12 PB vs iBooks -- Lots of Questions (Screens, Final Cut, etc)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by zip, Dec 6, 2003.

  1. zip macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2003
    I want to get a portable, and have been looking for quite awhile. I don't have the money for the 15AL, so I am looking at the new G4 iBook, both 12 and 14" model, and the 12" PB.

    What I would like to do is mostly word processing, but I would also like to have Final Cut and Photoshop so I can learn them. Is there anything on the PB that makes it easier to input and output video?

    Is there any indication Apple will improve the 12 PB screens? I think they are difficult to read over a long period of time. I think the screen is fine for the low end models but Apple is cutting corners putting these in a professional line. How likely is it that the screen will get a redo?

    I have thought about getting an external monitor and using it with the 12 PB, but I don't want to get rid of my desktop, and don't have room for another computer spot.

    Is there any way I could have my iMac (the old cube kind, G3, system 9.2.1) be an external monitor for the iBook or PB?

    What are the different connectors on the iBooks and 12" PB? (What is the iBook missing, and how useful would it be for Final Cut?)

    With the iBook hack allowing it to span monitors, does it have to stay at the 1024 x 780 resolution? How easy is it to hook the iBook to another monitor?

    How do I share files with my desktop?

    Would the Professional Brenthaven be the bag to buy for an iBook, or is there a different Brenthaven bag for those?

    What is the return policy? If I buy the portable on December 27 to get the Final Cut Express special, can I return the computer a day or two after MWSF?

    For those of you that have your laptop as your only computer, how do you feel about carrying around personal information such as Quicken and personal documents? I think it would make me very nervous, that is a big reason I want to keep my desktop.

    Please answer any and all questions that you can, sorry for so many. Thanks for your help!
  2. whocares macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    No native video spanning on iBook (a hack exists) - only mirroring :mad:

    PBook can be directly connected to a Cinema display - iBook can't :rolleyes:

    PBook will have much more power than iBook (better chipset): more power is *good* for FCP & PS!

    12" screen is fine for reading (the 10*7 res is just perfect on it) but may be a limiting factor for FCP & PS. Where the **** do I put those panels? :p

    Networking with desktop will be a piece of cake (for both iBook and PBook): just connect them with a standard ethenet cable, turn on Appletalk & File Sharing and Bob's your uncle.

    You can always enable FileVault (if you trust it) to encrypt your sensitive data.

    Bottom line, if you're planning on doing FCP & PS and can afford it, go for a PBook (15" min).
  3. ac2102 macrumors member


    May 12, 2003
    Bristol - England
    Zip - I have the 12" iBook and use it mainly for word processing, browsing, watching DVD's etc, as well as i bit of editing using FCE. I have also dabbled in Photoshop and have had no problems whatsoever with the screen-size, power battery life etc.

    Now i know that because this is my machine, i am bound to love it even though there are better models out there, but i just thought that you should know.

    The 12"PB is obviously going to be more powerful, and it has that Aluminium case, but it sounds to me that you will need no more than the iBook.

    I would say it comes down to 2 questions:

    1. Do you need a Superdrive (only available in the PB)

    2. Do you need mini DVI out.

    If the answer is yes to either of these questions then the Powerbook is the answer. If No to both then you will be perfectly happy with any of the iBooks, i assure you.
  4. TheT macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2002
    I was wondering exactly the same...
    the external monitor issue is the deciding point for me, I think... so, someone who has used the hack, please let us know :)
  5. snowdropper macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2003
    the LCD has to stay at 1024, that is its native resolution.

    the external monitor can run as high as it will allow eg 1600.
  6. niter macrumors 6502

    Sep 9, 2003
    I just got an iBook 12"

    If you had not listed photopshop or final cut, I would say that it runs perfectly for everything else.

    I have a coworker with a 12" PB. Both the PB and the iBook are incredible. For me, I chose the iBook because:

    1) I love the style of it. It looks great and is durable (not that I treat my computers like crap anyway).

    2) The price was just right.

    3) For what I do with a laptop it is perfect. I wondered about getting a PB to be able to do the type of programming you discussed in your posts. However, I just do not have the time for it right now. Additionally, when I am at the point in my life (out of school) to afford the goodies, for example a video camera, I would rather have a desktop for those sort of things. For the money I saved getting my iBook, which even at 800 MHz is overkill for the stuff I am doing now), I can get a very nice PowerMac G4 or save the money towards a G5 in the future.

    I really get a kick out of computers. FH and I do not live in a one computer household. So for me, the perfect set up would be an super desktop home setting and a darn good laptop. When it comes down to doing demanding types of computing, sitting at a desktop is more geared towards me.

    If you have plans to one day get a desktop, I would say to get the iBook. If not, perhaps consider the 15" PB. If I could only have ONE computer, that would be it. I do not think the 12" PB cuts it for being the only computer. The 15" is still plenty portable.
  7. kuyu macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    The 15 inch pbook would definately be a desktop replacement, but for the price you could get two ibooks. my advice, save the money and get a 12 inch ibook. It's still fast, and the 14 inch doesn't give you anymore working space. If you buy an ibook now for ~$1500, in two years the new $1500 ibook will smoke todays pbooks. however, if money were no object, get the 15 inch pbook, cause it's so damn pretty.

    Also, they will probably bump the ibook line up to 1 ghz for the 12 inch in about a month. just wait a little while and you'll get a 20% faster processor.
  8. zip thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2003
    I agree the best way to use Final Cut is on a desktop, but the portable will be my only computer running OS X.

    I was at the Apple Store again today. I think the 12" screen is good enough to type on, so it is down to the 12" PB vs 12" iB.

    The extra money spent on the powerbook will allow me to burn DVDs and to hook to a cinema display. At the moment, I don't know if I will be doing either, but it will give me the option to do so in the future if I need to. Decisions!!!!!

    If I I was to decide on the PowerBook, when would be the best time to buy it? If I buy on the 27th and a price decrease is announced two weeks later, would I get it?

    Would you get it on or before Dec 27 to get the Final Cut discount, or wait until after MWSF?
  9. McCord9 Suspended

    Mar 5, 2003
    New York City

    Just ordered a G4 iBook, and will be extremely happy with it no matter what comes out in Jan, but does anyone think they will touch the iBooks again in Jan after they just updated them? Thanks for any input.
  10. TheT macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2002
    You seem to have experience with this... I basically need to make the iBook / PB decision next summer, too.
    So you need a VGA to DVI connector for the iBook to connect it to a LCD, right? Is there any loss in quality? Does the 32MB-card have enough power to allow QuartzExtreme on an additional 20inch-LCD running at (I don't know exactly, let's say) 1920xsomething? How much would be such an connector, who sells it?
    Many, many questions... I'd really love to have that 15" PB, but hell, it's twice the price!
  11. zip thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Re: MWSF

    I don't think they will update the iBook so soon, but I wonder if the Powerbook will get a touch up. Since the new iBooks have come out, the 12 " PB has fallen off of Apple's Top 20 Best Selling List.

    Do you think it best to buy the 12 PB on December 27th to get the Final Cut discount, or wait until after MWSF?
  12. ethernet76 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2003
    It works fine. I've used it, although dual monitors can be confusing at times.
  13. ethernet76 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 15, 2003
    If you're going with a 12" model for sure I'd stick with the powrebook. FC nails the processor and the added speed and cache will help. The PB also had memory that operates at twice the speed of the ibOOks which will really help photoshop.

    As for the waiting. Sometimes you're going to buy something and then be outdated 3 weeks later. It's going to happen.

    Checking the product cycle it seems updates might be due in january, but something tells me they won't be. Whether they update the powerbook line again before the G5 laptops is anyone's best guess as no one really has a clue.
  14. snowdropper macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2003
    no, no experience, just a lot of research :)

    yes you need a converter if you use an apple LCD - you will need an ADC converter as it is a proprietary connection. otherwise LCD will accept VGA fine, with no loss of quality as far as i can tell. you just use the included adapter.

    as far as QE goes, i read somewhere that the hack disables QE on the second monitor, but this could be wrong. depending on what you are doing you shouldnt experience any slowdown.

    hope this helps.
  15. snowdropper macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2003
    yeah, i agree, if you are always waiting for the next upgrade then you will never get anything.

    powerbook is exactly that - POWERbook. the extra stuff in there does make it run a lot faster. depends on what you are coming from though. i am coming from a 3yr old PC, and the new ibook crushes it no matter what app i run.

    updates may come as soon as tomorrow (according to macrumors page 2) but its not likely. with MWSF a few weeks away, and apples anniversary year, its more likely to happen then. as far as a G5 in a powerbook, as soon as they can fir the 9 fans into a notebook form then i guess they will come, but i doubt it before january. looking at this, its more likely that they will speed bump the G4, better gfx card, faster bus etc.

    i hope they don't touch the ibook, cos i just bought one!
  16. TheT macrumors 6502

    Jan 5, 2002
    Does anyone know this for sure? That would be a huge drawback for me...
  17. snowdropper macrumors newbie

    Oct 19, 2003
    ok i just checked the page where the hack comes from...

    it says that if you have a computer with 16mb VRAM then it will disable QE by default, which you can then re-enable.

    this does not apply to the new ibook g4 since it has 32mb VRAM. so from this i gather that QE is enabled. since i havent tried it though, i'm not 100%.
  18. XP XtraProblems macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2003
    Is it cost or style?

    Hi Zip and everyone,

    I have been struggling with the exact same decision. But I have a question for you..

    Since you have narrowed it down to a 12"... is it now cost or style?

    Here's my take on it now. I have always loved the design of the iBooks, and WiFi is very important to me, and among all laptop computers, nothing beats an iBook. But I have not bought one because of the G3 and no BlueTooth (Very Important to me). Now that they have upgaded to G4 and added BT, but not as fast chipset, size cache, and ram expansion as the powerbook I'm really caught in a delema. Is the extra cash worth it for the speed that I'll only 20 of the time I used it. Well playing with iPhoto and iMovie answered that for me, Yes. The iPhoto library loads faster and the pics come to full faster when you select one.

    But I like the iBook casing better, and it cost less. I keep hitting myself in the head over esthetics vs. perfomance, and cost. Then to make it and even closer decision.... I've run across the fact that the Apple Store Online and many other resellers have stock of fully warrantied Apple-reconditioned 867mhz 12" PB's with built in BlueTooth for $1199.00. That is very tempting, same warranty, no different than brand new, and many say better tested and reliable than a factory shipped one. And it's still faster, has more built in memory and expandability, better video out, better graphics card, saves $50 on the built in BT, etc, etc over the iBook, .... Makes the decision for me.

    Now my final issue. I also predict they will bump the speed of the PowerBooks in Jan at MW, so I'll be buying a machine two revisions back. As once read on a thread on an apple board:
    "Topic: When's a good time to buy my a Mac?... Answer: It's NEVER a good time to buy a Mac, you just have to do it and be happy with your decision".
  19. sahnert macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2003
    don't think anybody has mentioned it but the PB also has audio line-in and iB doesn't. I've had that come in handy for video editing.
    Love my PB but you won't go wrong etiher way.
  20. zip thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Everything I have read about the 12" PB rev A says it is hot. Not warm like most notebooks but Crazy Hot. Fry eggs on it hot.

    Apple completely redid the inside of the rev B because of the heat issue.
  21. zip thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2003
    Will the extra umph of the Power Book be normal in straigt cut editing?
    (Playing a cut, setting marks, cutting into timeline, watching sequence)

    Will the Powerbook make a difference in day to day things like Microsoft Word, and surfing the net?
  22. sahnert macrumors 6502

    Oct 20, 2003
    I own a rev a and it doesn't get that hot. The fan doesn't even come on all that often. Some times if I'm running a really cpu-intensive program it will come on after a bit. I have no problems with the heat.
    A friend also has the same and he has no problems either. I think part of the problem is that a lot of people wanted to use them on a bed or on their lap or something and apple says don't do this because the rubber feet on the bottom are there for circulation. It's not a "laptop" computer, it's a "notebook."
    Also the aluminum plays a part in the cooling process. Dissapates heat. I think a lot of people over-reacted to the heat issue just because they had never used a notebook made of metal before. I'm not saying this is the case across the board, but I think the vast majority of these books are within normal limits.
    It never gets hot to the point where it is ucomfortable, and on a cool or cold day, the warmth is kind of nice!

    I did notice a difference going back to the ibook i used to work on after a few months on the pb. The iBook however was a G3 so I guess that doesn't really help. oops
  23. XP XtraProblems macrumors newbie

    Sep 24, 2003
    Another great decision maker

    Zip, something the sales guy at the Apple store here around Wash, DC did for me really helped show the difference is power. He put a 12" iBook and 12"PB with the same amount of ram side by side. We shut down all applications, then as the exact same moment started iPhoto which is stocked with the same unaltered photos they use in the store. This shows how quickly the processor can load the image library, and there was a significant difference between the two. The PB also would fully load a single image to edit a little faster. I know this does have to do with the processor speed, so we did the same with a 1ghz G4 iBook, the PB still had a slight edge with the same speed processor.

    Another question for you guys? Does the screen of the rev. A PB have any better qualities over the new 12" iBook?

  24. zip thread starter macrumors member

    Dec 6, 2003
    I keep going back and forth between them. The main reason is the money. Everytime I build an order at the Apple Store and add up how much they will cost me, I always swing back to the iBook.

    I can trick out the iBook with 640Mb ram, 60GB hard drive, bluetooth and AppleCare for about the same price as buying the 40GB combo drive Powerbook without Applecare, or maxing out the hard drive, or any other extra.

    I thought no matter which computer I'd buy I'd get Applecare, but it keeps making the difference of the Powerbook to great. I can get it later as well as extra ram.

    Word processing, web and final cut: maxed out iBook vs out of the box combo Powerbook. Which one?
  25. kuyu macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    i am with you on the price thing. It's hard to justify an extra $400 on a computer that is prettier, but marginally faster. For the extra money, i'd rather have a 19" CRT and some software (VPC, games, etc.)

    For office X, the ibook will be fine, as well as web surfing, not sure about FCP. It will run, but I don't know how much faster the pbook will be. For video work they built the 15" anyway.

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