need buying advice from students

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by funfish, Aug 19, 2005.

  1. funfish macrumors newbie

    Aug 18, 2005
    I'm about to buy an apple powerbook (it'll be my first apple computer!) but I need a little advice. I was thinking of getting the 12" with superdrive, but I came upon a great deal for a 17" but I'm afraid the 17" might be too big for my liking. Sure, I've played with them at the store but it's not the same as owning it and carrying it around to really get the feel for it. Any students out there have the 17" and still have great portability with it? I like it because of the bigger screen but it's not absolutely necessary since I won't be doing any video editing or anything like that.

    12"... or 17" they both have the same specs. 1.5ghz superdrive 512RAM (that i would eventually upgrade) etc... Let me know what you think! :)
  2. Lopez.T.H. macrumors regular

    Jul 10, 2005
    If 17" is too big go with the 12". If you get a 12" possibly look at the 12" iBooks. They are not all that different from the PB's. Except for the drives. All I have to say.
  3. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    The 15 inch PowerBook isn't an option? It's a pretty cool compromise IMO. :)
  4. chucknorris macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2005
    Moscow, ID (No Kremlin here!)
    I guess the obstacle is that he found a deal on a 17", otherwise he would just opt for the 12".

    My advice would be to buy the 17" and sell it if you don't like it. You'll hardly lose any value at all.
  5. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I'm a student, and I love my 12" PowerBook. That said, if you got a good deal on a 17" PB, I'd say go for it. If you find it's too big, you can always sell it, and you'll get more than enough money out of it to buy a new 12" PB.
  6. wako macrumors 65816

    Jun 6, 2005

    IMO it all depends on how much it is... I also would consider what you would use it for. Are you going to college? HS?
  7. KD7IWP macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2004
    American living in Canada
    Get the 12. I have friends in my programming classes with 12 inchers and I find it highly desirable and they enjoy their's plenty as a main computer. Some of them simply grabbed an old CRT that was sitting around in the dorm for extra screen space.
  8. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    And the screen -- PB's have better screens.
    And the keyboard -- PB's have better keyboards.
    And the video card -- PB's have 128 bit GPU's vs. the iBooks 64 bit, and more RAM
    And the CPU -- PB's are faster
    And the system bus
    And the audio/line in
  9. ashon3611 macrumors member


    Aug 8, 2004
    how about an ibook

    honestly i have an ibook and its as fast as i would ever need it to be (CS major), just load it up with ram... besides an ibook is a good hold off till the mactels,

    ...and if you want to think about it this way... you could get a new ibook ever two years for 6 years or a new powerbook every 3 years for 6 years and have a newer more recent up date more often going with ibooks...

  10. ctsport1234 macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2005
    Iam a university student and I have a 12'' PB and I love its size. Most universities have huge campuses and many buildings so lugging around a 17'' would be impossible for me. Also a 17'' wouldn't work at all in lectures if you plan on taking notes with your laptop. However I do find the screen is a bit small if you spend a lot of time away from home (from your external display) and for this reason I will be upgrading to a 15'' Rev E in Sept. :)

    On a side note: I don't see many ibook owners in my fac. (BUS) mostly powerbooks and toshibas/IBMs.. ;) :p
  11. Kingsnapped macrumors 6502a


    Oct 16, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    If you don't have, or don't plan to get an external monitor, go with the 17. If you're planning on bringing a monitor to school, go ahead with the 12. Although it's nice to have a smaller notebook on campus, it would be awful to only have a 12 inch screen to do all your computing on at home.

    I would recommend the 12, plus a monitor. But if that's not an option, snap up the 17.
  12. japasneezemonk macrumors 6502


    Jun 13, 2005
    12" PB with an 20" apple display is awesome, the only downside is the S*** vram, otherwise you'll be happy.
  13. faintember macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2005
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    Personally i do not see the need for something as small as a 12". "Portability!" people say, but i say BAH!

    Going to class you will have a notebook, some textbooks, pens, pencils, etc, so what is the difference b/t a 12" and a 17"? Well you buy a bigger bag to carry the 17" with your other essentials, rather than buy a smaller bag for the 12" plus essentials. To me the 12" does not fit well on my lap, but a 15" or 17" works well. Personally it is worth it to me to have a larger (15" or 17") display that is portable, rather than have a 12" that is portable, but then have a extra monitor that i use in my apartment/dorm/house. With my 15" i type all of my papers, do all of my email, and most of my music processing (not recording) from my Lay-z-boy, instead of from my desk. To me it is the only way to roll.

    Someone else said that a 17" is too big to lug around campus, and it is too big to take notes in class. I don't think it is either. I have room for my Ti PB and a manuscript pad (for musical notation) in all of my classes. As for weight the 12" is 4.6lbs, the 17" at 6.9lbs. Wow, a whole extra 2.3lbs! (hint, buy the 17") :)

    If the deal is good on the 17" go for it, otherwise go for the 15" and forget the 12" unless you need something ultra small.
  14. raincoat macrumors member


    Sep 22, 2004
    Southampton, UK
    Hi there,
    I have a 17" PB, I am a student and i find that it is a great combination. I mostly use the PB at home and so the big screen is a must. When i do take it to uni, its really not a big deal. the only time that you will have to carry it around is between lectures - not all that much really, maybe 5 times a day. Saying that, my girlfiriend has a 15" PB and that is better for her (slightly lighter). Depends if you are a wimp or not!!! I would go for the 17" if that is where the deal is at. You also get a lot more kit in the 17" PB ie optical input and output, ability to power the 30" screen (hmmmmmm 30" screen).

    either way, you will enjoy the Mac experience :)
  15. ThatSoundAgain macrumors member

    Apr 10, 2005
    Heh, I'd be one of those people.. ;)

    Though what I usually say is I like the form factor better overall, not just the (debatable) extra portability. It's obviously a personal preference, and funfish is right: It's hard to know before you live with either machine for a while to try it out. My advice would be to go for the one that you find most appealing i.e. the one that "feels" most right to you. If you have serious doubts about the size of the 17", don't buy it solely because it's a good deal. Remember you'll run into deals from time to time if you keep looking.

    I think the 12'ers of either line are sexy as hell, and very powerful for their form factor. I also envy faintember's 15", those are beautiful, very portable computers and pack a little more punch than mine. The 17" strikes me as overkill, and looks out of place wherever I see one. But all these things are just my opinion.

    I'd also like to second ashon3611 on the power and price of the 12" iBook. I've used this one (G4/800/640) for a year and a half, with the Adobe apps (sometimes making things like 60 x 100 cm posters in 300 dpi), plus some light coding. No problem, just some waiting for filters etc. in Photoshop.

    Now, not even two years later, I'm considering upgrading to the new iBook, mostly because I'd like to play with CoreImage. And it's not that big of a deal financially, provided I can sell thtis machine for what it's worth.

    Sorry for rambling like that..
  16. After G macrumors 68000

    After G

    Aug 27, 2003
    17" PB.

    You can use all the power you can get. I find my 12" iBook, maxed out, and still lacking in the power I want/need. Then again, I don't like waiting for image/movie rendering or code to compile or Mathematica calculations to crank out.

    You can always sell it and get more than enough money to go for a 12" if you find you don't like it later.
  17. TaKashMoney macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2005
    My advice is to go with the 12inch hands down. I am a second year college student at UF and have had experiences with both 12" ibooks and 15" PBs. The 15" proved very difficult to carry around- almost impossible to lug on such a large campus in the florida heat. So, my thoughts would be that the 17 would make things only worse.
    That leaves you with your original 12"PB, perfect size and excellent casing, but as someone has also posted, look at the 12" ibook. It is at least $400-500
    cheaper, and until the new PB updates in sept. (knock on wood) the 12"ibook remains a huge competitor to the 12Pb. The 12PB is very much a PowerBook-Junior as things stand right now. Why do I say this? It lacks many of the excellent features of its two older brothers, but still is called a PB. For example it lacks the ambient light sensor and light up keyboard as the other two models. It has less processor speed, less RAM capacity, a worse video card, and EQUIVALENT screens to the 12ibook.
    The ibook while a bit slower than the 12PB in areas such as processor speed (1.33ghz, to 1.5) , slightly slower system bus and hardrive speed. Is this worth $500? I dont know. Does the PB's aluminum casing, slightly smaller enclosure, and nicer-feeling keyboard, warrant the extra $500? I dont know. What it all comes down to right now is graphics card ( You get a slower 64bit card with the PB and a faster 32bit Card with the iBOOk), and screen spanning. Do you want to hook it up to an external monitor and have twice the real-estate or just get mirroring (tho i hear the iBook has an excellent hack to fix this little issue)? If the better card and screen spanning is a must than yes the 500 bucks may be worth it. Of course, ther 12PB gets poorer battery life, case is less durable (tho more scratch resistant) and wifi reception is worse than the iBook. It also has a smaller RAM capacity (1.25 vs iBook's 1.5)
    I may be a little impartial but I love my new iBook... and the cash I saved. It has not slowed down one bit, it never chugs, video editing is a breeze, and the size is perfect.
  18. godbout macrumors regular

    Jun 22, 2005
    Montreal, Canada
    If they have the same specs (which of course they cannot because the 17" would not have bluetooth, SMS, 5400rpm HD, etc from the last revision) Then I would go for the 17" simply put they are freakin' amazing! I am a student and I decided to go with the 15" because I think that it is a great all around machine but if I were to make the decision again I would go with the 17". Portability is not much of an issue for me. I find that I can always seem to find room for it everywhere (plains, trains, classes, lab, cars) everywhere! and the screen space! Oh sweet sweet screen space! If you got the 12" then I would get an external LCD (tacking on significant $$) for home/dorm use. Because of expose you can get around it but it is still nice to have. Anyways I hope that this was at least somewhat helpful.
  19. raincoat macrumors member


    Sep 22, 2004
    Southampton, UK
    I think all Powerbooks come with bluetooth as standard. The 17" is the dogs bo@*+cks and has everything on it. did u mean to say that it would have all of those features? :confused:
  20. ph0rk macrumors 6502

    Oct 22, 2003
    Unfortunately, it isn't that small.

    I was torn between the 12" and the 15", but took the 15 (screen and backlit keyboard for $400 and 1lb more).

    Now, if apple ever gets off their collective duffs and produces a real (sub 3lb) ultralite, things might be different.

    the 17", though, seems to me a better skateboard than a computer. I can't really imagine ever needing that much screen real estate on the go, and the 15" is about as portly as I can stand - what good is it if it is so bulky you leave it at home?
  21. ZoomZoomZoom macrumors 6502a


    May 2, 2005
    I'm a student and the 12'' has been working out great. Using a Brenthaven Fusion 12 bag with it - works incredibly well, fits everything I need, and is plain sexy.

    The 12'' screen doesn't bother me at all - Everything fits on it fine, and size is comfortable to use. The 17'' looks incredible, but after looking at one, I figured that it was too big for me.

    The $900 USD price gap means that you can get the 12'' PB w/ superdrive, add in a 20'' LCD (like Dell 2005FPW, $525 off Dell), buy yourself some very nice speakers (like soundsticks $115 off Amazon), add in a mouse/keyboard/laptop sleeve, get nice laptop bag (like Brenthaven Fusion 12, $80 off Brenthaven), treat yourself to dinner (like a meal with steak, $20 off Outback Steakhouse), and still have some money to spare. If you're working with graphics, switch in a CRT for the LCD because I haven't been able to get any graphics work done with my LCD. (Maybe it's my calibration - still working to solve that one)

    I wish I had more RAM, though. 512's not cutting it.

    12'' has the best battery life of the three powerbooks. 17'' has the second best, and the 15'' has the worst. The extra 0.16 gHz isn't going to do very much. I wish that the 12'' could have an option for more VRAM, though, for future-proofing, but 64MB should be plenty to tide over most things until I buy a new laptop anyways.

    No matter which size you buy, the PB's going to drop some jaws. And to go from 12''->17'', sacrifice some form factor, add in 64MB VRAM + a few ports, $900 is awfully steep when you can do alot with that money. If you're rich, then... I hate you. :p
  22. kalisphoenix macrumors 65816


    Jul 26, 2005
    Get the 17", sell it, buy a 12" and RAM with the money you get from the sale.
  23. azrussell132 macrumors member


    Jan 26, 2005
    Phoenix Arizona
    If I was a student lugging around a Mac these days it would be the 12 PB.
  24. terriyaki macrumors 6502a

    Aug 4, 2005
    If you think you're going to be carrying your laptop around a lot go with the 12". If you think you're going to be leaving your laptop in your dorm/residence for most of the time while only taking it to classes occasionally go with the 17".
  25. wrxguy macrumors 6502a


    Jul 4, 2005
    Deepest Regions of Hell

    I have a 15" PB and i know your deal was the 12" or the 17" but let me tell 15" is perfect..i wouldnt' want anybigger cause I use it at school but i felt the 12" too small personally I highly recomend the 15"

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