A little advice for a Mac Newbie...

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jdogg707, Apr 27, 2004.

  1. jdogg707 macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2004
    Alright, well, I have decided to purchase my second Mac, the first being a 15.2" 1GHZ SD Ti Powerbook, which had some issues with the HD, and I ended up selling. So I went and bought the ADC student membership, and will be using that discount to purchase my laptop. I will be using this thing to carry around campus, web surfing, light gaming, MS Office 2004, Virtual PC, programming, etc. I am not terribly concerned about battery life, as long as I can get 2+ hours out of it I will be just fine. I also do not need the Super Drive as I never used it on my laptop before, and have a DVD Burner in my desktop. So I went to a local Apple Store and compared the new Powerbooks, and am having a hard time deciding between the 12.1", 15.2" and the 17". Here are the configs I am looking at through the ADC store:

    A. - $1,999.00
    PowerBook 1.5GHz (15.2" TFT)
    • 1.5GHz PowerPC G4 with 128MB Graphics Memory
    • 512MB DDR333 SDRAM - 1 SO-DIMM
    • 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 5400RPM
    • Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    • Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • 15.2-inch TFT Display

    B. - $2,319.00
    PowerBook 1.5GHz (17" TFT)
    • 1.5GHz PowerPC G4 with 128MB Graphics Memory
    • 512MB DDR333 SDRAM - 1 SO-DIMM
    • 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 5400RPM
    • SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW)
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Backlit Keyboard/Mac OS - U.S. English
    • 17-inch TFT Display

    C. - $1,619.00
    Powerbook 1.33GHZ (12.1" TFT) 12"/
    • 1.33GHZ PowerPC G4 with 64MB Graphics Memory
    • 768MB DDR333 (256MB built-in & 512MB SO-DIMM)
    • 80GB Ultra ATA drive @ 5400RPM
    • Combo Drive (DVD-ROM/CD-RW)
    • AirPort Extreme Card
    • Keyboard/Mac OS X - U.S. English
    • 12.1-inch TFT Display

    I do not mind anything on the 12.1" except for the screen, which I feel may be a bit too small, since I am used to a resolution of 1280x1024 on an 18.1" LCD. The 15.2" Powerbook seems perfect except that I have heard it does not perform very well, compared to the last generation of 15.2" PBooks, and versus the 17" model. I liked the resolution of the 17", the only thing that bothers me here is that it is a bit more expensive, and the only thing of value it seems to add above the 15.2" is that it has a bigger screen/higher resolution. The 17" also seems much less portable than the other two, especially considering I will have it with me pretty much everyday.

    So my questions are this:

    Is the new 15.2" slower in relation to the 17" or the 12.1"?

    Is the 17" going to fit my need while also being portable?

    Does the screen on the 12.1" allow for a good deal of productivity, or is it hard to work with several apps going on at the same time?

    I will be purchasing a bag, Apple Care, and iSight from the Apple Student Store Separately.

    Thanks for all the help!
  2. Dippo macrumors 65816


    Sep 27, 2003
    Charlotte, NC
    I haven't heard of any about the 15" Powerbook being slower than the 17".
    The last generation Powerbook did have a lower clocked 15", but that is not the case anymore.

    The 17" is nice but you are going to be paying for a Superdrive you don't need.

    The 17" has a resolution of 1440x900 = 1,296,000
    The 15" has a resolution of 1280x854 = 1,093,120
    The 12" has a resolution of 1024x768 = 0,786,432
  3. baby duck monge macrumors 68000

    baby duck monge

    Feb 16, 2003
    Memphis, TN
    i don't know about the speed issued you mentioned, but that 15" is exactly what i would want if i were in the market right now (except for the additional 512 i would throw in there after the fact). i throw my vote to option #1
  4. mactastic macrumors 68040


    Apr 24, 2003
    Well, I've got a 15" TiBook, and it's really the sweet spot in the laptop line. Big enough and with the power to function as a pretty complete desktop replacement, and portable and light enough to take with you on a daily basis. Mine has traveled with me almost every day for 18 months now and the >6 pounds with charger and cables is great.

    Speed should be a lower priority in a laptop than its features and portability are. If speed is a major concern I would suggest the G5 line.;) But I doubt you'll have speed-envy with a 1.5Ghz G4 in a seriously bitchin laptop.

    Long story short, I vote Option A. And get a wireless router if you don't have one already. That ethernet jack is wired directly to your mobo.....
  5. reaper macrumors 6502

    Apr 9, 2004
    19th Hole

    I would go for the 17". I am looking into a pb purchase right now too, and I think that the extra screen real estate is worth the little extra you have to pay (and, really, who couldn't use another superdrive :cool: ). Plus, from what I hear, it's a lot more portable than one might think.

    - reaper
  6. Squire macrumors 68000


    Jan 8, 2003
    It sounds like the 15" model is what you want- portable but with plenty of screen real estate. The only thing I'd recommend is the backlit keyboard. (Isn't it a BTO option?) For the extra $69, it's a pretty cool feature.

  7. yoda13 macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2003
    I would say the 15" too, but someone had a thread on here the other day about how crappy their xbench numbers were for the new one, and that it was getting slower numbers than their Rev. A fifteens. I went to the xbench web site, and sure enough the numbers are surprisingly low. I can't explain it. But there were a few of the new ones that were really high too. Makes me wonder.
  8. Frisco macrumors 68020

    Sep 24, 2002
    I hear the 17" is a lot more portable than you think of a 17" laptop. It's such a beautiful computer. Is there a local store (CompUSA, Apple Store) where you can feel them out?
  9. mpopkin macrumors 6502


    Nov 14, 2003
    Chapel Hill, NC
    The 17 incher is nice and semi portable, but it is a monster, not in weight but in size, I would go with the 15" there is no difference in performance between the 15 and 17 inch Powerbooks as they have exactly the same features and stuff. I have the new 15.2 AL PB 1.5 GHZ and have been using it since Friday and I love it to death. The Battery is pretty damn good for a laptop, the performance amazing and the portability great. I chose the 15 because it was a combo between the 12(screen too small, not enough performance) and the 17(Screen Nice and Big, but not Portable enough to travel a lot with) the 15 came right down the middle( big screen, Portable with the Power of the 17 and more) Definetely recommend the New 15.2, with or without SD, i definetely have it even though i may not use it that often, it is nice to have for sure.
    Good Luck

  10. mms macrumors 6502a

    Oct 8, 2003
    I have a 12" iBook and the screen size has never bothered me. The portability is good without sacrificing too much power. With Expose, window management is no problem for me, and I use many applications at once.
  11. jdogg707 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2004
    Thanks for all of the responses. My main concern was about the performance hit mentioned in the Xbench benchmark on the new 15", but I since no one else seems to have an issue with it, I think I'll be going with the 15". I went to my local Apple Store and played around with them, the 15.2" was definitely an awesome laptop, I liked the 17" but couldn't imagine carrying it around with me all the time. The 12" was extremely portable and light, but I was worried about the screen size, and just don't want to pay a lot of money for something that I will end up regretting later. Thanks for the input, I'll let everyone know how it is when I get mine in!
  12. jdogg707 thread starter macrumors regular

    Apr 18, 2004
    What kind of battery life have you been getting?

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