Some advice on laptops please!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by hugotron, Sep 1, 2003.

  1. macrumors newbie

    Sep 1, 2003
    Santiago, Chile

    I'm an architect and I'm planning to upgrade. The last two years were my last ones at university (I live in Chile) and I did all my work on my loyal iMac DV 400. Actually I'm writing this on it. It has been a great computer and altough not the faster Mac it has always allowed me to do all what I need. I upgraded the RAM after I bought it and with 768 MB apps like Photoshop, Vectorworks, Freehand, Form Z and others had run fast enough. I've been running Mac OS X since 10.0 and now I plan to upgrade to Panther when it becomes available.

    Anyway, in the last year I've missed a lot the mobility a laptop gives, because I have worked in several different places and carrying my iMac is not an easy task. Also, new apps are requiring more horsepower and while they run in my iMac, they do not run as fast as I would like.

    Most 3D apps like SketchUp, Form Z, Poser 5 and others recommend a G4 processor in order to run. So I've been thinking on a Powerbook G4. Due to my limited budget (I don't have the money yet) I plan to buy the 12" model, having in mind that it supports external monitors at enough resolutions and I can also extend my desktop. Also it is smaller and more portable so I'm very interested on it. I think while I get the money, it will be updated maybe to 1 Ghz, also maybe the heat issue may be fixed, so I think I'm on a good road.

    What makes me think a bit is that I'm still able to do all my work on my 400 mhz iMac. Well, Photoshop doesn't run very fast, and I can't use SketchUp, but Vectorworks runs pretty good. Panther is supposed to speed things a bit. So sometimes I think if a 900 mhz iBook won't be enough... it costs significantly less... Recently I've been making 3D modelling and rendering in Vectorworks and Vue d'Sprit (similar to Bryce).

    1) How much faster will this renderings be in a Powerbook G4 than in my 400 Mhz G3 iMac? And how slower than a Dual 1.25 Ghz G4 desktop for example?

    2) I know the 15" and 17" Powerbooks have L3 cache while the 12" doesn't. Is this feature useful for this kind of work? Will I notice it?

    3) Is anyone here using the same apps as me in an iBook or a Powerbook 12"? I'm very tempted for the Powerbook but wanna be sure all that extra money will be worth it.

    4) Now that G5s are out and already at 2 Ghz, how soon will a 1 Ghz Powerbook be obsolete?

    Thank you.

  2. macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    Hola Hugo, te escribo de Venezuela.

    Para que tengas una idea. Yo tengo 2 Powerbook G3 500 con 256MB en Ram.

    Yo trabajo en After Effects y Final cut pro y el otro día prové el PB 12" con 640MB en Ram.

    Para que tengas una idea de la diferencia de velocidad, yo hice una animación en mi Powerbook que duraba 30 segundos, el render en After Effects tomaba una hora y 20 minutos, era una animación bien pesada con 20 layers y todos con gussian blur y otros efectos.

    Agarré el PB 12" de mi amigo, pasé los archivos y relicé el mismo render. A la computadora le tomó 9 minutos.

    Yo me voy a comprar esa computadora y voy a tener posteriormente un monitor plano pero de otra marca que no sea Apple.

  3. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 1, 2003
    Santiago, Chile

    Thank you, something like that is exactly what I need. Real experience. Unfortunately, I don't know anyone with a 12" PB so I can't make my personal tests.

    I'm waiting for the money and the 1 Ghz 12" to arrive!
  4. macrumors regular

    Feb 26, 2002
    Caracas, Venezuela
    advice from Venezuela

    Hey Hugo!

    im also from Venezuela, im an architect too, i have a G4 powerbook 667 and works great for me, i use Photoshop, VectorWorks and Cinema 4D on regular basis and they work just fine, my only complain is the video memory (just 16 Mb) now all the 3d softwares uses OpenGL to render things on real time, so the more Vram the more smooth experience u will have doing your 3D models, i you are going to buy a PowerBook wait a little more and get one with a nice GPU with 64 Mb of Vram ( probably the new 12'' PB's will come with 64Mb of Vram)

    anything more you need on these subject or on architecture or 3d stuff, just let me know

  5. macrumors 68040


    Apr 6, 2003
    Pacific Northwest, Seattle, WA actually
    lol that was awfully kind of mymemory....

    es bueno que haya otros personas que puede hablar espanol...:)

    I think that if your work requires a g4 and u want mobility you should go with the 12"pb, time=money and if you spend all your time waiting how can you get your work done :)
  6. macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2001
    Damn it, is hard to write in Spanish here in Macrumors, my mind was all confuse.

    I'm gonna get a used 12". In my experience there is no sense in getting a brand new powerbook when you can find it used in a very good shape for $400 less or even more. Specially the 12".

    I asume there are a lot of people that got the 12" and then they didn't feel satisfy with the 12" screen. That is my target.

    Of course a 15" is a better computer but I have no chemistry with them for some strange reason.

    Now, I can tell that any Powerbook have a live span of 3 years. IN a year I would be able to get the actual 12" for $900 or way less.

    Would be nice to have a 12" with 1Ghz and 64VRam.
  7. macrumors regular

    Jul 22, 2002
    Sounds to me like you need GPU memory as well as a faster cpu and bus speed. Chances are, all of the PowerBooks will be upgraded at the Paris Expo September 16.

    The iBook may get a new processor, but not likely include Altivec which you will probably benefit from. Come to think of it, your iMac doesn't have Altivec either, so even the current 12" PB ought to be a boost.

    Anyway, you have two more weeks to save money and see what happens. The 15" PB sounds like the sweet spot for you _if_ you can afford it.
  8. macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Another architect here, graduated a few months ago. I've got a 1Ghz TiBook that is wonderful. I run Vector Works, FormZ, as well as Photoshop, Flash, InDesign, and many others. I even run AutoCad with VirtualPC (mostly for convience when I deal with non-mac people/offices) although it's not really a great experience. And I am considering buying a 12" laptop for my wife in the near future, hopefully after the next round of updates occurs. There are a couple things I am not happy about with the 12"PB. First, the max RAM configuration is to low. Granted there are now 1GB RAM modules available, but for the cost, you could just about upgrade to a 15" PB anyway. Apple needs to add another RAM slot to the 12". Second, the lack of an L3 cache is a significant factor. Because of the bottleneck at the bus, this feature adds significantly to performance in heavy graphic environments. Third, there is no DVI out yet. One day I will be getting a digital monitor, and I would like both laptops to be able to plug into it and keep the all-digital image. Fourth, heat. That left palmrest gets really hot.

    That 12" is one sexy machine, and I will have one soon. I hope apple fixes those issues with the next rev.
  9. thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 1, 2003
    Santiago, Chile
    Thank you all for your replies. Very useful.

    I hope Apple will update the 12" with such features like more than 640 MB maximum RAM, and a 64 MB video card along with DVI support. And I hope the price will not raise too much... I'm on a tight budget!

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