Help desired! Please! [buying laptop]

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by carbonmotion, Jan 28, 2004.

  1. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #1
    Hi,
    I need help on picking a new laptop. I am a student at the University of Michigan (Go Wolverines!) and for the past year I've been using my iBook G3 800Mhz with 640 mb of RAM. Although the machine has respectable performance and really good battery life... I find that performance is taxed to the brink when I start power using alotta apps in conjunction. Also, I hate the keyboard and the LCD view angle limitation is annoying. I'm considering either powerbooks or compaqs as replacement (just kidding, no compaqs, scared ya didnt I ) however, I can seem to choose. I want a 1GHZ 12 inch because it seems I'm too poor for a 15 inch (and it wont fit in my GAP messanger bag and I'm too cheap to shell out 80 to buy a wide powerbook certified messanger bag) , however having read some online reviews, I am having serious doubts. I have two major questions:

    A) A few websites reviewing the 867 12" said that the performaces was crap and that it ran really hot. They also said the LCD was the same crappy limited angle LCD used on iBooks! If that is still the case with the 1Ghz, I will be really worried.

    B) Given a option of picking ...which of the following config would be better for me?

    config 1)
    • 1GHz PowerPC G4
    • 256MB DDR266 (256MB built-in)
    • 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 4200rpm
    • Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    • 12.1-inch TFT Display
    $1601
    config 2)
    • 1GHz PowerPC G4
    • 256MB DDR266 (256MB built-in)
    • 40GB Ultra ATA drive @ 4200rpm
    • SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    • No Airport
    • Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    • 12.1-inch TFT Display
    $1599

    Here is what I do mostly... I need a long endurance laptop with a battery that will not go in to a coma on long lectures even when I do! I need to run all the iLife programs as well as Final Cut Express and/or Pro, Adobe Photoshop CS, and Adobe Golive CS, and Macromedia Flash and Freehand. I also need to play Quake 3 and would like to UT 2003, and Halo with passable frame rate and graphics ...Maybe even Maya? I've been a dedicated mac fan since highschool.
    Also, sorry about the sloppiness and excessive length of this post as I am in a major rush! Thanks in Advances, you guys rock
     
  2. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    #2
    go for the first one. you will appreciate the larger HD later, as well as the convenience of APE (i cannot remember what it was like when my ibook was sans wireless. i have surpressed those memories.). also, the superdrive will be slower than the combo in most situations, so unless you will be burning a lot of DVDs you will be sad (and you can always get a faster external burner later as long as you don't have your heart set on burning from imovie).

    just my $0.3 canadian
     
  3. mactastic macrumors 68040

    mactastic

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2003
    Location:
    Colly-fornia
    #3
    I'd have to say option one. You want an airport card, so you dont have to trail a long ethernet cable around your house/apartment just waiting for someone to come kick it and destroy your ethernet port, and by extension, your mobo. The superdrive is not worth it unless you have specific plans to burn a lot of DVDs. This is particularly true now that the new version of iDVD will allow you to archive your files and take them to a superdrive-equiped mac to burn.

    Seriously though, you may also want to consider the G4 iBook. There's not a huge amount of difference between it and the 12" PB right now. 200Mhz, the mini-DVI, 80Gig HD vs 60Gig, and the higher maximum capacity for RAM are the only differences worth speaking about between them. Screen resolutions are the same, both can have BT and AE, the keyboard on the iBook is MUCH improved, and the battery life is excellent. My wife's new iBook will easily get 4+ hours of regular work on a single battery charge. You could get an iPod with the $400 you'll save too.
     
  4. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #4
    Wait...

    You want ultra-portability, extreme power, and low price? Um, good luck. Running Maya and other high end programs will tax your 12" powerbook to no end, but they WILL work.
    I would also recommend buying the superdrive, much nicer to have and cheaper than an external in the future...
     
  5. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #5
    Re: Wait...

    external DVD burners are getting cheaper by the minute. (not to mention faster as well.) about the only reason to get the superdrive is if you want to use iDVD. at $200, it's not the cheapest option to get a DVD burner.

    yes, it is nice to have it included in the laptop, of course. but for the most part, larger HD and RAM will do more good for $200.
     
  6. pdrayton macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2004
    Location:
    Boston, MA
    #6
    Yes, I think a SuperDrive would be especially good if you want to use all of the iLife04 apps. Although the hard drive is considerably smaller, you could use the SuperDrive to back-up files on a DVD.

    My only problem is option #2 doesn't have Airport... that's really useful these days!

    And, only 256MB of RAM? Hmmm... the 1GHz processor isn't gonna make up for the low-end RAM.

    I think I'd recommend Option #3 - A refurbished 12" PB 1GHz 256MB 40GB SuperDrive @$1549 plus refurbished Airport Extreme card for $79 for a total of $1628 (or, instead of Airport Extreme card get an extra 256MB RAM chip from crucial.com fro $44 for a total price of $1593).

    Getting RAM instead of Airport card will give you significant boost in performance. If you're going to hold off on something, it's probably best to sacrifice mobile connectivity for performance.
     
  7. jeff.macaddict macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #7
    games on 12"???

    I bought a 12" 1ghz a few weeks ago, and i love it-for what it is. It has the nVidia FX go with 32 MB VRAM. There just is no way to play Halo, or Unreal 2003 on this machine. You sound like someone who could really use extra working space. Get a 15". you'll thank yourself for spending a little extra. Better cooling, way better graphics, more ram support, bigger hard drive.

    As far as over heating, the new powerbooks rock! the day i got it I stayed up all night installing stuff, and playing games, (it's just not as good as my dual 1GHz MDD G4 wiith 64MB VRAM, 80 gig, super) and so i played 4x4 evolution 2. On my lap. In bed. It was hot, actually, using a temp monitor app, i found out that the hunk of aluminum on my lap was 151.4* F. Wow, but, no performance problems with heat. it won't burn you, and can be nice in a cold room, snuggling up with a powerbook, if you don't have a girlfreind.
     
  8. abhishekit macrumors 65816

    abhishekit

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Location:
    akron , ohio
    #8
    Re: Help desired! Please!

    hey!!! nothin about the new ibooks is crappy...
     
  9. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #9
    sorry if i offended you... i use a 800mhz g3 ibook right now with a 14 inch display. the lcd used is not that great, compared to what others in the industry use...i.e. dell , hp, compaq, powerbooks 15".... i just need more from the panel to do what i do which is photoshop and video editing.
     
  10. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #10
    err... also its not a matter of size or screen resolution that bothers me... its just a matter of viewing angle.... and if i didnt do what i do on photoshop and FCE i probably wont give a crud. but i do what i do so there fore i really would appreciate a honest comparison.
     
  11. MacFan26 macrumors 65816

    MacFan26

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco, California
    #11
    Yeah, definitely the first one for the larger hard drive. If you're planning on using all of those programs you'll regret not having more space for them. (and go blue!)
     
  12. MacRAND macrumors 6502a

    MacRAND

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ USA
    #12
    G4 PB 12" which Config - Help desired! Please!

    RAM in either Config will require 512MB chips in every open slot as you can afford them. Max RAM asap - asa affordable.
    Low RAM causes extreme use of HD as scratch memory RAM Disk and will work it to death, which makes 7200 rpm HD even more necessary.

    4200 rpm HD in either is SO VERY SLOOOW for the demands your software will make.
    • buy Config with smaller, cheaper HD so you can replace it with
    7200 rpm IBM/Hitachi 60GB (no 80 yet) $259 @ www.OtherWorldComputing.com
    The faster drive will kick up performance dramatically, it's amazing.

    SuperDrive is required to burn iMovie or FCE2 or FCP4 to DVD with iDVD, unless you pay $400 ED for DVD StudioPro
    Combo is lame for PB, if you are going to do that, just get a G4 iBook, they're awesome for the price!

    AirPort Extreme Card is a useful OPTION. $79

    12" display is very portable. Way too small for all your design apps , especially DV editing - that's what the 17" is for; 15" is minimum! Understand budget. You'll need a cheap, large CRT for your desk or you will be pulling hair in no time.

    RECOMMEND Config 2
    Same price, better foundation for gradual upgrades and improvements.
    40GB slow HD is large enough until you can replace it with 60 or 80GB 7200 rpm
    PowerBook without SuperDrive is merely a fancy, expensive iBook.

    What you really should have for about the same money (sans monitor) is a Dual G4 1.25GB (or, 1GB) tower with the largest monitor you can afford, CRT or LCD.
    MAYA, Photoshop CS, and Final Cut Express/Pro will each bring the PB to its knees since it is not a Dual, which Panther handles beautifully. Best to have a Dual G5, but Dual G4 is still excellent.
     
  13. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #13
    im not ultra serious film major.... im a prelaw student who fancies making indies and dreams of making it big... which probably wont happen but doesnt hurt to dream.... i wont use FCE or even PSCS to the level that my brothers at the Art college will. :)
     
  14. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #14
    also, my friend has a imac with a dvdr drive and another friend with a superdrive alum powerbook... that i could "borrow" and i need space to keep my music collection about 8 gigs with space left to store other stuff like a few of my own movies printed as avis or mpegs or divxes
     
  15. MacRAND macrumors 6502a

    MacRAND

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ USA
    #15
    Hard Drive storage

    Pre Law? I'm a lawyer and I believe you will put to good use any knowledge that you develop using Photoshop and FinalCut Pro in the practice of law. I have won personal injury cases "graphically".

    The storage problem you describe would best be solved by putting your 8GB iTunes collection on an external FireWire Hard Drive, along with other Bulk Storage items, and keeping your Macintosh HD for your Operating System, Applications, and primary DATA. Owning a laptop, whether a PowerBook or iBook requires organization and inginuity since you only have room for ONE Hard Drive and ONE Laser Drive, and only so much RAM, and no PCI slots, except the PCMCIA on a PB. "Delegation" of storage responsibility to an external HD is part of the solution.

    I encourage you to continue your interest in digital design because I believe it will enhance your imagination and understanding of the media world. Success in law is often HOW you present your case, a broad understanding of media graphics will put you ahead of others who only rely on a page full of words and no images or illustrations.

    Get Config2 then build your total system a little at a time. If you stop smoking, drinking and chasing girls, you will save enough money to invest in a really powerful and dynamic computer system.
     
  16. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #16
    thanks for the . btw, i dont smoke, drink much, or chase girls... Im on the deans list at the university of michigan -and is involved in campus organizations. however, I pay for my own books and other misc expenses which are unavoidable for a college student and therefore is decimated in to poverty. I dont appreciate being pigeon holed in to the fratboy stereotype and neither do any of my peers ...we are all unique in our own way and shouldn't be judged based upon preconceptions formed in depictions from pop culture.
     
  17. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #17
    i don't mean to sound snappish, but it irritates me when another individual places me in to certain socially preconcieved roles just because its what they seeon MTV or CNN.
     
  18. niter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2003
    #18
    My opinion may be too far out of what you had in mind, but I figured I would toss it in anyway.

    From what you are describing, you will not get ALL those things in one laptop. Also, as a student, I realize that having one computer is important (for space), but I am still going to suggest it. I would get the iBook 12" to harness the portability and battery life you will need for your student life. I have this computer and it ws well priced and it is very powerful for what I need. With the money you save, put it towards a G4 desktop. You could also sell your current iBook for a bit extra cash.

    If you want to save even more money, just get a desktop for those high performance apps you want to run, and continue using your iBook during lectures.

    Either way, laptop, PB, Desktop, iBook, you will be happy with what you get.
     
  19. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #19
    Well, I use macs not really for the "ultra-fast" cpus speeds... but for os-x and and os-x enbaled apps such as final cut pro... not to mention external looks and over all higher quality. For extreme perfomance like playing Splinter Cell or other hardknocked tasks I have a dual AMD athlon MP 1.8ghz DP with 1.25 gigs of DDR333 RAM, radeon 9800 XT 128mb, and a 180gig harddrive that i built myself for pennies. I hate using windows, but even a top of the line dual G4 today still can't beat it in power/cost ratio as far as gaming is concerned. You know how many times I've used it since school started? once. yup... right now it sits at home acting as a really expensive paper weight and occasionally runs turbotax for my dad. So i guess what im trying to say is I don't care as much for raw power as ido quality, refinement, and style and portability... hence 12" powerbook. I've been using macs for quite a while, and sofar I think those are the real reasons that it is superior to x86 + good software... ofcourse this assesment excludes dual g5s which are just monsters.
     
  20. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #20
    once again, that came out abit more aggressive and confrontational then i intended ...i respect your advice and will take it in to consideration.
     
  21. MacRAND macrumors 6502a

    MacRAND

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ USA
    #21
    "fratboy stereotype" did you say?

    1. Since I don't know you, I was obviously speaking metaphorically, and it was not meant to be taken literally. It was a suggestion on how someone could SAVE money. That's all. There was no accusation.
    2. No one has "pigeon holed" you, however, isn't it rather judgmental for "someone" to declare the "fratboy stereotype" to be a man who "smokes, drinks too much, or chases girls..."? Your words and judgment, not mine. While never being able to afford going social-Greek, I was an active member of a professional fraternity, which has been quite rewarding. Few of us smoked, but we all like pizza, very cold beer, and socializing with the ladies.
    3. Couldn't guess your gender until you acted defensively to words expressed in general.
    4. You apparently assumed I was talking specifically about you, not so. I don't know you. Some psychologists would suggest focus on self as being Narcissistic, but many of my women friends (including professionals) think these traits are typically male specific attributes at any age.
    5. Simply suggesting "cutting expenses" and providing examples was all that was intended. Unfortunately, if you don't smoke, drink, or chase skirts, you probably don't have any "bad habits" to curtail and thereby save money. As a previous college undergraduate and later as a graduate student, I found that a side job was preferable to starving (catsup in water for Tomato soup, popcorn at night to fill my empty stomach, scheduling meals at local "all you can eat" restaurants for each day of the week, etc.) is not an option. Unfortunately, this can lead to exhaustion and sleep deprivation resulting in lower grades...there goes the dean's list honor.
    6. Please note that no one said anything about wasting money on dope or anything illegal, because the one assumption I always make about people is that they are honest and law abiding. I'm sure you are a good person.
    7. Am I correct that you is not a English major? What's MTV?

    Changed my mind, you should go for Config1 of stick it out with the G3 iBook until you can afford what you really want.
     
  22. tdhurst macrumors 68040

    tdhurst

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    Location:
    Portland, OR
    #22
    CHILL

    Hey, chill out. I am on the dean's list, and I drink, smoke and chase girls. Not all smart people sit home and study all the time.
     
  23. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #23
    sorry don't run on much sleep

    Hey sorry,

    I'm taking 18 credits this semsester and between school and studying, campus organizations and other charity duties I rare get more then 3 hours of sleep on weekdays. This eventually results in everything sounding more offensive then it really is... I'm sorry about the misinterpration of your advice. Btw, yes you are correct in saying that I am not an english major... I dual major in political science- international relations and sociology with a attachment in prelaw.
     
  24. carbonmotion thread starter macrumors 6502a

    carbonmotion

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #24
    Re: CHILL

    I never said i didnt drink, I said i do not drink much. The operative word being "much". ;) And, I can't chase girls becaues I have a girl firend. um, as far as parties go... I party alot during the summer, but during the school year my schedule is packed -i'm out the dorm at 7am and I get back at 11pm (just in time to start cracking the books)... lol, funny thing is, I actually enjoy the this kind of pressure more so then my lazy ass summer days where i do nothing but work and play... No, I will not be saying the same things when mid-terms comes around. Oh yeah, and I think we might want to get back on topic before the moderators notice this transgression. :)
     
  25. MacRAND macrumors 6502a

    MacRAND

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    Location:
    Phoenix AZ USA
    #25
    Re: sorry don't run on much sleep

    Cool! No problem.
    Being feisty presages good aggressive qualities for an attorney-to-be.
    No offense taken by me (MacRAND), just enjoying the intellectual exercise.
    Buying a computer is tough, it's a lot of money and we all know (like buying a new auto) that as soon as we take it out of the box, it is obsolete. Yuck!
    Okay, I'm sorry too. Go for Config2 with the SuperDrive then upgrade when you can afford it. If you are really thinking about a ComboDrive (it's ok) then seriously consider a G4 iBook 14", it's awesome and you'll save big bucks. And, they just got upgraded so its obsolescence should be further away. Seriously! But immediately MAX out the RAM in an iBook, always. If you don't the hard drive will be working overtime constantly.

    International Affairs: if you are serious about a career in a Fortune 500's international department, they hire as many out of each graduating class from the American Graduate School of International Management (called Thunderbird) in Glendale, AZ. as they can.
    Suggest solid foundation in "finance" because poly-sci won't get you anywhere; and you'll need to master one foreign language, like Chinese, Russian, Arabic, or for some location in the world where American commerce has an active interest. Check it out.
    http://www.t-bird.edu/
     

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