For those considering a Powerbook...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by crazydreaming, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. crazydreaming macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #1
    Hello, I'm a proud new owner of a brand new Powerbook G4 15" combo drive.

    My previous computer was a 12" iBook G4 1.0 ghz.

    I went through a lot of decision making between the 12" and 15" powerbook. I will be a freshman in College next year, and that is the main reason for this computer. I finally decided on the powerbook from looking at it this way: When your at the store, comparing the 15" to the 12" inch, the 15" inch really seams much bigger. But I thought, once I brought it home, I won''t notice the size. I'd rather go bigger, than go small, and wish I went bigger later on. Plus, just from using the two machines in the store, I much preffered using the 15" over the 12". That's the question you have to ask. Which would you rather use?

    Anyways, I'm so glad I went with the 15". It's such an awesome machine all around. The display is a huge upgrade from the 12". not just size, but brightness, quality etc. I also enjoy typing on this much more with the larger palm rests. It is plenty fast for anything I'll be doing in college. I plan to add a gig stick of ram when I get more $$. I had to use my 12" iBook to configure it for the new owner, and I just can't believe how I ever got by on it! lol. I'm spoiled. Bluetooth is cool, I'm able to connect to the internet through my bluetooth cell phone anywhere! (Verizon). I've already started venturing into doing things I never did with my iBook, such as making an iMovie. And the automatic screen dimming and keyboard lights is... Much much cooler than I originally thought. Battery life is great. Plenty of time for those times when I'll be working off the battery.

    One other thing I noticed, is I'm getting much better airport reception than my iBook did, either that or that's just the difference between Tiger and Panther, which other users have noticed.

    Heat: It's not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. On average, under heavy load it runs 10-15 degrees F cooler than my old iBook. The fan is also quieter.

    Guys, if you are having a hard time deciding, spend the extra $300. You'll be glad you did. Unless you need ultra ultra portable, 15" is where it's at. The 15" is actually useable, you don't need to plug into an external display in order to be productive.

    However, it is still a lot of money for a computer. Be sure it's what you want and something you need/will use beforehand. I use my computer everyday for hours at a time. Use my own computer at work, and soon will be using it for school. I need a good computer for school. That's my justification :D

    Thanks for letting me share my thoughts. I may post pictures if I get a chance (even though everyones seen a 15" PB). Have Fun!
     
  2. jcooper42 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    #2
    12" is a good choice too

    Congratulations on your purchase, glad you are happy with it. Certainly this is a good choice if you won't have a desktop. I agree the screen on the 15" is noticeably brighter and sharper than the 12".

    I just bought a 12" - I made that decision based on the portability. I have a 19" LCD and a USB switch that I haven't even hooked up yet, even though I've only used it in the house. I have two other computers that have sat idle in the house since I got the book. I just love being able to sit on the couch or easy chair and plug away. I sit in front of a desk all day at work so that probably explains why I really don't want to work at a desk when I get home.

    I mostly use it for web browsing, email, web/database programming for personal projects and general hacking. No complaints about the screen. I spent all night looking at code at a 9pt font and it was fine. I have pretty good eyesight but this really isn't that small of print and its very clear and readable. I have SuperCal and have used it on my Mini connected to the 19" LCD but haven't bothered to use it with the PowerBook yet.

    Because I always use it in my lap, the heat is a major concern. Well, it can get uncomfortable (especially if I'm just in pajamas) but doesn't usually - probably mostly has to do with what I'm doing. I noticed it getting uncomfortable when installing several DarwinPorts, which would be both heavy disk and CPU and would expect to generate heat. In normal usage with performance mode set to "automatic" the heat is fine.
     
  3. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #3
    Thanks for the reply. It's nice to hear other stories from powerbook users.

    I'm not knocking the 12", just telling people why the 15" is a better choice for me.
     
  4. djkny macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    #4

    what if you can get a 12" PB (latest rev) for $1199 vs. 15" PB for $1799? That's now a $600 leap. Would the former be worth it then? (That's my predicament now).
     
  5. XNine macrumors 68040

    XNine

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    Why are you wearing that stupid man suit?
    #5
    Yes, it would be worth it in RAM potential alone. The 12" PB has a 256 chip SOLDERED onto the board, leaving only one expansion slot. The 15" has two slots for Ram. Not to mentiona backlit keyboard, larger monitor, faster processor, larger HD, etc. The 12 inch, IMO, is a stupid purchase to make. Shell otu the extra cash and be happy for a longer time with a better machine.
     
  6. wako macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    #6
    Might I ask why you would need more than 1.25gb of ram? Why the hell you would even need an expansion slot? I mean the system already comes with bluetooth, wireless, enough USB and firewire ports (atleast for me), and a ethernet port. What do you need it for?

    The things you said really doesnt justify plopping down 600 bucks. You can definatley use that money elsewhere.





    That was the same one I faced...


    The route I chose instead was, buy the 12'' use the extra 600 bucks to buy a Dell 2005FPW, buy a bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Now Im not really bothered how "small" it is.

    On a sidenote though, the size doesnt really bother me. When I first started out on it, I was regretting not getting the 15. Now I think its the best thing in the world.

    I personally have went through 1 - 15'' PC Laptop, 2 17'' widescreen laptops, and 17'' PC laptop. I really personally like the 12'' much more. I guess its mostly because how expose really makes things so much easier to find windoww, eliminating the "OMG I NEED MORE DESKTOP SPACE" and how the trackpad takes away the hastles of scrolling.

    I personally really LOVE my setup. I have a 20'' widescreen instead of a 15'' widescreen, full sized keyboard, mouse, AND its still portable :)
     
  7. djkny macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    #7
    Hmmm .... but what if you can put the $600 towards a 20" LCD? That solves the screen size problem. As far as RAM expansion, true, there's a 750MB discrepancy -- lot, but for most garden variety tasks, not as noticeable perhaps (surfing, itunes, emailing, ms word, etc).

    If you're gonna do high-end video editing, graphics, etc., NEITHER PB would be optimum anyway --- a Dualie should serve that purpose. And with Mactel PB's around the corner, isn't $600 saved, now, better spent later?

    (on a side note, my instincts tell me that a current 12"PB would fetch more of its money back than a 15" PB on the market, esp. when both will lose mucho value after the Mactels arrive.)
     
  8. tyoelin macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Location:
    California
    #8
    New owner of a 17" PB

    I was in the debate between a 15" PB and a 17." I decided to go with the 17" no regrets. :D
     
  9. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #9
    Are you a student? iPod deal makes it a lot more reasonable. It's a $300 difference. The 12" screen is useable. 15" is no question, very useable.
     
  10. AstrosFan macrumors 6502

    AstrosFan

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2005
    #10
    First of all, congratulations on your awesome new machine!
    I, too, have a 15" PB & think it's awesome.
    I was surprised by the comment that your PB gets better Airport reception than your iBook did - most times I have seen this comparison posted here, people usually say that the iBook gets better reception.

    Continue to explore & have fun with your new baby!
     
  11. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #11
    yea, it's wierd. for example, where I'm sitting now, I used to get 2 or 3 bars with the iBook. Now, with my Powerbook, all 5 consitantly!
     
  12. brepublican macrumors 6502a

    brepublican

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2005
    Location:
    NY
    #12
    Erm, where exactly is it where you can get a 12" PB for that much? (Or that little?) Are you talking about a refurb? Just curious, thats all.... ;)
     
  13. JonMaker macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2004
    Location:
    here.
    #13
    Congratulations on making a well thought-out choice and (more importantly) being happy as a result. :cool:

    It's funny you should say that, since I have always used the exact opposite reasoning. I'd rather go smaller, than go big, and wish I went smaller later on. My last laptop was an ultraportable in its day, and now that it's obsolete the only thing keeping it out of the junk heap is its size...

    but hey... whatever floats your boat. ;)

    Yeah. They changed the "bar" system in Tiger. I'd still prefer something more concise and consistent...
     
  14. Gwendolyn macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2005
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    #14
    You don't need to plug into an external display with the 12", either. I've owned my PB for about six months, and have not once plugged it into an external display. We do have available external displays in the house, but I'm just not interested in plugging into them, because I'm happy with the display as it is, and don't find that I need any more space. I'm much more productive with this 12" PB than I was on my previous 15" Windows laptop (it's cooler and lighter, meaning I'm more likely to tote it around and use it on-the-go. Also, in my work, the features and design of OS X make the powerbook a better choice for productivity, which is why I switched!).

    I do agree that it's a personal preference issue. For others, it may be different, but when you use the 12" regularly, depending on your preference, you may not miss the space--I certainly don't. For me, especially using the 12" so regularly, when I use my husband's 15" PB, it is like when you go to the Apple Store and use the 23" or 30" Cinema Display--for me personally, it feels like way more space than is really useful or necessary (and I usually move to a machine with a smaller display; as you suggested, which machine you're more comfortable with in-person is a good indicator of what might best suit your needs). Again, I'm sure that others get the larger screen space and love it, and I wouldn't be surprised if it were true that people who are really on the fence may actually be happier with the larger screen real-estate of the 15", especially if they are considering the 12" only to save money--this is one of those areas where I think instinct is very powerful, and I definitely wouldn't want to encourage people who really want the space to get the 12". But I don't agree with the assessment that the 12" isn't a productive, usable machine without an external display.

    I'm glad to see you like your PB so much, though--my husband has the 15" PB, and it's the right machine for him, too, just like it sounds like you've put a lot of thought into making the right decision for you. Interestingly enough, while I never hook my 12" up to external displays, my husband often hooks his 15" PB up to external displays to have even more space!
     
  15. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #15
    I think it's safe to conclude that there is always going to be an argument between the different mac models. It is always going to be a tough decision to the buyer, as I've seen in these forums. Every post ends up turning into this type of discussion! lol, kinda funny how it works.

    Anyway, I've been using a 12" iBook for 2 years before I got the 15". Seriously, after getting my 15", I can't believe the difference. So far, I'm still transporting the 15" just as much. I too rarely hooked up to external display, mainly because it was too much of a hassle.
     
  16. thomasp macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #16
    I have also just (this weekend just gone) got a 15" Combo powerbook. My old computer was a G3 iMac with a 350MHz processor - ahh, those were the days :D

    My reasons for choosing the PowerBook:

    I didn't want to downgrade on screensize from the iMac - this ruled out the iBooks and the 12" PB

    I wanted a computer that would last me a very long time - I've had the iMac getting on for 5 years, and the last two+ years have been a real struggle with performance, etc. This ruled out the lower-spec iBooks

    I'm going to be taking this to university (hopefully, results permitting!), so I'll want something stable and reliable - this ruled out anything Windows! Along with a new-revision computer (eg, if Apple had announced a dual-core PB, or a G5 PB - I would have tried hard to get an "old model")

    The 17" PB is a little too big and heavy to be lugging around all day, but still not as heavy as my friend's Dell Inspiron

    Finally, I just kind of fell in love with the PB's

    The iBooks didn't offer as much spec-wise as the PowerBooks did, and I wanted to have a pretty powerful computer so as it would last me as long as possible.


    I'd recommend getting the extra RAM - I've got another 512Mb chip in this, taking the total up to 1Gb RAM. Due to a "slight" oversight by the Apple store (ie, they fitted my memory into someone elses laptop...) I briefly ran this with only 512Mb (for about 3 hours, until the Apple technician came over with the chip of RAM and fitted it), and there was an improvement in general performance with the extra RAM.


    The only fault I have with this is that when you run it in "Better Performance" (like I do when the mains charger is plugged in) the very back can get incredibly hot, which means that the palm rests also get warm, and leave sweaty marks :(

    Other than that, a great machine :D I don't know how I lasted with that iMac for so long :)
     
  17. aquajet macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Location:
    VA
    #17
    And IMO, I think you're stupid.
     
  18. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

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    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #18
    It's nothing compared to my old iBook. It would get rediculous, right where your palms went. This is much cooler than what I'm used to. Believe it or not.
     
  19. Jay42 macrumors 65816

    Jay42

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    Jul 14, 2005
    #19
    Just bought one of those, but its not here yet! Anticipation is getting intense.
     
  20. crazydreaming thread starter macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #20
    In the meantime... Get ready! Clear a spot for it, get all your computer stuff/software out, and ready to go. Prepare for it's homecoming. :D
     
  21. Jay42 macrumors 65816

    Jay42

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2005
    #21

    I know, I know...except...
     
  22. jcooper42 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2005
    #22
    Very good point, everyone should trust their instincts, and try not to let the money be the deciding factor. For me the 12" powerbook was love at first sight, and that has to do with style and size. If they sold the 15" at the same price I wouldn't buy it. I can see how others would love the 15" or 17" as well. These are all good choices.
     
  23. wako macrumors 65816

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    Jun 6, 2005
    #23


    ditto
     
  24. obrien234 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2005
    Location:
    Brighton, MI
    #24
    You do realize that the 12" runs at the exact same resolution as your iMac, So you really aren't losing anything. That's why I'm not worried about the screen size on the 12" I'm gonna buy, it's the same amount of pixels, just a little smaller of a space.
     
  25. PaRaGoNViCtiM macrumors 6502a

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    Location:
    PA
    #25
    Thats real nice.
     

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