PB G5 Buyer's Remorse?

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

  1. sbbruiser macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Newport Beach, CA
    #1
    I am happy to report that I'm ready to "switch"...back to Mac that is...and I have my heart set on a 12" PB with a SuperDrive.

    I'll be using it, mainly, for personal and grad-school related activities and I think the current 12" PB would fulfill my demands for portability, reliability and power - it will be coming with me everywhere (work, school, home, travel, etc.) and it needs to be able to handle multi-tasking between large MS Office files with grace or face potentially igniting a fiery, tirade of frustration when I am short on time and even shorter on patience.

    ...But I am worried that, after purchasing a 12" PB this summer, in early 2005, Mr. Jobs will bestow upon us a portable Adonis that will solve all problems, from my homework to world peace, halve the value of my previous investment, and come in an aesthetically perfect, indestructible, nine-halves pounds case that inspires jealousy and envy of the worst kind in all who see it.

    Anyway, is it rational to think that future G5/Tiger-related buyer's remorse will be a significant factor in my purchasing decision - particularly after 6-8 months of solid usage? I currently have a 8lb 15” Compaq that is both inconvenient to carry around and increasingly unreliable (sticky keys, irritable wireless card, and XP/PIII unstable/slow). Also, any thoughts on whether or not it’s worth waiting for back-to-school incentives in August?

    Thanks for your help. :)
     
  2. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #2
    This is an easy one, go with the current G4, for Office use, web browsing and iLife use the current Powerbooks will last for many years. Remember the new G5 will be Rev A with some exotic cooling system, Apple don't have the best reputation for a new Rev A computer, as far as reliability is concerned.
     
  3. Grimace macrumors 68040

    Grimace

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2003
    Location:
    with Hamburglar.
    #3
    Don't expect a G5 Powerbook for a while. Tiger won't be out until Jan-Jun30 of 2005. The current G4 Powerbooks are incredible machines; a lot of people are so set on a G5 that it blinds them to what is already here. Kinda like so many people were psychologically damaged to not hit 3.0. 2.9Ghz or 2.5Ghz - the magic number 3 wasn't hit. But I digress, go for the current Powerbooks!!
     
  4. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #4
    I have a 12" PowerBook which I use for precisely the things you mention...I'm a PhD student in molecular biology, and the PowerBook gets used for reading and storing PDFs, writing reports and tracking data with Word and Excel, editing graphical results with Photoshop, writing code in Perl and Java, and running a MySQL database. I use it at my part time job for much the same thing. And when I get home, it does all of that stuff again, and rips/encodes MP3s, DVDs, and surfs the web wirelessly from the couch :) It's perfect for all of that, and there hasn't been a single moment when I've regretted buying the 12" PowerBook. The 12" 1024x768 screen is compact enough to give the PowerBook its superb portability, without being so small that you can't get any work done. And when things do get a bit cluttered, Expose comes to the rescue and makes you forget you're working on a 12" screen.

    The newer model with the 1.33GHz CPU, 167MHz FSB and 64MB of video RAM is a quick little performer. Not as fast as a G5 of course, but for all of the applications I mentioned above (with the exception of MySQL, but hey, what do you expect when you run a database from a laptop-class hard drive), there's no real slow-down ever perceptible. I have 768MB RAM in my system, and happily work all day with Mail, iTunes, iCal, Word, a half-dozen Preview windows, 3 or 4 Terminals, and another dozen Safari windows open. No problems.

    One other thing which has become important since the WWDC keynote speech which is also in favour of the 12" PowerBook over its close relative, the 12" iBook, is the fact that the nVidia GeForce FX 5200 GPU in the PowerBook (while not being a gaming powerhouse, possibly the 12" PowerBook's only major fault) will be fully supported under the new CoreImage and CoreVideo APIs, whereas the Radeon 9200 in the iBook won't be. You'll be able to have hardware accelerated eye-candy! That should give you some extra future-proofing.


    As others have already mentioned, and Apple officials themselves have made public, a G5 PowerBook is still probably a long way off. Although nothing is certain when trying to out-guess Apple, it would be highly unlikely that anything portable with a G5 in it would appear this year, and I have my doubts for the first half of next year as well. Also, the 12" PowerBook, being the smallest and most internally cramped of the PowerBook range may well get a G5 facelift after the 15" and 17" models do...if at all (and that last bit is just pure speculation on my behalf). I think it would be safe to say that you aren't going to see a G5-based 12" PowerBook in 6 months anyway. If there are more updates to the 12" PowerBook in the next 6-9 months, I'd be more inclined to think they'd include a 1.5GHz G4, a faster GPU (maybe the Radeon 9700 Mobility from the 15" and 17" PowerBooks), and other stuff like an 80GB hard drive as standard instead of a 60GB, and the usual incremental improvements in optical drive speed...all only IMHO, of course.

    So...after that lengthy tirade, I think a) for student usage where portability is essential, without sacrificing too much in the way of power, the 12" PowerBook is an excellent choice, and b) I don't think you'll need to be too worried about an all-conquering G5 based 12" PowerBook being released the day after you buy your G4 based PowerBook. It's probably a long way off, and in all truth, you'd probably be best to let the early adopters find out the hard way all the interesting little quirks and mistakes Apple often makes in the first revision of new generation hardware. A second generation G5 PowerBook, when one finally hits the market, would be a much safer proposition.

    One other thing...since you're buying as a university student, do you get an extended 3-year AppleCare warranty for free? Apple Australia was offering this unexpected bonus when I upgraded by 1GHz 12" PowerBook to the 1.33GHz 12" PowerBook I use now. That was worth quite a bit of money (about AU $600, compared to the purchase price of AU $2599). Ask Apple about it. A full 3-years of AppleCare should see you through to the end of your postgrad studies, save you a stack of cash in the unfortunate event that something goes wrong, and will prop up resale values should you decide to sell within the next 3 years. Oh yeah...and getting AppleCare free is better than paying extra too :)
     
  5. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2003
    #5

    Hey Oingo,

    Apple Australia stopped offering the 3 year EDU warranty on 28 June this year to bring the warranty in line with the US one, which is just the standard 1 year + 90 days phone support. I guess this is to encourage people to shell out for AppleCare here too. Hmm. But luckily the both of us crept in before it expired.
     
  6. jaromski macrumors regular

    jaromski

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Location:
    zion
    #6
    Go with the 12" G4 PB now


    I purchased a 12" PB about 2-3 months ago and I am telling you it is the best notebook I have used/own. Good battery life, great keyboard (this makes a huge difference) and it makes everybody's jaw drop when they first see it.

    The only complaint I have to date involves the built-in wireless; it tends to drop out for small intervals when I am on my LAN. But I haven't traced whether that is my laptop or wireless router. I have a file server that stores all my music and sometimes the drop-outs cause iTunes to spin the rainbow wheel for 10-15 seconds. But other than that, this machine is a dream.

    I would recommend purchasing additional RAM from mushkin.com; they provide high-end memory cheaper than apple.com. I upgraded with a 512mb chip for about $130 USD and it has been well worth it.

    I am a picky/demanding CS type and I have been on the outs with the Windows world for some time. I really like Linux for certain tasks, but I don't enjoy Linux in the desktop space. It is nice to have all the goodies (read multimedia/aqua/opengl/itunes/etc) w/o the hassle of configuring XF86 config files, etc. Plus you can get office.mac or go with open office if you need to save some dough. But if you will be using MS documents a lot, then it would be well-worth it for you to get office.mac. Plus I believe you can get an academic price if you are a grad student. That should save you some dough (you can also get a discount on your PB from store.apple.com if you are registered full-time as a student) That can save you about $200 which you can quickly use to beef up your ram.

    I have been a long-time Windows user, and since I purchased my PB Mac, Pandora's Box got kicked wide-open. I hate using Windows anymore; I am ruined.

    Cheers,

    jaromski
     
  7. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #7
    Hmm...I didn't realise that the 3 year .edu warranty extension had finished. You're right...lucky we both made it in before it expired. I probably wouldn't have been able to afford an extra $600 or so for extended AppleCare at the end of the first 12 months. There was enough cash available to buy the PowerBook, and not much else. Sucks being a postgrad student :)
     
  8. Bhennies macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    NYC & Baltimore
    #8
    IFFFF the g5 makes it into the powerbook, which I don't think it will in its current state, it will probably be a 1.6 or 1.8 g5 with a slower system bus than the current g5 1.6 tower. The 1.5 ghz g4 is pretty close in performance (according to barefeats) to the 1.6. Basically, the new g5 PB will probably not blow the 1.5 ghz g4 out of the water. It will be faster, yes, but worth waiting another year? (my bet is that we will see g5 PB's at or around WWDC next year. If you want REAL power, get a g5 tower.

    p.s. i would recommend the 1.5 ghz 15". It's more of a desktop replacement AND portable, while the 12" is pretty much solely a portable, and the 17" a desktop replacement.
     
  9. sbbruiser thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2004
    Location:
    Newport Beach, CA
    #9
    I wanted to thank everyone for their high-quality responses to my questions. Your insight was definitely appreciated and taken to heart...and I mean really taken to heart - I am currently typing out my response to you all on my new PB 12" SD picked up this after noon. :D

    As for the purchase...I saved about $310 with my USC student ID card. Too bad Crucial doesn't offer similar discounts on RAM. :rolleyes:

    Thanks again everyone and I hope you all had a great fourth of July (whether or not you celebrate the U.S. independence day).

    - Parker
     
  10. daxdagr8t macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 1, 2004
    #10
    i got tired of waiting for the g5 so i decided to get me a new 12 in this afternoon and i cant be any more happier.
     
  11. Bhennies macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Location:
    NYC & Baltimore
    #11
    great decision! Enjoy it!
     

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