student crisis: 12" ibook or powerbook????

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by lsfz88, Feb 11, 2005.

  1. lsfz88 macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    #1
    Hi> I know you guys are sick of this question, but you all do give good advice!
    i'm a uni student, currently at med school. i need a laptop for word, internet, reading journal articles on pdf files, hotsyncing palm, giving presentations to Drs.
    I am qualified for a HE discount and a 12" ibook G4 combo (30 Gb, 256 ram, and no bluetooth) = £615 but i calculated that by adding 30Gb hardrive, topping up ram to 512, and adding bluetooth comes to £735.

    On the other hand, a 12" powerbook with 60 Gb, 512 ram, bluetooth comes to £900.

    I need the laptop to be portable, which is why i'm choosing a 12" screen. I have been told that ibook goes up to 6hrs on battery life, whereas powerbook is 3-4 hrs. but, powerbook heats up easily and dents easily too!!
    Basically, i need something that is quite powerful for the applications listed above, but that i get a good one for my money and will last me into the years i become a Dr. I planned to spend around £1000 but i think i might need to get Mac office in to that price limit too!

    Any advice is very very welcome!
     
  2. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    #2
    I suggest you ignore the stuff you hear about dents and heat, though if you plan on smacking your laptop into things or are super-sensitive to warmth, consider the iBook, as it is a smaller investment to destroy and apparently does not get as warm. The PowerBook should get 5 hours in low use conditions, which is comparable to the iBook. Buy the iBook to save money, get the PowerBook if you want/need/can afford its extra speed and features.

    I think the iBook will certainly do what you need it to do, but by the specs, the PowerBook will of course do it better. The £165 buys you an arguably nicer keyboard, faster processor/FSB, faster video card, double the VRAM, true clamshell and no-hack screen spanning capability, faster HD, BT2, built-in audio in, HD drop protection, and the new trackpad, all in a slightly smaller, lighter body. So the question is, do you want those features or £165, and the answer is up to you.

    If you need to buy Office at retail (don't know it's price where you live) on the same budget, you might have to go iBook, but with edu pricing (if applicable), the difference shouldn't be huge.
     
  3. lsfz88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    #3
    thanks mcgarry. the office mac for students and teachers comes to £109. Still very unsure about this. am thinking about the battery too. would the overall battery life be diminished if i run the powerbook off the adapter?
    (sorry i'm a laptop and a Mac newbie!)
     
  4. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    #4
    Sounds like you can afford the PB and Office on your budget. Though with the iBook, for the same budget, you could maybe get more RAM.

    Here's Apple's official advice on their laptop batteries. Beyond that, search these boards for others' experiences. I've been using the freeware Capacity Meter to keep an eye on things too.
     
  5. Macky-Mac macrumors 68030

    Macky-Mac

    Joined:
    May 18, 2004
    #5
    for the uses you listed, either will do just fine
     
  6. shane-o-mac macrumors regular

    shane-o-mac

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    #6
    In a similiar situation.

    Need a portable for law school. I ultimatley ruled out the ibook and here are a few reasons why I felt it wold not work for me and they may make sense for you.

    DVI connection, I need to make presentations and an anolog connection just is not compatable with most university projection systems which are digital, so you need dvi, which powerbook has. In addition, if you want the ability to hook your powerbook up to an external monitor for more screen realestate you will find most digital displays have dvi connections. Do not forget that you cannot do clammshell with ibook hence you get sluggish preformance with expose and other programs on larger cinema displays (since you have 16mb of graphic use vs. the full 64 on powerbook). Also, I found with copying presentations to a disk, the superdrive is a must..need a lot of space and dvd format is the only way to go.

    The keyboard: the keyboard on the powerbook is not only significantly better but quite honestly amazing! Very solid, sleek, and extremely well laid out for the size of the laptop. I did not like the keyboard layout or feel on the ibook(noticed a few small gaps with no keys at all, seemed odd.)

    Preformance: all things considered pretty close to equal once you spend a significant amount of dough for upgrades on the ibook, the powerbook is just a more apt standard system. I need a fast spinning HD at 5400 rpm and a large HD, since as mentioned presentations are a hughe feature.

    Battery life: is comprable with ibook, very little difference from preformance gaged tests or the specs on the apple site.

    These things helped me eliminate ibooks for my use, but it reallyis not a matter of powerbook vs ibook, just what system meets your needs best.
     
  7. Mitthrawnuruodo Moderator emeritus

    Mitthrawnuruodo

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2004
    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    #7
    Go with the 12" iBook, it's a great little machine, and spend your extra cash on an extra stick of 512 MB RAM (or even 1 GB, not bought from Apple as the y overcharge; RAM is really easy to install), the biggest BTO HD possible (80 GB, isn't it?) and - if you plan to use it - built-in Bluetooth (has the iBook Bluetooth-module been upgraded to 2.0+EDR?).

    Pick up a sleeve (I got the Tucano Second skin for iBook 12" (the red one) and are very happy with that), then you can toss the iBook into whatever bag or backpack you want without scratching it, getting things into the optical drive og just getting it dirty.

    When my iBook G4 was new (Nov '03) the battery gave me 6 1/2 hours effective working time (with conservative settings: screen brightness turned way down, no sound and Airport/Bluetooth off), taking notes during lectures, mostly using a text-only app (at the moment TextWrangler, highly recommended by the way) or working in Lyx. Now, after well over a year of daily wear and tear, it still gives me well over 5 hours (just under 4 if I keep Airport on and surf during dull parts of the lectures).
     
  8. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    #8
    I'll second shane-o-mac on the keyboard-- it's totally subjective, but the PBs have the best-feeling keyboard I've ever used and the iBooks' feels spongy by comparison; and I'll second Mitthrawnuruodo that the Tucano skin is great. They make custom-sized ones for each of ther Apple laptop models (plus a generic 12" size that will work in a pinch with the PB but would probably be little too small for the iBook-- it was very tight on my PB). Lots of others probably make comparable products (see sticky in this forum), of course, but at least I can say that Tucano's is nice.
     
  9. Chrispy macrumors 68020

    Chrispy

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2004
    Location:
    Avon, IN
    #9
    As many of you all know, I was in a similar situation with witch laptop to buy just over a month ago. I first had an iBook but I soon realized that I could not output to an external monitor at anything other than 1024x768. Then, I realized that the screen memory was split 16MB and 16MB between the two displays. This was a problem because with the screen spanning hack installed, I ended up with a 1280x1024 resolution running on 16MB of RAM. I also feel that the powerbook feels more solid. Sure, you do not want to be slamming it up against walls or dropping it, but you would not want to do that with an iBook either. I prefer the keyboard on the powerbook over the iBook any day of the week. The only nice thing about the iBook keyboard is that you can remove it and put a new one on easily should do have a problem. It is really up to your needs as to what to buy but for me the powerbook was the clear choice.

    I must warn, however, that I went through hell and back before getting a powerbook that worked and it was not purchased through apple. I got it from macconnection and instead of discount, It was tax free plus I got a free stick of 512MB of ram. Just my 2 cents :)
     
  10. lsfz88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    #10
    Thanks for your advice
    now i am thinking about the powerbook, but don't think i can afford the superdrive. It would come out as £1031 for the 12" superdrive, but would i need DVD burner for presentations? I have a dell desktop at home which has that feature, so maybe i should stick to that. Also, I don't really save my presentations afterwards, i just delete them.I figure that I could get away with burning on to a cd, or just bringing the powerbook in to uni to give the presentation.any thoughts?
     
  11. deebster macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2004
    Location:
    Olde Englande
    #11
    You could always copy the presentation to your PC and burn it from there, or even get a firewire box and put the Dell's DVD burner (or a new one) in there and use it when not on the road.
     
  12. eleveneastgate macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #12
  13. shane-o-mac macrumors regular

    shane-o-mac

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    #13
    For most Universites, if you need to package a presentation to another professor or student, usually can swap it over the university server. But your probably right you seldom will find a need to burn a presentation. If you do find you need this feature a lot you can always add an external burner down the road. Either way few people must absolutley have a dvd burner, just a nice feature if you can afford it.
     
  14. lsfz88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    #14
    ok, i'm still thinking about the ibook vs. powerbook. As the Tiger will be coming up soon and i'm only going to be using the laptop for light work. My presentations aren;t really going to be lots of graphics, mostly text.

    am really thinking of buying the ibook and using extra money to buy more ram and hardrive space and bluetooth. And will buy the Tiger when it comes out. Seems reasonable?one thing nagging me is the 1.2 GHz processor, is this fast enough? and will this be ok for a 4 years?
     
  15. joe90 macrumors member

    joe90

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2005
    Location:
    UK
    #15
    prob won't make much difference to your final decision on whether to go for the ibook or the pbook but you can make a small saving (£13) if you buy office for the mac from link below:

    http://www.phoenixs.co.uk/msstudentselect/msstudentselect.htm
     
  16. _bnkr612 macrumors 6502a

    _bnkr612

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    #16
    When did they say it was going to ship? I dislike apple for its silly shipping methods. I ordered one on Thursday and paid overnight, it's not coming until Tuesday!!!

    All it takes is some guy in the warehouse to put down his donut and get on the hi-lo and grab it, put in on the truck and send that little guy to Detroit!

    So creul they are.
     
  17. Bangpow macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    #17

    You paid for overrnight??


    You're not gonna like this, but as i stated in a previous forum, I ordered my PB on Friday and it shipped on Friday. Maybe i'll get it at the same time as you.

    I guess mine is shipping out of Pennsylvania and i shipped it to my work in Garden City. Where's yours shipping out of?
     
  18. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    #18
    Both of your options are reasonable. Again, it's just a matter of saving some money, or paying for some more speed and features. Your call. RAM, OS, and even HD can always be upgraded later; a laptop's processor/FSB/video can't.

    4 years does seem like a long time, which would encourage me to go for a better computer in the first place, but who knows how you'll feel 2 years from now.
     
  19. lsfz88 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    #19
    thanks mcgarry. I think i'll stay with the powerbook, even though it does give less battery time. but i don't think i'll be using it for a 6 hour stretch, and i'll prob be using it more at home too, rather than bringing it to uni everyday
     
  20. Bangpow macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2005
    Location:
    Dearborn, MI
    #20
    Honestly, after coming on here and asking questions, going to the Apple store and asking questions, and going to CompUSA and asking questions, I was about ready to order the 12" PowerBook.

    The PowerBook has the better goods inside and yeah, the screen is kind of small, but if you have a monitor sitting around the house and your gonna do extensive work, then you can just hook it up to the PB.

    It looks like you will be hooking it up to external devices anyway, so why not get the better product??

    Also, I wouldn't worry too much about the heat, I made sure to feel the bottoms of the notebooks while i was at CompUSA and the Apple store and i didn't think they got too hot at all and they are on ALL DAY.

    So, I would go with the PowerBook.


    Like i said earlier, i was set on the 12" and was ready to order it, but my boss decided to help me out since i was going to be using it for work purposes, and gave me the extra loot to get the 15".

    Although, i sometimes think i should've just gotten the 12", that thing is so damn cool!
     
  21. eleveneastgate macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2005
    #21
    They said they'd ship on or before 22FEB05 (3-5 bus. days), I checked the order status and it still said "open".

    Also, sad to say, I checked the Apple store today... and ... they're all gone.
     
  22. ldburroughs macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Location:
    Virginia Beach, VA
    #22
    ibook

    If you are using this laptop for academic purposes I would suggest the ibook over the powerbook. If money is no object go with the powerbook. I am graduating law school this May with a near six-figure student loan debt. I was not in a position to splurge a few extra hundred dollars for a machine that I ultimately would not fully utilize. As far as presentations go, I made it through three years of law school without this being an issue. In fact, many of my professors use an ibook and run presentations through the university system all the time. The ibook will easily suit your needs.

    If you are going above the 12 inch threshold, I would suggest the powerbook over the ibook. Once you get into this area the powerbooks begin to look more and more attractive. In the 12 inch realm, however, there is not a significant noticeable difference between the two. Both are great machines but for comparably loaded machines the price difference can be several hundred dollars. I figured, I'm in law school, not a school of communications. For my needs the ibook is more than adequate. I think you can apply the same logic to medical school. Either way you go, you've made the right decision. You're getting and mac and that's all that counts.
     
  23. Rovias macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    #23
    I've had both, and from experience I can say: Definitely go with the iBook. Especially if you are a student. I started out with an iBook, and my senior year of college I sold it and upgraded to a Powerbook. I have regretted it ever since. I don't need the excess power that the Powerbook has, and the iBooks have better battery life, Airport reception, and they just look sexier to me.

    Needless to say, my next laptop will be another iBook (preferably a G5)!
     
  24. yuck macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    #24
    i read on some old threads that theres some "choppiness" problem with the powerbook rev a when used with external monitor, when they span the res

    between the ibook and powerbook, which one perform better when connected to external monitor ?
     
  25. mcgarry macrumors 6502a

    mcgarry

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2004
    #25
    The current iBooks should be closer in performance to the rev. A PBs of which you speak than the current PBs. The aged Go5200 in the 12" is still a better option than the 9200 in the iBooks. It also has twice the VRAM, which helps when spanning monitors as 32MB is devoted to each screen rather than 16. In true clamshell mode (PB closed), the PB can devote all 64MB to the attached monitor. The iBooks, even with the screen-spanning hack, cannot devote more than 16MB to any screen when more than one is attached-- the internal LCD can never really be 'turned off' as in the PB. So the 12" PowerBook, especially rev.s C and D (the current one) should be the better option than the iBooks for use with an external monitor. Also note that is recommended that you not attempt to use an iBook fully closed with an external monitor attached, as the keyboard area performs a necessary heat dissipation function; this does not apply to the PB.

    With the 15" and 17", with their nicer GPUs, the comparison is still more unfavorable to the iBooks. If having the best graphics performance possible in an Apple portable is a priority for you, budget permitting, the PB is the better option. Comparing a 2-year old anything to a current iBook is a very different proposition than comparing current models to each other-- I can't see why one might think the current PBs would be outperformed by the iBooks in this situation.

    For more detail and user experiences, you can search the threads for plenty of other descriptions of iBooks and PowerBooks of more recent generations used with external screens.
     

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