Looking to make the Switch, looking at Powerbook 15", need some questions answered

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Screech, Dec 5, 2005.

  1. Screech macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2005
    #1
    To make a long story short, I'm typing this from a Dell Inspiron 700m. My fourth one. All of these that I've received have been defective out of the box. This one may shut off randomly and start flashing weird colors on the screen any moment, so I'm trying to get this typed fast. Hehe, that's how bad it has gotten. And that's only one of the errors..

    So I have forced a complete refund out of Dell, and I'm in the market for a notebook a mere three months after first purchasing the Dell. I think I'm ready to make the Switch.

    I've heard that Mac is best for what I do: web design, namely lots of Photoshop work and HTML and stuff like that. I am looking to get a little bigger (the Inspiron was a 12-incher) and buy the new Powerbook 15".

    Being a complete n00b in the Mac world (haven't used one. ever. Well, maybe for a few minutes in the Apple Store). I'm impressed by everything it has to offer. But I have some questions.

    1. What am I going to be most impressed with, being a guy who, again, has never used a Mac and has lived in a Windows world since Windows was conceived? No Blue Screens? Amazing interface? I just think this is an interesting question, can't wait to hear the answers on this one.
    2. Is the advertised 5.5 hours of battery life true? Apple tends to inflate their supposed battery times (see iPod).
    3. Is Photoshop CS2 as capable on a Mac as it is on a Windows computer?
    4. I will probably need the computer right away, as Dell is going to take this one away with them in the next few days. I'll have to go to the Apple Store and buy it with 512 MB of RAM as opposed to ordering it and getting 1 GB. a) Where would you buy more RAM? b) Is 512 going to be that bad?
    5. How can I get my iTunes songs moved over? Can I put them on an external hard drive using Windows and just get them on the Mac?
    6. Anybody know any good HTML authoring software for the Mac? I hand-code everything, so I just want a nice, robust editor.


    I'll come up with more questions. Trust me. Thanks in advance for your response.

    This is a turning point in my computer life, and I need your help. Heh. Can't wait to dive in.
     
  2. ybakos macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    #2
    1. What am I going to be most impressed with, being a guy who, again, has never used a Mac and has lived in a Windows world since Windows was conceived? No Blue Screens? Amazing interface? I just think this is an interesting question, can't wait to hear the answers on this one.

    Being a switcher myself, I remember a couple years ago my first Powerbook. It was 17". I was downloading a file, playing an mp3, ripping a music cd, surfing the web and had to suddenly go somewhere. I just closed the lid of the Powerbook. Later that night I came back to my machine, opened the lid and the mp3 continued playing, the download continued, the music cd being ripped continued and all without missing a beat.
    I haven't had a WinTel laptop that could do that.
    And regarding crashes, well, application crashes do happen but it's pretty graceful (just start the application again). The only thing I've had crash on my Mac was Safari, sometimes Mozilla.
    VERY rarely will the whole system lock up... in fact the only times I can remember this happening to me was when I had some incompatible ram in my machine.

    2. Is the advertised 5.5 hours of battery life true? Apple tends to inflate their supposed battery times (see iPod).

    No manufacturers advertised battery life is true, in my experience. For normal use with wifi on I get about 4.5 hours with my new 15" Powerbook. Last night I was cloning my drive to an external port-powered firewire drive and doing other things and got about 2.5 hours.

    3. Is Photoshop CS2 as capable on a Mac as it is on a Windows computer?

    Yes. I don't know a single graphics pro who doesn't prefer working with Photoshop on a mac. Your hands will re-learn your favorite keyboard shortcuts with time.
    One other thing is the great ability of Applescript/Automator to do a lot of repetitive stuff for you.

    4. I will probably need the computer right away, as Dell is going to take this one away with them in the next few days. I'll have to go to the Apple Store and buy it with 512 MB of RAM as opposed to ordering it and getting 1 GB. a) Where would you buy more RAM? b) Is 512 going to be that bad?

    Since you do web and design work and will have Photoshop open, perhaps with big files, etc. I would buy the Powerbook with the stock 512MB and go to newegg.com to buy an extra 1GB of memory. It does make a difference.
    Also, spring for the 7200rpm hard drive.

    5. How can I get my iTunes songs moved over? Can I put them on an external hard drive using Windows and just get them on the Mac?

    Drag your music library to an external drive (or boot your powerbook into "target disk mode" and plug it into the firewire port of your pc and copy them directly... beautiful mac feature) and then drag them from the hard drive to the itunes window in the mac.

    I will say that once I had a problem moving my itunes music from a pc to my mac but I think it's because I had three copy processes going at once and some music files got corrupted or ...I dunno. So my solution was to copy them all to a dvd.

    6. Anybody know any good HTML authoring software for the Mac? I hand-code everything, so I just want a nice, robust editor.

    I'm an emacs user, as I like it's keyboard navigation and remote editing is seamless. Lots of people like TextPad or subethaedit. Some of these editors are still young but the development community around them is pretty active.
    BBEdit is also still popular but to be honest, it's a little pricey for what you get. They do have a lighter free version.

    Two things will annoy you when you switch.
    1) Finding all the software you wanna use and getting used to them (this is also quite fun)
    2) Keyboard shortcuts and such are a little different (stick with it, you'll get used to it -- and you can change keybindings if you want)

    You'll get used to it.
     
  3. ybakos macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2005
    #3
    By the way, the newest 15" Powerbooks have a problem with the screen. See this forum for more info.

    If you don't have to drive the 30" Cinema Display (requiring 128MB VRAM), buy an older revision powerbook from the Apple Store's "Deals" section or equivalent elsewhere.

    The newest Powerbook is really, really, awesome. Mine is perfect except for the screen. (sending it back for a replacement)

    No word from Apple yet regarding the cause of the problem. Most folks in the community believe it to be manufacturing.
     
  4. Jedi128 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #4
    Awesome, you should be very happy with your purchase. Some advice from one who as owned an Apple since 1994:

    You may want to wait untill January or even June to get an intel Powerbook, but if you stated that you need the computer immediatly just go ahead and get the G4, it should be more than enough to impress you.

    1- I would say you will be most impressed with the fact that your mac will just work. You won't have to run tons (or any) anti-virus software in the background, or worry about spyware infesting your computer. Also, you will get a reliable computer that will last upwards of 5 years if you need it to.

    2- Apple did like to inflate the very first iPod battery life reading, and I think they still are from my expierence with a new 5th gen., but I have found that the laptop estimates are more on the money. However, the battery life changes depending on what you do and no estiamte can ever be truely correct.

    3- Photoshop CS2 is more capable on a mac than on a PC.

    4- You can get ram from a rariety of places (I would reccomend not Apple becuase they overcharge the daylights out of it) and I have found that memorysolutions.com probably has the best deals, while if you want a more trusted name I could reccomend kingston.com instead. Just makesure the model numbers match up, mac RAM is not as hard to find as you might suspect.

    5- I believe you can just export your library to the mac... hmm... but Windows has no tagert disk mode does it..... or you should beable to export the library to a external drive, then import it from that external drive. There is probably an easier solution to this that I'm sure someone will bring up....

    6- If you just want an editor I think BBEdit is great. I know everone raves about DreamWeaver, but you said you hard-code everything and that is what BBEdit is good at. Here's their website.
     
  5. generik macrumors 601

    generik

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Minitrue
    #5
    I would strongly recommend AGAINST making a switch to a PB now.

    If you need to switch, get a Powermac. If you need a mobile, wait. With Intel iBooks rumored to be so close, you really won't want to be caught dead with the final rev PB.

    This is coming from a user who bought, experienced the horizontal lines.. jarring sound output.. flickering screen, and has subsequently sold off his PB 15". :mad:
     
  6. crazydreaming macrumors 6502a

    crazydreaming

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2005
    Location:
    Salt Lake City, UT -Westminster College
    #6
    I love my 15" Powerbook. It's the best notebook I've seen. You're on the right track, you'll be happy. However, if you can, I would say wait until the Intel Powerbooks come out... Shouldn't be too long now.. It will be worth the wait.

    Another point of advice is go for the 17" if you can afford the extra cost and portability isn't your number one requirment. I was always a 12" user before I had the 15", and thought the 17" was waay too huge to carry around. I also thought the 15" was going to be a big difference, but I honestly notice it no different, carry it around just the same. For my uses (I do take my laptop with me almost everyday) I still think I would be fine with the 17" and would appreciate the massive screen space. However, I don't regret my decision with the 15", you'll be happy either way, but just don't rule out the 17". Give it some thought. It's still smaller and lighter than many PC 'books.

    Oh, one more thing. Plan on adding a 1GB stick of ram. I did it and can't believe the difference it has made in the performance of my system. OS X loves a lot of ram... The 1GB stick was the best price/performance ratio giving me 1.5GB. Sweeet
     
  7. igetit macrumors member

    igetit

    Joined:
    Oct 22, 2005
    Location:
    Snoqualmie, WA
    #7
    Regarding PB 17" Portability

    I was undecided between a 15" and 17" a couple of weeks ago. Since I wanted the 7200 rpm hard drive, that made the price gap even smaller between the two since the faster HD is free on the 17". So I got the 17" and couldn't be any happier! I have (had since now I just leave it at the office) to lug a 15" Dell Laptop for work plus the "brick" power supply and believe me, the 17" feels like a feather to me. And with the added screen real estate I can create a Keynote presentation while listening to iTunes and surfing the web, without having to use Expose every five minutes.

    If you were lugging around a PC Laptop you will not even feel the PB 17". I got this backpack http://www.goincase.com/2004/prod_laptop/prod_lt_slingpk.php (which works on the 17" although the site says it doesn't, just but it from the apple store they have the new modified model for 17") and I can carry my PB in style too :cool:
     
  8. Megatron macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    #8
    Like the others said, it might not be the best time to drop a lot of money on a brand new powerbook, as there are many rumors that new intel-based machines are coming out.

    With that said, if you need one for the rest of december, why don't you check out either 1) the refurbished models on the apple store's website (same warranty) or 2) ebay / this forum's marketplace.

    That way, you can pay around 1,000-1,300 US for an older powerbook with the 15" screen, a lot already have the RAM upgraded, and for HTML editing / website construction, photoshop, etc, a 1.25 or 1.33 GHz g4 15" should do just fine. Then you can sell it for not as much of a loss when the new intel books are released. Really, go take a look at the apple store and click on the big red "sale" graphic on the bottom right of the page.

    Anyway, just some ideas. Good luck!
     
  9. adk macrumors 68000

    adk

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Location:
    Stuck in the middle with you
    #9
    I can't say what you'll like most, but I'm sure if you go into an apple store while it isn't too busy a salesperson would be happy to show you all the ins and outs if they understand you're actually about buying one.
     
  10. sk3pt1c macrumors 6502a

    sk3pt1c

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
    Location:
    a simulacrum
    #10
    i'd suggest you go for the 17",since there is little difference in price
    i think intel powerbooks will have problems at first,i'd wait a full year to buy one.plus it just wont be a mac anymore,you know?
    as far as backpacks are concerned,if you want a really cool one that can fit your 17" and a lot more, check this out
    this is a hardsleeve http://www.axio-usa.com/html/p16.html
    and this a backpack http://www.axio-usa.com/html/p1.html

    i myself am waiting for the money to order the 17"
    after careful reading and considering many topics in this forum
     
  11. iBS23 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2005
    #11
    1. What am I going to be most impressed with . . .

    I've got a bit of a split personality . . . I use my iBook whenever I can, but when I don't take it to work I'm stuck with using the Dell desktops we have (I also have one at home too). The thing that still impresses me the most is the ease of use. For example, network connections are simply a breeze with OS X. I'm perfectly comfortable using both, but I will always reach for the Mac whenever I can.

    2. Is the advertised 5.5 hours of battery life true?

    Nope. Everyone inflates their battery life as they measure it by turning down the brightness on the screen all the way, turning off wireless access, etc. You'll be good for 2.5 to 4.5 hours depending on your use.

    3. Is Photoshop CS2 as capable on a Mac as it is on a Windows computer?

    Yep, if not more so.

    4. I'll have to go to the Apple Store and buy it with 512 MB of RAM as opposed to ordering it and getting 1 GB. a) Where would you buy more RAM? b) Is 512 going to be that bad?

    Not a problem. Apple charges an obscene amount for their ram anyway. I would strongly recommend buying from Crucial or Ramjet. The only thing you may want to bite the bullet on and wait a few days for a Build to order for is the 7200 rpm harddrive, but since it doesn't look like you do a lot of video, you'd be fine with the base model.

    5. How can I get my iTunes songs moved over? Can I put them on an external hard drive using Windows and just get them on the Mac?

    Yep.

    6. Anybody know any good HTML authoring software for the Mac? I hand-code everything, so I just want a nice, robust editor.

    BBEdit is a fantastic product that is probably just what you're looking for. Find it at barebones.com


    Lastly, I would disagree with some of the comments on the 17 inch. If you were using a 12 inch dell, then I assume you're traveling a lot. While you can travel with the 17 inch, it can become a bit much at times. The 15 inch will suit you fine. Also, don't worry about all of the talk about the coming Intel switch. I personally think it will be only the consumer models that get updated first (iBooks, Mac mini, etc) and not the pro models. And, even if they do update the powerbooks, there may be problems with them. Besides, if you wait for the next new thing in tech to come around before you buy, you'll always be waiting.
     
  12. wildcard macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2003
    Location:
    western PA
    #12
    I'm surprised at the problems you've run into with your Dell 700m laptops (4 of them???ouch)-I have had mine for over a year, and it's been a tank.
     
  13. playaproved macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2005
    #13
    Granted I only use a 12" Powerbook mostly due to portability issues, I can still comment on the switch. I love my Powerbook and I really don't see myself buying another windows based laptop ever. You still need to have a windows box at home to run the occasional program that has no MAC OS version.

    The advertised battery life on my 12" Powerbook is 5 hours, and I consistanly get about 4 -4.5 while running a wireless connection. Granted my screen brightness is on two bars, I can still see it fine.

    Make the switch and you'll be happy while using your Mac, and sad when you have to touch a windows box. :)
     
  14. ChrisBrightwell macrumors 68020

    ChrisBrightwell

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2004
    Location:
    Huntsville, AL
    #14
    Apple's offerings may not be the best, but they're certainly quite good. :)

    I made the jump a few years ago (the week the 12" Powerbook went to 1GHz), so I'll share my $0.02.

    I was most impressed with how little the computer got in the way of what I wanted to do. The UI is slick and very polished, the (almost) universal keyboard shortcuts are a poweruser's dream, and having everything live in the user's home folder abstracts most of the filesystem and makes it that much easier to use.

    Then there are little things like spring-loaded folders and Expose functions (especially on extra mouse buttons) that just make what you do that much easier.

    My Powerbook gets 3-4 hours, on average, depending on what I'm doing. That's with the screen @ 50% brightness, bluetooth off, wifi on, and no optical drive. Sometimes I have the keyboard light on, but not always.

    3. Is Photoshop CS2 as capable on a Mac as it is on a Windows computer?[/quote]I don't see why it wouldn't be. Adobe still caters to (and tends to prefer) the Mac side w/ Photoshop, from what I hear.

    512MB is "good enough" for most tasks, but your Photoshop tasks are going to want as much RAM as they can get (which I'm sure you know). I order all of my RAM from Crucial, but there's a vocal minority around here who can't stand them for one reason or another.

    OS X can read and write FAT32 partitions, but can only read NTFS partitions. If you copy your audio files onto an external drive, it's just a matter of importing them back into iTunes.

    I assume you're familiar with Dreamweaver, but a lot of people are huge fans of an application called BBEdit.

    Hope this helps.
     
  15. indigoblu macrumors member

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2005
    #15
    I hope that I'm able to offer you some advice. I first switched from Windows to Mac 5 years ago with an 12" white iBook. I loved it right away and I'll never go back to Windows except at work.

    SIZE: Earlier this year (2005) I upgraded from my 12" iBook to a 15" Powerbook. 12" was too small and I needed something with more power than iBooks could provide. I thought about the 17" Powerbook, but some people I know with 17" think it is too big to be very portable. I think it depends on your own use. I find 15" to be a HUGE difference from 12" and plenty large enough for my use. When at home or work; I plug in a second monitor and use the dual screen feature (I paid for the extra video RAM for that purpose).

    BATTERY LIFE: In term of battery use, I get about 4-5 hours of battery life depending on what I run. One time with just Word open, my bluetooth and Airport turned off, I got 6 hours of battery time. I try to keep my screen brightness at a minimal level and follow other such battery saving tips. I also carry a second battery with me. This is the best feature about Powerbooks vs. iBooks and other notebooks: *** you can quickly change the battery WITHOUT powering down, you just close it, flip it, and swap.*** So having two batteries offers me close to 10 hours. I notice with time the batteries don't old as much charge, but running them down once a month does save them longer. I figure in a couple of years, I'll get two new batteries.

    MEMORY: I have a total of 2 gig RAM, I order 1 gig (an additional 512) when I bought the computer from Apple. I purchased an extra gig from datamem.com (no complaints from me, but there are lots of companies and prices around); I recommend maxing out the RAM if you plan on doing graphics or working with several program at once. I go a lot of biology type work with sequencing and wish I could add even more RAM.

    CAUTION: My only complaint is the screen is slightly warped. I was in a hurry to get it and didn't exchange it when I should have. I've read a few other people have had warped screens. It's not bad and is completely functional; it's just slightly irritating for those of us with OCD. So if you get one that is, exchange it right away. If you purchase from the store open it up and check it out in the store. You'll easily see the warp when it's closed. I have one small dent from my backpack, but overall it's a tough machine. I wish Powerbooks had the same casing as iBooks though. I've never really had the other screen problems that some users report - but I get something similar on rare occassions when I have several windows stacked.

    Occassionally a program (yes, the current Safari and Mail app are still buggy) will crash and even rarer do I need to "reboot." Twice now my system has frozen, once when it ran for the first time and again recently when I was plugging into my TV and did a dual screen while burning a DVD and some other RAM-heavy apps. Both times I held down the power button and restarted with no trouble.

    COOL FEATURES: My favorite feature is the scroll pad, now standard on all notebooks. I never use the scrolling side bars, just my two fingers on the pad. Safari, love it better than other browsers, esp. tabs. I can burn DVDs with my music and easily move my music to my computer at work (and it's very easy to move iTunes music around as long as you know your password and user name). I love Apple's wireless keyboard and mouse with my powerbook; I don't have to have my powerbook in my lap, just the keyboard. That helps at work because I have a nice projector in my office. I also love Dashboard; I have several chemical and biological resouces that I use on that layer and it's a quick access without sacrificing RAM or time. I also play poker on Dashboard when my students are taking an exam, and they have no clue. Keyboard light is also a nice addition. Finally, NO VIRUSES!!!!

    Sorry for such a long reply, I hope it helps. Most of all have FUN and enjoy your new purchase once you decide. Be patient if you can; I know the new Powerbooks are rumored to come out soon, but it's only a rumor. You may be waiting until April with no new Powerbooks released. The current models are fast and wonderful; just because a faster, better, newer one might be released next month or so, that doesn't negate the fact that the current ones are GREAT machines.
     
  16. generik macrumors 601

    generik

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Minitrue
    #16
    I don't see why it wouldn't be. Adobe still caters to (and tends to prefer) the Mac side w/ Photoshop, from what I hear.

    512MB is "good enough" for most tasks, but your Photoshop tasks are going to want as much RAM as they can get (which I'm sure you know). I order all of my RAM from Crucial, but there's a vocal minority around here who can't stand them for one reason or another.

    OS X can read and write FAT32 partitions, but can only read NTFS partitions. If you copy your audio files onto an external drive, it's just a matter of importing them back into iTunes.

    I assume you're familiar with Dreamweaver, but a lot of people are huge fans of an application called BBEdit.

    Hope this helps.[/QUOTE]


    Anyway since the original post did mention PS i would really recommend strongly against the 15". The lines really will spoil it for you.
     

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