iMac,iBook or PowerBook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by beria, Mar 5, 2004.

  1. beria macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    #1
    Hi there,
    I finally decided to swich to a Mac but I´m not exactly sure which one to buy. I am torn between a Powerbook and a iMac because I do not have a lot of space in my appartment and I share it with my girlfriend (so no Powermac here). The main use of my computer will be Internet/e-mail, Office, some Graphics (Corel) and other standard stuff, I am not that much into gaming however. I am currently in the beginning stages of my PhD programme in molecular biology and genetics so another main task is blast-seaching genomic and protein databases which might require more power. I wonder if a G4 iBook (933Mhz/14´´) would do as well, after all I am still a student and money is a factor! I would like to use the machine for at least three if not four years.
    Anyone out there who might help?
    beria
     
  2. lasuther macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #2

    I would recommend a 12" iBook G4 800 MHz. It is the smallest and cheapest of the bunch. You get the same screen resolution as the 14" iBook. When you are at home you can plug in an external monitor for screen spanning with a hack. Drop in 512MB of RAM to bring the total to 640MB and you'll be fine. Its been a great computer for me and very inexpensive.

    lasuther
     
  3. invaLPsion macrumors 65816

    invaLPsion

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2004
    Location:
    The Northlands
    #3
    I would recommend the 17 inch iMac. It will give you the power you need to run those genome programs plus it doesn't take up much space and is very stylish.
     
  4. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    #4
    well since you have ruled out the powermac lets break down the situation.

    Laptops - hard to upgrade, ram is user installable, but unless you get an extra external HD, replacing the internal one yourself will void the warranty

    PRO - you can get an extra display
    id go for the 15 powerbook, it has enough power and portability, plus 2 gig max ram should you find yourself needing it in teh future, these laptops have a life of 2-4 years anyway

    Desktop - the imac isnt really as upgradable as other desktops due to its all-in-one design. ram and hd space are upgradable as well

    you will get similar power compared to a powerbook minus the portability

    id dsay ibooks were out of the question ofr your task, but i mean if price is important which you said it was the ibook would do the job, but not as well as a powerbook
     
  5. wPod macrumors 68000

    wPod

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    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #5
    the main question is do you need portablity? if portability is not very important, then get the iMac, you can get a bigger screen and all the power you need.

    if you want portable go with the iBook. it is esentially the same as the PB for your use. you can fit enough RAM in the iBook that you should be fine. i would NOT recomend the hack for the monitor spanning as mentioned previously. i used that on my G3 iBook and it had bad results! if you just want a bigger monitor when youre at your apt. then the iBook still has video mirroring (the same display on the iBook shows up on the external monitor). from what you described you do not need the extra desktop space of monitor spanning (different display on laptop and on external monitor).

    so, get the iBook if you want portability. or get the iMac to look cool in the apt!
     
  6. lasuther macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #6
    For the price of a 15" powerbook you could get a G5. If you are going to be spending over $2000, I would recommend getting a G5 PowerMac. You'll find it much more suites your needs. If price and size is a big deal, the iBook should be just fine. The iBooks, iMacs, and PowerBooks all use G4 processors and work every well. My best friend has a 17" PowerBook and my iBook holds its own very well in comparison.

    lasuther
     
  7. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #7
    Does a Pm really take up that much space? Doesn't anyone use a desk anymore?...anyway, if you are deadset against a PM, get a laptop w/ the best BTO video card u can (not for now, but to keep viable in the future) and a large, fast HD. The iMac is just a non-portable portable in terms of architecture (w/ a nice screen). My 2 cents...
     
  8. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

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    #8
    holds well in comparison when doing what? i blow ibooks out of the water with my pbook.
     
  9. msp macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    May 6, 2003
    Location:
    Karlsruhe, Germany
    #9
    I have a PB 12' Rev. A (867 MHz, 640 MB RAM). It is a nice small and very portable notebook. I use it at the uni, where I connect via wlan into the campus network. Its excellent for the uni stuff like following a lecture and viewing the pdf or ps files during the lecture. It is also great value for creating presentations with keynote or producing papers with TeXShop.
    But it is also dog slow if I throw some heavier computing at it. To be honest the G4 867 MHz is a good laptop cpu that can create some speedup with the altivec extension but if you need processing power it is not a good choice.
    Therefore I have ordered a PM G5 1.8 Dual as Desktop.

    If I where you I would buy a ibook 12' for the uni and later, if you have some money, buy a PowerMac.

    Just my 0.02 Euro
     
  10. lasuther macrumors 6502a

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    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Haven, Michigan
    #10
    I'm not saying that iBooks are better than Powerbooks. My friend has a 17" PowerBook 1GHz G4 1GB RAM. In comparison to my 12" iBook G4 800MHz 640MB RAM, it is faster. But he has never run a program that I can't run. We both mainly use iLife, MS Office, Safari, and War Craft 3. War Craft 3 is probably the most resource intensive program we run together and he has never "blown me out of the water".

    I just think that a PowerMac G5 is a better buy than the PowerBook G4 for this users question. I would be willing to bet a PowerMac will blow a PowerBook out of the water when it comes to processing speed. And the cost of both are very similar. However, when looking at low cost and space saving computers you can't beat the iBook.

    Just my opinion :) .

    lasuther
     
  11. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #11
    imo, you are going to want a larger screen if you are going to be doing a lot of research and writing. i personally find the 12in ibook to be a bit small, despite the good resolution. the imac is a lot cheaper than the PB, so that might be your best bet.
     
  12. nargot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #12
    I am a molecular biologist, so i can answer your questions to your needs. I have done all my work on a imac DV or lower. All decent programs work well on such machines, like DNAstar, mac vector, vector NTI etc etc. An ibook 12" will easily do all this, if you want a bigger screen get a 933 mhz or an external monitor. Get a laptop as it the way we do things nowdays, you can take it to conferences and lab visits and not have to learn new programs. I recommend maxxing the ram, unless you are not doing any computer intensive stuff (which admittedly you will be doing, its science not computing)

    Overall if cost is a major issue (i'm sure it is, i know what its like) get the 12", if you have a few more dollars get the 933mhz 14". You wont need anymore for work related stuff.

    BTW: Remember you are a student, so get your educational discount where applicable. And also, most people will complete their PhD without a fancy computer with no problems ie a crappy IBM thinkpad can do it all.
     
  13. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

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    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    #13
    ohk i see where ur coming from. yeah i would recomend a powermac, but he said the cost and size is an issue, but the 15 pbook the non superdrive version is pretty good, and aside from the cost it will retain its value more than an ibook, plus portability
     
  14. Opteron macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    South Australia
    #14
    I know you said "no power macs" but you can still buy a Dual or single proc G4MDD. These are easily the most upgradeable macs released in a long time, and I wouldn't say they take up a huge amount of space. Plus since you need an external monitor, when the computer nolonger becomes useful, you don't have to throw aweay the screen.

    Just my thoughts, but if you can't honestly fing the space for a tower, then a powerbook woul dbe my pic.
     
  15. nargot macrumors regular

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    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #15
    But the thing is from what i can understand beria will not have the money or the need for any high powered machine. And a 1.25 ghz g4 costs more than a 933mhz ibook once you get a monitor, and is not potable. If you are a serious scientist nowdays a laptop is essential especially if your lab has no funds for computers.
     
  16. nargot macrumors regular

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    Jan 29, 2004
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    Australia
    #16
    No power is required for BLAST searches. People in my lab do blast searches from a powermac 7200 for example as all the power required is an internet browser capable computer. This is because all the searching is done server side at NIH.
     
  17. Opteron macrumors 6502

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    Feb 10, 2004
    Location:
    South Australia
    #17
    I only said this because the old MDD PM single proc is the same price as the bottom of the range imac. and much beter speced, because it doesn't have a screen.
     
  18. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #18
    Beria--

    I'd be inclined to suggest you go for a 15" Powerbook. First, it's considerably more powerful than an iBook. Second, it's still portable, and the people that I know that have been in your position that buy a desktop almost invariably wish later they had bought a laptop. Third, the PB gives you plenty of connectivity and RAM expandability, and thus is a bit more futureproof. Finally, if you're going to be keeping it a while, the PBs just seem to hold up better overall.

    Best,

    Bob

    PS--And do look into the Apple education pricing and loans.
     
  19. nargot macrumors regular

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    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #19
    I do understand what you meant and It would be nice to have, but from what i can understand beria will only need an eMac, or low end ibook and they will suffice easily... unless other people here use any of these programs (beria didn't even mention any, the ones mentioned are server side databases where you input text and get a result back), i think i have the expertise to say that there will be no need for a faster machine unless the 'cool' factor is what beria is after. I myself could use a g4 PM, but it would just be a waste of money for me because i would never have any use for the power... and i DO do alot of molecular work.
     
  20. beria thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2004
    #20
    Thanks

    Thanks for all your advice, especially to nargot! I think I´m going to stick with laptop. But should I wait till summer when possibly a G5 Powerbook arrives? Will a G4 iBook will last for four years? Will the latest software still be running in say 2.5 years or so?
    Beria
     
  21. JasonL macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2004
    Location:
    Ware, MA
    #21
    I'm confused. You are looking at iBooks citing cost as a concern (which I certainly understand) and then you state that you might be interested in waiting for (what will likely be quite expensive and over the top for your needs) a G5 PB (which if we see by summer I will be quite surprised).

    As mentioned, the iBook will already serve you well. If you have the $$ and are so inclined I'm sure you would really enjoy a (G4) PB. The student discount thing is no joke. I saved a total of about $500 on mine (including software savings) for being a student.

    Good luck. I think you'll be happy with whatever you decide.

    Jay
     
  22. blue&whiteman macrumors 65816

    blue&whiteman

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    #22
    I have a mac I bought in september 99 so its almost 5 years old. I have upgraded it like crazy but even without all the upgrades it would still run panther and all the apps you want to use. only thing it really doesn't do well is game but thats because I only have a 32MB radeon 700 pci video. i'm not really a gamer at all anyway so this issue isn't one. the upgrades have given me at least another 2 years use for only a few hundred $'s and in this 2 year span I will save up for a new powermac. just imagine what they will have for a powermac in 2 years.

    what I am trying to say is that macs have a much longer life than a pc does. I didn't upgrade mine till a few months ago and I was fine even then but I just wanted more speed. apple always supports hardware at least 5-6 years back from the time of a new os or apps come out.
     
  23. nargot macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #23
    Thanks, you just reinforced me, as you can see from my sig, i too have a outdated mac (4 years old) and when i was at uni 6 years ago.. it was an lc575 and a 5200.... so i have always survived with well outdated machines.

    In answer to beria's question. my imac dv will run all mac molecular biology programs, it is 4 years old. So unless the developers get stupid and can't program simple algorithms (because that is all mol biol software is) you will be fine for many years to come.

    i am getting my maxed out 12" ibook today, and will probably not get another computer for 5-6 years... well i might but i can afford it nowdays.
     
  24. nargot macrumors regular

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    Jan 29, 2004
    Location:
    Australia
    #24
    oh sorry, forgot to address one thing
    price wise, a g5 PB could possibly cost twice as much as a ibook... its one chance. by the time you have finished your PhD, and got a post doc somewhere, you will have enough money (or could write it off on a grant :) ) to get a g6 PB then. A g5 PB would be fantastic... but all it would be is overkill for what you stated you needed it for.
     
  25. rinseout macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 20, 2004
    #25
    That's an interesting thing to say. Does anybody have any predictions about price and a future G5 PB? Is it that the ibook price will fall, or will the PB price go up, or both?
    Should people holding off on a PB buy one now if they can't afford a price bump?
     

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