new 12" powerbook review

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Diatribe, Jun 16, 2004.

  1. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #1
    I just got my powerbook back from Apple and here is my review since I have now used it for a week...
    I have it loaded with the 5400rpm drive and 786MB

    Pros:

    First off, compared to my 800MHz iBook, it feels so much faster. Apps load faster and it feels snappier in general too.
    The keyboard has got to be the best keyboard I have ever used. It is so sweet. All in all it looks so much nicer than my iBook which, although I liked it alot, looks like a toy next to the powerbook. Superdrive is awesome too. Now I can backup all my stuff on the road too when I am too lazy to take my ext. FW HD with me. Spanning is neat also, though I don't find myself using it THAT much. Aside from doing Photoshop work the screen is big enough.
    Battery life is great too. I get 3 1/2 hrs. with the display all the way up and AE on, surfing and listening to iTunes.


    Cons:

    Although not alot the ones that are there I do have a problem with.
    The AE reception is CONSIDERABLY worse than that on the iBook. Which is annoying at times but that is one of the minor things.
    The BIGGEST problem I have is the heat and the fan noise. It wouldn't burn my lap but it is so hot that the fan is running 24/7! Even when I am only surfing the web the fan is on and makes a considerable noise. The only time the fan is off is right after startup for about 5 minutes then it kicks in and goes and goes and goes. It's driving me nuts. After having an almost completely silent computer with the iBook this is just annoying.

    Besides that this is a great computer. If you can live with the facts that the fan is on 24/7 and that is doesn't play games well this is the 'book to buy if you need portability. It doesn't get much more portable than this with this kind of speed in it.
    A great little machine.
     
  2. macrumors 6502a

    rosalindavenue

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    #2
    Boy I hate to hear that about the fan-- sounds like my gigantic P4 desktop replacement. Thanks for the review. Please elaborate on the wireless reception-- do you still get reception everywhere in your house with fewer "bars," or are there now places that you could get reception in your house with your ibook that you cant with your pbook? Thanks.
     
  3. macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

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    #3
    Interesting. I have found my Rev C 12" PowerBook to run cooler than my previous Rev B PowerBook. Heat really isn't an issue. The Rev B used to get warm (not really hot, but warm enough to make your palms start to sweat if they were resting on the palm rests for any period of time), but the Rev C is cooler.

    Again, with regards to the fan noise, I found the Rev C fan comes on less than the Rev B, which is to say it hardly comes on at all. It certainly never comes on during 'regular' battery powered web surfing, iTunes listening or MS Word document editing. Really the only time I can remember the fan coming on in the Rev C has been when I have been playing games like UT2004 or WarCraft III, ripping a DVD movie with Handbrake, encoding a CD with iTunes or something really CPU intensive.

    I don't doubt what you are saying about your 1.33GHz 12" PowerBook is true. It's just that it's quite different from my experiences, and in fact sounds a lot more like my older Rev B 12" PowerBook (or a Rev A). Maybe there is a lot of machine-to-machine variability in the production process. It may also have something to do with the ambient temperature in the environment where you are using the PowerBook. Where are you located? What is the normal ambient temperature? I am in Sydney, and for the period of time I have owned my Rev C 12" PowerBook is has been either autumn or winter. This means you're talking about daytime temperatures of around 17 to 22 degrees celsius thus far (very approximately).

    We have nice winters in Sydney :) (thus far)
     
  4. macrumors 6502a

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    #4
    My 12" Rev C doesn't use the fan much and rare gets more than slightly warm. I wonder if the difference is in the HD. Mine is the stock 4200rpm unit.
     
  5. macrumors 6502

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    #5
    My Rev C. Powerbook rarely gets warm, I use Final Cut alot and barely notice it, also the fan doesnt come on that much, the loudest thing on it is when you are using a CD, but that is to be expected. I also have the 5400rpm drive.
     
  6. macrumors 68020

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    #6
    Well, as everyone knows, real-world reviews are like gold when you're looking to buy a computer. Thanks for the review, I appreciate it.

    Now, I'm *really* happy to hear that most of you dont' have the fan on constantly. I have an 800MHz iBook (the machine that he upgraded from) and i'm looking to upgrade to the PowerBook. The iBook is almost silent, and I hate it when the fan is on a lot (which only happens when i've left it sit on a pillow, etc.). So, Diatribe, would you reccomend the switch from the 800MHz G4 iBook to the 1.33GHz 12' PowerBook?
     
  7. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #7
    That is so weird. I just got it back from having them fix the fan issue. So I thought this is how it is supposed to be.
    Now it scales the fan down after playing Unreal for example, but it never shuts off completely. So I guess it is going off to Apple again... :mad:
    This is majorly annoying. Around here(Germany at the moment) it isn't that hot. Around 23°Celcius so not that bad. I don't know but if you say that yours is silent most of the time I'll call Apple again.
     
  8. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #8
    You're welcome. I definitely recommend the upgrade. It is a so much nicer computer than the iBook. Faster, nicer looking, superdrive, smaller and lighter.
    It has less battery life but not much and the only too things that I really would have liked to have had is fw800 and the backlit keyboard. But if you don't care for those I'd say definitely get it if you have the money burning a hole in your pocket ;)
    If you have any more questions I'll be more than happy to answer those too.
     
  9. macrumors regular

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    #9
    Before shipping the unit off to Apple again, make sure something isn't hogging all your CPU cycles and warming up your machine. This happened with my Rev. B 12" PB and it absolutely roasted. Once I found the offending application spiking the CPU (iChat) and fixed it, the machine ran MUCH cooler. Also, what surface do you have your machine on? I found that if mine was on a table or other hard surface where air could get underneath, the fan didn't come on much. However, if I had it in bed or on a couch cushion, it would quickly heat up. Even my (relatively) chilly 17" PowerBook gets quite toasty when it's on a padded fabric surface.

    -Drew
     
  10. macrumors 6502

    micvog

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    #10
    Have you tried a CoolPad?

    I have the same computer but with the 60GB 4200RPM hard drive. In general usage (i.e. using iChat/Word/Safari/Mail at the same time) the fan doesn't come on (Temperature Monitor puts my processor at ~46 degrees celsius). The only time my fan has come on is when there is a lot of disk activity (e.g. installing Microsoft Office) or using iTunes (not sure if it is the processor load or the hard disk activity). All of that is using the CoolPad which seems to make a difference.
     
  11. macrumors 68020

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    #11
    Why yes, in fact, I do! ;)

    I figured I may as well keep them public for the sake of everyone else.

    1. What do the speakers sound like? Apple's spec pages lists 3 speakers, could you describe the sound and perhaps upload (or email to me) a picture of the location of the third speaker?

    2. What about the battery? Not battery life, but the seating of it in place. On the iBook, it tends to be firmly attached, yet hanging down a bit on the connection side (a common issue with all iBooks, nothing to worry about)?

    3. I've heard that the keyboard and trackpad don't wear as well on the PowerBook. Have you heard this and do you believe it to be true?

    4. Is the 12' screen identical to that of the iBook's or does it seem different. (I know all about the resolution, etc)
     
  12. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #12
    1. The speakers are better than the ones on the ibook and really pleasing to listen to if you sit in front of it. If you're somewhere else in the room I'd suggest real speakers. Where the 3rd speaker is I have no idea.

    2. The battery sits a bit tighter than on the ibook.

    3. Don't wear as well? What do you mean by that?

    4. The screen is definitely not brighter than the one on the ibook nor is the viewing angle better. I had them both standing next to each other.
    But I must say that it looks clearer and crisper. Don't know really why but it does.

    Hope that helped.
     
  13. macrumors 68020

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    #13
    Thanks for the info!

    To answer your question, I have no idea. It was something that I had seen a few members post on these forums, and I couldnt' find it after doing a search. So i'm not sure. Do you notice any difference in how the keyboard wears (not the quality of the keyboard)?

    Thanks again!
     
  14. macrumors Core

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    #14
    i have a rev a 12" powerbook so maybe i can answer some of these for you....

    1. the speakers are located on the back of the 'book. There is one and each side, and the third is along the bottom of the screen hinge, the third speaker really helps improve the sound quality

    2. The battery on mine sits tightly and connot be moved at all and does not hang down at all, in fact i ususally forget which side has the battery

    3. ive had my 'book for almost a year now and the trackpad and keyboard have been fine, i dont use the trackpad that much anymore, but it used to be all that i used, i dont think you will have to worry about wear issues with either one though

    4. i cant really comment because i dont have an ibook...

    hope this helps
     
  15. macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    #4) you probably think the PB looks brighter and clearer because the backlight is newer (since it is a newer laptop) The 12PB and 12iBook use the exact same screen.

    BTW, for those recommending CoolPads and the such... how portable does a laptop become when you have to carry around accessories to use it? :confused: I mean, honestly, this is an engineering problem. I know items like Laptop stands are a fix to make the best of a bad situation, but users should start tacking on the price, weight, and bulk of the laptop pads to the PB specs when they talk about PBs if they are necessary.
     
  16. macrumors regular

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    #16
    how much

    if you upgrade, how much would you charge for your ol' ibook
     
  17. macrumors member

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    #17
    There's a known problem about the 12" PB heating up alot and quickly when iChat is open. Next time your using your computer, check the temp and open up iChat check your temp after 20 minutes or so of use, then check out the activity monitor and see how much cpu iChat is hogging up. Repeat after 45 min. If I rememeber correctly it's because of animated icons, at least I think that was it.
     
  18. macrumors 68020

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    #18
    interesting... i had no idea...

    can powerbook owners vouch for this?
     
  19. macrumors 6502

    micvog

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    #19
    Point taken. I think it depends on how you use the notebook. I bought a PowerBook because I like the portability within my house (I can easily use it at the kitchen table, in my office, in the living room, etc.) and it is just as expandable as an iMac. Given that 90% of the time I use my PB as a desktop replacement, the CoolPad is a great thing to have. However, I don't think the CoolPad is necessary to use a PowerBook and, when I take it to class or travel, I plan on leaving the CoolPad at home.
     
  20. macrumors newbie

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    #20
    Here's my take on the rev C PB 12"

    I work in a University computer store, so i see macs all the time. I've used the 12" rev B extensively and i can tell you that the rev C screen is brighter, the rev C runs cooler (though still pretty warm compared to other laptops) and the rev C which i purchased does have the battery that doesn't fit snug. On the side of the connections it just hangs out a little bit. The fit is tight, but when i run my hand along the bottom of the PB, i can feel where the battery starts becuase it just out a tiny bit. Nothing i'm worried about though.

    Overall, i'm glad i waited for Rev C to buy my 12" and i'm very happy with my machine. Perhaps its the 5400 drive that is bugging the original poster as far as the heat is concerned. Mine runs nice and cool (cooler than the rev B at least)
     
  21. macrumors member

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    #21
    My rev c dosen't get very warm at all, and I've never heard this annoying fan you guys are talking about? Mine is always very quiet.
     
  22. macrumors 6502a

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    #22
    i thought the powerbook used a better TFT plus screen or something...i'm not too sure about that, but i do think it uses something better (err..more costly).

    the powerbook screen will be better when you are doing graphic intensive processes, because the video card is a better version with twice the VRAM. that should make it look a little better.

    also, (i forget who said this), but: do the backlights on LCDs ever die out or get dimmer than they were out of the box? i have several LCD displays both in notebooks and separate units and they all look as good as when i bought them. my pismo's screen (2000) looks just as good as my friend's ibook 14.1 inch screen (2003), and the pismo has been used more frequently.

    i have a really, really old notebook that runs windows 3.1 :) and that screen is still in great shape!!
     
  23. macrumors 68000

    ZildjianKX

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    #23
    Anyone get any dead pixels in their 12" PBs? Just curious.
     
  24. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #24
    Quick update

    So Apple will be picking it up again. What is really weird though is that when it is running on battery the fan doesn't come on but as soon as I plug it in... weird.
     
  25. macrumors 601

    Diatribe

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    #25
    I don't. Everything is fine. With the display at least. ;)
     

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