Advice for potential switcher

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by AJ795, Dec 12, 2004.

  1. AJ795 macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Hi all!

    I have used a PC for the last few years, and don't really have much experience of macs, apart from surfing the net on them at university.

    At the moment I have an old NEC desktop (900MHz AMD, 128 RAM, 60GB) running XP Home.
    I want to buy a laptop, and want something more powerful than what I'm using at the moment. My main needs are internet, word, powerpoint, adobe photoshop, DV editing and I would like to start experimenting with some audio editing stuff. The movie editing I do is for home movies/parties/weddings, etc. and at the moment I have been using Pinnacle's Studio software and have dabbled with Adobe Premiere.

    My desktop is slowing down now, and I would like to get a laptop and have been thinking of getting a powerbook for the last couple of months. I was all set to buy just at the time when the new ibooks were announced.

    What my question is, is should I buy a powerbook (current model) or buy a new ibook. I have an external DVD-RW and fast external HD (both LaCie).

    I know a lot of you will say that I should wait until January, but the situation is I am flying out to India just before Christmas and I need to have it out there.

    I am tempted by the size of the 12" PB, but at the same time am wondering whether the ibook is adequate for my needs. Also I have been thinking whether to go for the 15" PB because of the option of the 128MB VRAM. I have read similar threads on this subject and obviously people have different opinions, but I was hoping for some advice from you guys before I make my final decision. Do I need a PB? If not, will the ibook be sufficient for the video editing. If I need a PB, is the 12" capable or do I go with the 15"?

    Any help would be much appreciated...I am planning on buying next weekend.


  2. Alexandernap macrumors newbie

    Nov 14, 2004
    Rochester NY
    Re Switching

    I think if you maxed out the ram in a new iBook there would be very little difference in performance between the two except when it comes to games. There is a big difference between the two video cards for gaming. Keep in mind the power book has video spanning and you can run an external monitor with the lid closed. You can use the iBook hack to span between monitors but it is recommended you do not shut the lid. I do all you mention except run photoshop on my iBook and it does pretty well. I love the size of the 12" for portability but if this is your main computer you might want to go with the 15" powerbook. Huge difference in price however. As always most of your decision depends on how much you want to spend.

  3. gekko513 macrumors 603


    Oct 16, 2003
    Well, almost anything will be better than you desktop with only 128MB RAM :eek: Your desktop would not slow down as much if you bought some more RAM for it.

    The PowerBooks has a bit more power ;) compared to the iBooks, so if you can afford it you would be happier with a PB. If money is an issue then the iBooks will give you more bang per buck.
  4. Macmaniac macrumors 68040


    From what you are doing you are not going to need a lot of VRAM, however with Tiger coming out soon you may want the extra VRAM. If you are not going to play a lot of games then you probably would be a good candidate for an iBook. The 12in PB is a poor value in my opinion compared to the 14in iBook. You get a SuperDrive for less money in the iBook line.
    Here are my two suggestions:
    iBook 14in
    256MB DDR266 (256MB built-in)
    • 60GB Ultra ATA drive
    • SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Keyboard & Mac OS X - U.S. English
    • 14-inch TFT XGA display
    • 1.33GHz PowerPC G4
    • ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 w/ 32MB DDR video memory
    Subtotal $1,499.00
    The second one is a very powerful powerbook with some room to expand:
    15in PB
    • 1.5GHz PowerPC G4 with 128MB Graphics Memory
    • 512MB DDR333 SDRAM - 1 SO-DIMM
    • 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 5400 rpm
    • SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    • 15.2-inch TFT Display
    Subtotal $2,749.00
    For either one of these I strongly suggest AppleCare, and for a lot video editing invest in 3rd party RAM, Apple rips you off on memory. Get either a 512 or a 1gb module from Crucial.
  5. betsbillabong macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2004
    I recently purchased a 15" powerbook. Like you, I was advised to wait until January but couldn't, as I needed to buy something for a project. I've been very happy. I'm running FCP, DVD Studio Pro, and Max/MSP on it and it's great. I think that the current 15", especially the loaded ones, are about as future-proofed as they could be without having a G5 inside. Don't feel too bad about not waiting till January, because if there is a major change (G5, etc) the new 'books will probably not ship for a couple of months and there will be major waits. If there's not a major change you'll miss out on a speedbump and perhaps an upgraded graphics card, but probably not much else. If you need it now, you need it now. And I have to say my new powerbook feels *really* fast.

    I was really back and forth between the 12" and the 15". Now I am so happy that I got the larger one, for a number of reasons:

    a) the screen size and quality make a huge difference in terms of video work, and it also makes it a lot easier to present work to clients/collaboraters.

    b) firewire 800 makes it easier to work with fast external drives

    c) you can put 2G of RAM inside, because both RAM slots can be replaced. the ibook has one RAM stick soldered inside, and it's 256! (high time they upped the default RAM, if you ask me)

    (d) it just *feels* a lot more like a professional machine than the 12" to me. perhaps this is psychological.

    On the other hand, you should definitely work within your budget. I haven't worked with the 14" ibook and although it has a lower resolution and not as good of a screen, it could be quite capable of doing what you want, albeit with longer renders. I worked quite happily if a bit slowly on a G3 600 using FCP 1.2.5 in OS9 until last month. Another thing to consider is that in my opinion the iBooks are quite a bit more rugged than the powerbooks. Will you be travelling around India, or visiting family and friends? If you will be backpacking around I would definitely recommend an iBook, and a used one at that, since you'll be knocking the thing around, and theft is always a possibility. Obviously if you'll just *be* there it doesn't matter at all.

    Another thing to consider: some people are buying iBooks to hold them over for a year or so until the new G4/dualcore G4/whatever the new thing is powerbooks mature...
  6. AJ795 thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2004
    Hi All!

    My trip overseas isn't going to happen after all so I guess I can hang on until next month to see if there are any changes to the PB line.

    I'm still not decided between 12" and 15"...I could really do with FW 800 as it would be ideal to be able to put my triple interface LaCie drive to best use. I also like the idea of the extra video RAM. On the other hand I really like the better portability of the 12".

    Are there any dongles or connectors that anyone's come across that could give the 12" FW 800 ability. I know you can get PCMCIA cards that have FW 800 ports but the 12" PB obviously doesn't have a slot for one of them.

    Is there anything else I could do to get FW 800 on the 12"???

  7. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    no way sorry, unless they upgrade it to the 12" line
  8. efoto macrumors 68030

    Nov 16, 2004
    Cloud 9 (-6)
    There is no way because even through a FW800 dongle (if there was one like this) that ran through USB2 or something, you would always be limited by whatever the dongle was connected to, in my example USB2, which is 480 peak (I believe....). Until there is a slot upgrade to the 12" or native addition of FW800 there is no way to increase the transfer speed above USB2.

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