PowerBook 15" Concerns

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by macguymike, Sep 20, 2003.

  1. macguymike macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2003
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    California
    #1
    I'm thinking about upgrading from my 12" PB to the 15" Combo w/backlit keyboard. Pros? Cons?

    I have two specific questions also.

    1. Battery life on the new 15"?

    2. Heat. The 12" gets nice n' toasty (sometimes just while sitting on my desk not doing anything). I know the TiBooks got warm, do the new 15's get as hot as the 12's?

    Thanks. :)
     
  2. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2003
    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    #2
    having never had the priveliege (sp?) of using a powerbook of any size for an extended amount of time, i can't tell you how hot they get in relation to one another. what i can tell you, though, is that if you put something underneath it while it is sitting on the desk that raises part of the bottom off the table, it will be much cooler when you do have to touch the 'book for something. i don't know if that helps you at all, but it's a nice way to help keep things manageable.
     
  3. crees! macrumors 68000

    crees!

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    Jun 14, 2003
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    MD/VA/DC
    #3
    I've heard that people with the new 15" PB say it is cool as a cucumber and quieter than ever. About battery life, I'd say if you're near an outlet plug it in (which would make total sense).
     
  4. actionslacks macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2003
    Location:
    LA
    #4
    Go for the 15

    I bought the 15" 1.25 standard config.

    1. It is cool
    2. It is quiet
    3. The screen is very nice
    4. I did not care about the backlit keyboard until I got it. It is really impressive. It is delinitely worth the $69 upgrade.

    You get so much more for your money when you step up to the 15".
     
  5. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 28, 2003
    Location:
    California
    #5

    Yeah. There are just times when that sort of thing isn't practical. Like, when I'm sitting on the couch and want to actually have the thing on my lap.

    Thanks for the suggestion, though. :)
     
  6. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 28, 2003
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    California
    #6

    Well, of course. ;)

    I'm just wondering about times when I'm not near an outlet, like at a restaurant or my local Barnes & Noble.
     
  7. macguymike thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Mar 28, 2003
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    California
    #7
    Re: Go for the 15

    Sweet. What do you run on it? Is it getting good life off of the battery?

    Is it simply "cooler" than the 12 and TiBook 15? Or does it actually run cool?

    Thanks for the reply. Sorry to toss so many questions at ya but nobody else has answered. :)
     
  8. uptick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    #8
    Re: Re: Go for the 15

    Well guys, I'm new here, and also have been searching threads about this heat thing. I just got a 15" PB G4 1.25 and am rather surprised at the amount of heat the case emits. (I've been a user of Sony Vaio and Dell laptops, and those have never gotten to be like hot plates on your lap, or table!) I even measured the surface temp of the PowerBook with one of those digital turkey thermometers, and it has measured 100-110 degrees (F) consistenly.
    I don't know if this is normal, but from glancing through some other heat threads here, it seems like Apple makes hot-to-touch laptops.
    With the small rubber dots on the bottom at each corner, there's barely any clearance for airflow if the PB sits on a desk or other flat, hard surface. Perhaps the material of the casing (is it magnesium?) is a good heat conductor, and Apple has designed the whole case to be some sort of heat-sink for its internal components. But still, I've been compelled to place plastic bottle caps underneath (until I can find a better solution) to raise it up by about 1cm so that my desk doesn't act like a heatsink for the case! Not worried about the desk itself, but worried about the heat that gets built up in the case deminishing the life of the PB.

    As for the battery, I haven't done much to do all that power-saving stuff, as I'll tend to use the PB plugged-in most of the time. The first-time conditioning of the battery (from full-charge to full-discharge uninterrupted) took about 1:40.

    The built-in Airport receiver was easy to set up to work with my Netgear WAP in WEP mode (802.11b though..). But the range seems to be weaker than that of my other laptops.

    Anyway, that's my first 24-hour review of the 15" PowerBook G4.
    The heat is disconcerting, but otherwise I love the thing - it's doing an excellent job ripping up my entire CD collection!
    :D ...and keeping me from doing real work...

    Hope to hear other's comments on the heat issue.
     
  9. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2002
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    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
    #9
    I can affirm now that the 15inch PowerBook functions wonderfully for portable research work. I spent the last 2 and a half hours in the campus library doing research and typing on the computer and still had 33% battery life left (if you do the math, thats just under 4 hours of battery life). Granted, I had the prefs set to longest battery life, and had the screen brightness turned down pretty low, but that is the only real use I'll have for it when I am not right next to a power outlet. Now if only they would install a WI-FI network so that I could use the built-in airport card :rolleyes:
     
  10. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    St Augustine, FL
    #10
    Re: Re: Re: Go for the 15

    Mine hasn't heated up at all. Usually, the case is so cold to the touch I keep my hands away from the palm rests for a while. I don't see how anyone could say it gets hot, heck, even my G3 gets hotter than this thing. I haven't heard the fans come on once in the past 3 days, either. I remember hearing people complain about how the fan always comes on and how loud it was and I was pretty worried, but as of yet, I haven't heard it go on once at all. Perhaps it is environment, though. My dorm room is usually pretty cool, along with the library. I haven't used it in a hot room, so maybe that'd warm it up a bit more. As far as battery life, I got over 3 1/2 hours Thursday night when I got it and decided to run it down to sleep mode. I turned Airport and BT off and set energy control to automatic and with maybe 50% brightness. Not bad at all, for sure. This is with the 5400 rpm HD, too. I ordered a second battery, anyway, figuring it can't hurt any. As far as the keyboard, yeah, it's pretty cool. I was surprised that it was white and not blue, though, but I think it looks better and sharper that way. I definitely love this machine, though. It is light, cool, quiet, fast, and beautiful. The only problem is that the widescreen makes it nearly impossible to fit into my current laptop case, so I will have to drop another $100 sometime soon for a new case before I take it on a longer distance trek.
     
  11. yujini macrumors member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    LA, CA, USA
    #11
    I think battery life and heat depends on what you do on your laptop. You two are probably doing different stuff.

    When just doing normal stuff like word processing, email checking,
    web surfing, I think the new powerbook 15inch doesnt emit that much heat or suck up the battery power.

    Probably some heavy stuff like gaming, unzipping (like a bigass file), compiling (a longgggggg code), etc will make the processor run hot.
     
  12. uptick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    #12
    That may be so. I have been ripping CDs into iTunes non-stop, and with the hard drive, super drive, and CPU working full-blast and in concert, that may be a reason why I have a hottie. Heck, even the square power adapter is warm.

    Indeed it does run quiet, even with the drives spinning.
    However, is there really a mechanical fan built-in? If so, I would imagine that the thing ought to be activated and cooling my PB under my observed circumstances. I don't hear a fan nor feel any air current from the vents at the side.

    I was even thinking orange - like on the iPod!
    But the white backlight is unobtrusive. It's also neat how the screen dims as well when in the dark. Somewhere those ambient light sensors are hidden underneath the speaker grills. It's a sleek package!

    ...still discovering
     
  13. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #13
    Some people are getting a hot system even if they're only word processing, checking their email, and surfing the net. I think those fans should turn on more often. Seriously, I wouldn't care if the fan turned on more often as long as it protected my system from internal damage.

    I'm not even going to think about the 15". I'll look at the new 12". I hear that its cooler than the last model: the 867MHz 12" Firebook.
     
  14. qurlau macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2003
    Location:
    New York, NY
    #14
    Exceeded expectations

    As a first time user of Apple and Mac OS X, I have to admit that the new PowerBook 15" (1.25 Ghz/Superdrive, et. al.) exceeded all of my expectations.

    I have been using Microsoft products since 1993 when I graduated college (I was lucky enough to go to a school that ran Solaris, but not so lucky in the workplace).

    I have not felt this excited about using a computer since I wrote my first program on a TRS-80 Model III.

    Aside from the fit/finish which is superb, the real gem that surprised me was Mac OS X.

    I am ever more confident that the alternative to Microsoft Windows is more than just a "switch." It's a real step up and, once again, computing is cool and fun!

    Oh yeah, regarding the questions about the PowerBook. I have not noticed heat problems at all. I have had my machine running for nearly 8-10 hours at a time and it's generated less heat than my previous craptop (Compaq Evo n610c). I have not tested the battery life as I have not left my house since I received the PowerBook on Saturday (27-Sep--a day that will life in infamy!).
     
  15. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    St Augustine, FL
    #15
    What is everyone doing to get their PowerBooks to heat up so much? I usually use it on my bed and have a CD in the superdrive, doing word processing, or chat/emailing. It isn't much, but being on my bed with a CD spinning, you'd think it'd heat up a bit but it is usually still a bit cool to the touch. As far as a fan, I've heard there are now two in these new PowerBooks, but I have yet to hear any noise besides a faint mechanical sound from the superdrive when accessing or from the HD when doing transfers. If the fans are going on, I sure am not hearing it.
     
  16. KBFinFan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 30, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    #16
    I have to say mine is very quiet, I don't even know if the fans have even turned on. The most noise I heard is when inserting a DVD into the Superdrive, and that was just the disc spinning around.

    As far as heat goes, the wrist rests are very cool, almost cold to the touch depending on the room you are in. The underside, on mine at least, does seem to get warm, but never anything drastic that would cause you to feel discomfort.

    As far as battery goes, the computer says it is about 2 hrs when I unplug it, but I think it lasted longer than that when I was calibrating. I haven't run it down since when I got it, but plan to this week sometime for analysis and actually time it (not depending on what the OS says).

    So far, I am in love with this machine, I worry about the money I spent on it and paying for it. However, this is definitely the coolest thing I have ever owned.
     
  17. rueyeet macrumors 65816

    rueyeet

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Location:
    MD
    #17
    My TiBook tends to get hot when I listen to iTunes for any significant length of time, or when ripping or burning CDs, or basically anything that's simultaneously processor- and disk-intensive. Basic email/websurfing doesn't generally have that effect. Of course, that's a TiBook, not an Aluminum, so I'm not sure whether that would carry over.

    I think I could deal with the fan coming on a little more often as well, because the thing gets pretty alarmingly hot long before the fan kicks in. I'm not using a CoolPad or anything, though.
     
  18. Powerbook G5 macrumors 68040

    Powerbook G5

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    Jun 23, 2003
    Location:
    St Augustine, FL
    #18
    Funny you would mention that, I just ordered the travel version of the CoolPad today just for the extra protection incase it does end up getting hot later on. For $20, it looks like it's a good investment at least. So far it seems to be fine, but for when it is sitting on the desk, I don't want to risk damaging it if it does heat up.
     
  19. agreenster macrumors 68000

    agreenster

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2001
    Location:
    Walt Disney Animation Studios
    #19
    My 1Ghz TiBook is COLD if (as in, below room temp, cool to the touch) I'm doing basic stuff like typing invoices, editing text, running iTunes, etc. But when I'm gaming, watching a DVD, doing intensive 3D stuff in Maya, or even Photoshop work, it does heat up. It doesnt heat up as much as my 550 TiBook would, but it still gets warm.

    It ALL depends on what you are doing. Intensive video card stuff can heat up the laptop as well.
     
  20. uptick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    #20
    Excuse my newbie ignorance, but you guys here are great at answering questions and much faster than I would be able to research them...

    1. So is the Powerbook G4 that I (& anyone else) purchased this past weekend made of Aluminum or Titanium?

    2. Are there fans inside? How do you know for sure if it is/they are working (is there an OS indicator or something to check)? What activates the fan (i.e. actual temp reading, type of activity, processing power usage, etc.)?

    3. Anyone have a link to some diagram/ "x-ray" picture of the internals so I can be clued in on where the components are located, and thus what is causing the heat? Again, my observations are that the underside of MY PB gets hot; not the keyboard/palm side. The LCD panel also is normal.

    I am trying to figure if my particular PB is over heating and need to get it serviced, or if this operating temperature is normal for the application (iTune ripping) that I have been using. (oh, it's a pleasantly brisk 65 degrees here in NYC! :cool: )
     
  21. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    Location Location Location
    #21
    I don't even own one, but I'll try to answer your questions anyway. ;)

    1. They're Aluminium. Before Sept 16th, the 12" and 17" were both Aluminium while the 15" was stuck at Titanium. The titanium casing had paint chipping issues, although people were generally happy with the design and whatnot. After Sept 16th, they all use the Aluminium casing.

    2. I hear there are 2 fans inside. I don't know why they come on so infrequently. If they're getting hot, they should come on more often so as to not damage the internals of the machine. Its just piece of mind, thats all. :eek:

    The fans are controlled by OSX.

    3. I hear that the 15" Pb gets hot on the underside of the system, but only near the back.

    For other systems, its different. In an iBook and 12" Powerbook, it gets hot on the left palmrest near the trackpad because the HD is located there.


    You had also mentioned that you measured the tempurature with one of those turkey-thermometer thingies, and got 100-110 F temperatures. Isn't that normal? Don't most computers normally operate at around 35-40 celsius/95-104 Fahrenheit??
     
  22. uptick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    #22
    yep, that's an unscientific, touch-the-probe-to-the-case reading. I could only imagine it being much hotter inside that slim case...

    maybe with a more precise measuring device I'd avoid undercooked turkey and overcooked G4 !?:D :p
     
  23. uptick macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2003
    Location:
    NY
    #23
    according to Apple's tech spec pdf, "Operating temperature: 50 to 95 degrees F (30 - 35 C)"
    I interpret this to mean that the environment (room temp) in which the PB operates should be within the op temp range. I don't think it means the PB generates heat in that op temp range? Certainly mine is hyper...
     
  24. nickfit macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    #24
    For the most part, I find that my new 1.25ghz Powerbook runs warm, although ertainly not uncomfortable. Increase the demand on the processor, then increase the heat. I have been able to kick in the fan a couple times, and although it is audible, I would not consider it loud. Basically, though, given processor speeds, all current laptops, regardless of manufacturer, are going to run warm.

    As far as layout of components, there was a post here with a link to pictures. Here is the link to the website http://www.kodawarisan.com/ug/PowerBook/index15.html. The cpu and gpu are toward the back, which is where most of the heat is produced. The battery, under the left front, gets a bit warm as well at times. Again, not uncomfortably so.

    The battery life is not that good. Although it is better than the battery indicator says. I got it down to 5 minutes remaining, and it did not go to sleep for another 30 minutes. You can probably expect about 3 hours of light to meduim use form one charge. I know that 10.2.8 affected battery life, maybe 10.2.7 does as well. 10.3 is supposed to help battery life, but that is yet to be seen.

    All and all, I think this is a wonderful machine. I upgraded from the g3 Powerbook (Pismo). I was happy with the Pismo, but I am really happy with this machine.
     
  25. nickfit macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    #25
    Uptick, if you are ripping cd's, you are doing one of those heat producing activities. The cd drive will produce heat, and it is a relatively processor intensive task. I have not, though, noticed the fan kicking in while I was ripping cd's. It did make the machine much hotter, though, compared to simply writing replies to these posts, or maybe writing my dissertation (which of course is what I should be doing).
     

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