powerbook vs. ibook

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by kuyu, Nov 16, 2003.

  1. kuyu macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    I, like so many others here, am a poor college student. But I am saving money to buy a laptop with. I already have an emac 700, and it does pretty much everything i need. I've gotten used to running my crt at 1280 X 960, so I think that 1024 X 768 might annoy me.

    Anyway, both the 'books are faster than my current computer, so that's not a huge deal to me. I have pretty much decided on a 12 incher, but can't choose between the two. I don't need a superdrive either.

    So here's my question: Is the multiple monitor support on the pbook worth getting one for? I always seem to have open multiple excel spreadsheets and multiple word docs. Expose helped with this, but two monitors for this kind of work would be soooo sweet.

    PS: I am a finance and economics major, so I will be writing a ton of proposals and figure oriented papers. I will always be using a lot of spreadsheets and such.
  2. kuyu thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Sep 16, 2003
    One more question. What resolution can an ibook support on an external display? I know it only mirrors, but if it supports a super high resolution, the price gap could warrant a HUGE CRT or decent LCD.

    Also, is there any way to make an ibook support multiple monitors ala powerbook?
  3. howard macrumors 68020


    Nov 18, 2002
    i'd go for the insides rather than outsides...

    if you don't need the power of a powerbook i'd get the ibook.

    if you really want a 2nd monitor you can check out the ibook monitor hack...search around theres tons of threads about it
  4. BrandonRP0123 macrumors regular

    Jul 28, 2003
    San Francisco, CA

    FWIW, my PowerBook 12" 867 will drive an external display as high as 1600x1200. I believe the latest iBooks can do this as well.
  5. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    iBook decent cheap powerbook

    I was in the same dilemma a few week ago. I was heading off to Europe for 3 months for a project, and needed to replace my old PB G4 400. I'd already tricked it out as much as I could (1 GB RAM, 40 GB 5200 rpm HD replacement, CD-R drive replacement), but still couldn't get around 8 MB of VRAM, and the slower bus!

    So I had my 15.2 inch 1.25 GHz Powerbook on order, but then the screen fiasco came up and shipping ground to a halt. Since I was leaving Nov. 13 (I'm in Germany now), after the G4 iBooks were announced I decided to get a 14 inch G4 933 iBook temporarily, then sell it and finally buy the PB when I return next March.

    As for the iBook, hacks to allow monitor spanning do abound. After disabling Apple's disablement (!) the 32 MB of VRAM does span 2 monitors - I had a 17" that I tried it on, and it allowed up to 1280 by 1024 ( if my memory is correct) on the external monitor. I'd assume that a 19" monitor would allow larger sizes.

    As for the speed issue, I've been VERY happy with the comparative performance boost over my old system. Did a quick test opening of 20 large JPEGs in Photoshop.

    With the programs already open on both machines, it took 42 seconds for the iBook G4 933 to open the files, and 164 seconds for my PB G4 400.

    Setup of each machine:
    PB 400, OSX 10.2.8, PS 7, 1 GB RAM, 40 GB 5400 rpm HD
    iBook 933, OSX 10.3.1, PS 8 (CS), 640 MB RAM 40 GB 4200 rpm HD

    So while more RAM on my old PB helped it in the test, and the OS and newer version of PS are unknowns, the real difference here was the 32 MB of VRAM and faster bus speed.

    To verify this, I found not much difference on simpler tasks on one open file inside PS (i.e. a 2.3 degree counterclockwise rotation on a 60 MB file didn't see a noticable difference between the 2 setups). I assume that the more RAM made up the difference for the slower processor.

    To find the screen spanning hacks, do a google serach on "extended iBook desktop" or something like that.
  6. joker2 macrumors 6502a


    Feb 19, 2003
    DC area
    Without the hacks...

    Without the hacks though, the iBook is limited to 1024x768 on *BOTH* screens, and the external display is merely a mirror, not spanned.

    There have been reports that installing the hack voids your warranty/applecare as well.

    Test both out. I personally found that the keyboard felt better on the Powerbook than on the iBook, though your mileage may vary. Both will run Office, both will do what your eMac will do... and with the 1GB sticks of RAM that just came out for the iBooks from a third party...(search for it on the boards) you can get almost as much RAM as the Powerbook (less 128MB due to the differences in what is attached to the motherboard.)
  7. CalfCanuck macrumors 6502a

    Nov 17, 2003
    Re: Without the hacks...

    I haven't noticed the keyboard on the iBook to be a problem myself. And I was sure the 1 GB RAM would be here ASAP.

    My biggest surprise was that the iBook was PURE WHITE. My wife just laughed at me when she saw it (since I often wear black). No doubt the Aluminum PB looks nicer.

    As for the warranty, it might just be Apple blowing smoke. How the hell can they void a warranty if it's only a PRAM setting that is changed? Just reset it before sending it in for warranty, if need be.

    The dual monitor thing was just an Apple hack to cripple the iBook, because it's such a great value vis-a-vis their Powerbook line (which I still would have bought for the FW 800 and 64 MB of VRAM if it was shipping).

    Dual Monitor support has been built into the SYSYEM for years (if not decades). As long as you had 2 video outs, the system would drive them (given the constraints of your VRAM).

    Since Apple wasn't going to rewrite their entire OS just to cripple this one computer, they had to do it via some fancy setup code in their start-up routine.

    Since the "hack" doesn't change anything in the system (whcih supports dual monitors) or the hardware (it's the same video card), it's hard to see this beyond a scare tactic.
  8. mstecker macrumors 6502

    Jul 16, 2002
    I agree. The "hack" works like a dream, and I'm typing this now on an external monitor running at 1600x1200 connected to my G4 ibook.

  9. jet_silver macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2003
    San Narciso, CA
    Spanning hack on G3 800 ibook works

    The hack lets me drive my 19" desktop monitor to 1600x1200x75Hz , which is a bit too much. 1280x1024 is just fine.

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