If I connect an external display to a 12" G4 PB, will it be limited to 1024x768 ?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by numb, Jun 3, 2004.

  1. numb macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    I"m thinking of switching from a PC. If I connect an external display to a 12" G4 PB, will it be limited to 1024x768? Also, does apple make a docking station (or port replicator) for the powerbooks, or some easy way to connect an external monitor and keyboard?
  2. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    You can run your powerbook up to 2048 by 1536 resolution on an external monitor.

    Apple doesn't make a docking station, but this company does:

    Although, I have to say... I've been using my 15" powerbook with an Apple Cinema Display, and it's so fast to hook the few cables up, I haven't thought about buying a docking station.

    Lee Tom
  3. numb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    thank you.

    Could someone point me to a comparison between the 12" and 15" powerbooks? besides the obvious screen size, what else is different? for example, what is the difference between a mini-DVI port and a DVI port?
  4. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    Briefly, the differences between the 12" PB and the 15" PB are:

    - CPU: 15" available with faster 1.5GHz G4; 12" only available at 1.33GHz (note that CPU FSB and RAM speed are now identical between 12", 15" and 17" models. Prior to Rev. C, the 12" used a slower 133MHz FSB and slower DDR266 RAM).
    - Video: 15" equipped with the superior 64MB or 128MB ATI Radeon 9700 Mobility GPU; 12" has 64MB nVidia GeForceFX 5200 Go, a much slower graphics chip (although really only of concern if you are into 3D gaming or running OpenGL apps).
    - FireWire: 15" has both FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 ports; 12" has only FireWire 400
    - Ethernet: Gigabit ethernet standard on 15"; gigabit ethernet not available on 12" (only 10/100 ethernet on 12").
    - Expansion: 15" has a single PCMCIA/PC Card slot; 12" has no slot.
    - RAM expansion: 15" has two user-accessible RAM slots; 12" has only a single user accessible RAM slot, with 256MB being permanently soldered onto the motherboard
    - Video I/O: 15" has full-sized DVI and S-Video out ports; 12" has only a mini DVI port.
    - Keyboard backlighting: Available on 15"; not available on 12"

    I think that's just about it, apart from the obvious one of the 15" being physically larger, heavier, and having a higher resolution LCD panel. Basically the tradeoff the 12" PowerBook makes for being so portable is sacrificing a some future expandability.

    The mini DVI port on the 12" PowerBook is an Apple-specific connector, which is used instead of a full-sized DVI connector because of space restrictions. Apple supplies as standard in the 12" PowerBook box two adapters which plug into the mini-DVI port: a mini-DVI to VGA adapter, and a mini-DVI to DVI adapter, meaning that you can connect up your 12" PowerBook to either a VGA or DVI screen without needing to purchase anything extra. If you want to connect your 12" PB to a television set or a VCR, you will need to purchase the optional mini-DVI to video out adapter, which contains both composite-RF and S-Video outputs. This adapter is quite cheap from Apple (I paid $35 Australian), and works very well.
  5. legion macrumors 6502a

    Jul 31, 2003
    You need an adapter to hook a mini-DVI to DVI but a regular DVI (as found on the 15 and 17) can just be hooked directly. mini DVI just means one more thing to hang on to, one more thing to loose, and one more thing Apple could charge to replace.

    As for the 3rd party dock... it defeats a major purpose of docks which is to increase the lifespan of the cable connectors. Now, instead of just hooking to the ports you use, you are abusing all the ports. Docks, in the PC world and when the Duo existed, use a single connection point to recreate all the ports. These newer 3rd-party docks just act like hubs.
  6. tomf87 macrumors 65816


    Sep 10, 2003
    All the comparison is at:


    Even though oingoboingo gave a good description already. All the information you need should be on Apple's site.

    As for the dock, it's so trivial. When I switched from my Compaq laptop to a PB, I wanted a dock because I was used to it. Now, I just plug everything in (headphones, power, ethernet) and go to work. If you use an external Apple display, it has USB built in and the video cable carries USB over it. So all you have to do is plug your USB keyboard/mouse into the monitor and then plug the video cable into the book. I believe this won't work on the mini-DVI on the 12" though.
  7. numb thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Thanks everyone for all the good information. I know it's annoying when newbies ask questions they could have probably answered themselves with a little searching and googling. But, I'm really excited about switching now, and I just wanted to make sure there wasn't some reading between the lines I was missing by relying only on apple.com.

    Anyway, thanks a lot for all the help. I still don't know if I'll get the 12" or 15" though. All I really need is the ability to do basic computing (Office, web surfing, and the occasional DVD watching), so I'm sure the 12" would be fine for that. Especially with a 17" monitor for home use. I do lug the computer back and forth to school once or twice a day, so size is important to me. Also, that's why I asked about a dock. I have an IBM ThinkPad now with a dock, and I love it. But, I'm sure I could get over that. The aftermarket one that was posted above looked a little cumbersome.

    I guess the 12" is probably the way to go then...hmmm...I think I'll go to the apple store and play.

    Thanks again for the help.

    PS: sorry for going OT on my *own* thread! sheesh...where do these newbies come from?!?!

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