Question about the 15" Powerbooks

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by mallory, Jul 7, 2005.

  1. mallory macrumors newbie

    Jul 6, 2005
    Well, after dragging my feet on switching over, I've finally decided to make the leap and purchase a 15" powerbook. Even with the sticker shock, I'm convinced the powerbook will last me years and allow me to do some basic video/photo editing that I'm primarily buying it for. I just have one question:

    I'm leaning towards 1.5GHz model instead of the 1.67GHz model. My logic is, that with that extra savings, I can upgrade to a superdrive and upgrade the RAM after market and still come out even or ahead.

    Does anyone regret not buying the highest processor available? Will I regret this down the road? Or won't I even notice the difference? I know it's only a few hundred difference, but it's a lot of money to me, especially since it took a while to convince myself the powerbook was a better solution for me than the iBook.

  2. the_insider macrumors regular


    Apr 20, 2005
    USA / UK
    Faster is always better. I ordered my 15" 1.67 + 1gb ram and 128vram about 5 days ago
  3. michaelrjohnson macrumors 68020

    Aug 9, 2000
    I've read reports/posts that indicate that it is extremely difficult to tell the difference between the 1.5 and 1.67 GHz chips in the 15in PowerBooks in terms of performance. Run some searches, I'm fairly certain your plan is a good way to go.

    I absolutely *love* my 15in PowerBook. It's a great machine.
  4. jaseone macrumors 65816


    Nov 7, 2004
    Houston, USA
    You will notice more difference with the RAM then you will with the small CPU speed increase, although you can always upgrade the RAM later but not the CPU however I personally have the 1.5Ghz (almost a year old) and was not disappointed when the 1.67Ghz came out, it is just nothing to get excited about.
  5. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Exactly what I was planning to do.

    Do a BTO on the 1.5GHz 15" PB, upgrade it with a SuperDrive, and later up the RAM to 1GB or 1.5GB (not with Apple of course). I was also going to taking advantage of the Student Union iPod mini deal and then sell it. With the $50 iPod battery gift rebate class action lawsuit thingy, I would have ended up saving about $200.

    But now that plan is on hold as my 3-year-old dog might need surgery (ruptured ACL?) which will cost me approx. $3500 - $4300. Going in for x-rays in the morning. Hope it's nothing serious.
  6. aboutthat macrumors regular

    Jun 29, 2005
    Washington, DC
    My solution: order with all the bells and whistles and then finance that sucker through Apple :D

    I love my 15" PB, but I did get the combo drive as opposed to super drive, which I haven't really regretted, but I imagine I might somewhere down the line perhaps. I just upgraded from 512mb to 1.25gb of ram (not from Apple, of course); cost me about 100 bucks and made a huge difference, more than I would speculate you would gain by the extra .17GHz in the processor. I have the previous revision from what's out there now, 1.5GHz, and with the RAM upgrade, everything is just peachy!
  7. bsichran macrumors newbie

    Jul 28, 2003
    Other World Computing has a Superdrive for a PB that burns 8X DVD's and 2.4X DL DVD's for $170 minus a rebate for sending them your Apple drive. This ends up being a cheaper, better superdrive than the one that comes from Apple.

    I just bought a 15" 1.5 Ghz PB, and I love it, too. I bought 2BG RAM for about $200 from, and the thing zips. I use it for Photoshop, FCP, and Digital Performer and wouldhave gotten a G5 except I needed the portability. When I sit in a cafe writing, I get a kick out of having the sleekest machine there. :cool:
  8. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    But how easy is it to put in the SD from OWC?
  9. sethypoo macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    I posted a thread similar to this a little while ago, except my question was if the extra $90 for the 128MB video RAM upgrade was worth it, and the overwhelming opinion was yes, it was.

    Just something to consider. Check Xbench scores, they are higher with the 128MB of VRAM.
  10. punkmac macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2004
    extra VRAM

    PLUS you get 64MB of VRAM per screen when spanning with the 128.

  11. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    I say go for the 1.67GHz model w/ 128MB VRAM.
  12. sethypoo macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
    Exactly. That 64MB of VRAM per screen will make a difference when you're doing content editing. And if you're just staying with your PowerBook's 15" screen, you have ~100-116MB of VRAM to crunch data with. Yum!
  13. sethypoo macrumors 68000

    Oct 8, 2003
    Sacramento, CA, USA
  14. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    I've done some video editing on my 1.25GHz Powerbook (it's not the primary use for this machine though). I don't believe the processor is the limiting factor here. But really, you'll definitely need two things:

    1) As much RAM as possible (as others have said)
    2) A fast external Firewire drive

    Things go much more smoothly with disk writes going to an external drive. Also, if possible you want to have a FW800 drive - not necessarilly for the extra line speed, but so you can have the drive on a separate FW bus than the video camera you'll occasionally have plugged in at the same time.
  15. Westside guy macrumors 601

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Do the Apple apps let you use this new drive, or do you have to write a disk image and use a third-party app to burn the disk?

    If FC and iDVD will take advantage of this drive, it sounds like a great deal.
  16. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    If you scroll further down the linked page, you'll see what it supports:

    Apple iDVD
    Apple DVD Player
    Roxio Toast
    Dantz Retrospect
    CharisMac Discibe
    Apple iTunes
    Apple DiscBurner

    Not sure about FC though
  17. Joulesverne macrumors newbie

    Mar 4, 2004
    The Switchover

    Well -

    Congratulations on making a good decision - 1.) to buy a mac. Just that alone will serve you well for years to come.

    If you are really strapped for cash - buy the slower machine and get the extra ram - and super drive if you need it. Personally, I don't burn many DVD's in my powerbook - but I have a desktop for it. One thing to consider is that drives will continue to get better - So I would almost recommened sticking with a combo drive and add a firewire DVD burner when you really need it... The two layer 8X superdrive on my G5 system is such an improvement over the 2X/4X models. If the powerbooks are shipping with the 8X drives, then I might go for it, but I wouldn't if they aren't.

    Also, keep speed in perspective - I use my 1.33 GHz powerbook all day long - and its fast enough for most everything. And it will do video work admirably - again - more memory is more important here... Since it doesn't take very long to use 1 G of RAM with a video project.

    16 months from now - the Powerbook will probably be shipping with a dual core Yonah chip from Intel - and at that point - I will probably buy a new one. The difference in performance between machines will be large enough to warrant a new purchase.

    But by and large, the real speed advantage you get is in not having to constantly unclutter your machine with all things targeted at windows... That and the workflow management of OSX is just better. Bottom line -

    Get the most memory you can - consider an external DVD burner, and don't worry too much about clock speed.

    There is a thread going on right now in this forum that compares a photoshop filter on various macs - and some PC folks have chimed in as well. The thread is Mac Hardware - Photoshop tests (or something like that) - I think you can compare data there... Bottom line - photoshop is one application that can really take advantage of clock speed - and the differences between powerbooks pretty much track clock speed - Basically - you are talking about a 10% speed difference at most...

    Lastly again - the Powerbook line has not had an update in a while - Apple has to do something between now and Intel day - be mindful of the update clock >).

  18. JonMaker macrumors regular

    Apr 24, 2004
    Any upgrades, other than aftermarket RAM (which *everyone* does), are a pain. Do yourself a favour and get the superdrive, if you think you will need it.
  19. shane-o-mac macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2005
    Don't Listen to the Hype

    I love my 15" powerbook, best computer I have ever owned and my first mac. Do your research, be honest with yourself and determine what you will use vs. what you want. Everyone on here will tell you to buy the best, hey we all want the have the fastest computer with all the extras. Truth is different machines are for different users. Personally I got the combo BTO. I am least likley to ever burn a home video or DVD, the 64 bits is all i need, and other then RAM my computer is stock.

    I chose to spend the extra cash on stuff I will really enjoy, like acessories, software, and ipods..:). Half the fun is buying all the cool stuff that goes with your new apple and trust me that adds up to big bucks before you know it. Buy what you need.
  20. mcarnes macrumors 68000


    Mar 14, 2004
    USA! USA!
    The 1.67 is the only one that can drive the 30" CD (128 VRAM option). If you don't plan on doing this I'd get the 1.5.
  21. yklxcq macrumors member


    Jun 22, 2005
    just get my Powerbook 1.5 G about 3 weeks, pretty happy about it :p
  22. bammac macrumors member

    May 20, 2005
    My two cents:

    I'm a big fan of upgrading what I can't do later:

    So I went for the 9700 with 128MB Ram
    Also the SuperDrive (Not realising that I could get a DL drive through a 3rd Party, would of taken that option had I known)

    I went to Mac Ram Direct for three 1GB Modules, I pulled out my stock 512mb and put that and one of the 1GB modules into my brothers PB G4 1.25GHz machine (big step up from the 256MB he had). I then stuck the 2 remaining 2GB sticks into my new machine.

    So all up by not purchasing the ram direct from Apple and going through the Edu site, I saved around AU$2000 all up, and have a pretty great machine.

    In terms of performance, well it's hard to say. I have used benchmarks such as Cinbench 2003 and Xbench 1.2 and get beaten by machines running at either 1.5GHz & 1.67Ghz with 512MB ram and 64MB VRam according to site results. Maybe it's because I'm new to Mac and know jack about optimisation (yes it's set to "Highest" CPU performance). Or it could be that the 100GB is less effecient than the 80GB (Its the HD sections which seem to let me down), or that I have alot of background programs running & very little free space (thanks to Final Cut Studio you 29GB HOG!!!).

    If you can can afford the additional Video Ram I say get it, you never know what future requirements may come with later OS X versions. It may give you a few more options. The rest like RAM and Hard Drives can always be upgraded later. I can always send you the 256MB stick I have just sitting around if that will help!!!

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