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pgulliver
Mar 3, 2003, 08:40 AM
I'm a potential switcher and went to my closest Apple Store over the weekend to check out the products.

I loved the 12" design, screen, portablility, etc. However, it felt slow to me. Rather, it felt the same speed as the Pentium III desktop I use at work. And if I'm dropping $2k on a computer, I want it to feel snappy and fast.

So here's my question, I was looking at a base model with only 256mb RAM. I understand that OS/X is pretty RAM intensive...if I boosted the RAM to the full 640mb possible, would I notice a signigificant speed boost? Would programs loud quicker, with fewer "bounces"?

My hope would be to have the most common apps I use load (almost)instantenously...ie, Safari, iPhoto, iTunes, and Word and Excel....

Thanks....

PS: What would be the usuable life of the 12" based on previous Mac update cycles? At what point would it become completely obsolete?

hacurio1
Mar 3, 2003, 10:09 AM
I really donít know if more RAM will help the computer open apps faster, but it will make the OS snappier. I felt a big difference in OSX when I went form 256Mb to 1+GB. My computer is very snappy and you can open all the programs you need at once and have them open no prob. RAM will further enrich your experience even tough I donít know if it will make the apps open faster. From my experience, Safari opens in one bounce; word, excel, and power point will open relatively fast, probably two or three bounces, and I only have a 500mhz G4 with tons of RAM. :D

pgulliver
Mar 3, 2003, 10:11 AM
Hey, thanks for the response...another question...

Does your 500mhx G4 have an L3 cache? Does the L3 really speed any of the operations we are talking about, or does that only come into play when doing something truly enormous, like DV editing?

pilotgi
Mar 3, 2003, 10:19 AM
I don't have the new 12" PowerBook, but I have the 800Mhz iBook. I have Office 2001 installed which runs in OS 9.2 (the iBook has both OSX 10.2.4 and OS 9.2.2). It took 9 seconds to open Excel.

It takes 3 seconds to open Appleworks in OSX, ditto with iPhoto. The G4 in the PowerBook has more power than the G3 in my iBook, mostly because of the Altivec velocity engine and faster bus speed. But as far as the speed with which either one launches applications, they are about the same. My iBook has 640 MB of ram and yes, that does speed things up. My 512 MB memory module crapped out after about two months, and I could really tell the difference while I waited for the replacement.

As far as the usable life, as long as it's working, it's usable. PowerBooks average upgrades every 6-7 months. It just depends on whether or not one of those upgrades is a must-have for you.

In case you're new to the Mac world, most of the Mac faithful are expecting (hoping/praying) Apple to begin using the new IBM PowerPC 970 processor sometime this fall. It is a much more powerful chip than the G4. When we will see one of those in a PowerBook is anybody's guess, but I doubt it will happen this year.

HTH

hugemullens
Mar 3, 2003, 10:25 AM
The L3 cache doesnt seem to play much of a factor execpt in processor intensive things. My mom is on a 733 with no L3 and it feels pretty good. More ram would definetly help. As far as speed, the computer is a lot faster than it feels, if you ask it to do a photoshop render or something similiar it will hold its own against many PC's. Dell's 12 inch ultra mobile is just a 866 pIII, so its got good performance for the market. The useable life should be quite a while, i origonal iMacs are still useable and still have some value and they were released a LONG time ago.

zoetropeuk
Mar 3, 2003, 10:45 AM
I can't believe people are moaning about how quickly an application opens. Where talking seconds here not hours. It takes me 3 seconds to crank one out, but who really cares.
Just get out of bed 30 seconds earlier in the morning to make up for the slower processor.

It often amazes me at how pathetic and small people can be sometimes. If this is your only problem then get the F@ck over it.

How many bounces ??? Get a life !!!

drastik
Mar 3, 2003, 10:45 AM
RAM will definitely speed up everything. One thing about the store models is corrupted permissions. Once you have your own machine, take car of it weell, and it will run faster than the one in the store.

As far as life span. Realistically, you can get four to five years of use before the new ones will be so nice you have to have one. Even when Apple moves to 64 bit, the OS will still un on 32 bit chips for a while. So say four years if you don't have to have the latest thing. On the other hand, I've never heard of a powerbook dying, and I still ocassional use my eight-year-old 3400.

hacurio1
Mar 3, 2003, 10:48 AM
Originally posted by pgulliver
Hey, thanks for the response...another question...

Does your 500mhx G4 have an L3 cache? Does the L3 really speed any of the operations we are talking about, or does that only come into play when doing something truly enormous, like DV editing?

Nop, It only has 1mb of L2 Cache( runing at half the Proc. speed, I think!!) From what I've read, the lack of L3 is not a noteciable if you're not a power user. In other words, you won't feel the diffrence if your e-mailing, using word, powerpoint, or even if your not dealing with huge files in Photoshop. My 500mhz does this all no prob, and it even does 3D, renders complex After Effects projects, and edits in FC not prob, of course it takes alot more time than say, a 1Ghz PB, but it does the job. So it all depends on the criteria of what you whant and what you need.

Hope it helps.

But yes!! Its allways a good idea to MAX RAM.

pgulliver
Mar 3, 2003, 11:10 AM
It also seemed to me in the store that the screen on the 12" was much brighter than the 15" tiBook screen. Has anyone else noticed this, or was it simply the store lighting (or a contrast setting?)?

Kwyjibo
Mar 3, 2003, 11:30 AM
It was probably just set differently at the store. In my expereince most apple displays are simlar enough that if you adjust them to the same point you won't notice a huge change. Below is a snapshot of the birghtness control which is probly what your noticing in the difference because it is one of the few setting options availble. As you can see the user defines the birghtness level rather easily (also alters battery life severly)

timbloom
Mar 3, 2003, 12:15 PM
The lvl3 cache actually helps quite a bit on heavier everyday stuff such as booting the machine, running complex programs...
It really shines on the machines with DDR, since the FSB is still slow, keeps any extra delays away. It will make a difference in the snappiness of the overall machine to, exept for drive-related slowdowns. Don't underestimate that cache much, cause it just takes care of one more bottleneck in the hardware.

yzedf
Mar 3, 2003, 12:39 PM
Originally posted by zoetropeuk
I can't believe people are moaning about how quickly an application opens. Where talking seconds here not hours. It takes me 3 seconds to crank one out, but who really cares.
Just get out of bed 30 seconds earlier in the morning to make up for the slower processor.

It often amazes me at how pathetic and small people can be sometimes. If this is your only problem then get the F@ck over it.

How many bounces ??? Get a life !!!

To a switcher, it does matter. Those of us who have to use Windows on a regular basis don't wait for 9 seconds for Excel to open. I only wait 3 seconds for a Excel file that is 3.5MB to open, from a server in another part of my building.

OS X does not have the instant on feeling (snap if you will) that Windows has.

pgulliver
Mar 3, 2003, 12:43 PM
Thank you yzedf.

That's my feeling as well, I didn't want to report to the obvious troll, but that guy really pissed me off.

I matters because while I have taken the time to learn about Mac, OS X, etc, and am really impressed and want to embrace it, it is difficult for me to justify spending the sums of money required for a decent Mac, and then get performance (not design) the equals a midlevel two year old PC desktop.

I know Apple has chip speed problems, I hope the 970 solves this.

But you're not going to get switchers to feel good about the choice if you insult them.

BubbaTAC
Mar 3, 2003, 01:54 PM
I have been very happy with the performance..the only apps that take a while ot open are office apps and the splash screen makes things worse, thats why safari exists, its instantaneous. I recommend the 12" with all my heart. One nice thing about OSX is that you only have to open the app once, and then you leave it ioen, but closer the window. For that I recommend maxing out the RAM, and then you should be fine :) Its a great box, thee engineering is amazing, I am very happy with it, and guess what, I'm also a switcher. I found that even on a P4 2.4 laptop, things were a little slower than desktops, and Microsoft programs still took a long time to open (whose idea are splash screens anyway?)...I think OSX actually overcomes that
Good luck!
(could you get thic kind of community advice from another computer manufacturer? I think not :)

pgulliver
Mar 3, 2003, 01:57 PM
Hey man, thanks for the advice.

Did you just switch? Are you finding performance of the MS Office Apps is comperable on the 12"? When you say they take a while to open, what are we talking about?

Also, won't that really overload the system to keep many apps open at once?

BubbaTAC
Mar 3, 2003, 01:58 PM
I also think the laptops have longer lives than desktops...Even when the 970 comeso ut, I think it will be a long time before it is in a laptop
Apples may be a little slower, but they are MUCH smaller (some pcs are smallr, yeah, with the drive on the outside) and they use less power...if you want a desktop replacement for SPSS, maybe this isn't for you...if you want a portable that you actually feel comfortable moving (because it is light enough and robust enough) that is fast enough to do anything yo need on the go, then I recommend this machine

pgulliver
Mar 3, 2003, 02:03 PM
I'm not sure what that means.

Ok, my needs:

I'm starting grad school in the fall (assuming they mail me a nice letter sometime this month). I'll be in for 3-4 years, and I want to purchase something now that will last me that long.

I'm looking for a marriage of portability and power, cause I'll be lugging the thing all over to classes, libraries etc. But I also want it to remain a decent machine for a while...I have bad memories of the PC Pentium 1 laptop I bough in 1997 at the start of University, which was completely useless when I was graduating for years later.

I will be really using, for school, only Word, Excel, and internet (whether Safari or whathave you.) I might also be doing some limited statistical work with STATA, a statistics program made for both Windows/OS X.

Personally, I want to be able to play some games, but I'm not a gaming fanatic...probably looking more towards Sim City than some 3d shooter. I want to use iTunes to manage my music, and I photo for photography. I used to be real into printing my own pics (back in the days of the darkroom) I'm hoping the Mac would let me get a little experimental again so I'd probably be using Photoshop Elements or Photoshop 7 (btw...what's the main difference between these two programs)

So, I guess the 12" meets my needs? And will seem fast?

markomarko
Mar 3, 2003, 02:54 PM
But that's the fact of tos x . My dual 867 lacked the 'snap' of my work box, running Win2000 on a 1ghz Athlon.

And my 12' pbook is a little slower yet. You won't get the snap. Don't bother trying. It won't happen.

However, i wonder why you're even bothering with a mac if this detail might hold you back. Get a new pc laptop with 1.5 hours of battery life, **** bluetooth support and a crappy OS instead.

crazzyeddie
Mar 3, 2003, 02:57 PM
If you buy the 12" powerbook, you MUST max out the RAM. By the time that thing is closed to being 'obslete' you will need that 640mb!

bentmywookie
Mar 3, 2003, 03:00 PM
Just wanted to chime in with my experience with an apple laptop . . .

I bought a 400 mhz G3 Lombard when I started college - this is the same computer I use today and will use up until I finish this May. Thus, the Lombard will have lasted most of my college career (3 3/4 yrs.). It's definitely not the fastest machine anymore, and I have been pretty cheap with it too (i.e., haven't upgraded RAM, it's still at 64 megs and I haven't upgraded to X) but this thing definitely runs well enough and fast enough for me to not care too much.

The only iApp I run is iTunes which runs just fine, so I guess I can't help you there, but with regards to how long the computer will last you, I think if you max the RAM it should last you through grad school just fine.

pgulliver
Mar 3, 2003, 03:04 PM
I'm interested for a variety of reasons:

1) stable, well built, easy to use OS
2) iApps
3) Design (I place a premium on well built, well designed products. Apple does this and I want to support them)

But until this weekend, my recent (since college and Since OSX) experience with Macs had been limited to what I could learn online. It was shocking and surprising to get to the Apple Store and find the speed delay on the new laptop.

I was ready to buy a PB 12" this weekend. I didn't because of the speed issue.

People, please don't get snarky about this speed thing. Look, I am the person you want to be buying a Mac. I'm exactly the demographic Apple is targeting...and I've been good and done my research on Mac, after writing them off during high school.

I'm impressed with what I've found.

However, and I know you all know this, Apple will never be able to break into type of market share it wants if this speed issue is not addressed, and fast.

Most people who use a computer, whether they like it or not, are using Windows based computers: in schools, in libraries, in jobs, at public internet cafes, at home....

And people, myself included, are used to the speed and snap of Windows. We may hate a lot of other Windows traits, and may be waiting, hoping, to find a way to move away from Windows. But while Apple prices remain so high, and while there is a noticiable speed delay even to someone just poping into a store and screwing around for 10 minutes...there is a serious problem. Few who are used to speed are willing to drop circa $2000 on a machine that, for whatever its pluses, is slower than what they are used to. Its just not going to happen.

pgulliver
Mar 3, 2003, 03:06 PM
To those of you who offered advice, thanks! I'm still debating, I've just put off my purchase for a week or so.

That message above was only written to those who feel like any slight criticism of a Mac is a direct assault on them, and posted accordingly.

meghop
Mar 3, 2003, 03:27 PM
SPSS is a statistical analysis software package. Psych majors and other people in grad school are usually [painfully] familiar with it. At least in the psych field, it is really the app of choice rather than STATA or Statview. I guess it depends on what your field uses. I run SPSS on my iBook 500mhz. A little slow, but otherwise fine. It runs great on my 667mhz tower at home.

My sister is a college student who just got the Superdrive 12" PB and she loves it. Big improvement over her iBook in terms of speed doing things like iphoto and photoshop and all. It's, in my opinion, the perfect student machine. I am wishing I could get one but there is no more student loan money for me for this year, :-(, and besides, my iBook is still holding its own as a notebook/stats/contaact manager/otherwise portable desk... :-) Poop, lol.

Originally posted by pgulliver
I'm not sure what that means.

Ok, my needs:

I'm starting grad school in the fall (assuming they mail me a nice letter sometime this month). I'll be in for 3-4 years, and I want to purchase something now that will last me that long.

I'm looking for a marriage of portability and power, cause I'll be lugging the thing all over to classes, libraries etc. But I also want it to remain a decent machine for a while...I have bad memories of the PC Pentium 1 laptop I bough in 1997 at the start of University, which was completely useless when I was graduating for years later.

I will be really using, for school, only Word, Excel, and internet (whether Safari or whathave you.) I might also be doing some limited statistical work with STATA, a statistics program made for both Windows/OS X.

Personally, I want to be able to play some games, but I'm not a gaming fanatic...probably looking more towards Sim City than some 3d shooter. I want to use iTunes to manage my music, and I photo for photography. I used to be real into printing my own pics (back in the days of the darkroom) I'm hoping the Mac would let me get a little experimental again so I'd probably be using Photoshop Elements or Photoshop 7 (btw...what's the main difference between these two programs)

So, I guess the 12" meets my needs? And will seem fast?

MightyB
Mar 3, 2003, 03:28 PM
pgulliver....

I'm a "switcher" 3 days in the making to this point (12" PB)...have used pc's all my life....haven't spent more than 2 hours combined on an apple....

I did the same thing...read EVERYTHING I possibly could....sort of a "closet switcher"...knew all that was going on, machines, software, etc....I was just a bit "scared" to switch...loose my security blanket if you will...

Well, today is day 4 and all is well....I have found that some programs do open a bit slower than the pc, BUT, and the BIG BUT is that my overall user experience is much better. I'm not worried about messing up the OS while "learning it"...you know, installing the wrong thing, deleting the wrong thing, worrying about how to <ctrl><alt><dlt> out of things....etc, etc....

It is a whole different world...and a real tough thing to compare...but when it came down to it for me, it is the over user experience that I am so far happy with.
The ability to search the web, read/write email, design webpages, learn *nix, listen to iTunes and even work in excel....
It has taken a few "bounces" sometimes to open certain programs....but I have YET to have a crash of any sort while doing all the above....or while repeatedly putting it to sleep to move it around to continue somewhere else....

just my 2 cents...

pgulliver
Mar 3, 2003, 03:33 PM
MightyB, you know all too well the pain of the closet switcher.

Good to hear your positive review...that makes sense, its worth a little slowness to be able to do all these other things.

Do you feel you can multitask well? Once several apps are started, does it take much time to switch between them?

Also, I've heard scrolling is sluggish in programs like Word. Has anyone found this to be the case? I write and research A LOT and definitely don't want to deal with sluggish scrolling either in browser or my Word.

MightyB
Mar 3, 2003, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by pgulliver


Do you feel you can multitask well? Once several apps are started, does it take much time to switch between them?




I have been able to do a lot of things at the same time...even with just 256megs of RAM....I'm the type of person that likes to open it once and leave it open...

Also, I'm a "keyboard guy"...so it has taken a little while to get use to all the short cuts...but I have gotten faster in the short time I've had it!

Computer_Phreak
Mar 3, 2003, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by pgulliver
MightyB, you know all too well the pain of the closet switcher.

Good to hear your positive review...that makes sense, its worth a little slowness to be able to do all these other things.

Do you feel you can multitask well? Once several apps are started, does it take much time to switch between them?

Also, I've heard scrolling is sluggish in programs like Word. Has anyone found this to be the case? I write and research A LOT and definitely don't want to deal with sluggish scrolling either in browser or my Word.

I'm a switcher as well.

I got the G4 iMac shortly after it came out. I thought I'd just use Windows in emulation. I soon stared liking OS X much better.

Right now I'm using an Athlon 2000 PC with 512 MB DDR RAM. I sold my iMac about 2 months ago, and the only reason I have a PC now is because I'm waiting for the G5 (I hope I can resist the G4 Cube that long).

In my opinion, I really don't notice the snappiness much. However, I do notice the multitasking difference. OS X's performance did not falter even with 10+ applications open at the same time. On windows, however, I see a noticable slowdown.

The only things that are a lot faster on the PC are games. have a GeForce 3 Ti, which is much faster than the iMac's GeForce 2 MX.

I recently made a list of applications I use on a daily basis, and found that about 75% have a macintosh version, about 15% have a better macintosh replacement (i.e. Internet Explorer < Safari) and the remaining two applications, well, are cable modem uncapping apps.

I would definately make the switch (again). In fact, I'm waiting for an iBook right now. I'm probably going to sell it to buy a Cube.

MightyB
Mar 3, 2003, 04:01 PM
Originally posted by Computer_Phreak

I recently made a list of applications I use on a daily basis, and found that about 75% have a macintosh version, about 15% have a better macintosh replacement (i.e. Internet Explorer < Safari) and the remaining two applications, well, are cable modem uncapping apps.


I found this VERY helpfull as well....once again..it was just my "fear" of learning something new....but after all was said and done...it was smoother than I thought....

pgulliver
Mar 3, 2003, 04:03 PM
Yeah, I'm not worried about applications....all I do is write, surf, and use excel. Not to demanding. I'm hoping switching to Mac will get me using MORE apps (ie iApps to start with.)

Well, guess there's nothing left to do but whip out my credit card........

Although of course there are little voices telling me, "wait for the 15.4 alBook update" "wait till the summer, maybe there will be a 12" Rev 2" "wait until Intel Centrino notebooks come out, check them"

So difficult to actually spend this much money, I have become way, WAY, to cautious....

yzedf
Mar 3, 2003, 04:04 PM
One thing not being mentioned is the metal skin of the PowerBook series. From what I have seen in forums (this and others), on ebay, and talking to people that own the current PB, it is not a durable machine, physically speaking. Very dent and/or crack prone. New 12"/17" aren't painted, so that is better. But still, the bounce back capabilities of metal vs plastic can't be ignored. I have seen many many G3 PB Pismo or older stuff, that is still in really nice shape. Even after the occasional "oopsy" drop and what not. I fully realize that laptops are treated with the most care possible, but in 4 years... I don't know, something will happen.

And then I look at my girlfriends iBook 800 that has been dropped twice (coffee table height) in the 3 months or so that she has owned it... and it looks great. Works great too. Reminds me of the old Timex ads with the tagline "takes a licking and keeps on ticking."

beatle888
Mar 3, 2003, 04:55 PM
Originally posted by pgulliver
Thank you yzedf.

That's my feeling as well, I didn't want to report to the obvious troll, but that guy really pissed me off.

I matters because while I have taken the time to learn about Mac, OS X, etc, and am really impressed and want to embrace it, it is difficult for me to justify spending the sums of money required for a decent Mac, and then get performance (not design) the equals a midlevel two year old PC desktop.

I know Apple has chip speed problems, I hope the 970 solves this.

But you're not going to get switchers to feel good about the choice if you insult them.

i agree, but if you get frusterated with things like an application taking six bounces instead of two...then the mac is probably not for you at this moment. or maybe you need the highend model 17". us mac users are waiting for that 970 to come and save our performance issues. we tend to appreciate the well thought out OS and keep in mind that speed is on the way. soooooo if speed is a major factor you may want to wait before you switch. that way when we get the 970, you can make the switch with more confidence. i really dont mind waiting for six bounces....although im not sure if i have any apps. that take six bounces. anyway good luck and ignore the buttheads.

zimv20
Mar 3, 2003, 05:05 PM
Originally posted by pgulliver
Yeah, I'm not worried about applications....all I do is write, surf, and use excel.

i do this and more on my 800 MHz ibook and i'm very happy with it. cheaper and more durable imho -- might want to have a look.

macrumors12345
Mar 3, 2003, 05:13 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by pgulliver


I use a 500 mhz iBook running 10.2.4 (320 MB of RAM), and my girlfriend has a 466 mhz Celeron running Win2k. They are roughly equivalent hardware wise (500 mhz G3 is a better processor than the 466 mhz Celeron, but really both processors are totally crippled by a 66 mhz memory bus), and I would have to say that I don't really think her Windows machine is any "snappier" than my iBook. Safari definitely "feels" faster on the iBook than IE does on the Celeron. Now, in fairness, the Celeron only has 128 MB of RAM, but even running only one or two apps right after restart - when memory shouldn't be much of an issue - it still doesn't seem particularly fast. Of course, the Pentium4 desktops in our computer lab generally feel more responsive than the 500 mhz iBook, but that is no surprise. They do feel less stable when running several apps though (as in, apps crash more often, though they generally don't bring down the OS), despite the fact that they are all running WinXP/Win2k.

Until the release of Safari, I would have said that the two important apps with performance problems on the Mac platform are the browser and Office. Now I would just say Office. Excel and Word under OS X definitely lag running on a 500 mhz iBook. It's been a while since I was forced to use Office extensively on the Windows platform, but I would bet that it performs significantly better on equivalent hardware (though with all the bloat they keep adding, who knows). Office 2001 for Mac performed okay, however, so hopefully over time Office for OS X will improve. Furthermore, you should be aware that the new Powerbooks and iBooks are in general MUCH more responsive than my 500 mhz iBook (the 66 mhz bus must really cripple this thing), so I assume that Office performance is similarly improved (which is to say, it should be usable, if not exactly lightning fast).

As for RAM, more than 256 MB could definitely make a difference. In particular, a demo model may not have been restarted in some time, so a lot of the memory may be in use from various processes that have not been quit and memory leaks. So even if you have only a couple apps open, a high percentage of the physical memory could be in use if the machine hasn't been restarted in a long time. I would definitely recommend upgrading to 640 MB.

As a final note, it's not really fair to compare application opening speeds on a G4 laptop versus a PIII desktop. Laptop hard drives spin at much lower speeds than desktop drives, and drive speed will be the main factor in determining how fast apps open. I still think Windows will be a bit faster on this metric than OS X on equivalent hardware, but that is just because OS X is still being optimized. I really wouldn't worry too much about it - once you open an app in OS X you can just keep it open if you have enough RAM.

In just about everything other than the specific performance concerns related above (i.e. running Office on my extra-slow hardware), the Mac is just so much better than the PC. There aren't as many games of course, but I don't have enough time to waste playing tons of games (and if I did, I'd get a PS2 anyway). It's just so much more refined and it works better. In my opinion it's like comparing a Lexus to a Taurus...if you tune the Taurus's engine right, it will probably be faster, but I'd still rather be driving the Lexus any day.

macphoria
Mar 3, 2003, 05:20 PM
Demo computers usually do not come with maxed out RAM (640Mb). Once you max out the RAM, it will make things run a little smoother.