Better Value: 12" iBook, 14" iBook, 12" PB

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by sw1tcher, Mar 2, 2006.

  1. macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    I'm helping a friend with a laptop purchase. He would like to get a MBP, but it's a bit more than he'd like to pay so now he's looking at either the current 12" iBook, 14" iBook, and 12" PowerBook.

    He'll use it mostly for web browsing, blogging, typing papers, light photoshop use, iTunes, iPhoto, iMovie, web desgin,.... stuff like that.

    Which do you think is the best value?

    12" iBook for $799
    14" iBook for $999
    12" PowerBook (w/SuperDrive) for $1199

    He'll be buying these (current models) new through his schools computer store. He says he'll probably keep it for about 1.5 years or 2 and then upgrade to a 12" or 13.3" MBP, depending on what Apple releases.

    My order of preference is:

    1) 12" PB
    2) 14" iBook
    3) 12" iBook

    because the PB has a better (brighter) display, better (more solid feeling) keyboard, bigger HDD, faster processor, and slightly better GPU.

    I've also suggested waiting since Apple will probably release the Intel iBook soon and maybe even a smaller MBP, but who knows when that'll be.

    He doesn't really need one right this moment (has a desktop PC), but would like to have one so that he can be mobile with it.

    What do you guys/gals think?
  2. Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    Really depends also on personal preference. Has your friend ever used both all three machines? Does he not have a preference for any one machine over the other two?

    I first had a 12" 1.33GHz PB and I was more than willing to give it up for my 12" 1.33GHz iBook. Yes I miss the PB's keyboard and tiny compact form... But I love my iBook for my needs so much more!

    -runs much cooler (no longer gets too hot to rest my wrists on, like w/ the PB)
    -much better wifi reception
    -much better battery life (6ish hours on my iBook vs. 4ish on my PB)

    Also, I do NOT need a DVD burner and if his desktop PC has one, does he really need a DVD burner in his laptop? My order of preference would be: 12" iBook, 12" PB, 14" iBook. (I prefer smaller/lighter laptops.)
  3. macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2005
    based on performance (loosely) per dollar, i think the ibooks are tough to beat. i used to have a 14'' ibook and now work on a 15'' pb. i've dinked around a 12'' ibook plenty as well.

    i'd say if he wants portability and value, go for the 12'' ibook. the 12'' pb looks sleeker and has more HD space and ports. does he need all those ports? i think the HD might be upgradeable. i assume he is considering the more modern models so 1.33ghz on ibook vs 1.5ghz on pb is a minimal diff. is it worth 400 dollars for ~10%ghz increase, ports, slightly brighter display, etc? maybe, if he has the extra dough...

    my suggestion (esp. considering he's keeping it for 1.5-2 years and will probably be itching to upgrade when those 13'' books come out soon ;) ) is

    12 ibook
    14 ibook
    12 pb

    i agree with devilot, ibooks have better wireless, better battery life, and is just such a great value... i think they all get too hot though

    good luck!

    EDIT: i forgot to mention, last i checked, 12'' and 14'' have the same resolution, just bigger pixels on the screen i guess. 14'' might be nice for the eyes if he's going to do photoshop work, blogging, etc. which is why i placed the 14'' ibook ahead of the 12'' pb
  4. thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Can't say he's really "used" them, but he has played with them at his school's computer store and at the Apple store.

    Not sure what his preferences are. I think he just wants to get the "best bang for his buck" right now.

    I'm thinking the DVD burner will come in handy for iMovie and backing up data, but yeah he does have a burner on his desktop already so maybe it's not really necessary. I'll have to ask.

    Think it would be better to wait until the Intel iBooks are released to see what they're like or should he take advantage of these great prices right now? I doubt he'll be able to get a new Intel iBook anywhere near these prices.
  5. thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    You don't think the extra $400 between the 12" iBook and 12" PB is worth it considering the 12" PB has:

    - slightly faster processor (1.33GHz vs. 1.5GHz)
    - faster and larger HDD (40GB @ 4200rpm vs. 80GB @ 5400 rpm)
    - better/brighter display
    - better keyboard
    - slightly better GPU
    - sleeker look and feel
    - DVD burner

    plus a few other things which escape my mind right now?

    Hmm. I thought it was.

    But since he'll probably sell it for a new MacBook Pro or MacBook in a year or so, maybe going with the least expensive model would be smarter. It could be a hold-over machine of sorts. Only thing that bothers me is the small 40GB HDD on the 12" iBook. I've heard that with the default Apple programs installed, you're only left with like 15GB or so of space which isn't much. Is that true? If not, maybe I'll recommend the 12" iBook instead, plus a gig of RAM.
  6. macrumors 68040


    Aug 21, 2004
    The fourteen inch iBook is the best of the three.

    The screen is bigger and, suprisingly, it is FASTER than the 1.5ghz powerbook when both are stuffed with maximum ram.

    The larger screen on the 14" is worth it and probably the last we'll ever see of this size.
  7. macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    PowerBook and iBook screens are exactly the same in the 12" models. The brighter screen claims only applied to the widescreen models. The 14" display looks really fuzzy to me.

    I would rank the 12" iBook at the top of the list.

    12" iBook:
    - Very good wireless reception
    - Good battery life
    - Quiet
    - Relatively cool
    - Tough as nails.
    - Cheap
    - Pretty good performance for how cheap it is

    14" iBook
    - Best battery life
    - Superdrive
    - Same res as 12", looks fuzzy to me
    - Larger and heavier

    12" PowerBook
    - Better graphics
    - Worst battery life
    - Worst wireless reception
    - Really, really hot
    - Dents pretty easily
    - More powerful (just)
    - Less RAM capacity than iBooks
    - Slightly smaller than iBook
  8. macrumors regular

    Mar 29, 2004
    Rome, Italy
    I agree.
    I bought my iBook over a Powerbook because of the better wifi reception and better battery life.
    Would have probably thought twice if I needed a superdrive or just a little more power.
  9. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2006
    Id say either the 12" pb or 12" iBook cause 1024x768 on a 14 inch screen is just disgusting. :(
  10. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2006
  11. macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Yep. Check out the tech details on the web site. The PowerBook is smaller in every dimension and lighter but not by much....
  12. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 24, 2006

    Oh yeah youre right, nice.
  13. macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I'd go with the iBook. For the price, it's the best deal out there. The PB is a nice machine though.
  14. macrumors 65816

    AJ Muni

    Aug 4, 2005
    yes...these are both 12"..

    Attached Files:

  15. macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2005
    You wont be able to tell the difference in performance between the ibook and the PB. Not to mention their screens are the EXACT SAME. What you have to decide is if a superdrive and 40gb in HDD space are worth 400 dollars. The size, I feel is marginally different at best, and I wasnt able to feel the 3 ounces of weight difference when I carried them around. The ibook's GPU is supposedly faster than the PB despite the differnce in RAM, so that adds soemthing else to think about. For me, I didnt feel these things were worth 400 dollars with worse battery life and wifi. What I did was take 150 dollars and bump up the RAM and HDD on the iBook for a faster, better, and 250 dollar cheaper machine. I couldnt be happier.
  16. macrumors 68020


    Jul 10, 2005
    Rocketing through the sky!
    i have a 12" pb and am very happy with it. The heat issue is a bit annoying but it never gets hot enough to really bug me, just enough to get your left hand a little sweaty (over the HDD) but i think the ibooks get just as bad as my friend complains his ibook does the same. I like the metal as opposed to the plastic as the ibooks look like they are from 1966 and overall they just feel cheap and tacky (to me anyway). I think the screen is nicer on the pb and so is the keyboard. BUT, the ibook battery life is great. much better than my pb and the price is damn fine. I dont know about the wifi but i have had a little trouble with the pb in places where the signal is weak. I dont regret my pb purchase, and for the record, if you do get an ibook, get a larger hdd than 40 GB. That is awful by todays standards.
  17. macrumors newbie

    Feb 27, 2006
    smaller is generally better

    I have a 12" iBook and my girlfriend, as well as many other friends have a 12" PB. I also have a friend who has a 14" iBook and my girlfriend previously had a 14" dell laptop. My experience is that if you are looking for mobility and just general computer use, smaller is better. It's so much easier to carry with you in a bookbag. Hard to say wether the iBook or Pb 12" is a better option. The only extra port you get with the PB is the audio in jack.

    I am getting a new MBP but only because I have gotten into advanced motion graphics and video editing. Otherwise I would stick with a smaller 12" screen. My iBook is a great computer. It will far exceed the needs of any average computer user.

    Good luck.
  18. macrumors regular


    Feb 3, 2005
    Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
    You really can't loose

    I have this debate with my room mate all the time. He has a 14" iBook and I the 12" PowerBook. We use them for almost the exact same things (school & as Primary computers) except I do a lot of photo editing and he plays a ton of WoW.

    Here are the few noticable difference we have came across in the last year:
    Better Wi-Fi reception
    Better Battery life
    Bigger screen
    Louder speakers
    supports up to 1.5 GB of RAM

    More VRAM
    Supports screen spanning
    Easy access to RAM
    Audio input jack

    The differences are not very significant, we are both happy with the laptop of our choice. Each minor difference has an easy workaround solution.
    My advice is to pick the one you like the best and you will be happy with it.
  19. macrumors regular

    Feb 6, 2006
    Recently, I was trying to pick amongst those 3 computers. The 12 inch one turned me off due to its 40gb hard drive and lack of a SuperDrive. The 12 inch PB was nice, but there was a huge price difference between the iBook and PB, and for the same screen size, I couldn't justify the extra expense. I chose the 14 inch Powerbook due to its larger screen, being cheaper than the Powerbook, having a larger screen, a nice 60gb hard drive, and long battery life. All I need now is to add another 1gb of RAM and I'll be all set.
  20. macrumors 6502


    Feb 20, 2006
    York, PA
    I was in the same situation, went with the 12" PB. I got my PB used off of a member of the forums here for the same price of a new 12" ibook. I use a 12" ibook in school, but haven't been able to run anything like Garageband on it, mostly just Firefox and Word which it handles well. Anyways, the 40 GB just seems way to small for me, and I llove the metal look. Can't wait till it gets here.
  21. macrumors regular

    Sep 21, 2004
    the 12" iBook and the 12" PB have the same display. As in the SAME panel, from the SAME manufacturer.
  22. macrumors member

    Feb 11, 2006
    If you have ever picked up both computers from the corner only it is obvious that the powerbook is built much better. The ibook "creeks" and feels "loose", where as the powerbook feels very sturdy and doesnt make any noises.
  23. macrumors 68000


    Jan 22, 2003
    In your head.
    The PBs are more robust, sturdier, and generally more durable.
    I have a 12" referb PB, and I am very happy.
    I would always suggest getting a Superdrive over a Combodrive, as burning data DVDs has saved my arss many a time.
  24. thread starter macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Ok. I talked to him and he says the SuperDrive isn't something he really needs to have, but he thinks the hard drive for the 12" iBook at 40GB may be too small for his needs. Since this is the stock model, he won't have any option to upgrade it unless he does this himself, which is something he'd rather not have to do. He could also order a BTO model from Apple with the upgraded hard drive, but then he'd end up paying $994 for it. At that price, he'd rather get the stock 14" iBook instead for $5 more.

    At this point he's leaning more towards the 14" iBook and 12" PB mainly because of the larger hard drives. Does anyone here have a stock 12" iBook with the 40GB HDD? Do you find the 40GB's to be enough space? The programs I know he'll be installing/using are Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2, Dreamweaver, Office 2004, iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, AIM, Adium X, ClearDock, an FTP program (probably Transmit), CandyBar, and TextWrangler or BBEdit. I don't think 40GB would be enough, but what do you guys/gals think?
  25. macrumors 6502a


    Jan 8, 2004
    Also remember that the ibook allows for more ram than the Powerbook.
    iBook 1.5gb
    PowerBook 12" 1.25gb

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