Quick advice on PB!!!

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by ozone, Jul 16, 2005.

  1. ozone macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    Was in my local BestBuy earlier today and saw a 15" PB, 1.33 GHz, 256 MB (2004 update model), combo drive, on sale for about $1660 Cdn or $1360 US. It's an open box, but otherwise still new, and more importantly, should carry the manufacturer's warranty for 1 year and eligible for AppleCare.

    For comparison's sake, I looked at the current 15" PB, 1.5 GHz, 512 MB ram, combo drive, and I can get that after tax and educational discount for $2307 Cdn (I pay minimal sales tax if my university buys it for me for research).

    I'd have to buy Tiger, some more ram to push it to at least 768 MB, and iLife'05 to make the 1.33 GHz model 'mostly' comparable to the current 15" PB model. Total cost after tax would be $2050 Cdn.

    So, I'm only saving about $250 Cdn if I go with what Best Buy has. The advantages are: 1) no waiting around for delivery; 2) if there's a problem I can return it. The Best Buy staff have been pretty helpful. But I would not get: 1) hard drive motion protection; 2) no lit keyboard; 3) slightly faster 5400 rpm hard drive; 4) two finger scrolling; 5) slightly better performance.

    I looked MacWorld ratings and it seems that I would lose only a little in terms of performance because of the slightly slower processor and the hard drive. Also, I have my own 5400 rpm hard drive that if I feel adventurous I could swap in. I could also forget iLife'05 - not sure I really care THAT much. iLife'05 is about $75 Cdn.

    I had pretty much written off Apple until the new Intel based books come in and had been trying to get an older TiBook off of EBay to fool around with - good luck - they sell for almost the same that I can get this new AlBook for. However, all of a sudden, I have an opportunity to get a new AlBook (although slightly slower) for much cheaper than I normally would consider, and it would probably carry me through until the next couple of generations of Intel based PBs get all ironed out. I originally figured I'd go big (loaded 17" PB) or not bother at all. However, eventhough price is not an issue, I figure a current $2500 or $3000 PB is a lot of money to spend given the upcoming switch over to Intel.

    I was set on a new IBM or Fujitsu tablet, but they are in short supply and cost $3000. I do need Windows to run a couple of programs, but I'm hoping Virtual PC will be good enough.

    Any opinions on:

    1. Should I go ahead and get this unit from Best Buy?
    2. iLife'05 worth it?
    3. Is 768 MB ram sufficient?
    4. What about 1 GB of ram compared to 1.25 GB of ram? A local shop is selling 512 MB of PC2700 ram for about $70 Cdn.
    5. Am I just being stupid hoping Virtual PC will be okay?

    ... and no, I don't play games - don't own any and don't intend to buy any.
  2. Hattig macrumors 65816

    Jan 3, 2003
    London, UK
    I'd buy a 1GB SODIMM from Crucial for the laptop, regardless of whether you end up with the 256MB Best Buy or the 512MB Apple Store.

    iLife? I couldn't personally care less except for maybe iPhoto. I'd rather spend the money on OmniOutliner and OmniGraffle, and iWork, or an external Firewire enclosure with a large hard drive for backups and data I only need at home.
  3. VanMac macrumors 6502a


    May 26, 2005
    Rampaging Tokyo
    I would go with the more current PB.

    For $250 differnece you point out, you get quite a bit more.

    Also, if you ever decide to trade or sell in a couple of years.....the newer model will be worth much more.
  4. cooknwitha macrumors 6502a


    May 5, 2005
    1) I'd say go the new one.
    2) I don't use iLife at all. (apart from iTunes but that's free!!)
    3) The more RAM the better. But it all depends on what you're using it for. If you're going to do any music or video editing then I'd say at least 1GB.

    Can't answer the rest. :)
  5. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    VanMac... so, you think the $250 price difference doesn't warrant buying the one from Best Buy? I guess that makes sense. I'm still tempted to buy it because it's there!

    I'm comparing the Best Buy deal to the current 15", 1.5 GHz combo drive to be completely fair. But I also realized that I'm "really" comparing it to the 15", 1.67 GHz superdrive, which would run me $2770.79 Cdn after educational discount and reduced tax. You see, if I were to actually buy one from Apple Canada, I wouldn't buy the combo one, I'd go all out and get the decked out 15" with superdrive one! Of course, it'll have an even more, slightly faster superdrive...

    I already have an external firewire DVD+/-RW/RAM burner and so the only other thing I'd need to buy is Roxio Toast 6, which would run me about $100 Cdn (downloadable, no tax), to make the Best Buy unit relatively the same function-wise.

    The difference is then Best Buy unit at $2151 Cdn versus Apple Store $2770, or $619. The difference would be even more if I don't bother with iLife'05.

    I'm planning to pick up a large LCD monitor (say about $800), so the larger the cost savings difference, the more money I have for other stuff.

    Does this make sense, or am I just crazy and rationalizing myself into a corner? (Ha ha... my wife says I'm good at that...)
  6. 1nsanity macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2005


    Why aren't you looking at the 12 inch powerbook ?
    I mean its small ok, smaller screen but if you intend to purchase a bigger screen it could be a cheaper solution since the 12 inch superdrive runs for cheaper than any same Rev 15 inch.
  7. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    Yeah... I thought about a 12" PB a while ago and was pretty convinced it was the way to go. Except, it weighs in at 4.9 lbs, has no PC card slot, and I find the screen to be not as good. I figure for barely a pound more, I'll get a 15.2" widescreen with better brightness. Plus, I'm not sure I'm going to use the PB with a monitor at work, just at home (can't do work in the office - too distracting). And, the price I'll be getting at Best Buy is still lower by $140 Cdn than the educational price of the 12" PB superdrive.

    ... of course, the 12" is more travel friendly...

    I think I'm just going stupid here...
  8. Koodauw macrumors 68040


    Nov 17, 2003
    Having worked for Best Buy in the States, I would never buy an Open Item / Display item from them. You have no idea what they go through, how many people have poked / proded them, or what parts may be missing. I know the price is tempting, but in the end its not going to be worth the trouble.

    You really should go for the new PB. Dont get caught up in the here and now factor.
  9. 1nsanity macrumors regular

    Jun 27, 2005

    I doubt that. I just went from a 12 to a 15 inch powerbook. I must say I got a sweet deal.

    Also I was looking for a laptop that did not require an external monitor to be used properly!(12 inch is too small when looked from 2 feet(I'm far from blind and I don't want to become blind ;))

    Anyways if you want a 15 go for a 15, you won't be disappointed and ignored my last post too ;)

  10. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    I would go for a new PowerBook G4 - its faster, has more features, and is new (I am not a big fan of used/openbox systems).
  11. ozone thread starter macrumors 6502


    Feb 18, 2004
    Ontario, Canada
    Well, thanks to everyone for their input. You'll be disappointed to know that I went ahead and bought the open box from Best Buy, and yes, you all were pretty much right. What do I have to put up with?

    1. The area around the security slot is a little bit warped: somebody must have pulled on it hard when it was locked up.
    2. There is a minor scuff on the screen which is barely noticeable when the screen is lit.
    3. The most annoying thing is that the upper left corner of the keyboard ("esc", "1", "2", "q", "tab") seems to be lifted up slightly - maybe 1 mm. What this means is that when I first got the machine home and typed using those letters, I would push down and those keys sounded like adhesive tearing when released. My guess is that the keyboard membrane and underlying layer is glued down or attached someway, but that this corner has lifted a bit, and so it moves up and down more than it should. If it persists, I'm going to ask our university's Apple Tech to take a look and give me an opinion. I'm currently weighing those keys down with some soup cans to see if the underlying membrane can be 'reset'. If it's not fixable, I'll see if I can live the keyboard annoyance. Otherwise, it's going back to Best Buy.

    What did I gain? Well, you'll be happy to know that my earlier reported price of $1662 somehow dropped to $1499 between yesterday and today. This means I saved almost $200 more than I originally projected! Let's face it, the cheap bugger in me said no way I was going to pass up on this deal.

    Assuming the keyboard is acceptable... I have my first official Mac!

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