12" Powerbook vs. 14" iBook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by faintedlife, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. faintedlife macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2004
    Thanks to my laptop suddenly deciding it won't last for another year or two like I hoped it would, I've been thrust into purchasing a new laptop (which would be great and all, if the circumstances would've been a year down the road instead of now). So I've been looking into an iBook or a Powerbook with costs under the $1,500 mark (with the educational discount).
    There are two configurations I'm torn over:

    1) 12" Powerbook, 768 MB DDR333, 60 GB hard drive, combo, and a 1.5 GHz G4 - $1,467
    2) 14" iBook, 768 MB DDR266, 80 GB hard drive, combo, 1.33 GHz G4 - $1,379.0

    I primarily will use it for internet/word processing and some photo stuff here and there (my iMac will do the grunt work). But I'm worried that the performance of the laptop will slow down as time goes on as it has on my iMac. Therefore, which would be better and provide better performance in the long run? I know the basics of memory and processor, yet I can't differentiate the essential differences that would come in choosing a 1.5 over a 1.33 G4.

    Hard drive space isn't really that important since I've been considering an external so I can edit video moreso than I can currently with the iMac; as is the difference in price. Essentially, I'm looking for a reliable, consistently high-performance laptop as time goes on (I won't go over 768 MB if I don't have to, I don't want/can't really afford to spend the extra $300). Thoughts?
  2. vtprinz macrumors 6502

    Nov 30, 2004
    for what you've listed (internet/word/occasional photo work) an ibook would suit you just fine. I'm still doing that (and much more) on my 2yr old G3 ibook (800MHz, 640MB RAM).

    Probably the thing you need to consider is how portable you want it to be. I hvae no problems carrying around my 14" ibook, but a 12" PB woudl be much easier.
  3. Kirbdog macrumors regular


    Feb 3, 2005
    Whistler, British Columbia, Canada
    I ordered the 12" Powerbook SD, 100Gig HD and 768mb of Ram. The day the new powerbooks were released. I was going to get the iBook 14" SD with 80Gig HD and 768 of RAM. I am a student so with the student discount and the price drop of the powerbook it was accually cheaper. I live in Canada so my dollar figures will be different but the PB was 7$ cheaper. The student discount on the iBook is about $100 and the PB superdrive is $250 CND.

    I think that even with the smaller screen size the PB is much more bang for the buck. We may not have the same computing needs but that is the route that I went. Considering I intend to have this computer beyond school I took my future need into consideration.
  4. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!
    Hello and welcome faintedlife, I guess one thing to consider is the work horse factor. You said your iMac will do the brunt but how old is it? This could factor in the change of work load if say the powerbook or iBook would be over all faster than the iMac is. Also consider the screen size (physical), if your eyes need the slightly larger screen then the iBook would be better and that is why I choose the iBook. Now the cost--they are within $200 of each other but for $200 you can buy alot of software or Ram! :)
    I think slow is only in the way of the programs you would use. For what you said you do then I think the iBook would be great (for 2-3yrs.) and cost less but by then you may sell your iMac (in time) and move on to a PB.
    If you can what are the iMac specs. and why would it do the brunt?
    Let us know :)
  5. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    powerbook, the 14" ibook is silly it would only be worth it with a higher screen res
  6. ephex macrumors member

    Oct 24, 2004
    14" iBook is heavier than a 15" PowerBook. Do you really want to carry around almost 6 pounds?
  7. XIII macrumors 68040


    Aug 15, 2004
    Just to chip in here.

    I like the 14" iBook, I have bad sight, and the larger pixels are nice. Most others seem to think it pointless, bigger screen no more pixels.. :|
  8. juhani macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2004
    All over the place (UK at this moment)
    I just bought myself the new 12" PB but I truly think that iBooks look better... I mean they are white and very original and sexy! Not metallic-gray like every other high-tech equipment these days.. So if i didn't need to do audio editing and stuff like this, i would have bought an iBook. No question about it!
  9. juhani macrumors member


    Nov 30, 2004
    All over the place (UK at this moment)
    By the way i think Apple should make new G5 PowerBooks from wood! Or at least cover it with some kind of wooden imitation. It would blow everybody away...
  10. leekohler macrumors G5


    Dec 22, 2004
    Chicago, Illinois
    I agree completely! I think the 14" iBook gets far too much abuse on this site. I have one for the same reasons you do. Trust me folks, there's a need for this machine. I wouldn't have a laptop if it didn't exist. Powerbook's just too pricey for me.
  11. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    Actually quite a few members point this feature out all the time.

    Hi-res LCDs are nice for pictures, but the text is sometimes too small for people with vision problems.
  12. amoses macrumors newbie

    Feb 7, 2005
    I'd go for the iBook. Better specs. 0.17 Ghz more isn't much of an advantage in the powerbook.

    The 14" iBook has a very nice screen.
  13. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    Let's not get carried away here. The 12" PB has a little bit more going for it here than .17GHz speed advantage. When you add 256MB RAM and BT to the 14" iBook (admittedly optional, so you can take another $50 off if you want, or save a bit by buying RAM elsewhere), you're talking a $75 difference. That $75 buys you a computer with a smaller screen but the same resolution, faster FSB, faster HD, better BT, faster video card, double the VRAM, true clamshell mode, no-hack screen spanning, built-in audio in, the fancy new trackpad, and some HD drop protection, all in a much smaller and lighter computer. So unless you really need that 14" screen, I guess, that could sound like $75 well spent; some might call it a bargain at twice the price.

    The more useful comparison is, of course, to the 12" iBook. With the 14", you are paying a couple hundred dollars premium for a simply larger screen. Worth it to some, not to others.

    edit: I re-read the original post, and noticed that it had the computers at slightly different configs than I used, and I didn't use edu pricing, but the points above still stand, just adjust the numbers as necessary.
  14. shane-o-mac macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2005
    The decision is totally a matter of personal preforance.

    Considering your willing to upgrade the ram in your ibook, and the HD size is not a consideration (w/ the noticable difference in HD speed as the PB packs a 5400rpm hd now) you have eliminated the preformance differences between the two machines. The next consideration seems to be the screen size. No doubt 14 inches is bigger then 12 ( resolution being the same of course). If you want a need a 14" display then that is that..you got to get the ibook.

    Just some food for thought: From personal experience I was very hesitant to buy a 12" powerbook, but with the high resolution and expose, which rocks in managing screen realestate I took the plunge. I found the screen to be fine and esp if you have a desktop at home. The portability rocked..so light and small just threw it in a sleave and in my bag. The battery life is amazing...perfect for me I get 4 hours which last me through out my day. The weight is nice since I carry it around all day..trust me a big difference from 6lbs and 4.5 lbs. Another key factor I noticed was the keyboard. The keyboard on the powerbook is amazing...much more solid then the ibooks and even the standard mac keyboard.....at least in my opinion. Not to mention is is cool having a light and compact computer laying around the house with some extra battery life..u can lounge on the couch or surf the net during breakfast...for power computing I have my imac.....best of both worlds..I love wireless computing I will never be chained to my desk again or a powerline.

    Try them out and find what works for you.
  15. carpet macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2005
    Personally i dont like the 14inch ibook screen. You have to be looking directly at it to get the colors right. Bad viewing angles. Also its not bright enough. Go with the 12 inch PB.
  16. deebster macrumors 6502

    Oct 21, 2004
    Olde Englande
    Another vote for the 12" Powerbook.

    Other posters have covered the differences between it and the 14" iBook well, and with the slight price premium you quote I would say it is no contest.

    Should the 12" screen become too small for you you could easily get a cheapo CRT monitor and use that either as a replacement for, or in conjunction with your PB screen.

    Then you would have the benefit of a faster, lighter, better basic Mac, being able to run two screens without needing to use a hack (by all accounts a safe one though) and being able to run in true clamshell mode.
  17. kretzy macrumors 604


    Sep 11, 2004
    Canberra, Australia
    I'm with the majority on this one.

    The only reasons to pick the 14'' iBook are screen size, white plastic case and about $75-$100.

    The 12'' PB is just a better performer all round!
  18. Chip NoVaMac macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    Dec 25, 2003
    Northern Virginia
    Or consider this from the Apple store for $1299:

    PowerBook G4 1.33GHz/ 256MB/ 60GB/ Combo/ AP Extreme Card/ E/ 12-inch TFT/ Aluminum/ iLife '05
  19. Ugg macrumors 68000


    Apr 7, 2003
    I compared both because I too have vision problems. The 12" PB won hands down for clarity issues. The larger pixels are nice but in Safari I can use the increase text size button and in text documents use a larger font. The difference between the screen on my PB and my 15" iMac is barely noticeable. The PB as you say is also brighter and better in natural light. I'm typing in front of an east facing window with lots of natural light and there is no glare or degradation of quality.
  20. faintedlife thread starter macrumors member

    Mar 23, 2004
    I think I'll end up going for the 12" Powerbook. The hard drive difference that I took into consideration is pretty much out the door since I'll probably get an external in a couple years to lay out and edit video. The size is a plus in that I'll be carrying it around with a couple books and notebooks at the same time; that and the processor speed is better. It costs a little more, but in the long run I believe the Powerbook would win out over the iBook (both with the speed, and the potential protection I could have from the drop mechanism in the Powerbooks).

    I'm curious though, would iLife '05 come pre-installed or along with a separate disc? It'd be nice to come as a second disc so I could upgrade my iMac with it too instead of dishing out the extra later on.

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