Help: iBook vs PowerBook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by indigoblu, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. indigoblu macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    #1
    I've been using an iBook (12", G3 600). I'm ready to buy a new ?Book, but I'm not sure which one. One of my concerns is battery time (14" iBook: 6hrs vs 15" PowerBook: 4.5 hrs).

    If I get the 14" iBook, I'm getting the following features:
    Superdrive, 1.25_ G RAM, 80 Gig Hard Drive, Airport and Bluetooth.

    If I get the 15" PowerBook, the following features:
    Superdrive, 1 G RAM, 100 Gig Hard Drive, come with Airport and Bluetooth.

    I plan on using the Macromedia package, maybe Final Cut Express, Office X (no need that I can see to upgrade to Office 2004 yet), iWork, iLife.
    I'm in grad school, so I need the laptop for creating and showing presentations to my students and professors. I also need it for scientific work, I work do a lot of biology and psychology research - so I need it to store and calculate large data.

    With all my features added on, the price is only $300 more for a PowerBook - not much and just the right amount from my tax return. BUT, since I need portibility, the 6 hr. battery life looks good.

    With the added features and my use of the iBook - will I get the same battery time out of both? Any advice is GREATLY appreciated!

    Thank you!
     
  2. joecool85 macrumors 65816

    joecool85

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2005
    Location:
    Maine
    #2
    From what I understand when you are using any 'book wether PB or iBook it seems that under relative hard use it only gets 2-3 hours regardless of what book it is. I would say go with the PB, faster CPU and will do what you want it to better I think. But that could just be because I own a PB :)
     
  3. mcadam macrumors 6502a

    mcadam

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    københavn
    #3
    I agree with that. I've had both and iBook and currently a PB and I've never been able to squeeze that many working hours out of the battery. Nonetheless the pb's battery life is apparently shorter than the iBooks, so...

    I'd say unless you are using it while riding train or flying (for more than 2-3 hours), you can always find somewhere to plug in.

    Both of them are pretty high on ram. I'm sure you could be happy with the iBook, but if the 300$ doesn't matter I'd go for the PB because of the bigger widescreen and the bigger harddrive.

    A
     
  4. indigoblu thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 21, 2005
    #4
    Thank you! From all the docs on Apple site and other sites about battery life, it seems that the estimates they give are for standard config. and the estimated use of that model (i.e. iBook is not usually used for pro graphic work, which uses more battery juice, whereas PB is for more powerful apps that use more batt. juice).

    I also realized that the iBook can't have dual screens like PB. With a PB I can conect an external monitor to watch a DVD or display an article -- while using the laptop screen to write a paper. It doens't look like iBooks have this capability.

    Is that right?

    Thanks for all the advice!
     
  5. Ashapalan macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 17, 2005
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    England
    #5
    Thats exactly right yes, you can do two things at a time with the powerbook. Powerbook is dual support, ibook just mirroring.

    I'd go with the powerbook
     
  6. ldburroughs macrumors 6502

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    Feb 25, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    #6
    As much as I hate to admit it ... the PowerBook has a leg up on the competition. Especially with Tiger on the way. Until they upgrade either 'Books it is probably best to just go with the only one of the two that will get the job done, no matter what the job is:) It's only minor but you can't even get the ripple effect with the dashboard in a new iBook. I'm sure there are other more substantial examples but that one seems pretty basic.
     
  7. indigoblu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    #7
    Thank you all! I just read that Tuesday, it is likely the books will be getting some upgrades. So I'll wait til then to order anyway - though I want it now!

    But I'm leaning more and more towards the PB. Even if the only draw back is an estimated shorter battery time - hopefully at school I won't be away from a plug for too long. With my current iBook, I had two batteries for things like plane travel or periods away from a plug. I would have to shut down to replace the battery - but it's an option. It would be nice just to make it through a 2 hour class taking notes without being plugged in.

    Plus the PB looks so much better!
     
  8. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    #8
    You are correct that the only two drawbacks for the PB in this case are battery life, and price, in absolute terms. The PB offers a real speed advantage in CPU, FSB, HDD, GPU, plus some other features not available in the iBook, a higher RAM ceiling, and a larger screen. You can always, as with any laptop, buy a 2nd battery to carry with you as well.

    Also, with a minor software modification, the current iBooks can display non-mirrored content onto a 2nd screen. However, this taxes the weak GPU still further than Apple intends, and forces the VRAM to be cut in half to only 16MB per screen. Apple also claims that iBooks should not be operated in full clamshell mode (built-in screen closed) for reasons they are shy to specify, but speculation on this forum believes this may be due to the keyboard area's use for some heat release. These caveats may or may not be important to you, of course, but the fact remains that iBooks can display to 2 screens.

    As for all the bells and whistles of Tiger, no surprise here, a PB will not handle them as well as a G5 PowerMac, but it will probably do better than an iBook.
     
  9. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #9
    Being the owner of a 14" iBook myself, I would almost tell you you to go for one. BUT- in your case I think the PowerBook is your best bet. Given what you need it to do, I think it's the best.
     
  10. joecool85 macrumors 65816

    joecool85

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    #10
    I didn't know that the iBook only did mirroring...bummer for you iBook guys out there. Its great having two screens going at one time, its almost like running two comps. Although, normally I don't use it to be productive, I'll just throw my iTunes on one and safari on the other or maybe safari on one and iChat/MSN on the other. It is nice when updating websites though, I can have HTML Face X and my FTP client on one screen and Safari on the other to see what it comes out like.
     
  11. wide macrumors 6502a

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    May 17, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #11
    Then you should get the PowerBook. if you can afford to pay the 300 dollars more, then you should do so by all means. also, it has a higher resale value (i.e. on eBay), because it is a faster computer, and the aluminum palm rests usually do not wear down as much as the iBook's, and neither does the keyboard.
     
  12. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #12
    Umm...as long as you clean your iBook once a week, this is not a problem. I use mine daily and it still looks new. I've had it almost a year.
     
  13. zudo macrumors member

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    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    I was making this decision a couple of months ago, in the end i went with the PowerBook and am more than happy with it. For me the real clincher was the screen real estate. After seeing the lovely 1280x854 widescreen pBook, the 14" iBook with 1024x768 res just wasn't up to the job. Yeah it's a physically bigger screen than the 12" iBook but it's the same low res and to me the screen looked disappointingly pixely as a result of being large but low res. More importantly though, I like to have a few windows open at a time and the PowerBook screen just feels SO much more spacious.

    A quick note on swapping batteries, you can actually swap the PowerBook battery without switching off. Just close the lid to put it too sleep, change batteries, open the lid and carry on! Very handy. You might be able to do this with the iBook too, I don't know.
     
  14. indigoblu thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    #14
    Thank you, I'm so appreciative of everyone's advice!

    I didn't know you could change the battery without powering down! I'll have to see if that works with my iBook - though my original battery holds almost no charge anymore. Since the PB can switch batteries so easy - that is a HUGE selling point!

    I had never thought about the wrist pad. My iBook is almost four or five years old - the first generation of white iBooks. The wrist pads are clean - but after the first year they changed the material to a more durable one. I've been very careful not to wear my watch while using it. The mouse pad however is worn and the clicker is chipping some on the edges. I'm glad they changed the plastic - b/c this one is too fragile.

    And thank you for the advice about the screen resolution. I didn't realize that the 14" was just the 12" bigger. I have vision and perception problems as it is (the whole reason I switched to Mac in the first place) - and I need all the help I can with resolution etc.
     
  15. vawolf macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2004
    #15
    Anybody heard any new rumors on when they're gonna update the 'books? I wanna get a new 'book (have an iBook G3/600 now) but I want to wait until they update and they ship w/Tiger.
     
  16. CaptainCaveMann macrumors 68000

    CaptainCaveMann

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    #16
    I get 4 hours on my 12 inch ibook respectively. Sometimes more sometimes less but generally 4 hours. I do mostly word processing,running itunes,safari, and chatting on ichat.
     
  17. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #17
    Dude, go with the powerbook, it'll last so much longer.
    I have an iMac G4 and PowerBook G3 and find the "Power" means a lot!
    Expandability, longevity etc etc are all better.

    Also the GPU on the PB are far supeior and you can have a second display (not just mirroring) - So that is a major "screen real estate" bonus - at home you can have a 20 or even 30" screen to work on, in addition to the one on the 'Book - a major good thing.

    I'd go for the 15" with as much RAM and upgrade to the VRAM as you can (Also as big a HD) as you can afford - investment now will mean the machine will last that much longer.

    PowerBook all the way. After my iMac, I'll never buy another "i" again. They just don't last very long until you're thinking: I wish I had X in my computer"
    BTW I have USB 2 and Airport via PCMCIA in my PB - something that even the new iBooks don't have! A PCMCIA slot can be REALLY useful!
     
  18. deebster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Location:
    Olde Englande
    #18
    If you remove the battery when your Mac is not connected to a power outlet then surely that is dangerous isn't it? I mean in terms of losing data, not life-threatening.

    When plugged in I can understand it might be doable, but, well, maybe someone who has done it could confirm. I don't wanna try :)
     
  19. indigoblu thread starter macrumors member

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    Apr 21, 2005
    #19
    I was wondering, what does that slot do? I've never had one and couldn't find any info on it. Thanks.
     
  20. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #20
    Depends what card you put into it. You can get ones for USB 2 or Firewire although your 'Book already has those. You can get wifi cards or GPRS data cards that slot in.

    Personally, I've got a 6 in 1 card reader so that when away, I can download photos from friends' and family's cameras without needing lots of cables.
     
  21. EGT macrumors 68000

    EGT

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    Sep 4, 2003
    #21
    Really? I've never heard of this feature.
     
  22. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #22
    Are you sure you can switch the battery of a Powerbook when its still on? I don't believe you can. In fact, I'm almost 100% sure I can't on my 12" PB. Maybe its different for the 15", but I doubt it.

    Another thing about battery life: While the 15" PB will never last for 4.5 hours (its more like 2.5 hours if used normally), the 14" iBook really can get 5 to 6 hours, or around 4.5 to 5 hours if used normally (ie: don't need to dim the screen to 1 notch....and keep it at 75% for entire usage). The 12" iBook lasts for around 4 hours if used normally. The 15" PB shares the same battery as the 12" PB, and since the 15" PB uses more power due to the larger screen, it'll surely have a shorter battery life than the 12" PB's real world battery life of 4 hours.
     
  23. EGT macrumors 68000

    EGT

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    #23
    Yeah, I had a feeling you couldn't do this. The computer still uses a tiny amount of power even when it's in sleep mode, does it not? If you took out the battery ... bad idea.

    It'd be cool if it was possible.
     
  24. Applespider macrumors G4

    Applespider

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    #24
    The two 'big' Powerbooks have the battery swap feature (tho you have to do it reasonably fast!) - the 12" missed out (presumably because its internal battery has to be smaller?"

    My Powerbook lasts for about 3 hours without battery; that's using Airport but not Bluetooth or the CD/DVD drive. I also turn the brightness down usually. It's the rev A 15" Alu PB so its battery is a year old now.
     
  25. zudo macrumors member

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    Apr 7, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #25
    Yep, I'm 100% sure you can, I've done it!! I've got a new powerbook and this definitely works, can't remember where I first read it though.

    You have to make sure you put the 'book to sleep first, don't try this when it's powered up.

    Sleep does indeed use a tiny bit of pwer but the powerbook has a small internal standby battery that powers it for about 5 mins in sleep while you change the battery.

    Cool eh?
     

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