opinions on 15" powerbook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ToddW, Mar 4, 2004.

  1. ToddW macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    Well I'm coming close to buying a 15" powerbook, but I still have a few doubts. I am trying to do a little bit of research about what types of problems people have been having with them. If anyone could point me in the right direction I would be greatly appreciated. The PB I'm looking at is the following:

    15" powerbook
    80Gb HD
    512MB RAM
    1.25 Ghz G4
  2. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    What doubts are you having? Then we might be able to address those in our replies.

    I have the PB you're considering. First one crashed regularly - tho was may have been partly due to the drivers for the ADSL USB modem I had then.
    Replacement one has no problems (6 weeks old) tho I have switched to an ethernet modem through Airport. No kernel panics, no dead pixels.

    The screen is lovely - lots of space for doing everyday tasks on. I don't do video editing, but building my website in Dreamweaver X and using Photoshop Elements has been fine in terms of both speed and screen space. The problem with white spots has been resolved. Some people have an issue with unevenly illuminated screens but some don't - no real answer to that one

    The HD is a little slow but hey, it's a portable. If you're coming from a computer that's a few years old tho it's going to seem a lot faster regardless!It can get quite warm, but so do most portables, especially if iTunes is on - I've no blisters tho! ;)

    I have SimCity 4 loaded onto it which again is fine although once the city got up to 90,000 residents it started to run a little slowly at certain zoom levels and the graphic rendering misses out some buildings but it's a pretty high spec game.

    My favourite thing about the PB compared to friends' PC laptops is how quickly it wakes up. My friends tend to shut down their laptops since waking from 'sleep' can be fraught with trouble, or it takes at least 20 seconds to be available and another 20 seconds or so to be connected to the network. By the time I've lifted the lid of the PB fully, it's awake. By the time I type in the URL I want, the Airport connection is back up and I'm off.

    Result - I have the answer before their machine's awake. And yes, I know it's less than a minute but it's those little things that I appreciate most
  3. wordmunger macrumors 603


    Sep 3, 2003
    North Carolina
    I did a search on these forums for "15 powerbook problem" and came up with tons of results. Most people are happy with their machines, but you can do a search like this to see the types of problems you *might* encounter.
  4. ToddW thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    the concerns I'm having are the following:

    I want it to last at least three years
    What type of problems with the white spot syndrom on the display
    Has anyone had any noticable repairs
    Experiences with the powerbook good/bad

    Stuff like that
  5. Bilba macrumors member

    Feb 2, 2004
    I got mine about a week ago. All I can say that it is far better than I expected.
    Screen is perfect, Latch is perfect. There is an uneven gap when you close the lid, but it is far less annyoing than what I was expecting after reading these forums. The gap is minor. Performance is amazing (coming from Powerbook 500, and P.C P4 1.8. About lasting 3 years.... no one can tell you for sure. It all depands what you are going to do with the machine, and what is Apple going to do with the software. Obviously if all you do is webbrowsing/email/internet and other non agressive applications, it will stay a killier in 3 years. However, if you are into Video/Audio pro apps, and Apple comes up with a newer OS that takes advantage of G5 and software developer will follow, I assume than in 2 years you will start noticing that the machine is not performing that great. But unless you are a pro user, I believe that if you'll max the ram, it will serve you well in the next 3 years.

    good luck.
  6. machem macrumors member

    Sep 4, 2003
    Stockton/Sacramento CA
    I love my 15" 'book. I did suffer from whitespots (sent back once, eventual replacement when they reappeared), and I have uneven backlighting for approx. 3 minutes upon wakeup/startup, which is a bit troublesome, but not worth a call to AppleCare, IMHO. I have a stock HD, and a SD. The best thing about it is the graphics card, very reliable and useful for driving a second display. The size and weight are great. Worst part is the battery life --- by that I mean I have one battery that has a much lower capacity than the other. This seems to be fixed, in that new batteries are more consistient, but if you are looking for 4-5 hours of battery time with this PB, you will be disappointed.

    Personally, I wouldn't worry about quality issues; they seem to be fixed, and Apple has always been very good in fixing any issues that do come up (six portables in my household over the years).

  7. gemio17 macrumors regular

    Nov 13, 2003
    ditto - got my 15" pb (1.25, combo drive, 5400rpm hd) last week and it's been amazing. No problems so far- (knock on wood) perfect screen- nice long solid hinge. I'm so glad that I bit the bullet and just bought it. the minor speed bump that will happen between now and the G5 pb in my opinion is not worth waiting for. I got the 5400 hd and the combo drive-not the 2x superdrive-for 180$ that I saved not getting the superdrive, I can get a much better, faster external drive- it's something to consider!
  8. jsd macrumors member

    Oct 15, 2003
    Orange, CA
    I like my 15" PowerBook, except that I get uneven backlighting when waking from sleep mode or when the display brightness is lowered, which Apple says is "in Spec" but annoys me quite a bit. I also have two stuck pixels and a dead pixel, and I had to endure 5 screen repairs. But they seem to have worked out the white spots issue which was the only real deal-killer. They also gave me a new battery, which was nice.

    This computer is really slick...the only annoying idiosyncratic behavior it exhibits is its tendency to expand and contract based on how hot it is. For example, when it's cold, the PC card slot won't snap shut by itself, and CDs don't fully eject. When it's hot, the case makes a popping sound when you press on the right wrist-rest area.

    Frankly if I bought a new one right now, I'd be ecstatically happy with it, the only reason mine bugs me is it is carrying around a history of 5 painful repairs, that I think about every time I look at it... Maybe I need counseling ;-)
  9. a6rnh macrumors newbie

    Jun 2, 2003
    yorkshire sausage
    pb15 great-battery poor

    love my pb15 after 5 months now. keyboard is great which people don't mention much. performance is good compared to my dual g5 at work. don't forget, this is a portable, it gets hot!
    battery is very disappointing i must say, i only get 2.5 hours of mine, and that is doing lightish stuff like net surfing and itunes. that's a real shame because i love everything else about this machine.

    get one today, it looks great as well, everyone will comment on its great looks....
  10. kzoonut macrumors member

    Oct 21, 2002
    The only downside to mine is it's fickleness when it comes to memory. First stick I bought from OWC and experienced kernel panics 3-4 times per week with lots of application crashes between the kernel panics. After doing that for about 4 months, finally decided to pull the bad chip and upgrade.

    Next, I ordered two sticks from Kingston (2 512MB) and once they were placed in the laptop the machine wouldn't even boot. Even tried the sticks one at a time. Would eventually boot - but still lots of application crashes and kernel panics.

    Sent the Kingston RAM back and now I'm going to try Crucial. For the last couple of weeks, I've been using the default 256MB chip that came with the machine and I have to say - it's been completely rock solid. I'm hoping that when I get the Crucial RAM it will stay that way!
  11. mckeek macrumors newbie

    Jan 5, 2004
    I am in the same boat as ToddW - planning on buying a 1GHz 15 incher as soon as the price drops. Plans are to add a 512 stick and do some Dreamweaver. Hopefully Macromedia will issue an updater for that dog soon:) (it's a dog in PCs, too) If all goes well, it should be about as fast as my DeskPro PIII-500/256/W2K desktop I am stuck with at work.

    BTW, I keep that thing well tuned and it's "apparent speed" is about as fast as a P4-1.8G/256 running XP right out of the box. In the Windowz world each new OS gets slower and slower, and then they get even slower over time as the registry and your PC gets filled up with all kinds of crap. A clean reinstall every cuple of years is almost required. Hope that isn't my future in OSX.
  12. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    My original Powerbook which was purchased in October last year, suffered from the white spot problem. However the store that I bought it from in the UK offers a 28 day exchange policy, so rather than get it repaired, I got a new one (although I had to wait a month before they got it back into stock! - I could live with the white spots until they got some new stock in). I got my replacement 15" 1.25Ghz Powerbook in December. I did have to return it to Apple last week. I purchased a wireless mouse only to find that the Bluetooth module was missing! Apple turned round the repair in less that a week, so I was really impressed. Even though I do have a MMD Powermac I really missed the Powerbook while it was away.

    As many other users will tell you Apple have fixed the white spot and latch problems. I think I have been unlucky with the Bluetooth module. It is a great machine. I use the Powerbook at home and at work. I intend to keep my Powerbook for a couple of years, sell it and then upgrade to hopefully a second generation G5 Book (Apple resale values hold up well). However I am sure the Powerbook would last 3 years at a push.

    I would go for the Powerbook, I am convinced that you will not regret it.
  13. ToddW thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 26, 2004
    what revisions are the powerbooks that are sold now, well the 15" w/superdrive?
  14. Naimfan macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003

    I'm in a similar position..... I think the 1.25 PB is a great machine, my only hesitation is that it seems as if new PBs aren't that far away, which could mean either a lower price on the existing line or more performance for the money.

    If I were to order the existing 1.25, I'd add the 5400 RPM drive (more on faith that a faster drive must be better--correct me if I'm wrong!) and I'd change the 2x256 RAM sticks to one 512 and then order another 512 stick from Crucial.

    Best of luck whatever you do!


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