Desperately seeking opinions! 14" iBook VS. 12" Powerbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ghostboy, Dec 12, 2003.

  1. ghostboy macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2003
    Hi people

    Look, I know you guys have 101 similar threads to this...but I would like to hear opinions on what you would do in my situation..

    I am going overseas and I want to purchase a notebook. I am tossing up between a 14" G4 iBook or a 12" Powerbook. I would be using the notebook for varied graphic design work (though nothing too heavy duty - using Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign) and also for email, net, music, camera stuff.

    My main considerations are:

    • Portability: 14" is fairly large, but then not incredibly big. 12" is beautifully compact. But I've read comments saying 12" is not suited for design work at all.

    • Power: Is the 256K L2 cache on the iBook gonna do me? If I pump the RAM up, should I be able to cruise along alright?

    • Screen size (the bigger the better, obviously). But then this clashes with portability. And either way, I'm stuck with 1024x768. Are the 2 extra inches on the iBook worth it?

    And so...PORTABILITY versus POWER versus SCREEN SIZE.

    My MAIN problem here is that I cannot decide which of these factors I should be placing most importance on. I cannot have all makes it so difficult.

    Powerbook has all the extra features, Bluetooth, DVI out, which is nice, but I don't think they are all that important to me - I highly doubt I will use them. I like the feel and look of both of them, so those sort of aspects are non-issues for me.

    I am seriously stuck on which one to go with. I've gone over it a million times in my head, made up a list of pros and cons, weighing everything up, so I would love to hear your opinions and/or advice to help me out a bit.

    Thankyou :D
  2. x86isslow macrumors 6502a

    Aug 10, 2003
    well i think the theoretical ceiling on ram for the ibook is 640MB, while for the powerbook 12, it is 1.256GB.

    and since $ isnt one of your concerns, the powerbook will probably suit you better. keep in mind that the powerbook has dvd-burner built-in.

    i think the 14 has a larger keyboard, so test them out at a store

    good hunting!
  3. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    powerbook doesn't have superdrive as default, at least not on the 12". if you want to burn DVD, you have to pay extra $200.

    if $$ is no issue, get the 15" PB.

    otherwise, i'd go with 12" PB - there's almost no reason to buy the 14" iBook unless you have bad eyesight and need bigger pixels...
  4. niter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2003
    Despite the fact that I own an iBook 12" and love it, if the choice came down to a 12" PB or a 14" iBook, I would choose the 12" PB. My past laptops have included at 14" gateway and a 12" IBM. Though the IBM was too old for expectations I had of it, I was sad to see it go. It had superb portability, something that was always a great issue with the 14" rock.

    I love my iBook 12" and it works for me, as I want to eventually get a G5 for all that demmanding stuff (not that the iBook does not perform....I bought 3rd party RAM and the computer really is zippy). However, I only have one gripe. I wish that I could shut the lid when I have all the external junk hooked up. Mirroring does not bother me, just this point. But still, I love the design, the price, the way it perform, so I can accept this minor hangup (besides my current monitor is almost bust and I am getting an iCurve so the issue is moot).

    Honestly, if money was not an issue, if the iBooks were not so darling, and if I was intending to have one laptop instead of the powerful desktop and entry level laptop combo, I would get a 15" PB. It is significantly more powerful that both the iBook and PB in question and when compared to the 14" iBook it is does not have that bulky feeling to it (okay...the 14" is not that bulky either, I just do not like the giant square deal going on versus the 15" rectangle).

    I would not even consider the 14" iBook. To me, all it has going for it is the faster processor (which for what I do is worthless). If you do not think you will need the extras in the 12" PB, get the 12" iBook, max out the RAM, and pocket your saved money. If you need the extra goodies but do not want the 15" PB, get the 12" PB.
  5. Finiksa macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2003
    The official iBook max is 640MB, theoretically it can accept a 1GB DIMM.

    The keyboards are the same size, the 14" has a larger plastic bezel around the keyboard.
  6. entropy1980 macrumors regular


    May 14, 2003
    Canyon Country, CA
    Go with the powerbook to me it's a more complete laptop feature set, ibooks are nice but I have never heard anyone say I wish i would have bought the slower computer or that i wish i would have purchased fewer features.... plus the powerbook tends to hold resale value a little better than ibooks.... just my 2 ¢
  7. ghostboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 12, 2003
    So nobody thinks the 14" screen is worth it...? Just wondering..
  8. Finiksa macrumors 6502a


    Feb 23, 2003
    Some people love the 14", personally I don't think it's worth the extra expense since you still have the same resolution as the 12" and gain an extra pound of weight. I've used a friends 14" G3 and found it a little blurry.

    Save the money and spend it on upgrades or accessories.
  9. csubear macrumors 6502a


    Aug 22, 2003
    i was in the same place back in april, i got the 14" ibook, and now i wish that i would of gotten the 12" powerbook. it is so small an portable. I am a student and i lug my ibook around all day. Its not like it is huge but there is a diffrence in size between the two that you'll notice when you start carrying it around all day.
  10. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    The 12" PB is more powerful than the 14" iBook because it has twice the L2 cache. The graphics cards are comparable on both machines.

    With the PB you have the option of the superdrive, and a larger hard drive (up to 80GB - I got that and thought it is seriously worth it!).

    The keyboards are the same size as already said, but I believe the PowerBook keyboard is slightly nicer to use, although the iBook G4 keyboards have greatly improved from the G3s.

    Don't read too much into the screen size. The 12" has exactly the same resolution so you will see the same amount of stuff, just a little smaller and sharper. If you've heard that the 12" PB is no good for design work, the 14" iBook will not be any better. But I find that both are fine and not too limiting for graphics and video work.

    The 12" PB also allows for native display spanning without requiring some sort of hack, and has a DVI connection. So you can always plug in a monitor when you're not out and about.
  11. JulesK macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2002
    Sceen size not irrelevant...

    If your laptop will be your ONLY computer AND you do not plan on using it with an external monitor, then I would say that screen size can make a difference even if the resolution doesn't change. I use a PC laptop at work (my 12" PB is my home machine, but we also have a 17" iMac), and I'm on it continuously. The screen resolution on my work machine is the same as the 12" PB and 14" iBook (1024 x 768). While there is absolutely nothing wrong with my 12" PB screen, I would say that the larger 14" screen on my work machine is more comfortable to use over a long period of time. Things are just larger and easier to see.

    A 12" machine is great for portability, which is why I have the 12" PB. But for a machine that didn't have to be transported much and that will get a lot of use, I'd opt for a larger screen.

    All that said, I'm not a huge fan of the way Apple places its keyboards towards the back edge of its larger laptops, and then places the trackpad (relatively speaking) further towards the front edge. I personally find that less comfortable than the set-up on the 12" PB, where everything is nice and tight. I have small hands, though, so that could be the reason for this preference.
  12. pyrotoaster macrumors 65816


    Dec 28, 2002
    Oak Park, IL
    I have a 1 GHz 12" Powerbook and I'd definitely reccomend it.

    Even though the new iBooks use G4s, they still aren't as fast as the 12" PB for reasons like the RAM limit and L2 cache. Not to mention the fact that the Powerbook looks cooler.

    As for screen size, some people really like the bigger pixels on the 14" iBook, but I don't. It's really a matter of opinion.

    If you've got the extra cash, upgrade the PB's hard drive to at least 60 GB (for only $50). Be sure to upgrade your RAM, too (I'd suggest buying from a site like Crucial. Apple RAM is overpriced).
  13. dgdosen macrumors 65816


    Dec 13, 2003
    Does anyone compare the 12" iBook to 12" PB?

    I just bought a G3 900 for $800, and while added an Airport card and 3rd party memory, it's pretty fast for doing things like watching movies, and surfing the web. I think the really taxing tasks would be editing video, which I'm not doing... To me, that's a great deal.

    But other than the coolness factor, does buying a PB justify the higher price?
  14. Balooba macrumors member

    May 27, 2003
    Definitely the PowerBook

    I would not even consider the 14" iBook. The display size adds absolutely no extra value and the 14" iBook should be cheaper than the 12" iBook (if they made them with the same cpu). Since the resolutions are the same you might as well move your eyes a few inches closer to the display for the same sixe effect.
    Obviously you are not going to do any super-advanced image processing work on any of these or on any laptop but if you are even considering doing anything in Photoshop-Illustrator you will appreciate the extra cache and power in the rev. B 12" PB. Just look at the benchmarks and I can testify to the difference.
    My advice is to go for the one without superdrive, for less than the $200 you can by an external DVD burner shuld you need it (unless you are interested in iDVD). Up the hard drive though, and don't forget about the most-important thing (much more important than cpu power), RAM.
  15. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    Re: Definitely the PowerBook

    let's not be too dismissive... if your eyes aren't good, it helps to have bigger pixels. there are different people with different needs.

    my mom's getting an emac. i will not insist on her that she run the monitor at the highest resolution (for the largest real estate) because i want her to be comfortable using the computer. if she feels better at lower resolution setting, then that's what i want her to use.

    is there no benefit to a bigger tv because you could sit closer to a smaller tv to get the same effect? is there no benefit to a 4 door version of a 4 seater because a 2 door version of the same car will still seat the same number of people?

    those analogies aren't the same, but different people have different taste. let's not conclude that something has no value just because it has no value to you.
  16. ethernet76 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2003
    Re: Desperately seeking opinions! 14" iBook VS. 12" Powerbook

    Really it all depends on what kind of design work you do.

    Quark/Indesign? stay with the iBook.

    Dreamweaver/GoLive? Go with the powerbook. Even though Dreamweaver seems like a simple application. It really loves to hog resources sometimes.

    Photoshop? The Powerbook is a must. You'll find that L2 cache boost really helps.

    Eitherway, get at least 512 of ram. OS X loves it's memory, and so do design applications. The more ram you have, the less Photoshop will have to access the HD for its history levels. Also Quark/Indesign like to have more memory for storing low res pictures in. Instead of having to preview the image every time you change your view.

    More ram=less waiting and no spinning beachball of death

    I do all of the above.(Quark 6 and 4.11, Indesign 2, Photoshop 6,7,CS, and Dreamweaver MX) I find really it isn't the processor that hurts it. It's that 256 ram isn't nearly enough, but since they upgraded the ram, it's been more fluid.
  17. kylos macrumors 6502a


    Nov 8, 2002
    As has already been pointed out, unless you have poor eyesight, then the extra 2 inches won't give you any more actual screen real estate. I find 1024x768 to be very comfortable at 12 inches. So the best advice would be to actually view the screens and see which you prefer.

    From a technical standpoint, the powerbook is the obvious best buy.

    And as always, I continue my crusade in spreading the gospel that the 14" ibook is ugly (others here agree with me on this). It is proportionally incorrect. That larger bezel another poster mentioned looks hideous. It seems the 14" ibook was created only for those whining for a bigger ibook, and was not given any design consideration.

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