Buying a new 14" iBook, a few questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by shazammy, Dec 13, 2004.

  1. shazammy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2004
    #1
    Howdy all,

    My beloved G3 Powerbook died yesterday after 5 years of hard service. I was lucky to get the "Bronze" model which had Firewire, ability to add Airport card, and other features which let me use it for so long. I'm about to buy another laptop and want it to last as long as this one did. I will have to take the G3 in as well to see what's wrong with it and to retrieve my data from it, so who knows, it might breathe again someday.

    I have a friend who is an Apple employee who has offered to buy the laptop for me to save 15%, which I am going to do soon. I've decided on the 14" iBook because of the price and feature set, but I had a few questions.

    1. Is it easy to upgrade the memory yourself? 256mb at purchase is just too small. I want to upgrade to 768 total, although the Apple Store will charge an extra $200 for that. How much would it cost to do on my own?

    2. Is it worth it to pay the extra $75 for the 80gig hd over the 60gig hd?

    3. I'm not adding the Bluetooth just now, but can I add it later?

    4. Superdrive or Combo drive? I notice the Superdrive writes CDs slower, and I'm wondering, do I want to burn DVDs? I never have, but have never had the ability. Is it particularly useful?

    5. Sound. How are the stereo speakers on the iBook?

    6. Is the video memory upgradeable?

    7. Can anyone recommend a good iBook sleeve? I want to keep this one shiny new for a looong time.

    Thanks for the help! Any other advice would be greatly appreciated as well.

    Kevin
     
  2. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #2
    1. Is it easy to upgrade the memory yourself? 256mb at purchase is just too small. I want to upgrade to 768 total, although the Apple Store will charge an extra $200 for that. How much would it cost to do on my own?

    Fairly easy, but not simple. You have to remove the keyboard and the AE card to get to it.

    2. Is it worth it to pay the extra $75 for the 80gig hd over the 60gig hd?

    Absofreakinglutely.

    3. I'm not adding the Bluetooth just now, but can I add it later?

    Not sure.

    4. Superdrive or Combo drive? I notice the Superdrive writes CDs slower, and I'm wondering, do I want to burn DVDs? I never have, but have never had the ability. Is it particularly useful?

    Only for backups, and if you do video stuff. If you don't see yourself doing this in the next three years, don't bother.

    5. Sound. How are the stereo speakers on the iBook?

    They suck.

    6. Is the video memory upgradeable?

    Yes, but very difficult.

    7. Can anyone recommend a good iBook sleeve? I want to keep this one shiny new for a looong time.

    I like the ones from Incase...do a Google (Lazy today.)

    Good luck!
     
  3. denm316 macrumors 6502

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    Philadelphia
    #3
    If you do not add bluetooth at the time or purchase you will NOT be able to get it later on. Your only option will be to buy the dongle. The internal module can only be added when they build the machine.
     
  4. shazammy thread starter macrumors member

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    #4
    Do you think it's worth it to add it? I just got a new phone (Sidekick II) which does not support Bluetooth. I'm not planning on a wireless mouse or keyboard...so I'm not sure if this would really be useful to me.



     
  5. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    #5
    Well, I went ahead and added the bluetooth because I felt like it might be something I need in the future. I have used it a couple times with my wife's wireless mouse -- pretty nifty. If you ever want to do any kind of photoshop, video editing, or anything of the sort, you'll want an external mouse, and since the USB port is way on the left side of the computer, a bluetooth mouse is probably your best bet.

    I did pretty much every upgrade except the superdrive because I'm not a video person and my backup needs are fairly small scale.
     
  6. stevep macrumors 6502a

    stevep

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    #6
    1. Upgrading memory is easy - get a decent screwdriver the right size, read the instructions on the Apple website and be careful.
    2. 75$ for 20 gB ?? no, get a firewire external drive for storing large image, movie and music files.
    3. No you can't add bluetooth later unless you buy a sticky-outy 3rd party module. I got Apple to add one for me just in case (its cheap enough).
    4. I just got a standard CDRW drive to keep the price down. Get an external dvd recorder and download the fix to get it to work with iDVD.
    5. If you want decent sound get external speakers.
    6. Is the video memory upgradeable??? no its not.
    7. For iBook sleeves try the sticky at the top of this forum - so many links you can't fail to find on. Raidius in the UK (same as Radtech in the US I think ??) do a nice one.
     
  7. iGary Guest

    iGary

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    #7
    Buy and external hard drive and an external DVD drive, but don't spend 75 bucks on a larger HDD.

    That makes a bunch of sense. :rolleyes:
     
  8. maya macrumors 68040

    maya

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    #8
    60GB HDD upgrade is worth it and at a fair price.

    80GB HDD upgrade is not worth it and too much in comparison.

    BlueTooth well this is tough I have no need for it and its transfer rate is too slow, not worth it for me. ( I have an iPod and also a mobile with USB link faster than BT).

    SuperDrive not really worth it too slow even at 4x and cost is a bit too steep once dual layer is released the price will drop. Best is to buy an external DVD burner with MORE options than the SuperDrive has +/- and Dual Layer. Plus HD-DVD has been approved so expect those burners and media to hit stores November 2005. <--- More Optical Storage than SDVD.

    Pretty much get the 60GB HDD and max out the ram and the iBook is a work horse. :)
     
  9. stevep macrumors 6502a

    stevep

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  10. maya macrumors 68040

    maya

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    #10
    ROTF, I believe he meant that the 80GB is not worth it the 60GB is worth it. And the rpm of the internal is 4200 compared to higher rpm external HDD's. Then again I have never had any issue with a 4200 rpm HDD. :)

    The DVD external burner only makes sense when you need to Back-Up yoru System and not really needed to take on the road unless you are working with video. Then again might as well buy a Pocket Drive or an iPod. :)
     
  11. maya macrumors 68040

    maya

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    #11

    On the Apple Canada store the 60GB HDD is a 93 CAD upgrade the 80GB is a 187 CAD upgrade that is double the price not worth it unless they are giving me a 120 GB HDD.


    Plus I bought an external HDD 120GB for 60 CAD 5400 rpm not too shabby I must say. :)
     
  12. stevep macrumors 6502a

    stevep

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    #12
    Thanks Maya - yes you're right. Have just installed all the apps I need on my new 60 gB iBook, and I,m left with 40gB of free space. It'll take me a long time to fill that, -enough time to save for a large (160gB ? ) external drive. Then I can archive all my data onto that and reclaim my 40gB again.

    The beauty of the iBook is that its easy to add a whole range of external devices as and when you can afford them. Keep them on the desk for when you're doing the serious work stuff, and leave them behind when you're travelling.
    Of course, if you're made of money, buy all the Apple options and enjoy them. But for most people its a case of working out a cost-effective first-time purchase. When I bought mine 2 weeks ago the extra hard disc and dvd burner just wasn't cost effective for me. Bluetooth was, because I couldn't add it as an internal module myself.

    BUT !!!! -above all shazammy, you will really enjoy your new iBook! Have fun.
     
  13. shazammy thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 22, 2004
    #13
    Thanks Steve! I loved my Powerbook G3, so I'm sure I'll love this one.

    Does anyone have any reason to believe that the iBooks will be improved at all in MacWorld SF in January?




     
  14. shazammy thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 22, 2004
    #14
    Hmm, on the Apple Store website the 60gig is standard, and the 80gig is a $75 ugprade. That's what I'm wondering is worth the value. Any thoughts?


     
  15. wordmunger macrumors 603

    wordmunger

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    North Carolina
    #15
    I disagree with all the posters suggesting external hard drives and DVD burners. The reason I get a portable computer is because I want it PORTABLE. I want all my stuff with me wherever I go. I realize I pay a premium for portability, but it's a price I'm willing to pay. 80 GB is the biggest available HD, and buying it now means that I very likely won't ever have to upgrade the HD for my computer, which would be a big pain later on. To my mind, completely worth the $75.

    In the end, it's a matter of personal opinion, but I'm willing to pay for portability.
     
  16. shazammy thread starter macrumors member

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    Mar 22, 2004
    #16
    Thanks, I tend to agree with this. With the Powerbook G3 that I'm replacing, I had to buy an external HD (the internal was only 12gb) and a CD burner. After awhile, it was a bit of a pain to deal with hooking all these back up.

    What are your thought on the Bluetooth module? Do you use Bluetooth with your laptop?

    Thanks for the input!


     
  17. maya macrumors 68040

    maya

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    #17
    I was referring to the 12" with a 30GB HDD, to me that is the best deal since the 14" the resolution does not cut it anymore (unless you are comfortable with it at that resolution and size).

    Upgrading from the 30GB to 60GB cost 93 CAD.

    Upgrading from the 30GB to the 80GB cost 187 CAD.

    As you can tell the 80GB option is not worth it its double the cost for a fraction of added space. Besides if it was a 120GB then the 187 CAD price tag would be worth it. :)
     
  18. maya macrumors 68040

    maya

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    #18
    Then you are referring to a PowerBook 17" that is a desktop replacement not an iBook. iBook has the portability 12 -14", battery life, WiFi, and ruggedness. PowerBooks might be a tad powerful however unless you are a professional working with video editing in the field that is when it comes handy not an iBook.

    You can use your iBook for all the iApps as long as you have more than the standard ram in there and also photo editing and some light to medium video editing.

    Forget running motion on an iBook if you do not have a G5 motion is dog slow.
     
  19. maya macrumors 68040

    maya

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    #19
    Shazammy, You and I are in the same boat I have a portable G3 as you and I am upgrading to the iBook 12" myself for even more portability reasons why the 12" iBook is better than the 14" is because of resolution and battery life. With the bigger screen you need more power and you can see this by the power consumption in the "tech specs" for the iBooks. For me the 12" pretty much compared to my PB G3 (lack of audio in ports) however its what will work for the next 2-4 year (fingers crossed) and at a great price than the 14" iBooks.

    I do not need a SuperDrive when the dual layer is introduced you will feel the need to buy an external DVD burner so why invest in a SD for an iBook that is 4x speed that takes about ~27 mins to burn 4.4Gigs of data too long.

    I didn't realize that one sits in a park and archives and burns DVD's you do this in a closed area mainly in your house. :)

    What happens when HD-DVD burners that are able to store ~25+ Gigs of data on optical you will kick yourself now for investing in a SuperDrive not worth it IMHO. Buy an iPod if you need more storage or a Pocket Drive.

    If you want a workstation on the road buy a PowerBook, the iBook is good as it is, with the next rev that should be released in April 2005 the Video Ram and BlueTooth might be standard.

    However BlueTooth is very slow in transfer rates and at times unstable (connection loss), if all you are doing is moving contact text data BlueTooth is fine to connect with a PIM, however my phone has a USB link and its much faster and stable.

    BlueTooth is good if you want an external BT mouse or keyboard however I like the notebook keyboards and trackpads (less strain on ones wrists). :)

    EDIT: If anyone here is worried that the new iBook is not capable of taking advantage of Core Image, don't worry Core Image needs a minimum of 64Megs on a Graphic Card meaning its like running OS X on its minimum requirements of ram which I believe is 128Megs, it will run slow on the new iMac G5 the PMG5 models that were demonstrating Core Image at the Expos are using 128Meg ram cards to see acceptable performance. Why do you think that the PowerBooks have an upgrade option for 128Meg Video Cards. Do you honestly believe Apple will sell an iMac G5 that will have great performance with "Tiger" when the iMac G5 is up for an update in March-April. It's marketing people. :)

    "Tiger" is aimed at the server market and high end users with its requirements for Core Image, I do not see a portable user getting any of this yet unless you have a 128Meg graphic card and ample ram, 2Gigs in a PowerBook will not give you the same performance as 8Gigs in a PMG5.

    "Tiger" will be great for home users however even greater for the market mentioned above. :)
     
  20. 512ke macrumors 6502a

    512ke

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    #20
    I bought my two Macs thinking I wasn't going to be doing certain things...

    ...and yet the machines are so easy to use that I've ended up using basically every program that came with the machines. Weekly.

    Therefore I've been REALLY glad I got the biggest hard drive I could afford.

    Just 2 more cents. What you THINK you'll be doing with the computer MAY be less than what you'll actually end up doing...just b/c the software is so freaking great. :)
     
  21. denm316 macrumors 6502

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    Philadelphia
    #21
    I added Bluetooth to my PowerMac and it came with my PowerBook, I dont use it that much, but I figured it was better off getting now then rather having to get the dongle later on...especially on a laptop.
     
  22. Hemingray macrumors 68030

    Hemingray

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    #22
    With the iBooks just having been updated in October? No way. The only possible reason would be for Core Image support, but Tiger's not imminently on the horizon so they easily have enough time by the next update in April/May to fix that, if that is even an issue. I'm still not so sure I believe all the Core Image support chatter that's been going on.
     

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