PowerBook vs PowerMac

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by mncpeters, Aug 2, 2004.

  1. mncpeters macrumors newbie

    Aug 2, 2004
    I am looking to purchase a new Mac. I have always been a PC user, but have made the decision to move to Mac.

    I am debating between going Powerbook or PowerMac. I am interested in feedback regarding those that have gone through the same decision process, the selection you made, and your satisfaction with your selection.

    I will utilize most of the standard OSX apps focusing on photos, movies, and music. I am not a professional, however appreciate the "finer capabilities of a Mac." I am NOT a Gamer.

    What I need to know:

    Dual G5 Processors vs single G4 - Am I really going to notice a major performance improvement with most applications? It appears the G4 has been around for a while, so I would assume that the dual G5's are significantly better performers...but again, will I really see a major performance boost?

    I like the idea of the portability of the Powerbook (especially to control ITunes with an Airport Express, etc.) and would go either 15" or 17" with most memory and performance upgrades offered on the site.

    I usually tend to go top-of-the line, so the idea of getting the latest and greatest in performance that the G5 has to offer is enticing. I would likely get the 23" cinema (but would likely get one later even if I got the PowerBook today - I'm sure the price will come down in the next year) display with it.

    I've been trying to make a decision for a couple of months now, and I can't seem to make a definitive decision. I want to buy one now, so perhaps your comments will steer me one way or another.

    Thanks so much!

  2. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    i don't think G5 will make much of a difference for most apps you will use.

    personally, after having had my 12" PB for a year and a half, i will probably never buy another desktop: for portability and "disposability." i am moving across the country in about 6 months - if i had a desktop, i probably would have had to sell it because advancement of technology and bulkiness would have made purchasing another desktop more economical. however, since i have a laptop, i have no decision to make - i will just keep it and bring it with me when i drive across the USA.
  3. Rob587 macrumors 6502a


    Jul 4, 2004
    Orlando, FL
  4. TreeHugger macrumors 6502

    Jun 30, 2004
    I recently also switched. I switched from a 2.0 Ghz P4 with 512 MB Ram to a 17 inch Powerbook.
    All I can say is that I never use my desktop anymore, except for the occasional Counterstrike Session.
  5. clr900 macrumors regular

    Jan 25, 2004
    I think that a maxed out pbook (i would go with 15in) would be plenty fast for you and you would not miss the performance boost of a dual g5...however I think that since you do not have to have portability, you would be happier going with the dual 2.5 g5 which was very recently released. You could get a nice 23 in display and be very happy with this computer for years to come. And maybe next year if the pbooks make the big leap to g5 you could buy one then. I am doing the same thing. I have a dual 2.5 with the 6800 ultra on order and am very excited to receive it! And next year if the g5 pbooks are released then I will get my portability.
  6. DJY macrumors 6502a


    Dec 20, 2003
    Canberra AUST
    17" Powerbook user here since late June - and never looked back!
    Haven't touched my PC at home since - and even occasionally take it to work instead of having to use my PC or a work Windoz laptop as well!

    Was a laptop (Windows based) man most of my life...
    couple of PC's early on... and then a PC mostly for the past 18 months - and YUCK! Sick of it all - sick of Microsoft - sick of poorly designed hardware - sick of poor integration of hardware and software - sick of software conflicts - and poor software integration.

    Contemplated switching over the past couple of years - but then VOILA

    no regrets! I fell in love with my PB immediately - and now wouldn't switch back I don't think! I missed having the option of portability... so PB through and through.

    I wrestled with the 15 or 17 issue for a while - but very glad I got the 17!
    Both are great though!!
  7. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Seriously, if you don't do anything involving processor heavy tasks, or games, I don't even see why anyone would get a desktop. Even if they don't really need a laptop, the option of using it as a laptop is reason enough to get one if you're not doing anything intensive. A dual 2.0/2.5 GHz G5 is great, but it won't open or run iTunes, iPhoto, or most other apps any faster than a 1.33GHz or 1.5GHz 15" PowerBook. I say go with the 1.33Ghz Powerbook. I don't do anything crazy on my 12" 1GHz Powerbook either, but hey, it does everything I want just fine. Never had a problem.

    Just get your RAM from a place like Crucial or OWC, and you're set.
  8. dobbin macrumors 6502a


    Jan 28, 2002
    I'm also looking at getting a PB, either 12" or 15".

    Are there advantages to the 15" other than having a larger screen?
  9. Lincoln macrumors regular


    Sep 22, 2003
    A few

    The differences are

    On all powerbooks:
    Firewire 800 port - Usefull it want to add a fast external hard disk
    PC-Card slot (also known as PCMCIA slot) - using an adaptor can be used to read/write memory cards (e.g. digital cameras)
    Better graphics card - ATI 9700 instaed of Nvidea FX5200 FX
    Gigabit Ethernet Port vs. 100Mbit
    Full size DVI Port vs. mini DVI port (adptor required to connect DVI cable)
    Can take up to 2GB of mmory vs 1.25GB (using 2x 1GB modules - expensive!)

    On Powerbook 15" 1.33GHz:
    Optional illuminated keyboard
    256MB Memory (1x 256MB module)

    On Powerbook 15" 1.5Ghz:
    Illuminated Keyboard as standard
    Superdrive as standard (can be changed to a combo drive)
    Faster Processor
    Option for 128MB of Video Memory instaed of 64MB
    512MB Memory (2x 256MB module)
    80GB (4200RPM) Hard drive as standard

    All other options e.g. Superdrive vs. Combo drive and 80GB (5200 RPM) hard drive as per 12" Poerbook.

    Hope this helps.....
  10. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2003
    the difference between PB/iB G4 and PM G5 is something I can feel since I use my PM G5 all the time and borrow a friends iB G4 when on location for photography... the iBook boots slower, works a little slower but its not a good thing to compare these two, before I had my PM G5 I had a TiBook G4 400 and at the time that was running fast enough for me... then I used my friends iBook for a while (when the TiB got stolen) and that was very fast indeed... but now I got used to the PM G5 speed so all the rest looks slower ;-)

    since you won't be doing hard stuf like I am (using Photoshop files 700MB & 1,2GB in size & FCP videoediting), go for a portable you'll enjoy it more...
    get an airport or similar wireless setup... and surf from your couch, garden, bed...
    (I did it with my old TiBook, now I'm stuck to my desk, and waiting for the funding & release of the PBG5 ;-))
    and when you can max out the ram it will feel very speedy indeed

  11. JFreak macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2003
    Tampere, Finland
    it's easy - if you NEED the portability, get a portable comuter. otherwise, don't...

    when portability is not an issue, it would be interesting if someone were brave enough to try buying a powermac with a HDTV video projector, thus getting a 100" screen with 1280x720 resolution :) such a projector gets dvi input and costs about the same as apple 23" display...
  12. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    funny, i'd say the exact opposite. if you NEED the absolute best computing power available, get a desktop. otherwise, get a laptop... ;)
  13. mpopkin macrumors 6502


    Nov 14, 2003
    Chapel Hill, NC
    I would have to say that both the g5 and the powerbook g4 are both impressive performers and capable machines, i simplified the solution, i have a dual 2.0 g5 and a pbook 15 1.5ghz, it was not cheap to own both, but it solves that desktop vs laptop struggle, of course there are cheaper ways, i could have bought a ibook and a single processor pmac, but as i do a lot of video/photo editing the power presented by the top of the line pmac(at the time) and the pbook were too great.
    The Advantages of the Powermac Dual:
    1) More Powerful: 2 x g5 = lots of power
    2) expandable=tons of memory, pci slots, not enough hd slots.
    3) nice case
    The powermac offers peace of mind performance, security and stability in addition to powering its way through applications, with the release of tiger we will see a larger implementation of the 64 bit g5 processor and hopefully apple will release 64 bit iapps/ FCP 5 etc
    The Cons of Powermac Dual
    1) Cost
    2) HD HD HD: how hard would it have been to put 4 hd slots in like in the g4 tower, i mean the g5 case is way larger than the g4 case
    3) Heat Heat Heat: Caused problems and led to an immense heatsink.

    THe Advantages of a Pbook 15inch 1.5 ghz
    1) Portable: Not as portable as a 12 inch, but you get the power of a higher power processor
    2) Powerful G4: the Top of the line g4 gives you virtual pc compatibility/classic compatibility and good scores on graphics, video editing and photography
    3) Nice screen, Superdrive and more
    4) Airport extreme, bluetooth and more
    5) Stability, security and more: OS X is the Bomb
    THe Cons of a Pbook 15 inch 1.5 ghz
    1) Cost: It is expensive even for a student
    2) Battery: THe battery is better than some pc's but could use an improvement
    3) PC card slot, it gets in the way, it is annoying, and who uses pc cards anymore

    The Tradeoff between the pmac vs pbook
    Having both machines and using them both often lets me assess what i like about each machine and give a victor in each category
    Power Vs Portability: Winner is Portability: Pbook takes this category
    Expandibility: G5 takes this category
    Graphics: Tied up, my g5 has a 9600, my pbook has a 9700 they equal out
    Software compatibility: Pbook is the winner with a compatibile g4 processor, recommendation, hold out to tiger if you want better g5 compatibility, by then vpc 7 will be out as well
    Heat/Noise: TIed up, both machines produce some heat, but they are also both very quiet, so this category is tied up
    Bonus features for the dollar: Tied, two processors vs one, airport + btooth on the other, the odds are they both help you and make the computer a selling point
    Case: g5 wins barely, the pbook is a beautiful machine, but who does not love the huge aluminum paperweight that sits on the desk or the floor, does anybody know that your pbook 15 inch can sit snugly/perfectly on top of your g5 between the handles and let you run cables through the handles, it really is nifty if you connect the machines via network router for expandibility and file sharing, having an extra display helps too.

    Overall Winner: The powerbook wins in this case, and i would recommend that you get the powerbook, i have found that it is nice to be able to carry os x around with you and that it helps you do a lot of stuff with, the g5 is a growing platform and will be even better next year with new software that takes advantage of its power. but for now the old reliable, the g4 powered powerbook(not ibook) takes the cake. Just to help anyone reasses their choice of either ibook or powerbook, if you are thinking mobile, go powerbook it is significantly faster and more powerful and in NO way would i say or recommend the ibook over a powermac g5, the powerbook is in a similiar category to the pmac, if you want to argue ibook do it against an imac not a pbook or a pmac, they are in a seperate performance category altogether
  14. Jo-Kun macrumors 6502a

    Dec 20, 2003
    off topic (sorry for that)

    the HD issue you say about the PMG5 can be solved... G5Jam adds 2 HD and ProMax adds another 3 HD, so you can install 7x400GB inside your PMG5 ok you lose all PCI slots since you need 3 SATA Controllers for the extra 5 connections needed...
    but its possible ;-)

    and since the PMG5 motherboard has only 2 SATA channels adding 2 bays isn't solving it ;-) + they will shout about cooling risks adding 5 drives I guess... but hey it will get noisier then ;-) so whatever solution, there still will be people complaining :p



Share This Page