12" PowerBook compared to 15" iMac?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Keith Purfield, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. Keith Purfield macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2003
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    I have a 15" iMac (800MHz, SuperDrive, 512MB RAM), and I'm thinking about selling it to get a PowerBook.

    Right now, the only one I'd be able to afford would be the 12" Combo Drive. So these are what I need compared:

    1) CPU Speed - Is 67MHz that much of a difference (or any at all)?

    2) RAM Speed - The PowerBook uses DDR RAM, will that make a big difference?

    3) Display Size - I know that both the 12" PowerBook and my 15" iMac have a max resolution of 1024x768. Would a smaller size screen with the same resolution hinder anything? (I also know that the PowerBook is capable of extended desktop/desktop spanning)

    4) Video Card - My 15" iMac has a GeForce2 MX. The PowerBook has a GeForce4 420 Go. Which is better?

    5) Optical Drive - So far I've burned 0 DVDs with my SuperDrive, so I guess I really don't need it. Also, I've read that a SuperDrive is slower at reading/writing/rewriting to CD(R/RW)s than a regular Combo Drive. Is this true?

    6) Upgradability - I know that if I need a bigger hard drive (which I highly doubt, as I only use 10GB of my 60GB one), that the PowerBook would be a whole lot easier to upgrade than my iMac. But the PowerBook can only have 640MB of RAM, as opposed to my iMac's 1GB limit.

    I think I had more questions, although I can't remember. Hopefully Apple will update the darn PowerBooks, and then there will be no point to this topic. :p

    Also, please note that I use Photoshop and other RAM-eating programs.
  2. Daveman Deluxe macrumors 68000

    Daveman Deluxe

    Jun 17, 2003
    Corvallis, Oregon
    CPU Speed: You won't notice a big difference.

    RAM speed: You won't notice any difference at all since the G4 doesn't actually support DDR RAM. It's just in there because it sounds good.

    Screen size: Smaller screen with the same resolution will only cause problems in terms of eye strain. Take frequent breaks, especially if you wear reading glasses.

    Video card: No idea.

    Optical drive: I'm pretty sure the SuperDrive is slower at burning CDs, but not at reading CDs.

    Upgradeability: I wouldn't worry too much about disk space, but you may have a concern with RAM. You didn't mention the size of the Photoshop documents you use, but I wouldn't run other programs at the same time as Photoshop if your files are any bigger than 400 MB.
  3. Keith Purfield thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2003
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Yeah, I wish I had some self-made 400MB Photoshop Documents. :p

    But really, the G4 doesn't support DDR RAM?
  4. macphoria macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2002
    As far as performance issues are concerned (1-4) I'm inclined to say they perform just about the same. As far as optical drive is concerned, I believe 12" PowerBook has better performance. And upgradeability, they are both limited. But yes iMac can hold more RAM. And hard drive in 12" PowerBook is not easy to upgrade.

    Since you mentioned Photoshop, personally I would stick with iMac. One, iMac can hold more RAM. Two, iMac's screen will be much easier on your eyes.
  5. G5orbust macrumors 65816


    Jun 14, 2002
    Re: 12" PowerBook compared to 15" iMac?

    1) CPU Speed No, 67 MHz will not make any true, extremely noticable performance difference.

    2) RAM Speed The DDR-SDRAM the powerbook uses is PC2100, or 266MHz, RAM. If maxed out to 640MB, you should see an improvement over your iMac's 512MB load.

    3) Display Size The display size only really means that the pixels are more densly packed than on a screen 3 inches bigger. Im not sure what kind of effect smaller has on you, but I guarentee that your iMac's LCD looks better than the powerbook's screen in terms of brightness and clarity (but that is to be expected).

    4) Video Card The Geforce Go 420 is still a mobile Geforce MX chip and beats the pants off of your desktop quality Geforce2 MX.

    5) Optical Drive Combo drive will suit you well. It burns faster (24x/12x) and reads faster (24x, I believe)

    6) Upgradability Since you are obviously not doing any type of DV work, the powerbook's 40GB hard drive should suit you well. Also, since you seemed to coast along fine with your iMac's 512MB, I would think that having 128MB more of faster RAM would actually help you in your photoshop work, not impair it.
  6. Keith Purfield thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2003
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    I have a question. I believe I saw a website (although it was in German) that had a 1GB RAM stick for the 12" PowerBook. Would the PowerBook recognize that, or will it only use 640MB of it?
  7. benixau macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
  8. ibookin' macrumors 65816


    Jul 7, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yes, there is a 1GB DDR DIMM for the PowerBook, but it costs $800.
  9. Keith Purfield thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2003
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    Woah. That's a lot of money. Well, I guess I'll wait until the PowerBooks are updated and see if the 12" is a big improvement over my iMac or not.
  10. XnavxeMiyyep macrumors 65816


    Mar 27, 2003
  11. tjwett macrumors 68000


    May 6, 2002
    Brooklyn, NYC
  12. kwajo.com macrumors 6502a


    Jul 17, 2002
    Bay of Fundy
    this is fantastic! I am in the process of doing this switch myself, EXACTLY the same iMac and I am selling it to get a powerbook. Looking at the 12" and I have similar feelings to the points mentioned, and a few different ones: I look more at the difference of bus speed, not processor, 133 vs. 100. that is faily sizeable increase. also, the powerbook is slightly more future proof, having features like Airport Extreme and Bluetooth. I also am dropping the superdrive for lack of use (about eight times in a year) in order to gain CD burning speed. As for the screen, it offers the same workspace (same res.) just in a smaller space. For a young buck like me with perfect eye sight, this is of little concern, but I could see it being trouble for people with poor eyesight or easily tired eyes. I do video and photoshop, but I can't afford more than the 12" powerbook, so while I would get the 60 GB drive, you would probably not.

    i still cannot believe how perfect this thread is to my situation, and keep me abreast of how the change goes. I am planning it for next week, so if I beat you to it, I will post my thoughts. Cheers!
  13. pseudobrit macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    AFAIK, it's only good for the 17", not the 12".

    At least that's all transintl.com is selling it for, and at $700, not $800.
  14. amin macrumors 6502a


    Aug 17, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Is Ramjet reputable? I'm looking to upgrade the RAM in my 12" PB, and Ramjet sells the 512MB cheaper than Crucial.

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