PowerBook G4, What Do I Need?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by tomatobush, Apr 21, 2004.

  1. tomatobush macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2004
    #1
    I am planning on buying a PowerBook G4. It will be my first Mac. I was wondering how much memory I will need if I were to run a few graphics design programs at the same time (Flash, Dreamweaver, Fireworks). It comes standard with 512 MB.

    Also, is there a basic word processing program included with OSX Panther?

    Thanks
     
  2. thehuncamunca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2003
    Location:
    NJ
    #2
    512 is a decent amount for everyday tasks
    depends upon how much you use those programs if you use them a lot, upgrading to 1GB (not through apple) will be worthwhile
    try it first with 512 and if things aren't zippy enough go to 1GB

    for the powerbooks there is no word processing program
    there are free ones like open office available

     
  3. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a

    Steven1621

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2003
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #3
    i would say upgrade your model to one dimm on ram so that it will be easier and cheaper to upgrade later.
     
  4. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #4
    I'll chime in with the others and also say that 512MB should be enough RAM for most day-to-day web and graphics design programs. The suggestion of getting a model with a single 512MB SO-DIMM is a good one...if you find you need more RAM down the track, you have a free slot and don't need to throw any RAM out.

    If in the future you suspect that you are running low on RAM, there are some very good tools built into OS X which will allow you to determine if RAM shortage is actually the culprit. The 'top' command, issued through Terminal, will give you statistics on how much RAM is being used, how much is free, how much is swapped out, and how much swap is committed (among other things). It's a very powerful tool.

    The closest thing to a word processor included with Panther is TextEdit. It's really more of a text editor (as you might guess from the name), but it is able to open Microsoft Word documents, and it has a few basic formatting features. Someone has already suggested OpenOffice, which is very full featured, but AFAIK at this stage it isn't a true native Cocoa/Aqua OS X application...it's actually an X Windows application, and runs using Panther's built-in X Windows layer. This isn't a huge issue...it means that OpenOffice won't have the OS X 'look and feel', and it runs a bit slow (but that's true on all platforms). A fully native port is probably another 12 months away. Anyway, give it a try...you may not mind its shortcomings on OS X...it is very fully featured, and totally free, after all.

    Apart from that, the de facto OS X word processing app seems to be, as on the Windows platform, Microsoft Word (and the rest of Office too). MS is about to release a new version (Office 2004), so make sure if you buy Office v.X (the current version) that you get some kind of certificate or assurance that you will get a free or discounted upgrade to Office 2004. I think Microsoft is running this offer, so you should be OK.

    Hope this helps.
     
  5. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Canberra OZ
    #5
    Consider also the 17, because its a lot cheaper now and has a single 512MB Ram stick to begin with. 17 is good for graphics because of the extra screen space. Its obviously heavier (1/2 kilo, 1.1 pounds) and carry bags are a bit more limited.
     
  6. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Canberra OZ
    #6
    Open office http://www.openoffice.org/
    http://download.openoffice.org/1.1.1/index.html

    Its big, so you'll need someone with broadband to bring it down.

    I would be very interested in hearing from anyone whose used it because I am looking at getting it...
     
  7. dragula53 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2003
    #7
    openoffice

    works fine.
    the interface isn't os x'ey

    it opens just about everything except for documents with visual basic and macros.

    if you can get over the fact that it doesn't look aqua-ey and that the file menus are attached to the windows, etc, it is a fine office suite.

    moo
     
  8. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

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    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Canberra OZ
    #8
    Does it handle footnotes?

    What about a simple excel spreadsheet substitution?
     
  9. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a

    oingoboingo

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2003
    Location:
    Sydney, Australia
    #9
    I used OpenOffice on Linux for about 18 months before I switched over to OS X. OpenOffice Writer handles pretty much every wordprocessing function you can think of, including footnotes. I also found OpenOffice Calc to be highly Excel compatible...you shouldn't experience any problems, although I didn't make use of any spreadsheets with heavy use of VBA macros.

    All in all, OpenOffice is a really complete product...it's not 'Office Lite'...it's the real deal...a fully featured office suite. And it should be...OpenOffice is the direct descendent of StarOffice, which has been in development for about 10 years or so. It was originally developed by Star Division (a German company), and I remember using StarOffice 3.0 for OS/2 in 1996/1997 (wow, remember OS/2? I wonder if I'm the only Mac user on this board to have run both OS/2 3.0 and OS/2 4.0 as their primary day-to-day OS?), before being bought out by Sun a while back.
     
  10. aswitcher macrumors 603

    aswitcher

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2003
    Location:
    Canberra OZ
    #10

    Can anyone tell how they both stack up against Apple's ageing Appleworks?
     

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