need advice (buying ibook)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by tuggy, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. tuggy macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    #1
    Hi guys!
    i'm thinking seriously of making the switch to the mac-world (currently a pc linux user).
    i'm on a low budget so I was considering the iBook 12" but i'm not really up to the performance of this machines. I find it weird that they only come with 256mb of ram.. in the pc world that is really low, but maybe it is enough for the mac, is it?
    i'm a sort of power user, not just word/mail/mp3 tasks. i like programming, video editing, 3d stuff etc... altough i dont play much games... so i only wanted some opinions from you.

    thanks in advance
     
  2. Patmian212 macrumors 68020

    Patmian212

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2004
    Location:
    NYC
    #2
    The iBook is good for most things except heavy gaming(doom 3,unreal tournament 2004). I dont know much about video editing but I think the Ati Radeon 9200 with 32mb vram should do ok. REMEMBER 12" iBook and 14" have the same resolution so on the 14" the pixels are just bigger so you will get no extra screen real estate. 256mb of ram is ok for basic tasks(websurfing,worprocessing and ituens) but for what you stated I would upgrade to 512. Alot of people will say 512 isnt enough but I have played around with a few iBooks and 512 seems pretty good to me.

    Just my 2 cents. Good luck on the switch! :)
     
  3. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #3
    256MB is low in the PC world, and it is low in the Mac world too. One of the first things you are likely to be told by Mac users is to increase the amount of RAM in the iBook to at least 512MB, or preferably more. Mac OS X is RAM hungry, and you will get a fairly (negatively) distorted view of its performance (and an iBook's performance) with only 256MB of RAM. Apple continues to ship machines with such a small amount of memory to keep costs down and margins high. Another recommendation that will be quickly made by experienced Mac users is not to buy additional RAM directly from Apple. Shop around and you'll be likely to find some high-quality RAM from a third-party supplier at a substantial discount to what Apple is charging. Performing RAM upgrades on most Apple machines (including the iBook) is a fairly simple procedure, and all Apple machines use industry-standard DIMM or SO-DIMM types. Buy memory from a quality supplier like Crucial or Kingston and you shouldn't have any problems.

    An iBook will certainly handle the types of 'power user' tasks that you describe, although perhaps not at a speed which you find acceptable. That is a personal decision that only you can really make. Some people will say "Oh yeah the iBook is lightning fast" and others will say "it runs like molasses", but it all depends on what level of performance you're used to, and what level of performance you expect. Bear in mind that the 12" iBook represents pretty much the bottom end of Apple's machine lineup in terms of raw performance, so don't have unrealistic expectations. Take a look at sites like www.barefeats.com, www.macspeedzone.com and www.xlr8yourmac.com to see real world benchmarks of various Apple machines, including the iBooks. You can use the performance figures there to help make your decision. Also if possible, nothing beats getting to an Apple dealer in person and playing around with the type of apps you want to run on the hardware you are thinking of buying.

    It goes without saying that the iBook will handle the types of "non-power" tasks you describe (web/e-mail/MP3/office apps) with no problems whatsoever.
     
  4. liketom macrumors 601

    liketom

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Location:
    Lincoln,UK
    #4
    512mb ram is ok but 768 makes Panther fly - so what would 1.25 gb do?

    i do alot of iMovie and 512 will be ok but if you want the real deal with movies i think max ram would keep you more then happy.

    let us know how it goes!
     
  5. tuggy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    #5
    thank you all.

    i want to clear that memory issue out of my mind because i was told that when apple sold any pc, they usually come with enough ram for the OS.

    i'm now with an auction on target of a 12" ibook but with 60gb harddrive and 768mb of ram :)
     
  6. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    #6
    Don't forget also to look for good closeout deals on the last rev. of the PowerBooks ... they're not as powerful as the desktops, but still have a leg up in terms of performance over the current iBooks. My local college bookstore is getting rid of their last base 12" PowerBooks for $999 (with SuperDrive for $1099); even if you are not eligible for a similar edu-only discount, do be sure to look around for deals on these machines. They will do better with the power-user stuff.
     
  7. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #7
    Just to clear this up...256MB is certainly enough to run OS X and applications. The problem is that with 256MB RAM, you will quickly start hitting the swap-file on disk (especially if you multi-task/task switch a lot), and this will slow you down noticeably (especiallly when that swap flle is on a slower 4200 rpm laptop hard drive). In order to get the best experience from OS X on your machine, more memory is generally recommended, as it will help avoid excessive swap file usage and make things run more smoothly. Also with OS X you can never have 'too much' RAM. RAM which is currently unused by the operating system or applications is automatically and dynamically allocated to disk caching, thus helping speed up the system even more. Extra RAM is never wasted by OS X.
     
  8. timmyb macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2005
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    #8
    I too am planning on buying a 12" iBook. I looked on the buyer's guide and it said that the iBook was mid product cycle, are there any rumors going around about when the next updates will be and what they will bear?
     
  9. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    #9
    There are always rumors, but no one here can tell you for sure at the moment. The Buyer's Guide is just that, a guide, and past Apple performance in no way perfectly predicts the future. It is helpful, but don't set your watch by it.

    Personally I will be surprised to see another iBook update before the PowerBooks are updated, and since the PB update looks to be big and not for a while, the iBook update might not be for a while either.

    In any case, mid-cycle is not a bad time to buy. Just buy it when you need it/want it bad enough.
     
  10. MacSA macrumors 68000

    MacSA

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2003
    Location:
    UK
    #10
    The current iBooks are WAY past the "mid product cycle", based on all previous release dates that is. An update might come in April - not too far off.
     
  11. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #11
    The 12" iBook is a great little machine, I woudn't trade my in for anything (except the, at all time, newest rev., of course ;)).

    Not counting hard core gaming (we've been over that more than once, get a PS2/XBOX), there's really nothing the iBook won't do. The mention of 3D work is the only concern, rendering times can be a bit longer then on similar priced PC Laptops (at least the P4 driven), but probably not too annoyingly slow...

    Get a 512 MB RAM stick from another (cheaper) place than Apple and install it yourself (easy access under the Keyboard). But get the biggest BTO Harddrive you can from Apple (hopefully a 7200prp 100GB option will be added to next teh rev.)...

    Unless you really need the iBook now, I would wait and order the day (preferably the minute) the next rev. is announced. Hard to guess when this will be, could be enywhere from April through to June, really. (I would also consider waiting for Tiger to be preinstalled or at least announced, that would save you another $100-129-ish, should be released some time before July 1th).
     
  12. CaptainCaveMann macrumors 68000

    CaptainCaveMann

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2004
    #12
    I hope the next rev brings the 12 inch ibooks hd up to at least 60 gigs. :::hoping crossing fingers:::
     
  13. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Apr 13, 2004
    Location:
    New York
    #13
    For video editing i would recommend putting atleast a gig of ram in, just because you have to compensate for the processor speed. The iBook is not really the best choice to do that with. It's a great machine for doing the everyday tasks, even some gaming. But you can't run really heavy games. 512 ram is enough to run the machine very well for normal activities. But if your doing video editing, your looking at atleast a gig of ram.
     

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