New Powerbook Purchase

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by dgaust, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. dgaust macrumors newbie

    Dec 2, 2002
    Sydney, Australia
    Hi all,

    I now have the opportunity to buy my first apple computer. Having used Macs for 5 yers at work I am now ready to upgrade my home computer from a Micro$oft compatible machine to something more sane.

    This system will be my main home system as well as being used occasionally while travelling. Ideally I would like to purchase the 17" Powerbook as it contains everything I could possibly need and will be updated approximately every two years.

    However I would like to know of any experiences people may have with the 17" as I am not really sure I would like to drop $6,000 (good old aussie dollars) on a machine that will be superseeded with a G5 in the next 3 months.

    Any info will be much appreciated.


  2. Thirteenva macrumors 6502a

    Jul 18, 2002
    No one really knows when the G5 will appear in the powerbook line. There have been no real credible reports thus far.

    Random rumors have indicated middle of this year but i've not heard anything ot make me feel that is carved in stone.

    All machines will eventually be superceded with something. Buy when you need and enjoy it as long as you can.
  3. oingoboingo macrumors 6502a


    Jul 31, 2003
    Sydney, Australia
    I don't own a 17" PowerBook (I have a 12" PB), but 2 good friends of mine bought the 1.33GHz 17" PowerBooks at the same time and from the same store as I did. In general, they are both very happy with their machines. The 17" screen is of a very high quality. For the size of the machine, it is still quite light and of course very thin. My suggestion would be to spend some quality time at an AppleCentre somewhere actually playing around with the 17"...there is no better way to get a feel for things like the screen, keyboard, weight, size, responsiveness etc etc. Also, I wouldn't recommend buying direct from Apple Australia. You don't have any sort of bargaining power with them, and if something goes wrong with your purchase after 90 days you will have to pay for the privilege of picking up the phone to yell at them to get it fixed. A physical Apple dealer may be able to cut you some type of deal (discounts, extra stuff thrown in for free), and will give you a physical point of presence to visit and talk to if something goes wrong or if you need a warranty repair. Apple's own standard warranty and phone support terms aren't robust enough in my opinion to make it 'safe' to buy direct (unlike Dell where you get phone support for the duration of the warranty and on-site warranty in many cases too).

    So far, one of my friends has dropped his 17" PB from desk height onto a tiled floor. It landed on one of the corners, and dented the aluminium case. He was able to use a little pressue and (mostly) bend the case back to its original form. You can hardly notice that it's been dropped, and the machine was not affected in any other way. My other friend however has noticed that when the screen angle is adjusted on his 17" PB, the backlight flickers on and off. It looks like there might be some type of loose connector between the screen and the main body of the notebook. He hasn't taken it back for repair yet, but will do so soon. Apart from those incidents (one of them being completely accidental), they have had no other problems with the 17" PB.

    The biggest problem in their view (and mine) with the 17" PB is that for AUD$5500, you don't actually get a very fast machine. Ok, I know I've just invited a hundred zealots to attack me, but a 1.33GHz G4 will simply not keep up with a 1.8GHz Centrino or a 2.8GHz Pentium 4M like you might get in a $5500 Wintel notebook. The included Radeon 9600 video chip is top-notch, but you can't really use it effectively for gaming since the G4 chip isn't up to scratch. If you've been using Macs for 5 years you'll know for yourself what to expect in terms of speed from a 1.33GHz G4, but compared to my 1.6GHz G5, and one of the 17" PB owner's Athlon XP 2000+ systems, the 1.33GHz G4 is a bit slow. Take a look around for a comparison between some Centrino notebooks and some G4 PowerBooks. If you have a specific benchmark you're interested in, I can ask my friend to try it out on his 17" PB.

    As with all Apple notebooks, it's a really practical package with great looks and design, and of course it runs Mac OS X (which I think is the main attraction). Just don't expect anything with a G4 in it to be performance competitive with the latest Centrino or P4-M systems for a similar price. OK bring on the counterclaims.

    Hope some of this helps and wasn't just me ranting for too long ;-)
  4. Icekey macrumors member

    Oct 14, 2003
    Melbourne, Australia
    If the 17" is what you think to be the machine for you, I'd get it. It's the fastest powerbook out there, and it's awesome to show off. In terms of value what not, the 15" powerbooks are the ones that offer the most value for money. It's hard to compare the 2 side by side when you can afford the 17", but the speed is hardly noticed unless you do CPU intensive work, which I think is probably couple hours in a month anyway. Since you are considering using this machine at home, I would get the 1.25ghz 15" and get yourself a 17" lcd screen, Apple's wireless keyboard, and a mouse of your choice (since 1 button mouse is a bit annoying) and that should equate to about the same amount of cost you'll be paying for the machine. Maybe you could buy an extra battery even.

    I don't know where abouts you are, but if you're in Melbourne, I highly recommend avoiding My Mac which is the store near Flinders St Station. They provide the worst service, although friendly, and they lie to you when things get too tricky for them. Just my experience along with couple others anyway.
  5. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2003
  6. kasei macrumors 6502a


    Dec 30, 2003
    Los Angeles, CA
    I bought a 17" Powerbook yesterday and I have not been able to put it down since. I love this machine. You will not be disappointed. Just make sure you get a really good bag to carry it in. I bought the Brenthaven backpack and it works really well with the system. I have been dieing to buy a Powerbook for 2 years and I could not believe I was walking out of an Apple store with my very own system, not to mention this is my first Apple.

    I was tempted to wait to see if an update would show up in a couple of weeks, but I could not wait. I used my student discount and got $300 off. You can't beat that! I know everyone is waiting for a G5 release, but I know better than to buy the first system released.

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