12" PB - Before I buy...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by powerdave, Apr 24, 2004.

  1. powerdave macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2004
    Hi, this is another 'switcher' type thread, I know they've become pretty repetitive but hopefully you can answer some of my questions!

    I've chosen the 12" PowerBook Combi because I generally hold on to things for a while, and I think the PowerBook will see me through uni. I'm not sure I'd have bought a Rev.A G5 Powerbook so I think this is the ideal time for me to buy the 12" model - a speed increase, Airport Extreme and a small price drop, and I'll have the summer to lean how to use it! I'll be using the Educational discount, so the price is 1,669 Euro.

    The PC I use the most is my home one - a Dell from 1998. ( 350Mhz of raw power :) It works surprisingly well for what I use it for, internet mainly..) I'm not sure how I'd gauge a performance increase between two totally different systems, but I'm hoping I'd be impressed with the PB. I plan to buy more RAM for it during the summer when I've got the money.

    The university I go to uses PCs only. (Dell's Euro HQ is next door...) I assume I'll have no problems getting hooked up to the network, but will I have problems with email, attachments.. opening things like .doc that I've previously never had any trouble with? How about if I compose a document on the Mac, should I expect problems opening/printing it on a PC?
    I've heard a few people talk about an open-source Office type program, does it work reasonably well?
    We've got our own PC Lab with all the engineering applications on the PCs in there (Matlab, Maple, CAD and that kind of thing) so I'll just stick with using that, it's fairly convenient.

    How does the software come on a Mac? Do you get CDs with it all on it or is it pre-installed? Coming from a PC, I'm used to formatting every so often and reinstalling the bits as I need them..

    At home we have a Canon scanner/printer/fax that's a few years old, it uses a parallel cable but is still a great machine. Canon's site has no mention of Mac support for it.. is there any hope for using this with the Mac?
    I'd also want to hook it up to an external monitor every now and then. Can I use the standard PC CRT monitors I have at home? Will I need any extra cables or converters? The 12" has a 'mini-DVI' port- why or how is it different to the DVI ports on the larger PowerBooks?
    Am I right in thinking I'd have to buy an extra cable in order to connect to a TV for DVD-watching?

    I'm pretty much sold on the PowerBook but at the back of my mind I can't help but think that an iBook would do. But I'd hate to regret not getting the PowerBook when I had the chance.. and I can just about afford the PB.. anyway, feel free to shout at me if you think an iBook is the (much) wiser choice.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. stoid macrumors 601


    Feb 17, 2002
    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    I am a Freshman this year, like you, on a Windows campus. I purchased a Rev. A 15 inch Aluminum PowerBook shortly after school began.

    You should have no problem connecting to network. The only gripe I have is that the campus mail server is set to only accept messages from Outlook, and so Mail can only receive messages on the exchange server and send to other campus addresses. To send mail to friends/family not on the campus server, I have to go through the web-based server. Still, just a minor hassle, no big deal.

    I have a copy of MS Office, which is really the best way to go to ensure compatibility. The OpenOffice thing is still in fairly early development, and chances are you won't have time to deal with the crap of a beta application while trying to get a paper done.

    I've not had a single problem in terms of cross-platform compatibility, even in my programming courses (once I get to .NET though, I'm sure that will change :mad: ).

    A parallel only printer is not going to be compatible with the new machine, and I don't think that there are any adaptors. I have an Epson C84 and love it. You should be able to get a new printer for $50-$100.

    The mini-DVI is mini only because there isn't room for a full DVI port on the 12 inch. I think it comes with a miniDVI-VGA adaptor or something like that.

    If you get the iBook it will come with FAR more software.

    I don't have to reformat my HD and re-install the OS because Mac OS X takes much better care of itself than Windows does (no registry for one).

    My 15 inch PowerBook came with an S-Video to RCA video adaptor, but I don't know about the other laptops.

    What is your intended major? If you are going to a Windows school and majoring in Computer Science, I would unfortunately suggest getting a Windows laptop just because you MUST have compatibility. I had never used Windows, and so I found that it was faster for me to work out small compatibility issues as I went along rather than crash and bash my way with Windows. Good luck with your purchase! There is a Mac solution for 99% of everything (excluding gaming) so if you are having a problem, someone here or on the internet can help you.
  3. powerdave thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2004
    Thanks for the info.
    I have a feeling I might have the same problem with the mail server- I've heard of a good few people using PCs having trouble with the exchange server basically cause they have difficulty setting it up. Anyway, it wouldn't cause too much trouble..

    I'm studying aeronautical engineering. We've got a pretty good setup- they provide pretty good facilities with which to get the work done. So being able to do it myself would be a bonus but I still think I'd rather try out the Mac side of things and see how it goes.

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