PowerBook or PowerMac: Which Would Better Suit Me?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by m_melugin, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. m_melugin macrumors newbie

    Mar 9, 2005
    Two years ago when I was still in high school, I purchased my very first Mac: an eMac. I love this little machine, and it has served me well; however, now that I'm in college and am seriously involved in Web and graphic design, I feel like it's finally time for me to upgrade to a machine with just a *bit* more power.

    At first, I considered buying a PowerBook. If I had a PowerBook, I'd be able to use it at home, bring it with me to college, and I'd also be able to use it at work (I work for a web hosting company).

    The PowerBook would essentially serve as a replacement for a desktop; however, I've begun to doubt myself. Should I instead buy a PowerMac? Am I arrogant for thinking that a laptop can replace a desktop?

    On one hand, a PowerBook would allow me much needed mobility. On the other hand, a PowerMac would give me greater power. So which outweighs which? Which solution would better suit me? And is it really possible for a laptop to replace a desktop?

    Thank you in advance for your help.

    - Monte

    PS: If I were to go with the PowerBook, I would wait for the G5s to be released.
  2. buryyourbrideau macrumors 65816


    Mar 1, 2005
    even though i am fairly new to macs, i would definetly go with the powermac, the things you can upgrade for youre graphic design stuff would most likely only be able to be done in the powermac, now i might be wrong and i might not know what exactly you are looking for and how powerful you want it, but IMO just go for the powermac
  3. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    what it ends up boiling down to is your needs and wants

    a powerbook gives you the portability, and the powermac gives you the upgradablity and power

    its up for you to decide which is the most valuable to yourself

    personally portability was a huge thing for me when i got my powerbook
    and it still is, its why i will end up getting another 'book further down the line

    because i need to take me computer with me it ends up totally outweighing the idea of a desktop
  4. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
  5. MacHarne macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2005
    Virginia, U.S.A.
    The clear advantage of the PowerMac is the upgradeability. However, I value mobility far above upgrading because I am much less likely ever to touch the inside of a computer unless a part fails after the warranty expires (by which time, I've generally purchased a new machine).

    Plus the G5 is slightly more powerful for even web designing. I really have a difficult time justifying purchasing a G5 unless it's for scientific applications that whore the processor for continual renderings and calculations or for major HI-def editing purposes (think Final Cut Pro HD which soars on a G5, or for Logic Pro). However, for web designing or even major Photoshop work, you'll find little increases in performance with the G5 over the G4. A 1.67GHz PB is very powerful and should suit your needs fully.

    Bare Feats reviews G5s and G4 . Shows that the G5 is better, but I don't think it justifies the price over the portable PowerBook.
  6. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    The ability to take my entire computer with me, and keep my documents (and my baby) close is totally worth the cut in performance...

    It's all a matter of preference. I don't think you'll see any speed difference if you're only doing web design.
  7. jared_kipe macrumors 68030


    Dec 8, 2003
    I got a powerbook my first year of college, but I learned that I basically NEVER took it anywhere, but maybe to the college to work on things in a library. I am completely amazed at the performance difference between a dual G5 and a powerbook that cost a couple hundred more (after I bought a 19" CRT display). Heck I'd be willing to think the imacs would be even better than the powerbooks. Simple fact, desktops run faster clock for clock.
  8. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2004
    It all depends on how important portability is to you, and what Powermac you're considering.

    The new 1.67GHz Powerbooks are more or less equal to the performance of a single processor 1.8GHz G5 machine. It's a bit faster in some tasks (photoshop) and a bit slower in others, but overall, they're pretty much equal in performance. (remember it's 10-12% faster than the 1.5GHz model barefeats had)

    I went from a 1.8GHz iMac with 1gig (2x512mb) RAM to a 17" Powerbook to use as a portable desktop and haven't looked back. I use Photoshop a lot, and it's very slightly faster on the Powerbook.

    Of course a dual G5 system will be a fair bit faster, but the Powerbook isn't slow by any means.

    You said that mobility is important to you, so I would go with the Powerbook in your case. I went with the iMac because I thought power was going to be more important (at the time it was 1.5GHz max, and I didn't know much about macs) but regretted it. I was "lucky" and had a lot of hardware faults with the iMac and got Apple to swap it for a Powerbook, but I doubt you'll be able to.

    Something else you might want to consider is cost of running the machine and noise levels. My Powerbook is almost silent, but my iMac G5 was quite loud at times; I imagine a dual G5 system will be even louder.

    The Powerbook only uses 65w of power when connected to the mains, and whlie I can't find the specs, it wouldn't surprise me if the Powermac was close to 8 times that. (I'm sure I read that the iMac G5 has a 600w power supply, but then it has to run a screen too) While this isn't something many people consider, it could end up saving you a bit of money depending on your usage.
  9. plinden macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2004
    What do you use it for at work? I work in Java web apps development and several of my coworkers have PowerBooks. I share an office with someone with a Rev A, 1 GHz 15" PowerBook and he works 100% on it with no reduction in his productivity. I covet his PB (or a more up to date one, of course) and seeing him work on it, I know it would suit me perfectly, even if the CPU on my Thinkpad is faster.

    I really don't think /I/ would push a PowerMac to its limits and unless you're doing something more intensive than compiling a project 10-20 times a day, you won't either.

    Don't hold your breath - get a G4 and sell it when the G5 PBs come out, if they ever do.
  10. Demon Hunter macrumors 68020

    Mar 30, 2004
    While this is true it's important to remember that laptops are engineered for high efficiency... this gives them an advantage in certain tasks and can sometimes compensate for the speed difference.

    Make no mistake... the current Powerbooks are about as flawless as laptops can get.
  11. Palomino macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2005
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Seveal thousend dollars later.

    As other have hinted at it's a game of needs and wants.

    G5 PM = horsepower + upgradeable GFX, RAM, 2nd HDD

    PB G4 = portability + limited power and only RAM upgradeable.

    If you were to jump ship (come to the PC side) you could get an Athlon 64M based Laptop and have the hosepower and portability.

    Just some thoughts

    P.S: I'd go for Dual opterons if your seriously looking at a DP powermac ;)
  12. Eastend macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2004
    Nara, Japan
    Question was PowerMac or PowerBook, this is MacRumors I stress the Mac,
    are you trolling?

  13. Palomino macrumors member

    Mar 6, 2005
    Adelaide, South Australia
    Hence it was as an endnote, no trolling. You get banned for that.

  14. booksacool1 macrumors 6502

    Oct 17, 2004
    I highly doubt a 1.67ghz G4 would beat a simlarly clocked G5 (with equivlent graphics) in any task.
    The 7447 G4 is L3 cachless, making it much slower then a similary clocked G4 dekstop, let alone a simarlary clock G5 desktop.
    And, its harddrive is 5400rpm vs a much faster 7200rpm on most desktops and performance laptops.
    The only time I could see a Powerbook beating a G5 would be if the G5 used the 5200 vs the Radeon 9700 on the laptop. But most intelligent users would put in a 9800pro or x800xt.
    You are probably mistaking this with the wintel side of laptops. They use Pentium M's, which are high efficiency (higher then G4) and already usually higher clockspeed then a G4.
    Either way, a G4 based laptop would be far from a G5 desktop.
  15. Eastend macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2004
    Nara, Japan
    Very good reasoning, however to the question, he will have a hard time lugging around a G5, the PowerMac is extremly heavy. As to the wintel laptops, those that beat the PowerBook are also thick and heavy. Just an opinion, but do you really need this at work and school, if you need it for work, school and home than PowerBook, if you need more Power, than PowerMac. Just remember, the PowerMac can be just overkill if you do not use that Power. Obiwan, good Luck.

  16. MacHarne macrumors 6502

    Mar 3, 2005
    Virginia, U.S.A.
    I agree that the G5 is faster than the G4, but this test shows a very close race between the iMac G5 and a 1.5GHz PB. The 1.67GHz would do even better, if not surpass the iMac G5 in most areas.

    The G4s have been well-refined over their lifetime and I think now is a great time to hop onboard. The G5 PowerBooks are only a dream still, and I wouldn't hesitate for a moment (myself, if I had the money to upgrade right now) for a healthy 15" 1.67GHz PB.

    m_melugin, don't underestimate the ability to become technologically mobile when you're in college. I don't take my PB to many classes due to their content (it's inconvenient to take notes on a laptop in dynamics or circuit theory) but I use it every single day away from my dorm. Mobility is vital for me, as I am not able to study in the dorm atmosphere. I think portability is entirely worth it.
  17. andrewfee macrumors 6502

    Aug 29, 2004
    I have personal experience with a 17" 1.67GHz Powerbook G4, and a 20" 1.8GHz iMac G5, and the Powerbook is faster in Photoshop, and feels as fast, if not slightly faster, in general use. Of course the G5 is faster at some tasks, but overall it's pretty even. (and yes, I did have my iMac running at "highest")

    Yes, the hard drive is slower, but in real-world usage, that just means waiting a second or two more to open apps or big files.

    The Powerbook easily beats the FX5200 with its graphics card, it's about equal in performance to a desktop 9600 Pro card.

    The G4, clock-for clock, seems to be a faster processor than G5's, just like Pentium III chips, clock-for-clock, are faster than Pentium IV's. The difference being that the G5 chips can actually reach a higher clockspeed than G4s, so they get faster performance overall.

    Sure, the G5 machines look a lot faster on paper, but that's not where it counts.


    Add in the 10-12% speed increase of the newer Powerbooks, and you see them beating out the Powermac G4, and iMac G5; which is the exact same machine as a single 1.8GHz Powermac.
  18. Little Endian macrumors 6502a

    Apr 9, 2003
    Do what I did buy a Power Mac for power and an ibook for mobility. Get the best of both worlds. Really most of the time you won't need a powerfull notebook and all you need is something to help tide you over until you get to your real machine at home. You could get a refurb or EDU discounted ibook for cheap ore even consider buying a PC laptop to supplement your PowerMac Flagship.

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