iBook Questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ll cool jh, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. ll cool jh macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2003
    Well I will be heading off to college next year and I have been planning on getting a laptop. I had looked about apple's laptops a little before this round of updates and more or less ruled them out. Powerbooks looked awesome and had everything I could need and probably more but they were, and still are, expensive even with a student discount. I looked a little at the ibooks but basically dismissed them and kept looking at different pc notebooks. I am still not completely sold on an ibook yet as I have never used a mac before and buying a bunch of new software makes the price higher as well.

    Is the 12" screen hard to adjust too? I've used a 15" crt for most of my time with a computer, 12 seems really small to me and I don't think I need all that portability.

    Is the 14" iBook worth it? I'd like it more for its larger screen (I know the resolutions are the same) and I'm interested in getting it with a superdrive. However, if I go with the 14" and a superdrive, it is basically the same price as a 12" powerbook.

    Can the apple superdrives burn to dvd-rom disc? As far as I'm aware the dvd-rom discs can hold more information, and since I won't have an external hd, it'd be nice to back-up on fewer dvds.

    Is having a notebook that big of an advantage in college, like do you actually take it places? I'm worried that I won't take advantage of the portability and could have just bought say an iMac (assuming they get updated soon) with a larger screen and better specs.

    Does having a mac in a pc world make college more difficult, like are there a lot of compatibility problems? I am not planning on going into a computer intensive major, and it seems like office x takes care of all the basics I'd need.

    Can safari not open a decent portion of web pages?

    Are macs slower than pcs? I am looking for some insight from hopefully a recent switcher. I currently have a 1600+ athlon, 256mb of ddr ram, some decent nvidea card, and a 5400 rpm hd, and it basically handles everything I ask of it fairly well. Games, multiple low resource applications open at once, etc, nothing too crazy. Is the iBook going to be slower than this? I am going to have trouble buying a new computer that I plan on using for atleast 3 years, hopefully 4, that is slower than my current one.

    Wow, I wrote a lot. I would like to thank anybody who bothers to read all that and help me out with some it ahead of time. Thanks guys.
  2. Dragon88 macrumors newbie

    Apr 25, 2004
    I've been considering switching too, and you might want to look at the eMac. Slightly higher specs, 17" screen, compact design, and $100-300 less depending on if you get the Superdrive. This way you can try it, and if it turns out Mac isn't good for you you can sell it, hopefully only loosing a couple hundred dollars, and buy a PC. If you like, well then from what I've heard it's a nice machine. If you just want to do internet, email, word, stuff like that, it should be fast enough for you.

    I looked into the iBook and PowerBook as well, but I know I wont need to carry it around so there's no reason to spend money on portability that could go toward software or peripherals instead, IMO.

    Don't buy a low end mac for gaming though. If you want to play games you can custom build a PC for about the same money that will be faster (for games) and easily upgradable down the road.
  3. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Feb 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    i'll help you out as much as i can, but i don't know how much that will be.

    the 12" thing was not hard for me to get used to. and i did most of my computing at home on a 21" monitor before getting my indigo imac (with a 15" screen).

    which leads me to another point. after 1.5 years at school, i gave the ifruit to my parents and got myself an ibook for the portability. i LOVE being able to take my computer around wherever i go, and have not regretted the purchase for a moment.

    depending on where you end up going to school, there will probably be plenty of other mac users (my school is around 50-50). we all seem to be getting along fine, so you should be alright, too.

    if i were you, i would consider sticking with the 12" and using the extra money to get a faster HD/more RAM. no need to go overboard on this machine, it should have no problem lasting you through school.

    hope some of that was helpful!! good luck with your purchase!
  4. ou_phidelt macrumors newbie

    Feb 19, 2004
    Athens, Ohio
    I am a senior in college. I bought a 12" G4 iBook over the winter with the intention of taking it to class with me. That lasted about a week. Even though it is light weight for a laptop, if you toss in couple 300 page hard back books in there your back is going to hurt. Hence is why I am typing this one the first PC I ever buillt and why I dont post here very often. I looked at Powermacs but they were just way out of my price range.

    As long as you are not going into any engineering related fields you will be fine with capability.

    As far as speed... I was very disappointed with the 800, all I ran was Safari, Poison, and Appleworks. I know that RAM would have made a big difference but it wasnt worth the money at the time. I wasnt using it as a laptop so the sacrifice in speed was pointless. The guy I sold it to said he was satisfied with the speed after he upgraded the RAM.
  5. ll cool jh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2003
    Thanks guys. Yea I had been playing on upgrading the ram on my own, so I think I got atleast that much covered. I also realize that this will be far from a gaming machine which is fine since I hardly play games anyways.

    Screen size is a still main concern of mine, so if anybody else has something to add that'd be awesome.
  6. stevietheb macrumors 6502a


    Jan 15, 2004
    I'm a college senior (graduating in a couple weeks...wahoo!) who bought a 12" iBook (see sig) back in January. I had never used macs except in high school, where our computer lab was all mac, and at work where our video editing suite has always been mac-based. I'm a full-fledged mac fanatic now.

    Coming from a 19" CRT, I have no problems with the 12" screen. In fact, when I sit at other people's laptops, things feel awkwardly large. I would personally say that the 14" iBook is not worth the money, because the screen (having compared them side-by-side) does not look as sharp and bright to me (same goes for the 12" pbook....for my money, the 12" iBook has the nicest looking screen until you start looking at the 15" pbooks...which, for my purposes, are bulky and very expensive). If you are doing a lot of gaming, however, I can see where screen size might be an issue if this is your main machine. For college tasks, writing papers, websurfing, email, etc...the screen size is fine--you just gotta find the sweet spot on all your various settings (for example, I've found that Word docs look best to me if the view magnification is set at 121%). The LCD is surprisingly easy-on-the-eyes...I'm a big fan.

    In terms of compatability--if you have Office, I don't anticipate any trouble. Plus, with the ability to save to PDF (a feature my PC lacked), I'm even more compatible. When typing papers that require the use of foreign languages with funky fonts (ie Greek), I no longer worry about whether or not I can email the paper to the prof--just save it as PDF and I know it'll all get there.

    I've found having a laptop to be particularly advantageous. I don't take it to every class (in some classes it just wouldn't make sense), but some. The big bonus for me was being able to take it around campus to various WiFi spots--most importantly, the libraries. Sitting in the reference section of the library, I was able to have access to all of the library's resources, the web, my own personal resources, AND type the paper at the same time.

    There's my two cents.
  7. dtp macrumors newbie

    Apr 19, 2004
    Cambridge, UK
    "Screen size is a still main concern of mine, so if anybody else has something to add that'd be awesome."

    I bought a refurbished 12inch iBook a few weeks ago (my first ever mac, and I adore it!), and although I know, and can see, that the screen is smaller than the 15" TFT for my very old PC, it doesn't feel it; even when they're switched on side my side on my desk, I don't feel that the iBook screen is too small.

    If you are concerned about the screen sizes, I'd go to a shop that has both 12" and 14" on display, and ask to try them out. If you find that you really can't stand the screen size on the 12", then go for the 14"; but otherwise, I'd suggest going for the 12".

    As regards switching to a mac - well, I'd never used a mac for more than about 2 minutes (library searches at university) until I got my iBook; my whole family are going to switch, now. I'll admit that it was slightly strange at first, purely because buttons are in different places, minimising/maximising is different, and the dock needs fiddling with until you've got everything you want there, but took no more than an hour or so to get used to, and I adore it. I've had it almost permanently switched on since I got it, and haven't had a single crash (my nearly-dead PC crashes approximately 6 times a day, and was not that much better when it had been brand new). It was incredibly simple to add to our home network (literally plug-'n'-play), and when I installed the Airport Extreme card it took about 1 minute.

    I've had no problem with speed at all, but then, the specs on my iBook are actually better than on my 4 year old PC, and it has more RAM (and bear in mind that because it's a refub model, it predates the recent iBook updates).

    As for software, well, I can't imagine much of a problem. I've had no problems with compatibility, and I've been transfering all my old files from my PC to my iBook. Get yourself a USB data-transfer stick if you'll be transferring to or from a computer without CD burner, and you'll be set (they're not particularly costly), or just stick with CDs if you do have CD burners. The superdrive does, as far as I'm aware, burn to DVD-ROM, which'll give you ample data storage.

    Even in the short time that I've had my iBook, I've found its portability great - I've taken it on trips, in the car or on the train. However, if you're not intending to take it around with you, then you might be better off considering an eMac or iMac, because you do pay for portability. If it's just going to sit on your desk, it's not the best option - you can get a more powerful mac with a full size keyboard, mouse and speakers, and a bigger screen for less money. If you plan to take your iBook to lectures, or to the library to work, or want to be able to sit in the sunshine while you type up an essay, then go for the iBook.

    I hope this helps somewhat!
  8. Danrose1977 macrumors regular


    I use a 19" LCD at work, and have no problems with the 12" on my iBook... Having said that, as with all things, it depends what you want to do with it. If you are web browsing and word processing... no problem. If you are doing DTP work, get an extra monitor and apply the screen span hack.
    Personally I don't think so... hence I went for the 12"
    I am a teacher and I use mine all the time... some of my students do as well.
    Nowadays compatibility is not really an issue at all.
    Utter rubbish. Sorry to be so blunt, but I have yet to find a page it doesn't open.... and even if I did, IE comes with the iBook as well.
    An iBook at 1Ghz is fast as you should need.... don't worry about processor speed, just make sure you have plenty of RAM.
  9. ll cool jh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Dec 27, 2003
    Again, thanks to everybody.

    I made a piece of paper that would be the size of a 12" screen and I must that it was larger than I had thought. So basically I'm heavily leaning towards a 12" ibook now, but I still want a superdrive and I guess the extra 200mhz wouldn't hurt either.

    Is the ibook keyboard easy enough to type on? Or should I get another keyboard for when I am not on the go and can use it at my desk?

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