MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, or Just Keep Chugging with my PowerBook

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by ozone, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. ozone macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #1
    I'm in a bit of a quandry. I'm off on a plane for a wedding and some family holidays for 2.5 weeks, and as usual, life and work are not going to let me off the hook until I get some more things done for the office.

    I need to get some graphics done, and I've been using Pages. Not high end, but the program does a great job for the brochures my department needs to get out. Because I'm traveling, I won't be able to use my iMac or Mac Mini (Intel CD2 versions). So, it's back to my aging 17" G4 PB. I have the last one before they switched (sigh) - it's the 1.67 GHz. Great for everyday use; not so fast anymore for photo/graphics use. I normally use a small 12" HP tablet for travel and teaching, but it doesn't run Mac software of course.

    I was all set to get a MacBook Air - mainly for its portability - but then one of the retail specialists advised that if I'm handing large photos (yes, I will be), then the MB Air might be not be the workhorse I'm looking for. I need to ensure decent resolution for press/prints. For only $200 Cdn more, I can obviously get the MB Pro. I've decided that if I pursue this, I'd go with the 15" for more portability. But now we get into the never-ending "wait for the update" drama. The stickler is that I like to travel light as possible, and I don't think the 15" qualifies. I'd like for whatever I get to be more versatile.

    Yes, yes... I know, if I need, just buy it. The problem is I'm not sure how much I need it. While slower, my 17" PB has a nice large screen for working, and it still does work. But the mouse button is sticky, the USB ports don't seem to be able to power a portable hard drive, and it has the occasional squeaking noise (! what? don't know...). So, a hardware crash or problem while traveling would be a semi-disaster. It's been a long time since I've taken this PB on the road, so I'm not sure how it holds up anymore.

    The kicker is that I thought I only had to update one brochure while away; just yesterday, I was asked to do another one, and this one will be a fair sized job (lots of editing, text, photos, etc.).

    I want something lighter for long term use, but have this short term need. I'm tempted to just haul my 17" PB along: not as portable, but it does the job and I already have it. I don't want to impulse buy and get a new 15" MB or 13" MB Air when I might have the luxury of waiting. Then again, I will be doing some more intense work (graphics) rather than just email or word documents.

    Any advice? Thanks.
     
  2. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #2
    I believe the 15" MBP has the exact same resolution as your 17" Powerbook. So if you bought the 15", you would have an identical picture. The 15" is 1400 x 900 I believe.

    Is there anyway you could pick up a dirt cheap refurbished Macbook to use, then sell it when you get back and buy the new Pro if/when it comes out. Something like this http://store.apple.com/us/product/FB402LL/A or even resort to ebay? Who knows you may even end up loving the Macbook, its certainly more portable than the Pro, and a lot faster than the Air.
     
  3. iToaster macrumors 68000

    iToaster

    Joined:
    May 3, 2007
    Location:
    In front of my MacBook Pro
    #3
    The last 17" PowerBook had a 1680 x 1050 screen, the MacBook Pro only has a 1440 x 900 screen, but it's not as if that's a low resolution. I say you shell out for the MBP, seeing as it has plenty of power to offer, as well as space and expandability. I think it's time the PowerBook retires from work use.
     
  4. Shadow macrumors 68000

    Shadow

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2006
    Location:
    Keele, United Kingdom
    #4
    If you're only using it for the one trip, I'd keep the PowerBook. However, if you need a new laptop in general I'd go for the MacBook Pro.
     
  5. akm3 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    #5
    How large of large photos?

    I'll bet the MB Air performance would surprise you and it is obviously very light and portable.

    However, if you are used to a Powerbook 17", the 15" MB Pro will feel very light and portable as well. It is obviously the more robust machine.

    However, you also say you have other macs at home, the Air as a 'satellite' laptop may make a perfect choice for you. If you didn't have other 'primary macs' at home, I'd say go for the MB Pro.

    Of course, you could sell your iMac AND your PowerBook and probably easily pay for a nice Macbook Pro to replace both machines.

    Food for thought...
     
  6. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #6
    You could save yourself a lot of money by not getting a MacBook Air and instead going for the regular MacBook. I'm sure it will handle all the things you are going to be using it for just fine.
     
  7. queshy macrumors 68040

    queshy

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    #7
    Go with the MacBook Pro. By going with the Air you're foregoing a lot of the features that you've become used to with your PowerBook.
     
  8. MattZani macrumors 68030

    MattZani

    Joined:
    Apr 20, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    if your Pb is struggling, the MBA should do fine, with its 1.6Ghz Dual Core, more than enough for non photoshop graphics work, and even light photoshop use (under 8Mp, 10 Layers)
     
  9. CJRhoades macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2007
    Location:
    Lafayette, IN
    #9
    A 1.8 MacBook Air is more than twice as powerfull as your PowerBook. If you've been using it for a while, you might just be surprised by how fast the Air can be.
     
  10. neiltc13 macrumors 68040

    neiltc13

    Joined:
    May 27, 2006
    #10
    And the 2.4GHz MacBook is even more powerful than that for less money!
     
  11. pranavss11 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2007
    Location:
    San Jose
    #11
    yes get a 2.4 MacBook and then buy 4GB of ram off the internet; would be perfect and cost effective.
     
  12. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #12
    Thanks all. Actually, from the replies, it looks like opinions are split. From what I gather (and my thoughts):

    1. The MB Air will probably impress me if I'm used to the PB. I agree that for the type of work I normally do when I travel, it would be more than enough, and indeed this was my original first choice. I want to be able to use whatever next I get from Apple to be portable. The only problem is that this one time I'm not sure if I'll miss the added features (eh, probably not). The other problem is that I no longer use this PB for the heavy lifting: only web, email, and regular office stuff. All the photo and graphic intense stuff is done on my iMac, so I probably would miss it.

    2. The MB Pro (15") is probably the sweet spot, but it's a fair chunk of change and again, the one time use thing pops its head up. Plus I wouldn't mind a new revision if it does indeed come out in the fall (wouldn't we all).

    3. Working with my current PB is doable, but not ideal. It's a bit slower, heavy, not overly travel friendly, and perhaps a bit uncertain in the dependability department. However, it is a one time use situation, and I suppose waiting 2X as long for some processes is not so bad if we're measuring the time in seconds and minutes as opposed to hours. And yes, it does have the 1680 X 1050 screen for big screen real estate. Ironically, I'm just realizing how comfortable it is to type on the older silver keys as opposed to the newer square ones I have on my iMac keyboard (which presumably) is similar to the ones on the MB Air.

    I guess the one-time-use thing is weighing heavily. I'm going to be attending a business networking forum in Italy in late September and damned if I take a $2000 MB Air with me when I might have to travel around for business/pleasure. I'll probably just pick up a smallish XP mini-computer that there are so many of these days: I doubt I'll cry that much if something happens to it. But it'll be hard to justify getting two computers if I go out and get another MB Pro or MB Air.
     
  13. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2004
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    #13
    Bingo. An Air? Are you kidding? I would still stay with the PB G4 if you're worried about color. The Air is completely off the table though. It's just not what you need. I still don't know who really does need that thing, but that's just me. The Air is not practical in just about every sense professionally. Get a MacBook for god's sake.
     
  14. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #14
    Okayyy.... so I'm guessing the Air is not the *most* thrilling product out there with the diehard Apple fans! :D
     
  15. dwd3885 macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2004
    #15
    the air is awesome once you see it, but it's not meant for everyday stuff really. It's got the wow factor, but if you're going to want a powerful machine, the air is not that.

    I was kind of in the same predicament as you, just deciding between air or macbook pro. The macbook pro 15" is really one of the best machines you can buy. Why not go for the $1299 refurb macbook pro? 2.16 core 2 duo, 6x superdrive, 1 gig ram, 120gb hard drive...
     
  16. Macmel macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2008
    #16
    MBA? No way...

    Obviously, you need to get a new laptop. The PB can't serve you anymore for professional use (I woudn't put my work at risk with such an old computer making funny noises, even for just one trip). The logic substitute for this computer is another professional computer: the MacbookPro. But you may feel it's a little bit overpriced. Even a high end MacBook can be a good choice for you.
    Definitely, don't get a MBAir: just read around the MBA forums and you'll see the piece of crap that it is. Not only is flawed design-wise (Apple is starting to acknowledge that the core shutdown issue many people are suffering is a design problem and their engineers are working on it), but also the company that makes them has a lousy QC department (many people claim that their MBA have scratches or dents or even not-working magnetic latches just out-of-the-box). Next rev of MBA might be a wonderful ultraportable computer, but just now is ridiculous that Apple sells a product of this quality.
    If I were in your position, I would seriously consider a refurbished MBP. The new rev won't come out in several months at least and actually you might consider skip montevina chips and go directly to Nehalem next year. That means you can get a really good service from a refurbished computer that is way ahead your current PB for a reasonable price. Then you can sell it, if you want, and buy one of the new ones next year, although you can get a few years of good work out of this computer, as you did with your old PB.
     
  17. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #17
    Actually... I have seen the MB Air. It is pretty sweet. Believe it or not, after some consideration, I'm still leaning towards it. I'm just not convinced that the lack of ports and connectors is something I want to put up with. I do tend to bring extras along (USB drives, card readers, etc.) and I probably would have picked up the MB Air in a heartbeat if it had been just a little thicker or different and 2 or even 3 USB ports and a standard DVI connector. After a while, it just gets tiresome carrying extra things around.

    I decided I could live without the user swappable battery (I've only changed the battery on my tablet a few times each year) and the optical drive. I rarely use CD/DVDs other than installing software.

    (sigh) still not sure what to do, and I've just about run out of time... might just end up sticking with my Powerbook. Strangely enough, one thing about the MB Pro is that it still has the current silver keys, and I'm thinking I prefer them to the chiclet style ones on the MB Air or my iMac keyboard.

    By the way, where can you get a refurb MB Air for $1299? I'm in Canada, and the best I can see is $1799. Maybe the refurb is a US specific deal only.
     
  18. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #18
    Actually, you've got a good point there. I used to get the Rev A of any product I thought I needed. For example, I got the first Compaq TC1000 tablet. Great machine... except for the slow and pokey Transmeta processor (ugh). I then got the next tablet TC4200 and that served me well for quite a few years, but the TC4200 had been out for a while and some of the bugs had gotten ironed out. Finally, it went to another student, and I replaced it with a new HP2710p - again Revision A. Good, but it has that pointing/eraser head stick (which I've come to rather dislike) and now, for Revision B, it will come with a trackpad as well (arghhh!). Still that would have meant waiting for year and I have indeed gotten good utility out of it. However, it is a bit maddening - and yes, I really fear the MB Air will be like that too. I'd probably like the current version, but will grip and grumble about its shortcomings, and will perpetually look over the fence at next MB Air more than I should. The current MB Pro, however, is a mature product, which is kind of nice.
     
  19. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #19
    Actually, you've got a good point there. I used to get the Rev A of any product I thought I needed. For example, I got the first Compaq TC1000 tablet. Great machine... except for the slow and pokey Transmeta processor (ugh). I then got the next tablet TC4200 and that served me well for quite a few years, but the TC4200 had been out for a while and some of the bugs had gotten ironed out. Finally, it went to another student, and I replaced it with a new HP2710p - again Revision A. Good, but it has that pointing/eraser head stick (which I've come to rather dislike) and now, for Revision B, it will come with a trackpad as well (arghhh!). Still that would have meant waiting for year and I have indeed gotten good utility out of it. However, it is a bit maddening - and yes, I really fear the MB Air will be like that too. I'd probably like the current version, but will grip and grumble about its shortcomings, and will perpetually look over the fence at next MB Air more than I should. The current MB Pro, however, is a mature product, which is kind of nice.
     
  20. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #20
    Sorry... don't know what happened there. Got posted twice. :confused:
     
  21. eXan macrumors 601

    eXan

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2005
    Location:
    Russia
    #21
    The only choice I see for you is get the MBP.

    Air is NOT what you need. Trust me, you won't be satisfied with it if you're used to Apple's high-end pro laptop.

    MacBook is basically the same - faster, but far worse screen (not something you'd want for graphics). Not to mention the transition from 1680x1050 17" to 1280x800 13" is world of pain.

    Also you said you dislike the new keyboards and its basically 99% that new MBP will get MBA-style keys so why wait? You seem to NEED the computer now, so get it now! Current Penryns are cool and fast, with the great keyboard you find comfortable to type on. If you buy the MBP you also won't have the pain and dissatisfaction of loosing some of your PB's features like keyboard backlighting and nice aluminium casing, not to mention the screen. Current 15" MBPs have great LED-backlight screen which somewhat compensates the slight decrease of resolution.

    But you decide :) I strongly recommend the current low-end MBP.
     
  22. nick9191 macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2008
    Location:
    Britain
    #22
    Theres a refurbished 17" on the Canadian store for $1999 CA.

    I recommend it, simply because you'd feel bad buying a top of the line 3 grand laptop now, only for a newer, faster, cheaper one to come out in a month.
     
  23. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502

    ozone

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2004
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    #23
    Okay thanks... actually, a 17" is not what I was really looking for. My current 17" PB is great, but a little too big for some situations (although it impresses the hell out of people when they first see it! :D)
     

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