Long time lurker and potential switcher needs advice on 12" G4 Powerbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by uv23, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. uv23 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #1
    Hi folks. It's been a long road to this point, but after lurking for a good year or so it was finally time to register and say hi. :)

    Anyways, to get to the point:

    I am a long-time PC user (but formerly Amiga user if that helps) ;). I do .NET development, and currently run an old but faithful 1GHz Athlon at home and a 2.8GHz P4 at work. But in addition to doing .NET development, I run a small writing & publishing business.

    Two things have led me to wanting a notebook: I need portability, due to occasional travelling and the need to be able to write anywhere anytime, and I'm sick of using the same machine for development and my side business - too many config and logistical issues, not to mention legal/tax issues.

    I will be using the notebook as my primary machine, while the PC gets relegated to development duty only. So in addition to simple things such as music, email and such, I need a machine that can adequately and quickly run apps such as Office and the entire Adobe suite of apps (including large InDesign docs). It must also be comfortable to use for hours on end and have a good screen.

    After days of looking at PC laptops, I spent this morning looking at a pretty new 1GHz 12" PowerBook and I was smitten. I'm big into aesthetics and I have to admit that it was a breath of fresh air after trying out a bunch of ugly plasticky PCs. I got a quote of ~$3000CDN incl. tax for the superdrive model with 768MB of ram.

    For what I need to do, would this machine suffice? The main reasons that I am not in the market for a 15" PowerBook are price and the multitude of issues which have cropped up. Do the revised 12" PowerBooks have any issues? So far they seem to be problem-free, and some have said that the hot palmrest issue is no more.

    Oh, and one other random question but one that I haven't been able to find an answer to, oddly enough: can I connect the audio output to external speakers or only to headphones? I don't want to be locked into my computer, so to speak.

    Thanks very much for listening to my babble. Any answers to the above or additional comments from long-time Mac users and switchers welcome. Cheers.
     
  2. sahnert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #2
    I love my 12" PB. It will have no problem handling those tasks, though I have not used any Adobe programs. I don't have the new 12" so I can't comment about any issues there, but mine has no problems and even the heat is not a problem as others have claimed.
    Make sure you need the superdrive before you pay the extra $ for one. If I remember correctly the combo drive is actually faster for CD burning and ripping and I have yet to use my dvd burning on my superdrive. Quite frankly I don't think the superdrive is as "super" as apple would like us to believe. It seems that it's PC counterparts are more powerful/versatile. That being said I have heard that the 10.3 "unlocks" many features of the superdrive such as handling dvd+r/w etc. don't know this for a fact because I am still runing 10.2.
    you will have no probelm connecting your computer to a speaker system as long as you have a way to run a mini-plug onto your system. I would recommend it because the built-in speakers are not terrible loud. Again I don't know about the new PB.

    on another note if you are developer and feel like getting into development on the mac platform, you could sign up at the developers connection http://developer.apple.com/macosx/ and get a significant discount. I think this works in canada.

    Hope this helps.
     
  3. jamdr macrumors 6502a

    jamdr

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #3
    I've gone through a number of computers/notebooks in the past month, trying to find a computer that is just right for my needs. At one point I had the new 12" iBook G4 and I honestly did not like it that much--it was too slow, it was hot, and I didn't like how easily the plastic could scratch.

    Anyway, I finally got the 1 Ghz 12" PowerBook, and I think it's perfect. There is nothing I don't like about it. I run Adobe Photoshop CS on it, and it runs great. I couldn't comment on the rest of the suite, but I would expect similar results. QuarkXPress 6 works very well for me. Obviously the palm rests get warm, but not hot by any means--much cooler than the iBook. It is a very sturdy and fast notebook, and I recommend it for anyone. It's easily worth the extra money over the iBook, but is still a lot less than the 15" PowerBook, especially if you qualify for the education or developer discount. Let me know if you have any other questions.
     
  4. ExoticFish macrumors 6502a

    ExoticFish

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2002
    Location:
    The inner depths of madness, aka Kent, OH
    #4
    I love my 1GHz 12" more than anything. This thing just rocks. I got rid of my 15" TiBook and only rarely miss the extra screen space (i have an external monitor hooked up next to it so i got 2 screens) I use Photoshop 7, Soundtrack, iMovie, iDVD, program in RealBasic, etc. Actually right now I've got Soundtrack and RealBasic and a horde of other stuff open and it's still perfectly responsive. I'd definately go with the 12".
     
  5. uv23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #5
    Thanks very much for the feedback so far guys. Do you have any specific comments on the screen, as far as brightness, quality and real estate goes? I have a nice Samsung LCD (171P) at home that I run at 1280 x 1024 but it will stay connected to my PC, so I won't ever be using an external display on the powerbook. Cheers. :)
     
  6. sahnert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #6
    If you need to have a lot of windows showing at the sametime it might get a bit cramped especially if you like to see stuff BIG. But I only use one window at a time although I am running several applications constantly. I have become rather adept at switching through them in 10.2 and it sounds like expose in 10.3 makes this a non-issue.
    I think the quality of the screen is great. Sharp and bright. I don't have much to compare it to besides a 12" iBook which I didn't mind and seeing some freinds' windows machines. The PB easily beats them all. No complaints here.
     
  7. im_noahselby macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Location:
    Canada
    #7
    I'd consider the new iBook G4 if I were you.

    $2549 Cdn + tax buys you the PB you want.
    $1499 Cdn + tax buys you a comparable product, for about $1,000 less.

    A few points:

    -Both machines use the exact same screen. The PB screen is no higher in quality than the iBook screen. Both screens share the same part number.
    -You wont be taking advantage of the PB's dvi capabilities. Which in my oppinion, is the major advantage the PB has over the iBook.
    -The iBook has a slightly better graphics card than the 12" PB.

    My eye was on the 12" PB as well, but after seeing both machines in person, the $1000 Cdn price lead of the 12" PB did not warrant the high price it had.

    Sure, its sleeker, a little smaller, a little more powerful, but whether these things are worth $1,000 is ultimately up to you.

    Good Luck,
    Noah
     
  8. joker2 macrumors 6502a

    joker2

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2003
    Location:
    DC area
    #8
    I just got a 12" powerbook, and will say that the screen brightness is good, no overheating problems, and does well for office & graphic apps.

    I also would question if you really needed the superdrive, see sahnert's comments re: speed. No other compromizes made when you choose the "lesser" model. (now if you WANT to write DVDs, then by all means, get the superdrive. The combo, however, can read them just fine.)
     
  9. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030

    crazzyeddie

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2002
    Location:
    Florida, USA
    #9
    With the DVD issue... it depends what you want more: Support or speed. If you get the iBook without the Superdrive, you could still buy an external DVD burner... which will be cheaper and quicker than an internal, but you can't use iDVD with it. However, if you are going to be using Final Cut Pro or not doing DVD movies, go for an external. Also, if you just want to do casual DVD movie making, Toast 6 will encode/burn DVDs for you.
     
  10. billyb macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    #10
    12 screen size

    I'm also just itching to pull the trigger and buy a 12" powerbook. I'm only comparing it to the 15, and though the bigger screen size is nice, the smallness of the 12 is what i think will win overall, as I carry my computer to lab and back each day. but i'm worried about one thing with the 12--does anyone find that the screen size is TOO small for things like Keynote, where I'd have my slide open but then want other palettes open (or anything like photoshop with one main window but other palettes needed)?One solution is to buy an external LCD for home, which I've considered.

    One other thing--the other attractive thing about the 15 is the card slot. Can anyone more tech-savvy than me think of anything in the near future that I might want to use that slot for? Connecting my digital camera directly by USB is fine with me, so a card-reader isn't really necessary for me.

    Thanks for the input. I almost bought last night but then thought "one more day of rumors..."... Rumors are obviously a blessing and a curse :rolleyes:

    bb
     
  11. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montréal (Canada)
    #11
    I am owner of a 12"PB and I love it.

    BUT

    I think you should really consider the iBook too. For each and every feature, ask yourself if you really need it. Also, the iBook is known to be VERY resistant to abuse so it could be a plus factor if you want to carry the thing around.

    Things I like about my PB: dual screen, light & small, no real heat issue, fast enough for my needs (which are higher than yours) and the WOW! factor every time I pull my PB out of its sleeve.

    Things that I hate about it: no FW800, only one FW port and not a gamer video card.

    Upgrade you should take what ever system you pick: max HD size and +512 ram. I havent done anything serious up to now and my HD is at 60/80gig.

    All in all, ask yourself what you need and get it. You will be pleased, trust me! I am not using my pc box anymore even if its technicaly faster simply because I enjoy using the mac too much!
     
  12. richd macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2003
    Location:
    Alberta, Canada
    #12
    Re: Long time lurker and potential switcher needs advice on 12" G4 Powerbook

    My girlfriend bought a 12'' Powerbook and excitedly waited the 7 days it tooks to ship. The thing crapped out on day one (would not power-on consistenly) and she had an AWFUL time convincing Apple that they sent her a dud that needed to be replaced. Hours of phone calls later (and a few tears, to be honest) about 2 weeks later her new one arrived. This one has performed EXCELLENTLY. I was really annoyed with Apple since I convinced her to switch from her heavy and clunky Thinkpad and was treated very poorly. She's in love with her new machine now though.

    The screen is very clear and it seems bigger than it is (if you know what I mean). iTunes visualizer is like staring at a fire . . . soooo beautiful . . . . . .(Gollum). Anyway, the sound is actually not that bad for quieter listening environments. Battery life is a possible issue according to some sites I've perused but if you calibrate it properly (RTFM . . . read the manual) it seems pretty good. It gets warm underneath (it's kind of supposed too) but very little on the palmrest.

    Regarding the story I told above: I read an article on the Macworld website about quality control issues on the first release of the new 12''s (they had to return 3 of 15 machines they received). The nice thing is, though, the new ones ship with Panther.
     
  13. uv23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #13
    Thanks for the feedback everyone. I have one followup question. I've been reading a lot about greatly improved performance in the 15" PB when the original drive is swapped out for a faster 7200rpm drive, and I assume this follows for the 12". The 60gb 7200rpm hitachi travelstar is $370CDN locally which isn't bad and if its an easy upgrade, I'd rather go that route than pay for the optional 60/80GB harddrive. Does anyone have any experience with this? Does changing the harddrive void the warranty? I emailed the folks at Barefeats a while ago, as they are the ones that posted the original benchmarks, but never received a reply. Cheers.
     
  14. Mantat macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Montréal (Canada)
    #14
    My advice would be to not do it because of overheating problem. There is a reason the 12'' doesnt have a fast HD.

    Possible solution to this is to use an external HD with 8meg of cache.

    And yes it void it.
     
  15. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #15
    it does void the warranty, but i've heard that there's no seal to break, so if something goes wrong, you could potentially swap the original back in and apple wouldn't know anything had been touched. I can't confirm that as fact though.
     
  16. cwedl macrumors 65816

    cwedl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    #16
    I have one of the new 12" powerbooks 1ghz, and have to say that it is the best little computer I have ever had. After using it for sometime I have to say that the 12" screen does bother me slightly, if I had the chance to swap my 12" for a 15" powerbook, I would think hard!

    I run adobe Photoshop and indesign on my computer and work this 100mb files sometimes even more, I have no problems with those, you should get at least 640 mb of RAM. I have had no issues with heat or with the screen, panther is very good as well, I use expose a lot, because before that I though multi-tasking was better left to a PC. Hope you enjoy your toy, I always wait for the second revisions of products so that any issues can be sorted, If you wanted a 15" powerbook, my advice would be to wait.

    Good luck
     
  17. uv23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #17
    Does it bother you because of the size or because of the quality/viewing angle of the screen? Thanks very much. I'm still trying to find a place locally that has both the 12" and 15".
     
  18. Dippo macrumors 65816

    Dippo

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2003
    Location:
    Charlotte, NC
    #18
    The 12" Powerbook's screen is only 1024x768.

    This might be fine for most applications. It really depends.
     
  19. cwedl macrumors 65816

    cwedl

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2003
    #19
    The physical size of the screen bothers me sometimes. for example when I am writing an essay in word, the words appear to be quite small, I don't mind having a small screen, I prefer them to large 17"+ screens but next time I will get a 15" powerbook.
     
  20. sahnert macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Location:
    Seattle
    #20
    if you are doing word processing just change the page view so the letters look bigger. This is easy to do in appleworks.
    I don't have a porblem with the 12" screen. But I also have not used a huge cinema display regularly or anything like that, so I'm not expecting all that space etc.
     
  21. dieselg4 macrumors regular

    dieselg4

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2003
    Location:
    Rockin' Pittsburgh!
    #21
    try working in 1024 b4 you buy

    If you are concerned about the sccreen size, set you current pc to 1024 and work on it that way for a few days. See if it annoys you. I do alot of AutoCAD and Photoshop work during the day (on a Dell; to my annual annoyance, Autodesk has not made a Mac release of AutoCAD since release 12) and I don't think i could really work on soemthing less than 1280 without getting frustrated. Foranything I do at home, though, its fine. I had an eMac at home before, and when i was thinking about getting a 12" PB i just cranked down my res for a few days to see if it would bother me.
     
  22. Fukui macrumors 68000

    Fukui

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2002
    #22
    TBO, the higher res of the 15 inch is nice because adobe makes apps with lots of pallete windows, and the widescreen aspect lets you put all those panels on the right or left side, and still have plenty of wide space left over for the actual (document) window.

    12 inch is nice if you use an external monitor, but I just love the higher res of the 15 inch.
     
  23. arnette macrumors 6502

    arnette

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2002
    Location:
    Manhattan Beach
    #23
    All this debate on screen size...

    if you can afford the 15" PB, GET IT! What a rockin' computer you would be a fool to think the 12" is that much more portable. It isn't ... we're literally talking ounces.

    But I couldn't afford it so I went with the G3 iBook. Which I love to death.

    Sounds like Yuval would do well with either a 12" or 15" PB w/o the SuperDrive and max out the RAM. Or close to it, anyway. It will run all adobe programs without a hiccup and you'll love yourself for having such a sharp laptop. Don't worry about HD speeds, for what you'll be doing you'll never notice a difference and it's not worth the trouble. And don't bother with AppleCare until 9-10 months in to your God Given warranty. THEN add on AppleCare. no sense paying for a warranty if your laptop is stolen, crushed by falling piano, etc.

    Either way you go... good for you! Apple makes some of the most well designed, highly intigrated software and I know you'll be pleased.
     
  24. gooddog macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2002
    #24
    How about a nice iBook ?

    I have read many posts favoring the powerbook over iBook for the dual-display
    "screen spanning" ability of the powerbook.

    TAKE NOTE : the latest iBooks (800 MHz Dual USB G3's AND the new G4's have a
    graphic card that fully supports screen spanning but is crippled in the Open GL by Apple.

    It is easy to Google "screen-spanning iBook"
    and find a great guy who has a free hack you can use to fully activate screen spanning in a G4 (and late G3) iBooks. It works perfectly well and I have noticed precious little performance difference from my G3 iBook and my G4 iMac. And , of course, a new G4 iBook at 1 GHz + an maxed out DDR RAM should give you all the juice of a PowerBook only with a tougher shell and several hundred dollars savings.

    Good luck,

    ---gooddog
     
  25. uv23 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Location:
    Calgary, AB
    #25
    Where I'm at now is trying to find a local shop that actually has a 15" in stock. So far I haven't, but I have been told by one fellow that they'll have them mid December. I'm thinking it'll be best to atleast check out the 15" so that I don't have any regrets later. The combo drive model isn't that much more expensive than the 12". I'm just worried about all of the screen business. But hopefully the delay means that these are properly fabbed books. *trying to be patient* :)
     

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