PM
Thank you guys for all the replies.

I think I will wait till Apple's April event is out and see if they offer something new, maybe a revision of the MacBook Pro or a further discount on the discontinued models.

As for my need, I think Powerbook will serve me well in the foreseeable future. After all, DDR2+Bluetooth2+128MB VRAM+DVD DL+Firewire 800 is really a configuration of tomorrow's PC laptop. My biggest concern regarding the Powerbook is that I don't know if Apple and all the software giants will still support PowerPC line when the transition to Intel Mac is over. i.e. will all the new Mac programs be able to run natively on a PowerPC Mac? Or will some software vendor ignore the "Universal binary" and design something specifically for Intel Mac? If that is the case, I think I will rethink my choice. But up till now, I lean more towards the Powerbook.(I love the name!)

princealfie
Mar 24, 2006, 04:21 PM
Personally MacBook Pro unless you need 17' screen then PB.

sel1965
Mar 24, 2006, 04:40 PM
That's just it, your selection of software will soon be all but non existant! There is a thread in here somewhere I believe that dicusses this very issue.

edmonton
Mar 24, 2006, 05:26 PM
So it's like buying a Mac that can only run OS 9 when OS X comes out?

It would be very helpful if someone can refer me to that thread discussing the software issue.

sel1965
Mar 24, 2006, 06:03 PM
So it's like buying a Mac that can only run OS 9 when OS X comes out?

It would be very helpful if someone can refer me to that thread discussing the software issue.

Here it is. Apple is moving forward and not looking back!

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=188451

edmonton
Mar 24, 2006, 08:15 PM
Is there any reliable source to confirm that in the foreseeable future, Apple will drop the use of Universal Binary and start their next generation of Intel-ONLY binary?

THX1139
Mar 24, 2006, 10:07 PM
That's just it, your selection of software will soon be all but non existant! There is a thread in here somewhere I believe that dicusses this very issue.

You are spreading mis-information. The point is that really soon they will stop making NON-universal binaries that are for PowerPC only. The key is that UB runs on BOTH PowerPC or Intel. Just because the software is released as UB doesn't mean it won't run on PowerPC. Apple has stated that it will continue to support PowerPC for years to come...hence the reason to port software as UB. Who knows when software will be released as Intel only. It wouldn't make sense to port as Intel only because once the software is ported to X-code, it's only a simple step to create UB. By the time we see Intel ONLY software, all current market PPC machines will be really old and ready for retirement unless you tend to hang on to equipment more than 5 or 6 years.

Edit: I just wanted to add that it would be absolutely crazy to not make software available for PowerPC because there are literally millions of machines out there that aren't going away for many years. If they stop doing updates for PPC, they will shut out millions of the installed user base. No, they will continue to port UB until it's no longer feasible.

THX1139
Mar 24, 2006, 10:42 PM
Is there any reliable source to confirm that in the foreseeable future, Apple will drop the use of Universal Binary and start their next generation of Intel-ONLY binary?

There is no hard evidence because Apple wouldn't announce something negative like that until the time comes. However, it's not rocket science to figure it out. Think about how many PowerMacs are out there! Millions? If they stop porting software to PPC (Intel only, not just UB) they will be losing potential software income from millions and millions of users. Not to mention their good-will. No, they will continue to support PPC for years to come, or at least until it's no longer financially feasible. Best guess would be when Intel Macs are over 70% of installed user base. Then they will stop so that they can push the remaining 30% to buy new machines. How long do you think it will take for 70% of current Mac users to buy an Intel machine? My best guess is around 4 years from when Apple stops selling PPC at the end of 2006. The only way it would be sooner is if Apple makes really CHEAP and FASTER machines to justify users to make the switch. Not going to happen! I suppose there are 100's of thousands of users who will hang on to PPC for years and years because they don't need the extra power. Think about how many G3 users are still out there. The lab at our school just bought 35 dual core G5's last semester. Their budget only allows them to buy new machines every 5 years. There are literally thousands of situations that are like that.

As for Intel only software? That will probably happen around 2010-2012 for OS updates. I really believe that current shipping machines will be good through Leopard (2007?), probably one more major OS release beyond that. Smaller software vendors may jump ship a year or two early, depends on how hard it is for them to select the "render PPC" checkbox when they port the software. Remember, you read it here first!

sel1965
Mar 24, 2006, 11:01 PM
You are spreading mis-information. The point is that really soon they will stop making NON-universal binaries that are for PowerPC only. The key is that UB runs on BOTH PowerPC or Intel. Just because the software is released as UB doesn't mean it won't run on PowerPC. Apple has stated that it will continue to support PowerPC for years to come...hence the reason to port software as UB. Who knows when software will be released as Intel only. It wouldn't make sense to port as Intel only because once the software is ported to X-code, it's only a simple step to create UB. By the time we see Intel ONLY software, all current market PPC machines will be really old and ready for retirement unless you tend to hang on to equipment more than 5 or 6 years.

Edit: I just wanted to add that it would be absolutely crazy to not make software available for PowerPC because there are literally millions of machines out there that aren't going away for many years. If they stop doing updates for PPC, they will shut out millions of the installed user base. No, they will continue to port UB until it's no longer feasible.

Did the article not say they are going to pull non universal software from the shelves to make room for universal software? If not that's what I got from it.

ethen
Mar 24, 2006, 11:01 PM
UB will be around for around 2+ more years, i dont see it to be pulled off until there are significantly more intel mac than ppc mac

sel1965
Mar 24, 2006, 11:03 PM
There is no hard evidence because Apple wouldn't announce something negative like that until the time comes. However, it's not rocket science to figure it out. Think about how many PowerMacs are out there! Millions? If they stop porting software to PPC (Intel only, not just UB) they will be losing potential software income from millions and millions of users. Not to mention their good-will. No, they will continue to support PPC for years to come, or at least until it's no longer financially feasible. Best guess would be when Intel Macs are over 70% of installed user base. Then they will stop so that they can push the remaining 30% to buy new machines. How long do you think it will take for 70% of current Mac users to buy an Intel machine? My best guess is around 4 years from when Apple stops selling PPC at the end of 2006. The only way it would be sooner is if Apple makes really CHEAP and FASTER machines to justify users to make the switch. Not going to happen! I suppose there are 100's of thousands of users who will hang on to PPC for years and years because they don't need the extra power. Think about how many G3 users are still out there. The lab at our school just bought 35 dual core G5's last semester. Their budget only allows them to buy new machines every 5 years. There are literally thousands of situations that are like that.

As for Intel only software? That will probably happen around 2010-2012 for OS updates. I really believe that current shipping machines will be good through Leopard (2007?), probably one more major OS release beyond that. Smaller software vendors may jump ship a year or two early, depends on how hard it is for them to select the "render PPC" checkbox when they port the software. Remember, you read it here first!

This is pure speculation on your part.

tribe3
Mar 24, 2006, 11:28 PM
As long as there is a market/demand for PPC software companies will produce them. Why not if its profitable? This is a business and business goal is to sell and make money.
Like someone said before, with virtually millions of PPC's out there you can rest assured that you will have abundant software for many years to come.

THX1139
Mar 25, 2006, 12:37 AM
This is pure speculation on your part.

This whole website is speculation on everyone's part. Give me a break! Least I try to give sound reasoning instead of just throwing out blanket perdictions. Anyone who thinks PPC is dead within the next few years hasn't learned from history...or knows nothing of economics.

THX1139
Mar 25, 2006, 12:39 AM
UB will be around for around 2+ more years, i dont see it to be pulled off until there are significantly more intel mac than ppc mac

Yeah...what I said, only shorter. I'd give it longer than 2 years..probably around 4, maybe more.

THX1139
Mar 25, 2006, 12:42 AM
Did the article not say they are going to pull non universal software from the shelves to make room for universal software? If not that's what I got from it.

Yeah, and so what? UB runs on both PPC and Intel so it doesn't matter if they pull the non-Intel software. Actually, it make perfect sense and has nothing to do with PPC. Soon all Mac software will be UB...then in the distant future, it will be Intel only.

PPC is not dead...it's still being sold by Apple.

Roba
Mar 25, 2006, 03:03 AM
In regards to the noise issue i am one of the many people who do not have any problems. My MBP is whisper quiet except for when i am using the DVD-Slot. I have have been using mine for coming up to two weeks now and i have never even heard the fan been used once. This machine is so quiet and a lot more quiet than the former PC that i was using.

Max on Macs
Mar 25, 2006, 07:54 AM
The noise on the MacBook Pro isn't that bad. My MacBook Pro makes noise all the time when on battery power, but it doesn' make as much noise as my old Powerbook made. Only difference is MBP makes it all the time when on battery, PowerBook only made it when doing something CPU intensive.

I strongly recommend you get the MBP. I maen, by getting the PowerBook you're paying $1600 CAD for obsolte and already outdated technology. You really don't want to be doing that. If you can possibly afford to, get the MBP, since that's current.

cherry38
Mar 25, 2006, 10:04 AM
Do you really want to spend all that money on a refurbished, outdated model?!

Get the MBP. If you're worried about the whine, do what I did and get it direct from an Apple Store. Bring it in and complain if it makes noise during the first two weeks and they can do an exchange for you (I did this with the LCD whine).

If you can afford it, I would def. recommend upping the MBP's memory to 1 gig. I have the 2.0ghz, 1 gig model and while Rosetta is snappy, I can't imagine it would perform that well with just 512. But then again I've never tried it so who knows :)

edmonton
Mar 26, 2006, 12:37 AM
Well, the thing is I am currently using my wife's iBook G4 1GHz and I am happy with that. I think the Powerbook will be enough powerful for me for at least 2-3 years. God know what will happen to Intel Macs at that time, maybe Apple can offer 15" MacBook Pro for less than 1 lb.

As you can tell, I am more leaning towards to Powerbook as it's a better price for my need. But I heard some bad things about the model I am interested in. Someone mentioned to me that "the current generation Powerbook G4 with DDR2 ram and the higher screen resolutions are also Rev As and have MORE problems than the MPBs for which they were a partial prototype."

Can someone confirm that?

tribe3
Mar 26, 2006, 01:13 AM
Well, the thing is I am currently using my wife's iBook G4 1GHz and I am happy with that. I think the Powerbook will be enough powerful for me for at least 2-3 years. God know what will happen to Intel Macs at that time, maybe Apple can offer 15" MacBook Pro for less than 1 lb.

As you can tell, I am more leaning towards to Powerbook as it's a better price for my need. But I heard some bad things about the model I am interested in. Someone mentioned to me that "the current generation Powerbook G4 with DDR2 ram and the higher screen resolutions are also Rev As and have MORE problems than the MPBs for which they were a partial prototype."

Can someone confirm that?

If you are leaning towards the PB with DL it's a great machine. Even with the lines on the screen it was a dream.

I sold mine to get the MBP. The MBP is not a prototype. It's a well thought and finished product that operates smooth and trouble free, and it's amazingly fast for some operations.

The CPU noise is a non-issue, it's irrelevant, meaningless, it exists more on the heads of some obsessed that only focus on the noise and don't use the computer to work and play.

I don't like the refurbs though... they might have been in an Applestore turned on 24/7 365 days a year with thousands of people throwing fingers at it... Try Powerbook Central :http://www.powerbookcentral.com/classifieds/ultimatebb.php/ubb/forum/f/20.html There are ppl that want the latest and greatest and are selling theur like new PB's for around $1500. If they ask for more you just offer that amount and you'll get an excellent PB at a good price.

Good luck

edmonton
Mar 26, 2006, 03:25 AM
I received two replacements for my defective retail-new iPod nano, and both of them are refurbished but look like new. (The color of the first one is wrong, so I got the second one after returning the first one.)

I called Apple and complained about getting a refurbished for a retail-new. The rep said basically Apple refurbished is not bad at all, it's tested fully functional and looks just like new. If not, I can request replacement. I did end up getting a brand new one with box after asking her to transfer me to the supervisor. Hence, I am pretty confident with Apple's refurbished.

YMMV.