iBook primarily for DVD viewing

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by gortuk, Jan 12, 2006.

  1. gortuk macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2006

    I'm a longtime PC user who's interested in dipping my feet into the Apple pond... I'm considering purchasing an iBook as a secondary computer, mostly for use when travelling. Primarily my usage of this would be for basic word processing, email, web access, and DVD viewing.

    Of these, it seems to me DVD viewing would be the most memory- and processor intensive and the only real cause for concern.

    The lowest-cost default config 12" iBook through the Apple store is this one:
    • 1.33 GHz PowerPC G4
    • 512K L2 cache @1.33GHz
    • 512MB memory (DDR333 SDRAM)
    • 12.1-inch TFT Display
    • 1024x768 resolution
    • ATI Mobility Radeon 9550
    • 32MB DDR video memory
    • 40GB Ultra ATA hard drive

    Does this have the power needed for smooth DVD viewing? If not what would need to be upgraded (RAM? Processor speed?).

    Also, I understand that DVD-drive operation can reduce useful battery life. If I were looking for maximum battery usage, would ripping DVDs to MPEG or DivX increase viewing time by a significant amount?

    Any other general comments on using an iBook for DVD viewing (is there better software than the Apple default DVD viewer?)

    Thank you
  2. thegreatunknown macrumors regular

    Jan 12, 2006
    personal opinion...

    a Mac should be used for much more than what you are asking about. If you aren't interested in what a Mac has to offer, you should buy one of the portable DVD players or if you need internet access go with a low end Dell with (*cough :eek: ) Windows for half the price... (I would recommend then putting Linux on it but what do I know)
  3. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    despite what the greatunknown is saying you'll be fine. Enjoy your iBook
  4. tag macrumors 6502a


    Apr 29, 2005
    Actually I think what gortuk want's to use the iBook for is exactly what an iBook is for in my opinion. If you want a Mac laptop that is to be used for alot more things, then you have the pro line powerbooks, though of course an iBook can certainly hold its own.

    In regards to DVD playing on the iBook, I personally don't own an iBook, but I have a powerbook with equal specs, and an iMac with slightly lower specs and both play DVDs flawlessly, even while viewing webpages and typing emails and the like.

    As for battery life, I like to copy my DVD's to my harddrive when I'm going on a trip or anything, less hassle with not having to bring the DVD's along, though be warned that does take up a good deal of space, up to 5GB+ depending on the DVD/encoding. This also allows slightly smoother playback if you have a bunch of memory hogging apps running while watching the DVD, though if you are just watching the DVD and not doing anything else, you won't really notice any difference.
    As for saving the battery power by doing this, I would think you would save at least a bit of battery power by doing this. I believe if you search the forums, it has been discussed a time or two.

    And lastly I personally love Apples DVD player. It just works, and has a great picture and sound quality, and thats what you want when watching DVDs. Though you can always try out the other alternatives, like VLC or MPlayer.
  5. crazycat macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2005
    Well the ibook seems like what you need. I would recommend you get one and slowly start using iPhoto and itunes, this way you can learn all about the mac yourself.
  6. gortuk thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 12, 2006
    Thanks for the info so far. Just to follow up:

    1) I am aware of portable DVD players and this question is NOT about them. I'm looking for a multi-purpose device, one facet of which is the ability to play DVDs.

    2) I'm also aware of the price-premium paid for a Mac. I'm investigating the iBook for several reasons. I'm curious about the platform and this seems like a nice excuse to buy a new toy. I also like the advertised battery life which seems to be better than the low-end Dells. And I'm under the impression (perhaps unfair?) that a low-end Apple will hold together better and longer than a low-end PC notebook.

    That said, if any Mac-heads want to put forward some arguments as to why an iBook is better than a Dell costing 30% less, I'm all ears. Help me convince myself that this is what I want. :)
  7. bootedbear macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2004
    Austin, TX
    My 12" G3 iBook played DVDs flawlessly. A G4 certainly will have no issues...
  8. iEdd macrumors 68000


    Aug 8, 2005
    I recommend you upgrade to a 60 or 80GB HDD, because 40 will fill up fast. Once mac os X is installed on a 40GB drive, you would be lucky to have more than 20GB left...
  9. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ

    That might be SLIGHTLY exaggerated...

    Just use handbrake to rip DVDs to lower resolution (but still perfectly viewable) sizes, which will save on both disk space and battery life. Next to the screen, I believe the optical drive is the most battery intensive of all a computer's functions.
  10. Stratification macrumors regular

    Jan 17, 2005
    Spokane, WA
    Just to give some context on battery life. We can often get through two movies on one charge with our iBook (new in the last 6 months), playing straight from the DVD drive. Playing full screen works great and it's been wonderful on trips, I say absolutely go for it.

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