12" Comparison

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by dav, Aug 21, 2004.

  1. dav macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2004
    What do you think? (I know it has been asked many times :rolleyes: )



    Is it worth $217 (EDU Pricing)?

    Powerbook Advantages:

    .25 GHz (Post)

    333MHz vs 266Mhz RAM

    167MHz vs 133MHz System Bus

    NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 64MB of DDR SDRAM vs ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 with 32MB of DDR SDRAM

    DVI vs VGA (Both can be spanned, iBook requires simple hack)

    Classic environment, Acrobat Reader, Art Directors Toolkit, FileMaker Pro Trial, GraphicConverter, OmniGraffle, OmniOutliner, QuickBooks for Mac New User Edition vs AppleWorks, Quicken 2004 for Mac, World Book 2004 Edition, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4, Deimos Rising, Sound Studio (Correct me if I am wrong on these)

    Exterior Styling (I prefer iBook personally)

    edit CoreImage for upcoming Mac OS?

    edit Audio-In on Powerbook (Post)

    Just to give some people persepective...

    (Tell me if anything needs to be added/corrected, I am not perfect :rolleyes: )

  2. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Jun 17, 2003
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Well, you haven't told us what YOUR needs are. For me, the extra money is worth it since I'm a casual gamer and the GeForce FX5200 is a better graphics card than the Radeon 9200. (emphasis on CASUAL gamer :D )
  3. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    The big differences between the iBook and the PowerBook are not in the specs. They are:
    1: The PowerBook is a much nicer, more professional looking machine.
    2: The PowerBook natively supports using an additional monitor.

    (I was deciding between these same two machines not so long ago and ultimately I went with the PowerBook becuase it's a great looking aluminum laptop, and the iBook looks and feels like a cheap piece of plastic to me)
  4. dav thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2004
    I am just pointing it out this for other people.. I think I am already set on the iBook because its exterior is more appealing (I know, it is all opinion)
  5. mulletman13 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 1, 2004
    Los Angeles.
    If you're going with the PB I definately reccommend getting the refurbed one for $50 cheaper. Same computer, and it had everything fixed/replaced... and they are essentially brand new computers. Same warranty as well :)

    Then you can maybe put that $50 for more RAM because it will definately be needed.
  6. Finiksa macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2003
    Your opinion only, Not. A. Fact.
  7. dav thread starter macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2004
    Why don't we just leave it at the exterior is different. Any everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion :D
  8. Cordless_Drill macrumors regular


    Jul 6, 2004
    Montgomery, Ala., USA
    Through some poor eBay planning, I have both a new Powerbook AND a new iBook right now. I've been playing with them both during the past few days. Granted, we're talking about a 15 PB and a 14 iBook, but I think the comparisons will hold ...

    The PB is better in some ways. The keyboard really stands out to me. It's more firm and it has a better feel to it. Those pseudo-metallic keys are a pleasure to type with (I write for a living) and that makes the PB fun. I must point out, though, that the PB keys seem to be bigger (wider) than the iBook. I'm moving up from a Pismo, and the iBook's keys seem to be of a more appropriate size. If that makes sense...

    Still, the iBook "seems" damn near as fast as the PB. On XBench, the iBook was in the 106 range while the PB was more like 124. I can tell that apps open more quickly on the PB, but who really cares? I don't.

    **Safari is smokin on both. That's about all I'm doing.

    **Airport reception is not very good on the PB; a little better on the iBook.

    **There's a major difference in battery life. The iBook is far superior, at least for me.

    **The sound quality is totally in the PB's favor. I'm not sure why, but the PB sounds really excellent for me. The iBook's speakers are horrible. I'm not complaining because I understand things have to be cut to make that price point, but the iBook speakers are very disappointing.

    Unless you really have a boner for the PB -- and I'd certainly understand if you did -- I'd go with the iBook. It's 95% as good for less money.

    Buy a 512 ram module and an express with the "savings".
  9. paxtonandrew macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2004
    I Come From A Land Down Under
    I had the same problem when I was looking for a new computer. I decided that a notebook would be a better computer, especially as my new role at work saw me moving from one practice to another. I looked at the iBooks, and tried to see whether I needed a 12 or 14 inch, and the 14-inch won over (then) as a 12 inch seemed too small. The product updates 'happened' and I then started looking at a PowerBook. It seemed the right combinations of speed and portability. I have never regretted my purchase, especially as I have been away form home for 2 weeks now (sitting in my hotel room in Adelaide, typing) and the computer works. The iBook's graphics card won't do core image, but the 12-inch powerBook will. This means that when Tiger arrives, there will be no eye-candy, and there will be limited capabilities when the next OSX arrives.

    In other words, it would be better for you to buy the low-end PowerBook, rather than the iBook. The power difference may be minimal, but the question remains, how much of a power-user are you? If you are a great power-user, get the PowerBook. it will be more able to run the next OS's than the iBook.
  10. alexf macrumors 6502a


    Apr 2, 2004
    Planet Earth
    One important factor no one has mentioned: from what I have heard, the iBook is far superior when it comes to durability and case strength (even if some people like the aluminum look more).

    I believe the casing material is the same as or similar to that used for bullet proof glass and I have heard stories of iBooks being dropped from fairly good heights without internal damage.

    The PowerBook, however nice it looks, it rather fragile and is made of aluminum, one of the softer metals.

    This alone may be a great deciding factor - for me at least durability would be very important (although I've never been rough on computers, accidents do happen).
  11. beatle888 macrumors 68000


    Feb 3, 2002
    217 for all that extra stuff.....go with the pb but do as one post suggested, go with a refurb for 50 bucks less. that will be a no brainer if you ask me. the video card is much better and this makes a huge difference even in photoshop. quartz extreme dumps the 2d graphics to your vid card so that upgrade is really worth it. faster memory, faster bus, better feel, better resale value.

    i have a 667 ti and im happy with it. ive had it for three years and do flash design as well as graphics and i only have 512 of ram. sure theres faster systems but this is just fine for most tasks. i will however get a dual g5 PowerMac when i can afford it.

    after having a laptop instead of a desktop i can now say (for me) that a laptop is for convenience, with the ability to do some pretty intensive work. but for serious money making i'd like a PM.

    Just consider what you want it to do and for how long. If i wasnt a graphics professional than i would say any laptop would be fine. if games are important than get an xbox or ps2.
  12. Brother Michael macrumors 6502a

    Brother Michael

    Apr 14, 2004

    No, I can see where you are coming from with that, I thought the same thing myself. But after you hold one and use it for a while, it's nicer than your think.

    I actually rather like the iBook case a lot now. Matched my car and my cell phone.

  13. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Remember that the Radeon 9200 in the iBook is not going to support hardware acceleration of CoreImage and CoreVideo graphics routines in the upcoming Mac OS X 10.4 release. The nVidia GeForce FX 5200 in the 12" PowerBook is fully supported (as well as having 64MB of VRAM instead of 32MB). Something to think about if you're planning on keeping your notebook for a few years...

    One other thing. I upgraded from the Rev B 1GHz 12" PowerBook a while back to my current Rev C 1.33GHz 12" PowerBook. The extra performance provided by the 33% higher clocked G4 (and the 167MHz FSB instead of 133MHz) is definitely noticeable. Of course it doesn't feel twice as fast or anything like that, but that extra 333MHz makes enough of a difference that you can really notice it when performing most day-to-day tasks. I imagine the difference between the old 1GHz 12" PowerBook and the new 1.33GHz 12" PowerBook would be similar to the difference between the 1GHz 12" iBook and the 1.33GHz 12" PowerBook.
  14. beatle888 macrumors 68000


    Feb 3, 2002
    it will still be able to use the coreimage effects, it will just have to depend on the CPU more than the GPU.
  15. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Yep that's right. I said it won't support hardware accelerated CoreImage and CoreVideo routines. All the eye-candy effects won't be able to be offloaded to the GPU on a Radeon 9200-equipped iBook, and will consume CPU resources instead.
  16. TyroneShoes macrumors newbie

    Aug 21, 2004
    "What you have heard" may not resemble any variety of truth, however. As someone who's owned both, here is my insight:

    I slid my ivory iBook (at 19 months old) from a desktop onto a vinyl floor. Once. It did not survive. I got a 12" PB to replace it just over a year ago. I was a little dismayed by heat warp and it took me a while to warm up to it, but it is significantly faster and came with AirPort and Bluetooth, both of which I would still be pining for had my 'book survived (60 G is a lot better than 15, too).

    The best feature and biggest difference is that the keyboard is much nicer on the PB, which I found surprising. The PB KB is tight and elegant, while the iB KB was cheap and sloppy. The PB is thinner, but the thicker iB fits in your hand much better (I carry mine into meetings regularly). My first iB battery needed replacing after a year. My PB is now 14 months old, and the battery is still holding up well.

    I think the ABS case on the iB is over-rated, because even though mine still hasn't got a scratch on it, it transferred the shock of my single lapse in carefulness in toto to the logic board, and it now sits on the dustheap of history. The aluminum case of my PB has a tiny dent in one corner (how did that happen?) but still works just fine. I think the aluminum might even act as a crumple zone, a benefit you will not get from an ABS iB.
  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    The iBook plastic is more durable than aluminium. Actually, any decent plastic is generally going to be more durable than aluminium, unless it was a thick sheet, but it isn't in this case. Aluminium just dents. An iBook's plastic will generally take a hit much better.

    However, seeing as how I don't throw it into a backpack with just a sleeve over it, or march with it through Iraq, I'm quite certain that it'll be fine unless something very unexpected (ie: car crash) were to happen to me. I never even use it on my lap. I always use it on a nice, large desk somewhere (bedroom, library, research lab), so the aluminium is fine.

    And as for which one I'd get: well, I'd get the PB if I were a student, seeing as how the price difference is somewhat small if you get student pricing, but if you're out of school, the price difference is larger because the edu discount on a 12" iBook is less than the discount on a 12" PB. Basically, the price difference actually narrows when you have edu pricing.

    And both notebooks look good, IMO. I like my PB, but the iBook looks good as well, kinda like a large iPod or something. :)
  18. superbovine macrumors 68030


    Nov 7, 2003
    i don't know about you, but the specs are different.
  19. svejar macrumors member

    Jan 18, 2004
    My thoughts...

    For the record - the iBook is 1,07 GHz, So that narrows the CPU difference down to 0,25 GHz.

    I own the iBook, but I tried the PB as well. The Airport reception was better on the iBook, so was the noise level. This could be a one-off thing, but I could hear the fan on the PB once in a while. It didn't really annoy me, but the iBook I tried was silent.

    About the dual mirroring thing: I threw away my desktop computer due to lack of space, so I'm not exactly looking for a new monitor to complement this sexy little beast. In other words: I don't care.

    You say that you like the exterior of the iBook better. In that case I would say that the only thing to consider is the CPU and graphic card. They are a little better on the PB. But I also have to say that none of these machines are gaming beasts. I've played some games on my iBook:

    • Hearts of Iron
    • Civ III
    • C&C Generals
    • Caesar III (old one, but very good!)
    • Alpha Centauri
    • Unreal Tournament (the original, and still the best!)

    Generals could do with a bit more oooomph, but it's definately playable.

    As for programs, I'm using:

    • Dreamweaver
    • Photoshop CS
    • Office 2004
    • InDesign CS

    I think the question is: can the current PB do anything that the iBook can't? To me the question is "no". Sure, there are a programs that will suffer on a 12" iBook, but they will have a hard time on the PB as well. It's more or less the same machine, with a few extra tricks up it's sleeve.

    Good luck!
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I agree. People have this perception that the 12" and 14" iBooks are slow, while the 12" PB is fast. They ask if the iBook is going to be too slow for what they do, and I tell them "No" while most others say "get the 12 inch PB", which is a more expensive iBook. I bought the 12" PB for the better keyboard (my opinion). If you didn't notice the difference, you'll be happy with the iBook.

    About the 12" PB being more "future-proof" than iBooks: If one becomes obsolete, the other will be at the same time, and a 0.33GHz difference in a G4 processor isn't going to make one more futureproof than the other.

    CoreImage advantages are arguable. Since the 12" PB will have poor CoreImage performance with it's nVidia 5200, the 12" PB won't be much better anyway. All Macs, including iBooks, without a compatible video card will get CoreImage function, but the CPU will handle all the processing instead of the GPU. It won't slow things down or anything. The 12" Powerbook won't be in a much better position even if it has a CoreImage compatible card. The 12" PB's GPU will only be able to handle a chunk of the processing, while the CPU still has to handle the rest. This is my interpretation of how it all works, but regardless, the 12" PB will only be slightly better off.
  21. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Have you used CoreImage apps on a 12" PowerBook and an iBook? Without the OS X 10.4 shipping, I don't see how you can make the claim that a) the FX 5200 will do a poor job, and b) the 12" iBook will only be marginally affected by lack of hardware CoreImage support. The few facts we have at hand at the moment are that the FX 5200 will support hardware acceleration of CoreImage, and the Radeon 9200 will not. Maybe you've had access through ADC to early release developer's code or something...if you have, I'd love to hear about the performance of CoreImage apps on the various GPUs that it can take advantage of.

    I could be wrong, but my interpretation from reading this page:


    was that CoreImage API calls are able to produce results so quickly and in come cases in real-time, because they make heavy use of the custom-designed video hardware present in most recent GPUs. The CPU is not required to perform all the calculations that it previously needed to to produce the various graphical effects; these calls can be completely offloaded to the GPU, which can perform them faster than the CPU, and which also frees up the CPU to do other work. From the page linked above:

    "Core Video provides a modern foundation for video services in Mac OS X Tiger. It provides a bridge between QuickTime and the GPU for hardware-accelerated video processing. This highly-optimized pipeline for video presentation increases performance and reduces CPU load, freeing up resources for other operations." (emphasis mine)

    My reading of that is that having a CoreImage supported GPU will most definitely speed things up compared to a non-CoreImage supported GPU. The CPU will be freed up to process other tasks, rather than being busy emulating CoreImage API calls. Given two systems with identical CPUs, a system with hardware accelerated CoreImage support will outperform a system without hardware support.

    Apologies if you have some 12" PowerBook and 12" iBook CoreImage benchmark data at hand (via ADC or wherever) that shows that the FX 5200 really provides little to no advantage. If you do have this information, I'd love to take a look at it...I'm keen to know how my 1.33GHz 12" PowerBook is going to handle Mac OS X 10.4 and the eye-candy improvements CoreImage and CoreVideo will bring.
  22. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    One other minor thing (and this may be very very minor, depending on your needs). The PowerBook has an audio-in jack. The iBook does not. You'll need to buy a USB audio-in dongle if you want to plug your guitar or mic in for GarageBand or something like that. Of course if you don't want to play around with GarageBand (or something similar), that missing port probably makes no difference whatsoever.
  23. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I'm not an ADC member. I only heard that the nVidia 5200 isn't going to provide the performance boost you seem to be hoping for. The more advanced chips will do a much better job with CoreImage.

    You're right that between 2 computers with the same CPU and hardware, one with and one without a CoreImage capable video card, that the one with the CoreImage capable video card is going to be faster, but again, I hear the nVidia isn't going to be able to take advantage of CoreImage as you'd hope.
  24. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    It wouldn't surprise me at all if the GeForce FX 5200 didn't do as good a job as something like a Radeon 9600 or 9800. After all, the FX 5200 isn't exactly what you'd call a stellar performer when it comes to OpenGL gaming. I was just wondering if you had some information that showed the FX 5200 running CoreImage acceleration like a total dog. Oh well...leisurely CoreImage hardware acceleration still has to be better than no hardware acceleration at all.
  25. chugach macrumors newbie

    Aug 22, 2004
    All well and good, but what about quality issues...

    I'm in the market and haven't decided between iBook or PB 12". I see many articles/posts regarding the PB overheat/warping problems, and the iBook recall to replace the logic board. Out of all of the PowerBooks or iBooks sold, I wonder what percentage of owners have these issues. Are these horror stories posted by a very vocal minority? I understand that the Rev C PB's have less issues with heat than it's predecessors (although I am now reading about people installing latest sys updates experiencing higher temps after the upgrade). I would hope that the boxed, new iBooks are currently shipping with 'good' logic boards...

    Between the 12" iBook or Powerbook, is one more likely to be free of the chronic manufacturing problems than the other? How many of you are covered by extended Apple Care?

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