New 15" Powerbook - what led to it and summary


macrumors 65832
Original poster
Mar 10, 2005
(note: this was originally posted on another forum that's primarily geared towards pc laptops, so any reference to mac/pc differences is because of that)

Well, the road to the Powerbook was kind of a journey. I'll research a purchase to death before I go through with it. That was the case with the 15" Powerbook. I've been a PC user for about 12 years. I know my way around them pretty well. When someone I know has a computer problem, I'm the person they come to.

I've always admired the look of Apple's, but was never certain on how well they performed. When I bought my previous laptop, I did think about an Apple, but at that point did not know much about them and thought I might like to game from time to time. Anyway..

Last year I took an advanced graphic design class and it was there that I started working with Macs. At first, it was frustrating because I was wanting them to be setup like a PC and I wanted all of my shortcuts to work the same. Things work a little different on a Mac and I had no idea of their process. This took about two weeks to really gain an understanding of. I still didn't understand the advantage of a Mac over a PC for a few more weeks. Then it dawned on me that the computer never lagged, never crashed, and was stable no matter what I threw at it in Photoshop. I looked up the specs on it and saw it was an 800 mhz g4. That seemed so slow, yet it was working great. It was like a hurdle I had to jump over before I could fully embrace what Mac offered. It's sort of like a flash of lightening for me.

My pc laptop was messing up on me (had to send it in 3 times in 4 months). I decided to get a new computer. This was back in October. I research all of the compatibility issues, but actually found none other than fonts and the fact that some stuff like games just weren't out for Mac. Since the only game I play is Gunbound, and haven't played that in months anyway, I said no big deal.

I waited until the Powerbooks were updated, and then decided to go for it. I was trying to decide between a 15" and a 17", but in the end decided on a 15" since I realized eventually I would get real tired of carrying the 17" around. I ordered a 1.5 ghz computer with 512 ram, 100 gig hard-drive, 64 meg video card, and an external keyboard for the extra USB plugs and also so I could just sit back and type at my desk.

From the time I ordered, it took about 8 days to arrive at my door from China. 2 of those days was because it was delivered to the local Fedex location on a Saturday morning and wouldn't be sent out on the truck until Monday. So 3 days to get from China to Louisiana, and 2 days to travel 30 miles in Louisiana. I received it Feb 28, so I've had it awhile to test it out.

When I got it, I set up Panther and started working on configuring it. It instantly detected my wireless internet, so I downloaded Firefox and was good to go. I haven't ran any benchmarks on it, but I don't plan on doing so either, though. That sort of stuff might make neat spreadsheets, but actually working on something tells me if it works. My 15" Powerbook does. It's so stable. It's really hard to comment on this or that on how it works. It just does and asks for more, no matter what I throw at it. As a test, I opened all kinds of applications and files to see how much it would slow down. Even after a couple AVI files, browsers, mail, music, ripping cds or burning them, rendering video... it doesn't matter. I haven't experienced a slowdown like you would in Windows. This is so incredible. Always before, I'd have to restart my PC after running an intensive program because the system was still suffering from the previous usage.

I'm not saying don't use PCs if you enjoy them. Stay with them. But I am happy with my choice to switch. It's just a pleasure working with. I've spent hours at downloading little freeware apps to do this or that, whether it's a neat screensaver or an Itunes plug-in, or neat audio editing apps. I never did that on my PC, even when it was new, because of the hassle of installing and uninstalling. Almost every install is simply a drag and drop on the Mac. Don't like some software? Just drag the file to the trash and it's uninstalled. This was one thing, months ago, that I couldn't get around when discussing. It seemed so odd, coming from a PC background, that something could install so simply without the long install screen process.

Things I wish it had: I wish it had one or two more USB ports. I can add a hub, so this problem is solved (for the most part). I do have firewire 400 and 800, so that's a plus that I will put to good use. If there was a SD card reader, that would also be nice. I have to plug the USB cord into the keyboard everytime I want to upload pics. This goes back to the 2 USB ports issue.

The resolution is not a problem. Nearly everything can be customized for size without severe degradation. It's also really quiet. So quiet that you don't notice how quiet it is because it never makes its presence felt. Also, I have seen some people complain over the heat. It gets warm, but not hot. I can keep it on my lap for 2 hours without it becoming a problem (or longer, but I haven't actually had it on my lap for more than 2 hours, so I can't say). There's also a spell-check in nearly every apple app on the system. I'm typing this in Textedit, the basic text editor that comes with the system. Because of the included spell check, I do not have to open Word for that function.

Things aren't "bad" on a Mac, just different. I've always stored my digital photos in manually configured folders on my PC. On a Mac, you can still do this but the preview tool doesn't automatically go to the next file without having selected everything to begin with. So I'm using Iphoto now to keep photos organized. It took a little (half an hour) transition time to get used to the different way it operates, but it's just as effective. Not better or worse, just different. I haven't delved real deep into that program yet, so I don't know what all else might be included in it for better organization.

If you have any specific questions, I'd be glad to answer them. I'm really digging the Powerbook. I plan on adding another gig of ram to it in the next month or so. The 512 is working fine, but it's more of a buffer just in case (mainly for rendering and etc large file work).

Below are some pictures of it. By the way, the external is connected to the Powerbook, even though the backgrounds are different. I never found a way to do this on a PC, but it's a standard and obvious feature in OSX. Kind of neat. Also, the way to position the monitors is interesting. It's not just from main monitor to the left for the extra one. I can flip that, or position the exit points on the top, or bottom, or etc. More of just fluffy extras, but nice touches.

If you made it all the way through the review, good job!




macrumors 6502
Mar 23, 2004
Eugene, OR
yeah man, good review. I just got a 17 and I am transitioning from a powermac and 20" LCD. I guess we'll see how that goes...



Moderator emeritus
Mar 25, 2002
London, England
Yes, very nice, :D Glad you're enjoying the PB, I recently bought a 15" 1.5, and was, and still am surprised by how capable it is.


macrumors 6502a
Dec 20, 2003
Canberra AUST
Love my PB! Can't work out now why i didn't do it years ago!!!
Oh yeah and have got a few mates to switch already as well!

Enjoy it mate - the experience just continues to get better with time... like a good bottle of Australian red wine.


macrumors 65832
Original poster
Mar 10, 2005
Heh, yeah, sorry it was a tad long. The way I figure, how often will I buy a Powerbook? Might as well make the most of it (for a review) when the chance arrives.

And I've convinced a friend to get a 12.1" Powerbook instead of an Asus PC since then, too.


macrumors 68020
Jan 23, 2005
Great review!!

Looking at the pictures, I am happy a 12.1" (which i really want) has Mini-DVI to DVI (I would use Mini-DVI to VGA though, DVI is taken by PC), as regular DVI/VGA is too big...

Glad your happy!
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