Is powerbook worth price or should I get an iBook?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Chrispy, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. Chrispy macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    I am looking to get a new mac and I need it NOW. After reading different threads, I am seeing a lot of praise on the new 12" iBooks. I don't do anything pro level or anything like that. Just basic school stuff and what not. I need to buy the computer now and I need it by the end of the week so whatever I order will be shipped overnight. Can you guys give me your opinions on this. My girlfriend has a 12" powerbook and the screen does not impress me very much. For those who have a new 12" iBook, what do you think of the screen? Thank all!
  2. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    I recommend searching for past threads on this topic. This particular comparison has been covered in-depth on numerous occasions. The results can be summed up as follows:

    - iBooks are less expensive
    - PowerBooks are slightly more powerful and have a few extra features, but cost more
    - If you don't need the extra features, iBooks are a better deal

    Some people will argue about quality differences between the lines, but in my experience these are highly subjective matters of opinion dependent on one's personal experience. Any new PowerBook or iBook you buy should work fine, and if not that's what the warranty is for. Each line has had its fair share of quality control issues in the past, but really you shouldn't let this sway your decision.

    However, I have a note of caution. I don't know if by "now" you meant "right this moment" or something more like "this month." If the latter, it will pay to wait a week or so for MWSF and the price drops on the current PBs I am pretty sure are coming, or in some cases are already here. My college bookstore, for example, has already dropped the prices on their current new PBs to starting at $1110 for the 12" 1.33GHz w/ Combo drive, with similar drops throughout the PB lineup. In such a situation, a PB is clearly the better deal. Still, while closeout prices are nice, shortly you may be comparing a new revision of PowerBooks at the old ones' prices. So if you can wait, we're so close to an update that I think that might be a good idea.
  3. slooksterPSV macrumors 68040


    Apr 17, 2004
    you can get an iBook on for 799 - oops they sold it already, check back often they have good deals - because of the refurb/recondition/etc. section. Go with the iBook, its screen is crisp and clear. If you have a CompUSA nearby go and see their iBooks and Powerbooks. I think you'll want the iBook. If you don't like the 12" screen, fork out the extra $300 and get the 14" screen. Thats all I can say.

    If you don't need a brand new one, you can get one for like $429 - G3, 500MHz, 128MB RAM - from

    Oh I'm not saying the iBook screens are better, I'm just saying they're crisp and clear just like the PB screens and that.
  4. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    Some PowerBook fans think the PB screens are better, some iBook partisans claim the screens are the same. I think they're the same, at least in the 12", but that's my opinion. Some claim to know for sure that it's the same part, and I'll trust them for now. But I don't think anyone actually argues that the iBooks use nicer screens. And the 14" is bigger, but not its max. resolution.
  5. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    McGarry is right, the topic of iBook vs PowerBook has been covered many times before. Try this recent thread for a few hours of reading. It covers just about everything you need to know (and we probably don't need to go through it again):

    Very briefly, comparing 12" iBook to 12" PowerBook, the differences are:

    - Slightly faster CPU and bus speed in the PowerBook (1.33GHz vs 1.2GHz CPU speeds, 167MHz vs 133MHz bus speeds).
    - Larger video RAM in the PowerBook (64MB vs 32MB).
    - nVidia FX5200 Go GPU in the PowerBook instead of a Radeon 9200 Mobility in the iBook (the nVidia FX 5200 is supported by CoreImage, but in reality neither GPU is particularly impressive for 3D/gaming work).
    - DVI video output in PowerBook instead of VGA in iBook.
    - Built-in display spanning in PowerBook instead of display mirroring only in iBook (but this can easily be added to iBook by an unsupported firmware modification).
    - Audio-in jack on PowerBook, no audio-in jack on iBook (but cheaply solved by a USB line-in adapter).
    - Superdrive option available on PowerBook, Combo drive only available on 12" iBook.
    - PowerBook marginally smaller and lighter than iBook.
    - iBook case materials reportedly more robust and damage-proof than PowerBook case materials.
    - iBook battery life reportedly better than PowerBook battery life.
    - iBook and PowerBook aesthetic appearances obviously different and will appeal differently to different users.

    Of course, the biggest difference is the price, which falls heavily in favour of the iBook. If you don't need some or all of the features the 12" PowerBook adds over the 12" iBook, then it's a pretty poor value proposition. Get an iBook instead. However, if you need the features, then the PowerBook wins. It's a personal decision in the end.
  6. Chrispy thread starter macrumors 68020


    Dec 27, 2004
    Thanks everyone for all the details! Also, thank you for the link to a good thread. That is just what I was looking for :D Thank you for all your feedback!
  7. Mechcozmo macrumors 603


    Jul 17, 2004
    The 12" iBook and the 12" PowerBook screens are the same, aren't they?
  8. CaptainCaveMann macrumors 68000


    Oct 5, 2004
    Yes they are :cool:
  9. nichos macrumors 6502


    Jul 17, 2004
    Jacksonville, Fl
    If you don't get a student discount, or want to avoid tax, amazon is still offering their mail in rebate as long as you buy it by 01/26/2005. I went that route even though I'm a student, it was cheaper because of the taxes.
    FWIW I went with the iBook because of the price difference, and spent the saved money on ram at outpost - 1gig for $159! bringing my total ram up 1.2g :D
  10. leftbanke7 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 4, 2004
    West Valley City, Utah
    When I was comparing the two side by side, I felt the PB's screen was sharper than the iBook's but that could just be my eyes playing tricks on me.
  11. JeffTL macrumors 6502a

    Dec 18, 2003
    The PowerBook's better graphics hardware is probably why its screen might look a bit sharper -- but my somewhat beat-up iBook G3 has a nice enough screen for a 12" and is a lot cheaper than a PowerBook or (heaven forbid) a Sony Vaio.

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