Going to buy 12"PB Confirm

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

  1. cypher macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2003
    I've decided to buy a 12" PB but I'm still not sure if this is the best choice for me. I'm going to be using it for backing up dvds, dvd to divx, dv editing sound editing watching movies and internet.The video card on this doesnt seem to be taht good and all the benchmarks on barefeats.com show taht the powerbooks even the 15 and 17 inch ones are slower than wintel ones even the centrinos. I need it to be portable too. I was set on the 12" but now after looking at the bench marks I'm not sure about this anymore.

    This is my 1st mac btw...so i dont want to regret buying it.


    P.s. If you think i should get the PB 12 what can I do to speed it up?
  2. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    12" PB is not the fastest machine out there... and if you just want to do benchmarks, then you'll find plenty of PC laptops that are "faster." if you will be worried about benchmarks all the time, you should probably not get the PB. you will always have that number stuck in your mind. you might as well get a PC with the best benchmark to keep yourself happy in that department.

    read a Mac OS X book or play with one for a couple of hours. if you are expecting some speed demon, then you may be dissappointed. to me, the biggest draw of a Mac has been the OS (and the iApps, but that's a different story), not the raw speed. afterall, i can wait for the processes to complete - but i don't want to be bothered taking time to get the process going. to me, OS X lets me do things easier and more intuitively. ymmv.
  3. 603 macrumors member

    Jan 27, 2004

    my 12" PB was my first Mac and i definitely regret it. i've been thinking about selling it and getting an older refurb iBook. why? read on...

    for your needs, the SuperDrive is pretty slow in the PB. if you're going to be doing a lot of DVD backup you'd better be ready to hurry up and wait. takes about 45 minutes to burn a disc, and that's with third-party apps, a Finder-based burn will take twice as long.

    DV editing/sound editing - i don't have much experience with this, but i'd suspect that it's pretty CPU-intensive. if you need raw MHz maybe a PC laptop is a better bet for you.

    watching movies and internet.... any laptop with an ethernet card and a DVD-ROM will fit the bill here, PC or Mac.

    the video card? you're right, it's not that great. newish games are going to be struggling.

    you need it to be portable? yeah, that's why i picked the 12" over the 15" or 17"... the 12-incher has let me down, but i have desktops to use when i really need to get work done.

    for what i use it for, the 12" is a pretty decent machine: DVDs, internet, word processing, email, data transfer to my Mac at work, compiling a big text file of all Mac OS X's silly UI quirks, looking at the pretty icons. but $2000 was a lot of money for that - a cheaper iBook would let me do all that and i could have used the money for something else. not to mention the other quality control issues about the 12" that have been mentioned... just check the Apple Discussions forums for more info. a simple search for "warping" or "latch" should give you some insight.

    if i had to do it all over, i would have got a 15" PB and hoped that it didn't have any of its own problems... i also could have bought an entry-level G5 desktop with the money i spent on the 12" PB... i probably could have lived without a laptop.

    if you must get the 12", at least wait a couple of weeks, they haven't been updated in a while and you never know what each Tuesday will bring.
  4. DarkSonicYouth5 macrumors newbie

    Jan 7, 2004
    It is not the speed of your hardware that determines how fast you work, Grasshopper. It is the speed at which YOU work that determines speed. Thats wh OS X is faster. The way the OS works is much more intuitive that Windows. That's how OS X works so fast. The speed of the processor is only one of the factors.:D
  5. 603 macrumors member

    Jan 27, 2004

    i totally understand what you're saying, DarkSonicYouth. but there's a lot about the Mac OS that's unintuitive. overall, it's probably more intuitive than Windows. but there is some serious UI weirdness in OS X that ends up slowing me down a lot. sometimes i open a folder and all the icons are overlapping... sometimes i open a folder and get all this whitespace at the bottom... the Finder won't remember which display mode it's supposed to be set in... the Macintosh HD icon on the desktop doesn't show the right amount of freespace until i click on the desktop... when i FTP a file to the Mac's desktop it doesn't show up unless i single-click the desktop... you can't activate menus without using the mouse (a quick ALT+F in Windows opens the File menu, for example)... TextEdit asks if you want to save a blank document... files that won't delete from the Trash... tooltips that are poorly placed and obscure UI widgets... the fact that in a browser you can only TAB to form elements like input textareas, not dropdown menus or links...

    these things all slow me down. the slowness of the G4 processor and the lack of OS responsiveness just adds insult to injury. i have 768 MB of RAM, a 1 GB chip is 1/4 of the cost of the whole computer, no thanks.

    most of the apps i work with are virtually identical to their PC counterparts (Photoshop, etc) so when the rest of the OS is so quirky i have to wonder why people keep saying that Macs are a better choice for graphic designers everywhere.
  6. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    I must stress that most of the horror stories you hear are from a minority - you rarely hear from the people who don't have problems (most people).

    I have the 1GHz 12" and I think its great. I love the form factor and the build quality is far better than the iBook and any other laptop I've seen. It even looks more stable than the 15/17" PBs...

    There are always going to be comprimises with laptops (low-cost, portable ones) due to bottlenecks: the 4200rmp HD. Also, I find that the graphics card does everything I want it to do but I don't really play many games - I prefer console gaming. Bare in mind that most cheap PC laptops have integrated Intel graphics.

    If you do decide to get the 12" PowerBook, you will most likely have no problems whatsoever with it. I also find that the semi-pro apps work the best on my computer (better than the iApps, speed-wise). Final Cut Express works very well with my machine, as does Photoshop Elements, so I'd have thought Photoshop and FCP would run well too.
  7. 603 macrumors member

    Jan 27, 2004
    your comment about the Tyranny of the Minority - i.e. that only people with problems come onto the Net to complain, while everyone else out in Mac Land is perfectly happy - is sometimes a good thing to remind people of. it's also an easy and underhanded way to dispel negative comments, because it paints everyone who has a problem as part of a small minority with one broad stroke.

    the fact is that there are many people out there who are having problems with their 12" PBs. some are having problems worse than mine, i'm definitely not trying to make my situation out to be a horror story. a real horror story would be the case of the guy on the Apple Discussion boards whose whole 12" PB keyboard MELTED due to the heat (and he included pics).

    yes, there are definitely people out there whose laptops are OK, but that doesn't make it OK for Apple to churn out rotten... err... Apples. i am not alone in complaining about the quality control of Apple's recent hardware offerings. take a look at the people who want to go after Apple because of the iBook Dual USB logic boards... or the people who are putting together a class action suit over the iPod battery. some G5 owners are running into problems with the fans, Apple wants to charge them $500 for a new fan even if it's under AppleCare?!?

    if 1 in 50 PowerBooks has problems, you still don't want to be that one. personally, the only two people i know who own 12" PBs are having the same exact problems as i'm having. that's not 1 in 50, but 3 in 3, or 100%. the demo models in the stores also exhibit the same cosmetic issues, and it makes sense to think that they will get worse with use (more heat = more warping = more weirdness).

    if the build quality on your 12" PB is great, then you're lucky, but do me a favor... turn it over and look at the bottom. does the battery fit all the way into the compartment? does your lid shut all the way? can you carry the PB around without any rattling noises, and without holding the lid down to stop the rattling? is all of the plastic trim around the edges of the wrist-rests staying put, or is it coming loose? does the right-hand wrist-rest stay put, or does it pop up occassionally? this is a cross-section of the problems i'm having with my 12" PB, and they are remarkably similar to the problems stated by others, and some are far worse than mine.

    this isn't even about games really, i'm just sharing my opinion on build quality in general. but i tend to agree with your comment about games... consoles can sometimes go a long way towards making up for any low performance that a laptop offers. but the fact is there are laptops out there, comparably priced to the 12" PB, that can run games very well. i sold a Dell Latitude to finance my PowerBook. (now, i would have never bought a Dell on my own - i was required to get it for a post-grad graphics program.) you want to talk about cheap construction! but all other comparisons aside, the Dell was 19 months old, and it could run Quake III at high resolutions without any problems. the brand-new PowerBook cannot. ditto for Warcraft III and Return to Castle Wolfenstein.

    also, FCP Express and PS Elements are stripped-down versions of their older and more professional siblings - i don't see how it's safe to assume that the full version of FCP or Photoshop will run as well as the "little brother" versions.
  8. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    I must be lucky. My battery pack fits perfectly in the bottom and the plastic rim fits all the way around. I agree that the screen doesn't always fit perfectly when shut (1mm movement in lid) but it doesn't rattle and it always sits evenly on all desks. I don't have any heat issues either and it's one of the quietest laptops I've seen. I suggest the person who had a melted motherboard go get Apple to replace it for them - it would still have been under warranty.

    While I'm not disagreeing with you that maybe Apple's quality control is not perfect, I think the same thing can be said for other computers (PCs). None of the plastic PC laptops I've ever touched or used have been perfect, certainly no worse or better than my PB. I'm just saying that so far I've had absolutely no problems with my PowerBook and everything is still as good as new. I hope to keep it that way for a good long time to come. :)

    EDIT: As for Elements and FCE, they were created by taking the pro version and creating a consumer version out of it by stripping out some pro features. A gausian blur on Photoshop Elements is the same as one on the real thing, and so on. If your computer can hack the cut down consumer version, it should have no problem running its bigger brother.
  9. zapp macrumors regular


    Aug 23, 2003
    Whe Are you Buying?

    Powerbooks are due for a speedbump, don't know when but it should be soon. Keep that in mind before you buy. My powerbook has been flawless and I have no complaints so far. Good luck with your decision
  10. cypher thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2003
  11. theipodgod16 macrumors 6502

    Aug 10, 2003
    Berkeley, CA
    we should have g5 powerbooks within a year or so.
  12. MacBoyX macrumors 6502


    Jan 3, 2003
    East Coast, USA
    I have a 12" PowerBook and 2x2.0GHz G5.

    I have to tell you, the 12" PB is great. I had a 15" TiBook and I think the quality of my PB is much better than my TiBook ever was. I have had NO problems with heat or with any other problems. Actually, one thing that "sucks" a little is how cold the Aluminum is after it's been in the trunk of the car on the ride home LOL.

    I love mine. My only "complaint" if it is one is the screen size, but it's a small price to pay for it's size and portability. If you are buying the 12" PB because it's what you can afford but you really want a 15 or something bigger, you may find the screen too small. If you're buying it for the portability and size (like me) you won't mind.

    It's not a slow machine. It's not as fast a G5 but hey it's NOT a G5.

    Also asking this question in the Forums, you're gonna hear lots of stories that may or may not happen to you, listen to them, consider them but remember that they are a few where many are fine.

    If you've never used a Mac with OS X before, I recommend either going into a store (Apple stores are best if you have one near by) and using and playing with the Machine. Out of the 14 people I have helped switch only one of them didn't LOVE OS X and feel they made the right choice, truthfully he was a PC guy with too much disposable income who wanted to "try" a Mac to see what it was about but never stopped using a PC and constantly tried to compare OS X and WinXP. Do you have a friend who is a Mac guy? Would he let you play with his Mac (supervised hahahah)?

    Just some thoughts. If you're local to me (KOP area, PA) I'd be happy to show you around OS X and 12" PowerBook.

    Good luck. Godspeed, enjoy your Mac.

    check me out at http://www.macboyx.com
  13. cypher thread starter macrumors member

    Sep 28, 2003
    Actually our university has a mac lab and that where i first came across os x and frrom then on i've been using the macs at the labs. I probably wont be switching to mac completely but i would use it for my protable need even tho i have a dell 4150 laptop.

    Thanks for the info!!
  14. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2002
    Well, I bought a Revision A 12" PB. It's build quality is pretty good. There are some .5mm gaps near the latch, and that is about it. I can't believe all these horror stories. I think you would have a problem if your fan didn't work and you left the book on it's maximum settings and plugged in for over a day. It's a damn fine machine. Don't worry about it.
  15. kerb macrumors regular

    Jul 26, 2004
    Lancashire UK
    could the climate of where the PB is being used have an effect on the warping?
  16. mpopkin macrumors 6502


    Nov 14, 2003
    Chapel Hill, NC
    You are right about the 12 inch for the most part, a friend of mine has a pbook with sdrive running at 867mhz and it is really slo, but i have used both a dell laptop and an apple laptop for video editing and my pbook 1.5 ghz is way faster in the video department than any pc laptop. If you are going to do dvd burning, video editing, photo apps, graphics basically, get a mac, on the paper the mhz is not as high, but the speed sure is, games are another battleground, pc's win there, but macs offer the most stable os, security and peace of mind.

  17. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Anyone who does graphics or DV work isn't seriously going to do it on a 12" anyway, PC or Mac. There isn't a 12" PC laptop that's faster than the 12" PB. There are several companies that offer a great 12", but they're not faster than the 12" PB, and their graphics cards are generally worse than the one in the 12" PB. And any 12" PC laptop that's equal to the 12" 1.33GHz G4 Powerbook costs much more. If you're comparing the 12" PB to a 15" Toshiba or something, then you're comparing Apples to oranges.

    If you're comparing the 15" Powerbook to a 14"/15" PC laptop, then yes, they're slightly faster than the PB. But the 1.5GHz 15" with the 5400rpm HDD and 128MB video card is as good as any laptop out there with the exception of the battery life. But I'm sure if Apple wanted to use a larger battery and make the 15" 2 lb heavier, they could. ;) If the PB had a great fan turned on all the time, and was 1.5" thick, then I'm sure they could fit a G5 in there as well, but a fairer comparison would be to compare a light, 1" thick PC laptop with little fan use, to the 15" PB, because if you want this, you make a sacrifice, even on PC laptops. There's no ingenuity necessary if you're going to make a thick-brick laptop.

    I hate it when I do something using one app on a PC desktop (even on a 2.8 GHz P4), and I minimize that app to work on something else while the first app does it's thang, a blank white square is sometimes left in the middle of my screen where the window used to be. That has never EVER happened on my Mac. If you want your laptop to simply crunch numbers, then okay, the PC is better. But I want to U-S-E my Powerbook, and the experience of using the PB is simply better.
  18. newguy macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2004

    I'm looking to buy a 12" but have 2 questions. First, how bad are these warping problems . . .really? Second, how big of a difference does a 5400 rpm HD make over a 4800? Thanks.
  19. davefan6435 macrumors regular

    Jul 1, 2004
    Madison, WI
    i dont really know how bad these problems appear to be but I have seen the benchmarks at barefeats.com that show a dramatic difference between the 4800 and the 5400, it is said to be the best upgrade besides ram. Go for the 5400, you will love having that extra speed boost over the life of your powerbook
  20. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    The difference in HD space is huge. The HD upgrade is the best upgrade you can make, besides your first upgrade in RAM. Actually, if you get a 512MB stick of RAM so that you have a total of 768MB, upgrading to a 1GB stick doesn't help nearly as much as getting the faster HD.

    The warping.....well, there's no "warping" on my 12" PB, so I don't know. I haven't even read much about the warping. What exactly is supposed to warp? The screen, the bottom, or the entire thing? If it warps, its a matter of waiting 3-4 few days and getting a new one from Apple.
  21. Eomando macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2004
    Well, I have a little bit of a wobble on my 12"pb.. but it's not *that* noticable...i don't sit there day in day out pushing one corner and then pushing the opposite diagonal corner to make it wobble a bit.. it's perfectly stable.. and then the rest of it fits itself perfectly.. the battery fits perfectly, the lid fits perfectly, i have no complaints to make :)

    The slight wobble i have doesn't actually *affect* me, it doesn't wobble when i use it.. (and then, lots of desks i use it on are wooden and uneven anyway..which is much more annoying ;) )

    and btw, the guy with the melted keyboard? that just sounds to me as if he wanted a new computer and a good excuse to get one... (blowtorch anyone??) there's no way the pb gets *THAT* hot!! :eek:

    as for hard disk questions, i stuck with the stock 60gb hard disk.. i've got a nice 160Gb 7200rpm external usb/firewire hard disk if i ever want extra space.. i don't really know how much faster it would have made things having a slightly faster hard disk.. but i'm not particularly bothered either, my pb's never left me waiting (and i'm *really* impatient, believe me)
  22. jaromski macrumors regular


    Jun 18, 2004
    i bought a 12 pb a few months back and i love it. i have been using pc's since the 386dx 33 mhz and this pb has blown me away. i love it, best computer i've ever purchased.

    i used to custom build my pc's to optimize performance and stability, but since owning this mac i have to admit i'd rather not build computers anymore. i want something sexy that is fast and intuitive and mac fits the bill better than pc.

    i didn't have any problems with warping or the battery or anything. i upgraded the machine to 768mb and that is it. it is wonderful, and the 1.33 g4 is really quite speedy. i can't even imagine how fast those dualie g5 machines are. i don't want to use one because it will make me want it that much more.

    seriously, the 12" pb is a work of art. i think it is a better machine that the 15 or 17 model, but it really depends on what you need it for, the classic tradeoff between speed/features and portability. plus the larger models tend to get really pricey and i don't know that i am interested in that.

    but overall the computing experience on a mac is completely different than a pc. it is actually enjoyable to use the mac, and it has freed up a huge portion of time. i don't have to spend time troubleshooting the machine, it just works. i can spend more time doing other things like reading, writing, designing, whatever the hell i feel like. it has been empowering to say the least.

    maybe that was a tad bit emotional at the end, but i really love my powerbook. now i am trying to stave off getting a g5, it will happen, just when is the only control i have at the moment...

  23. mattroberts macrumors regular


    Oct 25, 2003
    603 - what the heck are you burning on your DVD drive to take 45 Min? Are your converting files at the same time?

    I've NEVER had anything take that long.

  24. newguy macrumors member

    Jul 27, 2004
    Sounds good,

    One more question regarding hard drive sped. Does the faster hard dive eat up battery faster and make the whole machine run hotter??? Or is there no difference?
  25. clr900 macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2004
    This thread is months old. The new ibooks and pbooks hadn't even been released yet when he posted this.

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