iBook or PowerBook for graphic design? (and more...)

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Lavi, Jun 14, 2004.

  1. Lavi macrumors newbie

    Jun 14, 2004
    I'm a long time PC user, but I've come to discover that the world of Graphic Design (my current major) is much more geared towards Macs... so I figured that it was time to trade in my PC for my very own Mac, at the very least to familiarize myself with the system more.

    Being as this is the first actual computer I will have ever bought for myself, and as I'm still in college... I decided that I would like to start off with a portable computer, at least untill I can afford something more. But the question is, should I get a more expensive iBook or one of the less expensive PowerBooks? The main programs I plan to use it for are Photoshop and Illustrator (I'm actually planning on getting the new Adobe Creative Suite), but I'll also be using it for the internet, watching movies, and some game play.

    Also, as far as size... being as I'm going to be doing lots of graphics, would it be better to go for one of the 14/15 inches compaired to the 12 inch, or is there a way to connect the smaller version to my current monitor if I wanted to, so I could still have the easy portability with the option of more screen space if I desired?

    I'm also planning on purchasing as much extra memory as I can... but does anyone have an estimate as to what would be the minimum I would need for everything I want to do?

    I was also wondering if The Apple Store on-line is the best place to buy my Mac along with everything for it? My dad seems convinced that I can find better deals elsewhere, but then again he doesn't use Macs, and all the computers he has bought have been quite cheap and haven't lasted very long... so I don't really trust his advice as far as buying computers goes.

    And finally, I want to be able to use wireless internet, but currently I am sharing a SBC DSL connection with my sisters computer... will I still be able to share this connection and use a wireless internet, and how exactly would that work?

    I'm sorry if I asked too many questions, but any advice that I can get would be very appreciated. I'm really looking forward to getting my own computer, and I just want to make sure I will get one that I will be happy with.
  2. Godfather macrumors member

    May 11, 2004
    If I were you and had the money for it I would get a powerbook.

    I agree and I would do the same. The minimum for graphical design with Adobe CS alone is 768, I think. Of course, the more the better so I'd go for 1 gig to be sure.

    If you don't mind waiting take the Apple store, it's the best way to make a deal imho. It's indeed quite a big amount of money, but every store lets u pay alot for a new apple computer. Online takes a while, but you will get it in the end.

    Yes you wil be able. You can even make the book the access point to share the internet from. I have no clue what the SBC means, but I figure it's just a provider/ISP type. I have ADSL and I bought a linksys router and already had a 'normal' wired router (draytek) so I made the linksys router just a router only, without logging in, and everything worked. You can either plug ur sister in the linksys router or make her go wireless aswell...

    Depending on the airport card you're getting, 802.11b/g is the router you're aiming for. Although the g is faster, it's not really that usefull for the internet, but more usefull for transferring files from one computer to another. So it's really your choice, you can always plug in a UTP cable in the router to transfer files even faster. (Of course the 802.11b (11mb/s) router is cheaper since it's not that fast compared to the 802.11g which is 54mb/s.

    I highly recommend getting either books, you can't really go wrong anywhere. I do recommend if you're going to game a bit like you mentioned before to get the powerbook. I don't know why, it just feels better. Gaming requires alot more then just a 2d app.
    Anyhow, good luck with ordering your new beauty and have fun with it!
  3. netytan macrumors 6502


    May 23, 2004
    Plain and simple, get the PowerBook, it may cost you more to start with but it is much more geared towards Pro and the IBook may lack some of the power you'll be looking for with such a demanding field. Such pretty pictures take a take a lot of power to create and theres nothing worse than waiting for Photoshop!

  4. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    If you can afford it, definitely get a Powerbook. And don't forget that you should be able to get EDU pricing too.

    However, it's probably worth keeping in mind that the current iBooks sport the same features as the previous revision of Powerbooks, so they're no slouches either. Importantly, the L2 caches on both Powerbooks and iBooks are now both at 512k, which is something that will definitely speed up graphic apps (and removes a major point of distinction between the two).

    Perhaps the most important thing for your graphic apps is RAM - so if you are on a budget such that you can get a 12" iBook and max out the RAM for what you would have paid for an off the shelf Powerbook, I'd definitely recommend the iBook.

    As far as screen size goes, the 14" iBook will not add much, since it has the same resolution as the 12" screens - and from what you've said it doesn't seem like the 15" is an option - so definitely stick with the 12"s, they're excellent screens and you can definitely do graphic design more than well on them, and a whole lot more - they are not a limiting factor.

    Just know that an iBook WILL serve your purposes fine - but as Netytan said, a Powerbook may do it a little faster.
  5. Belly-laughs macrumors 6502a


    Jun 8, 2003
    you wish
    The answer to your question is...

    PowerBook. Mainly bacause you can expand your desktop by adding a separate monitor (the iBook only gives you a mirror) when at a desk but also because the extra dough will give you a computer that will last you longer.

    I´ve got the 15" and i have tried the 12". The 12" is lovely, and far superior when it comes to portability, but believe me, when working in Adobe CS apps you´ll need all the screen estate you can get; it´s palette heaven (or hell, depending)!
  6. stevehaslip macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2004
    The Ocean Floor
    the more expensive ibooks are 14", but with the same resolution as the 12" so it might be easier to see but you wont gain any screen space.

    you can of course link up your ibook or powerbook to a monitor, crt or lcd.


    i dont honestly think that the screens on the powerbooks + ibooks are all that great compared to a crt monitor. For instance i have a complex line drawing in illustrator that looked great on my g5 with crt but when i look at it on my 12" powerbook the lcd has trouble displaying the lines where they should be. if you get what i mean? instead of making a smooth image the lcd screen shows part of the line sharply and part of the line faintly, it quite simply cant cope as well with fine detail as a crt monitor. text also looks far superior on a crt, the difference between fonts is astounding. for instance try highlighting an icon on the desktop, the writing changes from white with a shadow to white with a blue border. (in panther) the writing on a crt display stays the same. but on a powerbook appears to get bolder, it shouldnt but because the shadow disappears you notice it more. also the colour isnt as nice on most lcds as crts, but unless you calibrate it properly thats a minor point.

    powerbooks also have a higher quality output as well, dvi as compared to the ibooks vga.

    on to the creative suite, adobes minimum requirements are 192mb of ram but reccomended is 256mb. they also say that for every application open you should add another 256mb. in my experience you need at least 512mb or 768mb to be comfortable for large files especially if you are using illustrator.
    i know a couple of people in the same boat as you who are looking for macs on graphic design degrees and ill give you the same advice as i gave them. if i were you i would ask: is it your only mac? if so you're gonna use it alot (trust me) and are you really gonna be moving about alot? anyway a couple of my friends are looking at 15" powerbooks, a higher res than the 12", that little bit more screen estate for your palettes and a bit more oomph than the 12". if the faster 15" is a bit pricey how about the lower 15" or maybe a refurb 15"? most of my friends are liking the idea of a refurb since you save alot and could buy more ram and a monitor for the same amount.
    hope i helped (and didnt waffle on too much)
  7. Mr Poop E Pantz macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2004
    Go with a 12" powerbook and an external monitor. You will have portability but still be able to have plenty of screen space by using dual displays when you need to. That comes in real handy when working with design apps. The ibook can be hacked to use dual screens, but you are spitting 32mb as oppossed to the 64 on the powerbooks video card.

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