12" or 15" powerbook for college if already own external monitor??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Chrispy, Aug 27, 2005.

  1. Chrispy macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #1
    Hey all. My ex girlfriend is looking for advice (and even tho she is my ex, given it is mac related I'm trying to assist haha). I have given her my opinions on this but the more sides of the argument she sees the better. I was wondering what all you thought she would be better off with. There is the deal...

    She has a 20" Dell widescreen monitor (as do I and it is great!) so she would not necessarily need a 15". However, she does indulge in WoW from time to time and fears the 5200 would not drive the 20" monitor and WoW in windowed mode at a playable frame rate. I tested a 12" the other day and it was not so hot in WoW performance so this is of concern. However, she will be taking it to class at least 2 or 3 times a week so that is a concern as well on the portability side.

    If other users that have a 15 or 12 inch powerbook hooked up to an external display could share their opinions or things they would change if they could, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!
     
  2. powerbook911 macrumors 68040

    powerbook911

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2005
    #2
    Hi.

    My 12-inch Powerbook, with my Apple 20-inch ACD is a dream combination. It is the perfect setup, for me. I wouldn't want to haul around a 15-inch every day, but some people don't mind. I would think the extreme portability of the 12-inch, combined with the beautiful display, when working on her desk, would be a great combination.

    Of course, then we come to your game question. I do not play games, so I cannot comment on that. Some are speculating we could see new Powerbooks at the Paris expo (around september 20), so perhaps the 12-inch would get a graphics update, but that might be wishful thinking.
     
  3. blackpeter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2001
    #3
    I've owned all 3 AlBooks.

    1. 17" 1.33GHz
    2. 15" 1.67GHz
    3. 12" 1.33GHz (my current machine)

    Each time I "downgraded" I was looking for more portability. I never thought the 12" would be bearable, but I find that for typical usage (Safari, Mail, Office, iLife) it's perfect. I don't miss the extra real estate one bit. In fact, I use my 12" PB a lot more than the other two simply because it's way easier to move around.

    I plan to pair it with a Dell 20" Widescreen sometime soon. I'd love to get the Apple Cinema, but the Dell sports the same panel at about half the cost.
     
  4. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

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    Dec 27, 2004
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    Avon, IN
    #4
    So far the 12" powerbook is winning in this discussion. Anyone else want to back up what the previous posters have said? Anyone disagree?
     
  5. bodeh6 macrumors 6502a

    bodeh6

    Joined:
    May 18, 2005
    #5
    How soon do you need to buy the laptop? If you can wait till the end of September, the Powerbooks should be updated by then. Look for the 12" to get a better video card (ATI Radeon 9700 64MB) like the current 15" and also for the 512MB to be soldered on in one piece leaving you with 1 free RAM slot for a max 1.5GB like the current iBook.
     
  6. godbout macrumors regular

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    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Montreal, Canada
    #6
    Go for the 15" if you want to game at all. You can make sure that you get 128MB VRAM and it should do quite well in WoW (my 64MB does pretty good) Also, you get SO many little extras with the 15" that you don't get with the 12".

    As far as portability goes it is really nice to have a little 12er to carry around but it is not that much of a problem to go up to 15" I mean it is only a couple pounds difference, so as long as you are not carrying around a ton of books as well, then it should not be a problem.

    If she wants to play games she should go for the 9700, IMHO.
     
  7. GilGrissom macrumors 65816

    GilGrissom

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #7
    I'll add my backing for the 12", portability is a very high factor for me. You still have a lot of power behind these machines and battery life is superb. (Plus it looks cute, always a good point for the ladies! :rolleyes: .)

    Godbout does raise a good point however, you do get some nice extras you don't get with the 12", but its a question of whether you need them and can justify the extra price with them. They are nice extras and the extra bit of power and graphics almost made me get one, but I decided the 12" was too good to miss out on. The 15" will do better on games. My 12" is fine, but you can feel it doing the maximum it can in terms of performance to do it. The RAM issue is also a good one, and I too hope that Apple does the decent thing and makes the 512Mb chip a single chip.
     
  8. faintember macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    Jun 6, 2005
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    #8
    Personally i see no use for the 12"PB. IMHO at 15" is more than portable enough for anyone, but everyone has their opinions.

    That said, i think the 12" PB w/Superdrive is the best bet. For $100 more(edu discount) than the 12" combo you get a superdrive and a 80gig HD. That coupled with the monitor she already has will work well.

    The only issue is if she needs a bigger screen for daily use. I would hate to have to hook up to an external monitor to get any real work done while at home.
     
  9. GimmeSlack12 macrumors 603

    GimmeSlack12

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2005
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #9
    Go 12" iBook. I just got mine and I can already tell it's more than enough machine for a few years (this being my 5th Mac). The 128VRAM on the PB is still a discussion that people talk about, but I'm still convinced the only advantage to that extra VRAM is to run dual 30" screens (which is very few poeple). I don't think it makes a difference in computing power. The 12" ibook is the best deal, and you can do mirror monitors on it.
     
  10. colosodian macrumors member

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    May 1, 2005
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #10
    when you mirror the display, will it force 1024x768 on your external monitor?
     
  11. ph0rce macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    #11
    Yes i am affraid so :( there is a app that lets you do it at better res. i beleve it is called Screen Spanner. The link is: this page... I've no idea id it will void your warrentie etc? not that i installed it on my iBook or any thing :rolleyes:
     
  12. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

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    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #12
    Yeah when you mirror you are stuck at 1024x768. On a 20" Dell widescreen that just won't cut it. Even with the spanning hack, trying to drive a 20" display on 16MB or VRAM in OS X is not a very good idea IMO. She is def leaning towards the 12" powerbook but I'm not sure which model. The only thing that is making me reluctant about her purchase is my run of bad macs and the fact our university does not support macs at all. This means you can't access the wireless network at all unless you use virtual PC... boo to my college!!
     
  13. faintember macrumors 65816

    faintember

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    Jun 6, 2005
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    #13
    That may be what the uni says, but i bet you can access it. It may take some trial and error, but i bet you can get on the wireless network with a Mac with relatively little trouble.
     
  14. GilGrissom macrumors 65816

    GilGrissom

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    Mar 13, 2005
    #14
    Yes I agree. I'm amazed at how quickly my Mac can join a wireless network, before I've even had time to take a breath it's already found and connected to whatever new wireless network it can find in the area!
    Unless they have MAC filtering enabled on the access points, but I can't imagine a college doing that, too much work and fuss, especially when they get new wireless computers coming in. And then theres WEP or WPA, again, I know most colleges around me don't bother with that either, as it slows the network down. (So many large open wireless networks that people living near these colleges can connect to and get free broadband! cuh!)
     
  15. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

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    Avon, IN
    #15
    Unfortunately, the college uses a cisco VPN client that is already configured (and password protected so you can't see the config). I did find the same client for mac but the university refuses to give me the configuration info. I even said I would leave it with them so they could put in all the stuff and then password the settings... and they said no. They do not trust macs on their network according to the head of EIS (Electronic Information Systems). They pretty much do everything they can here to make using macs suck at this college... grrrr.
     
  16. colosodian macrumors member

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    May 1, 2005
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    SF Bay Area
    #16
    I love the 2005fpw. I wish they had deals on the 2405fpw, like they do on the 2005fpw. You can almost get dual 200fpw's for the price of one 2405
     
  17. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

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    Avon, IN
    #17
    I know! The price on the 24" is crazy when you compare it to the 20". I also have a 2005fpw and when I got mine it was only about $350 after all the coupons! The image quality is crystal clear and I never get tired of looking at it. I would recommend it to anyone!
     
  18. colosodian macrumors member

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    May 1, 2005
    Location:
    SF Bay Area
    #18
    My friend just bought one for the same price, 350 shipped. Two of them at that price would have been cheaper than a single 20" ACD. :rolleyes:

    Back to the original topic, I run my mini on a 15" display at 1024x768. Its a good resolution for that screen, and for the OS.

    I recommend that you find someone who owns a 12", and ask them to test it on your screen. Even better would be a friend with WoW, but that might be harder to find.
     
  19. GilGrissom macrumors 65816

    GilGrissom

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2005
    #19
    I went from a nice large 15" notebook screen to my 12" PB screen and I was worried about the screen size difference.
    To be honest though it does not affect me. I do have lots of programs open and tend to do a lot at once at times, and the PB in terms of screen space does fine for me. After all I'm male and cannot multitask! :rolleyes:

    Granted you can't have all the windows opened up on the screen at once, but that doesn't bother me, it's still more than enough to easily use. It just depends on whether you like all/some of your things open on the screen at once, or like a bit of breathing room, or just prefer to stare at a bigger screen, but by no means is the PB too small for normal use.

    It does tend to hit me at times when I suddenly get my old 15" notebook out and start to use that, the screen size really hits you, but I don't miss the small portability.

    Using an external screen with the 12" is obviously a great idea, this way you have best of both worlds!! Everyone wins! :)
     
  20. bodeh6 macrumors 6502a

    bodeh6

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    May 18, 2005
    #20
    It is not to run dual 30" ACDs. It is to run just one 30" display. It only has one dual-link DVI port. The only Mac that can run 2 - 30" ACDs is the PowerMac equipped with the NVidia 6800 GT with 2 dual-link DVI ports.
     
  21. chaos86 macrumors 65816

    chaos86

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    Sep 11, 2003
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    127.0.0.1
    #21
    it's not even just to run 30" acds, 128 megs is 128 megs no matter what resolution it's outputting to. it will do ALOT better frame rates on WOW (provided its the graphics card that is slowing you down, not the proc).


    as for my recommendation: I'd say go with the 15" pb, and upgraded graphics if you can afford it. the weight is not a problem; i dont have a single textbook that weighs less than my pb15 so dont worry about it. the extras: the backlit kb (for me) is a must; typing during a powerpoint presentation in class is impossible without it, typing a paper at 3 am when your roommate is sleeping so the lights have to be off... you get the point, its very handy. bigger screen- always good. faster bus speed, better video card lends to every computing experience, games most obviously.
     
  22. Hattig macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #22
    The 15" surely isn't that much larger than the 12" in the end, it should affect the portability too much. However currently the graphics in the 15" are way better than in the 12", and if she wants to play WoW and whatever else for the next two or three years I'd get the 15".

    Of course, next month new PowerBooks could be released, and that could change the whole question. Can she wait a month? If so I'd wait. Who knows what'll come out! A 13.3" widescreen PowerBook with a 64MB Radeon Mobility 9700 perhaps... (most likely pin compatible with the 32MB 9550 in the iBook 12", so Apple will continue to re-use the basic motherboard design, just with a 1.6GHz 7448 and the better graphics chip). That'd be a great portable laptop and WoW system.

    More likely would be yet another 12" model with the same old display however. :(
     

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