Portability of Powerbooks

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

  1. Lincoln macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2003
    I used to have a Rev A 12" Powerbook and loved how "portable" it was, however the speed was disapointing and to cut a long story short I sold the powerbook. I bought beacuse it was (and still is) better than any similar sized PC laptop out there (I own a PC desktop too).

    Now with the Rev C powerbooks out there I am considering getting another. At first I thought that I would get another 12" powerbook, however the 15" ones are now Aluminium (still Titatanium when I got my Rev A 12") and the 17" is very reasonably priced - I'm also thinking desktop replacement!

    So now the question: I'm looking for views from 15" and 17" owners on how "portable" their portable is :rolleyes: ?

    A 17" could be used standalone and replace my PC and be portable :cool: ; the other two may need monitors when I'm back home. But if the 15" and/or 17" is too much to carry from one location to another I may have to rethink my plans.

    In addition to larger screens the 15" (1.5Ghz) and 17" are a bit faster have better graphics as well as FW800, PC-Card slot and better memory configurations so would be more suitable as desktop replacements.

    Whatever laptop I go for, extra memory (Crucial), 5200RPM 80GB hard disk and Superdrive will be fitted.

    Sorry for the long winded question, I hope I didn't bore anyone and I look forward to your responses. :D
  2. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    I thin my 15" Powerbook is wonderfully portable! It doesn't weigh nearly as much as my friend's PC's (with worse specs!) and the 15" screen is enough for almost any task. PC Card slot came in handy for me when i needed to add a second Firewire bus to the computer for simultaneous Firewire use. I also love having a DVD-R in my laptop, although I admit that i almost never use it... If you don't do DVD burning on the road, which most people dont, due to difficulty of keeping the computer still (its very sensitive to any bumps) and power requirements, I would suggest saving the money and getting a combo drive internal. Then you can add one of those new 16x DVD±RW Dual Layer burners for about $200 (Firewire) and have much better performance.
  3. mpopkin macrumors 6502


    Nov 14, 2003
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I was torn when i began my powerbook shopping several months ago, i wanted a laptop that was portable, but capable at the same time, i didnt need a desktop replacement(i have a dual 2.0 g5 tower with studio display) and was in of a mobile machine. Naturally i was recommended the 12 inch pb by friends and apple store folks who have apple towers as well, but i had handled and played with my friends 12 inch pb for a while and while the size is totally amazing, it lacked the speed, monitor size and extra features(gigabit ethernet, pc card, better cooling, much better monitor quality) that the 15 inch had, naturally at the apple store i see Eye candy and was definetely guilty for oogling the 17 pb, at the time i didnt have a budget constraint, so the 17 would have been fine to buy as well, i love the huge screen on the 17pb, but it came down to a combination of form and function, the 15 pb and 17 pb have exactly the same specs except for monitor size and weight, the 15 is lighter, sveltier and was the eventual choice. Now that i have a 15 inch pb fully loaded, i love it to death, it is ultra fast, yet i can pick it up and run with it(not literally, but travel easily with it) i burn dvd's with it, edit with it and can do almost all the things on it that i can do on my g5 as well, in fact, i love it and do not have any bad things to say about it whatsoever. It is portable, beautiful monitor and a great body, and is backed up with the performance to match. Be smooth. Get the 15 inch PB instead of the 17inch and use that xtra money to load it with a gb of memory and a 128mb ddr ram, u dont need a 5400 rpm hd it doesnt make that big a difference

    Good Luck

  4. invaLPsion macrumors 65816


    Jan 2, 2004
    The Northlands
    During my three week stint with a 17" powerbook I thought it was very portable. All you need is a good bag and it will go ANYWHERE with ease. :)
  5. vga4life macrumors 6502

    Jun 16, 2004
  6. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Apr 13, 2004
    New York
    My 15" is just as portable as the 12". The only thing that is a little rough with the 15" and 17" is that sometimes it is hard to use in cramped places such as airplanes. But other than using them is tight places there just as good as the 12" for portablility. Make sure you get a decent bag/backpack that has plenty of protection.
  7. virividox macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    yeah using a 17 incher is coach is a bit of a pain, but in biz class or 1st its fantastic, but i dont really whip out my laptop in flights anyway

    right now i love my 17 but i believe the best compromise size/performance is the 15, but the 12s are pretty great as well

    i just love larger screens so go for the 15
  8. JRam macrumors member


    Jun 25, 2004
    Santa Cruz
    Go 17

    I got the 17" about a month or so ago and I have had no problems with portability. I use a regular backpack/sleeve combo for carrying the bag around and it works fine, since I was going to carry the laptop in a backpack anyways size wasnt much of an issue. I love using the laptop a lot, on the desk its great to have the screen space without hooking it up to anything and when I ride the train/bart its not too big too fit, it fits fine on my lap too, the 12" felt a little small to me.

    Definitely get the hard drive upgrade and try to get 1gig of ram if you can, you wont regret it.

  9. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Apr 13, 2004
    New York
    I also use a backpack/sleeve combo. My whole setup costs $50 and the protection is great. It's a bit difficult to get the sleeve into the backpack while the laptop is in the sleeve. But i know it gives excellent protection.
  10. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    I agree with the Jzz. A sleeve provides great protection and allows you the flexibility of moving the Powerbook around in various different bags.
  11. James L macrumors 6502a

    Apr 14, 2004
    15" for me, and as for upgrades:

    Extra ram, up to 1 GB, is a must

    the 5400rpm hard drive upgrade is a MUST. Studies have shown it to be the best upgrade besides ram, and it is dirt cheap.

    I would upgrade the video ram to 128mb too, but for now it won't make much of a difference at all. The benchmarks I looked at showed at normal resolutions it added a couple of FPS to some games, at higher resolutions it added I think it was 7 FPS more. Not huge leaps and bounds, but as games become more intensive it will make more of a difference.

    The HD upgrade, and the VRAM upgrade, are really cheap. The RAM upgrade is more expensive, but worth it.
  12. Lincoln thread starter macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2003

    Thanks for all the replies, I now have no qualms in going for a 15" or 17".

    I went to a Leopard sanctuary today on a photo shoot (just downloading photo's now). One of the guys there had a 15" Titanium Powerbook (to download his photos to), the screen size seemed huge in comparison to a 12". It also seemed bigger than my work Toshiba Laptop with 15" screen :confused: , I suppose that it because it was widescreen.

    I think that the 15" might be big enough. However just to be sure I will go to an Apple dealer and see all 3 sizes together.

    If anyone else has any comments on portability I woul be glad to hear from you.
  13. paxtonandrew macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2004
    I Come From A Land Down Under
    The true screen size of the 15 inch is 15.2', and your Toshiba is only 15'. That would explain the screen size discrepancy. I have always believes the 15-inch to have the best of both worlds, i.e. The computer was powerful enough to use as a Desktop, and light enough and small enough to be classed as a portable. Just a thought, sell the p.c. desktop, and buy a new iMac when they come out.

    Good luck with your choices though.
  14. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    At my school, we have projectors in every room. They are VGA capable. I can hook up by 12 inch PowerBook, and hey! 50" screen!

    If you really need the extra screen space (the 12 inch space is nice. Expose lets me do more with those 12 inches than 15 inches w/o Expose) then the 15 is a good choice. But I have to say, a total of 768 of memory and a 1.33 Ghz processor isn't shabby. I have another screen, at home, that I use and so I can have a linked-desktop thing going, with the 12" and external 15".

  15. zakee00 macrumors regular


    Jul 7, 2004
    Anchorage, Alaska
    yes, but with my 15" and expose, i can do more then a 17" without expose ;)
    my 15" is excelent, in for repairs for the 3rd time in 6 mos, but hey. portability is great, i can take it anywhere. i have 512mb of ram with a superdrive, and i love dvd burning. i would get it built in so u can use idvd. then when u have the cash, get a dl 16x burner ;)
    good luck buying,
  16. itsumo macrumors member

    Jul 6, 2004

    I was carting my 15" about yesterday, and after I'd filled up my bag with the A/C adaptor, a couple of books, a DVD, an umbrella and so on I was thinking "Phew! I'm glad I didn't get the 17!"

    Having said that, it was still less strain on my shoulder than most PC bricks I've handled. And IMO the form factor of the 15" is perfect. Just the computer by itself is not heavy at all, and maybe you don't carry as much rubbish around as I do...

    As you mentioned your idea of a desktop replacement, I thought I should point out that I didn't intend to get this as a desktop replacement, but it seems to have taken over without me noticing. I haven't turned on the desktop in days, and it has only just occurred to me!
  17. cb911 macrumors 601


    Mar 12, 2002
    BrisVegas, Australia
    the 15" is quite portable. i've been taking my 15" TiBook, and now 15" AlPB with me to and from college for almost 3 years now. it's quite a bearable weight with just the PB, but if you carry extra books etc of course it will be heavier, but then i'd just say you've got to do weights. :D

    also, i didn't have a 'laptop' bag, just a regular backpack, not even with a specially made laptop pocket, but it did have a pocket that fit the PB. if you do walk alot and caryr lots of books etc i'd say it's important to get a backpack style bag that you can use on both shoulders. it makes a big difference.

    i also use my 15" PB as my only computer, mostly for PhotoShop and now video editing, effects work. it's a 1.25GHz standard config i think, just 80GB drive and SuperDrive. i've also put an extra 1GB stick of RAM in, bringing it to a total of 1.5GB RAM. :D :cool:

    the 15" has been really good for me, a good size screen, around A4 size, so it's easy to get a bag for. but now that i'm doing video work i'd really appreciate the extra screen space of the 17", but you can always run a dual-monitor setup, something i might do more regularly now.

    i also love the widescreen aspect ratio, i'd never go normal now. :D

    if the 15" is enough for you, i'd say save some money and spend it on extras like more RAM etc.

    hope that helps you out some. :)
  18. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    i agree! the 15" version is very capable and still very portable. needs a case, though, so if you need to carry the laptop with you literally every minute, then the 12" might be much better for you. the screen is however very small compared to the 15-incher.
  19. macnemo macrumors newbie


    Jul 15, 2004
    15" is the way to go man !!! Like what all the others have said, save the money for rams!!!
  20. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    :p Fine, fine. I still have a point.
  21. DJY macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2003
    Canberra AUST
    I wrestled with this issue for some time 15" OR 17"

    First time switcher here - and am very happy with my 17"!
    Take it all over the shop!

    Mates have both 15 and 17... and then I quizzed them just before I bought mine over 2/3rds said if they had to replace theirs - without money as a factor - they would buy the 17!
  22. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2002
    Atlanta, GA
    I have the 17” and am extremely happy with it. The screen is truly amazing and the performance is perfect for my needs. However this is really a desktop replacement rather than a “road warrior” portable, so you need to evaluate the level of portability you need.

    If you require true portability, need to carry the machine around a lot during the day, work off your lap etc. I think the 12” or the 15” is probably the way to go. For me, I am simply transferring my Pbook from a desk at home to my office desk and back each day and for that level of portability the 17” is fine. I get a desktop experience in a machine I can close the lid on and take with me wherever I need to go.

    Whichever way you go, up the RAM to 1GB+, its definitely worth it

    Finally I would concur with others to get yourself something like the Tucano Second skin (which I have) and pop your Pbook into an anonymous backpack/briefcase etc. I personally feel that a fully-fledged computer bag has “please mug me” written all over it.


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