Powerbook 12" or Powerbook 15" Dilemma

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by iPlm, May 10, 2005.

  1. iPlm macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004
    There's a big possibility for me to become the owner of a Powerbook, but there's this dilemma:

    12.1-inch TFT Display
    1024x768 resolution
    1.5GHz PowerPC G4
    768MB DDR333 SDRAM
    100 GB Hard Drive
    NVIDIA GeForce FX
    Go5200 (64MB DDR)
    Full size keyboard
    10/100BASE-T Ethernet
    FireWire 400
    Analog audio in/out
    Mini-DVI out


    15.2-inch TFT Display
    1280x854 resolution
    1.5GHz PowerPC G4
    512MB DDR333 SDRAM
    80GB Hard Drive
    ATI Mobility Radeon
    9700 (64 MB DDR)
    Backlit keyboard
    Gigabit Ethernet
    FireWire 400 & 800
    Analog audio in/out
    DVI & S-Video out

    Portability is not a problem, I'd manage to live with any of them:p Basically the first is a 12" Combo-drive with BTO Options (More RAM and Bigger HDD) and the second is the base 15" Combo-drive. I really can't decide. On one hand there's the bigger HDD + RAM, which are not so much more but anyway. The 15" has more extras, the bigger screen and better video card... backlit keyboard and other stuff, but I have no idea which should I choose. Help guys, I need your advice!
  2. gbulmer macrumors newbie

    Jul 29, 2004
    I'm the owner of a 15" PB 1.5Ghz combo too, and you will thank yourself getting the bigger screen, you may trade portability but it is worth it. It's basically a trade off between screen size and extra ports between form factor and being able to afford more ram and HD. Can you really justify that increase in HD space? FW800 means faster off-board disk transfers.... O yeah, S-Video out is very useful, super easy to plug into TV
  3. Ringu macrumors member

    Mar 20, 2005
    If portability is not a problem, go for the 15.

    I have both. I started with a 15 and moved to a 12, but that's because I currently value the reduced size of the 12 more. (I hook it up to a 20" display when I need more space, but that happens less than I thought it would).
  4. cube macrumors Pentium

    May 10, 2004
    I would like a 12" PB, but it doesn't have a PCMCIA slot for things like UMTS/EDGE/GPRS card.
  5. D*I*S_Frontman macrumors 6502

    May 20, 2002
    Lombard, IL
    Ditto on the Cube's comments. The CardBus slot can be very useful down the road. For example, Barefeats rated the LaCie CardBus FW800 as fast or faster than the PB's built-in FW800. If you are ever planning to do high-end surround sound audio or professional video, a RAID array of FW800 drives ON SEPARATE BUSES is a nice option to have on a laptop. Also, the Magma company offers PCI expansion bays that connect to your PowerBook via CardBus--imagine 10 full-sized PCI Cards in your laptop!

    If you are ABSOLUTELY CERTAIN that you will NEVER need CardBus expansion of any kind, the 12" might be okay--it certainly is a svelte portable. Otherwise, go with the 15", enjoy the wider display, and keep more options open down the road.
  6. iPlm thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004
    Thanks for your comments guys!

    I'll try to convince my father for the 15" then!:D I will talk to him to discuss whether he could afford to buy me the 15", if not I'll convince him for the 12"! Or if he could give another 150$ for 1GB RAM ;)
  7. zudo macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2005
    I'd go for the 15". I was making a similar choice a while back and the extra screen space made all the difference for me, I felt cramped in 1024x768.

    If you were considering portability of the 12" (it's SO small!) the choice gets harder but since you're not worried about that I think the bigger screen is much more valuable than a bit of extra memory and hdd space.
  8. Dalriada macrumors 6502

    Aug 26, 2004
    Moorlough Shore
    Go to an Apple Store and try out both and your choice will be made by itself.... At least that's the road I took and 15" rules all the way.... :D Good Luck !

    - Dal
  9. Mord macrumors G4


    Aug 24, 2003
    get the 15", it has more ram slots and the extra 20GB of a 100GB HD is not really worth the premium you pay for it.
  10. rkphoto macrumors regular


    Feb 1, 2005
    Just to confuse you a bit. I just got a 12" combo Powerbook last night and I love it. It's sooooo small but the lack of screen size doesn't bother me in the least. If you're not going to be carrying it around at all go for the 15" but if you're going to be taking it with you anywhere the 12" is really amazing.

    Good luck and enjoy whichever you decide on.
  11. iPlm thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 17, 2004
    Unfortunately, there's no Apple Store in my country.:( I went to an Apple reseller and asked if I could have a look at the 12" iBook and the two Powerbooks, and they told me, they will call me when they get them, and they didn't. Even after I talked with them for the second time, and they told me they would call me, they again didn't. This is some attitude towards a customer. Not to mention they sell at crazy prices, the 12" Powerbook base model with combo-drive is 1800Euro :confused: and the 512MB iPod shuffle is 135Euro! And it's not like people here are rich.

    I like that in the new revision 15" the combo-drive model also has backlit keyboard. Can you tell me would I have problems with 512MB RAM? I know the more the better, but still, without the cash... :) I would use the Mac for design (web..print..)
  12. TheMasin9 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 22, 2004
    Huber Heights, OH
    512 ram

    Backlit keyboard is nice, i have the previous rev with backlight and its really nice in low light, plus you can make peecee users VERY jealous when ur keyboard is glowing in a lecture hall and they are struggling to see thier keys. Muahahahaha. also, 512 ram should be more than enough for ur pb, and since its 1 dimm, you can always expand down the road.
  13. zudo macrumors member

    Apr 7, 2005
    I agree with TheMasin, I think 512 should be fine, I've yet to have any noticeable performance drops but then I haven't had my mac that long. And like he says, you can easily upgrade later since you have a spare dimm.

    An extra 512mb for a PowerBook is £40 including our vat from crucial uk, not sure how much in euro's but that's a pretty cheap upgrade to 1Gb.

    Oh, and the backlit keyboard is fantastic!
  14. pghas macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2005
    well, i decided to go with the 12" myself because I also needed the capability to burn DVD's. The 15" would've been another $300 on top of that without the DVD burner, so it was a no-brainer. I can tell you I'm ecstatically happy with the 12", although I do think the 15" screen is very cool. But size-wise, I think unless you need the bigger screen, it isn't any different from a practical perspective. And you will get more features for less money with the 12".
  15. xyian macrumors 6502


    May 24, 2004
    No Brainer

    I'd say go for the 15" all the way. The only reason I'd go with the 12" is if I always have my computer travelling with me. With the 15" you have an extra RAM slot, better screen, the super cool keyboard, bigger keyboard, better speakers, widescreen aspect(great for movies), and it's a little more expandable for the future(at least the wait for a good G5 book).
    I got the superdrive 15" model with a combo drive and used that money to bump up the VRAM and I can safely say it's worth it all the way. It has lots of processing power(more than my G4 iBook) and was a little more at $2054 but I have no qualms about paying this bad boy off!
    Good luck with the decision!
  16. deelerious macrumors newbie

    Apr 13, 2005
    I went with the 12" and a 20" widescreen LCD for the price of a 15". Pasting from another post I made in a similar thread:
    I was confronted with this decision just recently. As I was lurking in this forum and contemplating switching, I had my eyes set on a 15" and didn't even consider the 12" for being too small. To my surprise, I ended up getting a 12" and couldn't be happier.

    How come? I sat down and imagined how I would use it. I mainly do three things: day-to-day stuff such as browsing, email, IM, music etc; then coding and, finally, photo post-processing in Photoshop.

    For day-to-day activities the screen size doesn't really matter that much. For coding, it's not too much of a factor however it would be nice to have more screen estate at times. For photos I knew for sure I wanted a widescreen to better fit the Photoshop palettes to the side. I also wanted a larger screen since the images I typically edit are 4800x3200 pixels in size . This was the turning point when I realized that the 15" alone won't cut it for what I need. Kind of a jack of all trades, master of none.

    Again, this is for *my own* requirements. The 15" is probably the ticket if the built in display is all one ever needs.

    So that's how I ended up going with the most unlikely candidate, the 12" PB. I took a test drive at the Apple Store and then ordered one right after Tiger was announced while taking advantage of the Amazon rebate. With the money I saved over the 15" I bought a 20" widescreen Dell LCD, an Apple wireless keyboard and mouse and a Booq Powersleeve.

    I am very happy with this setup since it fits me just right. The 12" excels at portability and battery life. This helps me do my day-to-day stuff and light coding from wherever, be it coffee table in front of the tv, couch, bedroom, coffee shop etc. When I need more screen estate, for eg. while editing photos, I simply move to my computer desk and hook it up to the 20" widescreen LCD. I also have the old Windows tower PC hooked up to the VGA input of the LCD, bypassing buying a KVM, and soon will add the TiVo to the S-video one.

    I don't miss the Gigabit ethernet or the Firewire 800 a bit. However, if this will be your only machine, I seriously recommend getting the Superdrive. I cut corners and got the combo since I have a new dual-layer burner in a fast Windows tower that is now relegated to large RAID1 network storage device and DVD burning. I upgraded the RAM to 1.25 GB with a third party stick and got a Booq Powersleeve 12" for housing.

    Before taking delivery I was worried about the screen size. I never used anything so small before. After two weeks, I know I made the right choice and would pick the same combination all over again. I suggest you spend some time evaluating your usage patterns and figure out what you think would work best for you without giving too much weight to specifications alone. Good luck

    Edited to show math:
    12" PB from Amazon: $1350 after rebate
    Dell 2005FPW: $342
    Apple wireless keyboard and mouse: $106 after 10% price reduction during Tiger launch
    1GB RAM from Newegg: $135
    Booq Powersleeve 12": $42
    Tiger Up-To-Date: $10

    Grand Total: $1985 for a complete setup

    If you want to go above 1 GB of RAM I recommend getting this 1 GB stick for $135. Incidentally, it's on sale for $129.99 until 5:30 PDT today. Read the reviews on it, there are lots of Powerbook owners there that bought it, like myself, and were happy.
  17. shane-o-mac macrumors regular


    Jan 24, 2005
    I am a proud owner of the 15" powerbook you are considering. I purchased it two months ago. Owning a powerboook is an amazing experience!

    Here is my take, if your a student and far from a power pc user, forget about all the extras that come with the 15" vs the 12" essentially they are the same computer, my best friend got a 12" when I got my computer.

    It really comes down to the screen realestate. do you want more or less? the battery time for both systems is about the same. The 15" wide screen is super nice, however you trade serous portability for it. The 12" is an amazingly powerful little machine and so portable that being in school I now wish I had opted for one of those. Also, consider you can pick up an apple display with edu discount for $699.

    I know every one in this forum will tell you to get the biggest and the best, they always do, in actuality you would probably be just fine with an ibook.

    Hey, if it was my own money on the line and not my parents I would of gotten a 12" ibook and damn sure enjoyed the 5 hours plus batterly life and supper portability. Not too mention the Ibooks will be updated soon!
  18. MacandCheese macrumors newbie

    Dec 1, 2003
    24 inch Dell


    The Dell 24 inch wide screen is 1000 bucks. Will it work with the new 12 inch powerbook as an external display?

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