PowerBook 12" Updates?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by pjhawksr, Feb 10, 2004.

  1. pjhawksr macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    #1
    Any idea when the 12" PowerBook might get an update? I'm ready to buy but don't mind waiting if it's not too long.
     
  2. virividox macrumors 601

    virividox

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Location:
    Manila - Nottingham - Philadelphia - Santa Barbar
    #2
    i think within the next 2 months. but you know we are all grasping at straws.
     
  3. macopia macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2002
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    #3
    I'm ready to buy one but I want FireWire 800!
     
  4. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #4
    Hope Apple improves the video chip on the 12"

    I have a Rev.B 12" PB, and an upgraded video chip is the one thing I'd like to see most. The nVidia GeForce FX5200 Go is a terrible chip...slower than a GeForce 4MX in some cases. I realise that a notebook isn't meant to be a powerhouse gaming system, but even the Mobile Radeon 9200 in the G4 iBooks is a generally a stronger performer. Maybe we'll see the amazing new Mobility Radeon 9700 turn up in a 15"/17" update and the 12" can get the still very respectable Mobility Radeon 9600. A decent video chip turns the 12" PB from a no-gaming notebook into a decent gaming solution.

    Oh yeah...FW800 would be nice too.
     
  5. tiktokfx macrumors regular

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    Aug 7, 2003
    Location:
    DC Metropolitan Area
    #5
    Re: Hope Apple improves the video chip on the 12"

    Of course, I'm assuming that's a rhetorical point since the video performance on the 12" PowerBooks is better than on the G4 iBooks.
     
  6. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

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    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #6
    Re: Re: Hope Apple improves the video chip on the 12"

    Yes I suppose it is a rhetorical point, since even when comparing the 1GHz iBook to the 1GHz PB, the two systems use different G4 variants (256KB L2 cache versus 512KB L2 cache), have different memory subsystems (SDR vs. DDR), and probably use different system controllers and/or motherboard designs. But factoring out system-level variations and comparing GPU to GPU, the Radeon 9200 seems to be a faster mobile GPU...about 25-30% faster in UT2003 than the GeForce FX 5200 Go. This test was performed on the actual mobile versions of the chips, installed in the same base (Intel Pentium 4) notebook.

    http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=8836

    Regardless of which of the Radeon 9200 or the GeForce FX 5200 is a better GPU, I'd still like to see the video upgraded in the 12" PB. The GeForce FX 5200 Go has always been pitched by nVidia as a budget mobile GPU. The budget system in Apple's lineup is the iBook. Extra GPU performance never hurt anyone, especiallly when they are paying PowerBook prices.
     
  7. tiktokfx macrumors regular

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    DC Metropolitan Area
    #7
    Re: Re: Re: Hope Apple improves the video chip on the 12"

    I don't drink koolaid, but it seems odd to me that people just assume Apple sticks ONLY the 12" PB with an NVidia chip for some negative reason.

    It's very simple. The 12" PB is the smallest of all the laptops. The most conceivable reason for using the 5200 instead is... heat. I suspect that it uses less heat than the 9200, which would not surprise me, as the 9200's basically just an overclocked 9000. Overclocking=more heat, and if it's underclocked than presumably it performs worse than a 5200.
     
  8. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

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    Jul 31, 2003
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    Sydney, Australia
    #8
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Hope Apple improves the video chip on the 12"

    I didn't think Apple deliberately set out to stick it to PB 12" owners or anything like that. As always, I'm sure there are plenty of reasons to explain Apple's choices...what kind of pricing Apple got from nVidia versus ATI, who could deliver the required number of GPUs within manufacturing schedules, which GPU was a better fit for the pre-existing 12" PB motherboard (didn't the Rev A. 12" also use an nVidia GPU? Was is it a GeForce4 4200 Go?), as well as issues such as heat and power usage, and attempting to balance performance with marketing objectives and product positioning. Whatever the reasons, I'm most interested in seeing the performance of the 12" PB raised above what it is now...I think 12" PB buyers should get a little more 3D 'oomph' for their money in the next revision. But onto the technical stuff...

    The Radeon 9200 Mobility isn't just a desktop part. It also includes PowerPlay, which is ATI's speed/power stepping technology and allows the GPU to reduce its power usage (and hence heat output) when not under peak utilisation. While it is true to say that the 9200 runs at a higher clock speed than the original 9000, that doesn't mean it is 'overclocked' (ie: running outside its voltage/speed/heat parameters). Overall GPU design, manufacturing process, power management and die packaging all contribute to overall heat production, not just raw clock speed. Also remember that if there were heat issues running the Mobility 9200 in a notebook, how would Apple manage to use it in the 12" G4 iBook? It is virtually the same size as the 12" PB.

    In fact, it appears that the Radeon 9200 may generate as little as half as much heat output as the GeForce FX 5200 GO, according to this article (take it with a grain of salt though, it's all unofficial):

    http://www.gamersdepot.com/hardware/video_cards/ati_vs_nvidia/9200_geforcefx/001.htm

    Again, the scores show the 9200 outperforming the 5200 when placed in the same base reference system.

    I'm really going on and on about this when it's not all that important. All I am saying is that a) the GeForce FX 5200 Go in the current 12" PB isn't an overwhelming performer, and b) if there is a 12" PB update soon, I'd like to see a faster GPU in there, as well as other niceties such as FW800. :)
     
  9. tiktokfx macrumors regular

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    Aug 7, 2003
    Location:
    DC Metropolitan Area
    #9
    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hope Apple improves the video chip on the 12"

    I'm not trying to beat the horse to death or whatever, but again, the 12" PowerBook IS by far the smallest laptop. The 12" iBook may have the same size screen, but it IS larger. Volumetrically, the G4 iBook is about 24% larger than the 12" PowerBook, and also has a slower and therefore cooler main processor.

    I have a 1GHz 12" myself, and it's not like I wouldn't dearly like a higher grade framebuffer or FW800, but there's always going to be tradeoffs for any computer.
     

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