PPC or x86 PowerBook?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by JohnEZ, Oct 30, 2005.

  1. JohnEZ macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2005
    Hi all,

    If all goes well, I will have saved enough money for my PowerBook by the second week of March, 2006 :) (Yes I've done the calculations. Yes I'm that tired of Windoze). My computer is about three years old, and can wait about as long as I can (I generally get about 5 years to a PC)

    Anyway, the thing is, March '06 is only 3 months away from the 2nd quarter of 06, when some new Intelli-macs are to debut. I have seen many people with differing opinions on what'll be updated first... some say the PB, others say that Mac Mini and iBook. I dunno what to think.

    Anyway, leaving Windows out of the picture, I have compiled a list of pros and cons for buying PPC vs. Intel.

    1. With student discount, the price is $1800. I don't risk the price going up.
    2. I don't risk a change of design. I like them as they are now :)
    3. I will be buying a Revision E product, one that is reliable and works. With Intel, I'd buy a 1st Gen product
    4. Programs are readily available for PPC
    5. I won't have to wait as long.

    1. I don't know how long Apple will support the PPC version. God knows they're not good about supporting older versions of stuff...
    2. I will have to replace all the software I buy when I eventually get an Intel Mac. That could be expensive!

    1. I will be buying a machine I know is standard. Software will be available for it for years and years to come, supported forever.
    2. It could theoretically run VirtualPC faster. It wouldn't have to emulate the Intel processor.
    3. I feel confident with Rosetta and that it would do a good job with PPC-only Apps.
    4. Probability that it will be faster and run cooler than the PPC counterpart
    5. I will not have to replace any software that I had on PPC.

    1. I will be buying a 1st Gen product, which could have a major update within 6 mos. so Apple can roll out a new, "improved" Intel PB
    2. I run the risk of price going up
    3. I have to wait about 8 mos. from now.

    Even with these lists, I still don't know what to do. Remember, this purchase would be made in March, not now, so maybe the matter of 5 months or so would change the situation.

    Anyone have any advice?

  2. other macrumors 6502

    Aug 18, 2005
    The price will most likely not go up. The design, however, will most likely change. I've also been thinking about this, but what if you get one of the PPC Powerbooks, and when the Intel Powerbooks come, you think they look so much better? I assume they will probably have better wifi-reception too, since that seems to be a 'problem' with the current Powerbooks.

    Some people seem to advice against buying a Rev. A product, while other claim that they most of the time work very well. I don't know about this, but the Intel Powerbook will probably be much faster and have lots of new, cool, features.

    Perhaps a few pro-apps won't be availible for x86 right away, but what applications are you going to use?

    Apple will support the PPC for years to come, and why would you need to replace all the software you buy? Wouldn't the software maker just supply you with working binaries if you've got a license? I sure hope so.

    The real pros of Intel, I guess, is that it will be faster. Probably with other cool new features as well. From what I understand, Apple will probably release a Powerbook based on Yonah first, and then, around maybe 8 months later, a Powerbook based on Merom. The Merom-based Powerbook will outperform the Yonah-based one, by a lot from what I understand. I guess you don't want to wait for the Merom-based one though.

    Once again, I don't know how Rev. A products usually perform, but the price will most likely not go up.

    You would probably not have to wait for 8 months, because as you said, you won't have the money until March.

    I will buy the next 12" (or hopefully 13") Powerbook they release, regardless if it's an Intel-based one or not. I want a computer now, but the current 12" model is just not worth the money, and the 15" isn't either I think.
  3. mzlin macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    After three years, what's another 3 months?

    I would try to wait until June if you can. My prediction is for the Powerbook to be the first to get Intel chips because it is so overdue for a speed boost and so far behind x86 laptops in performance. Well if it were an iBook that went Intel first, that would be fine too -- then you can buy an iBook, as even with a relatively slow Pentium M chip, say 1.5Ghz, it would be better in raw performance and battery life than a PPC Powerbook (and yet the Powerbook would have to be more expensive, or otherwise why not swap the iBook and Powerbook designations, which is why I think it's nearly impossible that the iBook would go Intel before the Powerbook).

    Complicating the matter is that completely new 64-bit x86 laptop chips are due in the 4th quarter of 2006, and it is quite possible Apple will make yet another transition then. However given the lack of 64-bit-only applications, it would not hurt to hold on to 32-bit computer for many years. Also some are hoping that Apple may get this chip early and be able to skip 32-bit from the start.

    Given all these uncertainties, I would want to wait until June to see what Apple has to offer. At the very least, it seems almost certain that any Mac laptop you buy in March 2006 will drop in value in June, even if the new Intel laptops are as expensive as the current Powerbooks.

    All IMHO. Good luck.
  4. JohnEZ thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2005
    I don't know. The only thing that is non-negotiable for my Mac, believe it or not, is one game--The Sims 2. I wouldn't trust Rosetta with something so intense, so I'd have to get it from Aspyr. I dunno if Aspyr would be willing to do what you say.

    Thanks :) Your advice is appreciated, I probably will wait until June to see what happens. :)
  5. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    Figure support for PPC until 3 years after Apple pulls the last PPC based system from the store. And probably more like 5 years. Apple has it made it easy for most software companies to provide Universal Binaries so they should keep supporting PPC software as long as Apple does and maybe longer.

    And as for software, some companies will give you a free update if you're at the current version, and others you'll get a Universal Binary by paying the normal upgrade cost of the product. And you would be upgrading that software over time anyway.

    Neither of these seem to be cons.

    As for Intel cons, Rosetta can't handle all applications. It's restricted to ones that will run on a G3. Also, how long will it be before the applications you want will have an Intel version available? A lot of apps with have Universal binaries early 2006. Some will take until 2007.
  6. mzlin macrumors member

    Jul 22, 2002
    A couple of other things ...

    Since it was brought up, my recollection of previous Rev A designs:

    First PPC desktop - great
    First PPC laptop - bad, because kept 16-bit memory addressing
    First G3 desktop - great
    First G3 laptop - bad, because kept same bus
    First G4 desktop - okay, not great because kept same bus
    First G4 laptop - okay, not great because kept same bus
    First G5 desktop - great

    You can check lowendmac's road apples list for the details.

    Hmm... there seems to be a pattern. When Apple grafts a new processor onto an old motherboard, performance suffers. It's still better than the old, but not as good as it could have been. However, when Apple has a new motherboard ready for the new chip, then there is a big performance gain and the computers seem to age very well.

    We all know the G4 was just G3 with Altivec, and so G4 computers were not going to outperform G3 computers until the rest of the system got sped up, and of course in the case of the whole G4 line it has been pathetic with bus speeds moving from 133Mhz to 167Mhz over, what 3 years?

    Needless to say, Apple won't be using an old motherboard with the new Intel chips, because they can't! At the very least, the bus speed has to be 400Mhz (old Pentium Ms), 533Mhz (Sonoma Pentium Ms and ultra-low-voltage Yonahs), or 667Mhz (regular Yonahs and the Merom). So we will be seeing a performance boost for sure.

    As for reliability or fragility, the first G4 Powerbooks had the hinge that would crack when you dropped the Powerbook on it, but it seemed to only increase the resale value of those Powerbooks that were well taken care of. Also, the first Wallstreet G3 Powerbooks had hinges that wore out soon, and the 15-inch aluminum Powerbook (but not the 12" or 17" that preceded it by a year) had white spots on the screen, but these models were the second iteration on their respective processor family, which in this case would be equivalent to the 2007 Intel laptops. Basically, problems can come up in any design, not just the first of a processor family.

    Finally, even if we get Yonah first and Merom later, things will be much much better than any Powerbook you can get in March. The slowest full-powered Yonah chip will be 1.67Ghz, but even that would be faster and consume less energy than the 1.67Ghz G4. At the high end, it will reach 2.16Ghz.
  7. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005
    Please read...

  8. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005

  9. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    well if you're buying in march, maybe you should see what's available then. Or is that just too logical?
  10. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    If over analysis of something is possible, this thread is definitely a great example.

    Its simple. Plan on buying a computer in march of '06. If something new is around the corner, hold off.

    Seeing as how your not buying now, why worry about it? Its not in your hands anyways.
  11. gco212 macrumors 6502

    Jul 21, 2004
    Another thing: the current powerbooks are likely to plummet in value with the release of the intels.
  12. jaduffy108 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 12, 2005
    PB value...

    i would only add "very" to your ..."likely to plummet" :) I'm going to sell my 17" PB with 2 gigs of RAM soon...any takers? :)
  13. matticus008 macrumors 68040


    Jan 16, 2005
    Bay Area, CA
    Not going to be the case. Given a sufficiently large collection of software that runs on PPC only, people will be DYING for the last PowerPC-based computers...especially the portables. They won't want to buy new versions of the software that they've purchased this year. The only time the PPC computers will crash in value is when Apple introduces something that requires the Intel processors. Once the PowerPC becomes limited in some way other than not being the latest and greatest, then its value will fall.
  14. visualanté macrumors member

    Dec 28, 2003

    i dont think they will plummet....mac resale is huge and this is final ppc powerbook...its special and tweeked....speed isnt everything

  15. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    On a related note, I'm going to buy a new laptop in spring of 2008. What do yo guys think... iBook or powerbook?
  16. im_to_hyper macrumors 65816


    Aug 25, 2004
    Glendale, California, USA
    I think you should get the iPodBookTable which can store your Blu-Ray movie collection in HD.
  17. generik macrumors 601


    Aug 5, 2005
    Don't be misled, the current Rev E PB is essentially a revision A product. Significant changes has been made to the logic board, and it is starting to be quite evident from the issues users are experiencing.


    Now I'm starting to regret my switch... let's just hope I don't receive a lemon.
  18. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I think you should wait for 2-3 months after the Intel PowerBook release, wait to see what issues arise, and THEN buy it. Let the other MR members act as the guinea pigs. :p
  19. Bear macrumors G3

    Jul 23, 2002
    Sol III - Terra
    There is only a presumption that we won't see any more PowerBook G4 models. Depending on when the Intel based PowerBook is coming out, we could very well see one or even two more PowerPC based PowerBook updates.
  20. JohnEZ thread starter macrumors member

    Aug 14, 2005
    Oh yeah, definitely! I always overanalyze everything! Also, re: the plan to buy in March thing. That's what I was planning... but I couldn't decide whether I should set my sights on March and be let down when I can't bring myself to hit the "Order" button knowing Intel is nearing, or just wait longer (which I'm accustomed to. I'll just buy an iPod in the meantime :) )

    Spaceballl: I almost never follow logic. ;) Have no common sense at all, really....

    Once again, thanks for your advice everyone. Abstract, I'm thinking of doing precisely what you suggest... :)


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