12" or 15" Powerbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Spica, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. Spica macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    #1
    Hi, this is my first post. I'm thinking of switching to a mac after using the pc for many years and I'm buying a powerbook.

    I know this has topic has been gone over manytimes and there's a post also on choosing between a 12" and 15" but the guy is doing design. (I'm not) :p So I think the situation here is a little different.

    The thing is my schools sells the 15" at a really low price compared to the 12" so I'm really tempted but as I take 1.5 hours to travel to school everyday, (bus->tube->bus) I'm holding back from buying a 15" as potability is a concern. How much heavier is the 15" anyway, anyone has experiences?

    I'll hope to use the powerbooks for checking mail, photoshop/dreamweaver (for web publishing), java, php, downloading stuff and maybe play some games and watch dvds (hope I'm not asking for too much)... Actually the most important is web publishing as my part-time income is from web designing.

    What about the sound, the speakers for the 15" looks much more generous compared to the 12", is it really better?

    The price of the notebooks are as follows (without the superdrive)
    12" - USD$1722
    15" - USD$1969

    The package comes with 512MB ram and 3 years international warrenty.

    Oh yah and I have a 17" lcd at home. SO anyone can help?

    PS: I'm doing some early research as I'll probably buy it around christmas. (g5 coming out? Arghhh.....)
     
  2. Zaty macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #2
    Since you do a lot of travelling, I'd suggest the 12" PB because it's much smaller and quite a bit lighter than the 15". Secondly, you can connect your PB to your 17" LCD at home (that's what I do).

    As for the G5, there's a small chance the PB G5 might be announced at Mac World Expo in San Francisco in January. But I wouldn't put any money on it. I don't expect them before summer of 2005. The most likely scenrio is a new G4 revision in October/November. Since you said you planned to buy your PB around Christmas, just make sure you don't buy before MacWorld SF if we don't see new PBs in November.
     
  3. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #3
    My best advice is to go to a store where you can see them and pick them up (however you will only really know what it like carrying when it has been on your shoulder for a while). I think that the 15" is almost an ideal computer in terms of weight vrs screen size, however as you say at home you will be able to connect to your existing monitor.

    I would say that for you the 12" is ideal, but suggest you see them in person before you buy.

    Availability of games on Macs is fairly limited and tend to be restricted to ports of big selling PC titles six months after they are released for the PC. If games is important to you then you may be better of with a console and an iBook.
     
  4. Lincoln macrumors regular

    Lincoln

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Go for the 12"

    I used to have the 12" (Rev A) and now have the 15" model (current version). I changed models for 2 reasons, the 12" was too slow and I wanted the larger screen, there were a few other annoinces - no USB2, no DVI connection, FW800 would be nice. Sometimes got a bit too warm.

    The current 12" is much faster than the previus generation and most of the shortcomings have been rectified. However as I wanted the 128MB graphic card and the fastest G4 possible I went for the 15" (see my sig below).

    BUT, the choice would have been a lot harder if the graphics chip in the 12" was the same as the one in the top spec 15"!

    Now to the point....
    The 12" is so much more portable than the 15" in size and weight. I took the 12" everywhere with me and I never felt that it was there, I cold just stow it in any bag I wanted (I used the tucano sleeve).

    I take my 15" with most places on days off, holidays, etc, but I'm not taking it with me every day and I use my car most times.

    Unless you NEED that extra space, the 12" is a better choice with the travelling that you are doing and you have mentioned that you will be using a 17" LCD at home.

    Finally, I can honestly say that the quality of the speakers of the 12" and 15" are identical. I always connect external speakers as they sound so much better (again this is at home). On the move both models provide adequate sound.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. Spica thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    #5

    the 12" comes with NVIDIA GeForce FX Go5200 with 64MB of DDR SDRAM;
    the 15" with ATI Mobility RADEON 9700 with 64MB DDR SDRAM;
    they are both the 1.33 version
     
  6. homerjward macrumors 68030

    homerjward

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    Location:
    fig tree
    #6
    nothing like an ice cold, refreshing powerbook... :p
     
  7. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #7
    12"

    im a big guy in the portablity factor. i too am a commuting student, though i walk about half a mile from my apt to class every day, so not much, but it is on my back the entire time. i think it would be OK to carry around a 15". . . if that was the only thing you have to carry around, but considering youre in school you will also have books and or binders for notes to carry as well. this makes the 12" ideal. you can carry your 12" and have room for other class material. that makes a lot of sense to me. but do keep your 17" monitor at home. i connect up to a 19" monitor at home but that is mostly for watching DVDs or playing games. . . and the ocasional need for a lot of desktop space, like when using photoshop or dreamweaver. the G4 in the PBs is plenty powerful if you go with the slower 12" or faster 15" as well as there is little difference in the video cards, unless you want serious power for gaming (in which case you shouldnt go with a laptop at all. . . i think) i hope you enjoy your new mac when you get it!
     
  8. Spica thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    #8
    Oh, the resolution of the 12" is only 1024X768. Does that mean that's the max resolution even when I connect to my LDC monitor? If it is than it think that's not enough.
     
  9. ocellnuri macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2004
    Location:
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    #9
    No, the Powerbook will push an external monitor at whatever resolution you need.

    My 12" Powerbook pushes my 17" LCD at 1280x1024 with no problems. :D
     
  10. Lincoln macrumors regular

    Lincoln

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    As I said the graphics card in the 12" isn't as good as the one in the 15", if it was I would have considered the current 12". But it is another way to differentiate the two models (in addition to screen size & resolution, FW800, PCard-slot, more memory and faster processor option).

    I didn't note that you may be playing games, the graphics chip in the 15" is better sutied to that, just don't expect full res full quality games like Halo to play at a decent FPS on either model.

    Again it comes down to size and weight, the 15" is less portable than the 12" and much more heavy. If I was taking a laptop to school every day I would get the 12" and use the money saving and up the memory, make sure that have at least 512MB of RAM.

    Finally as James Craner has said, go to a local Apple Store and see them in the flesh before you make a final decision. I had to before I finally decided on the 15" (after adding the various option the 17" wasn't much more expensive) that Powerbook was too big for what I wanted!
     
  11. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2003
    Location:
    Tampere, Finland
    #11
    get the 15" and you won't regret it. get the 12" and you won't regret it either. just ask yourself what is the minimum set of features you NEED and base your decision on that factor.
     
  12. Zaty macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2004
    Location:
    Switzerland
    #12
    The PB can drive anything up to 23" Cinema Display.
     
  13. friarbayliff macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2004
    Location:
    MN / IN
    #13
    12"

    You can;t beat the portability and power of this little thing. I love my 12" and would recommend it to students, especially ones with long or complicated commuting schedules (like yourself).
     
  14. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #14
    If you doesn't game, the fx5200 is as good as the rad9700 with similar amout of vram. I have a rev c 12-inch and i love it! It has MUCH better battery than the 15" (this was the reason i went with the 12").

    I'm gaming a bit with my little brother, and q3a runs with 100+ fps with everything maxed, SOF II runs great with most maxed (havent benched it),
    Jedi Academy runs at 20-40 fps with in pretty high qulity (not sure what i've turned down). But im sure ut2004 and halo would be an another story..
    I think the 12-inch game performance is about par with the last generation of imacs (G4 1.25)

    I've got the pb in a tucano sleeve, and it's the lightest book i have in my backpack.. (my maths- and java-books are killing my back....)

    About that 17" LCD, hook it up and you can use every resolution you want (the 17" lcd have to support the resolution..)


    [​IMG]

    I have a 17" CRT monitor hooked up to my 12"

    The sound quality is good, but its low, i'm always using external speakers on it.. (Don't know about the 15")
     
  15. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    South Dakota, USA
    #15
    If you have the money go for the 15" I used to have a 12" iBook and when it came time to replace it, the guy at the Apple Store tried to talk me into a 12" Powerbook because I would be traveling over to Iraq. I decided that I wanted a bigger screen, because it was hard for me to see stuff on my 12" and I also liked a bigger area for surfing the web and watching DVD's. I have not had any trouble moving it from place to place. Considering it is not that much more money for the 15" I think it is the way to go.
     
  16. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #16
    I like my 15" PB because I tend to have a lot of windows open, and despite having Expose and Desktop Manager (3rd party app) running I still prefer to be able to click from window to window whenever possible.

    This may sound weird, but I think portability is in large part more a function of the bag you select to carry around the PB in rather than the size of the PB itself. :D My original bag was a Crumpler Very Busy Man, which is very nice and roomy - but when you carry a lot of stuff it gets quite bulky and heavy! So I just bought a second bag - the XL version of the Crumpler McBain's Lovechild. It holds (and protects) the laptop plus a few essentials (iPod, headphones, cell phone, etc.) quite nicely, but I hardly notice the weight now. The big bag is still handy for the odd occasion, but the little bag is the one I use mostly now.
     
  17. Spica thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    #17
    I have seen both the powerbooks. The 12" is quite light. However, the 15" looks damn cool. Sigh... :p I'm tempted to go for the 15" because of the looks.. :p


    Anyway, like I say, I'll be getting it between now and Jan 05. When is the best time to get it? I'm using a pc at home. School starts in Jan. Might need some time to familiarize with the mac. However, the powerbooks might have a major upgrade soon?
     
  18. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #18
    I am sure if you search there are loads of threads on this topic, in particular the much anticipated Powerbook G5. No outside of Apple really knows when the next versions of the powerbooks will be released. However Apple keep on saying no G5 Powerbook anytime soon, these comments were made again by Apple just after the recent iMacs were announced. IMO that means no G5 powerbooks in Jan 05 at MacWorld.

    I honestly believe that we will see one more G4 speedbump on PowerBooks b4 the G5's. Some rumors have been circulating about a dual G4 on a single chip, for possible use in the powerbook.

    However that being said, the said fact is whenever you buy there will be something faster 6 months later, my advice is buy when you need to, and don't get to hung up about when the next version is out.

    Assuming I am correct and there is no G5 in Jan 05, then I suspect we may get a new Powerbook some time in Oct or Nov. I would then buy then, which would give you a couple of months to really get to know the Powerbook before you set off to School.
     
  19. JasonL macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Ware, MA
    #19
    Is the 12" PB more portable? Sure. Is the 15" PB plenty portable? Absolutely. I bring mine to school every day and it is a heck of a lot smaller/lighter than most of my classmates' PC laptops.

    Having the LCD at home makes the 12" PB more of an option for you than it was for me (the PB is my only computer right now, and I don't have an extra screen); but for $200 more the 15" PB seems to be the way to.

    Who knows when then G5 will come in PBs. When you are looking to buy the next revision of the PB should be out, but I won't be surprised if it is another G4-based system.
     
  20. Spica thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2004
    #20

    Well, if it's the dual core, it'll be cool.
     
  21. Champale macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, USA
    #21
    Or...

    Or you could win the lottery and buy the 15" and 12" so as to have the best of both worlds! :)

    Sounds like the 12" is the way to go for your needs. Esp. since you have the large monitor for home. I have the 15" and love it but I do envy the tiny footprint of the 12" PBs!
     

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