Help to buy a new PowerBook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ult_David, May 9, 2004.

  1. ult_David macrumors newbie

    May 9, 2004
    Hey guys,

    Like many people on thie board, I'm about to become a new member of the MAC community after 12 years in the world of Microsoft

    I've studied all the possibilities, and I'm almost set on my choice (Pb 1,5Ghz, 15", 1Go RAM, 128Mo video, 80Go HD...) but I still have a few questions:

    - I'm gonna start with 1Go for the RAM. Do you think I may need more in the future and should take it on one slot instead of 2?

    - for the harddrive, there's not a big difference in price by taking the 5400, but I was wondering if that would alter the battery life compared to the 4200. Is the performance bonus worth the battery life reduction?

    - for the Xtreme Airport: is the new one very interesting? Since I'll soon be in Paris and will ahve a modem with my DSL line, I may take the Airport without the modem and with the new features (power over ethernet and UL2043)

    - could you give me some links for the best protections (skins, bags...). Also, should you put a protection on the screen when you travel with it, so that the keyboard won't let any mark on the screen?

    - Is AppleCare worth it? I think no, since it's very expensive and never had any problem with my hardware before... but i need your input there!

    - have you guys taken any optional features like sofwares when u bought yours?

    Thanks for all your help, I'm gonna buy mine as soon as I'll have some good replies here
  2. dragula53 macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2003
    my opinion

    you rarely see the advantage of the 5400 rpm drive.

    and then the advantage isn't enough to make it worth the heat and battery life.

    good luck with the new book.

    and I have never bought applecare, nothing I haven't been able to work through on my own.

  3. JOD8FY macrumors 6502a


    Mar 22, 2004
    United States
    I'd say get the 5400 RPM HD but don't buy your RAM from Apple. Buy it from:

    Apple RAM is made by Crucial, but has the Apple name, and is therefore more expensive. Installing it is very easy. Look in your manual when you get it, or go to:

    for any other questions you may have. This way you can save the money on the RAM and get a faster HD. I din't buy AppleCare, I'm very protective of my PowerBook so I figured I didn't need it. Besides, Apple laptops are extreemely durable. You probably won't need any more RAM than 1GB, but it depends on what you are doing with it. I didn't buy any accessories with mine, but have you looked at the iPods? They're really nice.

    Congratulations on the switch and good luck with your beautiful new machine, :)
  4. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    get the 512 MB on one stick. buy a 512 MB later for the GB. i don't think buying a 1 GB stick is worth it yet.
  5. thirteen1031 macrumors 6502a


    Mar 23, 2004
    1 year of Applecare...

    You get 1 year of Apple Care and, no matter what they tell you at the store, you have that entire year to decide if you want to get 2 more years (total of 3 years) of Apple Care. So you don't need to decide right away if you want it--you've got for that 1st year.

    I happen to think Apple Care is a good thing unless you're likely to buy a new computer every year or even every other year. I keep my computers, on average, 3-5 years, so I like to know that if anything goes wrong that I didn't cause (didn't throw the computer at a wall, didn't spill beer into it), I can call and scream "HELP!"

    And I have done so. Not a lot, truth to tell. These are pretty solid machines. But when something isn't working right I tend to get frustrated pretty fast. I'm not a patient person, and I'm not super-computer literate. I like KNOWING that I can get someone on the phone who will walk me through the troubleshooting. And if that fails, I like knowing I can take the computer in to be fixed without worrying about the cost. Take it in, pick it up. I like that.

    If you like that too, get Apple Care. If you're more into, "I can fix this myself," then don't.

    As for the rest of your questions:

    *I don't think you'll need more RAM
    *You're going to love AirPort. It pretty much sets itself up and takes care of itself no matter where you go.

    Brenthaven claims it can protect your computer in a car crash while Timbuk2's are perhaps the most popular. My recommendation: as you're going to be in Paris, you need to worry more about thieves than car crashes. Get a light bag for travel, and get one that doesn't announce you've got a laptop in it.

    Enjoy your new computer, you're going to love it.
  6. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I would not worry about marks on the screen from the keyboard on the new Al Powerbooks, this used to be a problem with the prior generation. Apple have increased the gap when the lid is shut so the Keyboard stays away from the screen.

    I think the Brenthaven is an excellent bag for the powerbook, it is a bigger bag if you have lots of stuff to carry around, and has a removable slip case.

    IMO Memory over 1 GB is overkill unless you have some really big Photoshop files or money to burn.
  7. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Apr 13, 2004
    New York
    1 stick of 512 is sufficent. Don't bother with the upgraded hd, it's not worth it, you'll only lose more battery life with it running. Everything is good. Plus you don't have to make the decision about apple care for a year so you could hold off on that for a while.
  8. yoda13 macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2003
    Just wanted to throw my two cents in on the AppleCare issue. I will always buy AppleCare as it has saved me countless dollars and paid for itself on all of the laptops I have owned in the past. Haven't needed it yet on this 12" Powerbook *knocks on wood*, but I have it nonetheless. I highly recommend it. But you don't have to buy it right away, just be sure you do before the year is up. Enjoy your new purchase.
  9. Twisted T macrumors member

    Apr 19, 2004
    For the RAM and HD issues, it depends on what you are going to be using your machine for. If you are using your PB for audio production (as I do) you will need the fastest HD and as much RAM as possible. If you want to stream multiple audio samples from your HD, the 4200rpm drive just wont cut it. Ideally you would want to invest in an external 7200rpm+ drive. In additon, software plugin instruments require lots of RAM, so 2GB would be your ultimate goal.

    I have ordered the 15" | 1.5GHz | 128Mb VRAM | 5400 HD | with 1GB of RAM in one slot so I can upgrade later.

    Also using you machine for video editing with Final Cut Pro also requires faster HD's and lots of RAM for optimum performance.

    If you are just going to be surfing the net and using some less RAM hungry programs, you should be fine with just 512Mb of RAM, although I say 'you can never have enough RAM whatever your doing'!

    Twisted T
  10. cyks macrumors 68020


    Jul 24, 2002
    Westchester County, NY
    While there may not be a huge difference in the hard drives- there is a difference....and considering it's only $50, you may as well.
    I got it for my new 12"Pb... but then, for me it was also 20G larger.
  11. JonGraves macrumors member

    Jun 9, 2003
    Seattle WA, USA
    Hi David and Welcome!

    5400 vs 4200rpm: I half remember a study where they showed that a 5400rpm drive did not use significantly more power than a 4200 rpm drive. It spins faster but for a shorter time to retreive the same amount of data. Sounds plausible to me. Like cyks, I BTO'ed my 12" for speed/size and get battery life as good or better than Apple states for the 4200rpm 12" PB.

    Memory: Apple RAM is made by Samsung. Other World Computing sells Samsung RAM modules that are identical to Apple OEM. 512MB=$118, 1GB=$360. I got a 1GB module for my single empty slot because I hate the idea of throwing RAM out. Crucial's price on the 1GB just went through the roof!

    Hold off on the Applecare if you are unsure now. Like an extended warranty on a car you can buy it at any time during the basic warranty period (when the laptop is paid off!).

    Don't drop the internal modem - you never know when you might need it!

    Enjoy your new Mac when you get it and please post more about your switching experience!

  12. justin216 macrumors 6502


    Mar 31, 2004
    Tampa, FL
    The hard drive topic is a surprising one. Under normal uses, even a 7200 RPM drive is GENERALLY less consumptive. This is evident in the new IBM 7200s going in people's iBooks and PBs. They also tend to not produce as much heat, although this is still a general ideal.
  13. justin216 macrumors 6502


    Mar 31, 2004
    Tampa, FL
    Also, do get Applecare. Murphy's Law applies everywhere. If something can go wrong, it probably will. It's insurance, basically.
  14. abc123 macrumors 6502

    Apr 26, 2004
    australian education purchases get the warranty extended to three years, i'm not sure if this is the same in the US but if it is and you are making an educational purchase, applecare is a bit pointless.
  15. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2003
    with my powerbook purchase, i am going to upgrade the warrenty when the included warrenty is completed.
  16. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    applecare is not an insurance. it's a warranty. it will NOT cover accidents - if the damage is your fault, then you are out of luck.

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