First powerbook purchase head wrecked need help!

Discussion in 'General Mac Discussion' started by i_wolf, Oct 17, 2003.

  1. i_wolf macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    Hi guys i have done a few searches and I have a few questions for you about the powerbooks.
    I was initially thinking about going for either a powerbook or a centrino laptop and have since settled on the powerbook. The build quality is amazing. and the size and weight per screen size is extremely impressive. My father is in two minds which laptop to go for. The 15 or 17". there is over a 100 MHz difference in the two and im told because its a RISC architecture and processor 100MHz is a bigger difference than say 100MHz in the intel world. Ideally i would want power and speed.
    I am used to borrowing my mates AMD athlon XP2200+ laptop and its good for some of the editing and stuff i would do.
    I am prepared to take a small drop in performance to get better battery life however, will i notice that big a drop in general performance moving to powerbook 15 or 17" ??
    Also are there any of you guys here that have a 15" and wish after that you have gone for the 17".
    In terms of putting a faster hard disk in the apple, i have a friend who can get me a good price on a 7200 rpm laptop hard drive. However, in the apple store near me i was told that its not possible to update the powebook later with a bigger hard disk without invalidating the warranty. He said that if i want a bigger hard disk i would have to go straight to buy a custom powerbook from apple with a 5400 rpm hard disk.
    This seams a bit strange as im sure i have seen threads here in the search for people with 7200 rpm hard disks in their powerbooks. Are there any problems that i could run into on this one???
    Is it worty my while upgrading the base 512 megs of ram in the powerbook to a gig???
    Last but not least... i will be using which ever powerbook i get in college primarily in the library hooked up to the ethernet port. I will carry whichever powerbook with me in myback pack. Is the 17" that big and unweildly unportable and some here were sayign that it is that it could be a problem.... again... when i do move from place to place the laptop would always be worked on from a table. i wouldn't be using it from my lap ;)
    Last but not least, have any of you moved from software development on the pc (using the likes of VIsual Studio etc...) and gone to the mac. I am wondering , what the quality of the developers studio is like that they give you???
    Kind Regards,
  2. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    well, I can't be of much help, but can offer these three things:
    1) the processor difference between the 15" and the 17" is only 80 mhz. The performance gap between the two as reported by benchmark sites does exist, but is pretty slight.
    2) definitely up the RAM to a gig. That will make a BIG difference in performance since OS X will eat all the RAM you can give it and ask for more.
    3) the hard drive on new powerbooks is technically not a user installable part, but it can be done. I believe, and double check this, that it does void the warranty, but that there is no seal inside the powerbook that you will break. Meaning that if something goes wrong now or later and you need repairs, you can swap the new HD out and put the original one back in and they might never be the wiser.
  3. Marble macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2003
    Tucson, AZ
    Get a trolley and G5 Dual 2Ghz Powermac. That way you can have mobility and power.
  4. G5orbust macrumors 65816


    Jun 14, 2002
    Good luck getting it past airport security...

    but, to add to the topic,

    A 15 incher and a 17 incher essentially come down to price and screen size. If you want/need widescreen, get the 17 inch, as it has true widescreen . If you can afford it, get the 17, if it is a stretch price wise, get the 15. Youll be happy with either for sure.
  5. yamabushi macrumors 65816


    Oct 6, 2003
    If you are foing to be carrying it around often, be aware that the 17" really is big. For that extra bulk and weight you get: extra screen real estate(nice) and a slight performance increase. Most of the 15" get warm but not hot, while the 17" is reported to run a little cooler. Keyboard, speakers, and touchpad are the same.

    17" is the most powerful but you could just take that money and give yourself some extra RAM for the 15". The 1GB RAM modules are somewhat scarce and expensive from 3rd party suppliers. So if you want over a GB of RAM you might be better off buying the memory upgrade when you purchase it. Otherwise, only buy 3rd party memory because Apple overcharges on all the other modules. HD options are the same - the 5400 gives a small performance gain for a small battery life penalty. You can always swap a new HD in later or add an external Firewire HD for heavy duty video editing.

    The performance is close to the same so the question is how much display size are you willing to carry?

    I was planning on buying the 15" myself, but now I am wondering if I should pick up the 17" instead.
  6. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    Yes, the 17 is big, but not too bad at all, I changed from a TiBook, and it took me all of a week to get used to the extra dimensions, it even fits in my old 15 bag without much trouble. I carry mine accross London every day, and have had no problems at all with it. (well, not since Apple replaced the original turkey they sold me anyway)

    You might have a problem if you are under about 5' 6" tall, as the bottom edge of the PB rides about kidney level on me (6' tall), so it may hit the top of your hip bones. Depend what bag you use I guess.

    If you can afford it, get the 17, it's a truly great computer.
  7. i_wolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    I am tending to lean towards the 15" and putting the extra money into the faster hard drive and 1 gig of ram.
    The only thing that worries me is hearing some of the people here talking about the speed and power of the machine. Some say that OS X barely sits on a 1GHz ti book. Others say its rubbish.
    I dont want to hear a windows = bloat rubbish argument v os x = amazing. For all intents and purposes whether i get a mac with OS X or a Centrino, i will be installing and using gentoo linux on a dual partition and using it 95% of the time. So it boils down for me, for a given price which will provide the best power, battery life and portability with connectivity options (am i asking too much???) ; the powerbook or a centrino.

    P.S. i borrowed the 17" for a morning. its amazing how light it is in comparison to its size, but it is still NOTICIBLY heavier than the 15". it reminds me a bit of a lunch tray.... albeit a very sexy looking, well designed lunch tray!
  8. Likvid macrumors member

    Jul 20, 2003
    The new Powerbooks are really slow, and i mean slow.

    You can compare it to some old Pentium II 300MHz or like that.

    Powerbooks got really nice design, but is the experience all about the looks? Apple users beleive so.

    I like performance, and performance you wont get with the Powerbook.
  9. Marble macrumors 6502a


    May 13, 2003
    Tucson, AZ
    Likvid, will you stop trolling and at least be objective? All you're doing is baiting everyone on this forum. Do you honestly believe that a Powerbook is like "some old Pentium II 300Mhz or some like that"? You are the one who was complaining about zealotry in another post, remember?
    I'm using a 15" TiBook right now and have loved the thing since I first purchased it. I do a lot of heavy duty audio editing in Logic with loads of MIDI ins and outs, rewire, and audio effects processing. It is totally wonderful, and I can only imagine that the newest iteration is just that much better. From benchmarks at MacWorld, performance gains in the newer models can exceed 140% of the performance that the older G4 chips are getting, thanks to their slightly upped specifications. I love it to death, and would sooner garrote myself with three feet of razor wire than be forced to use a PC, laptop or otherwise.
  10. saabmp3 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2002
    Tacoma, WA
    Let's hear some beter flaimbait from another poster:rolleyes:. I'm using an older 667 DVI Powerbook and have no speed problems at all. Sure, It sits when doing complicated things but it's MUCH faster than my fathers 1.2 GHz Wintel notebook that he bought at basically the same time. A 1GHz PB is not slow in any sense. 1.25 and 1.33 for daily operations is plenty of speed.

  11. WinterMute Moderator emeritus


    Jan 19, 2003
    London, England
    HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA HA HA HA HA ha ha hhhh...... (struggles for breath)

    AAAAAAAHHHH HA HA HA ha ha ha....


    The only thing a 300mhz pentuim will do quicker than a 1Ghz PB is crash.

    Please try to be serious.
  12. i_wolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    thanks guys i was hoping to hear that!
    So running an optimized altivec enabled app on mac os x panther on Al 17" should be similar in power speed and responsiveness to a centrino 1.7GHz ???
    If so... im sold.
    Incidentally, i hear talk of people saying that if you want to use unix/linux apps on osx you need a thing called fink. Id that absolutely necessary... is it possible to run rpm's from the terminal in OS X???
    Thanks guys for all the help and support here.
    its much appreciated.
  13. hugemullens macrumors 6502a


    Dec 15, 2002
    I would guestimate a 1.25ghz G4 around a 1.4 ghz centrino. As i tell everyone at school, unless your trying to play UT2k4, the extra 2 1/2 seconds it takes to compile your program is more than worth it when you consider the time saved with OS X vs. Windows. I read it in a macworld one time, and its rings true, don't think in terms of speed, thats just a number, think in terms of power. A OS X system has power, it enables its users to be efficent and streamlines anything they do. OS X gives the users power, a PC gives the user speed. They both have theyre purpose, and i am a hardcore mac guy, but if linux is your thing, maybe a PC is better, i keep a PC around and have no problem recommending one. But i promise, if you buy a powerbook, you'll be giddy for weeks.
  14. benixau macrumors 65816


    Oct 9, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    in MS prooducts you will only notice the diference in launch times. BUT - if you are a good little mac users you never quit your regular apps perfering to just close the windows and let MacOS handle the memory and you never shutdown your mac aalways sleeping it.

    In non-altivec tasks you will not really notice a difference - I couldn't out-type an old LC650 that only had a 66Mhz 68K processor in it. What chance do you have of out-typing a 1/1.25/1.33GHz processor?

    In alti-vec tasks such as photoshop/iMovie/Keynote you will really wish you had that pc …… it makes a good way to keep the door shut so you arent disturbed on your beautiful mac.

    IOW - alti-vic will beat most of the full pentium4s at the same task and easiilt whoop a Centrino 1.7
  15. i_wolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    Thats impressive. I didn't know that altivec made such a difference. Does that mean that most of the apps that im seeing benchmarked out there at the moment are not altivec enabled???? Does that mean that there is huge room for apps to speed up as more and more become altivec enabled???
  16. switchingGeek macrumors member

    Oct 11, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    Hi i_wolf,

    I just purchased a 12" PBook, so I'm not going to answer your question on 15" vs 17". But I can assure you that after I added 512MB (to 256MB stock) I've opened as many apps as I could, and it was fast!!

    This is my first mac, and I'm definitely impressed. I've spent the last 3 yrs using Linux, and my workstation is a Athlon XP 2200 with 1.5Gb RAM -definitely not a slow machine :)... Compared to my friends' laptops with either P4's, P4M's or Centrino's or AMD processors, the PBook feels much more solid, and well-built. And I'm definitely a Linux fan, the first thing I did was download Firebird, thunderbird, gimp, freeciv, mplayer, etc. although Safari is what I'm using for browsing, as I've found the tab switching in Safari excellent...

    The Compaq X1000 is the only one which comes close IMHO. (Disclaimer, I haven't seen any thinkpads). It's got a great screen, and battery life is good too. A bit heavier than the PBook.

    So don't worry abt the processor speed, 1GHz is plenty for normal work, video viewing, etc. In any case, since I plan to run my simulations on my workstation, I will be compiling on my workstation, so I guess that will not be a problem.

    But definitely do up the RAM!! Right now with 768MB, I haven't been able to fill it up :)... I'm running mplayer, X11, safari, thunderbird, Y!M, iTunes, Acrobat reader. and everyting is very smooth, with zero swapping (top has a line with pageins and pageouts ).... 660MB is being used.. I'm not even closing many of the applications.. leaving them hidden when I don't use them. Most of the windows laptops I've seen don't work as well with this many windows open :)

    So go with the PBook.. and you'll be happy :)

    Have fun!
  17. i_wolf thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 17, 2002
    getting 17" powa book! will upgrade the mofo to a gig ram and 5400 hard drive
    Here's hoping it fast enough for compiling and encoding stuff.
    Does that make me now a mac zealot?? or how does that bit work! ;)

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