Buying a powerbook now - Smart?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jeff_siler, May 4, 2005.

  1. jeff_siler macrumors 6502

    May 4, 2005
    Hi all,

    This is the first time ive checked out your forums. Im very interested in using my student discount to buy an apple laptop. I have been eyeing the 12" powerbook for 1,399.00 after discounts.

    Would it be wise to wait for the rumored new ibooks to debute before buying a power book. Also, would it be worth it to pay an extra $300 for the 15" model to get 1280 resolution? This will be my main computer.

    Thanks so much for your help.

  2. Shacklebolt macrumors 6502a


    Sep 2, 2004
    Jeff -

    I'm a long time tower advocate. My last computer was the second-to-top-of-the-line powermac, and I always worried that the p-books would be a little weak. That being said, I got over my fear and bought a rather nice Powerbook last week - I splurged and got the 15" because I thought that the 12" pbooks and the 12" ibooks just have too much in common - not just the screens, but the absense of gigabit ethernet, absense of firewire 800. It is DEFINITELY worth it to spend the extra 300 dollars on a 15" powerbook. Don't spend time waiting for the new ibooks. Will they come out soon? Probably. Would you be better with a pbook 15"? I think so.
  3. jeff_siler thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 4, 2005
    So the performance of the current 15" powerbooks should be worth buying now, rather than waiting for the ibooks?

  4. xyian macrumors 6502


    May 24, 2004
    Just do it

    I was debating over the same issues as you have been debating. I was thinking 20" WS LCD + 12" Superdrive or 15" PB. I did the 15" PB because the screen resolution is a lot better, it's easier to type on(not so cramped), not much heavier and also it's more ready for the future. I do not regret the decision one bit. It's a beautiful machine and is much better than my old iBook I had.
    You can't go wrong. They are powerful machines and even hold their own against the G5 iMacs!
  5. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    My brother just got a new 15" 1.67 and he loves it. However, I have a couple small regrets about it. One is the occasionally reported difficulty of G4s with playing H.264 and, on a related note, iChat AV's high system requirements for hosting a 3- or 4-way videochat.

    Now, I don't think either of these issues is very important, personally, but it is saying something that the fastest laptop you can buy from Apple can barely handle a couple of Tiger's most bling-bling features. Again, this wouldn't sway me, personally-- I think it's an awesome machine-- I'm just saying it's unfortunate. I'm also probably swayed by the fact that my brother (a switcher) thinks iChat AV is really cool-- but he hasn't tried to conference with it yet.

    As for waiting for the iBooks, no, I do not think that the next iBook update (if it precedes the next PB update) will meaningfully step on the toes of the 15" PB. More importantly, no one knows when any of this will happen. As for 12" vs. 15", the 12" offers advantages only in size, battery life, and price. If you can spend the extra money, the 15" is simply more computer.

    Also, xyian-- the keyboards are the same size, as far as I can tell, 12"-to-15", the 15" has more area around it, maybe that's what you meant. My 12" keyboard is the exact same width as my external, attached USB keyboard.
  6. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000


    May 18, 2003
    I'm a bit dissapointed with every mac laptop that Apple makes right now.

    As mcgary pointed out, the top of the line powerbook can't handle the new quicktime H.264 codec, so no high definition movie trailers, etc.

    Another thing that gets me is the latest iMacs kill the powerbooks. It's sad that the "consumer line" desktops are that much faster than the "professional line" laptops.

    I will need a laptop this fall, and I'm almost to the point where I'll buy the cheapest 12" iBook since the powerbooks are so underpowered and I'll just buy a powerbook later if they ever make it to a 2.0 GHz G5.
  7. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    You and like EVERYONE else! I think if/when apple finally comes out with a G5 PB there will be such a HUGE surge in demand that they will be harder to come by than the mac mini, iPod mini and iPod shuffle combined when they were each released!!!! i want to upgrade my PB myself. i have a rev A which has USB 1 and VGA (instead of DVI) output and not enough video ram as well as a limit to 640mb ram (i could go on) but the advantages of me upgrading right now arent that great. only a G5 would be worth an upgrade! (which i might do as a single G5 PM when i get the money since it doesnt seem like G5 PB will be out any time soon)
  8. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    ZildjianKX-- we agree on some things, yes, but I'm not surprised that a consumer desktop has more than a "pro" laptop. That's fairly consistent with Apple history, and there's always a premium to be paid for portability. As for buying an iBook out of frustration, well, if you think the PowerBooks are "so underpowered," how do think the slower CPU/FSB/GPU/HDD/etc. iBooks are?

    wPod-- I think reading this board gives us a skewed perspective. Yes, there certainly is pent-up demand for a G5-ish mac laptop, but a lot of people even in the computer market would have no idea what we're talking about. As maybe with my brother, they might see the current G4 laptops as kick-ass machines, despite what we know about what might be around the corner.
  9. rmhop81 macrumors 68020


    Apr 4, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    how much are you looking to spend? and do you have to have the newest technology, bc if so check out this link from apple to get another $100 off your order if your a student....

    or check out microcenter they have a 1.33ghz 12inch 60gb model with combo drive for only $999 after $100 rebate. here's the link....just remember that price listed is before $100 mail in rebate.....

    also since the new imacs came out the older ones now are only $994 from could get both of those machines with just paying a little bit more than the 15inch's the link if you want that too
  10. jeff_siler thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 4, 2005
    $1500 is probably my max. But i see the 15" for $1799 on the student site. After the $100 it would be $1699, which is still alot to spend on a laptop imho.

    I plan to use this as my main machine.

  11. metsfan489 macrumors member

    Jan 31, 2005
    Actually a 15" 1.67 powerbook w/ 128mb vram can play 720p (i think its 720) perfectly fine at about 22 - 26 fps.
  12. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    Good to hear; you're probably right. I was reading this thread, by the way.
  13. finalcoolman macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2005
    That $100 go save coupon. Is there something like that for Canada? Thanks,
  14. deelerious macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2005
    I was confronted with this decision just recently. As I was lurking in this forum and contemplating switching, I had my eyes set on a 15" and didn't even consider the 12" for being too small. To my surprise, I ended up getting a 12" and couldn't be happier.

    How come? I sat down and imagined how I would use it. I mainly do three things: day-to-day stuff such as browsing, email, IM, music etc; then coding and, finally, photo post-processing in Photoshop.

    For day-to-day activities the screen size doesn't really matter that much. For coding, it's not too much of a factor however it would be nice to have more screen estate at times. For photos I knew for sure I wanted a widescreen to better fit the Photoshop palettes to the side. I also wanted a larger screen since the images I typically edit are 4800x3200 pixels in size . This was the turning point when I realized that the 15" alone won't cut it for what I need. Kind of a jack of all trades, master of none.

    Again, this is for *my own* requirements. The 15" is probably the ticket if the built in display is all one ever needs.

    So that's how I ended up going with the most unlikely candidate, the 12" PB. I took a test drive at the Apple Store and then ordered one right after Tiger was announced while taking advantage of the Amazon rebate. With the money I saved over the 15" I bought a 20" widescreen Dell LCD, an Apple wireless keyboard and mouse and a Booq Powersleeve.

    I am very happy with this setup since it fits me just right. The 12" excels at portability and battery life. This helps me do my day-to-day stuff and light coding from wherever, be it coffee table in front of the tv, couch, bedroom, coffee shop etc. When I need more screen estate, for eg. while editing photos, I simply move to my computer desk and hook it up to the 20" widescreen LCD. I also have the old Windows tower PC hooked up to the VGA input of the LCD, bypassing buying a KVM, and soon will add the TiVo to the S-video one.

    I don't miss the Gigabit ethernet or the Firewire 800 a bit. However, if this will be your only machine, I seriously recommend getting the Superdrive. I cut corners and got the combo since I have a new dual-layer burner in a fast Windows tower that is now relegated to large RAID1 network storage device and DVD burning. I upgraded the RAM to 1.25 GB with a third party stick and got a Booq Powersleeve 12" for housing.

    Before taking delivery I was worried about the screen size. I never used anything so small before. After two weeks, I know I made the right choice and would pick the same combination all over again. I suggest you spend some time evaluating your usage patterns and figure out what you think would work best for you without giving too much weight to specifications alone. Good luck :D

    Edited to show math:
    12" PB from Amazon: $1350 after rebate
    Dell 2005FPW: $342
    Apple wireless keyboard and mouse: $106 after 10% price reduction during Tiger launch
    1GB RAM from Newegg: $135
    Booq Powersleeve 12": $42
    Tiger Up-To-Date: $10
    Grand Total: $1985 for a complete setup

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