Are Powebooks good for multitasking?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by BlizzardWolf, Nov 20, 2005.

  1. BlizzardWolf macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    #1
    Well I'm a windows user that wants to buy a pb.... so I went to the apple store yesterday to check out the updated powerbook. The one on display had 512mb ram. I tested it out and opened a lot of apps at once, I thought it was pretty slow at opening the programs since the icon flashes and bounces on the dock for about 2 seconds and then opens up..

    Is this normal? Is the PB excellent for multitasking, such as using the internet, switching back and forth between programs, etc?

    Is the PB faster than an intel notebook such as Dell at multitasking or is it the same?

    thank you for all your advice since i've never used macs for more than 5 minutes before
     
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #2
    OSX handles multitasking (through apportioning RAM appropriately) much better than Windows. Get quite a bit of RAM (1GB+ would be cool) and you'll love a PowerBook.

    In outright CPU performance, the PowerBook really isn't as fast as the top Intel-based machines although there are many other benefits to OSX that'll negate that. :)

    Remember that the PowerBook will be running from an Intel chip within two year too. It'll be sooner rather than later. :)
     
  3. BlizzardWolf thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    #3
    So you're saying that in order for a PB to be good i have to get like 2gb of ram?

    Will a PB + 2gb ram be better than an Intel 2.0ghz with 2gb ram in terms of speed and performance?
     
  4. buryyourbrideau macrumors 65816

    buryyourbrideau

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #4
    You could get a new PB with anything over 1 GB of RAM and it would do just fine running multiple applications at the same time. Now asking an app to run immediately after you click on it is just a bit militant. 2 seconds of a wait is cool in my book.
     
  5. Macmaniac macrumors 68040

    Macmaniac

    #5
    It depends on what you are multi tasking. I have a 1.67ghz PB with 1.5gb of RAM, I run skype, iChat (AIM client), Word, Mail, Safari, and iTunes all at the same time. Everything runs very fast. If you are running games you should close things so you don't lag, but other then that everyday multi tasking is a breeze.
     
  6. BlizzardWolf thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    #6
    But it just seems that the 2 seconds is unnecessary... is it just a design or feature? is there any way to turn it off?
     
  7. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #7

    No necessarily. For most users, 1GB is plenty. Depends what you're using it for... So, what are you using it for? :)



    The PowerBook will be much better at multitasking but for raw CPU speed, the Intel will be faster. There are many aspects of performance and even speed so we need to know more about your uses before we can say which machine will be quicker.



    You can turn off the bouncing icon but it won't really speed things up.
     
  8. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #8
    This "bouncing" is just an animation of the actual load time for the app, not something that takes extra time.
     
  9. BlizzardWolf thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    #9
    My uses include surfing the internet (firefox), downloading music (limewire), AIM, iMovie, Word document, bittorent, and iTunes.

    Can the PB with 1gb of ram handle having all of those programs running at the same time and when I switch back and forth, there is absolutely no lag at all?

    EDIT: Somehow i was hoping that a powerbook would allow me to open up programs instantly, but i guess that isn't possible?
     
  10. buryyourbrideau macrumors 65816

    buryyourbrideau

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #10
    there might be some lag depending on what you are downloading in limewire and bit torrent and what not. im sure you get that. but you shouldnt get much lag if any.
     
  11. SummerBreeze macrumors 6502a

    SummerBreeze

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #11
    The two seconds it takes for the app to open isn't a big deal. I see the double bouncing of the icon as something pretty awesome, in Windows I would never know if firefox was really opening or not and would end up opening about a billion windows.

    But the real value of multitasking comes from actually using all the programs, not just opening them. OS X makes this pretty easy. Exposè makes all your apps easy to get to, and the system doesn't slow down as more programs are opened. Plus, if one app stops responding it doesn't drag down the entire operating system.
     
  12. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #12
    Unless you've got a pretty mammoth project, 1GB will be fine for that.

    Don't pirate music. :)



    That's usually hard drive speed-dependant rather than RAM dependant. It's pretty rare to find a computer that's instant at opening apps though. What machine are you coming from?
     
  13. BlizzardWolf thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    #13
    That's usually hard drive speed-dependant rather than RAM dependant. It's pretty rare to find a computer that's instant at opening apps though. What machine are you coming from?


    I'm using a windows PC (dell) right now and when i open programs it takes less than 2 seconds...

    Will getting a PB with 7200 rpm HD + 2gb of RAM help me open up programs instantly?
     
  14. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #14

    Generally no. All the extra RAM will do is give you the ability to store more information in it, meaning your computer doesn't have to access the far slower hard drive all the time. So, the only time you'd notice an app open quicker due to RAM is if you'd only just closed it. :)

    Having said that, 2GB of RAM will mean you can leave apps open without experiencing slow down. As such, re-selecting an already open app is much faster than starting it from cold.
     
  15. buryyourbrideau macrumors 65816

    buryyourbrideau

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #15
    It sure will, but it will be kinda pricey. Add an extra $500 if you get the Apple factory installed RAM when you order, or you could just search for third party RAM and install it yourself

    Edit: yea what mad jew said, it wont necessarily open an application faster but will allow you to have more open at once and run smoother while they are all open
     
  16. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #16
    Just to make this clear: if you have two machines side by side and one has 1GB of RAM whilst the other has 2GB and neither have opened a certain app since last time they were booted, they will both take the same amount of time to start said app. :)

    The 7200RPM drive will help though.
     
  17. BlizzardWolf thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    #17
    How can I get it so it opens up programs faster?

    Wouldn't it be mundane and monotonous to sit there and watch an icon bounce and then 2 seconds later you can use it? That'd be kinda frustrating ...
     
  18. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #18

    Just keep them open the whole time, meaning they'll most likely be kept in the RAM and will subsequently come up instantly. From a hardware perspective, 2GB of RAM will help here because it'll mean you can store twice as many apps/files in that RAM. Also, the hard drive speed (and CPU speed) should be as fast as possible. :)

    If your Dell PC is a desktop then you'll most likely be slightly disappointed with the PowerBook's speed simply because it's a laptop. You'd be equally disappointed with a Windows-based laptop though. :)
     
  19. ddrueckhammer macrumors 65816

    ddrueckhammer

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    America's Wang
    #19
    No matter how much Ram you get there will be some load time on both the Windows and Mac platform. This is because the programs stored in "long term memory" your hard drive must be loaded into Ram before they are accessible by the processor. Like the person said before, the faster your hard-drive speed and Ram speed the faster your programs will open. Personally, I find it a pain that I have to wait for programs like photoshop and word to load a few seconds but this is just the nature of the beast. Until hard drives are eliminated and we all have 250 GB ram sticks in our computers I think there will always be load times for our applications. Finally, in both Windows and Macs you can set your applications to automatically launch when the system boots, I run Safari, BitTorrent, iChat, iTunes, Mail, iCal, and Address Book at launch. I never turn these apps off unless I am doing something really processor hungry like Video Encoding, or playing a game. Macs in most cases allocate all of the Ram to the Application in the foreground giving that App maximum performance. This is why multitasking is generally better on the Mac platform.
     
  20. spencecb macrumors 6502a

    spencecb

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    #20
    Wow...waiting two seconds is this big of a deal to you? I don't know what to tell you about that. I have to wait just as long on Windows computers when opening similar applications as I do on my Macs.

    But I agree with what everyone else is saying. 1 GB RAM should be plenty to do the things you are wanting to do. The RAM makes all the difference in OS X. The more you have, the more you will enjoy your Mac. I have found since they released Dashboard, you def. need more RAM to make OS X really fly, because all those widgets add up quickly in the amount of RAM that they use.
     
  21. Koodauw macrumors 68040

    Koodauw

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    Madison
    #21
    I think the Powerbook you tested just wasn't the best example of the Apple/Macintosh experience. Was it an Apple store that you went to? I would recommend that you talk to an Apple rep. about a powerbook, explain to them what your looking for, and I'm sure they'll be able to answer your questions very well.

    As for two seconds to open an application, which app was it? iTunes opens for me under a second, but bigger apps like photo shop take a bit longer. This going to be the case on any platform.

    Good luck in your decision.
     
  22. Fukui macrumors 68000

    Fukui

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    #22
    Opening it the first time will be a little slower, but OS X will cache the app after the first launch, so subsequent launches will be faster, usually twice as fast the second time around.

    Getting a Gig or more ram wouldn't hurt either. The more graphics memory or faster hard disk also helps.
     
  23. Scarlet Fever macrumors 68040

    Scarlet Fever

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    Bookshop!
    #23
    i have an 800MHz G4 iMac with 768MB SDRAM and i always have Mail, Safari, iTunes and Adium open, and quite often one or two other users logged on. It takes a bit of time to load up, but when it does, i couldn't tell that there are other apps open. A computer twice as fast with effectivly twice the RAM should keep you happy for years.

    MS Apps like Word seem to open pretty quick, but 3rd party apps like Firefox tend to take just as long, if not longer, to load in Windows. MS dont want you using 3rd party apps.
     
  24. eeyoredragon macrumors member

    eeyoredragon

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    #24
    Yah, get at least a gig of ram. I have a gig, and will add another soon.

    Food for thought: On my PC (which way outspecs my Powerbook), when I burn a disc, everything slows to a crawl.

    On my Powerbook, unless it's encoding something like wav to dolby digital, I can't tell anything is happening beyond the sound.
     
  25. Scottyk9 macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    #25
    just want to give a little perspective regarding "opening" and "using" apps under OS X. Under windows, you often shut programs down you are not using, otherwise everything slows down. OS X does a great job at managing memory and system resources. I often will have 10-15 apps open with really no system slowdown. The time to open an application is a very minor issues (compared with windows).

    for exampe: fresh start of OS X (say after an update) - open apps as needed (waiting for them to open - and let's assume they take twice as long as a PC... 2 seconds instead of 1). After that, they stay running, all the while the system runs smoothly. All the programs I commonly use will stay running indefinitely, taking no time to "start up" again. This continues until the next time I have to restart (usually weeks)
     

Share This Page