Powerbook... iBook.... Powerbook.... iBook.... Talk about indecision. :P

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Yotabyte, Nov 15, 2004.

  1. Yotabyte macrumors member


    Nov 15, 2004
    Perth, Australia.

    I am buying my first mac and keep getting stumped on whether or not to get a powerbook or an ibook. The fact is, I keep going for the ibook as it's cheap, better battery life, better wireless reception, more durable... but then I go and suddenly decide to get a 15" powerbook due to its bigger screen, nicer cover, much faster (HL2 playable one day?) and its nice aspect ratio.

    So I want a second opinion. Here is my predicament....

    I am getting rid of my desktop (sort of giving it away for some cash... ;)) as it no longer suits my needs. There fore, I need a desktop replacement. HOWEVER, at the same time, I need something portable and light weight to bring with me to uni and tap into the wireless network, as well as for couch computing which I have never experienced, but I've heard it's great. Finally, for games, graphics design, web design etc. It needs a little power in that department.

    Can some one help me reach a conclusion! I don't intend to get it until after Christmas as there is no point getting it this far from the start of the Uni year, and to give the powerbooks a chance to update....

  2. dotnina macrumors 6502a

    Aug 19, 2004
    As an owner of a 15" Powerbook, I'd say go for the PB. In the first paragraph, you make a nice argument for wanting an iBook, but it seems like you really want a desktop replacement. This is how I felt when I bought my PB -- I knew I'd go nuts with the 12" screen on the iBook, so I went for the bigger screen and sacrificed battery life, a lower price, etc.

    How willing are you to put down the extra $$$ for the 15"? If you're really iffy on it, and if the PB would really hit you financially, I'd say stick to the iBook and use the money you saved to pick up some extra memory, accessories, software, etc. If you can reasonably afford the PB, though, and you're willing to sacrifice some battery life, go for it.
  3. afields macrumors 6502


    Mar 1, 2004
  4. flahiker macrumors member

    Jan 3, 2003
    You might want to consider an ibook and a 17" imac. You can get both with superdrives for about the same price as the powerbook. It could be a great compromise.
  5. Stallion macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2004
    Waveland, MS
    I'm basically in the same boat as Yotabyte, though the smaller form facter appleals to me (I currently have a BIG Dell laptop). I'm more concerned with upgrades on the 2, and the next generation. One big question I have, is if the 12" powerBook has 2 slots for memory, or just 1 like the iBook. Having only one memory slot worries me from a future standpoint.

    My other question is if anyone knows (heard rumors) about an update to the powerBook line at the beginning of next year. If they updated the iBook, seems like the powerBook would be just around the corner. I have to wait till Feb before buying one anyway, so if a better deal on the powerBooks is expected, then that will help me choose.

    I hope these questions can help Yotabyte as well.
  6. ChrisFromCanada macrumors 65816


    May 3, 2004
    Hamilton, Ontario (CANADA)
    I just got my iBook and it is amazing and very cheap. Unless you are a gamer don't worry about it. my vote is for ibook.
  7. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    Some people have made some really good points

    1. wait until Feb to see what Apple release - the PB's are definitely due for an update.

    2. Getting an iBook and a iMac is also worth consideration.

    However I have a powerbook and I find the 15" an ideal balance between portability, power and screen size, and is the perfect couch computer for web browsing, shopping on the net or even watching a movie!
  8. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

    May 19, 2002
    It's the same layout as the iBook, with more memory soldered to the MB -- 1 DIMM.

    The PB12 has better video and a snazzy case... style is important for some people.

    The iBook12 has a rugged case, that is great for those who don't want to worry, or are rough with their electronics.

    The iBook14 has a bigger screen at the same resolution, so it's easier for some people to read than the 12.
  9. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Really, I'd go iBook. Normally, if you have to waffle about the issue, the iBook would be ideal.
  10. Stallion macrumors newbie

    Nov 15, 2004
    Waveland, MS
  11. dav macrumors 6502

    Jun 29, 2004
    I am having the SAME issue...

    I figured that I will get the 12" iBook, then sell that (should retain most of its value, it should not be a new revision when the powerbooks roll around) and buy the new 15" when it comes out. :)
  12. homerjward macrumors 68030


    May 11, 2004
    fig tree
    if you're into gaming you could get an ibook and build a gaming pc for about the price of a 15"pb
  13. nbs2 macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    a solid compromise, unless...

    I'd do what I did. Find a refurb. While the box my pb came in wasn't the cool black, but a regular carboard box with apple logos, it was the same shape and the same care went into packing it. I would reccomend doinng this sometime in jan/feb, but be warned that when the new model is close to coming out, it's hard to find what you want in the Apple store. I got mine 11 days before the speed bump.

    However, I must point out that my roommate has the same pb as me (he actually got me looking at an alternative to the PC), but has taken it back a couple times for service, and still has the big white spot on his screen. Me? nothing really, but there is a breadcrumb size white spot that recently appeared but plan on having fixed between semesters. Point of my rambling is for students, refurbs can be the way to go (and you can still get student priced applecare on it).

    The only risk is that you see a great deal on an ibook and face the same dilemma. in the end, think about it decide what just "feels right" and when it comes up, get it.
  14. spasticmutant macrumors member

    May 2, 2004
    Santa Clara
    I do all those things with my 15" Powerbook. I also bought a nice monitor for home, so I now can't do without the DVI interface and nicer video configuration since I use it at the office too. This eliminates the iBook and 12" Powerbook for my specific usage model. I use my machine at home and at work, so the 15" is quite portable, especially with the right sleevecase - I use the Waterfield sleevecase with the D-Rings and suspension strap. (www.sfbags.com)

    I agree that if you're already waiting until after Christmas, you may as well wait until January to see what the new models look like - plus, you may catch a price break on the current models. :)

    Anne Marie
  15. dornoforpyros macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2004
    Calgary, AB
    I've been considering the same issue as of late for me I'm definalty leaning towards the 14" iBook. Why? Perhaps the $700+(canadian) price difference between the 14" iBook and the 12" powerbook with similair specs.

    I figure I'll go with the iBook right now an then look into a more powerful desktop in the future but I needs a computer soonish.
  16. absolut_mac macrumors 6502a


    Oct 30, 2003
    Dallas, Texas
    I agree.

    No need to do major research, just look at the products that Apple has introduced in the past two years.

    Every new model is not only better than the one that it replaces, but cheaper too. So if I were you, I would hold out for the G5 PB if gaming is important to you.

    If you must have it now, I would get an iBook and use the money saved to get the G5 PB when it becomes available. You should be able to unload your iBook without too much loss.
  17. Yotabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 15, 2004
    Perth, Australia.
    Thanks for all of your replies.

    I get a $500 student discount on the powerbook (don't get excited, its in $AUD) bringing it down to $3500, this being the 1.5ghz model with 512 ram and backlit keyboard, superdrive etc.

    The thing that bothers me with Mac notebooks is their little problems. The "white spots" on the screens, the squishy gap between the screen and the body, poorly aligned keys, etc. These are very disconcerting problems to such a great laptop and a supposidly "quality" manufacturer. I am not sure about the rest of you, but when it comes to buying my powerbook I want to see what I am buying first, the actual product, and not be mislead. However, I digress.

    I had previously given the 12" ibook and 17" imac some real thought, but then I figure that i'd use one and just ignore the other. Wouldn't get my moneys worth out of the product that way! I even seriously considered just getting a 12" ibook, living with the small screen, and getting apple care, an ipod, and a bunch of other software to go with it and bump up the HD to 80 gigs and the ram to 768mb. But then I thought, why do this when I can just get a powerbook.

    So I am a little more focused now on getting the 15" powerbook and will wait a few months to see if they do update their line, or god forbid, release g5 powerbooks! Which I doubt. Come on Apple! It really can't be that hard to cool the G5.
  18. Mustafa macrumors regular

    Jun 23, 2003
    Shenfield, Essex, UK
    I've had a 15" PB for about a year, and have just bought 12" iBooks for my wife and daughter. My initial impressions are:

    1. The relative difference in screen size and format is not that important in practice -- both are pretty usable for all iLife-type applications, although critical Photoshop actions will continue to send me to my Cinema Display.

    2. The most noticeable difference is in viewing angle -- the iBook is much more critical and really demands a straight ahead viewing position.

    3. There is not much in the weight/size 'toteability' equation. You'll find either equally easy or irksome to carry around.

    4. If look and style are important to you, both will satisfy -- in their own distinctive ways. Suffice to say both wife and daughter are delighted with their iBooks -- I'm still happy with my PB choice.

    5. There may be performance differences on the test bench or in hyper-demanding applications, but for 'average' users, neither will let you down. Having said that, I've maxxed the RAM and HD on all three machines.

    6. Airport reception and battery life are significantly better on the iBook.

    Of course there's territory where the iBook cannot go, burning DVD's, installing cards, etc., but if these things are in your must-haves, maybe the 12" PB should be on your list for consideration, too.
  19. aricher macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2004
    As a previous iBook owner and a current PB 17" owner I can say that you really need to think hard about what you are going to do with this machine. I didn't used to burn DVDs of movies and slideshows a few years ago but I have stepped up to that level and do these things weekly nowadays. The flexibilty of the PB lets me do things the iBook could not have done. It's all user-subjective.
  20. DanTekGeek macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2004
    Denver, CO
    sorry to thread hijack, but i too have some questions.
    how much difference in battery life is there between lets say a 15" pb and 14" ib. im talking about running just basic applications, like word. also, how hindered is the powerbooks airport connectivity? is it really bad? i have problems connecting on my current pc laptop. and really dont want to be in the same positon. ive settled on a powerbook, but id like to here if im missiong out on anything. :confused:
  21. stevehaslip macrumors 6502a


    Apr 30, 2004
    The Ocean Floor
    I have a 12" Powerbook and the airport reception isn't really bad, people make a big deal out of it. Its not bad at all, its just not quite as good as the iBooks. You will easily get a signal most places and if not then you are being a bit hopefully for any laptop. I wouldn't get the 14" powerbook its got a crap resolution for a 14" screen. 1024x768 used to be the norm for a 14" screen but now compared to windows laptops its lagging behind a little. If you are getting an iBook you may as well get the 12" because it has the same res screen. For basic apps a 15" might be a little overkill but thats not always a bad thing, it will last.
  22. DanTekGeek macrumors 6502

    Nov 11, 2004
    Denver, CO
    yeah, when i said basic apps, i meant that would be what would be running under battery power. at home, ill be running 6 or 7 apps at a time, plus the occasional photoshop or CAD session. :)
  23. efoto macrumors 68030

    Nov 16, 2004
    Cloud 9 (-6)
    I definitly agree that the PB line is due for an update, however if the update is announced in Jan. which we all hope, when would be the earliest that you think I could feasibly attain one?
    I am leaving for Europe late March and was wondering how long I could postpone ordering and still assure myself a book before I leave.
    Thanks...hopefully not a thread stealer :eek:
  24. Yotabyte thread starter macrumors member


    Nov 15, 2004
    Perth, Australia.
    My original question has already been fully answered so there is nothing left to hijack! To my knowledge, the powerbook's battery life is not so great. I doubt that you could actually watch an entire DVD movie on a plane (well, certainly not lord of the rings) without it running out of power. I'd say if you're just going to be using a laptop for word processing, the occasional lowish-intensity graphics design, then the ibook is fine. A friend of mine uses the ibook for photoshop and it's still not that bad, just as long as you're not dealing with large files.

    I've read reviews of the powerbooks battery life. Even with everything powered down, including the HDD after a minute, airport and bluetooth off, the screen off and just running the barest of bare, the powerbook only manages to get just over 3 hours of battery life. This is a disappointing figure and one well below the 4.5 hours apple alluded to. The ibook on the other hand, I have no exact figures for it, but as it's running less current-drawing hardware, would certainly blitz the powerbook in battery performance.

    Extra note: Powerbook battery times were for the 15" model, not the 12" model.
  25. mumbles27 macrumors newbie

    Nov 3, 2004
    London N4
    ..and the likelyness of this? a PBG5..? I've been advised that shoe horning a G5, with its heat problems, would be very difficult?

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