Questions on PowerBooks 12" 15"???

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jumpman25, Feb 23, 2004.

  1. jumpman25 macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2004

    I'm new to the forum after lurking around for a while and just had a few questions about the powerbooks and mac's in general. First off, I am thinking about making the switch to a mac after years of using PC's. I am just getting sick of the same old thing day in and day out. Mac computers just seem like a nice change. Also, it seems like people are much more attached to thier mac's than PC users are to their PC's. Anyway, I am looking at the 12" or 15" powerbook. I am leaning towards the 12" as it is less money. I will be using the computer for internet, word processing, music, movies, occasional gaming, and also may be purchasing photoshop in the near future. I want the computer to be very zippy, as I don't like it when I have to wait extended periods of time for folders to open up, and apps to load. So with that I have a few questions. Any replies would be most appreciated.

    1. Will the 12" be fast enough for my needs listed above, or would you reccoment spending the extra money on the 15"?

    2. I am attending college so I qualify for the student discount, but was wondering if the computers you get with the student discount are any different from the ones you would buy without the discount. In otherwords is there a academic version that they ship to students with less software, or something like this. Please describe any differences if there are any.

    3. I noticed that a lot of people in the forums are saying that you should max out your ram. I have been using PC's for quite some time and 640MB of ram is plenty for PC's, however I have noticed that many people turn away from the iBooks becuase they only support up to 640MB of ram. Does the Mac OSX rely more on ram than windows, or does it better utilize it? Just wondering why everybody says to max your memory.

    4. Finally, what are your thoughts on the 12" screen?

    Any other info you think would be helpfull to a Mac newbie would be most appreciated. When I get my Mac I will be sure to right a review of it here as well.

  2. RBMaraman macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2002
    Prospect, KY
    1. The 12" model should be fast enough for your needs, but the 15" will give you more real estate that will really come in handy when using Photoshop or video editing.

    2. There are no differences between machines purchased using the student discount. You simply get the machine at a discounted price.

    3. 640 RAM will be great for running OS X. OS X is a RAM hungry OS. The more you have, the better the performance.

    4. I use a 12" iBook and I'm a film student who uses the iBook as a primary editing machine. The 12" screen is fine, but my next laptop will be either the 15" or 17" PowerBook. The extra 3" will really make a difference.

    Enjoy your new Mac!
  3. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2004
    Thanks RB,

    I may have to consider the 15" now, as this will be my primary computer and I don't want to be stuck with a screen that is too small. I can see why the extra 3" could come in handy with photoshop, and I also usually have more than one window open at a time. The better video card in the 15" would also probably be of use. The only problem now is the cost. I'm thinking mabie I will just upgrade the memory later. Anyway, thanks again and I'm sure I will enjoy my Mac when I get it.
  4. carbonmotion macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2004
    San Francisco, CA
    Screen Realestate Vs Quality

    I'm in the same boat as your are a few month ago. College student looking to go to the next mac... my former ibook went awol... Anyways I was leaning toward the 12" for the price and the portability, but went ahead and got a base 15" with 512 ram and airport for about 2 grand plus change... Honestly, it is aloooot more expensive and you might be paying for features that you wont need... but then again, remember that while it is expensive for an extra 3 inchs of screen realiestate the powerbook LCD is probably one of the most accurate displays I've seen on a laptop or desktop... It's nearly Cinema HD quality (the alum ones) ...which is really a high standard to strive for. If you don't mind a slightly shorter battery life, then the 15 inch is for you... as far as the portability goes, its only 4.6 pounds man! common, tell me you can curl more then that! Let's see what else... You're also getting Gigabyte ethernet and a real DVI port along with alotta other stuff that you think you dont need, but you never know... Anyways, at the end of the day it comes down to this money vs options. I'd say 15", but if you really dont see the need for a Radeon 9600 or a extra display, then I'd say go 12" ..if you can wait for a while for rev b 15" to come out, it should be anydays now, could even be tomorrow.
  5. russed macrumors 68000


    Jan 16, 2004
    London, England
    the 12"'s screen isnt that small. you get used to it. its not as it if it is minute. just just possibly make a bit more use of expose (which isnt a bad thing!).
  6. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    Bear in mind that you could get the 12" as far as portability goes and get a display later when you want the extra space? That wouldn't be much dearer and you'd have a lot more room to work in.
  7. Heltik macrumors regular

    Jul 16, 2002
    I'd be inclined to get the 12" if you are a student. Always on the move, it's easier to carry around.

    If display size is an issue, then might I suggest getting a second display with built in USB hub. I've been using an iBook on the road since 2001, but I find it's much more comfortable to have a full size keyboard and mouse when I'm at home. So I have a complete Mouse/Keyb/Monitor setup at home. In this way, I just plug in 1 VGA cable, 1 USB, and I'm ready to go.

    The only real advantage I can see of the 15" Powerbook is the wow factor of the backlit keyboard in a dimly lit lecture theatre.

  8. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    I don't like it when I have to wait extended periods of time for folders to open up ----

    lol, i forgot about that problem. even my G3 iBook doesnt do that. . . i think youll enjoy apple.

    as for size. . . size does matter. i have a 12" PB. i got it b/c i love the portability of it. it is certainly fast enough for what you want, and extra ram will just make photoshop run a little more efficiently.

    if you want to get into serious stuff with photoshop and only have the 12" screen, it is a bit small. i personally have a 19" monitor hooked up which is great when i want to work in photoshop but portable when i take my PB to class or work. if you do not want to get or have a spare monitor, then i would go with the 15" for the extra space to work with photoshop.

    student discount is great, thats how i got my iBook(a couple years ago) and PB . . . but here is a trick. . . wait till the next PB revision comes along, and get the old one for like $500 off plus the student discount, still a great computer but a really good deal (thats what i did and my PB was CHEAPER than my iBook!!!)
  9. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2003
    the extra three inches make a big difference. be sure to stop by an apple store to try them out for yourself.
  10. jumpman25 thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 23, 2004
    Thanks for your replies everybody, I must say I am impressed with the amount of people that did reply. There are a lot of people in this forum. Anyway, I think I am going to go to my local apple store and see what they all look like in person. I didn't think that there was an apple store anywhere around where I live, but I looked in the phone book and their is one less than 5 miles from my house. Who would of known. Thanks again for all the replies.

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