imac, powerbook, mini???

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by jbuba, Jun 7, 2005.

  1. jbuba macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2005
    i've been wanting a mac for years. now that i am out of college and working i can finally afford one. I was all set to get a powerbook, but like everyone else, i was hoping for a g5 to be released soon. now the the transition to intel has been announced i figure i should take the plunge at get one now, in order to maximize it's life-time before i'm itching to get one of the intel-macs in two years. I figure I get a new computer about every 2-3 years so the switch is no big deal. well anyway i wanted some advice on how these 3 machines would be in comparision to my current system. I am running a p4 2.0 ghz w/512mb ram. The mini seems like a good deal since it is the cheapest, but i've heard that it is slow for anything other than basic web surfing and word processing. The powerbook is steep in price but is the laptop i've always wanted. The only problem is I keep hearing people talk about it like it's an outdated POS since it's only a g4. The imac seems like the best bang for the buck, since it's a g5 and less that the powerbook. If the mini or powerbook is at least on the same level performance wise as my p4 2.0ghz i can live with that. I dont need complete blazing speed. I plan to do the basic stuff, plus some garage band, simple photoshop editing and home video making.

    long story short: 1. Will a g4 powerbook perform faster than my p4 2.0?
    2. How slow is the mini, and is the video card that bad?
    3. Does the g5 in the imac completely blow away the g4 in
    the other two to the point where it would be dumb not to
    get a g5 for less money?

    P.S. i plan on having at least 1.0gb RAM (not from apple though)
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    The G5 will blow away all the G4s. Now you just need to work out whether or not you need the benefits of a portable over a desktop. I'd recommend the G5 iMac at this stage but I'm not fully sure how badly you want a laptop because I've got both and I can really see the benefits of having a computer you can use anywhere.
  3. NICKLOS macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2005
  4. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    On some things, yes. Others no. G4 generally performs well with media and programs written to take advantage of Altivec

    The Mini is dandy for office work, and adequate for media work. If you plan on enjoying iMovie, iDVD and Garageband in a big way, go for the G5. The video card is no limitation at all for 2-D applications.

    For media applications, "Yes".

    Unless you need portability, get the iMac G5.
  5. kwajaln macrumors 6502


    Sep 18, 2004
    I waited and waited for the new iMac G5's to be released and believe me, I was not disappointed!! They are awesome and I can't think of a scenario that would lead to you regretting the purchase of a new iMac G5 2.0!!!! Buy Buy Buy!! I LOVE MINE! :D :) :D :)
  6. jbuba thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 6, 2005
    having a laptop would definitely be a plus. my problem is that i'm not sure how fast all these machines really are. i can play around with them in the stores, but that doesn't give you a realistic idea. That's why i was wondering how they stack up against my current system. i know it's hard to compare different platforms, but a general idea would help a lot. basically if the powerbook is at least as fast (hopefullly faster?) as a p4 2.0ghz i wouldn't have a problem with the fact that it's just a g4. i'd be willing to sacrifice a little speed for portability, as long as it's not significantly slower than my current system. I don't really care too much about how long things take. It's more about the slowdown when multitasking that i hate. i'm usually surfing the web, having my mailbox open, d/l files, chating on aim, all while playing around in photoshop or reason. and maybe also burning a dvd and unraring an archive. So i know i want at least 1gig of RAM. Is the 2.0 imac so much faster to the point where i'd be wishing i had that instead? for instance say i have all those programs open and my girlfriend wants to look for something on the web. she is always complaining that the computer is too slow. mostly my fault for having all that stuff going at once. but would the powerbook be an improvement on that? How much more of an improvement would the imac be (maybe so fast it seems that there is nothing else going on in the background?) i know these questions have been asked a zillion times. but ther e is always that little bit of a difference from another post that makes you want to ask about your specific situation.
  7. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    Okay, well the only place you'll really notice the difference is with Garageband and iMovie plus the lack of screen space on the PowerBook. I realise there's a 17 inch PowerBook, but for that price you may as well get an iMac and an iBook. I've got that combo and it's really pretty cool if you want a mixture of G5 speed and laptop portability. :)
  8. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2004
    The 2GHz iMac G5 is not all that much faster, if any in some cases.

    I had a 1.8GHz iMac G5 and my Powerbook has been faster in just about every single application. The main difference has been disk access speed - being a laptop, the Powerbook's hard drive is slower, but in real-world terms is just meant waiting a half-second or two for an application to load.

    Photoshop is the most intensive app I used on either mac, and it was faster on the Powerbook. I'm told that Garageband and iMovie run faster on the iMac, but I've never really used them so I can't say. Everything else I used was faster on the Powerbook.

    The memory is supposed to be much faster on the iMac G5, but I didn't really see any real-world scenarios where I noticed it (as the Powerbook has been faster)

    While many people say that they want a G5 in the Powerbook, most don't know why they want one, other than the fact that it's newer. The difference is, clock-for-clock, the G4 is a faster processor. This means that a 1.6GHz G4 would beat out a 1.6GHz G5, in 99% of tests for example.

    So while I've not used a 2GHz iMac, I'd say it'll be about the same speed as a 1.67GHz Powerbook, maybe a little faster in some sitations, maybe a little slower in others. The G5 does seem to do better in video/audio encoding from what other people have said, (it's not something I do) but in real-world performance, using either machine will be pretty much the same experience. The iMac might feel a little snappier for general tasks like using finder due to the faster hard drive, but when actually doing serious processing (photoshop etc) they're pretty much the same.

    Personally I went with a Powerbook as a replacement when I had a lot of problems with my iMac. (long story) Don't worry about it though, I was just unlucky and had a Rev.A machine, so it was just extremely bad luck.

    You can't go wrong with either system, but you're paying a premium for portability.

    The 20" iMac G5 is an amazing machine at its price - the only thing you need to do is add in either another 512mb of RAM to get 1gig (with iMacs use matching pairs rather than one bigger stick) or replace the built in memory with 2x 1GB sticks.

    The Powerbook is easily as good a machine, but it's smaller, cooler, quieter and most importantly (to me) it's portable.

    It may look to be slower on paper, but in benchmarks, and real-world performance there's really not much between them, if anything.

    You'll be happy with either system.

    As for the Mac Mini, your mileage may vary. It really depends what you're wanting to do with the Mini and what you already have. If you've already got a great LCD screen, a nice set of speakers and a good keyboard/mouse, it's a great buy. For me though, I would have to purchase everything with a Mini, and would also have to go with a maxed out one. This would cost at least as much as an iMac G5 here, which is a faster system, and has a great screen built in. The only difference is that the mini is seperate parts, and the iMac is all integrated.

    Unless you've got everything you need and can just drop a mini into your existing setup, I say go with the iMac / Powerbook.

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