iBook vs PowerBook? Can't decide.

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by tsk, Jan 22, 2004.

  1. tsk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2004
    I really really want to get a Mac but I keep going back and forth trying to decide.

    Okay, I'm looking at basically 2 systems:

    14" iBook with BT and Airport (upgraded ram from crucial)
    15" PowerBook with Airport (upgraded ram from crucial)

    Now I know these are not really comparable systems. I'd really like the 15" but it's a ton of money and money is a large factor.

    I know there are supposed to be upgrades out to the PowerBook which may or may not sway me. I'm kind of thinking that unless there are G5 upgrades to the 15" I wouldn't buy it. (which I'm not holding my breath on). A price drop and a speed bump might also sway me.

    Now the 14" seems to be a bastard child which I fail to understand. I like the fact that it's got a larger screen than the 12" for my eyes and it's also faster for not much more $$$.

    Is there really any reason I shouldn't consider the 14"? Or a reason I should look at the 12" iBook? Or a really damn good reason to scrape the money for the 15" (and then lie to my wife about how much I paid for it)?

    Like I said money's a big factor here and I'm thinking if I get the 14" I can wait around till my warranty is close to expiring and look at the upgraded 15" then?

    Any input is appreciated. I'm struggling over making the right decision. Thanks.
  2. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    The iBooks are not exactly weaklings. What do you plan to do with the computer and how long do you plan on keeping it?
  3. tsk thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Jan 14, 2004
    Well I'm a graduate student in physics.

    90% of use will probably be web and email of course :).

    The remaining 10% will be probably Word Processing/Spreadsheet and some Mathematica/Maple. Probably also some terminal use writing programs but doubtful I'll do much compiling on it.

    Maybe on a few rare occassions I may want to plug in my camcorder and convert my home movies to DVD's but that might be .01% of use.

    I really don't know how long I plan to keep it. Maybe just a stopgap till I can afford a 15", maybe longer if I decide I don't need a 15".
  4. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    Re: iBook vs PowerBook? Can't decide.

    Although there is a large difference in price between the two, on most applications you probably won't see any difference in speed between them. In all honesty, both are slow compared to a desktop machine.

    The only reason you might prefer the PB versus the iBook, is for the former's dual monitor support. The iBook can do that too with a minor hack.

    As for 12'' vs 14" vs 15", if this is going to be your main comp, then a larger screen is easier on the eyes in the long term. If you're going to lug it around a lot, then you'd probably want the portability of a smaller/lighter lap top.

    We faced the same dilemma and ended up with the 12" iBook. One happy Mac family now :)
  5. niter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2003
    Get the iBook. I have a 12" G4, as I wanted ultra portability. I have maxed out everything (HD, bluetooth, airport, RAM--also from crucial), and the computers is damn fast for me.

    I am also a graduate student, but in Polymer Chemistry. The iBook has been more than adequate for what I do. If you like the 14", get it. I prefer the 12" iBook and the 15" PB, but that is because I had a 14" Gateway in the past that left me with a wretched hatred of 14" laptops. Unlike my Gateway, the 14" is slim and portable. However, I wanted really small, so I went with the 12". I am not going to get into the argument of resolution because when it comes down to what you do, you really will not be affected by it if the screen size is what you want.

    Instead of considering the iBook to PB jump, perhaps you can do what I am thinking of doing...I have the iBook now because it is powerful and cost friendly. Just before graduation, I want to use my student discount to get a G5 for all that high performance things that I will have time for then ;)
  6. bnemesis macrumors regular

    Jul 31, 2003

    Im in the same boat!

    Ive played with an older 12" ibook, and was considering it, but 800mhz just seems way too slow. Im not going to be doing a huge amount of gaming on it (mostly web design), but the game I do want to play is UT 2004. I dont think the 800 mhz ibook will cut the mustard. I specd out the 14" and decided that the 1ghz model with AE would be one of my coices.

    The 15" powerbook I absolutly LOVE.
    After specing out my iBook (i need AE), i specd out a powerbook. The 15" refurb is $1699. So after I added 512MB ram from crucial and an AE card it would be about $1899. Apple sells the 1.25 powerbook with superdrive and 512mb ram, 80GB HD, backlit keyboard, and AE (refurb) for $2099.

    So for me the choices are new 14" 1ghz iBook+ AE and 512MB(crucial) for about $1650
    Loaded top shelf powerbook refurb for $450 more.

    Im going to wait until after the superbowl and then make my choice. So far, for the extra $450 I get a Superdrive, backlit keyboard (cool), bigger hard drive (60GB vs 80GB),
    faster processor, better graphics card
    (Radeon 9200 32mb vs 9600 64mb),
    firewire 800, bluetooth, a nicer screen, and PRESTIGE BABY.

    Damn. I just talked myself into a powerbook...
    Unfortunatly, my wife has given me a budget of around $1500. However, I have 2 web design clients that I just aquired who will make up the differance... :D
  7. MoparShaha macrumors 68000


    May 15, 2003
    San Francisco
    The two machines are like apples and oranges (no pun intended). At this point in the game, I'd say get the cheapest computer, because PowerBook G5's are right around the corner. While they might be a year away, that's really not that long. Anything you buy right now will more than suffice for email/web. Go with the iBook, and if you decide you need more power, in a year you can trade up to a PB G5.
  8. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020


    Jul 6, 2003
    Los Angeles
    You're not exactly planning any hardcore usage. Just about any G3 that will run OS X decently should meet your needs. Ever consider a used iMac or PowerBook?

    If it's between the iBook and PowerBook I'd strongly suggest the iBook. Why spend a lot more for features you won't use? Especially if you'll have to lie to your wife about it.
  9. CmdrLaForge macrumors 68040


    Feb 26, 2003
    around the world
    Get the iBook

    1) will completly suit your needs
    2) is cheaper
    3) G5 PB is around the corner

  10. maclamb macrumors 6502


    Jan 28, 2002
    Northern California
    I'd go withte iBook G4 933/1G and save towards a G5 desk model.
    I've had the PB (ti667) and while I liked it alot there were som ethings I didn't:
    metal paint flaked easily making it look like crap
    Metal shell made the airport card range suck (1/3 of the wifi in my dell laptop)
    the Metal is less "sturdy" than the plastic
    I like the 14 inch size - 15.2 is weird for me, more than I need
    the Hack or VTBook (http://www.villagetronic.com/e_pr_vtbook.html) makes the iBook run dual monitors -

    me? I was waitjg for a g5 1.6 or 2.0 - whichever is here on the 3rd -
    but dang, now I'm re-considering an iBook!
  11. switchingGeek macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    I've got a 12" PBook. Not sure why this is not one of your choices. You want more power than a 12"IBook, but you want to skip straight to the 15"PB? Why??

    My 12"PB with 512MB from Crucial and AE cost 1399 + 89 + 100. And man am I happy with it :)...

    Now I'm totally the envy of all my 6-9lb Wintel laptop heaving friends B-)

    So the 12:pB looks like it will be within your budget, kicks ass on performance (wrt IBook, and not much worse than the 15" I assume), and since you have no problem with the 12"screen, it looks like the one to buy!!
  12. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I would recommend the 14" iBook. It will fit your requirements very well, and is much cheaper than the Powerbook. As other people have said you could use the iBook for a year, then upgrade to a G5 Powerbook if you feel that you have outgrown the iBook.
  13. tiktokfx macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2003
    DC Metropolitan Area
    I recommend the 12" PowerBook over any iBook, and based on needs/price range, over the bigger PBs.

    A) IMHO the 14" iBook screen looks like junk compared to the 12" PB or the 12" iBook, because it's the same resolution but looks blurrier because of the screen size difference

    B) Supported video out. Sure, you can get a hack for it, but the PB actually supports it, and it's better quality output (miniDVI to DVI, VGA, Composite/S-video)

    C) Higher RAM ceiling than iBooks (640MB, for me at least, is not enough... 768 is the lowest amount any of my Macs has)

    D) Smaller and lighter than any other laptops

    E) No add-on cost for Bluetooth

    F) Looks better, imho.

    G) Yes, it's only FW400 compared to the 15" and 17"s, but if you have the money for FW800 drives, you wouldn't be considering an iBook at all.

    H) Audio In. Might not matter to you, but it's something.

    I) Double the cache of iBooks

    J) Better built in speakers
  14. tiktokfx macrumors regular

    Aug 7, 2003
    DC Metropolitan Area
    In addition, the PowerBooks just feel significantly more solid than the iBooks in terms of construction, I think.
  15. NusuniAdmin macrumors 6502a


    Nov 19, 2003
    just wait

    Wait till the next powerbook revisions, that way the current lineup of pb's are cheaper. Ibooks are crappy, one of my schools brand new g4 ibooks started smoking and the case melted. That is not a lie, it seriously melted on the desk.
  16. zapp macrumors regular


    Aug 23, 2003
    Here is what to do

    For any of your needs any current Mac laptop will be sufficient. What you need to do is go to an Apple store, or somewhere that has the laptops and see them in person, pick them up, type on them. When you say to yourself that is what I want (not what you need) pick that one. Of course purchase with the edu discount, but don't double think yourself after you leave the store. I did that, I was torn between the 12" iBook or Powerbook. And the 12" Powerbook won. But everyone is different. Just keep in mind updated powerbooks are in the pipeline sometime. And the G5's maybe by the end of the year (hopefully) My plan was to get one now, skip the next G4 update, skip the rev A due to apple working out the bugs, and buy a rev b g5. Goodluck with your decision.
  17. Engagebot macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2003
    LSU - Baton Rouge
    12 and 14 inch iBooks have the SAME RESOLUTION!

    That means you have the same amount of screen real estate, but just bigger on the 14

    the 15 inch powerbook is actually 1280x854 resolution, where the 14 ibook is still 1024x768.

    This makes all the difference in the world as far as the displays go.

    15" powerbook for me, there was no hesitation (well maybe a bit when my buddy got a 17)
  18. Engagebot macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2003
    LSU - Baton Rouge
    Re: just wait

    My dual 3.06Ghz Xeon machine melted a few days after i got it. Dell was supposed to put it in a server style case, and messed up the order and put it in a horizontal desktop case (like i would ever need a machine like that in a horizontal desktop...).

    anyway, the fans werent adequate in that case. the first day i left it overnight to render, i came into my office the next morning and it smelled like burnt motors and the cpu alarm was going off. it had gone off obviously for a while, and one of the cpus had melted straight through the mobo.

    At least Dell shipped me a new one no charge within 3 days though. I dont understand how that was, considering it took 3 months for them to build it initially... $5600 towers shouldnt melt right out of the box.
  19. tdhurst macrumors 68040


    Dec 27, 2003
    Portland, OR
    Come on here...you really cannot compare the TiBook the the new anondized aluminum ones.

    NOT hot
    No paint to flake, HARD to scratch
    Airport range much improved because of redesigned antenna structure
    "less" sturdy? I could knock someone out with my powerbook, open it up, and write about it if I wanted to...
  20. abhishekit macrumors 65816


    Nov 6, 2003
    akron , ohio
    get 12 in ibook...real cool machine..totally suffice your needs...just remember to put in bt and max out the ram..
  21. NusuniAdmin macrumors 6502a


    Nov 19, 2003
    Re: Re: just wait

    Yes I heard of many cases of dell servers smoking and melting, and dell supposedly fixed the problem recently although I have not seen it fixed yet.
  22. Engagebot macrumors regular

    Dec 10, 2003
    LSU - Baton Rouge
    Re: Re: Re: just wait

    wasnt anything really wrong with it except it was a server/workstation class machine mounted in a case with only 1 80mm fan (plus the PSU fan).

    The *real* server case the new one is in has 2 92mm fans on the back, with round ductwork from the fan to the top of the cpu heatsinks. plus it has 2 front fans and a top mounted blowhole fan.

    you can see how much difference that would have made... they really just mounted it in the wrong case.

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