New MacBook SR or Used Powerbook G4 1.5?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by K-Funk, Dec 8, 2007.

  1. K-Funk macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    #1
    I'm trying to decide between a refurbished (lease return) Powerbook 1.5 Ghz for $700 and a new entry-level MacBook. The advantages of the PowerBook are that I prefer the larger 15-inch screen, and I save a few hundred dollars.

    How superior is the MacBook SR in terms of processing power compared to the PowerBook? Will the MacBook last me a lot longer? (I think the PowerBook is 2-3 years old.)

    I'm not doing any heavy-duty stuff (word processing, web surfing, some math programs), but I'd like a big speed improvement over my current 400 Mhz Powerbook!!! Thanks.
     
  2. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #2
    I was in a similar state recently, in trying to decide whether to go for an MB or a G4 Powerbook. Eventually, I decided to order a used MacBook (today). The MBs are far faster than even the fastest Powerbooks, and they'll give you more years of usable service, being outfitted with up-to-date technology. It's really easy to think "why not?" for the Powerbook, being a couple hundred cheaper than the MB, but in the end, it isn't worth it. Think long term, instead of short term. A $700 Powerbook will not last as long (or give you a useful speed for as long) as a modern computer that's, say, $300 more. I find this really hard to remember, which is why I've bought several cheap computers, only to lose interest in them soon after. If you're going with Windows, and want a computer to still be as useful in 3 years as it is today, spend $300 extra and get the customized Thinkpad over the baseline Dell. If you want a Mac to serve you for the next few years without trouble, spend the extra dough to get some kind of Macbook over a Powerbook.
     
  3. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #3
    the macbook. It's so far ahead of the powerbook in processor speed that the powerbook couldn't even see it with a telescope.
     
  4. forrestmc4 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2007
    Location:
    Washington, DC
  5. K-Funk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    #5
    Re:

    OK, thanks for the advice. I'm curious as to just how far superior the Intel dual-core processors are to the G4's. Just based on processor speed, the MacBook has a 33% advantage (2.0 vs. 1.5). However, I'm sure the difference is greater than that, but I'm not sure by how much.
     
  6. QCassidy352 macrumors G3

    QCassidy352

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #6
    the difference is much greater than that.

    First, the macbook is dual core. That doesn't mean twice the processing power in most real-world situations, but it does mean a substantial difference.

    Second, and more fundamentally, you've bought in to the "megahertz myth." Basically, that just means that you can't compare mhz across different processors. It just doesn't work. A 2 Ghz processor could be a G4, G5, Pentium 4, celeron, core duo, xeon, etc. The differences among those would be mind boggling, but they all have the same number of mhz.

    Think of it this way - mhz is like RPM on a bike. But is that really the measure of how hard you're peddling? Well, it's part of it, but knowing your RPM without knowing what gear your in really is pretty meaningless, isn't it?

    The point is that some processors do more work - a lot more work - than others per cycle. The core 2 duo does vastly more work per cycle than a G4. So even if they were the same clock speed, and there was only one core in the macbook, it would *still* blow the powerbook out of the water.

    Did that help?
     
  7. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #7
    Infinitely. ;)

    More seriously, any MacBook is dramatically faster than any Powerbook. As in, you can actually see the difference.

    That said, the bigger screen and dedicated graphics card of the Powerbook are nice to have, and for most things--web, email, etc., you won't notice much, if any, difference. But work on something in iMovie, or have lots of photos in iPhoto, etc., and the differences become apparent very quickly--the MacBook will leave the Powerbook in the dust.
     
  8. K-Funk thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2007
    #8
    Re:

    Looks like I have a tough decision. My only reservation with the MacBook is the screen size -- I'm selling my 12-in HP laptop because I want a bigger screen. Thanks for your advice.
     
  9. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #9
    Screen size isn't nearly as important as resolution, IMO. I say this as a guy who gave his 17" notebook away for a 12". Most budget PC notebooks have 1280x800 res at 15.4". That's really low, and it makes finding space an issue. The MB screen is also 1280x800, but it gives you that in a 13.3" screen, which means you get more real estate per inch. I'm currently using a 12" iBook at 1024x768, and to be honest, although it's small, it's still workable. I find it to be more usable than the 12" Thinkpad I once had. I think it's partly because OS X window frames are much thinner, so there's less wasted screen space than in XP/Win2k. It's gotten worse in Vista. One of the best things about Apple laptops is that they tend to come with high resolutions compared to budget PCs.
     
  10. mahonmeister macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2006
    Location:
    Redlands, CA
    #10
    I own a 1.5GHz 15" PowerBook. Just like everyone else has said, go with the MacBook. Apple transitioned to Intel because of the poor performance of the G4 in their laptops, among other reasons.
     
  11. Naimfan macrumors 68040

    Naimfan

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2003
    #11
    K--

    I have no idea how demanding the math programs you referenced are. The only thing I do that might be remotely comparable is folding for SETI@home. My iMac (C2D, 2.16 GHz) runs two tasks at one time; they seem to average about 3 hours per task. (I believe each processing core is running a separate task). My Powerbook (G4, 1.33 Ghz, 1.25 Gb RAM) averages one task every 20 hours or so. Based on that, the iMac is roughly 7 times as fast per processor.

    I do prefer the screen of my Powerbook over the MacBook--I am one of those people who can't stand the glossy screen. The size differential is also noticeable in real world work.

    I will say that you're likely to see a substantial increase in speed with either machine. But in terms of pure processing power, the MacBook wins hands down.
     
  12. mag2001 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    May 24, 2007
    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
  13. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #13
    This is one thing I'll miss about my iBook. I'd forgotten just how practical matte screens are. Since I started going through widescreen notebooks, I've used about 3 or so glossies, and they've always given me the reflection problem (try angling them anywhere near a flourescent light, and it becomes nearly impossible to read). It wasn't until I deliberately set up my iBook to reflect a light source that I realized this wasn't a problem. No reflections; just clarity. I really see why mattes > glossy screens with this thing. Unfortunately, all MBs are glossy, which means it'll be back to reflection station when I get it. Oh well.
     
  14. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #14
    I wouldn't say that my previous computer Inspiron 6000 had a 1680 x 1050 Resolution and that's on a 15" compared to apples crappy 1440 x 900 on the Macbook Pro.
     
  15. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #15
    Your Inspiron's resolution was the exception; definitely not the rule. The standard res on a 15.4" Windows notebook is 1280x800 WXGA. You generally have to pay more to get more pixels. In the same way, the standard res on a 17" is 1440x900, which is higher, but comes down to the same density since the screen itself is also bigger. I wish the standard res were higher in all laptops, but as of now, you've got to pay more to go beyond the regular stuff.
     
  16. Techguy172 macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Ontario Canada
    #16
    Yeah but dell at least gives you the option if you buy one today from dell they still let you do that. apple doesn't that's why there no better in fact they can be worse.
     
  17. heatmiser macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2007
    #17
    I wasn't saying Apple was better. I just said they started out with higher resolutions. Believe me, there are plenty of things Apple is quite bad at--choice selection is certainly one of them. Quality control is another.
     
  18. anotherarunan macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2007
    Location:
    London, United Kingdom (UK)
    #18
    Get a macbook. Why buy a machine that will lose support for most apple/pro apps a lot quicker than a macbook??/
     

Share This Page