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View Full Version : Thinking about switching, 17in powerbook?


Muzukun
Jun 17, 2004, 03:16 PM
Hey

20 year old college student here and I'm considering the switch. I've been a loyal windows user for years now, built most of my computers, and I'm pretty happy with windows. All the talk about macs being more stable then windows and not crashing doesn't count too much to me (cuse I never let my PC get the chance before I reformat :) ) but windows does give me problems... But yeah, side tracked there.

I currently have a 1800+ Athlon XP processor, the computer's case is huge and I need a laptop that will last me oh... about ten years, 2 years left of college, two years research, masters degree, then medical school if all goes as I plan. Anywho with a course like that you can gather that I will not see money for some time, so I need a laptop that will last a rather long period of time. So far I've found few mac users that hate their mac, but many who loathe their PC so... I figure it's a safe bet to go this way.

I'm looking at the 17 inch powerbook, I usually need alot of horsepower out of my PC, usually treat it horribly in terms of what it has to process through (divx4 encoding now and then, a game, but mainly multitasking with trillian (fire for mac users) and what not)

Essentially, is the mac powerbook G4 1.5 Ghz 17 inch a good purchase for the long run? Are PC users really happy on a mac? I saw some spoofs of the switch advertisement and I gotta say I love them, yet I do not have one friend who has not had some bad problem with their windows xp laptop yet whether it's made by sony, dell, compaq (ew...) or toshiba, each one has a problem. So... overall, is the powerbook a good bet and will I be happy with it? Thanks! :)

Muz

LeeTom
Jun 17, 2004, 03:20 PM
Hey,
I made the switch about 8 months ago, and I'm really happy. The Mac platform has it's ups and downs, but overall, I'm very happy using a Mac. I got a powerbook too, and OS X is much better than XP at being mobile, and the powerbooks are so well built. I think you would be very happy with a 17" powerbook. Just get the 5400rpm drive and a lot of RAM. It's worth it.

Lee Tom

Muzukun
Jun 17, 2004, 03:41 PM
512 for a mac is enough right? I currently have 512PC2700 on my PC and it hasn't really gotten me mad yet.

veedubdrew
Jun 17, 2004, 03:54 PM
I switched about 18 months ago. I just replaced my switcher machine with a PowerBook (see sig) and I love it. I don't know if you can realistically expect any computer with any OS to be able to keep up with apps ten years from now, but Apple seems to make a good machine.

As for RAM, I'd cram as much in there as possible. OS X looooves memory, so get a bunch. The 17" comes with one 512 chip in there, so you could always add a 1GB chip in the other slot when prices come down a bit.

Anyway, coming from another switcher, I'd highly recommend a Mac. I've been so much more pleased with OS X than I ever was with Windows. OS X is not perfect, keep in mind, it just sucks a whole lot less than WinXP!

-Drew

SwitchingSoon
Jun 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
10 year? Damn.


Is anyone here using a computer from 1994?


Anyways, I would recommend ordering the dual 2.5 ghz cuz it will probably last longer than a single 1.5 ghz computer.

In 4 years, 1.5 ghz will be a joke, and dual 2.5 ghz will be average :-D


That's what I'm doing. My dual 2.5 will have to last through my next 2 years of high school and all of college.

Muzukun
Jun 17, 2004, 04:33 PM
lol, yeah now that I think about it I'm not sure I'd even touch a computer that's 10 years old, pretty silly of me to say that I'll be keeping something like that for that long. Scratch the 10 years bit then. What is the usual lifespan of a mac computer anyways? I know the old imac original was said to be able to run OSX yet I'm pretty sure that's a joke to some degree. How long should the powerbook last me anyways?

VooDooPope
Jun 17, 2004, 04:43 PM
I just killed my G3 Pismo Powerbook. (leaky ceiling :( long story) It was 4 years old and I never had any problems with it. It was running Panter and all the Adobe CS apps as well as the Macromedia MX apps with no problem. As a stop gap I plugged my daughters bondi blue imac (the original) and have been surfing with it for the past few days. It also runs panther although it is slow.

I'm posting this from my new 15" powerbook which I couldn't be happier with.

My advice... add 1gb of ram to your powerbook and you won't be disappointed. I just bought a 1gig stick for my pb for $300.

PowerMacMan
Jun 17, 2004, 04:46 PM
lol, yeah now that I think about it I'm not sure I'd even touch a computer that's 10 years old, pretty silly of me to say that I'll be keeping something like that for that long. Scratch the 10 years bit then. What is the usual lifespan of a mac computer anyways? I know the old imac original was said to be able to run OSX yet I'm pretty sure that's a joke to some degree. How long should the powerbook last me anyways?

Macs are good for a long, long, long time... Except it's really a phycological thing were you want a better Mac and you toss/sell the one you had for the last 4, 5, or 6 years...

Muzukun
Jun 17, 2004, 04:54 PM
ok, as for the RAM I'll probably go for the initial 512, school will pay up to 2900 of it and so far I have the 17 inch, plus the 5200 HD and the additional 64 towards the video ram. I looked on pricewatch.com and there are 512 cards for G4 powerbooks from micron for about 97 dollars, would you spring for one of those and have a net 1GB of ram or wait till the 1GB cards go down? For that matter will they go down? Are the prices of ram between PCs and macs really different?

thanks for all the advice so far :)

Grimace
Jun 17, 2004, 05:10 PM
I got a 17" PB 18 months ago when they came out. I still get asked if it's some sort of "new model"!!!

The performance is incredible - you'll love it. 512MB IS enough for more 95% of what users do. If you want more, buy an extra DIMM from crucial.com. If you are in college, make sure you go to the "education" tab on the Apple page. The price is significantly less. You can add on more goodies if the school is picking up part of the tab. :)

OziMac
Jun 17, 2004, 07:33 PM
512 for a mac is enough right? I currently have 512PC2700 on my PC and it hasn't really gotten me mad yet.

Yeah, but I think you'll find that to make the most of such an awesome machine, you really should be looking at 1GB of RAM...


10 year? Damn.


Is anyone here using a computer from 1994?


Anyways, I would recommend ordering the dual 2.5 ghz cuz it will probably last longer than a single 1.5 ghz computer.

In 4 years, 1.5 ghz will be a joke, and dual 2.5 ghz will be average :-D


That's what I'm doing. My dual 2.5 will have to last through my next 2 years of high school and all of college.


Dude, firstly you're comparing desktops to laptops which is not really a useful comparison.

Secondly, no one expects a top of the line machine today to compete with a high end or even middle end machine even two years from now, so it's not really a fair call - you don't buy it because it will be the best forever, you buy it because it will do what you want well for a while to come.

Oddly the AMD K6 433MHz Compaq laptop I bought four years ago still does the jobs I bought it for just fine, even down to Photoshop work. So does my almost four year old Playstation 2. Make of that what you will, but whilst my four year old P3 850MHz runs XP and most windows apps well, it no longer runs the games that my PS2 handles just fine.

aswitcher
Jun 17, 2004, 08:14 PM
17" is lovely. Just make the effort to get a decent bag / slip cover so that carrying it is easy if you walk with it often.

SwitchingSoon
Jun 17, 2004, 08:26 PM
Dude, firstly you're comparing desktops to laptops which is not really a useful comparison.

Secondly, no one expects a top of the line machine today to compete with a high end or even middle end machine even two years from now, so it's not really a fair call - you don't buy it because it will be the best forever, you buy it because it will do what you want well for a while to come.

Oddly the AMD K6 433MHz Compaq laptop I bought four years ago still does the jobs I bought it for just fine, even down to Photoshop work. So does my almost four year old Playstation 2. Make of that what you will, but whilst my four year old P3 850MHz runs XP and most windows apps well, it no longer runs the games that my PS2 handles just fine.

what i was saying is that laptops have shorter lifespans than desktops. 1.5ghz might not be fast enough for programs 10 years from now.... (he said 10 years at first)

How can you not understand that a lowerpowered machine will have a shorter life span than a higher powered one? It doesn't matter if it's a laptop-desktop comparison because a 200 MHZ laptop made 8 years ago will not be able to run the same programs as a 600MHZ desktop made 8 years ago.

"you don't buy it because it will be the best forever"
I never said that you should buy the g5 because it will be best forever. In fact, it's a mystery how you came upon that conclusion. You buy the best today so that it will last you longer and that you will be able to run CPU intensive programs of the future.

My suggestion was a desktop if he wants a computer to last TEN years (later chnaged that) because a 1.5 mhz laptop will not be capable of running the same programs as a dual 2.5 ghz.

flyfish29
Jun 17, 2004, 08:30 PM
lol, yeah now that I think about it I'm not sure I'd even touch a computer that's 10 years old, pretty silly of me to say that I'll be keeping something like that for that long. Scratch the 10 years bit then. What is the usual lifespan of a mac computer anyways? I know the old imac original was said to be able to run OSX yet I'm pretty sure that's a joke to some degree. How long should the powerbook last me anyways?

Macs tend to really hold their resale value so what I would do(and I have done for the past 12+ years) is hold onto a mac for anywhere from 3-4 years, sell it and upgrade. You will end up making out quite well with the resale price of a mac. Dont' forget the education discount for a mac purchase. They not only discount for students at Apple.com, you can get a great interest rate and payment schedule if you ever need to upgrade as a student. If you have the cash now pay for all of it, but in the future when you need an upgrade and are still in school you can do a cheap interest loan and pay it off over time. Better yet, do what I just did which is take out a few extra dollars on student loans (% rate is awesome) and buy it that way, then you just pay for the computer with your student loan pmt. which is deferred while you are in school.

Reliability is much better on the mac side when it comes to hardware. I have never had to replace a single part on a mac I have owned ove rthe last 14 years. My relatives are always replacing hard drives, mother boards, sound cards, modems, etc on their Pc's. Just my own personal experience though.

Another note: YOu will find very few people that LOVE their PC, but you will find that many, if not most Mac users LOVE their mac.

wide
Jun 17, 2004, 09:55 PM
sorry, but i do not think any computer on the market will last you ten years. think of it this way: the G4 is already old. it is on its last legs.

you should definately wait until apple releases a 64 bit version of the powerbook before buying.

that covers the mac route.

for PCs, think of this:

intels processors currently do not go over 3.4 GHz. in 2006 (two years), microsoft plans on releasing "longhorn", their next OS. they claim that the average computer (yes, AVERAGE, or MAINSTREAM) will have a 3-4 GHz processor and a terabyte of memory. no laptop computer today comes with a terabyte of memory, and very, very few desktops do (certainly none that the average user can afford).

okay, so if you buy a windows laptop or desktop that is high end now, it will be outdated in three or four years. you want ten years.....in eight years, microsoft will probably have released one or two operating systems after longhorn. imagine what those would require.

my advice to you: be realistic. buy an iBook G4 if you need the computer now, and upgrade to a newer iBook (or a PC if you decide you hate macs) in a couple of years.

there is no point in spending all that you have now only to find that it was a useless investment in four or five years. take your time, perhaps plan the purchases of three low-end iBooks over the course of ten years. it's only one thousand a piece, maybe less with the educational discount, so the total price will be about three thousand dollars, nearly equivalent to the price of a 17 inch powerbook.

i am pretty sure that your second ibook would be way faster than the powerbook you plan on buying.

mkrishnan
Jun 17, 2004, 10:15 PM
sorry, but i do not think any computer on the market will last you ten years. think of it this way: the G4 is already old. it is on its last legs.

I think ten years is too much too. Think about it. That would mean 486DX/33 in the PC world. It can't even run much of anything past Win 95.

If you want a PC (or Mac) to last a long time, the trick is to get it late in the OS cycle during a relatively stable OS iteration (like get a Panther PC shortly before Tiger comes out), buy pretty much all the software you intend to use and get a machine that runs it all well, and then NEVER UPGRADE ANYTHING. Then if you maintain it right, it should continue to work at basically the same level of performance right.
But the problem comes in, that in 1994 with the 486, the web barely existed. It was never designed with surfing in mind. So unless you can live without the innovations of the next 10 yrs....

And then the other problem is security updates. Weekly updates to everything for security were pretty unheard up until what...like the 98-99 timeframe? Then you get shafted into updates you don't want.

I had a Compaq laptop with Win 95 and Office 97, 10.4" screen, no optical drive, maybe 48 MB of memory, that I got in 1997. I eventually couldn't use it any more bc of a really stupid mistake with the BIOS password, but if it still worked, I might actually still consider it useable, but all because I never ever upgraded anything. :)

Sigma B
Jun 17, 2004, 10:58 PM
does anyone have real life stats on the 17'' battery life? I'm considering buying my first Mac as well. (my first post by the way)!

wide
Jun 18, 2004, 12:19 AM
mkrishnan:

about your compaq laptop:

does anyone know if it is possible to do a clean install of windows by booting from the windows CD? the whole BIOS thing made me remember that i want to format my PC, but on the other hand i do not want to have to tamper with the BIOS settings and all of that complicated stuff. is there a way to clean install winxp the way you clean install mac os...by inserting the CD in the tray and booting with the "c" button pressed down?

yeah, i know, this isn't really a good place to ask such a question.....

mkrishnan
Jun 18, 2004, 07:01 AM
does anyone know if it is possible to do a clean install of windows by booting from the windows CD? the whole BIOS thing made me remember that i want to format my PC, but on the other hand i do not want to have to tamper with the BIOS settings and all of that complicated stuff. is there a way to clean install winxp the way you clean install mac os...by inserting the CD in the tray and booting with the "c" button pressed down?

What kind of disc do you have? If its a full install disc, or if you have an OEM system recovery disc, then definitely. Don't need to hold any keys down or anything -- should just be able to reboot with it in the drive, if boot-from-cd is enabled in bios (which it should be). I've done this for Linux install discs before. Might be able to do it with an upgrade disc too but not 100% sure.

Oh, also this might help:

http://www.cyberwalker.net/faqs/reinstall-reformat-winxp/

Muzukun
Jun 18, 2004, 08:37 PM
I think ten years is too much too. Think about it. That would mean 486DX/33 in the PC world. It can't even run much of anything past Win 95.

If you want a PC (or Mac) to last a long time, the trick is to get it late in the OS cycle during a relatively stable OS iteration (like get a Panther PC shortly before Tiger comes out), buy pretty much all the software you intend to use and get a machine that runs it all well, and then NEVER UPGRADE ANYTHING. Then if you maintain it right, it should continue to work at basically the same level of performance right.
But the problem comes in, that in 1994 with the 486, the web barely existed. It was never designed with surfing in mind. So unless you can live without the innovations of the next 10 yrs....

And then the other problem is security updates. Weekly updates to everything for security were pretty unheard up until what...like the 98-99 timeframe? Then you get shafted into updates you don't want.

I had a Compaq laptop with Win 95 and Office 97, 10.4" screen, no optical drive, maybe 48 MB of memory, that I got in 1997. I eventually couldn't use it any more bc of a really stupid mistake with the BIOS password, but if it still worked, I might actually still consider it useable, but all because I never ever upgraded anything. :)

The bit about do not upgrade, does that mean I should fork out the 300 for the additional 512 from apple or just pay 100 for another 512 of micron??

wide
Jun 18, 2004, 09:46 PM
mkrishnan, can i just reinstall windows xp by booting from the CD and then deleting everything outside of the C:/WINDOWS folder? i mean everything, like docs, control panel, every file i see? would that be as effective as formatting? thanks

PowerMacMan
Jun 18, 2004, 10:03 PM
mkrishnan, can i just reinstall windows xp by booting from the CD and then deleting everything outside of the C:/WINDOWS folder? i mean everything, like docs, control panel, every file i see? would that be as effective as formatting? thanks

You need to go to your bios and select "boot from cd" as a first option, then have the cd in and go from there.... It WILL delete EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING...

mkrishnan
Jun 18, 2004, 11:23 PM
You need to go to your bios and select "boot from cd" as a first option, then have the cd in and go from there.... It WILL delete EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING...

Yeah, when you boot off the CD it should take care of this for you. Its not a surface level format and it doesn't take that much time.