Intel laptops vs. powerbook G4

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by scorpsjl, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. scorpsjl macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2006

    Currently, I'm using a powerbook G4 (15'') purchased september '04, at 1.5 GHz, 1.5 GB Ram, and the standard hard drive from that time. What I'm wondering is, will any of the new laptops (macbook, macbook air, macbook pro) feel slower than my current computer? In particular, of course, the macbook and macbook air. Also, how much does buying the faster hard drive on any of the new models increase the apparent speediness of the system? And, like RAM, is it feasible (and cheaper) to upgrade your own hard drive on these machines?

    Can anyone describe, qualitatively, the difference in speed btwn the laptops available? If it helps, I'm a graduate student in math: I use my computer mostly for viewing PDF's and writing LaTeX documents (when either of these two get big, my current computer lags occasionally) as well as occasional photoshop and mathematica usage, &c.

    Thanks a lot for any responses!

  2. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
    for being a grad student, in math nonetheless, and asking if the new laptops are SLOWER than your old one is quite funny imo

    yes they are a lot faster

    and upgrading your own components will be cheaper. the mba is non user upgradeable though
  3. mrviga macrumors member

    Jan 13, 2004
    Well I currently a powerbook G4 much like the one you own but with a 17" screen. I will say that I have had the opportunity to work with many other newer machines as I was somewhat of an early adopter of the Mac within my group of friends and since then almost all of them have switched over. I will say that the Macbook is quite dissapointing. I don't know if it is only isolated machines, but the ones I have used are buggy and slow. At least in comparison to my Powerbook. I will say that there are many Intel Macbook Pro machines that I have used that feel both speedier and better in build quality. Perhaps I am just spoiled with the feel of my Powerbook, but I don't think switching to the macbook will give you the power you crave. Many will say that I am wrong based on numbers and other factors of this nature, but I am just telling you what I have witnessed.

    I do not think it was very difficult to upgrade the harddrive in my Powerbook, and it does make a bit of a difference in the speed, but mostly in boot speed and it is barely noticeable anywhere else.

    Hope that helps,

    Joe B.
  4. scorpsjl thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 13, 2006
    thanks for the responses

    @ dukebound85: Well, I can certainly conceive of a situation where a new consumer model is slower than an old pro model, which seems to be exactly what mrviga is describing.

    Can anyone else weigh in on this question of Powerbook G4 vs. Macbook (vs. Macbook Air) ? Obviously, we'll have Macbook Pro > powerbook G4, so my questions is really to do with the cheaper models. What I really really want to avoid is getting a new machine and having it feel slower than what I'm currently using (but I don't need super-power, and certainly wouldn't mind not shelling out >2G's for the Pro)

    thanks again
  5. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Dec 6, 2007
    The slowest Intel machine will be faster than the fastest PPC machine.
  6. Applespider macrumors G4


    Jan 20, 2004
    looking through rose-tinted spectacles...
    With the stock 1GB of RAM, it may feel slightly sluggish but upgrade that and it will should feel faster.

    The only difference I've noticed between the Intel books and my old Powerbook, is that they seem to take a little longer to go to and wake up from sleep.
  7. themadchemist macrumors 68030


    Jan 31, 2003
    Chi Town
    I think this is a stretch. A 2.5 GHz G5 processor is by all means faster than a 1.5 GHz Intel Core processor.
  8. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I had a Powerbook much like yours, and I absolutely loved it. However, after the 2nd generation Macbook (the Core 2 Duo) refurb came down in price, I sold my PB for most of what I paid for it used and got the black MB for only a few dollars more, and have never been happier. True, it doesn't have that smooth, solid aluminum feel or the extra ports of the PB, but it is much faster (although I never had a problem with the PB's speed), the screen is much brighter and nicer, it runs Windows if I need it to, and feels much cooler to the touch than the PB ever did (that thing got HOT!). I use mine mostly as a desktop with external kb/mouse/monitor and have it on a stand (Griffin Elevator) and it serves me quite well. Like you I was a little apprehensive at first that I might miss some things about the PB, but those thoughts are long gone. However, I do wish it was about a pound lighter (it just feels so heavy for its size).

    Concerning speed, anything running natively (universal binary) will be much faster, but some older software for PPC will be slower than on the PB. Specifically, Microsoft Office 2004 and Adobe products are slower on the Macbook. However, if you upgrade to the new versions they of course will be faster. As a college student you may have some older s/w that you may not want to upgrade, so take this into consideration.
  9. aross99 macrumors 68000


    Dec 17, 2006
    East Lansing, MI
    I have a PB G4 1.0, and had a PB G4 1.67. I work regularly on a MB 2.0 CD and MBP 2.33 C2D. Both the intel machines are significantly faster than the Power PC machines. Especially with graphic or video related activities.

    Try Photobooth on a Power PC machine, and then compare it to an intel machine. There is a significant difference. Even an iMac G5 has a hard time keeping up.

    I'm not saying that the PB G4 isn't a good machine, just that the lowest MB is already much faster for many tasks...
  10. gpapava macrumors member

    Jan 29, 2006
    Ive got a powerbook 1.67 15.4inch with 1.5gb ram. My girlfriend has whitre macbook 2.0Ghz c2d with 1gb ram. So ive used both machines.
    The macbook is much much faster than my pb. Even in everyday tasks, internet, youtube, mail etc. Ive even trying to "benchmark" them at simple tasks, mp3 encoding and stuff and its absolutely 3x times or more faster at some of them.
    BUT. I dont like its quality and i hate the screen. The screen of my pb is the best ive ever seen in a laptop, and ive seen lots of em, especially pcs. Ofcourse it is brighter than mine but i just dont like the colors and generally i think its low quality for a mac, better than other similar price pcs but for a mac nope. So if u can afford a macbookpro i say go for mbp.
    The quality of my pb has spoiled me and i am more demanding. :)

    p.s. The screen of the mbp is better quality than the mb right? Cause ive never worked on one and i just guess its like my pb's screen but even better. And my english sux sorry!:eek:
  11. ~~Hello~~ macrumors 6502

    Apr 27, 2007
    It would be bad if a 4 year old computer ran faster than a present day macbook!

    I mean what would be the point in forking out lots for a slower laptop?
  12. joekix macrumors 6502


    Feb 2, 2007
    earth, long beach CA to be exact
    as you can see in my signature, i own both. i just got the 12" PB recently and I haven't touched MBP since. for everyday things like email and internet, the pb is fine. i mean you can tell it's slower, but it's not that drastic. it's still funny to see the native ppc applications almost be just as fast as the intel machines. i wish they would make a 12" mbp.
  13. danny_w macrumors 601

    Mar 8, 2005
    Austin, TX
    It depends. A 4 year old PB will run Adobe CS2 (a PPC app) at least as fast or faster than a current MB/MBP. Of course if you update to CS3 that's another story...
  14. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    My brother has a MacBook (latest gen, the cheapest one, so whatever CPU that is, with 1 gig RAM) and it runs circles around my PowerBook G4 (15", 1.67GHz, 2 gigs RAM). I've used his a few times and instantly noticed the difference. My PB just feels sluggish when I do certain things and I get the spinning beachball more often than I'd like. It's still very usable for what I do though and I can live with it. But if you need the power, then without a doubt, the Intel will be faster (at least assuming the apps you'd run are universal binary). And I don't think I'll be taking my PowerBook past Leopard. I'm not sure if 10.6 would run well on it, if it will run on PPC at all.

    My PowerBook will be 3 years old in September, so upgrading then has crossed my mind, but I graduate college in May and that's really the only place I use it. We'll see.....

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