Power Book 12" or Ice Book 800 MHz?

Discussion in 'Macintosh Computers' started by Xapplimatic, Feb 24, 2003.

  1. Xapplimatic macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2001
    I have posted a comparison pitting the 12" PowerBook G4 867 MHz against the 12" IceBook 800 MHz laptops for those who are debating this choice of purchase.. Surprisingly, there is only a $281 price difference! There are some noteworthy hardware differences in key features that can't be upgraded later such as the onboard audio, bus speed, keyboard, optical drive speed, and onboard video and external display options which may be decisive factors for deciding if the extra $281 is worth it or not to go to the G4. (In my opinion, the G4 and faster bus alone are worth it, and the rest are fabulous bonuses!)

  2. howard macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2002
    i totally agree, the power book 12 is amazing and unless you can't spend the money, much better than the ibook. i wouldn't have waited to buy the pb12inch if i had known they would release one..it would have been perfect for me, and i'm not one to wait for the next best thing. i saw one at the apple store today and it was just to amazing. the keyboard on those are sooo smooth, i'm surprised there hasn't been more praise on the keyboard. but this is the best laptop i have ever seen
  3. Moxiemike macrumors 68020


    Jan 1, 2002
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Re: Power Book 12" or Ice Book 800 MHz?

    Nice bunch of info there. Well done... one of the most informative posts I've seen on these boards....maybe we should do something like this in addition to the Buyer's guide arn has started.

    I could see:

    PBook 15" 1000 vs PBook 17" 1000
    iMac 1000 17" vs. PMac 1000 + 17" ACD
    iMac 800 vs eMac 800
    Etc etc etc

    I think this would be infinitely helpful to some buyers who are trying to save a little by buying an iBook... i know if my friend Dug had the option of going with the PB12" over the iBook 600 he has (if there were comparable models) he totally would have.

    I remember when he was buying it was the iBook 12" for $1499 vs. the Powerbook 15 667 rev c. for $2499.

    So it was no choice at the time....
  4. Kwyjibo macrumors 68040


    Nov 5, 2002
    Superb job on the comaparison; you lay it all out quite clear but you are missing a few things that I think are important to note.

    You quote a 256 mb ram chip as being $50. Thats a bit excessive considering the average price for 128mb sdram for the ibook on ramseeker.com is like $20-$25.

    As most people know there is a spanning hack for the iBook which works quite well so the ability to mirror should not be an issue because after the hack both machines do it equally well. (It does void the warranty but you can undo it by reseting pram and nobody will know).

    I'm sure you've seen all the posts about the excessive heat of the 12 PB perhaps that should be mentioned too. From what is said on these forums and ThinkSecret, this causes the semi loud fan which is the same in both models to turn on more making it overall a louder machine.

    We have yet to see numbers about how the new powerbook performs in terms of receving both 802.11 b or g signals. From what i've heard the iBook still has the best reception of a wifi signal so this feature should be considered too. The bottom line is that it is still a powerbook so i doubt distance is much better than average.

    The more durable case of the iBook is a good point too, that was neglected.

    The software is also an issue to some people. How many times have you seen posts about people askign why appleworks doesn't come with a powermac or powerbook, personally i've seen lots. I'm sure some ppl don't mind buying it but perhaps that should be an added cost on the powerbooks price (a $49 minimum word processor cost (OpenOffice I think) or the $79 for AppleWorks) the World Book is also a useful feature and easier to use than even google.

    Not all users care about these features but some might and I think they should be addressed in your totals. That makes the total 1475 something for a comprable iBook and a 400 difference (powerbook and appleworks=1875) which is a big deal for some consumers. I'm trying to defend the iBook that seemed like it was kinda of biased against in the review. I like the iBook and after trying both (i was thinking about ebaying my iBook in favor of a PB) I'm keeping my iBook mostly because of the things I think that may have been glossed over in the review. For my money the iBook is a superior value and the performance isn't a big issue from what I tried. Otherwise your review was top notch old sport.
  5. MacFan25 macrumors 68000


    Jan 5, 2003
    I think that if you have the money, buy the PowerBook, but if you don't, get the iBook. I'm sure that they are both great little laptops.
  6. steeleclipse macrumors 6502

    Nov 7, 2002
    Re: Power Book 12" or Ice Book 800 MHz?

    Well done X... it is good someone laid out the (very few) differences between these two.

    I think that Apple created the 12"PB to cater to people looking for a proline laptop, at a substandard size, and possibly because these people are just too "good" for an ibook.

    I have seen it many times before.

    If you really break it down, no one really needs a portable Superdrive, and other than a few speed bumps they are the same laptop. I know I sound redundant right now, but truthfully, when I saw Apple release the 12" PB, I forgot about the ibook and "HAD" to have the mini powerbook.

    *sigh* The power of marketing :)
  7. zimv20 macrumors 601


    Jul 18, 2002
    pros for the ibook:

    1. it does seem more durable to me (that pbook screen is awfully thin)

    2. i do _not_ like the feel of the 12" pbook keyboard

    i bought my ibook in december, having no idea (who did?) that the smaller pbook was coming. i was kicking myself initially, but after seeing the pbook, i'm fine. that keyboard would drive me nuts. and my ibook still rocks.

    leading me to:

    3. after the purchase of 5 pro systems over the years, i finally got appleworks for free! lol

    (unmentioned) pros for the pbook:

    1. slot-loading optical is pretty slick

    2. nice having all connectors on one side
  8. dabirdwell macrumors 6502

    Sep 26, 2002
    I have one of the new PowerBooks...

    And it's great overall. It does indeed get hot, especially under the left side of the enclosure, but is seldom unbearable. The slot-load Superdrive is just badass, I can drive to the other side of my apartment complex and play streaming internet radio with the AE range, the screen is really bright and sharp, and the unit is sturdy enough for daily travel and bumps.

    The PowerBook is more stylish (opinion), and for me, a non-pro user, it is forward thinking enough to be my computer for ten years. I will be ready when 802.11g becomes standard, when Bluetooth replaces cords, when the G3 goes away, etc. etc.

    With the Superdrive, I can back up massive info quickly without a hard disk upgrade.

    I must include along with my praise that I have found myself thinking about what it would be like to have this unit in a 15" widescreen model with lit keyboard, 1GB RAM, 64M video etc.

    This is ONLY because I always want the new one and I am addicted to the 16:10 format.

    The 12" PowerBook is a super computer (literally) and is worth the difference from the iBook.
  9. BubbaTAC macrumors member

    Jan 12, 2002
    it is true that you can use a hack to get spanning to work on ibook, but don't.

    it effectivly halves the vram used for each dispaly (ie instead of 16 for one it is 8 for each)

    this means that Quartz extreme turns off. Hard to imagine, but plugging in that extra monitor will slow down you system. the cpu will start taking load from the video card because it will think you have half as much vram...not worth doing...

    the 12" is what I'm typing this on, an I love it. ibook is awesome too, and very dependable, but as new software comes out, the pbook will age much more gracefully (ie, still be usable in 2 years), I know the g3 is a fantastic chip, and altivec isn't the greatest thing in the world, but apple was forced to innovate when they fell behind in porc speed, and theyh did it by taking advantage of every feature of the g4. Using the g3, you lose the benefits of all of that...
  10. iJon macrumors 604


    Feb 7, 2002
    you have one typo. you said airport options double in prices for the powerbook. 99 vs 49. you are wrong. airport extreme cards cost 99 dollars and the regualr aiport cards used in the ibook has been lowered to 79, not 49 dollars.

  11. yzedf macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2002
    If the PB 12" could have 1gig RAM it would be a no brainer.
  12. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    It will.

    The theoretical ceiling of RAM for the 12PB is 1gb - "theoretical", because the 1gb SO DIMMs aren't sold yet.

    I can't wait myself.
  13. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    if you do internet, email, light coding and graphics...then all you need to add to the ibook would be the $50 extra ram making the laptop $1349 usd... before tax

    the before tax price of the powerbook at $1799 is considerably more and unless you need it, go for the ibook

    if you are a power user who needs to be mobile, then the 12" powerbook is hard to beat by any standards...but be sure you will need the extra power

    there is no need for the extra power if you never use it...there are too many people simply surfing the internet and typing word documents on a computer with a G4 processor in it

    i would use the extra saved money, if you get the ibook, to get applecare...which is good for lower end users

    the ultra high end users who buy a new machine every year or more often...of course, do not have the need for applecare since applecare's real benefit is from the beginning of the second year on thru the end of the third year of a machine's ownership
  14. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    I couldn't agree more. I render in Electric Image all the time, and it's terrific as a Renderama Slave to the Desktop machine. I use the 12PB as a client to the Desktop - even though it's faster (desktop: Quicksilver 733).

    If This were to be my only machine, I'd need the real estate of the 17"

    One interesting little thing, as a moveable version of my desktop, I not only synch my addresses and iCal items with iSync, but use FoldersSynchronizer for the files.

    Very slick for when you need to take your dektop with you.
  15. vniow macrumors G4

    Jul 18, 2002
    I accidentally my whole location.
    You'd be right if you were talking about the previus generation Radeon iBooks or the current CD-ROM iBook, but remember the Combo version has 32MB of RAM so Quartz would be enabled on both monitors if you were to do the hack.
  16. Xapplimatic thread starter macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2001

    All prices in the comparison quoted are Apple's standard Apple Store price for ordering with parts preinstalled or bundled with the computer... Of course certain parts can be ordered cheaper elsewhere and user installed.

    Again, this is a comparison based on standard options available directly from Apple, not 3rd party hacks.

    Well, if it's any difference, I've been using the PowerBook 12" for four days now, and it has neither been uncomfortably hot (no more so than my iBook 466 was), nor have I even heard a fan come on.. it's very quiet. There will always be people who have exception models--where their particular unit has one stat or another out of line due to manufacturing defects and flukes.

    There may be a slight advantage to the iBook because it's all plastic in this area, however, I'm not having any trouble accessing my Airport network at home, and the level indicator when on the other floor of the house is no less than that on my dekstop G3. I think this was primarily an issue for Titanium models. One would note that the Aluminum 12" antennas are not covered by metal, but instead a color-matched plastic tab on the side of the housing which allows for better signal propagation.

    That's questionable. The coating on the 12" seems to be quite more durable than the 15" TiBook. Metal is definitely more durable than plastic if it's thick enough. The hinge on the 12" PBook is very beefy, more like the iBook than the TiBook, but metal inside and out. Plastic cracks but metal only dents. I pick the PowerBook for durability. Although it does show finger prints and dust more easily, you don't have to worry as much about what cleaning solutions will do to metal as you do with plastic.

    Personally, I don't like AppleWorks. Not one bit. It's features aren't as rich as MS Word, and that's primarily what I use for productivity software, so this didn't concern me at all. The review was primarily all about hardware anyways.

    Thanks! Like I said, it was more or less an exercise for comparing the hardware so I could make my own purchasing decision which later I decided might be beneficial to share with the public since I couldn't find a similar comparison elsewhere. In light of the few features the iBook simply can not have, and the small difference in cost to have those capabilities (AP Extreme, 133 DDR buss, AltiVec, BlueTooth onboard, dual display support out of the box, and separate F12/Eject keys), I felt that the PowerBook was a better buy. Again, I would emphasize that for anyone for whom the bottom line is the bottom line, the comparison would be irrelevant because the iBook will always be cheaper nomatter what options are chosen (by a varying amount of cost)--the very reason why my college orders Dells not Apples. One is obviously the Wallmart approach, the other, tailored to professionals. Can professionals or high-end consumers use an IceBook 800? Absolutely. Will the three digit cost difference be worth it to them to pony up for the PowerBook? Probably.
  17. FelixDerKater Contributor


    Apr 12, 2002
    Nirgendwo in Amerika
    The difference in price is well worth it. Frist, you are getting a better processor, especially if you are using AltiVec-optimized applications. Second, you are getting better external display support. You are getting bluetooth on the inside, instead of an extra USB attachment, like you would need for the iBook. Finally, the PowerBook is smaller, while providing more features.
  18. spinner macrumors regular

    Jan 16, 2002
    South Dakota
    That was a great comparison of the two laptops. I too would like to see more comparisons similiar to this one between different models. It would be very helpful to buyers and especially switchers to have the info broken down in this way.
  19. Xapplimatic thread starter macrumors 6502


    Oct 23, 2001

    There are a few things I would like to add about the 12" PowerBook that I could not have known really without having put one through its paces which I think I will be adding to the review at some point in the next day or so I have to share.

    Keyboard downpoint: Minor, but the numeric-lock key LED does not have a window.. so the it can only be seen in dark lighting conditions as a faint glow through the painted key or as a glow around the key. In bright lighting, it is not possible to look and know if number-lock is engaged or not, the best way to know is to try to type and see if anything shows up onscreen.

    External display: Hooking it up to a 15" SVA external display brang quite good results (after disabling "recommended display modes only" in display preferences because it would recommend only the 800x600 mode where as the screen is 1024x768..not the PowerBook's fault, it's the OS's fault, but easily corrected). The lack of DVI or ADC connectors is not a problem I feel. This is the "economy" PowerBook and as such, is readily plug-in compatible with any "economy" external display. Most displays sold in retail stores are VGA plugs, not DVI or ADC, so I don't see this as a limitation, but rather, a plus.

    Combo drive: The slot loading drive can be intimidating the first time used.. It does not grab the disk at 50% insertion like a slotloading iMac. Instead, the disk is inserted to 80% and then the drive quickly snags the disk out of your hands and rapidly plunks it into the mechanism with a moderate clunk noise. It scared me the first time I inserted a disk and did not expect this behavior.. Ejection however ejects the disk 75% out.. so ejection and insertion seem to have very different properties.. not exactly mirroring each other in style. This is probably the same behavior on the Ti-Book and 17" models I would suspect, although I've read nothing noting it. :)
  20. patrick0brien macrumors 68040


    Oct 24, 2002
    The West Loop

    Thought you guys would like to know, there is no coating or paint on the 12. It's anodized(of course) aircraft-grade aluminum with a micro texture. So no paint problems, ever. And anodization, which is necessary to prevent oxidization drastically hardens the surface against damage.

    Unfortunately, the combination of the natural electrochemical properties of high purity aluminum, the fact that it is unpainted (thusly not insulated), and the microtexture all team up to a metal skin that loves oils, especially finger oil.

    Read: No McDonald's lunches within 20 feet :D

    I swear this thing all but literally sucks the oil off my fingers - it seems I don't even have to touch it! Small price to pay though for no paint chips and a damn hard skin.

    But it is a pain in the ass when I bring it to a meeting - all the ooh'ing and ahh'ing...
  21. ibookin' macrumors 65816


    Jul 7, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    Good Comparison

    I liked this comparison. I had a similar dilemma when buying my iBook over going with my 500Mhz iBook or a 400Mhz TiBook (rev. A). I went with the iBook because of the small size, but wanted the G4, faster bus, and RAM expansion of the TiBook. If there had been a 12" PowerBook at the time I would have bought that without thinking twice.
  22. rt_brained macrumors 6502a

    Jan 13, 2002
    If you are a creative professional, you will see a significant performance increase with the G4 that far outweighs any price differential.

    If you've ever tried running Photoshop, Illustrator, Flash, et. al. on an iBook in OS X you know it's an exercise in futility (sort of). The stability of the new OS is an absolute godsend, but somewhat akin to working in slow motion compared to those same programs running in OS 9.

    You're going to notice a bit of a performance increase G4 no matter what. But there are more mainstream computer buyers switching to the Apple platform everyday who will never have to worry about running 2,3 or more RAM-hogging software platforms and blazing through them to meet tight deadlines, and thus will never notice the difference between the G3 and G4.

    But if you do have those sort of requirements on a daily basis, as I do...take my word for it. I tried working natively in OS X on a G3, using PShop and Illus. I lasted about an hour or so before bumping everything back down to OS 9 on that machine.

    On the other hand, my girlfriend uses OS X on her iBook for writing and Internet browsing and email...and absolutely swears never to back to OS 9. In her case, the software performance issues never enter the into equation.
  23. yzedf macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2002
    you do know that there are 2 ram slots right? same as the ibook. apple chose to install 128mb max in one slot (made perm with a bit of solder IIRC). that is why there is the artificial limit of 640mb. that, and to keep people buying the 15" model.
  24. jefhatfield Retired


    Jul 9, 2000
    the regular G3 or G3cx chips in the older ibooks had 256k level 2 cache...but the new ibooks have the more robust G3fx chip with 512k level 2 cache plus the higher clock speeds

    hopefully, that should be enough for both os x and photoshop or illustrator...right?

    i sure hope so

    ..but i know the G4 has altivec which is good for os x and some third party programs, like photoshop and illustrator's current versions

    if the G3fx does not cut it, i wonder if apple could do with 1MB on a G3 chip...i can't see apple using a G4 in an ibook quite yet because that would be too close to the current 12" inch powerbook

    but someday soon, the G4 chip may be all apple has for their machines (consumer and pro) until, maybe, they get the ibm 970 chip for their machines
  25. macphoria macrumors 6502a


    Nov 29, 2002

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