Spec'ing a 12" laptop

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by quidire, Aug 26, 2004.

  1. quidire macrumors 6502

    quidire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    #1
    Hi there

    I've been flitting about these forums for about a month now, trying to figure out what my girlfriend and I should buy; we're switching simultaneously, and jointly (first big joint purchase!)

    We settled on a dual 2.5gHz G5/2GB Ram/23" display as the Main Computer of the apartment, and after filling it out nicely, that came to about US$8000 (!).

    We wanted a 12" laptop for the "off person" to use, and to bring with us when we go to a coffee shop or whatever. I'm leaning PB over iB, she the other way (getting sticker shock and all)

    Well this is my planned spec for the hypothetical 12 PB:
    • 512MB DDR333 (256MB built-in + 256MB SO-DIMM)
    • 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 5400rpm
    • Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    • APP for PowerBook (w/ or w/o display) - Enrollment Kit
    • 1.33GHz PowerPC G4
    • NVIDIA GeForce FX GO 5200 with 64MB DDR Video Memory
    • 12.1-inch TFT Display
    Subtotal $1,841.00 (edu discount incl)

    do I need more RAM? I know, I want more; hell the 2.5 year old Dell 8lbs laptop I'm upgrading from has more than 512MB RAM, but she's pretty price-inelastic.

    She'd prefer an iBook thusly spec'ed:
    • 768MB DDR266 SDRAM (256MB built-in & 512MB SO-DIMM)
    • 60GB Ultra ATA drive
    • Combo (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Bluetooth Module
    • Keyboard/Mac OS X - U.S. English
    • APP for iBook - Enrollment Kit
    • 12-inch TFT XGA display
    • 1GHz PowerPC G4
    • ATI Mobility Radeon 9200 w/ 32MB DDR video memory
    Subtotal $1,545.00

    More RAM, worse graphics card. I highly doubt I can get her to go much higher than my spec; $10000 really is the limit, and we do have some other stuff to buy within that.

    So what should I do? Can one reasonably run Mac OS X on 512 MB RAM??

    thanks
    -RS
     
  2. mkubal macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2002
    Location:
    Tampa
    #2
    I tried not to die laughing when you said you "settled" for a 2.5 G5. As if it was the middle ground. Hilarious :D

    I writing this on a 400 mhz powerbook with 384 megs of ram. Obviously less than I'd like, but for what I do with this machine (email, internet, iTunes, etc.) its just fine. OS X will run fine with 512. If you can afford more, get more. You can always upgrade later on. Whatever you do I can garantee you'll enjoy not using windows anymore.

    Matt
     
  3. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2002
    Location:
    Location Location Location
    #3
    Oh my god, don't get RAM from Apple! Sweet lord, getting 2GB of RAM from Apple would add 20% to the price, I'd think.

    Only consider HD and video card upgrades from Apple's website, get the Apple Cinema Display (ACD) if you really want it, but get RAM from Crucial, Other World Computing (OWC), Kingston, or anyone else that sells decent RAM for G5 PowerMacs. DON'T BUY RAM FROM APPLE!!! Rookie mistake. :eek:

    As for the Powerbook vs iBook debate, I'd get the Powerbook simply because it comes with the option of a faster HDD (5400rpm), and includes the Airport Extreme Card, something you have to buy separately for the iBook. It diminishes the price difference between them. And again, upgrade the RAM from www.crucial.com, not Apple. ;)

    512MB is fine for the Powerbook. I have a 1GHz 12" PB with 512MB of RAM, and it runs fine. Yours would run even better than mine with the faster HDD and extra video memory. Of course, the money you'll save by buying RAM from Crucial can be used to get a 512MB stick of RAM instead. :cool:

    Nice setup. If you know a student or something, use their educational discount with Apple and save some money that way as well. If you go to www.Apple.com, go into their store and look to the left side of the screen. Click on Education. Um....yeah, it'll save you hundreds and hundreds. ;)
     
  4. Bobcat37 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    Colorado
    #4
    I've been debating a very similar thing over here and right now am leaning towards the 12" PB.

    I would definitely upgrade mine to 512MB RAM (heck, my G5 only has 512MB!), however I was going to leave the HDD at the standard 60GB. I think 60 will be plenty for me, and I don't think the fact that it is a slower HDD will do much.

    Also about the APP, if I were you I would just hold off on getting one until you have a problem, Apple usually seems pretty cool about letting you sign up for the APP anytime within your original warranty (which is like a year I think? All I know is I never got a warranty for my iPod, but when something went wrong with it about 7 months after I had bought it, Apple let me purchase an APP then for $60 and get the iPod replaced for free).
     
  5. vraxtus macrumors 65816

    vraxtus

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #5
    I totally agree. 512 is fine for my Rev B 12".


    You should consider however what exactly you want to do with these computers... if you need the graphics power, definitely go with the PB... but otherwise you can get decent performance out of the iBook.

    On a sidenote... how do students have $10,000 to spare on computers???? I hope to god you're not using student loans, or taking out a loan on this... because that's going to end up kicking you in the ass in the end...
     
  6. dotnina macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2004
    #6
    I'm really curious what you're using these computers for. Do you really need all 2.5 GHz? Could you "get by" on a lesser G5 ... maybe the new iMacs?

    I'm not criticizing your decision, I'm just wondering. If you've been living off a 3-year-old Dell all this time, why is there a sudden need for a top-of-the-line system? Or are you just a little overzealous to get a new computer? ;)
     
  7. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2004
    #7
    The PowerBook will, in the end, last longer due to the more powerful graphics card and faster RAM. Also, the PowerBook's free APExtreame Card is nice, along with the free Bluetooth.

    The iBook is nice, but unfortuanatly that graphics card is amazingly slow. My 3 year old iMac has the same graphics card. (Or at least close enough)

    The PowerBook with 512MB of RAM is fine. I have 768MB cause I got a good deal on RAM from Crucial, but that 256MB stick is fine. To put that much into an iBook is like putting a 512MB graphics card into a 400Mhz G4 tower. Great performance, but then everything else starts to kill you....

    I love my 12" PowerBook. Its size is great (fits nicely into a backpack) and the fact that I can change batteries without shutting down is cool. Its an internal battery that can allow your PowerBook to continue sleeping for around a minute while you change batteries. The iBook can't do that.

    The faster hard drive makes a big difference, too. And I still can squeeze out over 5 and a half hours of battery life if I turn down the screen and turn off the Airport and Bluetooth, despite the increased energy demand of the hard disk spinning faster.

    In short, they are both great. But because you can, go for the PowerBook due to the increase in raw power.
     
  8. quidire thread starter macrumors 6502

    quidire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    #8
    Hahahaha, she's the only student; I've got quite a nice job. I prob will finance this, but pay off $1500-2000/month until its paid off... The interest charges for that short a period should be no more than $200-300 (not the world's biggest deal)

    I was fully intending to get my RAM from Crucial for the G5, but I guess I didn't consider that I could do the same with the Powerbook...

    Well that settles that then!
    I'm going to wait until after Paris and then start placing orders :rolleyes: I'm never going to get my G5 am I? (2.5 w/ NV 6800, so long a wait *sob*)

    -RS
     
  9. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #9
    So with student discounts and non-Apple RAM, how would this cost $10K? Unless you were just exaggerating because your point was that it was an expensive computer, of course. Duh! :eek:
     
  10. quidire thread starter macrumors 6502

    quidire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    #10
    Here you are ($7700 + $500 Adobe Creative Suite Pro Academic,+ $350 Elgato EyeTV200 + $500 La Cie Big Disk Extreme + $1700-1800 for the laptop + $200 for 2x512MB DIMMs from Crucial actually comes to around $12000)

    (I'm going to get an extra 1GB crucial RAM, but I don't want 256MB DIMMS, so I went w/ the upgrade to 2x512... that upgrade is reasonably priced)
     
  11. vraxtus macrumors 65816

    vraxtus

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    Aug 4, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
  12. quidire thread starter macrumors 6502

    quidire

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2004
    Location:
    Washington DC (in Kalorama Triangle)
    #12
    Yes, yes it is.

    I think we may stagger purchases; get the laptop, its RAM upgrade, the G5 and some software now, and gradually buy more over the next 6 months; I do feel kind of odd about spending that kind of money in one sitting.

    Still, somehow I like the idea of "voting with my dollars" in this instance; spending cash means, in a small way, I've telling companies that the mac platform is healthy and worth supporting.

    (For that reason when a piece of software is Win/Mac I buy it at Apple, making clear I want it for the Mac aspect. When a piece of hardware is Mac-only/Mac-oriented (such as Elgato or La Cie's products) I buy directly from them, to ensure that insofar as the prices are the same, the small IHV gets the most profit possible (Apple is in good financial health)).

    -RS
     
  13. paulalane macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2004
    #13
    Settling

     
  14. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #14
    Uhhh, you can't do that either with the 12" pbooks. Only the 15" and 17" pbooks do that.

    I have a rev b 12" pbook. It is a great little machine. I would go for the faster HD too. The 4200 rpm HD really is slow. When I ran xbench on it it got a 99.93. When I did the test again without the HD it got a 113.33. As you see a big difference.

    PS: Have a great time with the G5 monster.
     
  15. vraxtus macrumors 65816

    vraxtus

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #15

    But he just said that he *did* hot swap... so evidently they CAN!
     
  16. kant macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2004
    #16
    No, no, no.

    Bad mistake. Apple wants $450 to upgrade a 160gb to the dual 250s.

    Get it with the single stock 160gb and buy the 2 250gb drives from newegg.com

    http://www.newegg.com/app/ViewProdu...price=&maxprice=&mfrcode=0&DEPA=1&Order=price

    (I'd recommend the Hitachi at $181.)

    That way you spend $362 on the two drives, still have your original 160gb, and saved a few bucks besides.

    EDIT: and, seeing as how you'll be waiting for the computer anyway, the drives will be that much cheaper to buy if you wait until you get it to order the drives.
     
  17. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #17
    I tried to do it to my rev b and it shut down after I removed the battery. Anyone with a rev c 12" pbook can you hot swap?

    EDIT: I had my friend who has a rev c 12" pbook. His shut down too. So 12" pbooks don't have hot swap.
     
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #18
    No you can't hot-swap on a 12" PB.

    Actually, I didn't think you could on any PB, but I'm not quite sure of that. I own the 12".
     
  19. vraxtus macrumors 65816

    vraxtus

    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2004
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    #19

    Even if it's sleeping?
     
  20. quagmire macrumors 603

    quagmire

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2004
    #20
    You can hot swap with the 15" and 17" pbook.( as long as it is in sleep mode).
     

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