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PowerBook 15"

Discussion in 'Product Recommendations/Reviews' started by gpark, Jul 1, 2004.

  1. macrumors newbie

    I need some recommendation on the new PB that I want to configure from the web.

    First of all, I've finally saved enough money, (I think) to get a PB 15" w/ Superdrive.

    I have saved some more for upgrade in configuration.
    I don't think PB G5 will come out until they cool the temperature down. (Huge heatsinks won't fit in PB.) So I think it is a good time to buy a PB 15"

    Of course I am upgrading to 128MB of Video RAM, and 1GB of RAM for PB.

    However, I am not sure if there is a big difference (in laptops, I know there is for desktops.) of upgrading from 4200rpm drive to 5400rpm drive. Faster rotational speed would mean faster data loading and reading but doesn't it mean more battery use, more hot? I mean its just a laptop. Do I really need to upgrade to 5400RPM drive?

    Also I am delaying wether to get the extra battery or not. I probably will be using my powerbook about 6hours a day. People tell me that the battery doesn't last longer than 1.5 hours. I mean during the 6 hours of on-the-road, I could charge it in a wall outlet or something? (How low does it usually take?)

    Now the last thing, Apple Care. I wouldn't even look at it if it was a G5 Desktop. From years of experience, I could easily fix it by myself. However laptops kind of scare me. I deal with them with pre-caution. So I was thinking whether I should get the Applce Care Plan or not. My previous laptop didn't cause me any trouble for over 3 years. (Except batteries, which most laptop batteries die after 1.5~2 years.)

    As for Tiger, I don't know. I know its will be availalbe next year but still the new features are much better than Panther. I have the developer edition handy, but I don't like Pre-releases that much. (From experience with Linux servers and pre-released server softwares aren't very reliable.)

    Well, I need some help with decisions. I won't be buying it until September 1 so I need some suggestions so that I don't regret it.

  2. macrumors 6502


    My advice: Get the 5400 RPM drive, possibly before the VRAM upgrade (esp with new higher prices) if you're tight on cash. Otherwise, get both, but the HD will probably make more of a difference in daily usage unless you're running 3D games at very high resolutions with large textures.

    Second: Pay the $100 for a single 512MB stick of RAM (included) and then buy a 512MB from Crucial for ~1/3 the cost that Apple wants ($119 when I ordered on Monday vs. ~$300 IIRC from Apple). Thus, you still get 1GB of RAM and save a couple hundred $$$, maybe to pay for the HD and VRAM above. Apple's RAM prices are ridiculous - I don't even know how they can post prices like that without laughing themselves to death.
  3. macrumors 68040


    ive just got the powerbook, my opinion is that the 5400 hardly makes any difference and is noisier and unless your battering the graphics neither does the 128vram, without doing anything too heavy im getting three hours and up to 3 and 45 mins, ( i could get nore im sure, but i dont really try)
    plus if your on the road a lot you could just get the auto/air charger from
    the apple store... and use the cigerette lighter, hope any of this helps

    you could look a barefeats.com to check out the 4200 vs the 5400
  4. macrumors newbie


    i've fixed to getting a 5400rpm drive. However, I will be using the PB for Adobe Suite. (Photoshop, Illust, etc.) I will be using Shake and After Motion, etc... (Video editing with my Canon Digital Camcorder) and general 2D/3D animation design.

    Some may recommend me of getting a G5 but first I don't have space to put an extra desktop (already have 4) I have to get a monitor for that. (I don't have a spare one) I know it is faster but bulkier. I usually do my work not in a fixed place (move around a bit.)

    So I'm thinking of getting a PB 15"
    with following config. See if it looks alright.

    1.5GHz w/ 128MB VRAM
    512MB x 1 + (Crucial 512MB)
    80GB 5400rpm
    AirPort Extreme Card
    AirPort Express Base Station with AirTunes

    I haven't decided whether to get applce care or not! (Its quite expensive..)
    Any suggestions?
  5. macrumors newbie

    How much louder is the 5400?
  6. macrumors regular

    The great thing about Apple Care is that you have a year to decide. Any time within the first year you can purchase the extra Apple Care (for the same price mind you) without losing any coverage. If you are a little leary on buying it now, wait to see if anything goes wrong in the future and if it does, then buy it. If not, then you didn't get burned. Normally I recommend looking into putting the Powerbook on your renters/homeowners insurance, since it would cover any unnatural acts of God. Hope this helps.

  7. macrumors regular

    I haven't found the 5400 RPM drive to be any hotter or louder, and according to Barefeats, it actually ends up using less battery because the faster drive spends less time reading, even though it uses more power. The 5400 RPM HD makes a noticible difference in App load times; whereas the extra video memory and processor speed aren't going to be noticlble in anything except high-power 3d Games, and if you already have 4 desktops, I'd assume you don't need the Powerbook for that.

    I'd suggest dropping down to the 1.33 ghz / 64MB VRAM model and getting the Applecare and the 5400 RPM HD if money is an issue. However, if you've got money to blow... might as well go for it :).
  8. macrumors newbie

    hey thanks,

    but of course all my games are installed in a PC. (3.6 HT Extreme Edition.)

    The other two are Linux Server Cluster running RedHat.

    The other one is an old G4 runnign at 450MHz

    I'm buying a 15" PB with severla softwares such as Final Cut Express, iDVD Pro, iLife, and others and it is going to be used as an multimedia-on-the-road. (I don't like to sit down and do stuff, I like to move around. Although the new G5 looks awesome.)

    Yes I did saw barefeat.com and the 5400rpm upgrade had a drastic difference from the stock one. I am going for it.

    I know 1.33gHz and 1.5 gHZ won't make a big difference but why not the latest revision?

    For applce care, I don't think I have the cash to afford it right away. I might think about it after 1 year passes by.

    Here are the specs I am thinking of configuring

    PowerBook 1.5GHz (15.2" TFT)
    1.5GHz PowerPC G4 with 128MB Graphics Memory
    80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 5400 rpm
    SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    512MB DDR333 SDRAM - 1 SO-DIMM + (Crucial 512MB Stick)
    AirPort Extreme Card
    AirPort Express Base Station with AirTunes

    And I am still not sure whether I should get Airport Express Base Station or Airport Extreme Base Station. I want the AirTunes so that I could bring it around. However, Airport Extreme is a lot better. However, the internet connection is only a DSL. (Don't think fast would matter) However, in order for me to send video files, docs, programs to my Linux Cluster, I might need Extreme. Or, I was thinking of just giving up Wireless and have my laptop connected to Gigabit Ethernet (Which I currently have)

    Any more suggestions?
  9. macrumors 68040


    i can recomend the extreme, i have it and it is fantastic.... really worth it

    plus those specs are top notch.. you cant really get much better... i would go for it....
  10. macrumors regular



    I would also recommend the 5400RPM drive, it is about a 20% speed increase. You should also get the biggest possible hard drive; changing the hard drive in the new aluminum powerbook is a pain in the $@#. I would also recommend that you get a gig of ram, Panther needs room to breathe. Personally, I find the G4 to be really slow - Centrino's are much faster!

    also, save money for a bluetooth mouse (!) I have a Logitech MX900 - refurb from newegg!!!
  11. macrumors newbie

    I personally liked PCs. I do like Centrino technology and other Intel Proccessors but what I don't like is the operating system that is so limited, window$.

    I am not going to get another x86 or amd architectured PCs. Yes, I admire the new intel chips that take up less energy, and are generally faster. (Though I argue that 1GHz G4 is way faster than 1GHz Intel Centrino Mobile)

    And for the storage, I wish Apple dropped to 60GB with 5400rpm. I have 1TB Lacie handy, and my cluster have 4 x 200GB Drives with 160GB of document backup.

    Thanks Though.
  12. macrumors regular


    I agree with you, but right now I have a 1.33 GHZ Powerbook G4 with 768M of ram, and adobe acrobat feels so slow compared to my roommates 1.6GHZ Centrino. His machine feels so much faster......I agree with you about the OS, but this is something you should keep in mind when buying the powerbook

    one more thing, the resolution of the powerbook screen is very low, 1280x854 - compared with the ~1400x1000 in my roommates ASUS W1N. That makes a huge difference; the windows on my powerbook are just too damn big!
  13. macrumors newbie

    Thanks for your comment. Yes, I agree. Centrino with 1400x1000 resolution is nice. I will think of switching to Windows when they have their longhorn come out officially. (Beta releases from MSDN doens't really please me at all. Still like Mac OS X). Trust me, I did like Windows when Mac OS 9 was present.

  14. macrumors regular

    What were you doing in Acrobat? Are you talking about Reader or the application? If Reader, try Preview. If the app, what tasks are you comparing?

  15. macrumors regular


    I was using Adobe Acrobat 6 Professional, and it is much slower than the Windows version. I was using the highlighter feature, and the other commenting facilities. These new functions are really nice; it's so cool to be able to finally highlight research articles (in the .pdf format) on screen! But they are definitlly faster on the centrino......actually, i am not sure why they are faster (video drivers, etc???), but they are
  16. macrumors 6502


    The latest Acrobat 6 reader is a serious resource pig, at least on Windows (my only experience until the PB arrives). Everyone at work will bitch about how slow it's gotten (start-up times are atrocious) compared to older versions. Thus, my dual Xeon 2.0GHz machine at work even takes forever to start it up - it's truly ridiculous how flabby Acrobat has gotten!
  17. macrumors newbie

    You've gotta take consideration that the modules Acrobat possesses. Just like Photoshop Acrobate improved. But improvement usually means more coding, and more complicated engines and modules. Well, Same things are happening to Linux distributions. Getting bloated everyday. (Fedora Core 2...... 6 GB....)
  18. macrumors 6502


    True, but they could handle all those bloated modules better. For example, why are they verified/loaded at start-up every time, even when they are not needed? The core PDF functionality should come-up immediately and then the modules can load *as-needed* per the document's requirements. I often create very simple ASCII->PDF files at work using Acrobat 4 on Solaris. These are as plain-jane a PDF as you can get, yet Reader 6 *still* loads all that bloatware to view them even though it's not needed.

    I don't have a problem (usually) with bloat or feature-itis, but it should be handled in a way so as to not affect the core functionality of the tool as much as possible.
  19. macrumors newbie

    I sorta disagree with you. I would rather have all the modules loadup. I don't want the program to stop to load the modules when I try to extract text and images from the document. I mean, you could be different. I just want a program to flow nicely. :)
  20. macrumors newbie

    The only improvement I see of programs now days is to utilize the dual proccessors and hyper threading technology within the application. Such as feeding modules simultaneously into both proccessor if other apps are not using it.
  21. macrumors 6502a

    I wish apple would add the 60gb 7200rpm drive in the options ;-) yes it runs a little hotter but for those who are in need for speed an portability... its the right choice...

    I was thinking to add one in my Ti-PB but then the PB got stolen... and I bought a G5...
  22. macrumors newbie

    Yes 7200rpm would be good for a PB.

    Yet, I was suprised to find that the new G5 was not shipped with 10000rpm drives.

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