About to buy my first mac Pt2: iBook or AlBook?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Athos, Feb 10, 2003.

  1. Athos macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2003
    I want to buy my first Mac.

    I'm a database and web developper. I need a portable computer to connect to a UNIX server (via SSH and X11), create presentations (Powerpoint or Keynote), write documents for my boss (Word) and create web graphics (Photoshop or Photoshop Elements). I also want to be able to use iTunes 3, iPhoto 2 and iMovie 3.

    Since I'm on a tight budget (<C$2500), I have 2 possibilities: the iBook 800MHz or the new PowerBook 867MHz.

    Buy now:

    iBook G3 800MHz 12.1" 128MB PC100 (C$1919)
    AirPort card (C$75)
    512MB SDRAM PC133 (C$150)
    Linksys Etherfast Wireless 4PT Switch (C$145)
    TOTAL = C$2289

    or wait untill the new AlBook arrive here (March):

    PowerBook G4 867MHz 12.1" 256MB PC2100 (C$2419)

    and buy the AirPort Extreme card and base station later.

    What should I do?

  2. CrackedButter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2003
    51st State of America
    I'd wait till Apple update the iBooks and the 15"PBook, that way you have a better handling of the options.
  3. alex_ant macrumors 68020


    Feb 5, 2002
    All up in your bidness
    If you have a few thousand photos in your iPhoto library, you will want more than the 640MB max of RAM the iBook offers you. (No joke) (Edit: Nevermind, this is the max on the 12" AlBook as well.)

    The AlBook will be a little faster at those media apps, but the iBook will perform very close to the AlBook in Word-type apps.
  4. yzedf macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2002
    I have to agree.

    The iBook 800 and PB 12" have a more toy status in my mind.

    Just fine for SSH and your basic iLife stuff, but if you are doing real Photoshop stuff, I would want a 1GHz with more RAM.

    OS X is a RAM hungry beast... :(
  5. jiholl macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2003
    If you look at apple web site store...and do build to order for Ti 1ghz...if you swap superdrive for combo and reduce HD from 60 to 40, then price is $2549..this is with 512 ram and airport included....just food for thought...gets you faster processor, and 64 mb of video ram...you can add more regular ram later
  6. yzedf macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2002
    I just realized C$ probably implies Canadian Dollars...

    >>>Checking prices at apple.ca<<<

    Oooops! :(

    I'd have to say PB 12" all the way. Better graphics performance than the iBook. The rest of the system is nominally different :(
  7. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    Can't remember where I read this, or how correct it is (if at all!) but apparently the iBook 800 with 640 MB is about the same speed as the PB 867 with 256 MB for most tasks.
  8. KershMan macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2003
    VA, USA
    I have both

    And the PB 12" is worth the extra money. My wife inherited the iBook 800. She likes the iBook and it is more than enough for what she does. Surf, mail, Majong.

    My PB 12" is a Combo, 40GB, and 640 MB RAM with AE.

    The iBook is a 12.1, 800, 30GB, and 640 MB RAM with Airport.

    The iBook is nice, but I feel that the responsiveness in the PB 12" is much better. Everything seems smother. Keynote, Powerpoint, and Word are much better.

    I usually have half a dozen Word files open ranging up to 3 or 4 MB a piece. Word would slow down on the iBook. I have not seen that happen on the Powerbook yet.
  9. KershMan macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2003
    VA, USA
    BTW, I am a Unix Geek to, and OS X Rocks

    Forgot to mention in my last post. I have been working with Unix based systems over 14 years to include OS: SunOs, Solaris, VMS, HP, and a littel SCO many moons ago.

    Harware: Sun, HP, Ford Aerospace, Dec Alphas.

    The whole Mac experience is great. Until I bought my first iBook in Feb 2002 (I have bought 4 total since then) I had a hodge-podge of junk in my house. A desktop running Linux as a file and print server, a Wintel Notebook dual booting Linux/Win 2k, my wife's Wintel notebook, and a junky little desktop for my kids running ME and then XP.

    They are all gone now. iMac FP 15"/800 runs the print, file, music, video server duties. It shares two USB printers (laser and color photo) no problem in 10.2.3.

    My oldest daughter has a 600Mhz iBook, plus the other two.

    What a great experience. I love it and will never buy another brand of computer again.
  10. Athos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2003
    Sorry about that, I should have explain myself better: C$ stand for canadian dollars.

    I'm curious yzedf, what make you think the GeForce 420Go is better than the ATI 7500? Everything I've seen on the web says that these 2 video card are on the same level of performance.

    (If only Apple had kept the ATI 9000 in the new PowerBooks...)

  11. KershMan macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2003
    VA, USA
    More than nominal upgrades

    I don't feel there is a huge difference in graphics performance, but I do believe the rest of the PB 12" is more than nominal upgrades.

    My wife sees the difference also between her iBook and the PB.

    Although the speed increase is nominal (67Mhz), it is a G4. OS X and the iApps are tweaked to make use of Altivec.

    I also think the RAM architecture helps performance. I understand that there is a split in the community over how Apple supports DDR RAM, but I do believe there is a difference.

    MacWorld has been running tests, and although we have not seen their final report, they have seen the PB 12" perform on par if not better in some tasks than the 15" PB 1Ghz.

    All I can say is in my opinion this thing is faster than both my 800Mhz iBook and iMac.
  12. KershMan macrumors 6502

    Feb 10, 2003
    VA, USA
    Benchmarks using Xbench 1.0


    Results 71.48
    System Info
    Xbench Version 1.0
    System Version 10.2.3
    Physical RAM 640 MB
    Model PowerBook6,1
    Processor PowerPC G4 @ 867 MHz
    Version 7455 (Apollo) v3.3
    L1 Cache 32K (instruction), 32K (data)
    L2 Cache 256K @ 534 MHz
    Bus Frequency 134 MHz
    Video Card GeForce4 MX
    Drive Type FUJITSU MHS2040AT D
    CPU Test 91.89
    GCD Recursion 88.71 3.46 Mops/sec
    Floating Point Basic 93.57 315.39 Mflop/sec
    AltiVec Basic 87.20 4.73 Gflop/sec
    Floating Point Library 98.97 4.44 Mops/sec
    Thread Test 55.46
    Computation 54.12 436.03 Kops/sec, 4 threads
    Lock Contention 56.87 713.82 Klocks/sec, 4 threads
    Memory Test 86.56
    System 72.05
    Allocate 103.70 34.96 Kalloc/sec
    Fill 68.20 391.11 MB/sec
    Copy 57.69 288.45 MB/sec
    Stream 108.38
    Copy 110.75 484.30 MB/sec [altivec]
    Scale 112.43 490.52 MB/sec [altivec]
    Add 109.17 496.70 MB/sec [altivec]
    Triad 101.81 447.36 MB/sec [altivec]
    Quartz Graphics Test 74.69
    Line 69.05 1.76 Klines/sec [50% alpha]
    Rectangle 81.92 5.76 Krects/sec [50% alpha]
    Circle 86.03 1.98 Kcircles/sec [50% alpha]
    Bezier 79.05 858.96 beziers/sec [50% alpha]
    Text 62.58 1.02 Kchars/sec
    OpenGL Graphics Test 104.47
    Spinning Squares 104.47 73.11 frames/sec
    User Interface Test 59.00
    Elements 59.00 20.07 refresh/sec
    Disk Test 56.99
    Sequential 56.67
    Uncached Write 51.28 22.37 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 49.89 20.30 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 96.63 15.22 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 48.34 20.85 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 57.32
    Uncached Write 68.06 1.03 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 49.05 11.25 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 57.22 0.37 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 58.05 11.38 MB/sec [256K blocks]


    Results 51.73
    System Info
    Xbench Version 1.0
    System Version 10.2.3
    Physical RAM 640 MB
    Model PowerBook4,3
    Processor PowerPC G3 @ 800 MHz
    Version 750FX v2.2
    L1 Cache 32K (instruction), 32K (data)
    L2 Cache 512K @ 800 MHz
    Bus Frequency 100 MHz
    Video Card ATY,RageM7
    Drive Type IBM-IC25N030ATCS04-0
    CPU Test 77.17
    GCD Recursion 76.72 3.00 Mops/sec
    Floating Point Basic 56.61 190.80 Mflop/sec
    Floating Point Library 122.31 5.49 Mops/sec
    Thread Test 60.88
    Computation 49.23 396.64 Kops/sec, 4 threads
    Lock Contention 79.75 1.00 Mlocks/sec, 4 threads
    Memory Test 27.73
    System 24.05
    Allocate 146.93 49.54 Kalloc/sec
    Fill 23.07 132.29 MB/sec
    Copy 13.41 67.04 MB/sec
    Stream 32.73
    Copy 32.88 143.80 MB/sec
    Scale 32.88 143.44 MB/sec
    Add 32.04 145.78 MB/sec
    Triad 33.15 145.68 MB/sec
    Quartz Graphics Test 82.19
    Line 78.18 1.99 Klines/sec [50% alpha]
    Rectangle 87.80 6.18 Krects/sec [50% alpha]
    Circle 92.09 2.12 Kcircles/sec [50% alpha]
    Bezier 85.40 927.91 beziers/sec [50% alpha]
    Text 70.98 1.16 Kchars/sec
    OpenGL Graphics Test 53.74
    Spinning Squares 53.74 37.61 frames/sec
    User Interface Test 62.36
    Elements 62.36 21.22 refresh/sec
    Disk Test 43.36
    Sequential 49.63
    Uncached Write 43.97 19.18 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 46.16 18.78 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 77.94 12.28 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 42.82 18.47 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Random 38.49
    Uncached Write 22.90 0.35 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Write 43.83 10.06 MB/sec [256K blocks]
    Uncached Read 53.71 0.35 MB/sec [4K blocks]
    Uncached Read 53.12 10.41 MB/sec [256K blocks]

    In my view, Powerbook is better overall: CPU (except FP), memory by far, OpenGL (Quartz is faster on iBook), and disk read/writes.

    Clear as mud.

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