15" PB or 12" iBook and G5?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jbrjake, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. jbrjake macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2004
    (Sorry for the length of this post. I've been lurking for a few days reading through recent archives and doing the same at places like Apple's Discussions and forum.macnn and it's left me curious about a number of things.)

    Would I be better off getting a tricked out 15" Powerbook 1.5ghz or a 12" 1ghz iBook and, a few months later, a PowerMac G5/2.0 ghz? Since this is a Rumors forum, let's trying to take the future into account.

    With the iBook, the gpu is already effectively obsolete, since it won't display Tiger's swell eyecandy. I can't help but think that at some point, probably early fall, there will be a slight revision in the iBook to give it the lowend PB graphics card so that customers during the holiday season will have incentive to buy the new OS in January. On the other hand, it has way better battery life, it's far more portable, and unlike my current TiBook, it won't break when you look at it hard. Most importantly, the iBook is insanely affordable. So much so that within a few months of the purchase, I'd be able to get a G5.

    If I got the iBook relatively soon, that means I won't get the g5 (I want a dual 2ghz) until like October. Time for more speculation: by that point, does anyone think the G5 hardware will get a bump? This lineup really seems like an interim thing, to flush out the inventory of the motherboards the 1.8 uses. And it seems like a stopgap, until IBM gets off its ass and gets us some 3ghz chips. Following these assumptions, before the end of the year, we'd see a lineup where the lowend is the 2ghz i want to get, the 2.5 ghz is the mid-range, and a 2.7 or 3ghz is the top-of-the-line. Is waiting for this to maybe happen to get a better deal a good idea? I'd need some time to save money anyway. But is this speculation any bit grounded in reality? If nothing else, my G5 purchase is going to be held off until I see what the new (hopefully G5) iMacs are like.

    The problem with going to a 12" iBook is that, as I said, I currently have an original TiBook. Since it's been my primary computer for over 3 years, I can't help but feel I'd miss the wide screen. My hd has been spinning along at 4200 rpm for years now, and I'd sort of like to boost that up to 5400. The 60g max on the iBook's hd is triple what I have now, but even the 80 I'd get in a PB couldn't hold all my data. I'd like to have the option to expand beyond 1.25 gigs of ram. I already mentioned my qualms about the iBook's video card. If I got the 1.5ghz, it would be a sweet tripling of my current computer power....but it is a damn G4 still. What kind of changes has the G4 architecture seen since 2001? Is the modern day G4 going to be faster, megahertz for megahertz? How much would I regret this purchase early next year when the G5books hopefully arrive?

    Here's a stupid benchmark question: What's the best framerate a 1.5ghz 15" PB can get on the iTunes default visualizer? A 1.33 ghz 15" PB?

    Anyone with some different options should feel free to chime in. Like, should I get a cheaper 1.33ghz PB and just get a G5 twice as long after the PB as I would if I got the 1000 dollar cheaper iBook?

    Getting something portable is a must, since this TiBook is mortally wounded and only has a few months to live.

    The tricked out 15" PowerBook I'm looking at is $2,524.00 with edu discount. 1.5 ghz, 128megs vram, single-slot 512 megs ram (I'd get more elsewhere), 80gig/5400rpm hd, superdrive, backlit.

    The slimmed down 15" PB I toyed with a few paragraphs above as an option where maybe down the line I could get a G5 is $1,974.00: 1.33ghz, 64 megs vram, 256 megs ram (I'd get more), 80 gig/5400rpm hd, combo drive, backlit.

    The 12" iBook I'm thinking about is $1,137.00, 1ghz with just the base 256 megs ram, 60gig/4200rpm hd, combo drive, airport.

    That would let me get relatively soon after a $2318 PowerMac G5: dual 2ghz, 2x256megs ram, 160gig/7200rpm hd, radeon 9600xt, superdrive.
  2. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    Hi Jbrjake,

    What do you plan to use the computer(s) for, we may be able to give you more insight, however at the end of the day only you can decide.

    If you are used to the 15" Powerbook then I think you may find the screen (a bit) limiting on the 12", however the G5 is much more powerful than the 15" powerbook. It really depends if you have genuine need for the G5 Power (video editing) compared with the portability of the Powerbook. I have a 15" Powerbook myself and would not want to change it for a smaller screen. I also know two people with the 12" iBooks and they are really happy with it too. However the two iBook users are mainly using it for web / e-mail (not that the new iBooks could not cope OK with photoshop and iMovie with sufficient ram).
  3. Grimace macrumors 68040


    Feb 17, 2003
    with Hamburglar.
    It sounds like you *need* a portable that will take heavy use - go with a powerbook. Try the refurb 15" or older stock 1GHz models.

    I don't think I saw any bit about already having a monitor for the G5 - you have one already??

    The best bet in my opinion is to get a *moderately* tricked-out 15" powerbook - and save for the next revision of G5 towers - likely in January of 2005. Skimping on a laptop is worse because they are harder and more costly to update later. The G5 can wait. ;)
  4. jbrjake thread starter macrumors member

    Jul 4, 2004
    Right now, I use my TiBook (which is what I'm on 90% of the time) mostly for iBook-type stuff--web, email, messaging, word processing. But remember how I said in my original comment that the laptop is heavily damaged? Part of it is that the dvd-rom is thrashed. Because of that, I haven't upgraded the OS since 10.1.5 came out...there's no way to boot from CD. I'd really LIKE to use iPhoto and GarageBand--I just can't even install them on here. Another problem with not being able to boot from CD is that I haven't been able to repair or defragment my harddrive since 2001. It is now 47% fragmented and damaged so severely DiskWarrior is powerless. Thus, I'm hesitant about storing data on it.

    If I had a computer which could run 10.2, let alone 10.3, I'd probably be doing a lot more CPU-intensive work. I have a library of DVDs I want to transcode and archive. I'd like to start doing a lot more web development, which means GIMP if not Pshop. I don't even have Fink on here; I'd like to use that and maybe try out some X-Windowing. Also I'd like to install some wiki software, and maybe a CMS. The only thing I know I won't be doing anytime soon is video, since I don't have a firewire-enabled camcorder.

    Oh, and carletonmusic, to answer your question, finding a monitor for a desktop is no problem. I have this ancient Radius PrecisionView 17" I got with my 7200/90 back in 1995.
  5. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    Just get a large CRT (or if you can afford it, a new Apple LCD!) - because you will get awesome mileage out of both a G5 and a 12" iBook - and this is coming from a 15" Powerbook owner!

    You will have awesome portability (with great performance) and top notch performance at your desktop. Terrific combination.
  6. jsw Moderator emeritus


    Mar 16, 2004
    Andover, MA
    I'd go with the iBook/G5 combo. I say that because I've got a dual-2 G5 (10 months old) and a Lombard (400MHz G3) Powerbook (~5 years old). The PB won't let me use any eye candy. Not even eye fruits and vegetables. But it works great as a portable. On the other hand, the G5 just plain rocks. I love it. It's wicked fast, and faster than any portable's going to be for some time. I'd rather be able to taste wicked fast goodness whenever I'm at home - and deal with slowness while away from home - than be forced to compromise all the time. And any new iBook is going to completely and totally thrash this old PB of mine.

    But that's just me. If everyone had the same tastes, there'd be only one Mac model.
  7. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    I HIGHLY suggest the iBook/G5 combo. I got a top end Powerbook 1.5 years ago, and now even it won't support all the eye candy in Tiger, what a rip off! However, if I had an iBook and G5 I would have no problems, or simply upgrade the graphics card in the G5 for $150! Instead now, I'm stuck with a dead-end machine with almost zero long-term upgradability. I also find that on the road, I don't need all the power that I do at my desk. Email, Safari, iPhoto are not exactly tough tasks, but video encoding/production at my desk would be MUCH better with a G5.
    Not to mention the obvious: a G5 will be 2 - 4 times faster than the G4 Powerbook.
  8. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK

    Thanks for telling us what you plan to the the computer(s) for. While I don't have a G5 :(, I do have a Powerbook 15" 1.25Ghz and PowerMac 1 Ghz Dual. I can say that I probably spend over 75% of my time on the Powerbook, because of its portability. Looking at your proposed use, the 1.5 GHz powerbook can do all you want with ease. It also now has a 4x DVD burner, while not as fast as the latest generation of Powermacs, should be pretty quick. Also the 12" iBook is not available with a DVD Writer, so any DVD work would have to wait for the G5. While I agree that the G5 / iBook combination is a powerful duo, I would say that based on your requirements it is overkill, just depends on how much you want to spend I guess.

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