Ibook or Powerbook??

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by jon123, Jun 27, 2003.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Jun 27, 2003
    Hello all, this is my first time posting on this board.

    I will most likely be in the market for a laptop within the next 6-8 months, and i would like some opionions on what i should buy. I would be mainly be using it for website and unix style work. I would also be having large collections (5-10 gig) of files on the system. I am not really going to need super portibility but anything would be better then the 1:30h battery life i currently get with a Thinkpad (BTW: i dont own the thinkpad):(

    I am 99% sure i would choose between a ibook or a pbook becuse i need the power of UNIX but somthing with ease of use.
    (BTW: I could use FreeBSD on a intel laptop if I needed to but would much rather use somthing that already comes with a GUI, but it is always an option to buy intel and use FreeBSD+XFree86)

    I will be doing some very lite graphics work also. I have heard some people say that the G4 is a very bad processor and would never buy them but would reccomend a G3. I am very confused because some say that the G3 is SUPER SLOW.

    I would want somthing that wolnt be obsolete in 2 months (probaby not possible .....LOL)

    Will it be better to buy later on .... say after Christmas?? My price range is up to $2000 but not much higher..... i am a highschool student after all.

    If i would get this i would be ONE HAPPY SWITCHER (never owned a mac before)

    Please give me some help......

  2. macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2003
    London, Ontario
    Here is my oppinion. I have the 12" iBook and its the best laptop I have ever owned. From the sounds of it the G3 is going to suit your needs much nicer and you can still have some coin left over for some apps. As for people saying the G3 is mad slow, it is slower than the G4 but not much so basically its a myth. All the graphics stuff you could ever want to do will work on the iBook but again a little slower than the G4.

    The G3 is also a LOT more durrable than the tiBook. One thing though, if you plan to do any gaming at all go for the powerbook. Games basically do not run on the iBook.

    Yeah but thats about all i have to say. If you have any questions about the iBook feel free to private message me and ill tell you about my switching experience (just got mine a month or so ago :))


  3. macrumors 601


    Mar 12, 2002
    BrisVegas, Australia
    sounds like a iBook would probably be OK for you, but you should try them both out in a store before you decide. also, you've got to wait for the new PowerBooks to come out, they can't be far off now. you could always go for a current model 12" PB after the new ones come out and save a bit of money.

    while the iBook would be OK, the PowerBook is alot better in my opinion. i had a TiBook, but i haven't seen the 12", but i'd prolly have a much nicer finish than the iBooks.
  4. macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2002
    just make sure to max out the ram, a 512 chip costs less than $100 across the board, and will greatly boost performance.

    P.S. Buy the ram from a 3rd party, but make sure its name-brand.
  5. macrumors 65816


    Nov 9, 2002
    East Bay, CA
    My iBook serves me far better than I ever thought it would, but a PB might be better for graphics. This is only if you need some real juice, though. If you don't need your graphics work to operate on steroids (i.e. just hobbyist work) you ought to be ok with the iBook. You said you aren't getting anything for a while, so you may see upgrades to the iBook line by then (they're due).

    G3 is in the iBook. It runs well, but OS X is optimized for the G4 (Altivec/Velocity engine). Both are very good, but the G4 is faster. The iBook is the last machine Apple makes with a G3 chip. It's ready to be phased out, but that doesn't make it any less useful.

    PowerBooks have a far sleeker design. They are thinner and lighter (if you get the 12"). The iBook, on the other hand, is definitely better suited to a life on the go. It's ready to be chucked around (within reason) and stand some abuse.

    BTW - Welcome to the MacRumors community!

    Good Luck!

  6. macrumors 603


    Jun 25, 2002
    LaLaLand, CA
    14" iBook if you want better battery life and a more rugged computer. And don't mind a slightly slower system for graphics.

    The G3 is great, but lacks Altivec. Certain applications (and the OS itself) use Altivec, but clock-for-clock the G3 can be faster. However, the highest G3 Apple uses is 900MHz with a 100 MHz system bus. The next gen G3 (Mojave) will be faster and may have Altivec, which would be great.

    12" PowerBook if you don't mind being a little more careful. Little faster, little more expensive. Kinda hot.

    The G4 is pretty good for certain apps. But people don't like it because Motorola has issues with getting it to go faster. Now that the G5 is out, people don't seem to want the G4. But the G5 isn't going portable anytime soon.

    Buy more RAM. Both can take a Max of 640MB (128MB built-in plus 512MB upgrade). I recommend Applecare, too.

    Either way, wait a couple of weeks. There are new 'Books coming.
  7. macrumors 603


    Sep 6, 2002
    Houston, TX
    the next generation g3 did have altivec. it's called the G4. ;) heh, i think you need a different term there.

    anyways, i have had a GHz TiBook for roughly 8 months now, and it's great. i maxed out the RAM, and i never get bothered by its limitations.

    i would say that if you have the cash, the 15 inch tibook is still worth it, unless you have to have the latest and greatest, because it's true that they will probably update it to an aluminum enclosure soon enough. anyone who tells you that the tibook is fragile hasn't used one. i have dropped this sucker off the side of my relatively high bed with the lid open and you would never know it. it scratches a bit, but so do iBooks. it's just not as noticeable on them. i have 2 noticeable scratches on mine 1 most people argue, and i am not that careful with it. in my opinion, anyway.

    if you don't have the money for a 15 inch tibook, i wouldn't consider the 12 inch powerbook. you sound like you just need something to get the job done and run OK. the 12 inch iBook (MAX THE RAM ON ANYTHING YOU GET) would be about as good, especially the 900 MHz one. the only problem is, if you are a developer and/or do much graphics work, you will vastly appreciate the gorgeous screen these 15 inch tibooks have. it's great for comparing 2 pages of text side by side and editing images. you can view 1024 x 768 images at full size and still have palettes around it with my TiBook. not so on the 12 inch laptops.

    just my 2 cents, but again, don't listen to people that thing the powerbook is fragile. that's just the image it projects when you hear about how it scratches and see how rigid it is. you don't make a laptop out of metal just so it's prettier.
  8. macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2001
    Montgomery, AL
    I'd recommend the 12" PowerBook AFTER the coming revision. It'll most likely be up to 1 GHz, and hopefully some of the cooling issues will be worked out. It's got a G4, which, while very slightly slower MHz for MHz compared to the G3, will give you the great advantage that is AltiVec. As has already been said, OS X is optimised for Altived, as are many other apps that you might encounter (Photoshop, etc.). It's going to be the better long term investment, especially with the G5 on the table and the logical end of the G3's life cycle sooner than later. The G4 will be around for a good while longer, and it will definitely be the better buy in the long run. As I said, the 12" PB ($1499 for students with a combo drive, $1699 for students with a SuperDrive) will be more than enough computer for basic web development and UNIX programming, as well as being powerful enough to serve as a day to day machine. While the screen may not be the largest around, it will leave you money for more RAM and AppleCare (which is always recommended on laptops). That being said, the G3 is no slouch when it comes to raw power, and the iBook is one hell of a machine. Either way you'll be thrilled with your OS X experience. Best of luck with your switch, and let us know what you decide. Cheers! :)
  9. macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location
  10. Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    Get the iBook. I've got an 800 and it's plenty fast for everything I do on it (although compile times can be a bit long). It's solid, well built and really nice to use. It impresses my PC friends (who are now waiting for an G5 laptop to switch).

    Go to a store, play with one, buy it.
  11. macrumors 68000


    May 6, 2002
    Brooklyn, NYC
    i'm gonna go ahead and recommend the iBook as well. the current ones are rock solid and such a great buy. my girlfriend got a 12" 900mhz iBook, same day i bought my 12" PowerBook. her machine is speedy, cool (temperature), and is running without a hitch. i've already encountered a handful of problems with my PowerBook and i'm finding it extremely hard to justify spending that extra $600(!?!). i installed Photoshop on her machine and noticed no difference when working with images at web/video resolution, which is all i'm using Photoshop for these days anyway. overall, i do like the PowerBook, but i really wish i would've went with the iBook and saved that $600 for something else.

    p.s. i don;t know who told you that the G3 was a bad chip. it's a much better working, cooler running, and more scalable chip than the G4. i hope they use the Gobi (G3 w/AltiVec) for the PowerBooks in the future and get rid of the G4 altogether.
  12. macrumors 603


    Sep 6, 2002
    Houston, TX
    an iBook is definitely an OK system. i think the main consideration in all this is screen size. i mean, you could get an 800 MHz TiBook now for pretty cheap. the graphics on it and altivec would push it up and over the 900 MHz iBook for performance, plus there is that big screen to consider. i think you would best be suited by a 15 inch tibook though, when the new revision comes out. the GHz model with maxed RAM will probably sink right into your price range. right now it is at 2400 for the combo drive model (at 512 MB)...

    once again though, i think the biggest concern you will find is the screen size. i could be wrong. as some have said, definitely get to an apple reseller and try them out in person.
  13. macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location
    Well if it is, just get the 14" iBook. ;)

    I'm a big iBook supporter. As of right now, I can't see the justification of spending over $500 or $600 more for a PB, whether it be at 12" or 15".

    Maybe in the near future, there will be a solid reason for paying more for the Alu books, but until then, there isn't a reason for me, and it doesn't sound like there's a reason for you either.
  14. macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2002
    This topic comes up every now and then, but the answer is quite simple.

    If you are going to do ANY video work, go with G4 PowerBook. If not, G3 iBook will be just fine.

    Plus, current iBook line has gone many revisions and it is as good as a laptop is going to get.
  15. macrumors newbie

    May 12, 2003
    external displays?

    I'm facing the same choice, and I'm considering getting one of the 12 inchers plus an external display. Does anyone have any experience with the ibooks or 12 inch pb and third party monitors? I love the small size, but my eyes aren't that great. It seems that a small notebook plus a display are comprable in price to a 15 inch pb. Is one preferrable to the other? I know each's specs, and I know about the ibook hack (but I'm hesitant to do it on my first mac), but I was hoping to get more subjective opinions or experiences.
    Thanks very much,
  16. macrumors member

    May 31, 2003
    Austin, TX
  17. macrumors 65816


    Mar 7, 2003
    i suppose the one to strech your monitor, not just mirror it...
    dunno thought ...
  18. macrumors 68000


    Nov 24, 2002
    Great battery life, portability and very little graphic work: that pretty much says iBook to me. I've got 2 and have never been more satisfied. Price-wise I think they can't be beat, and I've used Photoshop & Illustrator at the same time on an iBook with no problems. I think buying a PB would be overkill, though it depends on what kind of UNIX work- X11 or console?
  19. macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
  20. macrumors 6502a


    May 22, 2003
    I would think that an iBook would have everything you need. But then again a Powerbook would let you play NeverWinter Nights when it comes out... But that's up to you ;P I got a TiBook mainly because of my video/art work. I was even able to render a movie in Premiere while using X-Chat, Mail, iChat, and Safari without a hitch. But you'll prolly not be needing that kind of power for web or coding. And trust me, an Apple does not become outdated as fast as PCs. I believe there are some ppl on these boards who regularily use 200Mhz machines. I even plan on using this TiBook until I graduate from college (which will be in 4 years).

    But a second monitor is a must for a 12" PB or iBook (don't know about that hack though). Anyways good luck.

    P.S. My name is Jon as well, so we are superior...
  21. macrumors 603


    Sep 6, 2002
    Houston, TX
    boy, that coming from a person who can't figure out how to right click or open control panel in windows XP.
  22. macrumors 604


    Aug 13, 2002

    I just switched to the Mac side, and had to go through the same decision making process.

    I went with the iBook mainly for the price, but I also didn't feel that the PowerBook line provided that much more power for the price difference.

    I have an 800 iBook, and the only two things that it wasn't able to tackle with ease were some rendering in iMovie, and Warcraft III I had to turn down the details.

    In everything else, it has been more than adequate. Just make sure you add an additional 512MB of RAM, I noticed a performance increase of 30-40% (Yes, I measured it).

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