Questions from a PC user

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ghostee, Feb 29, 2004.

  1. ghostee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    Villa Park, IL
    #1
    I've been wanting an iBook or Powerbook for months now, and I think I'm about ready to pull the trigger and buy one. But I do have some questions first...

    1. The book would be used mainly for wireless internet uses, playing music and video, and doing school work. Possibly some web development and graphics stuff. And maybe messing around with Garageband a bit. Would the 12" iBook G4 800mhz do the job?

    2. Will the iBook run with the lid closed? I'd like to keep apps running sometimes without the screen being exposed.

    3. How is the audio output on the iBook? Would I get the same quality sound as from the onboard soundcard on my desktop PC's output?

    4. Will the Airport Extreme work well with other routers, like D-Link or Linksys?

    5. Is there a problem with the iBook's trackpad? I was playing around with a few of them at the Apple store, and there were times when the cursor would seem to "home in" on the top of the screen, and just become a huge pain.

    Thanks for your time
     
  2. ghostee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    Villa Park, IL
    #2
    Oooh, 1 more question..

    Is the 128mb that comes with the iBook enough to get me started? I might not be able to afford a 512 stick for a month or so..
     
  3. MoparShaha macrumors 68000

    MoparShaha

    Joined:
    May 15, 2003
    Location:
    San Francisco
    #3
    1. For most everything you listed, the iBook will fit the bill nicely. If you're going to be using Garage Band heavily, I'd recommend the PowerBook. Not only is it a little faster, but it has double the L2 cache. It's probably not a big deal, but I think Garage Band would run more comfortably with the faster processor.

    2. The iBook can only run with the lid closed if you've got it plugged into an external monitor.

    3. The audio output is the same as a desktop. It's just stereo out, but you can buy USB 5.1 adaptors if you really want to get serious.

    4. AirPort Extreme will work with any 802.11b or g access point.

    5. I've experienced that same problem with the iBook's trackpad on demo units. I don't know if its a "problem", being that I haven't heard anyone complain about it. Maybe iBook owners could post their experiences.
     
  4. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #4
    I don't own a iBook but we do have a Powerbook and the only time I've ever had any touchpad problems is when I unknowingly was hovering another finger a hairs distance from the pad. The second input causes all sorts of weird problems.
     
  5. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #5
    Well yes and no. Yes it will run fine with just the 128Mb. On the other hand most tasks will take 10 times longer then they should because you will be using your hard drive as memory for everything.

    Don't buy the RAM from Apple though. It's really extremely easy to upgrade the RAM on the iBook. There's a little cover you remove and you just pop in the new RAM to an empty slot under it.

    Here's a link to an assortment of places with RAM for your iBook that guarantee RAM compatibility with Mac OSX. 512MB is starting at about $85 right now.

    RamSeeker iBook G4 512MB


    On another note be sure to take advantage of the educational discount that Apple offers if at all possible. You yourself do not have to be a student or teacher you simply have to know one well enough to so that they will let you mention their name on your order.
     
  6. Horrortaxi macrumors 68020

    Horrortaxi

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2003
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #6
    1. Yes
    2. No
    3. Yes
    4. Yes
    5. Not that I've noticed.

    128MB is low. It will run but it's not the best. Add 512 if you can, but at least add another 128.
     
  7. rt_brained macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2002
    Location:
    Creativille
    #7
    Some details about your question #2:

    I assume you're thinking about using an external monitor, keyboard and mouse with either the iBook or the Powerbook, correct?

    I'm fairly certain my previous iBook did not run with the lid closed, however, the Powerbook does. This is because the iBooks support external monitor mirroring, while the Powerbook supports monitor spanning. So when you close the iBook's lid (ext. monitor attached), it goes to sleep and remains that way. The PB will go to sleep when you close the lid, but will wake up and throw everything over to the external monitor as soon as you tap the keyboard.

    To save the LCD screen on the iBook while hooked up to an external monitor, open System Preferences (via the Apple Menu or the Dock) and slide the LCD's brightness all the way down.
     
  8. ewinemiller macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2001
    Location:
    west of Philly
    #8
    Just got one a few weeks ago

    To know where I'm coming from, we're a mixed PC/Mac family/small business. Two Mac and three PCs.

    1. Yes. I just bought one for the wife a few weeks ago. She's doing exactly the same things as you are except the Garage band. I also do some light 3D stuff and C++ development.
    2. No.
    3. Depends on your onboard sound card. If you're used to 5.1 that most have today, no. If it's a really old onboard sound card, yes. The iBook is just a simple stereo card.
    4. I'm running against a Linksys, works fine.
    5. I haven't had a problem with mine, but the ones at the local compusa are frequently abused and see the tip below.
    6. Only 128meg will make useful only for webbrowsing and textediting (not at the same time). If you can't afford a full 512meg stick, look around at some of the 3rd party guys. Macmall, macconnection, clubmac, etc., maybe one of those is offering free memory (usually with a ~40 installation charge).

    And one tip. As soon as you get it, pop in the OSX install CD, do a fresh install, and just restore the apps you need from the restore CDs. Mine was totally squirrelly when I first got it, constantly locking up, sound would cut out in the middle of movies, finder would lock up and not restart, etc., etc. I did a fresh install and it hasn't had a problem since. And who says needing a fresh install is only a Windows problem. ;)
     
  9. Krizoitz macrumors 6502a

    Krizoitz

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2003
    Location:
    Wakayama, Japan
    #9
    The iBook does not come with an audio line in so if you want to use Garageband for anything other than using pre-recorded loops (i.e. midi input) you will need either a USB Midi adaptor or an USB audio in adaptor, such as the griffin iMic

    No, but you could close it most of the way, just not completely. Alternatively there are dust covers/screen covers that will help.
     
  10. ghostee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    Villa Park, IL
    #10
    Thanks for all the answers and advice!

    I was actually wrong about the RAM, it will be coming with 256mb. I think it should hold me for a month or so until I can buy a 512 stick.

    But, let me ask a few more questions...

    1. I'm confused about the video outputs on the iBook. I know it can do VGA or S-Video, but does the new ones from the Apple Store online come with the necessary adapters? Or is that a seperate buy?

    2. Is there a driver or program or hack or anything that would allow me to run a media player (again, I'm from the PC world so I don't know what is the best OSX player yet) on the iBook and have the output go across a 802.11g network into a PC and output through it's speakers? :cool:

    3. What's the best way to control a remote desktop on a PC system from the iBook?


    Thanks again!
     
  11. Rower_CPU Moderator emeritus

    Rower_CPU

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2001
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    #11
    It comes with the VGA adapter, but not the S-Video. http://www.apple.com/ibook/specs.html (Video section at the bottom).


    Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection - free and works very well. :)
     
  12. abhishekit macrumors 65816

    abhishekit

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Location:
    akron , ohio
    #12
    1. video out available is vga and the cable is given, to get a svideo out you have to buy an adaptor, you can find it in apple store..
    2. I dont get it.. you want to run a program on your ibook, and hear the sound from speakers connected to a pc over a wireless network...now that may be asking too much..:)
    3. it would be remote desktop client, but your pc should be running a server edition of windows..windows xp pro would do it..

    cheers..
    and welcome to the light
     
  13. ghostee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    Villa Park, IL
    #13
    I'm assuming that playing MP3's out of the iBook's speakers would be pointless when I'm sitting in my room with a semi-decent 2.1 speaker system. But it would be a pain in the butt to keep a mini-cable long enough to plug in the iBook whether its on the desk, or on the bed. So I figure since I'll be keeping a desktop around in the room as a file server anyways, why not leave the speakers hooked up to it and just play music through it? Hence why I was inquiring about outputting audio wirelessly, thereby eliminating a long mini or rca cable. I guess I'll just have to connect to the XP's desktop and load up WinAmp or something. :)

    Thanks for the advice (again)!
     
  14. abhishekit macrumors 65816

    abhishekit

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    Location:
    akron , ohio
    #14
    nah..theres somethin better..there always is when you choose apple :D
    ibook will come with itunes which will arrange all your songs...just put the itunes library to share..install itunes on your windows machine...now you would see you ibook music library on the windows machine..just play it...
    are macs cool or what.. :)
     
  15. adamjay macrumors 6502a

    adamjay

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Location:
    Indianapolis
    #15
    there's a program called SLEEPLESS (www.macupdate.com) that will allow you to run any OSX 'book with the lid closed.
    its freeware
    i wouldn't call it "buggy" but you have to tweak it to get it to run the way you want.

    i use it to run my G4 12" powerbook with the lid closed while i am analyzing tracks in Final Scratch (it can take hours), and i like the lid to be closed because i have VICIOUS cats that like to run on top of laptop keyboards and break the keys off. grrrr.
    then again when you name a cat "Jagermeister" you expect him to be vicious.

    One thing with Sleepless and iBooks, the software advises not to run your iBook with the lid closed due to heat possibly damaging your screen.
     
  16. KC9AIC macrumors 6502

    KC9AIC

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2004
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan or Longview, Texas
    #16
    Yeah, the iBook will come with 128 MB of RAM soldered on the motherboard, and another 128 MB in its only slot. To get up to the 640, you'll have to take out the 128 in the slot. What you do with it from there is up to you. If you really want to have plenty of RAM (which can greatly speed your system up), you can add in a 1 GB RAM module, taking you to 1152 of RAM, though Apple doesn't officially support this configuration.
     
  17. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #17
    That and most peoples wallets don't support it as the 1GB module is about 4 times as much as the 512MB one for that model.
     
  18. redAPPLE macrumors 68030

    redAPPLE

    Joined:
    May 7, 2002
    Location:
    2 Much Infinite Loops
    #18
    let me add something... it was trivial for a couple of new mac friends of mine. if this (see above) is the setup you will choose, open the iTunes app in your iBook.

    ;)
     
  19. lind0834 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2003
    #19
    I find the 12-inch to be a little small for using Flash, Dreamweaver, or Photoshop for long periods of time.. of course if you had a nice deks and a nice mouse you can probably last longer than I.
     
  20. ghostee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    Villa Park, IL
    #20
    Yeah, I'm not sure if the 12" will be large enough, since I'm used to a 17" CRT monitor on my PC. I'd love to eliminate the PC from the room which would mean using the iBook's display 90% of the time. I won't be doing much graphics work, mainly surfing, im'ing, downloading, music, movies and the like. I like the small footprint of the 12" though. Decisions decisions. :D
     
  21. MacBandit macrumors 604

    MacBandit

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2002
    Location:
    Springfield, OR (Home of the Simpsons)
    #21
    When your using your iBook in your room you could always just hook it up to your 17" monitor.
     
  22. ghostee thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Location:
    Villa Park, IL
    #22
    Ok, so I was all decided on the iBook I wanted, a BTO with:

    12" G4 800mhz
    256mb RAM
    60gb HD
    Combo
    Bluetooth
    Airport Extreme
    + an s-video adapter
    + a cheap usb hookup for audio input, for mic purposes

    Est Cost: $1200 + the 2 adapters

    I was actually coming on here to ask a question about which adapter I would need for S-Video output. There are 2 on the Apple website, 1 is the "Apple Video Adapter" and the other is the "Apple A/V Cable". I'd still like an answer to this, but now I also found the following in the deals section:

    Refurb 12" Albook G4 867mhz
    256mb RAM
    40gb HD
    Combo
    + standard options

    Cost: $1200, $1300 once i pop an airport extreme in

    So for $100 more, would it be worth it to take a 20gb hit on the HD size and get myself the PB? Doing so would save me the $ I would have to spend on a USB line-in convertor also. But I'm not sure about internal bluetooth and whether it supports APE or just AP.

    Any advice on this would be helpful.

    Thanks again,

    Tony.
     

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