Is the POWERBOOK really that Bad???

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by FRRYY, Jun 10, 2005.

  1. FRRYY macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2005
    Hi all,

    I am currently in the market to purchase a 15in Powerbook w/ Superdrive.

    Thing is, after doing a lot of reading and searches on this forum, it seems as though there are alot of threads about the problems with the PB.

    The most common that I've seen are:
    -Logic board failure
    -lower ram slot problems
    -various operating system problems

    My question is, are my searches/the threads totally misconstruing the overall quality of the PB?

    I understand there are some people who's PB have not failed on them, but rarely do I see anyone chime in, in any of the threads that talk about the quality of the PB.

    Its starting to make me think that Applecare is a necessity when purchasing a PB. Its just that Apple's selling point is that ," It just works..."

    But does it really? I've read a lot of posts talking about having to reboot,restart,repair different things, and it seems like a bit too much for me.

    Can anyone shed some light on this for me, as I'm starting to lose faith in the Powerbook. Is there anything I can read that will reassure that the PB is a solid piece of equipment?

    Thanks to anyone with info :)
  2. ITASOR macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    Add the common "pitting" or discoloration/corrosion of the palm area rests unless you cover them with things to your list. I would recommend buying a 12" or 14" ibook now. 1) because it is cheaper, and you'll probably want the Intel processor version soon and 2) it seems to have less problems and I think it looks cooler.

    Just some comments. Good luck. 15" PB's are awesome too!
  3. JzzTrump22 macrumors 65816

    Apr 13, 2004
    New York
    There are actually far fewer problems with the PowerBooks then you think. The reason you see so many "negative" threads is because this is a place people come to try and solve their computer problems. There are some problems that exist but they shouldn't discourage you from buying such an amazing machine.
  4. macbaseball macrumors 6502a


    Feb 27, 2005
    Northern California
    Yeah, I agree with that. The Powerbooks are a solid machine. You only hear about the bad stuff, not the good. The G4 is still a good processor, not great but sufficent for Photoshop and other things. YO ucan do video edting on thee machines also, jsut compression takes longers. The Powerbook is a godo buy and I would buy one if I was in the market for a laptop. (But I'm not because I already had a 15). I strongly disagree with the earlier post to buy a iBook. Go for the Pwoerbook with the much better screen and better look. Also for the palm rests, just get iKlear or its equivalent.
  5. Clockworked macrumors newbie

    Feb 9, 2005
    I'd just like to say that I've had my 12" with superdrive since february now. Since then, I've done major dv editing using final cut express for 2 movies now, each about 20 minutes in length, and honestly, I've had no problems with this at all. Then again, I have the maximum amount of ram possible, and i bought it from ebay so I mean really, you dont' need to go brand name to avoid problems. As long as you know your specs you're fine.

    Secondly, as far as aesthetics, it's almost inevitable that you will scratch this machine, I bought an amazing case and it was all great but one time I unzipped the case and JUST as I unzipped it i tipped it by accident and it fell straight onto the bricks below me. I almost **** my pants I was so scared at what would happen, but believe it or not it was almost completely find. Sure there are a few scratches but honestly here, no one will look at ur sexy silver beast and say, "wow, I pity you because it's worn out". There's no need to heavily invest in anything to keep its condition prime. It's a well crafted book, i don't believe applecare is needed for piece of mind, and for university especially, I'm loving the 12", couldn't suit my needs any better at all.
  6. ITASOR macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    I was just saying if you're planning to upgrade in 1 year, you mine as well get the cheaper computer unless you're looking to sell it or something. I don't know, that's just the way I was thinking.
  7. faintember macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2005
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    JzzTrmp is right...

    People come here to discuss/fix problems they are having.

    Ive had my Ti PB 1Ghz for two years now. Not one problem (so far, crosses fingers as i will be doing an update from 10.2.8 to 10.4.1)

    All in PB is my buddy! :cool:

    My buddy (my buddy), My buddy (my buddy), My Buddy and Meeeeee!

    Sry, ive had a few pints tonight. ;)
  8. 3lions macrumors member

    May 9, 2005
    I haven't seen that many negative threads, In Fact i've seen lots of people saying they have bought pbooks in the last 5 months and really love their machine.

    especially the 12"

    look at my sig
  9. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    I think that the PB is much better than what the negative posts would have one believe.

    A good friend of mine bought his 12" PB about the same time that I ought my daughter her 12" iBook - almost 18 months ago - and other than the usual security upgrades, he's still running whatever version of Panther it came with back then. He's still very happy with it because he has had zero problems and good performance from it. As an aside, my daughter's iBook has also performed admirably.

    As for all those negative threads on the PB, I think that there are so many for two main reasons.

    1) People are more picky about the PB because it costs a lot more than the iBook, so they are more critical of minor flaws.

    2) Out of the thousands of PB's sold, there are always going to be a few duff ones. So it's only natural that you'll read about all the negative reviews, but the customers that are satisfied with their PB's usually won't bother posting - that is until something goes wrong.

    The bottom line IMHO is that the PB is inherently no more unreliable than any other lap top out there, and probably more reliable than most PC's.
  10. DJY macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2003
    Canberra AUST
    Still very much in love with my PB since I bought it 12 months ago!
    No problems experienced.. in fact it has changed my life, I became a Mac snob almost instantly and now regularly encourage others to switch as well!
  11. mwpeters8182 macrumors 6502

    Apr 16, 2003
    Boston, MA
    I believe my sig tells it all.

    The PowerBook, while not the fastest thing out there, gets the job done. It's quite a machine.

  12. ecche macrumors regular

    Dec 14, 2003
    a very kiwi place
    apart from not being able to establish a running *video* conference in ichat anymore since i installed tiger there have been absolutely no problems here with my 1.5 Mhz 15'' PB with 1 GB RAM. i love my PB and would certainly buy one again any time.
  13. FRRYY thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 2, 2005
    Wow, thanks for all the input/responses!

    You guys brought up a lot of good points that I didn't really think about.

    I'm just really anxious to make the switch already, but I wanted to make sure I was making the right choice with the Powerbook.

    But in regards to warrenty, would anyone suggest that Applecare was a necessity? Or just a waste of money?

    Btw,Thanks again for dealing with a newb's questions about a topic that's probably been beaten to death and then some. :)
  14. EasyB macrumors member


    Jan 29, 2005
    I had the lower ram slot go in my 15" powerbook 15 months after I bought it. Apple had to put a new logic board in it. No big deal. After two years the computer still looks and feels new. Just spend $350 and get apple care.

    I also have a Dell and a sony. And they are about 2-3 years old but look like hell. The dells trackpad buttons are falling off and the hinges of both computers are shot. Both of these computers had major problems as well. In fact the dell has been back and forth to the repair shop the the life of the warranty. And the Sony is one of the nicer laptop pc's, and it is not even close to the quality of a powerbook.

    Powerbooks are great. In my opinion, they are compariable to a well engineered German auto like a Benz. And even they have problems too.
  15. altair macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2002
    Seattle, WA
    Ive had my TiBook 1ghz for 2.5 years now and no major problems. I dropped it once and occasionally have some insanity with my monitor and crazy **** shooting across it, but its not that big of a deal, and wouldnt have been covered by apple care anyway.

    Anyway, id highly recommend them, i serriously use it 4-5 hours a day and dont have the discoloration mentioned earlier on the palm rests. In a few place I have had the paint worn off, but nothing major. Its been a very reliable machine, and a joy, still feels new.
  16. tuartboy macrumors 6502a


    May 10, 2005
    yeah, i'm interested to hear about this discoloration issue.

    Is it happening often to a lot of people or just the sweaty, non-showering types? ;)

    I just (as in 5 hours ago) bought a 12" Pb with superdrive and I wouldn't mind taking care of her as best I can.
  17. finalcoolman macrumors 6502

    Apr 15, 2005
    For the wrist rests, buy a pack of generic PDA screen protectors, take two out and put them on both sides of the mouse pad on the left and right wrist rests. Works perfectly and keeps them from looking like (&%* after 6 months.
  18. DJY macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2003
    Canberra AUST
    When I bought mine the EDUC price still included 3 yr warranty (rather than the normal 12 months). I would definitely be recommending AppleCare.
  19. LGRW3919 macrumors regular

    Mar 6, 2005
    cupertino (no joke)
    one negative to the powerbook is you're essentially paying for a few year old hardware. the display has low density and the G4 is well, a G4 (this is not to say that i expect a G5 or anything!). I would recomend an iBook because of the cost and the closeness in specs to the Powerbook. Just wait a week or two, i have a feeling you will be pleasantly surprised at apple's introduction of a white (and plastic-y) powerbook.
  20. Vanilla macrumors 6502a

    Mar 19, 2002
    Atlanta, GA

    One of the advantages of the current iteration of the PowerBook IS that its a few years old hardware. The vast majority of issues have been resolved & corrected, a number of previously BTO options are now standard, there's been a price reduction and its become a very solid machine. Its the reason I bought now.

    Yes there will be new versions at some point but there will invariably be teething problems with them, price premium, limited standard equipment etc.Its always the way with new products from Apple. Look at the iMac. When it first came out RAM was 256 and BT/AE were BTO options, plus there were fan issues etc. Now RAM is 512MB, BT/AE are standard, they've had a price reduction and they are apparantly a lot more stable.

    Personally I would buy now, use it for 3 years or so and then replace it with a second or third version of whatever the next PowerBook design will be.

    Each to their own of course, maybe my caution is my age speaking ;-)
  21. nagromme macrumors G5


    May 2, 2002
    Yes :) But not on purpose.

    It's human nature to seek a solution for a problem, or complain... it's not human nature to post "all's well!" The motivation to post when there's a problem is stronger, and so ANY forum online will indicate a huge number of problems with whatever the product is.

    But they're still the minority.

    The PowerBook is the best laptop on the planet, hands-down, in my book. Mine has been great, and it's a year and a half old. The new ones are even better.

    Bottom line: Apple has THE top record for laptop reliability. Check Consumer Reports. You might still have a problem, and you have your warranty if you do.

    As for iBook vs. PowerBook:

    I do like the iBook, but in both cases you get what you pay for. The PowerBook is better in many ways, AND more durable. iBooks, being shiny plastic, will scratch up. My aluminum PowerBook (15") has been beaten, abused, scraped across metal desk edges, laid down in grit, and smacked with metal cable ends... and it has NOT A SINGLE MARK. Palm rests? Like new--not even a different shine, after months of HEAVY use. The whole thing is like new after a year and a half of abuse. I'm sure people treat theirs even worse, and the right material COULD cause a scratch. But take it from someone who scratched his old plastic PowerBook up badly: this anodized aluminum is DURABLE. I hope Apple never stops using it. Some say aluminum dents, and I've never dropped mine (well... not far...). Nor do I intend to. But then again, plastic cracks.

    One thing to know: the gap where the lid meets the body tends to be uneven, and you'll notice that for the first few days if you're the kind who will spot it. I looked at other products and found similar uneven gaps all over the place--including on my old laptop, even though I never noticed it! So why did I notice this gap so soon, when I overlook the same unevenness in other things? Because the PowerBook is SO sleek and perfect overall. It makes the one irregularity stand out. You have been warned.

    There is no better OS than OS X, and no better OS X laptop than a PowerBook. Pentium M's are faster, but until next year they won't be in a PowerBook. And PowerBooks are far from slow.

    The 15" has the best display--far better than the 12"--and I disagree about pixel density being low. Packing in more pixels makes a WORSE display, for many people: things get tiny and hard on the eyes. Mac OS X Tiger has Exposé, making extra screen space less important: it's like having an infinite screen whenever you want :)

    In fact, if I had it to do over I'd get the 12" PowerBook--ULTRA portable! But I'd get an external display. A great option unless you use the built-in screen a lot. Then the 15" is worth it.

    However, it's true that Intel PowerBooks are coming, maybe as early as January, maybe a year from now. Waiting will get you a MUCH better PowerBook. If you want something to tide you over, then a Mac Mini or a cheap iBook is a great choice. And maybe you won't even want a new PowerBook next year :) Macs have a way of staying useful for years. Be warned that an iBook (without hacks) can only drive external screens at 1024x768. So no flat panels larger than 15", basically. (Just one of MANY less-obvious ways the PowerBook beats the iBook.)

    BOTH iBooks and PowerBooks are worth what they cost, and both will run great for a long time to come. The question then is, do you need one now, or can you wait for the next generation in 2006?

    I also agree about the "age" thing: every new model from any company has some little issues that get improved in the next revision. So the very FIRST Intel PowerBooks will have a higher chance of little problems than later ones will. Warranty covers that, so I often jump on the first release of a new model. But with the current PowerBooks, you get a model that has been refined and improved for a year and a half--it's a solid bet.

    Whatever you get: having 512 RAM is best for the sake of speed, and even more is better.

    Anyway, Welcome! Let us know what you get :)
  22. chaosbunny macrumors 68000


    Mar 11, 2005
    down to earth, far away from any clouds
    I don't know how old you are, I'm 25, got the powerbook in my sig 2 months ago and I agree with you in every point.
  23. jaredrou macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2005
    I would definitely recommend doing the RAM upgrade to the Powerbook. I have the 12" 1.33 GHz with only 512MB of RAM (an upgrade from the standard 256 at the time), and it's not exactly a speed demon. But it's fine for Photoshop CS (CS2 locks up all the time), and most basic processes it runs fairly speedy on, but RAM is definitely a limiting factor, and I wholeheartedly recommend maxing out the RAM in the Powerbook if possible.
  24. mariahlullaby macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2005
    I agree, max out the RAM if you can (or up at at least a gig). I have a 1.5 Ghz 12" on 512 MB and the beachball might as well just move in (I get it quite often).

    Other than that, the PB is a very capable little machine, no regrets. I've never had any "real" problems with it.
  25. SurfAddict macrumors member


    Feb 7, 2005
    I'll second that one. I'm 18 and I needed one for college so I saved up money from my personal training gig to get the one in my sig on the day they refreshed em. I'll probably try to get a new one when I start law school. Max out the ram is my suggestion that way its speed seems snappy to you still for a long time. My one warning is the new iDVD runs slower than hell on this thing damn interactive drop zones. And I think this is a software thing but for some reason I have never actually been able to burn my projects something about an error during track initialization after all the rendering is complete

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