G5 vs. Powerbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by StrangeQuark, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. StrangeQuark macrumors member

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    Jan 25, 2004
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    Florida
    #1
    Hello. I will be buying a Mac for college in the next couple of weeks, and would like some advice. I am torn between a low-end G5 (1.6, or whatever Apple debuts at WWDC) and a PowerBook G4. I've read benchmarks and other data, but if I could get feedback from people who have used both I'd appreciate it. I basically want to know how significant the difference in power is between a G5 and a Powerbook. Also, I will be studying engineering, so I'd specifically appreciate input from any of you doing the same. Thank you in advance for the assistance.

    Edit: Budget of $1750. Education discount applies. PB Model I am most interested in is the 12".
     
  2. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #2
    1. The 12" PB is arguably the best PB Apple currently makes. :) The battery life on the 15" PB is very poor. Its a very very nice machine, but the battery life makes it a non-contender if what you're looking for is something portable.

    2. There's no point getting a single proc, 1.6 GHz G5 PowerMac. Its not much faster than a Mac with a 1.5 GHz G4 chip. The 15" PB uses such a chip, as does the 17". However, since you say you're interested in the 12" PB, the 1.33 Ghz chip in the 12" PB is plenty fast. I own the revision B, 12" PB with a 1 Ghz chip, and its fast. The new, rev C 12 inch PB is approximately 20-25% faster than my rev B, according to XBench scores from numerous people on the board. A 1.6 GHz G5 isn't leaps and bounds better than the PB's right now, not even the 1.33 Ghz G4 in the 12".

    3. They're probably going to replace the 1.6 Ghz model very soon, so if you're willing to wait until July to make your purchase, you could probably get a much better low-end PM later for the same price as you'd pay right now getting the 1.6 Ghz, or you could buy the 1.6 Ghz PM in July and save lots of money on it, as stores will try to clear them out.

    4. The only downside of the 12" is the resolution and desktop space. It doesn't go higher than 1024 x 768, a pain if you're dealing with many open windows. However, its not a problem for me, whatsoever.

    5. Laptops for school are great. Not essential, though, as I just graduated with my B.Sc using a desktop for 4 years, but now that I'm doing my masters using my PB, it definitely has its advantages over a desktop. My library just got WIFI installed. Guess what I do to access the net at the library while others are lining up to find an accessable computer? ;)
     
  3. grabberslasher macrumors 6502

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    Éire
    #3
    I think you'll get a lot more out of a powerbook. I use a dual 2 G5 at school but I far prefer my TiBook.

    Just my 0.02c.
     
  4. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030

    johnnyjibbs

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    London, UK
    #4
    You don't actually need a computer at college. I got through my first 3 years fine just using the college IT facilities. However, I then got my 12" PowerBook last September for my 4th and final year and it's brilliant (it's the 1GHz model).

    You definintely don't need portability, i.e. a desktop would be easily fine, but it's a nice luxury to have. My library and student bar now have wireless internet access so I can go and take advantage of that with my Airport Extreme card, and I can work wherever I want, not just within the confines of my room.

    Get the 12" PowerBook. You won't regret it. (Upgrade the HD to the new 80GB 5200rpm one - that will also make it significantly faster without decreasing battery life.)
     
  5. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #5
    even a 12" ibook will be more than fine, if you will not be needing to use pro media apps such as protools or final cut pro. and, the ibooks have much better battery life than the powerbooks.
     
  6. StrangeQuark thread starter macrumors member

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    #6
    Thank you all for the info. I'll definitely go with the 12" PB then. Thanks again.
     
  7. micsaund macrumors 6502

    micsaund

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    May 31, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado, USA
    #7
    EDIT: Nevermind - someone posted a PB15 battery life thread just a bit down the page. I'll still check back here just in case ;)

    Not to hijack this thread, but when you say "very poor" battery life for the 15", I'm curious what you mean? I've been eyeing a PB15 (probably the 1.5GHz model) and, while I don't generally use laptops away from power extensively, it's nice to have the ability when I do need it. Thus, your input about battery life might be something I take into account when dropping the $2500 on a new laptop.

    Thanks!
    Mike
     
  8. Dave00 macrumors 6502a

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    Dec 2, 2003
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    Pittsburgh
    #8
    The two machines are the same price in non-edu (for superdrive model), I'd assume they're the same in edu also.

    Advantages to the G5 single-processor
    - I'd guess it'd be processor-upgradeable at some point, given that the same enclosure is used for dual-proc G5's
    - Gigabit ethernet (marginal benefit, for the most part you won't see the difference)
    - Firewire 800 (again, limited ability to take advantage of this)
    - better graphics card, faster processor = modest speed improvement over powerbook
    - more expandable

    Advantages to the Powerbook 12"
    - Portable
    - includes a monitor, can get a 2nd monitor for desktop
    - firewire, etc. included

    Personally I'd go with the powerbook. Main advantage in the G5's is the dual processor; the speed gain from single-proc G5 isn't that great. In fact, single-proc G5's tend to be slower than dual-proc G4's. (This is documented on numerous websites). Only risk is that with the powerbook you're using a legacy chip (the G4), which future versions of the OS may not support (but this is probably years down the road.)

    --D
     
  9. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #9
    i'd still recommend the ibook for someone that is going to need a computer in school - if the school doesn't happen to be concentrating to multimedia. the specs of current 12" ibook are better than powerbooks 18 months ago, and those powerbooks are still good workhorses. so if the primary use of a computer isn't protools or final cut pro, there's little benefit from powerbook over an ibook. powerbook looks nicer but costs a lot more. i'd take fully loaded 12" ibook over a skeleton 12" powerbook anytime.

    now if you primarily use the media apps, the 15" powerbook is a killer. you wouldn't consider using final cut pro with a tiny 12" screen anyway, would you? well, some do and have achieved great results, but the point is that the primary use should decide the amount of power and features that is feasible to buy. and to repeat myself: if there's absolutely no need to primarily use protools or final cut pro in the first year of ownership, there's a good reason to buy the ibook: pricetag.

    but maybe that's just me ;)
     
  10. BrianKonarsMac macrumors 65816

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    Apr 28, 2004
    #10
    final cut runs fine on a 17" LCD using the 12" PB's mini DVI output...CMON 30 INCHER!
     
  11. chaos86 macrumors 65816

    chaos86

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    #11
    ahem... about the battery life on 15inch PBs? exactly how bad is it?

    (rising freshman considering pb15 or pb12+external17)
     
  12. mrviga macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    #12
    I have a 17 inch powerbook and i think my battery life is excellent considering the size and pwoer of this thing. The battery lasts about 3.5 hours, with moderate use (airport, bluetooth, word/excel/powerpoint). I have never found this a problem, and I can only imagine the 15 inch battery life is better...
     
  13. Milliways macrumors newbie

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    Jun 3, 2004
    #13
    The battery life on the new 15 inch that I got (1.5 ghz, 5200 drive, etc etc) lasts me through a school day before I need to charge it, assuming I just use it for typing/light Photoshop and not games. It can usually last a little over a couple hours, though, being put to sleep when not in use.
     
  14. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #14
    15" battery life in real world never exceeds 2:30 and usually falls to about 2 hours. that's not a good thing if the main use is having it with you in school. ibook is much much much better in that regard, and it's powerful enough. i'd say take a 12" ibook and an external display, for school, that should be your best bet. ibook battery should last about five hours, and that's very respectable compared to half of that the 15" pb lasts.

    i have a 15" 1.25GHz powerbook and the battery life is just about the only gripe i have about it. if i had to primarily use it in school, i'd have to always have few spare batteries with me, and even the thought of having to recharge those spare batteris is killing me. the 15" is definetely not at its best when you need to be long times without ac power.

    12" pb is a little better, but the ibook is a clear winner.
     
  15. JFreak macrumors 68040

    JFreak

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    #15
    17" has a bigger battery, but the 15" has the same size battery (in watt-hours) than the 12" little brother has. the 17" and 12" should have comparable battery life, but the 15" battery life just sucks. it is now (albooks) effectively 2:30 and a while ago (tibooks) it was effectively 4:30.

    i'd like to know who at apple was so stupid to put in so small battery - he would need a few big slaps on the face.
     
  16. Godfather macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2004
    #16
    to make you buy an extra one...

    I am pleased to see people not lying here about PB 15" with their battery time. For the first time I saw some1 posting 2:30 or even 2 hours... That's exactly what I have everytime I have it charged fully to go to school.

    Yes you can get about 4 hours when used with sleep mode very often, and only typing in TextEdit (don't even think of M$ Office with all it's CPU demand) but of course that's never gunna happen. So if u need battery life, just take a PB 17", the 12" is just 'less' in my opinion... You might aswell take an ibook instead of a 12" pb.

    ----- edit:
    Of course I meant that it isn't always the case people point out the 15" battery, and how bad it is. Don't get me wrong, it's a great pb, but the battery really sucks.
     
  17. Anna macrumors regular

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    May 25, 2003
    Location:
    Australia
    #17
    GO POWERBOOK!

    I am at college (University) at the moment and the worst thing is going to the computer rooms and they are all full... Go mac so you dont have to deal with PC's
     
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    JFreak is right. I still say my advice about the 12" PB is good, but the iBook gets better battery life and is more rugged. I got a PB because it looks better, plus the keyboard is one of the best around, much better than the iBook's. I'm typing a thesis for my masters, so its quite important. Actually, since I use my keyboard for everything I do, like most people, I thought it was worth it to pay for the better keyboard.

    To answer your question, the 12" PB gets 4 hours of battery life. That's plenty, and you may get more since you're not likely to literally be using it for 4 straight hours, and it'll go to sleep on occasion. The iBooks get even greater battery life at 5 hours or more. Hell, the 15" Titanium Powerbooks, even at 1 Ghz, got over 4 hours, which makes it strange that even the first generation Aluminium 15" PBs got such crap ass battery life when the specs weren't THAT much greater than the Alu. The current15" PB shares the same battery as the 12" PB, which says it all.

    Today's 15" PB gets 2h30min life if you don't do much with it. That's what I meant by "poor". :eek: Get the 12" iBook or 12" PB.
     
  19. Anna macrumors regular

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    May 25, 2003
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    Australia
  20. hughdogg macrumors member

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2003
    Location:
    Springfield, MA - Birthplace of Basketball
    #20
    What ever model you decide on, spend some money on a security cable for system. College campuses are known to have a high "disappearance" rate of computers. ("oh, I was just borrowing it." sort of stuff)

    Cheers,
    hughdogg
     
  21. chaos86 macrumors 65816

    chaos86

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    127.0.0.1
    #21
    well now im conidering a pb15 or pb17 sans display as well. the pb12 and ibooks sound nice i guess but i dont think i could handle the thought of sacrificing the extra power and pixels for an increase in battery life and decease in $ (not a very large decrease after i buy a display).

    im gonna be a BFA in graphic design or industrial design which means lots of photoshop and other graphics apps with all their palettes (nightmare at 1024x768)

    my questions:

    1) can you get chargers just for batteries, like without the computer attached so i can have 2 batteries charging at once?

    2) which would you choose, parents paying $2000, i pay the rest-
    pb12-1.33 $1600 + 256 RAM ~$60 + ext asd17 $700 = $2360
    pb15-1.33 $2000 + 256 RAM ~$60 + extra battery $130 = $2190
    pb17-1.5 $2800 = $2800
     
  22. sundoggy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2004
    Location:
    auburn, california
    #22
    Batteries and chargers

    Well, my PB 1.5 15" averages over 3 hours using a combo of airport/browser always on, MS Office, Dreamweaver and Photoshop on and off. Sometimes close to 4 depending on the mix. However, my old tibook's batteries' life declined over time to the point where one was averaging about 2 and the other under an hour! So I think battery life may vary.

    1) can you get chargers just for batteries, like without the computer attached so i can have 2 batteries charging at once?

    For my previous tibook, I got a dual battery charger (that came with one battery and an extra charger cable) from SmartDisk. This thing worked great.

    2) which would you choose, parents paying $2000, i pay the rest-
    pb12-1.33 $1600 + 256 RAM ~$60 + ext asd17 $700 = $2360
    pb15-1.33 $2000 + 256 RAM ~$60 + extra battery $130 = $2190
    pb17-1.5 $2800 = $2800[/QUOTE]

    I thought about this long and hard before I got my new 15" 1.5 PB. As I said, my battery life is not that bad, and the combination of power and portability can't be beat. The 15" screen is pretty big (I think the 12" is too small for extended use), it has more features than the 12" (FW800, lighted keyboard, speed), but it's not the monster the 17" is (and I have a bigger monitor on my desk anyway). I AM THRILLED with this Mac, my favourite ever.
     

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