12" refurbished powerbook vs. new macbook

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by marksable, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. marksable macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2006
    I'm new here, so forgive me if I'm posting a question that's already been asked

    I need a new laptop and I've decided to make the move from PC to Mac. I think the thing that's bothered me most about the dell laptop I've been using for the past 4 years is that it's quite heavy (I think somwhere around 8 pounds) and bulky.

    I fell in love with the powerbook 12", but held off in part for financial reasons, and in part because I was hoping there would be a 12" macbook pro.

    I hear great things about the macbook, but trying it out in the store, it seems to be just as big as my Dell and almost as heavy (well, at least quite a bit heavier than what I remember the 12" feeling like).

    at $1199, apple is offering a refurbished powerbook which seems to offer as much if not more than the macbook

    I'm a comic book writer that travels quite a lot, so here's what I'd like:

    To be able to use MS Word and Final draft
    To be able to use photoshop (really just to open photoshop files, not to do much to the artwork itself)
    To have something very light to travel with, but still big enough to do a significant amount of work on without straining my eyes or feeling like the keyboard is cramped
    and I guess possibly to play games, notably civ iv, although it seems neither the powerbook or the macbook is good for that (the powerbook at least has a dedicated videocard)

    it's mostly the size thing that's causing the hangup...I think the macbook is just big enough to be a problem on planes, not fitting on the fold out tray

    given those parameters, any suggestion on which I should buy (or should I go in a different direction altogether)?

    thanks in advance
  2. JRM PowerPod macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2005
    Outback Australia
    I have a 12" PowerBook Rev.D 1.5ghz combo drive 1.25gb ram 60gb and
    a MacBook Black 2.0Ghz 1GB 100GB and this is my opinion
    (Mind you my MacBook is in for repair)

    -The PowerBook seems more refined, you are buying a Rev E so it is tried and tested, where as the MacBooks are having problems
    -I know its only 1 inch, but the PowerBook seems alot more portable
    -MacBook definitely has the higher end speed (no questions)
    -MacBook, you can run windows
    -PowerBook seems to feel a more comprehensive unit, it seems to feel more professional and reliable.

    You have to weigh up size, price, reliability and speed. Then chose accordingly. Seriously though, when i get my MacBook back im considering selling it and getting an iMac or something, to me, when im on the move i just use the internet or word processing and dont need the speed, and that is where the size and in ur case the price as well is better when using the PowerBook. Windows?
  3. xfiftyfour macrumors 68030


    Apr 14, 2006
    Clemson, SC
    If you do go for the PB, I wouldn't buy it from Apple. You can save A LOT by going through eBay or the marketplace here (perhaps even your local craigslist depending where you live) - 12" PBs don't go for anywhere near $1200.

    If you're worried about the warranty, I'm sure you could find someone that either still has some of their original 1 year left (giving you the option to extend that to 3 years), or someone that has already bought the 3yr applecare. Either way, it'll probably be cheaper than paying $1200+taxes to Apple.
  4. marksable thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 5, 2006
    first, thanks everyone...

    I went and checked e-bay and while the starting bids were low, with reserves it doesn't seem to be that much of a savings from Apple. At least, not enough for me to get over my mistrust of buying something that expensive from someone I don't know

    I don't need this computer to be my everyday computer (nor do I need it to run windows), I have a desktop, just for travel. Like you said, the powerbook SEEMS more portable, but is the macbook really that much more unwieldy? It is amazing that an inch and a pound could make that much of a difference

    I'm also curious about software not working on the new Intel macs. Would that include MS Office or Final Cut? And what does "comic life" do exactly?
  5. Kardashian macrumors 68020


    Sep 4, 2005
    The 12" PowerBook in its day (which is now, sadly, over) was a brilliant computer, I think the most-favoured of the PB-line.

    But now, for around the same price, if not cheaper (not sure about US prices) you can go Intel. Widescreen, faster processor, new and (in my opinion) more comfortable keyboard, wider trackpad, built-in iSight, FrontRow, the ability to run Windows, or with virtualisation, Windows Apps (You never know, but it could come in handy).

    If you want Future, you want MacBook, if you want Past, get the PowerBook.

    Someday the PowerBook is going to be more-or-less non-upgradeable, when Apple releases an OS that isn't PPC compatible. (Not sure if you've followed the MacWorld, but basically, Apple has moved from PPC processors, to Intel - so the software has to be re-written etc, and they are not going to support the older, non-used processors forever.)

    Personally, I would get the MacBook, base model, and stick 2GB of RAM in it. It will then run Word etc fine, or you can use iWork (which opens Word Docs) and it also Universal (works nativley on Intel) - so maybe you won't need the full 2GB of RAM, then.
  6. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    If you're a comic book writer, then you're probably not very rich.

    I suggest going for an older Powerbook 12'', say a 867MHz or 1ghz one.

    They're a lot cheaper. Make sure you try it out before buying it i.e. don't buy off EBay - look at Craigs list for something local, or your local classified adverts. Only hand over your money once you're happy with it.

    They're still powerful computers and run word / photoshop absolutely fine.

    The person who suggested getting a MacBook and loading it up with 2 GB RAM to run Word is crazy. That's over kill.

    If you have a hankerin for something new and lean and mean, sure, splash out. Just wanted to make you aware of cheaper options.
  7. Bern macrumors 68000


    Nov 10, 2004
    My white MacBook replaced my 12" Rev E Powerbook. I'm a digital illustrator and the MacBook more than caters for my needs.

    In comparison to the Powerbook IMO it's far better. Forget the nostalgic opinions of the Powerbook, it was a great portable but has well and truly been superseded by the MacBook.

    I recommend you get the MacBook and forget about investing money in old technology. The MacBook is not heavy and is very portable (I travel often).
  8. Kardashian macrumors 68020


    Sep 4, 2005
    Firsly, the 'person' has a name.

    Secondly, you can never have enough RAM. Most people will tell you that. And its often cheaper to buy in pairs. Macs love RAM.

    Photoshop is not yet Universal, and loves its RAM. Check benchmarks.

    Therefore, it was good advice. Word and Office are not Universal, either - so they will like their RAM, too.

    And don't call me crazy. You have no idea.
  9. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    My Mini used to have 2GB of ram, hell, even my PeeCees have 2GB of ram. I even have an extra 2GB of ram sitting here waiting for my new MBP once it is released. Is it crazy?
  10. kmarketing macrumors 6502

    Mar 26, 2004
    I think the main thing is that a macbook may be overkill for right now, and in my estimation after the upgraded memory and all, it will be very pricey. I think a better idea (as it was for me since I don't do anything too major with my powerbook) is to buy a used powerbook for a cheap price. You'll have to look around but the deals are out there.

    I've mentioned that I bought my 12" 1.33/1.25gb for $600. That's more than half the price of a macbook (when you add tax and or memory). Plus, my applications work fine with the powerbook, will probably run just the same or a little faster with the macbook. So for now, I don't even have to worry about shelling out more money for newer software down the road. As the newer software rolls out (Office, Adobe) and there's something else that I want, new macbooks and macbook pros will be rolling out or out already with some of the current issues resolved.

    So the point is that I think a powerbook would be great right now if it could serve your purposes. No need to spend all that money on something that will cost quite a bit more, and honestly, still needs to be improved. Get yourself a proven machine for now, and then see what the next revisions will bring. I don't think you can lose out that way.

    Just look around, but if you near the $1000 mark, then honestly you might as well just buy a macbook. But the deals like mine are definitely out there! And in my opinion, the 12" powerbook is simply the best looking laptop out there, previously and currently.

    Good Luck!
  11. Kardashian macrumors 68020


    Sep 4, 2005
    You Go, Generik! :p
  12. twoodcc macrumors P6


    Feb 3, 2005
    Right side of wrong
  13. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    It's a tough decision, but you need to ask yourself what you're going to be doing with the computer.

    I would spring for the Powerbook but the Macbook is more future proof.
  14. daneoni macrumors G4


    Mar 24, 2006
    The intel transition is still not complete in my opinion. We don't have CS3, Office and even smaller apps. So buying an intel machine now REQUIRES you to do some upgrade just to get them to scratch mostly RAM. Rosetta is a RAM hog and sometimes you can tell its struggling.

    There are two ways of looking at this if you need to run now the PowerBook would suit you better and is still a good machine in its right BUT if you get a macbook now, you have to do some work IMO. Personally i'd avoid intel if i can till leopard reaches at least 10.5.3 when softwares would have been upgraded/transitioned, CS3 would be released as would office and MacBooks would be running on merom chips with santa rosa chipsets meaning everything would fit together nicely.
  15. extraextra macrumors 68000


    Jun 29, 2006
    I asked a somewhat similar question in this thread, it might be helpful for you.

    I'm going to buy a Powerbook G4 (from Apple, the 60GB for $1099) to hold me over for a year or two. I love the looks of it, and I really wish that Apple had kept it in the Powerbook/MBP line instead of merging it with the iBook/Macbook's. For my needs, which are simple enough, it seems like the perfect computer. Portability was my main issue too, and the MB, while a nice computer, didn't seem to fit it exactly. (the glossy screen is a turnoff)

    It depends how long you want to keep it. The Macbook can easily go for 5 years I think, whereas the Powerbook might be limited to 2 or so.
  16. Joe2000 macrumors member


    Oct 23, 2005
    London, UK.
    Although i have my MacBook and love it, sometimes i do wish it was smaller and lighter - but - as others have pointed out, the PowerBook is an OLD machine and it wont be an investment, however in your position the PowerBook would be my Mac of choice.

    The PowerBooks' keyboard is better quality than the MacBook and easier to type on as well, this will make a difference in your job. Do bear in mind that the the PowerBooks' screen is poor and low resolution, also a little...dull but it can drive an external monitor...

    MacBooks are cool and new but not nearly as Mac-Like as the PowerBook (this shouldent be a concern for you however). But if you went for a MacBook the benifits are tempting: Brand new Mac, will be running Tiger (867, 1Ghz PB's ran Panther as standard i think, unless its been updated), It will be faster in universal apps, FULL APPLE WARRANTY, the list goes on...

    At the end of the day both Mac's will perform the tasks you require but the MacBook will benefit from more ram :)o carefull ;)) and the PowerBook will have less batt life due to age and PowerPC Perf/Watt blah blah.

    My choice: PowerBook 1GHz

    Sorry if i waffled, its 1am...

    - Joe.
  17. MUCKYFINGERS macrumors 6502a


    Jun 7, 2005
    I disagree. Powerbook's screen is fine. Not the best but definitely gets the job done.
  18. RedTomato macrumors 68040


    Mar 4, 2005
    .. London ..
    I was in a hurry and couldn't remember your name from further up the thread.

    But I do hold my hand up and apologise for the ad homim attack - that's not my style. I meant to say your idea was crazy, not you personally.

    Thanks for calling me out on that.

    I do still think that as the guy said he needs a highly portable computer, and doesn't seem well paid - and only uses Word to type stuff and only uses Photoshop to open graphic files (not edit them) - suggesting a Macbook with 2GB ram is overkill when there is a smaller, lighter, cheaper alternative that can be found at half the price or less.
  19. motherduce macrumors 6502

    Oct 3, 2005
    Houston, TX
    Get a Macbook!

    I bought mine from Amazon - 1.83. No tax. $100 rebate. Out the door with a brand new laptop for $999? One that will last me 3-4 years easy, and do everything I need it to do.

    Powerbooks are way overpriced for what they are (old G4 processors, smaller screen, dim screens).
  20. j26 macrumors 65832


    Mar 30, 2005
    I was going to sell my 12" Powerbook 1.33 and get a Macbook, but I've decided that it is still a damn fine machine, so I'm keeping it for another couple of years.

    Admittedly I will be getting an iMac soon for heavier work (once Apple gt the finger out and update), but the Powerbook will suit all of my portable computing needs for the next couple of years (college note, iTunes, light Photoshop, video playback etc), so why would I need to update my mobile?

    As for gaming, I can play Rise of Nations: Gold no problem on it. I dunno how that compares to Civ iv though.

    A 1.33 PB would be fine for you needs, but I would look out for a good used one rather than buying refurb. I have seen about here that you can probably get on for about $600ish, in which case, someone else has already paid most of the depreciation on it, and it is a bargain really.

    the 12"pb is also the lightest portable in the Apple lineup (4.6lbs v Macbook at 5.2lbs), and has the smallest footprint. I've travelled a lot in the last year, and have really appreciated that.
  21. kmarketing macrumors 6502

    Mar 26, 2004
    Totally agree with you j26 with all of your points.

    And that's what I plan to do as well - buy an imac or mac pro that's much more powerful than any of the mac laptops to handle all of the major needs, and keep the powerbook (which in my opinion is still the most appealing laptop on the market) for my portable needs.

    That's if they don't come out with an ultraportable :)

    Honestly, since I already have such a nice laptop, I really don't see the purpose of going for a rev a laptop that many people still seem to have issues with. If you are like me, and can get or hold onto a reliable CHEAPER laptop that will handle your needs for now, why not just wait a bit to see what else is being offered. History tells us that the next revisions will be better than the first. So if you can get a cheaper powerbook for now, I say go for it. I would only say macbook if you are nearing the $1000 price category.
  22. Night Phoenix macrumors newbie

    Night Phoenix

    Aug 11, 2006
    Final Cut

    I saw that you mentioned that you might be running Final Cut if you got the MacBook. If you already have a copy for ppc mac then beware that it won't be very happy at all running under Rosetta. Most of the features simply don't work under the emulation, such as video on playback. However, Apple has a crossgrade program that will let you upgrade to the universal version for $49 or something like that. Just food for thought.
  23. 63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    ask yourself these questions:

    1) is photoshop important to you?
    2) when do you think or have heard of photoshop going universal?
    3) does photoshop mean that much to you compared to a more modern machine which is a lot faster on intel native programs, of which there are an increasing number each week?

    it's a tough call, but from your original post, it looks like the refurbished powerbook is the more practical machine

    don't get a machine that's good for another person with different needs...get what serves you since that's what you should be doing with your hard earned money

Share This Page