12inch powerbook or 700m

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by justinshiding, Dec 11, 2005.

  1. justinshiding macrumors member

    May 7, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Okay, I'm going to apologize first because you probably get a lot of threads like this one, but after seeing the price drop on amazon my plans have been tossed upside down.

    I was planning on getting a dell 700m (2.0ghz pentium m(w/400mhz fsb), 1gb ram, 100gb hard drive, wifi, dvd burner, etc etc etc) and it was going to cost about 1300 plus taxes (after one of those 750 dollar off coupons). Right. Now I can get the powerbook 12inch model for 1200 after rebates (no tax) similarly equipped.

    background. the extra money isn't really an issue. I'm looking to use this mostly for portable office/internet browsing work/etc. I want decent battery life (which both the powerbook and dell offer (dell via an extra (read:huge) battery) and something that's decently fast (I'm going from a nice desktop(see sig) so I don't want to feel like I'm taking a step down, but I don't need it for any processor intensive apps).

    Issues with the powerbook are :
    1) I work tech support for an IE only company (IE 5.5sp2 +) and would like to use this instead of the company dell. So that's kind of a downer unless I get virtual pc which I'm aware is kind of a dog. Has anyone used os x to access a VPN populated by all windows machines ? (if so then I could use the ms-remote desktop mac client to use my work computer to run ie)

    2) I'm slightly worried about the resoloution of the monitor 1024x768 is pretty small (or large I guess depending on how you look at it) while the dell is 1200x800.

    3) I'm wondering about the mini-dvi port, anyone had issues with it working with a decently large monitor (20inch lcd), how about the s-video adapter (sold separately)?

    4) I'm generally indifferent to the possibly soon to be released intel macs because I wouldn't want to touch a first gen product, so waiting for those is not an issue.

    I'm sure the build quality on the apple is better (the dell is plastic of some sort), and I've always wanted to try out os x. I guess I've pretty much made up my mind already and I'm just looking for some kind of confirmation that this is the right choice.

    ps- again if you've read this a million times over by a million different users, sorry!
  2. dragula53 macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2003

    Welcome to the Mac Rumors Community.

    I currently own a 12" powerbook, and have helped a bunch of people get started with their apple computers.

    The computer is exceptionally nice looking from an aesthetic standpoint, and I enjoy it far more than my previous foray into apple portables (the 14" ibook years ago ;) G3 600).

    If you want portability and OS X, I'd say it is a fine purchase.

    Going from something with a larger resolution to 1024x768 will be noticeable, but you get used to it. However, I am in no way defending the fact that apple puts this display into their professional line of laptops. And if you are using a 20" on your desk anyway, you will be fine. I don't particularly like the display, but your choices for apple portables are limited, and I far prefer the powerbook to the ibook. And it runs OS X.

    VPN is built-in, so you can join the network via Samba and VPN (It's called PPTP I think, though I haven't used it recently).

    I'd definitely check with somebody else's macintosh to see if your company's site is compatible with the long list of browsers available for apple, but you should be able to find at least one as long as whatever you are doing does not require DirectX.

    The computer comes with a Mini-DVI to standard DVI adapter, and it works just fine. No complaints there.

    Overall, it is a fine machine, it gets the job done pretty well. You can even play games on it with it's crappy Radeon 5200. I've played everything from Return to castle wolfenstein to Halo to dozens of others. You have to turn down the detail, but the frame rates are pretty acceptable.

    The computer is no powerhouse, but as long as you aren't looking for high frame rates on 3d games with high detail or something that only supports windows internet explorer, I'd recommend it.

    And lastly, if you are going to give OS X a try, be a little patient. There will be some stuff missing that you are used to doing, and some things are done differently. Some things are done so cleverly that you will wonder how you ever lived without them (like expose, being able to turn anything into a PDF, the ability to drag text from your browser to your desktop to create documents, things like that.) The absence of spyware and viruses is a definite plus. Some things suck. Having the Finder lock up on you because you disconnected from the network less than gracefully is frustrating as hell. You have to take the good with the bad, it isn't perfect, but it is very very nice.

    The software the computer comes with is targetted towards artsy types and the only game it comes with is chess. Check out some of the freeware/shareware sites that are around, there is a pretty robust community around Macintosh, you just have to look.

    www.macupdate.com is an excellent place to start.

  3. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    I really recommend you wait. The rebates are really a hint of the things to come, since a rebate locks you into forfeiting your rights as a consumer to return the laptop in 30 days (as per Amazon's policies).

    If the rumors of the iBooks are true perhaps the PB line will see a bump too. Or better yet if the 12" PB is discontinued you can really snap it up at a bargain price then.
  4. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040


    Oct 12, 2005
    I totaly agree the net is a buzz with the news of a new iBook and PB line, I'm in the market for a new computer as well so I'm waiting till January.
  5. Veritas&Equitas macrumors 68000


    Oct 31, 2005
    Twin Cities, MN
  6. dragula53 macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2003
    As devil's advocate...

    If you don't mind waiting for 2-3 months (at least) for your new computer with the shiny new processor, if in fact they are releasing a computer with a shiny new processor in January (shipping much later).

    If you can wait, and want to buy a Rev. A product which may or may not support the software that is currently available, and can wait for at least 2 months, by all means, do so.

    I am watching closely, but I have been using my 12" Powerbook for 2 years now, so I may upgrade. If I didn't have a computer, I am not sure what I would do.
  7. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    Guys, he said he does NOT want a rev. A intel. So the choice is really between the current powerbook and the 700m.

    Now look. I've never owned a PC and hope I never have to. I've gone from an LC III to G3s to G4s to a G5 (now back to a G4 actually :p) - macs all the way.

    But that said, the current 12" powerbook is a JOKE. The video chip is horrifying. 256 built in RAM while the ibook has 512 is disgraceful. And worst of all, the screen pretty much sucks. Resolution is too low, and it needs to be a lot brighter and sharper.

    I have a really hard time recommending the current 12" powerbook to anyone. 12" is my favorite laptop size, and I love powerbooks much more than ibooks, but i have my current computer because at the end of the summer when I needed a laptop, I just couldn't justify paying that much more for the powerbook. Then, they updated the powerbooks and didn't touch the 12", not even to give it RAM or video equal to the ibook. It's really embarrassing at this point.
  8. dragula53 macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2003
    powerbook vs ibook


    this test shows that the powerbook is faster in everything except graphics tests, even though it has double the video ram.

    the Radeon 9550 is much better than NVIDIA 5200.

    I didn't realize that the ibook had received this upgrade.

    Good thing power users don't need small form factor notebooks.

    At any rate, also keep in mind that the powerbook's keyboard is ages ahead of the ibook's and it is generally much more pleasant to use. And it also has the ability to span multiple screens (without third party hack, that is), has DVI out, better speakers, audio in, and a faster hard drive.
  9. adk macrumors 68000


    Nov 11, 2005
    Stuck in the middle with you
    I hate to be the badguy, but i figured I'd add a little of the cons of owning a powerbook. You said it was for a lot of mobile web and things, but be advised that aluminum powerbooks have pretty bad Wifi reception. Also, battery life (at least in my 15") isn't great. I can crank 3-4 hours out of it by turning the screen brightness all the way down, but then I have to sit in a dark place just to see it. But if you can get past those cons, go for the pb.
  10. blackstone macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Ok, long-time lurker, first time poster here. My advice...

    Yes. I've used PPTP VPNs quite often -- it works pretty seamlessly.

    As long as you're okay with the 12" size, the resolution is perfectly fine. It does help when you're working at a desk to have it hooked up to another monitor with screen-spanning set up, but when I'm on the go I've never had any probs with the screen resolution.

    Can't comment on that, I've only used it hooked up to 15" and 17" LCDs. But it does work fine with those.

    One major downside to the 700m: In helping other users with their 700m's, I've noticed that the period and comma keys are unusually narrow compared to the other keys. It's extremely annoying, because I often end up hitting the wrong key by accident. The Powerbook does not have this problem -- all the keys are normal-sized.

    As for wireless reception on the PB: the 12" doesn't get _stellar_ Wi Fi reception but it is decent. I wouldn't worry about this so much unless you are constantly in situations where you are working extremely far from the access points.
  11. justinshiding thread starter macrumors member

    May 7, 2004
    Chicago, IL
    Thanks for your feedback!

    The graphics card issue which was raised isn't really that important in my search at least. I have a desktop pc for games if I ever want to / have time to. The 5200fx still probably outpreforms the ram-sucking integrated graphics chip on the dell. Hopefully.

    I think this one calls for a trip to the apple store to see just how small the screen is / how workable it would be for my purposes.

    Thanks for the update on the rumors as well, but I was mostly planning on using this cheap 12incher as a preview of life on the mac platform. (Then buying a 15inch rev B intelbook just before I head off to grad school). Also, I kind of bothered me that most software would be run through emulation (rosetta) instead of natively. While with software produced using fat binaries it would all be native on the g4. That way I give the software time to catch up.

    (Although the ability to dual boot to windows for work would be nice...)

    Again thanks much!
  12. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    Is the company paying, or are you paying?

    If you're paying for this yourself, and you just want a preview of OS X to get a little hands-on play time, have you considered a refurb model? You can get something very competitive (either the latest iBook or the latest PB) for a very low price.... and play with it, and then sell it used for a minimal loss when you're sick of it. :)
  13. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    I'm a Mac guy... but that's a sweet Dell. Grab it.
  14. Megatron macrumors regular

    Nov 19, 2005
    How do you turn anything into a PDF?
  15. electronboy macrumors 6502

    Sep 27, 2005
    I am a Mac fan boy, but if your job requires you to use IE then get a PC. This is the problem with companies that publish websites and webcontent that is not written to industry standards. Its very bad. If I can't do business with Safari or Firefox, I go elsewhere. I digress, back to topic.

    Running VPC on a 12" PowerBook will be a very unfufilling experience. VPC is slow even on a G5 and consumes enormous amounts of memory if you want it to run well. Microsoft was going to put in more features for version 8 but since Steve switched everything to Intel Inside a future version that is further optimized for the PowerPC platform is unkown. Sure there will probably be a next version of VPC that ships as universal binaries, but I expect it to be an Intel focused release. They just put all that effort into getting VPC to work on the G5 so I don't think there will be any more significant improvements to the PowerPC version.

    Stay with Intel or look for a new job--one that does not require you to use the worst browser on Earth.
  16. electronboy macrumors 6502

    Sep 27, 2005
    Check out VPN Tracker from equinux software. It runs with with any IPsec VPN. If they are using a Windows RAS server as their VPN server then use the built in VPN client that ships with OS X.

    We have a SonicWall firewall and a hybrid network and VPN Tracker does everything we need. We like it.
  17. electronboy macrumors 6502

    Sep 27, 2005
    one more issue. The 12" PowerBook does not contain a full size DVI port. So if you need to connect it to a monitor you will have to have a Mini DVI to DVI adapter. If you need to connect the mini DVI port to VGA you may have to find a special cable that makes that connection or use two adapters:

    Mini DVI to DVI
    DVI to VGA

    I like the small size and portability of the 12"--but really dislike the fact that it lacks a standard DVI port.
  18. ITASOR macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    I love Macs, recommend them to everyone, but I honestly have to recommend the DELL for you. It's more of what you need.

    However, in the future, you may wish to pick up an Intel Mac Mini to fool around with OS X and perhaps move on to an intel 'book later on.
  19. TDM21 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 7, 2004
    The 12" PB comes with both a mini-DVI to DVI connector and a mini-DVI to VGA connector in the box.
  20. f-matic macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2003
    One word of caution is that I've generally found the Inspiron series of laptops to be pretty lousy -- low build quality and prone to failures. We used to purchase them for staff at the company I work for, but about a year ago we switched to purchasing Latitudes because they're much better laptops -- in fact I would say the ones we've purchased so far are very nice indeed. I think you can take a look at them through the Small Business section of the Dell website, and I'm pretty sure you can order them as an individual, not a company, but I'm not 100% sure as I've only ever ordered through our company account.
  21. blackstone macrumors regular

    Dec 12, 2005
    Washington, DC
    Yes, the OP said that he knows VPC is a dog, and that he'd run MS Remote Desktop Connection to log into his office computer over the VPN in order to run IE. I've done similar things with MS Remote Desktop Connection on my Rev A 12" PB, working at a job where I had to do almost ALL of my work over Remote Desktop and a VPN. I can tell you that it works very satisfactorily over a broadband connection -- at least for basic stuff like word processing and web-browsing.

    If I were in the OP's position, I would rather use the Powerbook, as long as he knows that the VPN/RDP solution will work fine.

    Also, that particular model of Dell -- while it is small and portable -- is a major PITA because the keys are smaller than normal in general, and the period and comma keys are particularly tiny. If he's going to go with a Windows PC, I'd advise another model of Dell with a regular-sized keyboard, or one of the X-series IBM laptops.
  22. tuartboy macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005
    Only 10.4.

    In the print dialogue.

    Attached Files:

  23. tuartboy macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005
    Both Mini DVI to DVI and Mini DVI to VGA come in the box.

    ActiveX. DirectX is a graphics API.

    Comes with 512 Ram and has for at least a year. The 12" screen is identical to the one in your iBook.

    I know many people in the advertising and creative industry with the 12" PB. You overestimate their needs. My 12" is routinely running FCP and DVD Studio and does so with nary a hiccup. If I need anything heavier, I'll use the dualy G5 at work.

    He is dead on here. The beautiful case seems to be perfectly designed to block anything in the 2.4Ghz range...

    How about a 24" 2405 at 1920 x 1200? Works fine. And for the s-video adapter: It works fine for me, but actually ends up being rather more pointless and annoying than helpful. I don't suggest buying it.
  24. wildcard macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2003
    western PA
    Check your PM's-I've owned both a 700m and a 12" powerbook and answered your questions there.

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