Laptop Necessity


macrumors newbie
Original poster
Aug 4, 2005
I am about to enter my freshmen year of college, and I have been awarded a fellowship that includes, among other things, a $2500 allowance for a siingle computer, my choice, just present the receipt, and they'll write me a check.

I have always thought about buying Apple. I have friends that own them, and they love them, etc. (The story every switcher tells, I'm sure.) But here begins the problems.

One, I've read on this site that I should wait to purchase a Powerbook. Thus, that's the first problem. I need it by two weeks from now, and cannot wait a year and a half to get one. I'm worried that a new update will make my model obsolete (which has become a computer buzzword, I know). I would hate to go through that process.

Two, I'm not a big gamer, but occassionally I've purchased games and played them, and I'm worried that once I buy a Mac I'll have to kiss all that goodbye due to compatibility. True? False? Comments, please.

Three, I run a website, and have used Frontpage to update it for years. I know there's no Mac version of Frontpage, and so I'm wondering what I would use to update my website. Any thoughts? Experience.

As I mentioned earlier, though I've thought about buying a Mac before, this is the first time I've really had $2500 lying around to actually buy a proper one (usually I purchase computers that cost not much more than $1500).

So, I guess, what I'm asking is, is this the right time for me to purchase a Mac. Or should the combined effect of the possible update, gaming predilection, and website maintenence dissuade me from getting one until later. As I am sure it is obviously clear, I know nothing about anything Apple related, and was hoping you guys (and girls) could sketch me a more clear template from which to base my decision.

Thank you very much for your time in reading this, and if you respond, for your time in responding!


macrumors 68040
Nov 9, 2004
Salt Lake City, UT
Most major PC games (eventually) also come out for Mac. If you only want to play the occasional game, Macs are fine. As for your question about FrontPage, I recommend Dreamweaver by Macromedia as a replacement. Another option, if you are just looking to do simple updating, is Macromedia Contribute, which is quite a bit cheaper than Dreamweaver, but VERY basic as far as what you can do.

If I were you, I wouldn't really worry much about buying a PowerBook now. It'll probably be a couple months (after school starts) before the line is updated.


Dec 5, 2004
That is really awesome. I agree that the machine is a little underpowered for the price, but it still can do just about anything you can through at it. I would recomend a fully speced out 15" they are portable, but big enough for use as a desktop. I wish I could get mine for free. :p


macrumors 65816
Jan 21, 2005
Massachusetts, Connecticut
GKarber said:
One, I've read on this site that I should wait to purchase a Powerbook. Thus, that's the first problem. I need it by two weeks from now, and cannot wait a year and a half to get one. I'm worried that a new update will make my model obsolete (which has become a computer buzzword, I know). I would hate to go through that process.
You shouldn't wait to get a PowerBook. A lot of people here like to wait until the bleeding instant a line comes out to buy a computer, but it's really not necessary. If you buy one of the current PowerBooks and max out the memory, it will serve you well for a long time to come.


macrumors G5
May 2, 2002
My answers:

* PowerBook G4s are the best laptops on the planet. They are not as fast (yet) as a Pentium M, but they are the most usable and productive thanks to OS X. Waiting would give you OS X AND the speed, but if you can't wait, today's PowerBooks are great. Mine is about 2 years old now and I still love it--thin, great screen (15"), and ultra-durable aluminum case. Plus lighted keys :) (Some models.)

* Every computer you buy gets replaced by a faster model soon after. But that doesn't mean obsolete: PowerPC/G4 Macs will have software and OS support long into the future. Even Apple's next OS, Leopard, will run on PPC (which we know due to the timing). Macs have a longer usable life than Windows PCs, and the Intel change isn't going to take that away: it's a transition, not a sudden shift.

* I love gaming in my PowerBook (UT 2004 highly recommended!), and current models would blow mine away. It's not high-end gaming machine, but it's plenty of fun, and it CAN play against Windows opponents in most cases. Game availability is lower/later than on Windows, but that's been improving. Getting a better GPU is good for gaming of course.

* FrontPage is a nightmare IMO... try DreamWeaver for sure! Or if your needs are minor, maybe even Contribute (good for minor updating, not for site creation) or some downloadable shareware. All the Mac software downloads you could want are here:

* Don't wait--get the security, ease-of-use, just plain fun, and other benefits of OS X now. Unless raw speed is your top need, that will be a better use of your $2500 than a Windows laptop would be.

* Get as much RAM as possible--1 GB is nice. OS X will run faster. Apple's RAM prices aren't great, but is a good source and it's not hard to self-install at all.

* Personally I'd like the ultraportable 12" PowerBook PLUS an external display. Best of both worlds. But check the 12" screen at a store (some say the 12" is brighter now than it used to be--more like my 15" which is bright and great). If you find it's not acceptable, go for the 15".

* Be sure to get the student discount!


macrumors 6502a
May 18, 2005
The standard 15" PB / 512MB RAM / 1.67GHz G4 / 128MB VRAM / 80GB HD / 8X Superdrive is $2189 with student discount. Add a 1GB stick of RAM for around $150 and factor in Taxes You should be within your $2500 budget and have one awesome machine that will last you years.

BTW: As I priced this, shipping went from 2-4 days to 4-6 days. Impending Update? Usually it is 1-3 days for Built to orders.


macrumors 6502a
May 10, 2005
don't wait. I have been using "powerful and fast" PCs for years and this "old technology" laptop is the best buy i ever made. Sure, it's 1.5ghz, but it feels just as fast as laptops 2x it's speed. (you can't help the 5400 rpm drive so don't compare it to desktops!)

Also, productivity increases so much with OS X. I have expose mapped to my logitech mx500 scroll buttons (why make those buttons when you have a wheel, Logitech?!?) and my friends sit amazed i am dragging and dropping with windows flying around the screen at the speed of light.

Column view, spring-loaded folders, expose. My 3 favorite features (i don't ask much)

PS, I bumped f12 the other day and was surprised when dashboard came up. Forgot i had it there. Too gimmicky for me :p Ok, maybe not cause I have the megaman loader on here :D
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