Possible Switcher with Powerbook Questions

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ll cool jh, Dec 27, 2003.

  1. ll cool jh macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    #1
    i have been looking around for a laptop for when i go to college next year. the powerbook immediately captured my attention with its sleek design. since then i've been looking around at other laptops, like dell, hypersonic, toshiba, and ibm. dell laptops are really the only ones that are similar with both price and performance. my future college offers discounts on both apple and dell products.

    my questions are really about the different size powerbooks and macs in general since i've never used a mac. i have pretty much put the 12" powerbooks out of the picture, i plan to bring the laptop around with me sometimes, but not often enough to warrant such a small screen. i am torn between the 15" and 17", the 17" is more expensive and a little less portable and i currently have a 15" moniter and its size doesn't bother me. so i guess i am not very torn. i'm not really a gamer, but i like to play a game or two here and there, and i am not going to be majoring in a computer intensive major. i will mainly just be doing normal tasks on my computer, with a lot of cd and dvd burning.

    will the mac os x be hard to adjust to coming from windows xp pro? i am pretty computer capable, and really don't have any problems with winxp, i leave my computer on for days, and viruses and such really have never gotten me.

    am i going to find myself really needing programs that are only available for windows?

    do third party two-button mice work well with macs, more specifically powerbooks? if i can't have a two-button mouse, i am not going to even consider a mac, i am way too used to it.

    is a pretty well stocked powerbook going to be able to last me four years? over the four years it will get ram upgrades and maybe even a new harddrive, but will the processor still be going strong?

    how many slots are there on powerbooks for adding ram?

    am i going to need a full-sized keyboard to use with the powerbook say when it is just sitting on my desk in my dorm, or will typing on the powerbook's keyboard feel fine?

    does the superdrive burn dvd's that work with most dvd players?

    how long does it take the superdrive to rip and burn dvds?

    do powerbooks really get that hot?

    that is all i can think of now, i am not too concerned about the powerbook, but more if i can adjust to mac os x after never having used a mac before. thanks. sorry if this is in the wrong section, but i think this is where it would go.
     
  2. KevCo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    #2
    Re: Possible Switcher with Powerbook Questions

    I wouldn't say it will be hard but it may take some patience at first. Some of the concepts of how things work on a Mac are significantly different than Windows so it may be a little frustrating until you get used to them.
    Well that's more of a personal question but in general there are MacOS equivelants of anything you would want on Windows. There is always VirtualPC if you find yourself with a Windows app that you just can't do without. I'd make a list of what you currently use and then investigate the Mac alternatives now before you buy.
    Yes. I've used both Logitech wheel mice and Microsoft Wheel mice on my iBook with no issues. Everything works as expected (including right-clicking and the wheel scrolling) and I didn't even load any additonal drivers.
    People say Macs tend to have a longer functional life than PCs. My 700Mhz G3 iBook is almost 1.5 years old and still going strong. So far each subsequent release of OS X has actually improved performance rather than decreased it like in the Windows world.
    There is one open RAM slot according to Apple's posted tech specs.
    Again, this is really a personal question. I assume you've tried the keyboard at a store? I find laptop keyboards to be fine in general but some people do not.
    I only have an iBook so I can't really comment on this. I would say yes it will probably feel pretty hot if it's running processor intensive tasks because of the metal case. My old Sony VAIO laptop has a metallic case and it gets pretty hot as well.

    Again, I would mention that it will probably take some time to adjust to MacOS X coming from a Windows world. It may be frustrating when things don't work the way you expect them to at first. If you give yourself a little time to get used to it and to relearn a few things then I think you'll find it to be a very nice OS to work with.
     
  3. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #3
    I switched from Windows just over a year ago. My first purchase was a PowerMac, and more recently a 15" Powerbook. As a student I would go for a 15" as presumably you will be carrying the laptop about quite a bit, and the 15" is more portable. OS X does take a little while to get use too, but I did not have any problems. In fact I find XP a little annoying now at work! I suggest you post a list of the Apps that you want to use and someone will be kind enough to tell you if a Mac version exists. I am sure you already know that Microsoft Office and Photoshop have Mac equivalents and are completely file compatible with windows. Microsoft do a Mac version of internet explorer (athough Apple Safari is better IMO). I use a Microsoft 2 button and scrollwheel mouse with no problem at all. I also use the Powerbook at work and get go on the Windows Server network and Exchange e-mail system with no problem. My powerbook does not get that hot, and can keep it on my lap with no problem. The Keyboard is great, but you can always get an external one if you want. There are in fact 2 slots for RAM and you can go up to 2 GB, I have 1GB in my powerbook. However it is worth paying the extra to have you powerbook with one memory chip if you are going for the superdrive version. The superdrive burns DVD-R, that can be used in most set top DVD players. The laptop should last a long time, but if you want to upgrade you should find that Macs hold their resale value a lot better than any windows laptop, a fact that is not mentioned that oftern to potential switchers.
     
  4. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #4
    I have one of the new 15" Powerbooks and it doesn't seem to get very warm at all. I've heard the 12" ones get quite hot. This Powerbook is much cooler (meaning temp, but it's "cooler" as well) than the older Dell P3 laptop I had previously.

    Apple's laptops use lower wattage processors than almost all PC-type laptops. BTW this also is why Powerbooks tend to be such quiet machines; the fans don't need to run very often (plus it's a quiet fan).

    I find the Powerbook keyboard quite nice actually. Its feel is very much like a desktop keyboard. The only reason I can see that someone might find it inadequate is for those people who like to use the numeric keypad (the "10-key" keypad to the right on a desktop keyboard) - but that's true of all laptops.

    Important: If you end up getting a Dell, spend the money to get one with a portable Pentium processor. Dell's low-end notebooks use desktop processors, so they will have very little battery life and also will get quite hot. Read the descriptions, and be sure the processor description says either "mobile" or "centrino".
     
  5. ll cool jh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    #5
    since it was suggested by some people, here is a list of programs i use with some regularity.

    ahead nero - but i'd suppose that any mac burning software would substitute
    aol instant messenger - i know there is a mac version for this
    kazaa lite k++
    norton anti-virus - probably won't be needed on a mac
    norton utilities - probably won't be needed as much
    winzip
    winrar
    zoomplayer - i'm sure other video players work fine
    winamp - i have been using itunes for windows and starting to like it
    3 different applications for removing spyware, again probably not needed
    microsoft office - i know there is a mac version
    adobe photoshop - i know there is a mac version, i only use it for fun anyways
    ACDSee - i think iphoto is similar
    age of empires 2 - i know it is old, but fun to play on a network with some people from time to time
    gta3 - have it for ps2, so rarely play it on pc anymore
    internet explorer - i know it is available for mac, and i hear good things about safari
    outlook - mac has alternatives

    i can't really think of anything else that i use a lot, probably because lately i've been removing a lot of useless stuff on my computer and cleaning it up. so i don't have a lot installed on my computer now. thanks guys.
     
  6. Kingsnapped macrumors 6502a

    Kingsnapped

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    #6
    When I switched, I had no trouble with software. There are P2P networks that work with macs, though you'll be hard pressed to find out what they are around here. You won't need any of the utilities you listed. Plan on buying office:mac for students and teachers. I don't use my book for gaming (past pocket tanks) so I can't help you there.

    I gotta go to work, so no time for long good post. I hope that I helped.
     
  7. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #7
    OS X has ability to burn CD's and DVD's but to copy disks or create Video CD's Toast is the best App to get.

    I would not bother with any of the Norton tools it is unlikely you will ever need them. However suggest you take a look at Apples .mac service as that has free Anti Virus program and I have found it very useful.

    ZIP is now built into OS 10.3 and is compatible with windows version.

    OS X has its own very good DVD player.

    I think you have already answered your other questions. Apple's Mail tool is very good, or you can buy Microsoft Entourage either seperately or part of office. If you are going to buy office then I would get the professional addition which includes Virtual PC, in case you do have a windows App that you must run.

    Finally it is worth noting that MS Office for Mac and Virtual PC are due for new versions soon, with predicted anouncements in January. Also Apples i Apps are rumored for updates soon as well.
     
  8. titaniumducky macrumors 6502a

    titaniumducky

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2003
    #8
    Definately go for the PowerBook.

    Switching from Windows to Mac is NO PROBLEM. It took me about 2 hours to understand fully why Windows is DIRT and become fully acclimated to my Mac, which is a 15" Titanium PowerBook.

    OS X is so stable and powerful. Trust me, if you have ever felt frustrated by your computer or been stressed out by it, it's time for you to switch. If you think you're doing ok with Windows, switch and you'll understand how you were tricking yourself into thinking Windows was ok.
     
  9. Macpoops macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2002
    Location:
    PA
    #9
    Nero the built in stuff should do if not there is Roxio Toast
    AIM- Mac Ver and iChat
    Kazaa- Poisoned(accesses Kazaa), Acquisition(sp), etc..
    Norton AV not needed
    Norton Utilities- Get Drive10 or DiskWarrior
    Winzip- Stuffit Comes installed
    Winrar- Stuffit? I know there are Rar readers out there for mac
    Zoomplayer- Quicktime, WMP9, mPlayer, VLC
    Spyware- damn near non-existant
    Office- You know
    Photoshop- You know
    ACDSee- You know
    Age of E 2- mac version
    GTA- Not sure about.

    Go with the 15. You probably have a 15 inch CRT well if you compare viewable areas the 15 LCDs are equivalent to a 17inch CRT. the 17 IMO is a bit much the 12 IMO is too small and just like baby bear's bed the 15 is just right. It won't be until your junior year before you even begin to feel that your machine is getting slow, if apple continues updates like panther probably longer. By the end of your senior year you might and it's a big might feel that your computer has done it's job and it's time to move on to something new. When you consider most of the people you'll be going to school with will be complaining about their computers in the begining of their sophmore year and feel that they are damn near unusable by the middle of Junior year you'll be well ahead of the curve.
     
  10. Teronke macrumors member

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2003
    #10
    Switcher

    I switched in late August and have loved it since.

    OS X -

    Mac OS X is a beautiful piece of software. The file system is oh so better than Win XP; no need to reboot after crashes (when and if you do get one, which is rare); iLife is fantastic; the other bundled software is great (burner software, Omni Graffle, Omni Outliner); and its great for beginners and pros alike

    Only gripe is that the occasional glitches that I have to put up with while surfing the internet (WMV streams not playing, Real player video not streaming properly, Safari not able to access certain secure sites properly etc). But nothing too bad

    Powerbooks -

    And the Powerbooks are great. Often people don't mention the keyboard on these things. They are absolutely great. You can really fly on these. They're probabbly better than most 3rd party USB keyboards out there. USB mouses work perfectly on the Macs plus after a while you'll get used to the one button trackpad . The screen is great too. Very clear and bright

    They do get a little hot but I've find PC laptops to be more hotter still. The only gripe is the relatively short battery life when compared to some Centrinos out there.

    Software -

    I'm a uni student myself and the only software you really need is Office X, maybe Toast if you burn a lot of discs, Norton Antivirus just to make sure you don't inadvertantly pass on Win viruses to others, and Cocktail which is a good utility to have. Every other piece of software you'll need is pretty much preloaded.

    Plus the wow factor -

    Call me shallow but just as important is the wow factor. You'll get it when you open the black box you find you aluminium laptop inside. Also there's the wow factor when you whip your Powerbook out in a lecture and your friends crowding for a peek
     
  11. ll cool jh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    #11
    some of the replies made me think of a few other questions.

    what is cocktail?

    does toast actually work well?

    are the few small glitches that occur while safari solved by using internet explorer?

    do all the mac os x animations slow things down at all? i'm used to a plain windows gui and in the past i've tried installing things to make it look better but ends up with a noticable loss in performance.

    can i make a user account that has the fancy gui and animations turned off and use that account when i am concerned with performance?

    will 512mb of ram be enough in my powerbook, atleast for a while?

    i was reading some stuff maybe on these forums or other mac forums about people putting stuff in their root directory instead of their home directory, can somebody briefly explain the differences?

    i've also read that just closing the window to the app doesn't quit the app, so this means when i want to quit an app i have to goto file->quit or alt-f4 (assuming there is a mac keyboard shortcut)?

    can i leave apps running when i put the computer into sleep mode? like could i leave aim running with an away message up while my computer is sleeping?

    i had some others that i forgot, thanks for everything.
     
  12. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #12
    Just answering the ones I have experience with...

    I haven't noticed an appreciable difference, but you can disable animations if you like. I've got dock magnification turned off - it drives me nuts. :D

    It should be fine. What I did was pay the extra $nn to get one 512MB stick of RAM instead of the default two. That'll make it easier and cheaper to upgrade later, since Powerbooks only have the two slots available. So far I haven't felt the need to buy more though.

    Command-Q quits the app. You can right-click on the dock icon and select "Quit", you can do any number of things.

    You can leave apps running so they'll be instantly available when you wake up the computer. However they are not going to be responsive - "sleep" on any computer (PC or Mac) basically means everything is powered off except for the RAM. This includes external ports like your Ethernet port or modem.
     
  13. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #13
    Cocktail is a utility to tweak some of the features of OS X
    www.macosxcocktail.com

    Toast is an excellent CD and DVD burning tool.

    I can't remember the last time I had a problem with safari, and yes Explorer normally works if Safari does not. Explorer is very slow, compared with Safari. If you use on line banking it is worth checking that Safari can cope. The online banking services can be choosy about which browsers they will play nice with.

    I find animations don't slow the system down at all, you can turn some of them off, but you will not have a problem on a G4 Powerbook. Only used to be an issue on older G3 ibooks.

    512 MB of Ram should be an excellent starting point, however make sure you pay the extra and have it as one chip rather than two, otherwise you will have no slots left to upgrade memory in the future, without taking one of the existing chips out.

    OS X is based on Unix, your home directory is where you can store your files that other users cannot see when they log in. If you are the only user then it should not be an issue.

    Closing the window does not close the App, and this is one of the differences that you will get use to, when you make the switch. You can close the App by clicking on the Dock at the bottom of the screen. OS X is very efficient, multi tasking OS and I generally have lots of Apps open at the same time. Because the OS is very stable this is no problem. I find that when I now use Windows the way that the document window hogs the screen really bugs me.

    Ah sleep mode, one of the killer features of Apple laptops IMO. Yes you can leave the Apps running. In fact you can be in the middle of watching a DVD, all you need to do is close the lid, the Powerbook goes to sleep. When you open the lid it will restart in a few seconds just where you left off. At work I can have all my files open, close the powerbook up to go to a meeting, then open it up again with almost instant restart.

    I would suggest that you try and get a demo before you buy, that way you can be sure you like the look and feel of a mac.
     
  14. KevCo macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    #14
    I would definately recommend getting Toast. Personally I didn't find the built-in burning capabilities to be sufficent. But Toast works great and does everything you would expect.

    I'm not familiar with the built-in zip functionality but Stuff-it is the "standard" compression utility that most Mac users have. I uses .sit files by default but it can open .zip and .rar files as well.

    I used to have Safari, Camino, and Internet Explorer on my dock. Safari was my main browser but there were a few sites that I needed to use either Camino or IE for. However Safari has been continually updated and I don't remember the last time I needed to use MSIE or Camino. I took them both off my dock I months ago.

    The animations run fine even on my 700Mhz G3 iBook. I believe the OS will actually drop frames of animation if necessary if your CPU is busy so that they don't slow down more important functions.
     
  15. ll cool jh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    #15
    thanks guys, you've been really helpful, thought of a few more to throw your way.

    how long does it take the superdrive to burn a full dvd and how lon to burn a full cd?

    can toast rip data from dvds and cds?

    what is the 'commandline' i keep seeing mentioned in other posts? would it be similar to ms dos or the registry in windows?

    i always seem to forget a few when i go to make a post, i'll probably add more lately.
     
  16. kenkooler macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Location:
    Mexico City
    #16
    Re: Possible Switcher with Powerbook Questions

    do third party two-button mice work well with macs, more specifically powerbooks? if i can't have a two-button mouse, i am not going to even consider a mac, i am way too used to it.

    No problem, I use a 5 button mouse.

    is a pretty well stocked powerbook going to be able to last me four years? over the four years it will get ram upgrades and maybe even a new harddrive, but will the processor still be going strong?

    It will, just consider adding more RAM.

    how many slots are there on powerbooks for adding ram?

    2, but one or both will be in use already depending on your configuration.

    am i going to need a full-sized keyboard to use with the powerbook say when it is just sitting on my desk in my dorm, or will typing on the powerbook's keyboard feel fine?

    The powerbook's keyboard is full sized.

    does the superdrive burn dvd's that work with most dvd players?

    It will, but use DVD-R, not DVD+R.
     
  17. kenkooler macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2002
    Location:
    Mexico City
    #17
    can toast rip data from dvds and cds?

    It can.

    what is the 'commandline' i keep seeing mentioned in other posts? would it be similar to ms dos or the registry in windows?

    Similar to ms dos, but much more powerful.
     
  18. krimson macrumors 65816

    krimson

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2003
    Location:
    Democratic People's Republic of Kalifornia
    #18
    Toast wont "rip" data iirc, you'd need DVDbackup or OSex to do that, esp if it's an encrypted commercial DVD.

    edit: and toast is awesome :)
     
  19. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2002
    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    #19
    For information on Toast I suggest you take a look at Roxio's website for all the features, as it can do a lot.

    www.roxio.com/en/products/toast/features.jhtml

    Toast can't copy protected DVD's however their are utilities available for Mac to allow you to do this. I use itunes to rip music CD's. Toast can copy data CD's (for backup purposes of course!)

    I have never timed CD or DVD burning speeds I suggest you look at rated speed of the drive. All I will say is that when I used Windows, burning a disk while running another program was a really good way of creating a nice silver coaster. I don't think I have ever had any burning errors on the Mac while using other programs.

    The command line is the unix terminal utility. Similar to the DOS prompt in Windows XP. Can be useful to solve file permission issue, but I have never used it.
     
  20. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2003
    Location:
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    #20
    If you've ever connected to a Linux or Unix system, that's exactly what the "command line" is in OS X. I would guess the majority of OS X users don't even look at it - but it's a very powerful tool if you know how to use it.
     
  21. Les Kern macrumors 68040

    Les Kern

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2002
    Location:
    Alabama
    #21
    I belive you can encrypt (128 bit) CD's and DVD's from Disk Utility right from Jag. Just make an image first.

    By the way, I've had a LOT of laptops (Mac and PC) in my day, but the new 15" AlBook is the best I have EVER seen, and will soon completely replace my main work desktop. Initially the battery only lasted 2 hours, but Apple released an update that took it to over 3; very acceptable.
    Awesome machine... I don't even want a 17". :)
     
  22. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #22
    Go switcher go

     
  23. ll cool jh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2003
    #23
    "My advice, get the 15" w/ bluetooth and the Superdrive, but lose the RAM and buy your own from someone like Crucial/Kensington (Apple RAM is expensive)."

    well, i can't get a powerbook wiht no ram in it, correct? so it seems to be that my best option would be to get it with 1 stick if 512mb of ram in it. any other options?
     
  24. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Location:
    the faraway towns
    #24
    Of course

    you're right on the 1.25 Ghz PB it comes with 512. You can start with a 1.0 Ghz and build it up without the extra RAM, but not the other way around.
     
  25. plasticparadox macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 24, 2003
    #25
    Re: Go switcher go

    iTunes and OS X's built-in functionality are good for covering the basics, but if you want to do VCDs or .bin/.cue files, look into Toast, as many people have suggested. Personally, I find that I am able to get by without Toast.

    Limewire isn't a replacement for Kazaa Lite K++. Limewire doesn't run on FastTrack, and Limewire has adware/spyware. Don't get it. Look at Poisoned instead. It runs on FastTrack, and has no ads. Freeware.

    That's incorrect. There is at least one virus for Mac OS X. Also, the antivirus programs scan for PC virii so that there is no risk of being a carrier (PC virii won't infect Macs, but Macs can pass them on).

    If you want an antivirus program, .Mac includes Virex (from McAfee).

    Outlook isn't junk. In fact, Outlook isn't even available for Mac. Office v.X comes with Entourage. I don't use it personally, preferring to use the system Address Book/Mail.app/iCal, but it's available and you can import Outlook information.
     

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