I have to buy a laptop next week : PowerBook or Centrino

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Athos, Jan 22, 2005.

  1. Athos macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2003
    I'm in charge of a small IT development team : 2 analysts (myself included) and 2 interns. We develop web application using an Oracle (for now) DB.

    This week, my boss gave me the go ahead to upgrade our workstations and buy 2 laptops.

    I'm currently using my trusted G3 iBook 800MHz (my first mac!), for light PERL, PL/SQL and Java development, mail, office X and Safari/IE/Firefox testing. My main "workstation" is a AthlonXP 2400+ running WinXP and SuSE in dual-boot.

    My colleague is currently using a P4 2GHz running WinXP and SuSE in dual-boot, an old G3 B&W for testing and no laptop.

    We've already chosen our new workstation (Sun Java Workstation Opteron 1.8GHz running linux). Our "old" PC will now be use for Windows testing.

    We've chosen a Dell Latitude D600 PentiumM 1.8GHz and a Mac Mini G4 1.25GHz for my colleague.

    For me, I was thinking about a PowerBook G4 1.33GHz 15inch with 1GB RAM (or a new 12inch G4 1.5GHz 5400rpm if they are release and in-stock tuesday) .

    BUT, I'm beginning to question my choice: the Dell is cheaper, has greater resolution and the Pentium M is faster than the G4.

    Should I buy a Dell with a Mac Mini or stick to the PowerBook G4?
  2. joshua_msu macrumors regular


    Aug 5, 2004
    chicago (formerly detroit)
    Gee, this is a Mac forum, I wonder what people will recommend?
  3. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    How much heavy duty number crunching are you doing on the laptops?

    If you don't plan on doing any, then the speed of the CPU doesn't really matter -- it'll come down to which OS you feel you can be more productive with.
  4. Chaszmyr macrumors 601


    Aug 9, 2002
    Sadly, a shocking number of people on these forums recommend PCs. Personally I'm going to advise getting a PowerBook because I just can't stand using PCs anymore... But if you decide you want a PowerBook, wait until Tuesday the 25th to make sure no new ones are announced. According to available information, it seems that PowerBook updates are imminent.

    Having both a Mac and a PC is great in the short term sometimes, but eventually it almost always boils down to choosing one or the other, so buy the best you can afford of the best available (hint: that means Mac :p)
  5. sjpetry macrumors 65816


    Oct 28, 2004
    Tamarindo, Costa Rica
    PowerBook (Duh). :p
  6. crazzyeddie macrumors 68030


    Dec 7, 2002
    Florida, USA
    Do you really need more CPU power and a higher resolution? Usually with text-based coding, you don't want tiny resolutions, plus you can always just decrease the size of the text you're working with if you want to fit a little more on the screen.
  7. Phatpat macrumors 6502a


    Jun 15, 2003
    Cambridge, MA
  8. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Apr 13, 2004
    New York
    If you really need something fast i would say go for the PC. But i hate pc's and would go with a mac just for that reason.
  9. DVW86 macrumors member

    Jan 1, 2004
    Washington State
    Strictly speaking about hardware, Centrino wireless is horrid. If you do get a non-Mac laptop, don't use the Centrino wireless. We have had nothing but trouble with it in Dells, Acers, and Panasonic Toughbooks. The Airport equipped Macs and Windows machines with PCI wireless cards get a much stronger and more reliable connection.
  10. Athos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2003
    I know that it's a mac forum, but I'm sure that all people in here aren't close minded like most pc forums.

    I'm relatively new to the mac community, but I can see that the G4 is an old processor that need a major upgrade to compete with the Pentium-M: FSB and clockspeed need to go up. Will the current G4 be able to use the functionality of 10.5 and 10.6? For a 3000$CAD laptop, I wan't it to be usefull for at least 3-5 years. I know that a P-M will be able to run WinXP/Longhorn (we have 4-5 year-old P3 and AMD running WinXP smoothly) and Linux for the next 5 years.

    I love OS X but WinXP isn't has bad as some mac fanatics think it is and Linux usability is slowly but surely getting better.

    If I decide to buy a powerbook, I will hold until tuesday. If Apple release a pb 15inch G4 1.5GHz with a 200MHz FSB, 512MB RAM 1DIMM (so I can had another 512MB stick to get to 1024MB for cheap), 5400rpm HDD and a Superdrive standard for under 2500$CAD (edu) and I can get it in less than 2 weeks, I will be all over it. (I don't think that the G5 is ready for laptop use yet, but if Apple want to surprise me :D)

    We develop using Oracle jDeveloper: an application made in java that need a lot of memory and CPU to run smoothly. I also want to use this laptop as a development platform with Apache, Perl and an Oracle DB. Plus a little Photoshop. Eventually, we want to replace Oracle with a open-source DB like PostgreSQL, so the laptop need to be able to run it too.
  11. edesignuk Moderator emeritus


    Mar 25, 2002
    London, England
    How do you figure that? We've just roled out hundreds of D600's at work, they have a screen res of 1024x768. The 15" PB is 1280x854, and the 12" is 1024x768 :confused:
  12. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    Man, I wish my boss had given me that choice. Instead our IT dept (an IBM-only shop) gave me a Thinkpad, which I would say is one of the few laptops out there that can compete on quality with the PowerBook (and actually costs more) - Dells don't match up as far as I'm concerned, but the D600 is at least semi-decent.

    So my first thought would be to go for the PowerBook, but I see your choice is between a Mac mini + Dell or a PowerBook, which makes it harder. However, if you're getting your colleague a Dell + Mac Mini, there's no need to duplicate things, so why not indulge yourself with the PowerBook?
  13. paxtonandrew macrumors 6502

    May 10, 2004
    I Come From A Land Down Under
    I struggle with a Dull D600 every day for work purposes. The quality is bad, and it is noisy, keeping family members awake. The computer has spent much of its life back at Dull, having bits and pieces fixed, and even almost getting a replacement unit, because my current one crapped out badly. I would recommend looking at IBM for a perspective, compared with the PowerBooks, and see which computers you are more comfortable with, and just go with that. Both the PowerBooks and ThinkPads are very capable laptops, with the ThinkPads being crippled with Windows.
  14. BakedBeans macrumors 68040


    May 6, 2004
    What's Your Favorite Posish
    i was thinking that same thing

    i found the res on the powerbook PERFECT, seriously pefect

    as for the choice between the powerbook and a dell, well
    i have just started using my pc as my only computer (waiting untill new powermac comes out) and it has made my life worse, its a dreadful os, the hardware sucks ass and when i get my new mac im throwing in the bin (giving it to my dad to suffer) i have things flashing up every two minutes, my eyes are burning from the crt monitor im using - my head is hurting from the noise of the fan, it is riddled with spyware so everyone can see what porn im looking at it feels so insecure and unsmooth.

    the dell is a hunk and the powerbook is a beautifully designed peice of technoogy - thin, light better batt than the dell - none of the software problems

    i say goooo dell :rolleyes: ;)

    i would have no problem buying longhorn if it was better than mac ox 10.5/6 when it comes out - but we all know it wont be - the viruses and spyware are enough to keepme away from it, thats without the inefficient layout and plain crapness
  15. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
  16. Athos thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2003
    You can order the D600 with 1400x1050 screen now.

    Don't get me wrong, I personally want a PowerBook. I know what it is to have to run an antivirus 24/7 and check for spyware regularly. I've use an old Toshiba Satelite P3 1GHz for the last 2 weeks at works and I had to ask the security expert to deactivate the automatic scanning because launching jDeveloper went from 20s to 3min with the new version of McAfee.

    But, let face it, on a WORK computer, they're no excuse to get a spyware, if you stay on the "good" side of the web ;). Beside, I stop using IE for more than a year except for testing purpose (and the system we develop don't push spyware: we have a little thing name ethics).

    Looks like I don't want to give Apple hardware a bad name: the linux guys here are already having a feast with Windows and are trying to force everyone to move to linux except for the graphic department. I want to show them that Mac OS X can replace Windows without too much trouble for the users (that's why I'm planning to buy a Mini: show them that this little guy could replace every beige box for almost the same price as a P4+Linux solution). The secretaries could still use Word, Excel, Eudora, FileMaker on a Mini. The researchers could still use Excel, PowerPoint and all science open-source software running on linux they could need on a G5 for the same price as an Opteron workstation.

    But, if I go to my boss in 2 years asking for a new laptop because the G4 isn't enough anymore... you know what will happen: no more "cute" Apple outside of the graphics department. The Linux guys would win. I'm the only advocate for MacOS X that can opose them (I've already beaten the Windows guys last year with my little iBook, but that's another story).
  17. panda macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2004
    no brainer

    powerbook for sure.

    basically its quality vs ?

    this obsession with possible speed differences is baffling to me. what counts is the total package that apple offers:

    design and portability
    ease of use
    integrated software that fits the hardware
    continual updates to software

    no brainer :)
  18. mduser63 macrumors 68040


    Nov 9, 2004
    Salt Lake City, UT
    I recommend the Powerbook. In my experience, Dell doesn't make very high quality machines. I also use Windows almost daily (I only got a Mac 6 months or so ago), and I really do think that it is as bad as many Mac users make it out to be. I got sick of dealing with Windows problems (not spyware/viruses, I'm talking about other stuff), and that's what drove me to look into the Mac. If you decide to go with a PC after all, look at getting an IBM Thinkpad, although it will probably be about the same price or more than a Powerbook.
  19. budugu macrumors 6502

    Sep 8, 2004
    Boston, MA
    May be DELL 700m. It looks pretty decent for a dell! More over 12"WXGA (cheap)... may be sony T/s series with (13.1" WXGA) on the higher end ... I am not sure they have they NEW centrinos though!
  20. Dave the Great macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2004
    Well, does it have to be a dell?

    I mean, well, if you are going to spend $2624 on the PB (1.33 1GB 80GB5400 @ Apple Store).

    Why not get this:
    Gateway AMD64bit Mobile 15.4" UltraBright 1 GB 1600Mhz bus HyperTransport MultiFormat with Dual Layer DVD burner 6 in 1 digital media reader for $1249

    and this:

    iBook g4 1.2 @ Amazon $899 ($100 mail-in rebate)

    and then this:

    Mac Mini $450 @ Target (10% discount)

    and also use the extra $20-$30 leftover to bring the guys in your department out for a couple of beers

    for the price of the PB?

    Boy, tough call.
  21. MP2 macrumors member

    Jan 15, 2005
    I don't really see the point of buying 1.2 GHz iBook and a 1.25 GHz desktop.... seems kind of pointless to me. I'd rather just get a 1.2 GHz 12" iBook with upgraded hard drive, RAM, and bluetooth. Or get a stock 17" G5 iMac if you don't need portability.
  22. Dave the Great macrumors regular

    Jan 27, 2004
    I know, but I was just trying to show how many different things you could buy in place of the PB and he had mentioned that if he bought the dell, he would buy a Mac Mini, too. I guess I should have said iPod or your suggestion, upgrades to the iBook instead.
  23. efoto macrumors 68030

    Nov 16, 2004
    Cloud 9 (-6)
    I ordered a laptop from Dell not that long ago, prior to this current term at university. I was quite excited as it was going to be my first laptop that I personally owned. Upon arrival, I was pleased with the look of everything but after booting it up for the first time and surfing the web in bed for the first time (second night after battery hooplah) I was quite displeased.

    I downloaded Firefox instantly, ride myself of all the reg. WinCrap that slows stuff down, and still the computer would 'lag' with a single Firefox window open (4 tabs) and Solitare (best thing Windows ever provided).

    Either way, to top all of this, the build quality was alright however less than I would have expected for 1400+ (usd). Needless to say, I returned it and am awaiting PB updates to get one of those.

    If you must go PC check out IBM. Cost is very close to PB and the quality is second to none (use these at work, must admit they are nice).
  24. BakedBeans macrumors 68040


    May 6, 2004
    What's Your Favorite Posish
    dont you guys get humour???

    of course you dont :rolleyes:
    the thing is your "ethics" dont matter, i have spyware from all kinds of site,

    best thing to do is just get you windows machine, three weeks later come back and tell us how right we were
  25. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    iDirect your attention to my sig...........

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