OK, So I have decided on a 12" ibook. Now what?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by motherfather, Jan 25, 2005.

  1. motherfather macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I kept telling myself, the last thing I need is another computer. I already own two very competent desktop PC's (that I built and can upgrade at any time).

    And while I have always had an affinity for Apple, they've always seen too cost prohibitive for me. However I have finally come to the realization that if I want to make a serious go at film editing, I need a crash course using today's Macs and I need it as soon as possible.

    After doing a whole lot of research I have decided that I am going to purchase a 12" ibook. That was the easy part. Now all I have to do is figure out all the other details.

    First off, where should I actually buy the ibook from?

    Any recommendations? I've checked pricegrabber and pricewatch but nothing really distinguishes itself so much. I think I still qualify as a student for discount purposes. I live in Austin, TX. Saving on shipping costs and/or sales tax is nice too.

    That's just the beginning though, regarding the system itself...

    1). Should I go ahead and opt for a 60 Gb hard drive instead of the 30 gb?
    I already have a 200gb firewire/usb 2.0 hard drive I can reformat for Mac (and which I don't mind transporting when necessary). So if I plan on keeping extraneous video files and mp3s and such on the external drive or on my other computers will the 30 gb be adequate?

    2) Bluetooth. How necessary is it? I have a bluetooth capable cell phone and all, but I never bothered to figure all that out. I'm sure it's a technology that's evolving but would using the USB adapter really be all that bad if I decide I want it later?

    3) Of course I am going to max out the ram immediately. How easy it to install? I'm fairly confident when it comes to installing things, but I have zero experience installing laptop parts.

    4) I am planning on purchasing the 1 GB Kingmax ram from newegg.com. I think I am going to purchase the PC2700 version since it's about the same price as the PC2100, even though the PC2100 is technically the max that this system can utilize. The 2700 should still perform just fine though right? Does anyone NOT recommend this ram? If so what ram do you think I should get?

    5) Any recommendations for external Dual Layer DVD Burners? Keep in mind I don't mind putting together an external drive with a kit if that's a better way to go, too.

    6) Assumming that I am daisychaining the two firewire devices would this create some sort of issue when burning discs? I could use the hard drive through usb 2.0, but I understand that I should avoid usb when rendering video since it's more likely to drop frames.

    7) iDVD doesn't work with external DVD burners, but Roxio Toast is decent, right?

    8) I have a couple of 17 inch CRT vga monitors. That spanning hack I read about doesn't do any damage, right?

    9) What are the general thoughts about the apple care plan. How useful and/or necessary is it?

    10) Is the built in airport extreme likely to work OK with my existing wireless router at home?

    11) Any other recommendations on other things/accessories to get? I am getting hooked up on software from a few friends, so that is less of a concern. But things like carrying cases, an extra battery, etc... Please, fire away.

    Thanks again for any help or feedback!
  2. brap macrumors 68000

    May 10, 2004
    Apple store online, if you may be eligible for educational discounts. Plus, you'd need BTO anyway.
    1. 30GB sounds fine... I'd only say upgrade if it's to a 5400 or 7200rpm drive, which you can't do on the iBook. USB hard drives of FAT32 and NTFS are both readable. No reformatting necessary.

    2. Get it, if you don't, you'll regret it. Dongles are ugly.
    3. Piece of p**s. Lift up keyboard, undo screws, remove Airport, whack in the memory.

    4. 2700 is fine, especially useful to keep for if you upgrade to a PB.
    5. *shrug* LaCie is cool.

    6. *shrug* again. USB2 is crappy for sustained transfer, and I've not heard anything bad about dealing with daisychained devices...
    7. Toast is good, yes. iDVD works with another hack, IIRC.

    8. None whatsoever (been there, done that).
    9. AppleCare is useful only if you're careless, and/or don't have household insurance which covers stupidity. Most of the time, accidents will be covered, and if it's a hardware fault, make it look like an accident ;)

    10. Yes.
    Griffin Powermate is cool, I use mine a hell of a lot. Extra batteries -- only if you're going regularly on journeys of >6hrs. I never use my 12 PB spare, really. A carry case like the Tucano Second Skin would help keep it safe from dings, too.
  3. Jsmit macrumors regular

    Sep 10, 2004
    I would upgrade to the 60 GB drive myself. 30 GB is awfully cramped, and you don't want to have to carry around an external drive with your portable all the time.

    The iBook should work with your existing wireless network.
  4. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    Great advice in general, except maybe the part about AppleCare ... just wanted to add a bit ...

    As regards the monitor spanning hack, just beware that you should still probably not use the iBook in true clamshell mode (closed with only external monitor in use). iBooks vent a lot of their heat, relatively speaking, through their keyboard area, and running the computer shut could have adverse effects. This may not be an issue for you, anyway. I have no personal experience with this, just what I've read here.

    Remember also that when spanned, that's 16MB VRAM per screen. As reported on MR, you can't actually shut one off and allocate all VRAM to one screen. Again, may not be an issue for you anyway

    Lastly, I second that recommendation of the Tucano Second Skin case. They make a general 12" size, but also an iBook-specific one.
  5. motherfather thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Right, want's the point of this great new wireless technology if you have to plug something in just to use it?

    I think the thing I am struggling with is that it limits where I can then buy the computer from. Like Amazon has a $100 rebate and no sales tax, but they aren't selling a customized model with Bluetooth.

    But apple.com may be the best way to go anyway, especially with the student discount.
  6. motherfather thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2005
    Austin, TX
    By the way Brap, thank you for your very detailed reply. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond.
  7. motherfather thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2005
    Austin, TX
    So I take it that you would recommend it?
  8. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    I don't have it, but I plan to buy it, budget-permitting, before the 1-year standard warranty term is up. I know, extended warranties are usually the butt of a good joke, but with computers--especially laptops-- for some reason I feel more willing to pay for that extra peace of mind. If you are really not concerned, skip it, but I just think it lets you feel safer. It's the kind of thing where if you buy it and never use it, you lost a little, but if you don't buy it and need it, you could lose a lot. That said, I do not speak from experience in this case.
  9. motherfather thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2005
    Austin, TX
    How exactly does the waiting to buy it work?

    If you buy it towards the end of the 1 year warranty is it good for three years from that date or is it just for the remaining two years?

    (This of course would make more sense but hey... worth asking).
  10. mcgarry macrumors 6502a


    Oct 19, 2004
    I don't know because I haven't done it yet, but when I bought I confirmed it was possible. You do lose out on the free tech support from days 91-365, but I don't use it anyway.

    Buying AppleCare during the first year, even on day one, is actually buying the 2nd and 3rd years-- everyone gets 1 year-- and extending your phone support from the complimentary 90 days through the full 3 years.

    This explains:

    Plus there are a lot of threads here on this topic, including this recent one.
  11. motherfather thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2005
    Austin, TX
    Well, I decided to get the computer from Amazon. $999 with no shipping, no tax, and a $100 mail in rebate was too good to pass up.

    Of course, I am so excited for my purchase that I actually bothered to pay $22 extra for 2nd day shipping. I know, I know. Silly.

    But I want my laptop now! Heh.

    Anyway, I chose Amazon because doing a BTO at apple, even with a student discount, costed more with sales tax (pre-rebate even) and the two main things I wanted to upgrade I wasn't quite convinced were worth the cost. I think the 30 GB should be adequate since I now have 2 200 GB external drives (one firewire/usb 2.0 IDE133, the other one a usb 2.0 IDE100).

    I did want internal bluetooth, BUT throwing a usb flash style adapter into my laptop bag for the times when I want to use is is not that inconvenient or unsightly. Bluetooth is evolving too so I should hopefully be able to get a speedier adpater with a larger range by the time I actually have a use for it.

    I also realized that the external DVD burner may not even be necessary.

    Does anyone have any experience in transferring rendered content via an external hard drive unto a PC and burning it with a dual layer pc burner?
  12. deral macrumors regular


    Jan 6, 2004
    Kahuku, Hawai'i
    You can purchase the AppleCare anytime before the one year is pau, when you do buy it, then it just extends the warranty to two years from when you purchsed the computer. the date of the warranty purchase becomes irrevelent.
  13. maya macrumors 68040


    Oct 7, 2004
    somewhere between here and there.
    BlueTooth 2.0 will require the need of a dongle. ;) :)

    What is the use for BT when you have no devices to take advantage of it, if you do great. :)
  14. BakedBeans macrumors 68040


    May 6, 2004
    What's Your Favorite Posish
    i think what means is get it now (internal. no usb dongle) instead of adding a ugly usb dongle later

    dongles are ok if you have a desktop, it slips in the back of your monitor or g5 fine, but ibooks, nah :)

    as for doing full on video editing on an ibook,

    are you sure thats the way you want to go?
  15. motherfather thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2005
    Austin, TX
    I don't really think of a small usb flash-style adapter as ugly or unsightly.

    And the guy heading up the project that will be training me has been editing on a similarly equipped G4 for some time (though he going all out on a dual G5 soon).

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