Dropped powerbook....having second thoughts

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by JessFactor, Nov 29, 2005.

  1. JessFactor macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2005
    I recently purchased a 12" powerbook. Last week a friend of mine accidently knocked it off the table and onto to the hard floor. Everything works fine, but the entire computer is arced. Apple was going to charge $700 to fix it so we decided to sell it for $1000 and my friend would pay the $400 difference for a new one.

    The thing I'm having second thoughts on is getting a powerbook over an ibook. My computer is almost never on my desk and I carry it to school every day. I feel that the ibook would have handled this impact much better. I now have two questions regarding the 12" ibook and pb.

    1. Has anybody every dropped their ibook onto a hard surface and did it handle the impact?

    2. I understand that the ibook has a 4200 rpm hard drive which is my only concern. After the 80 gig upgrade the ibook will be $1040. I still have $360 to work with so I would bring the ram up to 1.5 gigs for another $120 from a 3rd party seller. Would would the extra gig of ram help offset the much slower hard drive? Has anybody out there switched from a powerbook to an ibook and regretted it?


    I also must add that I don't plan on adding an extra moniter and I dont use the audio line in. Also, I already have a dvd burner in the house so that isn't an issue.
  2. Josh macrumors 68000


    Mar 4, 2004
    State College, PA
    I can't speak as a previous powerbook owner, as I never owned one, but I had an iBook with 1.5gb of ram and the 80gb HD and it was plenty fast for my needs.

    I'm certain you wouldn't be dissapointed w/ it's speed.
  3. cashmoney macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2005
    My iBook was in a car accident and flew into the dash and then fell on the floor....I guess that is kind of an impact....and it still works fine... There were no dents or deformations on it. I hope that helps.
  4. rockthecasbah macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2005
    Moorestown, NJ
    i have mentioned this before, I spoke to an Apple representative in the genius bar that noted ibooks are much less durable in drops (not saying all but most according to all the drops they've seen) in comparison to the Powerbooks. In fact they noted that iBook plastic is easy to splinter destroying the entire laptop on a drop whereas Powerbooks survived (was able to boot up and extract data from HD) with even huge dents impacted into the laptop..

    Now obviously nobody plans on dropping a laptop, but it is definitely something to consider. Either way you will probably be quite happy :) .
  5. yenko macrumors 6502a

    Aug 29, 2005
    You may wish to consider a good home owner/renter insurance policy.;)
  6. rosalindavenue macrumors 6502a


    Dec 13, 2003
    Virginia, USA
    I fell down the stairs at my house and my ibook hit the floor hard-- kind of a flat slap on the floor. I figured the screen would be broken at very least. It was fine; no problems at all. Although I am not surprised at what the apple store guy told rockthecasbah, I've been reading these forums for two and a half years and the consensus opinion seems to be that the ibooks take a licking a lot better than the aluminum powerbooks. As long as you dont need the extra videocard power I'd get the ibook if I were you.
  7. JessFactor thread starter macrumors newbie

    Nov 29, 2005
    That makes sense. It's like crumple zones on a car.
  8. itsbetteronamac macrumors regular

    Apr 27, 2003
    The which is stronger debate is a tough one. The first ibook was very tough, and was almost indestuctable (TECHTV TESTS). Now though, the ibook has a different case which is still pretty durable.

    Powerbook: Although very easily dentable, and "mashable," it is very protective of it's internal parts. You can through it around and beat the hell out of it. And, though it may not look pretty, it will probably still work or at least be bootable.

    iBook: Is impact resistant, and the plastic dose not dent or break as easily as the powerbook dents. But, because of it being plastic, it is just not as strong or protective as metal.

    Conculsion: Major drops, Powerbook wins hands down. Minor drops and bumps, ibooks "absorbant" plastic exterior is much better suited.

    So you have to ask your self. Am abusive of my computer, but not likely to "throw it against a wall." Or, I am I very protective of my computer, but when I do seem to have an accident, it's pretty bad?

    I personally chose the powerbook, even though the ibooks plastic would have been better off in my case. I just don't dig the white. But, I learned to become more protective, and everything has worked out great.
  9. ebuc macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2003
    Go for the iBook

    PowerBook will dent if you drop it from any considerable height. If you're that kind of person who can't be cradling your laptop every moment, don't be surprised when it slips off a table or something and gets an unisightly warped aluminum side or two. Both laptops will likely survive considerable abuse, but the iBook won't show any signs of abuse.

    Also, the iBook just got updated and is practically as fast as the PowerBook (and about 50% cheaper. The 12" PowerBook hasn't been updated for a year and may never get an update if they phase it out.

    I guess I'd choose the iBook...
  10. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus


    Jul 24, 2002
    iBooks are designed to survive school usage. I'm not so sure about PowerBooks. Mine (PowerBook) has lost 3 of it's 4 feet and has a small dent in it after 2 years. One USB port appears to be dead and the sleep light is erratic, but it still works!
  11. davizod macrumors newbie

    Apr 27, 2005

    Have you thought about using the extra money after buying an ibook to invest in applecare. I mean if you are really worried about drops and damages, the extended warranty would really help. Not that Applecare covers careless damage like dropping it off a table, it might cover damages caused later on by a minor drop.

    Just my two cents. But definetly go with the ibook, the specs on the ibooks vs pb are too similar for the price difference and extra's not need in pb's (fiberoptic keyboard, metal case etc.)
  12. PCMacUser macrumors 68000


    Jan 13, 2005
    I switched from a 15" 1.67GHz Powerbook to a 12" iBook, and I don't regret it at all! The 15" PB (and no doubt, the 12" PB) is way overpriced for what it is IMHO. The 12" iBook (with 1.5gb RAM) is speedy enough for most tasks I do on OS X (email, Internet surfing, a few simple games, photo editing, DVD watching) and it's inexpensive! I also don't have to lie awake at night worrying about it getting scratched like I did with the Powerbook. This thing gets dragged around with me everywhere I go in my backpack... I've never dropped it though, so I can't comment on how it compares in a drop test with a PB.
  13. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I think you just can't count on any laptop, aside from maybe ruggedized ones, surviving a serious fall onto a hard surface. You may well be lucky, but it's still lucky.

    But as for this... I ... I respect where you're coming from, and it's a very well-detailed and thought out line of reasoning. But polycarbonate doesn't really shatter or splinter very easily at all, as far as I know. I think this is a very valid point in the sense that, if you were to take a fork or pen tip or something sharp and hammer it into your powerbook, it would not break through the aluminum, but it would crack an iBook. But practically, the kind of falls where that kind of damage gets done are ones you really just do not want your computer in....

    And while it's true that the aluminum absorbs energy while denting, plastic absorbs energy too while deforming during the impact, even if those deformations are not permanent in nature. The basic principle of this is easy to see if you blow up a balloon and place it against your chest and bump on it on the other side. The balloon cushions the blow substantially, even though it clearly undergoes only elastic deformation.

    Plus, aluminum is a stiff material. Meaning it transmits a relatively high percentage of transient impact forces directly through. Isn't aluminum stiffer than polycarbonate? AFAICS, that means polycarbonate is able to dampen high-frequency transient shocks to a greater extent than aluminum.

    Anyways, I'm sorry...I don't mean to be argumentative, I'm just curious.

    And also wondering whether the representative wouldn't also argue that the impact survivability of the powerbook would be better yet, if it were a 17" maxed powerbook, and would double or even triple if you were to put a 30" ACD on the table next to it. :D
  14. jaw04005 macrumors 601


    Aug 19, 2003
    I find it hard to believe that iBooks are genuinely not as a durable as PowerBooks. The aluminum shell of the PowerBook is so easily dented. I dropped my 12" PowerBook G4 exactly 2 feet from my couch, and it damaged the hard drive.

    The original iBook G3 was almost indestructible. If you look at the keynote presentation where Job's introduced it, you'll see Phil jumping out of a hole at the top of the stage with the iBook and it still running perfectly afterwards. Apple has moved away from this type of quality in order to be more price competitive.
  15. madmaxmedia macrumors 68030

    Dec 17, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    There's probably not that much difference in terms of impact protection for the internal components. A decent drop onto a hard surface is going to be bad for both computers.

    By the time you figure out which one is going to come out worse (iBook case splintering or PB case warping or whatever), either the motherboard or Hard drive will fail anyways.

    Cosmetically there are differences. The iBook picks up a lot of scuffs like an iPod, but is more resistant to dings or warps.

    The PB has a brighter screen than the iBook. At one point I had both (first owned an iBook, then bought a PB and sold the iBook), so I had them in front of me side by side. The iBook screen is fine, but was not as bright. The iBook was almost brand new too, the PB was a few months old.

    Also, the PowerBook has a much better keyboard, probably the best in any notebook computer.

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