iMacG5 -vs- PowerBookG4 & extra display

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Erimidia, Jun 8, 2005.

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  1. Erimidia macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    So I'm going to switch to Mac. I've worked on various machines designing brochures/posters/websites for my university and the more and more I use them the more and more I love them and OSeXy.

    Here's my dilemma. Not much money, and I need:

    - Something with enough punch to work with lots of large image files (Photoshop et al.)
    - Something with a BIG display to have mulitple documents/images open (I do coding too)
    - Something quiet that runs cool as my current laptop sounds like a jet engine

    Basically it comes down to this:

    How much better is the G5 2Ghz in the 20" iMac compared to the G4 1.5Ghz in the 12" Powerbook? Would running intensive programs on the PB with dual monitors cause performance issues or make the machine run hot? Is the display in the PB anywhere near as nice as the display for the iMac?

    Any knowledge or opinions would be wonderful to hear.
    Hopefully I'll be joining the Mac world soon and it's great community!
  2. mad jew Moderator emeritus

    mad jew

    Apr 3, 2004
    Adelaide, Australia
    The PowerBook should be fine for that sort of stuff but I wouldn't ever try using its puny 12 inch display. You'll have to get a second one and if you're looking at Apple, I'd recommend getting the iMac and an iBook instead because otherwise the PowerBook + ACD will cost way too much.

    The PowerBooks are very quiet, the iMacs are generally (save for a few select examples) almost as quiet.

    Just remember to get plenty of RAM. :)
  3. JasonL macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2004
    Ware, MA
    If portability is important get the PB with an external display That's what I have done with my PB, though I recently ordered a dedicated desktop system. It's a good solution if you need portability and can only afford one system.

    However, if it isn't, or if you only need to move your computer around once in a while, the iMac would be a great idea. The price/performance ratio is strongly in its favor, and you wouldn't need to spend extra money on a suitable display for photo editing

    The PB could handle what you would be asking of it, though. I have done that stuff on my (less powerful) PB. Of course, I've added some RAM, too. Yes, my PB gets pretty hot in my lap (not that I put it there very often) after doing serious work for a while. I can't say that it has really caused any harm, though, and my PB is used for hours on end on a daily basis.

    The iMac screens are nicer, to answer that question.

    I'd recommend going down to a store and playing around with them both, too.

    I'm sure you'll be happy either way. :cool:
  4. Manzana macrumors 6502a


    Jul 19, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    you will probably want more ram than 512, which sux because these 2 model come with 2 slots with 2x256, this means that you'll have to ebay 1 of these. also you can try and see if 512 is enough for you. i know a guy who does a lot of photoshop/illustrator work and he uses a g3 ibook.

    both models can aptly handle the work you need. now are you thinking about the 17 or 20 inch imac? that's a large $ difference. if you used your 12 inch + a generic flat 17 or 19 lcd that would give you all kinds of room, and portability that you're used to.

    my pb is very quiet, only when i process video do the fans hum, and they're still quiet.
  5. CanadaRAM macrumors G5


    Oct 11, 2004
    On the Left Coast - Victoria BC Canada
    The iMac G5's come configures 1 x 512, Check the Apple Store...
    The Powerbook 12" has 256 soldered on the motherboard and one socket, so it comes 256 nonremoveable + 1 x 256

  6. AliensAreFuzzy macrumors 68000


    May 30, 2004
    Madison, WI
    If you do go with the Powerbook + extra display, I'd probably go for one of those Dell 20" widescreens when they're on sale for sub-$400
  7. Manzana macrumors 6502a


    Jul 19, 2004
    Orange County, CA
    Thank bad!

  8. Erimidia thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 8, 2005
    St. Louis, MO
    Thanks for the replies so far, especially that info about memory. I wasn't aware the PBs had a non-removable 256.

    I was probably going to get a cheaper, yet still decent, 3rd party display if I went with the PB as the ACDs are great but pricey for a college student.

    I'm also heading down to my local Apple retailer tomorrow to check things out. :D

    Right now, I'm leaning more towards the iMac.
  9. Apple!Freak macrumors 6502a


    Jan 11, 2005
    East Coast
    iMac Hands Down!

    I have both, thus I can give you an educated opinion on your dilemma.

    I would have to say to go with the iMac hands down! The iMac G5 20" is an incredible machine. I only purchased the PB because I was starting to move around a bit more and needed a machine to go with me.

    The iMac was really worth every penny for me. Incredible screen, great speed, fast processing. It's the complete package. Get the iMac and then when you've got some more cash later down the line, go for the Powerbook.
  10. ctsport1234 macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2005
    I was in the same situation recently and I decided on getting a 12'' PB +768 ram and a 20'' ACD. It was a really hard decision because I think the 20'' iMac is such a great value. But I decided I would have to do without one for now in favor of portablity. (Iam in the library almost everyday)

    What I also took into consideration was that the ACD could be used with any system and it would be easier to sell when I decide to upgrade.
  11. DJC17 macrumors member

    Jun 3, 2005
    Brighton, England
    How about getting the 20" iMac (or compromising and getting the 17" iMac), and then sell your wintel notebook.

    If you find you need a mobile computer a little further down the line, get yourself an iBook when they get updated.

    Thats exactly what I plan to do!
  12. Bishop macrumors newbie

    Jan 29, 2005
    Since it was upgraded in January, I was planning to get the 15" 1.67GHz PowerBook right after Tiger's release.

    But during the wait I kept reading about how disappointed a handful of users were at the performance of this high-end machine. Considering I would be spending about $2500 on the BTO model I was planning to get, I didn't want to gamble on being part of that group of disgruntled users.

    So instead of getting a Mac that was capable AND portable, I decided to get a capable Mac AND a portable Mac. For the capable Mac, I decided on the 20" iMac. For $700 less than the BTO PB I planned to get, I now get a G5, a much larger hard drive (and at 7200 RPM), plus a impressively faster frontside bus.

    And for a portable Mac, I'll probably go with the 12" iBook. Of course, I'm waiting until it receives its supposed long-overdue update, which is probably enough time for me to scrape up the additional cash I'll need to go with the $700 I saved with the iMac. (And since I get a $150 rebate on the iMac through Amazon, that iBook is practically paid for!)

    It's great to see someone else see the beauty of this iMac/iBook combination...
  13. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000


    Jan 23, 2004
    Livermore, Terre d'Ange, Bas Lag, Gallifrey
    If portability isn't much of an issue, I'd go with an iMac: either the 17" or 20" 2GHz model. I'm buying one in the middle of the month (next paycheck) and plan to configure it with the 400GB HDD, mainly so it will last a while before I have to tear it open and install something bigger. Plus, right now they're very nicely configured with AEX, BT, and a bunch of other stuff standard that was BTO on the previous revision.

    Also, regarding RAM, Apple RAM as you're probably aware is really expensive. I'm ordering mine with the stock 512MB, which will allow me to buy a 1GB stick from Crucial and stick it in the other slot.

    Have fun though, and don't feel afraid to sell your Windows machine - once you Mac, you'll never go back. :D
  14. FoxyKaye macrumors 68000


    Jan 23, 2004
    Livermore, Terre d'Ange, Bas Lag, Gallifrey
    Beautiful, but pricey for me -- though the Mac I buy after the iMac will be a portable, probably an Intel Rev. B iBook 14" or an Intel Rev. B 12" PowerBook.
  15. Case macrumors newbie

    Oct 13, 2004
    PB + Dell!

    I have this setup and it works great. The Dell has an amazing display and I really enjoy the portability. I've got the 1.33 12 inch. Get plenty of ram... All things being equal though, if you don't need portability, go with the Imac.

  16. deryk macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2003

    That's a great suggestion! I was planning on purchasing a 15" Powerbook G4 and the 20" apple display because I am starting to do a lot of travel. I wasn't thrilled about purchasing a G4 (even before this years WWDC), nor did I really want a laptop as my home computer. With the options that I was going to get on the Powerbook, I can purchase the 20" iMac and a 12" iBook with the options I want for $200 less.

    I'm glad I read this post before I made my purchase today.
  17. SurfAddict macrumors member


    Feb 7, 2005
    Or you can do what I did and use the student discount and get the 17" which has the power of a fully loaded BTO 15" except its what 100 dollars cheaper than what your saying. Thats what I did with mine 2400 before tax and 26 after.. O and by the way people who say its not portable are nuts not like a 12 but before this I used Wintel lappy's and those things were like bricks this thing is big and its still superlight and thin. O and its always turning peoples heads if you dont mind the attention. The goto for however much ram you desire. I have the stock 512 chip that came in the occupied slot if there are any takers its had about all of 15 mins of action since I had the 2 1 gig boxes by the time it got there
  18. ozone macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    So, you think the 17" PB is 'portable enough'? Even if you're traveling to and from work <--> home everyday? (I only do occasional plane/train travel.)
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