12" PB with 20" Display or 17" PB? (for college)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Rob587, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. Rob587 macrumors 6502a

    Rob587

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #1
    I currently have a windows machine (yuck), that has a 1.66GHz processor, 1GB of ram, and a 64mb graphics card. I will be going to college next fall and making the deffinate switch to mac. My question is which one of these two options should I go with?

    12" PB w/ 20" Apple Display
    • 1.256GB DDR333 (256MB built-in + 1GB SO-DIMM)
    • 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 5400rpm
    • SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    • Apple Cinema Display (20" flat panel)
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    • 1.33GHz PowerPC G4
    • NVIDIA GeForce FX GO 5200 with 64MB DDR Video Memory
    • 12.1-inch TFT Display

    TOTAL = $3,241

    17" PB
    • 1.5GHz PowerPC G4 with 128MB Graphics Memory
    • 1GB DDR333 SDRAM - 1 SO-DIMM
    • 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 5400rpm
    • SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    • 17-inch TFT Display

    TOTAL = $2994

    I would think some of the pros of the 12" w/ display is that I can take it to class and around campus comfortabley while being able to go back to the apartment and plug it into a 20" display. Cons of this might be not as fast as the 17" and a little more to keep up with. I think I would be ok with the speed though considering I am happy with the current speed and functionality of my current comp (minus the shi* OS) because all it is used for is AIM, Internet, Word, and itunes.

    Your thoughts and expierances would be much appreciated! Thank You! :)
     
  2. ephex macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2004
    Location:
    USA
    #2

    Wait a few weeks. It's almost certain to see speedbumped powerbooks soon, possibly with a price cut.

    But most importantly of all, do NOT get the 17". If you've seen on in real life, its HUGE. Sure it's a great desktop replacement, but if you bring that baby to class, you'll be screwed because you won't have enough room :p. Not to mention it's much heavier than the 12", and will be much harder to carry around.

    If I were you, I would get the 15". In fact, I AM going to get the 15", as soon as they update them ;). Also, IMHO, getting a 12" powerbook is plain stupid, at least with the current specs. You'd be better off getting a 12" iBook. And iBooks are much more rugged than PowerBooks, and get better wifi reception.
     
  3. SuperChuck macrumors 6502

    SuperChuck

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    Location:
    Chucktown, SC
    #3
    No question - go for the 12". I love mine and take it everywhere, but if it was a 17", I'd probably lug it around a lot less.
     
  4. yukon8170 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2004
    #4
    Go with the 12

    I agree that you should wait as long as possible to see if there are any speed bumps. I own a 12" right now and it is great. Plus, there is nothing like plugging in that 20" display and using dual screens for the first time. Every person that has seen mine thinks it is awesome. I think the next powerbook I get will be the 15" because of the widescreen (unless that 13" rumor is true:) The 12" was made for going to class with. I will take mine out and it almost seems too small. (But its not) I look around and see all those kids with the huge 10lb 17" screen windows computers, and wonder why they carry those around.

    The only thing I miss about not buying the 15" to begin with is the backlit keys. That is really one of the coolest features and it shows how apple is interested in small details like that.

    Anyway, get the 12" PB and the 20" screen. You'll never go back to windows again.
     
  5. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601

    mrgreen4242

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    #5
    Well, my thoughts on this... if you were just gonna leave it on your desk and not take it around with you, go for the 17". Nicer machine overall and less $$$. However if that were the case, why not get an iMac? Similar deskspace needs, more powerfull, and less $$$. As mentioned above the 17" PB is pretty tough to lug around with you.

    So that leaves the 12" and a 20" ACD, OR, my 2 options to think about...

    1) a 15" 1.33ghz PB and a 3rd party LCD (Dell 21" widescreen LCDs are REALLY nice and pretty cheap). It'll be faster than the 12" which you are clearly ready to settle for, and almost as fast as the 17", but still be small enough to take to class with you. Figure about $2,900-3000 with monitor, SD and HD upgrades, and some extra RAM (all with EDU pricing).

    OR

    2) a 12" iBook for class AND a 20" iMac for the dorm. $950 for the base model iBook (EDU pricing, but not the EDU CD-ROM only model... $50 more for a portable DVD player is worth it), and $1900 for the iMac w/ an extra 512mb (768mb total) thrown in, and you are at LESS than even what the 17" PB would run.

    Just something to think about!

    Rob
     
  6. AndrewTosh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2005
    #6
    the iBook doesn't have a DVI out, though. I agree with the other comments. I would NEVER want to take a 17" PowerBook to class. Even the 15" is a bit wide for a lot of the small desks in classrooms.

    You probably can save some money by buying the RAM from someone other than Apple. If you aren't comfortable installing it, the Apple Store can, and it is still likely to be cheaper than buying from Apple direct.

    -Andrew
     
  7. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #7
    I agree with what's been said above. The 12" + display is better for college... but wait for speedbumps soon.
     
  8. PieMac macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2002
    #8
    I have the 17" PowerBook and it is currently up for auction on Ebay. It's a beautiful machine and the screen is top notch but I found myself not wanting to take it anywhere with me because it is a bit cumbersome. So I'm selling and getting a 15" when they come out with the updates (and hopefully price drops...soon I hope!).

    My partner just got the 12" and I was really amazed at how easy the screen is on the eyes for such a small machine. And very portable to say the least.

    If I were you, I'd go with the 12"...especially for school purposes. Get an external monitor and you are all set!
     
  9. sjpetry macrumors 65816

    sjpetry

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2004
    Location:
    Tamarindo, Costa Rica
  10. Romulan macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #10
    Just another fan of the 12 inch. I wouldn't get the display though. If you're only using AIM, Internet, Word, and itunes you're not gonna need that much space. Heck, I've been using FCP lately on my twelve inch screen and it works fine. Whatever you choose though, it's gonna be an awesome setup. Good Luck :D!

    ROMULAN
     
  11. Eevee macrumors 6502a

    Eevee

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2004
    Location:
    New Haven, CT
    #11
    First of all, WAIT FOR THE UPDATE!!!!! There will be a speed bump.

    Second, go and test drive the 12" and 17." The 17" is really wide! That was why I got the 15" instead. Have you thought about the 15"? I love mine. The size is just right!

    Again, WAIT !!!!!
     
  12. nargot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #12
    I agree a 12" is the best portable size (i have a ibook). What i do at home is screen span mine with a 17" LCD and its better than a normal 17" inch display :)

    Don't get an apple display if money is an issue, buy any good looking display (LCD or CRT... CRT is to big), don't buy dell, their ugly and its fueling the antichrist have a look around and you will find a good one.
     
  13. cluthz macrumors 68040

    cluthz

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2004
    Location:
    Norway
    #13
    I use a 12-inch with a external 17 viewsonic (nice display, and I didn't affort the apple 20-inch..) and it's great!!

    You get portability when needed and screen realestate when needed.
    If you are into gaming or heavy 3D work the PB17" will be faster, if not you'll won't notice the difference.
    If you get the 12-inch + display get a laptop stand, your powerbook WILL get hot when using an extra screen.
     
  14. Rob587 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Rob587

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #14
    Well, so far it seems that the general consensus would be with the 12" and a display, but I cant help but feel attracted to some of your suggestions about the 15". It looks good, I can take it to class without looking like a jerk, and it will have some abviouse speed and graphic upsides over the 12" Maybe I could get the 15" and see how it goes, and If somewhere down the line I feel like I need more real estate I could look into a moniter. would a 20" moniter be silly with a 15" screen already?
     
  15. Rob587 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Rob587

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
  16. Rob587 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Rob587

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
  17. TreeHugger macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    #17
    how would the 17inch powerbook make you look like a jerk? I have a 17" that i take with me pretty much everywhere. I don't think its a big deal, especially not in my Timbuk2 messenger bag which has a compartment especially made for it... Keep in mind I also caddy in the summer with a golfbag on each shoulder, so carrying a 17" PB around is not a bid deal at all.

    I got a 17" because I needed it. Screensizeand CPU power for Photoshop work and movie editing plus a bit of dabbling in garageband, etc....
    I occasionally also hook up my 21" dell CRT for extra room if I really need it.

    Ask yourself what you need and not how it will make you look in class. Choose something that will fulfill your needs and not your image. Personally I would not want to leave a 20" apple cinema display in a dorm room environment. The likelyhood of something breaking in a college dorm is higher than in a "controlled" environment. -trust me....
     
  18. Rob587 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Rob587

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #18
    so u use ur 17" notebook in class? I guess I also have the issue of getting tired of a laptop and its mediocre display as compared to the 20" display which is absolutley gorgeous. I dont know. I just dont want to get the 17" and feel stuck to not be able to take it to class then have it sit in my room and have an ok screen, but then again it would be nice to not have to deal with all of that mess and just have one machine. Uggghhh what to do.?
     
  19. TreeHugger macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2004
    #19
    Yes I take it to class and I have only gotten compliments for it.... Most of time i just plop it on my lap (17 inch fits nicely...) in my lecture classes. I haven't needed it in any other classes as of yet. And it's really nice just having one machine that I can take with me anywhere. When there's a party or "study break" in my room I just tuck it away in my Timbuk2, were it catches some z's until it's safe to come out again :)
    I don't know if it's just me, but I don't see much difference between the "mediocre" PB display and the 20" ACD, except that the ACD is 3" bigger :)
    If you just need the PB for basic word/internet/mail I would get the 12" or the 15" although I think the choice realy lies bewteen the 12vs17 and the 17" would be overkill. if screen size is an issue just go with the 15'...
     
  20. anubis macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2003
    #20
    Get the 12-incher for sure. You will find that the 17-inch Powerbook is so massive, that you won't feel like taking it to class, etc., and it will just sit on your desk like an overpriced desktop. Get that quality 20-inch screen and the 12-inch powerbook, which is small enough to quality as a portable computer, unlike the 17-inch powerbook (in my humble opinion, anyway).
     
  21. Rob587 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Rob587

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
  22. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #22
    Simple. Get in your car, drive to the local Apple Store (millenia), and oogle and play with the various models. Compare screens. Voice your concerns and ask if you can pick up various PBs to get a tactile feel for weight, balance etc.

    Nothing beats real-world perceptions. Good Luck.
     
  23. callmesideburns macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    #23
    I was in a similar situation last year when deciding between the powerbook setups. And the best advice is to get to an apple store and play around with each of the computers for a couple hours. I was stuck between the 15 and 17. I ended up with the 17 because when I felt them in my hands I didn't really notice that big of a difference between the two. Once I opened a couple programs on the machine that extra space really made a difference (especially with all of the palettes in photoshop/illustrator).

    Now with a nice bag, I take the computer everywhere and I've never been in the situation where the computer was too big to use or move around.
     
  24. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Canberra OZ
    #24
    I have the 17" as my PC and home desktop replacement and has been great.

    I just came back from the UK last wekeend where I lugged it around in its STM backpack for a month from my accomodation to wireless points and a few times when out exploring London. Its big true, but a kilo difference and the size are hardly noticable in a decent bacpack like the STM Large Loop.

    Sure a 12" is hands down more portable but then you dont have anywhere near the same work area or performance.

    I've taken my 17" to business meetings and domestic traveling as well. Its been fine - although does get looks for its sheer size...looks of awe.

    The 17" has the advanatge of allowing you to watch with friends decent size DVDs whereever you have it (Lounge, bed, when out).

    The backlit keyboard is excellent for nighttime working or in darker places when you want to keep lights off to not disturb others.

    I agree with others, hold off for the update if you can. Even an extra 20 gig HDD would be nice.
     
  25. Passante macrumors 6502a

    Passante

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2004
    Location:
    on the sofa
    #25
    Get the 12 inch and buy the ram from Crucial-not Apple. I have 768 meg in mine and I don't think that I need any more. I always have safari, mail, activity monitor, address book and iCal open and either photoshop elements, word, or power point. No ram related slowdowns. You might want to save a few bucks on ram and get a second battery charger. Its a chore to remember to pack the charger every time I leave work. Having two would be nice.

    I was at the Apple store on Monday and played with a 12 inch powerbook connected to a 20 in display. Both iPhoto and the full screen iTunes visualizer ran well. You should be set for school.
     

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