Which iBook?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by FieldDoc, Jan 12, 2004.

  1. FieldDoc macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #1
    I have £1100 (max) to spend on a replacement for my Windows notebook which has died on its knees. I am torn between 3 models:

    £1107:
    12" iBook
    -640Mb RAM
    -60Gb HDD
    -Combo drive
    -Airport Extreme card

    £1118:
    14" iBook
    -384Mb RAM
    -40Gb HDD
    -Combo drive
    -Airport Extreme card

    £1078:
    15" iMac
    -256Mb
    -80Gb HDD
    -Combo drive
    -Airport Extreme card

    (Could poss. stretch to)
    £1158:
    15" iMac
    -512Mb
    -80Gb HDD
    -Combo drive
    -Airport Extreme card

    I will be using the system for word processing, web surfing, web design, Photoshop, iTunes and (a little) gaming. What would best suit my needs. It is not essential that I get a notebook although, portability is always nice (and I live in a small flat!)

    I suppose I am really interested in what is more important - a faster chip or more RAM. I am new to the world of macs and 800Mhz sounds like it might struggle?

    Incidentally, I am hoping that the Airport Extreme card will work seemlessly with my D-Link Wireless ADSL modem (802.11b) that I had been using with my last laptop.
     
  2. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    Most of those have more RAM than is standard, where are you adding the cost of this? At the Apple Store? DON'T! It's a rip-off. Go to www.crucial.com/uk for any extra memory you want. Then see how much each one comes to.
     
  3. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #3
    Airport Ex card should work seamlessly with your existing network.

    like edesignuk said, get the 12" iBook and purchase the RAM separately. knock off the HD upgrade if you are short on £££. i wouldn't bother with the 14" iBook unless you have a bad eyesight.

    i don't think the iMac will be as good of a deal, esp. considering the portability. i don't think you'll gain that much of a performance.

    the only difference is the screen... however, it's my feeling that 12" is a little undersized for a laptop but so is 15" for a desktop... i own a 12" PB and sometime wish that the resolution was higher... but i love the portability.
     
  4. jeff.macaddict macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #4
    If I got an iBook, I'd go for the 933MHz 14.1" model. Why spend the extra money on a little bit of speed?

    But then again, I bought an PowerBook G4. (TODAY--YAY!!):D
     
  5. niter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2003
    #5
    I have the iBook 12" G4. I bought it BTO with 60 HD and Bluetooth. Then I bought RAM from crucial for a total of 640 MB and recently the Airport Extreme card. I love the computer. I do everything you do, except the gaming, and my iBook is PLENTY fast. I would get the 12" and an external monitor for home, if you are worried about the size. I got an iCurve for my iBook and I do not even need the monitor. In fact, the iCurve is one of my favorite accessories.

    If you want more power and mirroring, get the PB 12". I am not a fan of the iBook 14" just because I really do not care for the size. There is nothing wrong with it, but if I were going bigger than 12", I would want the 15". I am just not one for the big "square" and portability was a must for me.
     
  6. Purple Worm macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Location:
    Great Britain
    #6
    Yes, get the 12" iBook FieldDoc and check RAM pricing. You only need a 14" if you have bad eye sight, as it is exactly the same resolution as the 12", just a larger screen. Why it is still the same res I don't know, it's pointless.
     
  7. FieldDoc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    Thanks for all the advice guys. It seems that the 12" is in the lead here. My only concern is that the 14" has a 933Mhz G4 as compared to the 800Mhz in the 12". I am new to G4 chips (having come from a 2.8Ghz P4) but I have noticed that some apps are already asking for 733Mhz as a min spec to run. What kind of performance boost am I going to see from a 933 compared to the 800?
     
  8. Purple Worm macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Location:
    Great Britain
    #9
    I really doubt 133MHz is going to make a difference with any chip. Go for the 12" 800MHz iBook, most people just don't see the point in buying a 14", there's no justification. Shelling out that extra cash for 133MHz more power and a slightly bigger hard drive is not worth it. That money'll be going on extra RAM.
     
  9. pingin macrumors member

    pingin

    Joined:
    May 9, 2003
    #10
    what about the screen size?

    In Macworld's tests in January, the 12" ibook consisently finished bottom of all tests whereas, in some cases, the 14" ibook wasn't that far off the 15" PB's scores (given the price difference). Sorry, if that sounds vague but I don't have the results in front of me.... What I'm trying to say is that I wouldn't dismiss out of hand that 133MHz difference.

    That aside, there's also the screen size. I would have thought that this is the principle reason for choosing the 14" over the 12" (as well as a part of the extra cost). That 12" screen seems a little small for extended viewing whereas the 14" inch should be fine. Yes, you can buy an external monitor but why bother if you can get a decent sized screen in the first place?
     
  10. Purple Worm macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Location:
    Great Britain
    #11
    Yes the 14" is the principle reason for buying one (remember same res as the 12") and if it is not an incentive for you to buy it then you might aswell save your cash and buy the 12".
     
  11. Purple Worm macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Location:
    Great Britain
    #12
    Mind you C&C Generals is going to require a 1GHz processor to play (apparently) hehe.
     
  12. FieldDoc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #13
    Now i'm even more confused! The laptop would be my only computer and would get a lot of use which makes me think that bigger is better. Is it possible to have a 12" screen as your only screen and not go blind? Also, what is more important to OS X....a 933Mhz chip with 384Mb RAM or an 800Mhz chip with 640Mb RAM. I plan on having iTunes running in the background, with word, Safari and maybe another app running at the same time.
     
  13. jxyama macrumors 68040

    jxyama

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2003
    #14
    640 MB RAM, hands down.

    this will be an extreme example, but before the winter break, i had an eMac with 1 GHz G4/128 MB and a 12" PB with 867 GHz G4/640 MB. no comparison - you just need the RAM, PB was much smoother.

    with 384 MB, 14" should run very well, but unless you are really troubled by the 12" screen (which you may be, nothing wrong with that), i'd go for the 12".

    because you gain nothing in the resolution, 14" iBook get a bad rep here compared to the 12". but i understand that some people just feel better with a bigger screen...

    i've had my 12" PB for a year now - no problems with me. also, i personally consider the mobility a big plus - if i wanted a bigger screen, i'd get an external monitor to be used at home...

    basically, the conclusion is that don't get the 14" for the 933 MHz processor. that will not make that big of a difference. get the 14" if you want the 14" screen.
     
  14. niter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2003
    #15
    I am in the middle of the written portion of my Prelims....and my iBook has been a real powerhouse.

    WiFi at the library...super portable at 12"..set up at home with an iCurve (and no your eyes will not burn out)....the iBook has been staying up all night with me just trucking away.

    Last night I had 3-4 Word documents open, 2-3 PowerPoints, 1 Excel, countless # of Safaris, iChat, Mail, and iTunes importing music and downloading it from the internet all at the same time (hey musice helps me write).

    I have been doing several days of this and the iBook keeps on plowing through it. The 640 MB RAM are well worth it. And when I got stuck I just got up and moved! Also, if you worry your eyes will hurt....sometimes when I am tired from studying and webpages get to me (this is not because of the screen but is because I should wear reading classes but I do not) I just use apple+ to make the fonts bigger.

    I love my computer.

    Do not worry about it so much. Both iBooks and all the PowerBooks are incredible. You will be happy no matter what you get! But I will say, I was able to max out this system with all the cash I saved by getting this model.
     
  15. pinto32 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2003
    Location:
    PA
    #16
    if you are really into photoshop, and you dont plan on taking your puter on the road, then maybe the imac would be a better choice for you. It has a higher resolution, which would come in really handy for editing. Also, if you do decide on the iBook, I would get the 12 inch, unless you have bad eyes. I have the 12, and my so-so eyes dont mind it. As far as performance, I have 5 safari windows, AIM, iTunes, iCal, Stickies, 2 explorer windows, appleworks, and sherlock open right now, and its going strong...(G4-800, 640RAM)
     
  16. pingin macrumors member

    pingin

    Joined:
    May 9, 2003
    #17
    I think, performance wise, you'll be fine whichever you get. I played around with a 12" ibook at an Apple Store the other day and was amazed at how fast it was - even with its 256MB RAM. I think the monitor size is a personal preference and the only reason I would be leaning more towards the 14" is the screen size - I'm convinced a 12" will strain my eyes but I could be wrong. You should go to a store and hog a 12" Ibook for 30 minutes and, if you're okay with the screen size, get it! But you should really decide this for yourself - they're your eyes.

    In case you're interested, and to give you a more objective view on the performance, here are some of the test results from Macworld France. They did 15 in all, but I picked out the ones that seem more relevant to your case.

    Configs for all portables are as follows:

    PB 15": 1 GHz / 2 GB RAM
    PB 17": 1.33 GHz / 1 GB RAM
    IB 12": 800 MHz / 640MB RAM
    IB 14": 1 GHz / 640MB RAM

    I've included the Imac 17" flat for comparison and the power Mac G5 bipro (for laughs):

    IMac : 1GHZ / 768MB
    PM G5 Dual : 2x 2GHz / 2 GB

    Test 1: File Copy (copy of 1 large file of 700MB and 42,000 small files (cumulative size of 450MB). Result is in minutes : seconds and smaller is better
    PB 15" : 7:51
    PB 17" : 7:21
    IB 12" : 11:15
    IB 14" : 8:24
    IM 17" : 6:32
    PM Dual: 4:18

    Test 2: Opening multiple windows (apparently this test didn't work on any machine with 256MB RAM or less)
    PB 15" : 1:38
    PB 17" : 1:05
    IB 12" : 2:30
    IB 14" : 2:00
    IM 17" : 1:22
    PM Dual: 0:55

    Test 2: Opening multiple windows (apparently this test didn't work on any machine with 256MB RAM or less)
    PB 15" : 1:38
    PB 17" : 1:05
    IB 12" : 2:30
    IB 14" : 2:00
    IM 17" : 1:22
    PM Dual: 0:55

    Test 3: MS Office v.X (various tasks including opening files, word searches, and running formulas with Excel)
    PB 15" : 3:16
    PB 17" :2:35
    IB 12" : 4:19
    IB 14" : 3:34
    IM 17" : 3:36
    PM Dual: 1:54

    Test 3: iTunes (conversion to 128kbps AAC of 4 tracks of 28 mins total on a CD)
    PB 15" : 2:25
    PB 17" :1:50
    IB 12" : 3:45
    IB 14" : 3:15
    IM 17" : 3:05
    PM Dual: 0:40

    Obviously the dual G5 steals the show but I think it shows that the IB 12", while the slowest, is still a fast machine. 4 minutes to convert 28 minutes of music is very respectable.
     
  17. FieldDoc thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #18
    Thanks for all the advice guys. I am going to go to my local John Lewis and have a look at the units in person. I am sorely tempted by the 12" IB though, the extra portability would be nice (as well as the wow factor). Even though I oculd always update the RAM at a later date on a 14" IB, that might not be for a while. Also, I get 20Gb extra HDD with the 12". So if you guys say that the 12" won't let me down, I shall trust you and go for it!
     
  18. Purple Worm macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2004
    Location:
    Great Britain
    #19
    Oh one other thing FieldDoc, which hasn't been mentioned...The 14" are ugle compared to the 12"s hehe. The iBook was designed to be 12" and the iBooks good looks are a bit ruined on the 14".
     

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