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Lord09
May 5, 2003, 04:02 PM
Hello,

I'm considering either a 12 inch IBook or Powerbook and would appreciate any advice which system would be better for my situation. I've been a long time PC user and love Windows XP, the registry can be a mess and unstable at times, but I'm an experienced user, so that doesn't bother me at all.

I'm currently in school and majoring in CS. I've been away more and more from home and have decided to get a laptop to be more productive away from home. Plus the bonus of having a wireless connection at school is quite appealing.

I've been looking at the Centrino line of PC laptops, but for some reason I'm drawn to the 12 inch IBook and Powerbooks. I've read up on OS X and it seems VERY interesting. I do a lot of programming work, and being that OS X is built on Unix, it seems like a good environment to develope on.

I'd probably be surfering the web and doing mostly programming work ( Java, C++, PHP ) primarily. Also I'd like to use IDVD to edit and encode a DVD since I have a MiniDV camera, though I don't expect to do this frequently and very rarely.

My question is what laptop or more precisely, what processor would be more suited to my needs? The G3 seems quite old, but still capable. I'm leaing towards the G4 simply because its newer and faster than the G3 at the same clock speeds. What does everyone think? Price is a concern, but I'm pretty sure I can swing either laptop since I can get educational pricing. Though, the 1000-1200 dollar pricetag of an IBook is really nice.

My last question has to do with gaming. Though this won't be my primary purpose, I love Warcraft III and was wondering if performance would be noticeably greater with a G3 or G4 processor. Also how does the Ati Mobility Radeon 7500 compare vs the Gerfore4 420 Go on the Powerbook? Running at 900 mhz, would the G3 IBook keep up with the 867 mhz G4 powerbook?

Sorry the length of the post.

Thanks all,

Daniel

hugemullens
May 5, 2003, 04:28 PM
iDVD will only run on a superdrive equiped powerbook. it wont even open on a computer without a superdrive. So if thats your goal, powerbook is the only option. Devolpment is fine on either machine, and gaming is better on the powerbook, but not by a whole lot. With the 12 inch screen it isnt much of a gamer anyways. my advice is if you want to use idvd, you HAVE to get a superdrive equiped powerbook.

hugemullens
May 5, 2003, 04:33 PM
http://www.macworld.com/2003/04/reviews/12inchpowerbook/

here are some benchmarks of a 800mhz ibook vs 12 inch powerbook. If your willing to give up idvd, the ibook seems like the perfect choice cause of its great price. The only, and i really mean only reason i bought a powerbook over an ibook was for Final Cut Express (and maybe a little satus symbol quality :) ). iBook just wouldnt cut it for real time effects and what not. Other than that i would have got an ibook. And on the benchmarks, they show a big gap, but as far as surfing the web, doing word, and most not altivec apps, they are the exact same.

Macmaniac
May 5, 2003, 05:31 PM
You would probably notice much better performance of War3 on a G4 than G3. My experience shows from my 700mhz G3 iMac that War3 runs ok with all settings down, but in any big battle things start to lag, it could be my dialup but more likely my 16mb vid card hitting a graphics wall.
I would reccomend the 12in PB beacause the nvdia chip is more recent thus should have more features. I have played on laptops with 32mb graphics cards and they run War3 fine.
Also in terms of video edtiting get a G4, G3s choke and die on a big project and rendering is so much faster especailly with FCP.
Good luck!

QCassidy352
May 5, 2003, 05:38 PM
hi Daniel,
I'm a student also, and I use a 14" ibook 900. I love it. I don't play too many games, but like you, I love War 3. The ibook runs it very well. I really don't think G3/ G4 has any impact on the performance of war 3.

It's true that you can only use idvd on a superdrive equiped mac. So, the ibook won't be able to do that one. The truth is that the ibook can match the powerbook in speed for most tasks (unless you plan to use a lot of altivec optimized apps like photoshop). The lack of L3 cache on the PB really handicaps that G4.

I believe that the GeForce4 420 is a little bit faster than the Radeon 7500, but the Radeon is actually quite good. And you might want to check some benchmarks, because I've actually heard of the Radeon coming out on top in some cases.

pianojoe
May 5, 2003, 06:40 PM
Hi,

I've recently upgraded from an iBook 800 to a 12" PB, and it's MUCH snappier.

You get a faster and bigger HD, faster throughput, superior graphics performance, no need for my bluetooth usb dongle, cute Aluminum casing, a fantastic (!) keyboard, better internal speakers, free TV adaptor, a cute slot-loading 24x burner instead of the ibook lamer that will only do 4x on cheap cdrs, and the power connector on the left side (which I happen to prefer). The keyboard alone is a dream compared to the iBooks lousy cheapo.

Go for the PB!

Parsa
May 7, 2003, 01:10 AM
Lord09,

Whatever you do, I'd consider getting steep discounts by joining Apple student developer program. It's $99 a year, but if you go to Apple's web site, you'll see that you can get about $400 off any computer. You might even think about getting a 15" powerbook when you see the prices! You just need to be an adult student, and since you do programming, it's a natural for you.

Here's the main web site:
Apple Student Developer (http://developer.apple.com/students/)

Here's the goods on hardware discounts internationally:
ADC student hardware purchase program (http://developer.apple.com/students/sthardware.html)

Here's the US Apple Store for the program:
ADC student Apple Store (http://store.apple.com/AppleStore/WebObjects/ADC?qprm=38839)

12" Powerbook: $1439
17" Powerbook: $2639 !!!
iBook, 14", 900MHz, 640 megs RAM, 60 Gig HD, with Airport card: $1513

I wish I were you!

Parsa

QCassidy352
May 7, 2003, 12:10 PM
Originally posted by pianojoe
Hi,

I've recently upgraded from an iBook 800 to a 12" PB, and it's MUCH snappier.

You get a faster and bigger HD, faster throughput, superior graphics performance, no need for my bluetooth usb dongle, cute Aluminum casing, a fantastic (!) keyboard, better internal speakers, free TV adaptor, a cute slot-loading 24x burner instead of the ibook lamer that will only do 4x on cheap cdrs, and the power connector on the left side (which I happen to prefer). The keyboard alone is a dream compared to the iBooks lousy cheapo.

Go for the PB!

gonna have to disagree with joe here. The HD size is the same- up to 60 GB with 40 base for both. And I believe (not sure) that the HDs are the same speed.

Graphics performance is close to even.

Well, I don't need BT, but I see how it could be nice if you use it.

Aluminum is nice, yes. I like the ibook's case too, but yes, the Al is great.

What's so great about the PB keyboard?
Don't use the internal speakers with either of them anyway! And even if you're watching a dvd on a plane or something, you'd use headphones.

The ibook cd burner has not been 4x for a long time now (the 600 mhz combo was the last one that slow). Current ibooks burn at 24x.

The location of the power adapter? Ok, if that matters to you...

mstecker
May 7, 2003, 12:42 PM
I need to disagree with the last poster who said that the graphics performance was "similar". Try playing a 3D game at full resolution on the iBook and the powerMac. THe nVidia graphics hardware really destroys the iBook's.

AppleMatt
May 7, 2003, 01:36 PM
There seems to be some confusion here...

Games performance relies firstly on processor CLOCK SPEED, and also graphics card performance. I do not know of many games optimised for the velocity engine, and therefore a 900MHz G3 can fill the graphics card with data faster than a 867MHz G4.

I recommend a 12" PowerBook, I have one, and personally feel it is better value than the iBook in terms of build and finish alone, especially the keyboard (you'll be whacking that a lot when perfect code still refuses to work!!!)

War3 (demo) runs very well on it, and thats with base RAM. The retail War3 has a 10.2 graphics performance patch (1.05) available.

I suppose it all depends where your priorities lay, compiling code is processor intensive, games are processor and graphics intensive, either way you will enjoy the escape from a Wintel world, just get a 2-button mouse ;).

AppleMatt

Foxer
May 7, 2003, 01:56 PM
I had the 800 iBook, switched to 12-inch PB in March. Much better, machine. G4 v. G3, bluetooth, better optical drive, MUCH nicer keyboard, airport extreme. Pleanty of good reasons to through down the extra bills.

QCassidy352
May 7, 2003, 02:38 PM
here:
http://macspeedzone.com/html/hardware/machine/comparison/all/index.html
is a comparison of many macs doing different tasks, the PB 12" 867 and the ibook 800 among them. (please note: all percentages referred to here are in comparison to a base score of 100%, a dual PM 1 Ghz, NOT relative to each other.)

You will see that on some tasks, the PB wins out over the ibook by as much as 20%, but more often it's 5-15%. In a few cases (reboot, office X word macro, appleworks search and replace) the ibook actually wins.

The PB only really trounces the ibook on the altivec fractal (carbon) test, where all of the G3s get buried. As you can see, the G4 is not a universal advantage. However, when an app is altivec enhanced, it's no contest.

For some reason, the PB 12" is not included on the EVO2 4x4 game test, but both are included on the Giants game test, and the PB wins by 5% (41% of the dual 1 Ghz PM, while the ibook scored 36%).

So take a look at these benchmarks, and draw your own conclusions. It's not quite a wash- the PB does win more tests than the ibook, and win by more as well. But also keep in mind that this is with an ibook 800. The PB 12" has 108% of the clockspeed of the ibook 800, but only 96% of the clockspeed of the ibook 900. To me, these benchmarks say that the PB is not significantly faster, and certainly not $500 faster.

yzedf
May 7, 2003, 03:06 PM
QCassidy352 hit the nail on the head. For your programming (compiling) needs, G4 vs G3 is meaningless. The rugged plastic shell, sturdy magnesium(?) frame, and the rubber mounted hdd of the iBook all lend it to being beat on, and not breaking. I have seen a few of these dropped, and they all still work fine. Drop the 12" PB and you have a nice sexy metal skinned laptop with a dent or 3! The iBook lasts longer on a battery (G3 needs less juice), and it runs cooler (see threads about excessive left palm rest heat on PB 12"). As others have said also, iDVD and the DVD burner drive only comes with the PB, and OS X does not support external DVD burners well... if at all (last I heard was not supported at all). Both machines will suck for gaming, the bus speed is just not there.

Whichever you choose, make sure the first thing you do is buy the AppleCare 3 yr warranty, closely followed by maxing the RAM (640MB for each).

Good luck.

G4scott
May 7, 2003, 03:50 PM
Originally posted by QCassidy352
What's so great about the PB keyboard?

You have to feel it to know how great it is... I came from a 600mhz iBook to a 12" PowerBook. The keyboard, unlike that of the iBook, doesn't bow or flex when you type or put pressure on it. It's a very solid keyboard. The best keyboard on a laptop that I've ever used...

But as I said, you have to feel it to appreciate it...

dflett
May 7, 2003, 04:36 PM
If you are going to be writing Java - you must have as much RAM as possible - it makes more difference to the JVM than clockspeed in my experience. However, you will find Java performance on OS X is very much slower than wintels given similar hardware spec plus OS X is usually at least one version of Java behind everyone else. I won't say too much - its easy to get flamed here :-) but bear it in mind if Java is your main language.
I find my powerbook to be more responsive than my friend's iBook 800. He does too but it's a subjective judgement that many reviews do not concur with. Whichever you choose, I am sure the quality of OS X and the applications will come as a nice surprise after XP.

And yes the PB keyboard really is that good! And mine does not even get hot :-)

mrjamin
May 8, 2003, 05:17 AM
i bought a 12" 800MHz iBook (maxed RAM and airport card) and i wish i'd waited another 6 weeks and got the 12"! It wasn't out at the time and i didn't know anything about it. Grrr, so annoying.