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View Full Version : Some 12"er questions before I take the plunge..


alxths
Sep 19, 2003, 10:55 PM
So now that apple's finally updated them and my money's been waiting patiently for long enough, I'm going to be buying a Powerbook... I do have a few questions that I was hoping some of you could answer though...

First of all... as far as wireless internet goes.. can I just stick any old 802.11 b/g card in there? Or does it have to be one from apple? What I'm hoping to do is just buy a non-apple 802.11b wireless router and card to save about 60% of what I'd have to pay apple... Actually, while I'm asking about wifi.. are there any noticable benefits to using 802.11g aside from it having a larger bandwidth? I'm assuming that I'll have no use for 802.11g since I wont be transferring gb size files or anything(which is what it's intended for, isn't it?)

In another thread someone mentioned that apple capitalized on this more efficient processer by using a cheaper battery... so I'm guessing we could expect battery life to be pretty much equal to the previous powerbook line? Also, would it be possible to buy a better quality battery for use in the machine?

The screen... Ive seen several people mention that apple uses a lower quality screen for teh 12" powerbook.. I'm actually stuck between the 12 and 15" right now, do yo uthink the quality of the screen is significant enough to be a factor in my decision?

Hmm... I think that's all for now.. I'm sure more questions will pop into my mind later on though.

Cookiebread
Sep 19, 2003, 11:37 PM
Originally posted by alxths
First of all... as far as wireless internet goes.. can I just stick any old 802.11 b/g card in there? Or does it have to be one from apple? What I'm hoping to do is just buy a non-apple 802.11b wireless router and card to save about 60% of what I'd have to pay apple... Actually, while I'm asking about wifi.. are there any noticable benefits to using 802.11g aside from it having a larger bandwidth? I'm assuming that I'll have no use for 802.11g since I wont be transferring gb size files or anything(which is what it's intended for, isn't it?)

The card slot in the new PowerBooks is Mini-PCI. You can stick any Mini-PCI card in the PowerBook as long as you have drivers for it. I doubt you'll be finding many, if any at all, that have mac drivers, besides the Apple-branded card. You should buy the Apple AirPort Extreme card for your notebook, and then buy a non-apple wireless router.

If you won't be transferring huge files across a local network, and will only be browsing the web and doing anything of that nature, you won't see any of the benefits of an 802.11g network. 802.11b will be more than enough for you, but now these days you can get an 802.11g router for just about as much as an 802.11b router. Just keep an eye out for it.

Ramsos
Sep 19, 2003, 11:38 PM
I don't believe the 12"er has a PC card slot so I would say go for airport extreme on the other hand I know the 15" has a PC card slot.

benixau
Sep 20, 2003, 01:16 AM
if you got a 15" tibook then now you can add a PCMCIA FW800 card.

get the 15" It is worth very extra cent as you will get more life out of it. NTM the max of 2GB of RAM - *********s for a notebook.

Macnasien
Sep 20, 2003, 02:25 AM
Originally posted by alxths
In another thread someone mentioned that apple capitalized on this more efficient processer by using a cheaper battery... so I'm guessing we could expect battery life to be pretty much equal to the previous powerbook line? Also, would it be possible to buy a better quality battery for use in the machine?
The screen... Ive seen several people mention that apple uses a lower quality screen for teh 12" powerbook.. I'm actually stuck between the 12 and 15" right now, do yo uthink the quality of the screen is significant enough to be a factor in my decision?


Its not really true, infact the size of the 12" PB Apple uses a battery with less capacity. You can expect a battery life like the previous PB line, in norml use the 12" should last for 3.5 to 4 hours. The best battery life you could get is with an ibook ;) LOL. Your issue with the screen. The Powerbook 12" screen is smaller then others and for its size its better then others build in PC Subnotebooks. The same situation you'll find with the other PB series. The ONLY TFTs which beat the displays build in the PBs are Sony LCDs. And don't worry about the resolution of the screens, they have at last min. 100 dpi and i think no one want to look really tiny icons and even can't identify the letters and words. If you have the extra money i think you should buy an 15" because of Firewire800, stronger GC, PCMCIA-Slot, 2 Gig max RAM, etc. On the other hand the 12" is the best choice for outdoor use.

benixau
Sep 20, 2003, 05:12 AM
15" good for split screen knotes:

knote presents on the external (norm. projector) and then displays your notes on the notebook screen.

i did it with an ancient G4-550 TiBook. EXCELLENT.

Get the 12" if you dont predict you will need any of the 15" features in the next 3-5 years.


I think my bias towards the 15" is pretty clear. 12" -> good if you own a Desktop mac. 15" best powerbook there is.

SubGothius
Sep 20, 2003, 06:51 AM
The only real drawback to the 12"er's screen is... well, that it's only 12" :p

That's the tradeoff for its superior compactness/portability and lower price. Fortunately, you can plug a larger external monitor (VGA or -- finally! -- DVI) into the baby PB if you want more desktop virtual estate at your home/office, and while you're at it, y'might as well get a full-size KB and fancy mouse/trackball. That's what I plan to do when I can afford to get my very own 'Book -- get the 12"er for price and portability (and, I might speculate, durability -- less lengh along which to flex and break...), then buy full-size peripherals to use with it at home.

I'm sure BookEndz (http://www.bookendzdocks.com/bookendz/) will make a dock for the new 12" soon enough (the brand-new 12"er has a different port layout than the old 12", so don't get their dock for the old 12"er). That way, you can leave the full-size peripherals plugged into the dock and not have to fuss with every single cable individually. Or just go with a Bluetooth KB/mouse, leaving only the power and monitor cables to (un)plug.

I don't think 3rd-party batteries are available anywhere, but somehow I doubt you could get much better than Apple's model, anyway. What, "only" 4-5 hours not enough for ya? :p If 3rd-party batteries are available at all, they'd prolly be cheaper models with less capacity than Apple's OEM model.

BTW, the 12"er still doesn't have a card slot, so you're outta luck with the 3rd-party WiFi card idea. Get the Apple card to use with a cheaper 3rd-party router. If you're not moving huge files across your WiFi LAN (assuming you'll even have other machines using the WiFi at all) -- and note that even most broadband Internet hookups won't saturate 802.11b, let alone 'g -- you won't see much benefit in spending extra for an 802.11g router (but the price may be comparable to 802.11b nowadays, so price-shop carefully); same goes for the 12"er's lack of FW800. If you're not moving big files (nor using a DV movie cam or the like), then 802.11g and FW800 aren't that important.

crazzyeddie
Sep 20, 2003, 09:13 AM
I own a 15" PowerBook Titanium and the 15" would be your best bet if you can afford it. The graphics are at least twice as fast and have twice the VRAM, the RAM is more expandable, you have the option to use PCMCIA cards (cheap wireless, compact flash adaptors, Extra USB or Firewire ports, etc). Also the screen is much better as far as quality. It is the clearest screen i have ever used (clearer than the 21" Trinitron that i use with it).

You can use any brand of wireless router, even M$ if you wanted to. I have a D-Link wireless router and it works as well as i could expect it to.

alxths
Sep 20, 2003, 02:21 PM
Thanks for all of your answers and advice...

Heh, I guess I was being a bit greedy w/ the battery life..

I agree with what some of you are saying: that the 15" is the better buy for most purposes. But I'll be carrying this guy around a lot so the smaller size will be much appreciated... what I was planningon doing is just buying a seperate LCD for home use later on down the road. The main thing that's tempting me to go for teh 15" is it's graphics card... but I think, being a student, having inferior gaming capabilites can only benefit me. ;)

Something I jst thought of: at the keynote, they mentioned that these pbs support "closed lid operation." Now, could I infer from that, that they've improved the heat issue on the 12"? I would assume that if it disspated as much heat as teh rev. A model, then the LCD would get damaged.. but then again I know next to nothing about LCDs, heh... the heat was never really much of an issue for me though so I guess its nota huge deal either way.

Thanks again.

doubting_me
Sep 21, 2003, 04:37 AM
Everyone usually raves over the 15 inch, and I just had to weigh in and put my vote for the new 12 inch.

Currently I am writing this on a 15 inch Titanium (400mhz). I have loved this machine without a doubt, and knew in April that I would by the Aluminum 15 inch when it came out. That is till I worked this summer with a friend who had the 12 inch.

It is much more portable. Yes, the extra pound makes a difference. When I am packing the computer around in my briefcase, I like the smaller size and the smaller weight.

I have never used a PCMCIA card (so if you must use one, then the 12 inch isn't for you) Apple bundles so much connectivity, I've never needed it. Downloading from my camera, swapping files, etc, the built in ports do it all.

The 12 inch screen is not too small for me. I do web development and as a hobby manipulate my photos in Photoshop, and for those tasks 12 inches is too small, but so is 15.2. That is why with the money I saved getting a 12 inch I bought a beautiful Samsung 172T flatscreen LCD. Now my palettes go on the 12 inch screen and my main work is done on the attached (by DVI now!) 17 inch.

When I take my computer on the road I use it for email, writing, web surfing and downloading pictures. I do my heavy hitting work at my house, where I can plug in the monitor.

There are plenty of reasons to pick a 15 inch over a 12, but you should examine your needs very carefully, because for what I do, a 15 inch is too big to pack around and is too small to use at my desk. The 12 inch is the perfect portable machine.