powerbook, imac or even an emac?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by atease, May 21, 2004.

  1. atease macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2004
    i'm ready to move on and do most of my webdesign stuff on a mac (instead of my desktop pc)... a lot of photoshop work, yes.

    i just can't decide what to get. i'm really thinking about getting a powerbook (17" maybe)... (doesn't use much space - i'd probably get a wireless kb and mouse with it) but looking at the price an imac might be even better. and probably better to use for stuff like photoshop. then the imacs are rumoured to get an upgrade. then there's the emac.. just upgraded and a very nice price.

    anyone who can advise on this?
  2. johnnyjibbs macrumors 68030


    Sep 18, 2003
    London, UK
    Macs are a great choice for that kind of stuff.

    I wouldn't get an iMac right now - they are in need of an update and have not bee updated since September (8 months). They are rumoured to G5 sometime soon.

    The new eMacs are sweet and affordable. Definately an option to consider.

    Mind you, if you can stretch your budget to a 17" PowerBook, you may consider getting a G5 tower (again these will be updated soon) - they will have more power and bang for your buck than PowerBooks. That said I love my PowerBook's portability (I have the 12" version).

    I've probably resulted in more questions than answers. The thing to remember is that any new Mac will do what you want it to well. It's just weighing up the options. I would advise against an iMac at the moment purely because they are due for an update and are quite expensive for what they are. Not that they're really cool computers though...
  3. yoda13 macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2003
    I think for the kind of work that you will be doing, the computer with the biggest monitor would be important. So, if you get a powerbook, at least get the 15" but I would personally go for the 17" if I had the cash, which I don't :)

    Emacs are a great buy right now, I would buy it over the iMac at the moment, but they will be probably be upgraded soon, so that likely will change things.

    My advice, if you are going to get a powerbook, get the 17" now, if that is what you want. But wait on the iMac. If portability isn't an issue, you can get a really great G5 for what you'll put into that PB.
  4. James Craner macrumors 68000

    James Craner

    Sep 13, 2002
    Bristol, UK
    I think your choice is very much dependent on how important portability is to you. The powerbooks are great machines, and I am sure you know ram is the critical component to make photoshop run well, more so than processor power (although a faster processor helps). But their is of course a premium $ for having that power in a laptop. Since you have the budget for a 17" powerbook, is their any reason that you are not considering the G5 Powermac?

    However having both a powerbook and a powermac (G4), I can honestly say that the Powerbook is very liberating. Being able to work anywhere in the house and connect to the internet via wireless networking is great. I tend to use the Powerbook more than I do the PowerMac.
  5. atease thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2004
    thank you all for your replies.

    the G5 is a machine i really want. but because of the price, it's not an option right now. i know, the powerbook is more expensive, but i'd have to get a nice monitor with the G5 and those aren't cheap either.

    a bonus for the powerbook is the portability. although, that's not really a must. but something nice, i don't necessarily need.

    i would have gotten an imac if i wouldn't had to wait for those upgrades (no idea how long it will take).

    the emac however... a very good price and i think even better specs than the current imac. maybe even a better price for its specs compared to an upgraded imac? i'm not sure what's holding me back on the emac. probably the size. it would surely work like a desktop (cause it is one ;) )...

    my doubt on the powerbook is basically working with stuff like photoshop and such. would i get the same results (ease of use, the screen) compared to my current desktop (probably using the wireless kb + mouse with the PB on a stand)?
  6. JasonL macrumors regular

    Feb 13, 2004
    Ware, MA
    You still have the G5 PM as an opion, especially if you'll go for a refurb. $1399 for the 1.6, $1599 for the single 1.8, $1999 for the 1.8 MP, and it goes up from there... ;) (from the online applestore, availability varies daily).

    You could get a G5 1.8 and a display for less than a 15" PB would cost, nevermind the 17" PB.

    Just a thought.
  7. atease thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2004
    thanks! but there aren't much refurbished macs available here (netherlands) and i'd rather go for a new one.

    oh. and i have a 19" crt right now. (i'm keeping the desktop + that monitor btw). a 15" PB or the 17" eMac would be a smaller screen, which is not that good either.

    i know, i'm very hard on myself... especially asking you all for advice.

    but any photoshop (or any other graphic software) users that have experience working on a PB?
  8. nyprospect macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2004
    I remember watching a clip about the director of lord of the rings using an older version of the powerbook.he was giddy as a school girl just talking about it.the newer versions of the pb's look great
  9. wide macrumors 6502a

    May 17, 2004
    It really depends on how long you want to wait. You could wait for the new G5s to come out, and then get a NEW Dual 1.8 GHZ, 1.6, or dual 2.0 for less money than it currently is, or you could wait for the new G5 iMacs to come out.

    The eMacs are slow--not only in the processor but in the VRAM (you mentioned Photoshop?). The PowerBook's 1.5 ghz G4 is also outdated, but with the 128 mb ATI radeon mobility 9700, you shouldn't have to worry about the processor that much.

    Basically I'm trying to say that if you don't mind waiting, wait to WWDC (end of June) and see what happens then. Most likely, the products announced there will not ship for one or two months, so I would expect a three month wait, minimum.

    If you want to buy the computer now, go for either a 15- or 17-inch powerbook--it will be fast enough for you and it looks awesome. Take my advice: don't get an eMac. They are already outdated in the whole scheme of modern computing. One option is to get a low-end eMac, for $800 and then wait till early 2005 after the MWSF conference and see what the latest would be. Motorola should be releasing some new chips, perhaps for the powerbooks, and the G5 should be in the powerbook at around that time.

    Just a thought--the eMac should last you about half a year from now till 2005.
  10. LaMerVipere macrumors 6502a


    Jan 19, 2004
    I agree with what many people here have said, if you absolutely need it right now, the PowerBook is the only option that Apple is offering right now that really can be considered a "good" deal.

    The eMac (and I owned one) is just not a good machine, it provides great bang for your buck if you are an educational institution, but it's composed of such aging components (CRT, slow G4 processor, graphics card) not to mention an aging design. Also worth noting, it has an absolutely poor re-sale value, at least compared to other Macs which tend to have great re-sale value. Spend $1000 on an eMac, but even a few months later only be able to sell it for $600 or so, not a good idea.

    Power Macs will be great again after WWDC, and an iMac G5 (which we can only hope makes an appearance soon after WWDC and starts shipping quickly) will be an absolutely outstanding machine as well! :)
  11. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    If you already have a 19" CRT why do you have to buy a new monitorif you get a G5? If your primary goal is Photoshop, and portability isn't a must, I'd get a G5. Assuming your 19" isn't dieing it will give you higer res and better color accuracy than a laptop monitor. CRT's are still better chocies than LCD's when it comes to image work (GFX, photos, etc.,.)

  12. atease thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2004
    thank you all again for the replies. they're very helpful.

    i guess it's safe to get the emac from my options list.
    still i'm quit a hard time to decide.

    good point about that monitor though. it's still ok. got it 2 yrs ago. i could use that one. but it's nice to work with one screen for each computer (especially if 2 people want to use a computer). that's what makes the powerbook look good, because i can hook it up to the 19" if i need a better screen...

    on the other hand... a new imac might be worth the wait.

    i guess it's either an updated imac or a powerbook. *sigh* yep, i'm horrible at making decisions.
  13. jemeinc macrumors 6502a

    Feb 14, 2004
    South Jersey
    Well, to confuse you even more, lol... I say screw those other guys- get the eMac !!! lol... Just kidding guys.... But seriously, the new eMacs are pretty good... It blows away my iMac- granted the iMac is 2 years old-, & it outperforms my powerbook ( although the powerbook is just about my favorite peice of equipment in the world due to it's combination of portability & performance- can't discount the convenience factor)...

    That being said I do see some of the criticisms of the eMac & understand them (the crappy speakers, the not so hot monitor, the overall girth & weight)... They just don't happen to bother me... For me it's just an indestructible work horse tucked away in the bowels of the basement ...lol.. The iMac is prominently displayed in the living room in all her glory for the kids to use... lol..
  14. atease thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2004

    well, the emac is off the list.

    the imac will only get back on if there are upgrades soon. for now i'm focussing on a powerbook or a g5. (btw, a 1.5 ghz 15" powerbook has the same price as a 1.8 ghz g5)... that surely didn't make it any easier...
  15. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003
    atease... obviously a radiohead fan, good for you...

    Get the computer you want, but let's not be too quick to dismiss the eMac. It is by far the cheapest Mac available and is not 'aging' when you compare it to the rest of the lineup (bar the faster G5s). It is by far the best valued Mac available, has a very good display (with better colour management for graphics work than an LCD) and at the moment has very competitive processing power even when compared to the current Powerbooks. Take a look at Xbench scores across the lineup and you will see that the eMac is no slouch. Not everyone needs the latest and greatest when something more modest will easily suffice for their purposes - assuming you're not planning on making an effects heavy blockbuster film with a full print marketing campaign and computer game spin offs on your Mac. If so, say hello to G5s galore, baby!

    And if you are worried about something like resale value, you should note that the return on the lower priced eMacs is proportionally far better over time that a more expensive iMac or Powermac. This is even more so if you get a refurbished or second hand unit at a cheaper price. The iMac may be prettier (and certainly faster if updated to G5s) but it will definitely be more expensive, and consequently proportionately lose more value over time.

    Anyway, whatever you do, get a computer that suits you best and that you will enjoy using - they're all fantastic. All the best!
  16. brap macrumors 68000

    May 10, 2004
    I'd also say don't dismiss the eMac -- it's dirt cheap. You could buy one now, as a stop-gap for a G5 Powerbook. It's almost throwaway prices for refurbs! Personally I've always wanted an eMac, but it's just not practicabubble with the amount of travelling I do; though if you have opportunity to go into an Apple store/reseller, have a play and see just how nice the CRT is.

    That said, if you're wanting ultra-hyper-awesome performance it has to be a G5. In the end, if this is simply a work machine you just have to ask yourself what you need, and not necessarily what you want.

    Ah, but maybe he means "a tease"...?
  17. atease thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2004
    ozimac & brap: yes, atease is indeed a radiohead reference. my site is called ateaseweb.com. you might know it (if you're a rh fan)...so i basically always use the atease logins.

    anyway, the emac... yeah. it's indeed very cheap. especially if you compare the specs with the powerbooks. i've been thinking a lot about those 17" ones actually. actually enjoying the idea of using a fast machine (better than my g3 ibook) elsewhere in the house or wherever.

    for stuff like photoshop and macromedia mx studio i could hook it up to my 19" crt.

    but then again... the powerbook is expensive. especially if you want some accessories.. the total amount just scares me and i'm back where i was at the beginning of this thread... considering the emac again.

    adn yeah. g5. if i'm correct... new g5s won't be availble any sooner than 5 or 6 months (?). and i do not intend to wait that long. not sure what will happen to the prices of the current (updated) powerbooks in the near future. so, i'm still having problems to decide.

    i just want a very powerful machine. (portability is nice, but not essential).. and i need a good screen. when buying a laptop i can use the external 19" crt, mouse and keyboard. when buying a g5 i lose the portability and the screen.
  18. Steven1621 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2003
    unless you need to be mobile, i wouldn't get a PB. for that type of desktop work, look for a G5. if money is an issue, you might want to check the refurbs.
  19. atease thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2004
    thanks. refurbs are hard to get over here.

    but you'd advise a G5 above the PB because of the performance?
  20. OziMac macrumors 6502

    Oct 24, 2003

    First I must say I'm a big fan of your site, and was one of the million people who emailed you in despair when they cancelled their second Melbourne show last month.

    For your purposes (photoshop work) obviously the more expensive the computer, the better the performance. However, you can still get terrific performance out of the lowest performance G4 chip in the iBooks (now 1GHz!). The jump to the fastest G5 will give you much better performance, but it really is a matter of degree - there's nothing that the iBook G4 can't do that the G5 could and the speed is not so blazing that it will save you a huge amount of time in the overall context of your work. As someone else said, it's not the speed of the processor, but how the user uses it :)

    So on that basis, if you don't want to outlay a huge amount of cash for the best available machine where a cheaper one will suit you just fine, then the eMac or Powerbooks (or even iBooks!) are worth a good hard look.

    Having said that, if you can wait (unlike me!) for another few weeks, you might find that after June 28 there will be a new line of much cheaper, much faster machines available for you to consider all over.

    But that's still speculation, and if you need something to go on now, I would say that currently the best value for performance is the eMac and the best value portable is the 12" Powerbook, but for your image work perhaps the larger screen of the 15" is better.

    Hope you get something that works well for you.

    I hope that you don't choke with all these options ;)
  21. QCassidy352 macrumors G4


    Mar 20, 2003
    Bay Area
    why do you lose the ability to use your 19" CRT with a G5?

    You are correct that the new G5s may not be available for some time after they are updated. However, as soon as the updates are announced, price drops on the current G5 line will be effective immediately. That means that if you could wait until WWDC, you could probably get a current dual 1.8 Ghz much cheaper than it is now.

    hehe, we're probably giving you more questions than answers - but you say "i just want a very powerful machine." That's a G5, preferably a dual. There's just no way around that. You're a professional doing heavy graphics work; a dual G5 will crush any of the other options - period. So my advice is wait for the new ones to be announced and then pick up a dual 1.8 for cheap.
  22. atease thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2004
    so sorry to hear you were on of the melbourne people. that totally sucked. i've been lucky to have seen them more often because i'm in europe. oh, and glad you like the site...

    but yeah.. cheaper deals on the current machines are worth waiting for. it will be either a 15" or 17" PB or maybe a 1.8 dual g5. that's what it looks like now... all depending on the price at the end of june of course. thanks for your help!
  23. atease thread starter macrumors newbie

    May 21, 2004
    not losing the 19" CRT... but the PB screen. I've got the CRT now. If I get a G5 i need to share the CRT at all times. with a PB i can hook it up if needed... but i can also use it seperately.

    yeah, that's worth waiting for. i don't really need the new line (although i do say that now... probably cause i don't know the specs of that new line yet).
    but hey... that's something to think about. thanks.

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