Buying a Mac - for the first time

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Mac Me Up, Jun 25, 2005.

  1. Mac Me Up macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #1
    Howdy all,

    I'm a few days away from buying my first Mac ever, which seems a bit strange after using every Microsoft OS since 3.1. Anyway, I need some advice. I want to buy a 15" powerbook, but need to choose between three:
    1.5Ghz, SuperDrive, 1 Gig of RAM, 64MB Vram - AUD$3400
    1.67Ghz, SuperDrive, 1 Gig of RAM, 64MB Vram - AUD$3700
    1.67Ghz, SuperDrive, 1 Gig of RAM, 128MB Vram - AUD$3800

    I guess my question is pretty simple, is it actually worth the extra AUD$400 (US$300) for the slightly faster processor and more Video Ram. I know on the PC video ram is normally only needed if you want to play games, etc - which I don't want to do. I just want a good laptop for video editting and working with photos, etc. Also does the extra hundred or so megahertz of processing power actually make any practical difference? Is there any 'hidden' differences betweent the 1.5ghz and 1.67ghz powerbooks? Does the 1.5ghz run any cooler than the 1.67ghz? What about battery life?

    Anyway that's all the questions I have, I know there's quite a few in there, but these are all things that are pretty foreign to someone coming from a PC background. :)
     
  2. hhlee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 19, 2005
    #2
    >Also does the extra hundred or so megahertz of processing power actually >make any practical difference?

    +$300 dollars for a 10.2% increase in ghz....... personally, no thanks but you might look at it as a ~10% increase in price for ~10% increase in ghz, sounds fair, i guess. real world performance, probably modest gain.

    1.5ghz probably runs cooler than the 1.67ghz - but most likely only modestly. battery life... they all suck compared with windoze laptops. if you're doing video, you'll probably not be relying on battery. if you're traveling and doing light work, you can set the power savings to be on longer battery life rather than performance.

    i'm not sure about the videoram. personally i wouldn't spend the extra money for that either but depends on if you ever want to run a 30'' display. maybe the video editors out there know if vram affects video editing??
     
  3. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #3
    Most people here will tell you to get the fastest 1.67 processor you can afford and the extra VRAM @128MB for any serious audio/video work
    on a PowerBook is well worth the difference.

    If you're going to be working with Final Cut Pro 5 suite, that application
    out of the box uses 45GB's of hard drive space.

    The tough call here is that the price of a loaded 15" PB with decent RAM
    puts you well into Dual 2.3GHz G5 territory if you already have a good display.

    So the real trade off is portability with the PowerBook's single G4 processor compared to the clearly superior features of a dual G5 for roughly the same expense.

    If you search through these threads you'll find many other posts on which
    model is ideal for certain uses.
     
  4. Mac Me Up thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #4
    Thanks for the advice so far. I'm buying a laptop because I want portability and because I can salary sacrifice it through work (basically giving me a 40% discount). You can't do that in Australia for desktops, like the G5.

    When you say that the battery life does not compare well against a PC laptop, if I was just surfing the net any idea how long I could actually expect to get? (I never trust what the manufacturer tells you for PC laptops, and I assume macs are the same?). Naturally when video editting I'd be plugged into power.

    When you say that the extra Vram is good for video editing, I am mainly just planning to use iMovie, not Final Cut Pro 5 or anything like that. I don't really want to plug it into any external display. I have searched through the forums and most people say to get the extra Vram because the new Tiger OS quartz engine uses it, but does it really need it? Does Tiger actually run any better/faster with more VRAM?
     
  5. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #5
    I doubt you'd notice the difference with the extra VRAM personally but it's non-upgradeable so it'd be nice to get. Tiger doesn't need it, the 64MB cards will handle everything just fine.

    As for battery life, say, about 4 hours of web surfing, maybe a little less but not much.
     
  6. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #6
    It's kinda hard to go wrong with ANY PowerBook, but with your employee
    reimbursement of 40%, the upgraded 1.67GHz/128MB with a bunch of RAM
    would be hard to resist.

    It will also help with resale.

    This machine should hold you well into 2010
     
  7. Mac Me Up thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #7
    Again, thanks for the answers so far. :D

    Does anyone know if apart from the slightly faster processor the 1.67 powerbook is actually physically different from the 1.5ghz one? Eg: is there any other differences that might make the newer one a better buy?
     
  8. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
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    #8
    The only physical changes over the previous models would be the new touchpad .

    I also can't rule out that the faster 1.67 GHz processor with the extra 128MB VRAM might tend to run a bit warmer, but I haven't heard of any major complaints.

    In most cases users report that unstoppable drooling keeps their machine well within reasonable temperatures. :D
     
  9. Mac Me Up thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #9
    I have noticed that about you Mac lovers...you really do love the things. I haven't met many windows users that say the same about their OS/machines. I guess I'll find out soon enough if you're all mad or onto a good thing ;) .
     
  10. CanadaRAM macrumors G5

    CanadaRAM

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2004
    Location:
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    #10
    Some of us are better Mad. ;)

    Before you order, check and see if you can order the Powerbook with minimal RAM and get 1 Gb RAM SODIMMs third party at a competitive price (and whether or not your employer's plan forces you to get it on the same invoice). Video and serious Photoshop benefit from >1Gb RAM, and you can get RAM far cheaper than Apple's price.

    Just choose a vendor who tests and guarantees compatibility with your model Mac, gives a lifetime warranty and a no-charge return policy.
     
  11. Mac Me Up thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #11
    The RAM is only AUD$100 for the extra 512, so it doesn't seem that expensive (and yes I know you can get it slightly cheaper in the US, but then you have to factor in shipping and our GST tax of 10% as well), but hey, if there's any ozzies out there, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

    My only concern with people loving their macs that much (apart from the obvious raised froidian eyebrows) would be that I find *and please don't flame me for saying the obvious* that Mac people tend to overlook a lot of negatives in the Mac platform - in the case of the powerbooks the heat they produce, and poor wireless signal and battery life that they have compared to PC notebooks (two out of three are mentioned in this thread, so it's obviously not true of all Mac people). But hey, who knows, maybe Mac OSX really is that good, and Mac hardware so nice that you can overlook these things and move one, I certainly hope so, because I'm buying one in a day or two.

    I think I'll probably go for the following system:
    PowerBook G4 15" 1.67GHz SuperDrive
    - Total Memory 1GB - 2 DIMMS
    - Video Memory 128MB Video Memory
    - Optical Drive SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    Thanks for all the advice :)
     
  12. risc macrumors 68030

    risc

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #12
    I got a PowerBook G4 1.67 GHz, 64 MB VRAM, 1.5 GB RAM on SS earlier in the year and I'll tell you what I think. The PowerBook runs very hot in summer here in Melbourne, it runs cool in winter. Battery life is shocking compared to a Centrino notebook I get about 2 1/2 to 3 hours of normal use (that is with the power management set to normal, and the lcd brightness on full). The wireless strength isn't as good as the iBook it replaced but it's not something I'd call poor. As for OS X yes Tiger is the nicest OS in the world. The price of the hardware/software is well worth it imho. Although I hope the prices you mention above aren't correct. I got my notebook for AUD$3054 on salary sacrifice. The price was so low and this is the only reason I picked a 1.67 with Super Drive over the 1.5 with Combo Drive (this is the model I originally wanted).
     
  13. Mac Me Up thread starter macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2005
    Location:
    Australia
    #13
    The prices mentioned in the first post are the retail prices (eg: they should be %30 - %40 lower after salary sacrificing). The people I'm thinking of buying it from are in Melbourne (www.streetwise.com.au) I don't suppose you've had any dealings (good or bad) with them? They seem to offer powerbooks at about $100 less than the apple site itself, and their RAM upgrades are cheaper too. Do you mind me asking who you bought yours through?

    Thanks for the info, like I said I'm keen to buy one anyway, and can always change back to a PC next year if I really need to. I think I'm thinking along the same lines as you, that I might as well get the better one, because the difference is only half as bad after salary sacrificing.
     
  14. risc macrumors 68030

    risc

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2004
    Location:
    Melbourne, Australia
    #14
    Streetwise Software are a great company but don't expect 30 to 40% off (SS doesn't work that way), I'm a system engineer at an IT company called Volante Group Limited (you may or may not of heard of us we bought Ipex last year) and I got my notebook wholesale through work. I doubt you'll get wholesale pricing through Streetwise, but then I have no idea what dealings your company has with them.
     
  15. FFTT macrumors 68030

    FFTT

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2004
    Location:
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    #15

    Fantastic choice!

    You'll soon discover why so many of us are so freekin looney! :D

    Enjoy!
     

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