Some things I always wanted to know ......

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by igmolinav, Aug 25, 2005.

  1. igmolinav macrumors 65816

    Aug 15, 2005
    Some (technical) things I always wanted to know ..... before buying a new ibook.

    Basically, I want to know what I´ll be missing from the powerbook.

    1) Why is better to have a larger speed for the processor, e.g. 1.67 GHz and 1.5 GHz are better than 1.42, and so on ...?

    2) What´s the difference btween Mobility Radeon 9550 and 9700?

    3) What´s the difference btween having a 32, 64, and 128 video memory card?

    4) What´s the main difference if in the powerbook the hard drive "spins" at 5400 r.p.m. and in the ibook perhaps doesn´t?

    5) Will the performance be good, if I were to use an ibook, for such a demanding work using programs like: archicad, photocad, photoshop, final cut pro, adobe illustrator, etc. - A computer sales rep. told me today that: "an ibook would not be good for doing work" using the above mentioned programs, do you agree?

    Thank you very much in advance : ) !!!

    Ignacio Molina.
  2. ITASOR macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    Oneida, NY
    1. Hard to explain, but the higher the processor number, generally it's a faster computer. Of course other factors play a role in speed too, such as RAM and HD speed.

    2. Different types of video cards (obviously, sorry). I don't know much, but they probably have different amounts of VRAM. I know the 9550 is the 32MB VRAM card in the iBooks.

    3. Video memory is the memory that handles the images actually shown on your screen. 3D Games, for example, need more VRAM than say an application such as Textedit, because it's processing and displaying a lot of images. More VRAM is also handy if you like to work with dual monitors.

    4. The faster the HD spins, the faster the HD can get to your data (pretty much). You will probably not notice a HUGE difference between the PB's 5400 and the iBook's 4200 unless you do a lot of HD intensive work. The bigger difference is most often noticed between 5400/4200 and 7200 or even 10,000.

    Good luck with your iBook buying! The iBooks are really nice!
  3. FFTT macrumors 68030


    Apr 17, 2004
    A Stoned Throw From Ground Zero
    If you are serious about using the heavy PRO apps, you're probably better off with a PowerBook 1.67 GHz
    and the 128MB VRAM.

    One thing you should consider strongly is how important portablity is to you.

    If you really need a portable but also want serious performance, you may want to consider an iBook
    for general use AND a well equipped 17" iMac G5 2.0
    with standard 128 MB VRAM and at least 1 GB RAM

    Most of the new heavy PRO apps will run O.K. on a PowerBook, but the system preferences prefer a G5
    single or dual processor for optimum performance.

    A well equipped 15" PowerBook 1.67 loaded with RAM AND an external HD is going to run you about the same as the iBook/iMac G5 combo.

    It's a good idea to read your primary application system requirements thoroughly before purchasing any system.

    Final Cut Studio Suite is 45 GB all by it's lonesome,
    so you'll need some serious storage capabilities.
  4. Heb1228 macrumors 68020


    Feb 3, 2004
    Virginia Beach, VA
    If this is going to be your only computer and you plan on using those heavy duty apps, you need either the 15" or 17" Powerbook. The iBooks are going to disappoint you both in performance and in screen space.
  5. Makosuke macrumors 603

    Aug 15, 2001
    The Cool Part of CA, USA
    All current Apple laptops use G4 processors, so basically the bigger the number the faster the computer at number crunching (Photoshop filters, video compression, etc), and speeds will be proportional. So, a comperably equipped 1.67GHz PB will take about 17% less time than a 1.42 iBook to do the same Photoshop filter.

    The 9700 is faster than the 9550. One may have more VRAM than the other, but all else being equal the 9700 is a more powerful graphics processor.

    Whether you care will depend a lot on what you're running, but even the interface of the OS (particularly flashy special effects) will improve to some degree.

    More is better, but it generally only starts to matter if you're actually using the video memory heavily. Motion, for example, sees massive improvements with more VRAM, while a simple 3D game won't.

    The faster the spindle speed, the faster the hard drive, period. With hard drives, faster is ALWAYS better, and for anything even remotely demanding you'll want a 5400 drive at the bare minimum. If you're really using it as a pro machine, installing one of the new 7200 RPM laptop drives might even be a worthwhile investment.

    The rep was mostly correct--all of those programs will run on an iBook, and even run reasonably well given sufficient RAM, but they will definitely run better on a PowerBook--the faster processor, better graphics card, faster drive, and more max RAM will all make a difference for most of those apps and their kin.

    If that's the sort of work you're doing, and it's important (not just "I'd like to goof with Photoshop occasionally, but all I really do is surf the web"), then either take the advice on getting a cheap iBook and desktop combo, or get the beefiest Powerbook you can afford. The higher-end 15" (with the better graphics) and at least a gig of RAM total (more will help in all of those apps if you can afford it) will get the job done, but you'll probably jones for the 17" screen if portability isn't a huge concern and your bank account can handle it.
  6. Jay42 macrumors 65816


    Jul 14, 2005
    I'm not going to repeat what most other people have already said, but I just want to add that the proc. clock speed (1.42, 1.5, 1.67) is how many cycles per second the chip can perform. While this is important, it is important to note that this only indicates how many "batches of work" the chip can do in a second, but does not tell anything about "how much work per cycle" or the general power of the chip. The preceding was a vast oversimplification, and just demonstrates these basic concepts as I see them.
  7. igmolinav thread starter macrumors 65816

    Aug 15, 2005
    Thank you very much for your help !!!

    Ignacio Molina.
  8. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    to put it simply, all of the upgrades together will have a noticable improvement. so the PB will seem noticably better, especially when using processor intense applications. if you were just surfing the web, youd probably be ok with the iBook
  9. savar macrumors 68000


    Jun 6, 2003
    District of Columbia
    Electric fields move fast, but not infinitely fast. Signals that are routed through different circuits will end up at their destination in different amounts of time. The CPU clock is used to keep all circuits in sync, so that if two circuits are sending their output but one takes longer, they will still appear to arrive at the same time if they are not read until the clock ticks.

    So the more cycles per second, the more often those circuits can do things. As somebody else pointed out, what exactly those circuits *do* on any given cycle isn't specified by the clock speed. This is the foundation for the Mhz myth: it's possible to build a 10Ghz machine that takes 20 cycles to do a single arithemetic operation, but a 2Ghz machine that can do 4 in parallel during one cycle will be much faster. (The G5 can do 4 parallel arithmetic operations in one cycle, for instance.)

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