iBook 14" or 12" PB

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by NateP, Sep 20, 2005.

  1. NateP macrumors member

    Sep 20, 2005
    I know this sort of question is asked with some frequency, but I have some specific questions.

    Background: I am a graduate student in the social sciences. But I do more than write in Word. I'm also called upon to do a fair amount of statistics work, using Stata or R/S-PLUS, and the occasional computational modeling project (but this latter is fairly rare). I'm currently on a 15" Windows XP machine, I'm gonna switch, and I'm trying to make a decision between these two machines. (Long story short about the XP machine--the virus software itself seems to be the cause of my machine slowing down pretty suddenly and profoundly.)

    I know about the rumors for Apple Expo Paris, so I've been waiting a couple of extra weeks.

    I'm considering some of the following factors:
    * Is the screen real estate on the PB sufficient to do lots of reading and writing on? Has anyone written a few hundred pages on one? How'd that work out?

    * How sturdy is the casing on the PB? I've heard various things.

    * I don't knock my computer around much, but does anyone have any ideas about which is more able to take the bumps and such of life and work?

    * I know about many of the technical differences on the two machines. Even with a slight revision, it doesn't seem like they'd be that profound. Any ideas under what circumstances I would miss the PB's features?

    * 14" iBook users, how portable does your machine feel?

    * Anything else I should think about with this one?

    Style counts too, and I love the PB on this point (even if the iBook is the one in the Museum of Modern Art), but I don't think I can justify $250 extra bucks *just* for aluminum skin.

    Thanks, all.
  2. SummerBreeze macrumors 6502a


    Sep 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    I do a ton of creative writing on my 12" PB, and I've never had a problem with it. No hundred plus page papers, but I don't forsee a huge problem with that.

    The PB is very well built. The keyboard is wonderful, much better than the keyboard on my friend's iBook, which doesn't seem to be as well made.

    Both the iBook and PB do just fine, although the PB does have the problem of being able to dent a bit more easily. I have a friend that has had her iBook for a year, and another friend who's had her PB for a year, and both look very nice, despite the fact that all of us are students hauling our notebooks to class.

    You can hook a PB up to another monitor to use Photoshop, etc. As a webmistress I do this frequently, so that I can work with images and preview the page in larger screen resolutions. Any sort of pro work can be done a bit better on the PowerBook.

    Sure, I'm a bit biased because I love my new PB, but I'd definitely go with the powerbook. You probably want the computer to last you all through graduate school, and you'll have no problems using the PB for a few years.

    Good luck!
  3. 20rogersc macrumors 65816


    Jun 28, 2005
    Brighton, UK
    I don't have a problem with it at all. It fits in my bag fine, and feels like anyother time when I had books in it.

  4. mussolini macrumors newbie

    Sep 20, 2005
    what if you could afford a powermac in like,,,,,, a year? to do the big work.... still go PB?
  5. FocusAndEarnIt macrumors 601


    May 29, 2005
    I am a PROUD owner of a 14" iBook and I can answer all those for you! Everybody bashes the 14" I mean they think it's the worst out there. But, to tell you the truth... It's the best. I love mine to death. To write papers on a PB 12" might me hard because everything is much smaller. 14" is just perfect for writing papers.
    The iBook can handle much more than the PowerBook, i mean ALOT more. I think the only thing you are missing out on is A. hard drive speed and B. spanning capabilites - you can do it on an iBook with the hack.
    I use my 14" iBook in class everyday and let me tell you, it IS definitley portable. I carry it around and it's just like another book (but not as heavy) , I love it.
    I think you should get the iBook - has pretty much all the features of the PowerBook like $250 less.
    I think the iBook looks better than the PowerBook - get the iBook -- NOW!
  6. FocusAndEarnIt macrumors 601


    May 29, 2005
    uhh.. yeah. no. The iBook's keyboard are AWESOME; I like it better than the 12" PB's thats for sure. GO GET THE iBook! What are you waiting for!?

    I'm a student, and trust me, get the iBook 14".

    PLUS you get the 8x DVD+RW *standard*!
  7. paperinacup macrumors 6502

    Mar 30, 2005
  8. WillMak macrumors 6502a

    Jul 29, 2005
    Don't forget the 12 inch ibook either. I like the look of the pb's keyboard better, but for some reason I feel like I can type a lot faster with the ibook keyboard.
  9. TaKashMoney macrumors 6502

    Jul 15, 2005
    First off, let me start by saying I was in this same boat for undergrad work not a month ago and am very happy with the decision I made. Here are the things I considered.
    1. Size- portability was a huge concern for me, so I wanted the smallest laptop that was still comfortable and productive. 12" for an on-the-go backpack toting student has been a dream.
    2. Screen Size- 14" and both 12inchers have the same screen resolution. Though Ive heard 14 inch is still extremely clear. Either way you will learn to love expose.
    3. Power- While both ibooks are technically slower than the 12PB, and have half the VRAM, recent benchmarks show the 14" beating out the 12PB in several areas with its faster graphics card. iBooks also run cooler. Either way, unless your doing Hardcore vid editing, you'll be fine and wouldnt be looking for a laptop for those things anyway. Debating these specs are kind of a crapshoot but the iBooks can hold more total RAM, 1.5GB vs 12PB 1.2GB
    4. Battery Life- iBooks generally get an hour more.
    5. Enclosure- 12PB is noticeably thinner, lighter, and smaller, (dare i say sexier) than even its iBook counterpart. And doesnt scratch as easily. However, iBooks are more durable overall (powerbooks have been dented by things like a spoon falling a couple inches onto its case). A Powerbook's keyboard does feel much more solid though and neither of the models discussed currently has a light up keyboard. (like 15 and 17PBs)
    6. Options- With new update, iBooks have gained the scrolling trackpad, SMS, and BT. However they still lack ability to screen span (except with hack), and have no direct audio-in capabilities. Do you need a DVD-burner?
    7. Price- well no brainer here.

    I went with the 12iBook because I didnt need to screen span, burn dvds, and wanted to save the money (even tho I adore the look and feel of the 12PB). Either way you will be very happy. Hope this helps, Good Luck.
  10. bodeh6 macrumors 6502a


    May 18, 2005
    I love my 14" iBook. Powerful enough for daily uses and portable.
  11. IllTakeAnApple macrumors member

    Jul 13, 2005
    San Antonio, Tx
    that has to be the most un-biased opinion over these two options i have heard since ive joined a little over 3 months ago.
  12. Chrispy macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    Is it true that if you upgrade the HD on the iBook to 60GB or 80GB that the drive is 5400RPM like on the powerbook? Just curious...
  13. sw1tcher macrumors 65816


    Jan 6, 2004
    Nope. They're all 4200rpm drives, regardless of capacity. The 5400rpm drives are only available on the PBs.
  14. Eluon macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2005
    Spring, Texas
    I agree. a fine job! i like my 12inch iBook - a lil small on the eyes- but i like its portability. I don't even know it is in my backpack when I am walking around.
  15. devilot Moderator emeritus


    May 1, 2005
    I own a 12" 1.33GHz PB (well, I just gave it to my sister but had used it since last August), a 12" 1.33GHz iBook, and a 20" 2.0GHz iMac5.

    The reason why I had no qualms about 'downgrading' to the iBook? Because I had a G5 to do the more intensive work at home. So if you're pretty sure you'll end up w/ a PM, and can do w/ an iBook; why not save the money and put it toward AppleCare, RAM upgrade, protective sleeve, etc.?

    I agree w/ most of the previous posters.

    I love my PB's keyboard more than the iBook's but I use a iSkin protective keyboard cover and love how quietly I can type while in class.

    The PB does have a more sleek/ compact form factor but weight wise, I have not noticed the slight weight gain when toting my iBook in a backpack.

    I have not missed the screen spanning... I do not miss having extra ports on the side. Nor do I miss the 64MB VRAM versus the iBook's 32MB.

    I love my iBook's wi-fi reception (much better range than the PB) and I love love love love love the battery life! When I set it to 'best battery life' and turn AE/BT off, and turn down the screen brightness I can get over 6 hours of light use (dashboard's still up, using MS word, and a sudoku game)!

    :edit: Forgot to mention... My PB ran so hot, it would hurt if I touched the bottom of it w/ my hand, while my iBook runs splendidly cool! :D
  16. Naimfan Suspended


    Jan 15, 2003
    I have to agree with those who said Takash hit it on the head. I'm a previous Powerbook 15" owner, and they are very very cool machines, but if I had to do it over again I think I'd go the iBook route for portability. (I've replaced the 15" PB with a new 20" iMac.)

    I think that, given the relatively small performance advantages of a Powerbook over an iBook, the iBook makes a lot more sense for what you are going to be using it for.


  17. jamie329 macrumors member

    Jun 18, 2005
    It is not hard at all to write papers on a 12" PB. Unless you're over 50 and your eyes are starting to go, it won't be a problem. As well, since everying looks smaller, everything will also look much crisper. Personally, I like a nice crisp looking display. The 14" iBook doesn't even come close to the 12" on that front. I think having spanning capability without a hack is very important. What if by some chance your video hardware did fail ? Even if it wasn't the hack that caused it, Apple could still lay the blame on you and then it would cost you ALOT of money to fix it. As far as portability goes, I just started University this year, and I would never even attempt to use something bigger than a 12" in class. The little writing board things are far too small. My 12" just barely fits on it as it is. I guess if you wanted to, you could put in in your lap, however that will make you computer heat up faster then anything, and if you're a guy, I'm pretty sure a I read a study about putting laptops on your lap decreases your 'fertility' :( . If you plan on spending alot of time typing, you will definitely appreciate the keyboard on the PB. It is much sturdier. And if you do a search of these forums, you will find that to be the consensus. And the part about the iBooks looking better... Come on now. We all know thats not true. A search of the forums will tell you that as well. If you have the extra cash, I would say go for the 12" PB you won't regret it, but if you're a little short then I would recommend the 12" iBook. It is also a very good computer, and much more portable than the 14". I know this because I have used both very frequently as my girlfriend owns one.
  18. wPod macrumors 68000


    Aug 19, 2003
    Denver, CO
    glad you love your 14" iBook, but i would like to point out that the resolution is the EXACT same on the 12" PB as the 14" iBook. so that means you can fit exactly the same amount of anything on the screen. it would be like putting a magnifing glass on your screen. it just makes everything slightly larger.
    so. . . if you have bad eye sight or always feel like you are 'straining' to see the screen on any laptop youve used, then go for the 14" iBook, there will be less eye strain for you. but, if you like portablity then go for the 12" pb nothing can challange the portability of the 12" pb!
  19. newmaccanada macrumors member

    Jul 19, 2005
    I am not over 50 -- but getting close and I have bad eyes. I have a 14 in ibook. I am a professor. Here's an unbiassed assessment.

    I love this ibook. I've had it for a month, uped the ram by adding a 1 g chip. This machine is now much faster than my desktop pc (2.8GHz with HT). It is perfect for my needs and I do seem to need the screen real estate as I am not a 20 something 20/20.

    But this said, I was playing around with a student's new 12 in PB yesterday and it was so great. I probably would have bought a 12 in pb and used a LCD with it if I had had the choice. My faculty bought the ibook for me and the pb was not an option.

    So here is my bottom line -- I love my 14 in ibook but I have pb envy.
  20. Norouzi macrumors 6502

    Aug 6, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA
    I'm gonna throw in my 2 cents for the 14" iBook, I LOVE mine. I actually just got it about 2 weeks ago mainly for my wife to use. We decided to go with the 14" because as others have said the resolution is the same as the 12", but things are bigger on the 14". Neither of us has poor eyesight, but since she is mainly using that and does not have an external monitor she prefers the bigger screen. I also wanted the Superdrive standard and the faster processor (I know it's not much, but I wanted every extra bit of speed.)
    Now if Portability is your biggest concern then definatily go for either a 12" iBook or PB because even though I find the 14" portable enough for our needs it is more to carry around then the 12".
    Overall though I think the 14" is a great laptop and sometimes get's a bad rap.

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