What Laptop?: Used Titanium 15" or Powerbook 12" or New iBook 12"

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Paperweight, Apr 14, 2005.

  1. Paperweight macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    #1
    I've been looking for an Apple laptop for quite some time now, and I just can't choose!
    I'm looking to spend at most $1000 canadian for it (~$810 u.s) and I've spent way too many hours on ebay.

    I am starting a business, going to high school, and I will be designing websites, doing very little graphics work, will probably learn to program this year. I will move it around a lot but I'm really careful. I've never owned a mac before.

    I'm completely stumped on my choices, they all cost the same:

    a. Used 867mhz 15" Titanium Powerbook 768 MB RAM
    b. Used 867mhz 12" Aluminum Powerbook 640 MB RAM
    c. New 1.2ghz 12" iBook, 768 MB RAM

    - I will have a seperate monitor later on. Tiger looks really cool but the iBook's GPU won't be taken advantage of, so I guess the iBook is out of the picture. Can the 867mhz Aluminum support dual extended screens, or is it just cloned like the iBook?

    The Ti Powerbook has better video and ram capabilities, but the Aluminum PB has a brighter screen, but the TiPB has longer battery life, but the TiPB is fragile, but TiPB screen is way bigger, but the Aluminum PB is newer and smaller,.... aaaarrrrghhhh!

    Somebody help me! I absolutely CANNOT decide!
     
  2. chaosbunny macrumors 68000

    chaosbunny

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    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    #2
    Hi and first of all welcome to the apple world! :D I'm sure you'd enjoy each of the three machines, but to answer some questions:

    The 12" Powerbook does support dual extended screens, that's what I'm doing with the computer in my signature. But it only works with analog monitors, not digital ones.

    While the ibook can normaly just mirror the screens there is some sort of crack, a friend of mine uses this, to make it support the dual extended mode. I don't know where to get this though and apart from that, as I've noticed at my friends setup, it is slowing down the system a little bit.

    The 15" Tibook should also support the dual screens, like the 12", but I'm not completely sure.

    The Tibook has longer battery life? Where did you get that from?

    Both the 12" PB and 15" PB have the same video card as the ibook, 32 MB. At least I know for sure with the 12" and am pretty sure with the 15".

    Since you want to connect an additional monitor I'd go with the 12" PB. But make sure you check out this crack of the ibook. Maybe I'll ask my friend, but he is on holiday and not here this week. If you can find it and hear some other oppinions about it, buy the ibook. It is faster and if the monitor thing is taken care of, will do everything you want of it!

    Don't worry too much. You'll like the mac experience either way I hope!
     
  3. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    Location:
    Adelaide, Australia
    #3
    I reckon it's usually a better idea to go for the newer computer, especially for laptops which are advancing much faster than desktops ATM. You'll be getting new components as opposed to older ones (obviously) which is really quite relevant for batteries and screens. The iBook is a great machine and as a daily user, I can safely say that it stands up to some pretty harsh treatment really well. As you probably know though, they are set for an update pretty soon apparently so you might want to wait a little while...

    Either way, OSX is an awesome system so any one of these machines will serve you well.
     
  4. R.Youden macrumors 68020

    R.Youden

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2005
    #4
    Maybe you can get an Education discount and get a better iBook or maybe even a bottom PowerBook. Also check out Apples refurbished shop on a Wednesday. You can get some really good bargins.
     
  5. Sutekidane macrumors 6502a

    Sutekidane

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    Jan 26, 2005
    #5
    Get the iBook.
    Reasons: Current, and not like 2-3 years outdated (duh), Warranty, Software eligibility for Tiger, USB 2.0, Cosmetic condition.
     
  6. Mechcozmo macrumors 603

    Mechcozmo

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    Jul 17, 2004
    #6
    Bus speed, too.

    And the iBooks GPU WILL BE USED. Look for it 'round here.
     
  7. budaapple macrumors regular

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    Jun 15, 2004
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    Ill.
    #7
    go for the screen size

    Go for the screen size plus you will get a pcmcia slot for expansion or addition of wi fi card. I have had both of the smaller laptops and now have a 15" pb and I will never go small again. Good Luck!
     
  8. lewdvig macrumors 65816

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    #8
    I'm faced with the same decision right now - I am going for the 1 GHz TiBook. The screen is great, and it is just so damn beautiful.

    Plus, the TiBook is super easy to service. Pop the bottom off and there is easy access to the drives.
     
  9. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

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    Mar 5, 2005
    Location:
    Oxford/London
    #9
    iBook iBook iBook

    Go for the iBook, really.
    REMEMBER, any second hand computer may not have the original battery life! (Even refurbished ones!)
    iBook is newer - this counts. The longer people spend making laptops, the better they get at it!
    Much better support from apple & others - need replacements or upgrades? - Far more likely to still be avaliable in the next few years.
    Don't go on looks!
     
  10. lewdvig macrumors 65816

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    #10
    If the 9200 in the iBook is Tiger compatible, then the 9000 in the later TiBooks will be too. It is the same core (they are both derived from the 8500).
     
  11. lewdvig macrumors 65816

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    #11
    IMO: History has proven the PowerBook line to be much more reliable than iBooks - especially given the problems with the G3 iBooks.

    None of Apple's current notebook designs are very user serviceable - the Pismo and TiBooks were easier to work on. SD Ram sodimms are still cheap.

    Even with DDR and an extra 250 MHz I don't know that a 12" iBook will be faster than a 1GHz TiBook.
     
  12. Gizmotoy macrumors 65816

    Gizmotoy

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2003
    #12
    According to the Core Image site, neither of the cards fully support Tiger... so you'd be missing out on some of the more demanding graphical effects (new ripple effect, etc.). At least that's my understanding, maybe a developer has tested for sure.
     
  13. sigamy macrumors 65816

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    Mar 7, 2003
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    NJ USA
    #13
    I tend to agree that you should go with the newer machine.

    But I think you're main decision is on screen size. I don't see any reason to go with the 12" 867mhz PowerBook. What does that offer over the iBook?

    You need to decide on the 15" vs. 12" screen. The pros and cons are simple. The 15" is bigger and (maybe) better quality. The 12" offers a bit more portability.

    See if you can live with the 12" for now. You'll have a monitor later on so I'd lean toward the iBook. It is newer, sturdier, better Wifi.
     
  14. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

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    #14
    This is NOT a G3 iBook. I had to replace my Pismo, as the graphics card had a failure. The one I got as a replacement overheats and freezes even now (but not as often with OS X :) - So the Powerbook range is no better than the G3 iBooks. I just get the feeling the newer the model, the generally better the build.

    True, popping the keyboard and removing a few screws was easier, but not sure if or why that is better.
    I think he is stocking the RAM up straight away, so buying extra seems a mute point.
    The lowest-end iBook is a 1.2GHz, so not much faster, but faster bus and archetecture makes a difference!
    If I were you i'd look to stretching to the superdrive model of the iBook range - you won;t regret being able to do that burning when the old HD fills up!
     
  15. lewdvig macrumors 65816

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    #15
    Yeah, I just had a look at this too. It looks like you need a DX9 capable video system - sorry I come from a Windows world - to enjoy Core Image.

    If an iBook update is in the cards - say with a RADEON 9600 - then get the iBook. I should point out that this would make the iBook the least expensive laptop on the market with such a good video chip. It would make many games play better on the iBook (a good feature for this market) and Core Image is a pretty cool feature (available 2 years before MS's similar tech - known as Avalon).

    Hmmm...
     
  16. lewdvig macrumors 65816

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    #16
    I think the Pismo is the best laptop Apple has ever made - six years later and they still fetch a premium! If there was a faster G4 upgrade for these I would get one. How much do you want for your wonky one?

    RAM and airport upgrades are easy across the board - but being able to swap drives is a plus. 80 GB HD are relatively cheap right now.

    The 12" model is quite sweet though. That would be even more with a R9600M. That is tempting.

    Superdrives are great, but an external DVD burner in a 1394 enclosure is a safer bet IMO. DVD burner tech is changing all the time and they sell at commodity prices now (16x dual layer drives for $50) and there are patches to make these work with Apple software (or you could simply buy the excellent Toast software).

    Plus, I like giving new life to old stuff. I wrote a article on how to buy used computers and what to look for - it might help:
    http://www.notebookreview.com/default.asp?newsID=2138

    But I must say that the 12" iBook is starting to look better.
     
  17. GregUofMN macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2003
    #17
    I would never buy a computer used. Computers, especially laptops, are just so fragile where components can easily break or become flawed. If you're going to be using it for educational purposes, business purposes, fun, etc you're going to want an extended warrenty. You won't be able to get one with a used laptop... especially the older versions you're talking about. I've had my 15" AlBook for almost 2 years and I don't know what I would do without my extended warrenty. I've gone through 2 powercords, 3 duckheads for the power adapter, and I'll be getting a new screen soon because of the dreaded white spots.

    I think the best option, for people that are on a limited budget but want assured quality is the finance option. In addition, if your a high school student you qualify for the educational discount. So why not spring for a BRAND NEW 12" Powerbook? Payments would be around $30/month which is cheap--dirt cheap!!! Comes out to 5-6 hours of work per month if you made minimum wage!! It's definetely worth springing for the extra nice, brand new machine. (These days, people spend that much on a t-shirt.)
     
  18. lewdvig macrumors 65816

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    #18
    More of my $.02

    Agreed - used equipment is great for tinkerers or people interested in the history of computers but probably not the average Joe. Whether you want to go this route will depend on your comfort level. Its kind of like buying a classic car.

    IMO a well cared for TiBook will be just as dependable as a new iBook.

    Laptops are not really that fragile anymore. Parts can be found readily for popular models.

    I cycle through 5-10 laptops a year as I buy and sell new and used ones. This does not include review units that are sent to me. Even a $600 Dell laptop is pretty solid these days. I had Toshiba Portege 4000 recently that was four years old - had BT, wifi, 512mb ram, 40 GB HD and a combo drive. It was made out of Magnesium - very solid. I think I paid $450 for it. Sometimes used machines represent good value.

    Financing is cool as long as the interest rate is reasonable.

    I fix everything myself so I sneer at extended warranties. Plus, I tend to void warranties as soon as I have the product at home. I can't help myself - I must see what is inside.

    Five years from now, a TiBook will still be a cool bit of kit. Not sure about the iBook though. For a lot of people (probably the majority) that makes no difference.
     
  19. Paperweight thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    #19
    Thanks for all your bits of info, guys. Just what I was hoping for.

    Hmm, duh, I now cross out 867mhz used 12" powerbook - can't compete with 1.2ghz new 12" ibook.

    I will upgrade the hard drive and probably superdrive in the future, so the TiBook's easy-access "feature" sounds appealing. I like opening things, too :) The new ibooks are hard to open, I just heard.

    I read here that the 12" pb battery was worse than the TiBook's. I might buy a new, better battery in the future, too. At macsales.com, they say the new TiBook batteries have 40% more power than the originals!

    Is the keyboard on the TiBook mushy? I heard somewhere that the new ibooks/powerbooks were a big improvement. I hate keyboards like my parents' new toshiba's keyboard...feels like you're typing on a hard flat surface. Is the TiBook's keyboard like that?

    Is there a huge difference between the brightness of the displays of the Ti and iB? I heard the 12" ibook screens suck. Also I am looking for info on perhaps (getting a pro to) solder in an upgraded GPU processor or gpu ram. Google isn't finding much but I think they did this on older powerbooks?

    There are obstacles to buying a new laptop. 1. I can't get high school education discounts in Canada. 2. I can't yet get a line of credit. 3. Apple Canada doesn't offer lines of credit, as far as I looked. 4. All the money I have amounts to $1300 canadian, and I'll need the leftovers to help start my business. I can't even afford brand new 12" ibook with that if tax is also charged!


    So far I think I'll go with a used but not abused 867++ mhz Titanium Powerbook, and buy upgrades from there.
    Any of you guys have one for sale??? :cool:
     
  20. Mord macrumors G4

    Mord

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  21. Paperweight thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    #21
    Eh dammit I just changed my mind---I'm going to be packing it around a lot, so I'll get the small iBook. The big TiBook will be pretty fragile and heavy to pack around in my backpack I guess.
    *sigh*
     
  22. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

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    #22
    You won't regret it. Enjoy! :D
     
  23. lewdvig macrumors 65816

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    #23
    The good news: there is no wrong choice! :)

    The bad news: there is no bad news

    I have had a couple of 12" iBooks and they are tough little machines. Have you tried www.ehmac.ca - there are some used iBooks and PBs on there today.

    Enjoy.
     

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