So I'm buying a new Mac laptop and I need y'alls help


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 29, 2005
Alrighty, I've read through all the threads (at least the few that pertain to my topic) and I just have a couple of more questions.

First, up until the Intel announcement I was going to buy a 12" PowerBook, but decided to "downgrade" to a 12" iBook after the announcement. This is really no big deal since I'm not a power user. I'll be a senior in undergrad next year with plans to go on to either grad school or to law school. I've been a lifelong Mac User (thanks to my parents raising me right) and purchased my very first Mac (for my own personal use) when the 17" iMac's debuted in Summer of 2002.

That being said, I've continued to update my iMac--I'm running Tiger, I have iLife '05 and iWork. I never do any heavy video editing stuff---nothing that iMovie can't handle, but I do use GarageBand quite a bit.

I'll be buying directly from the Apple Store Online since I have two $50 store credits (I'm currently on my THIRD iPod---I owned 1st Gen and 3rd Gen that crapped out on me) and I get an edu discount since I'm a student. If I go the iBook way, I will also wait until they update the line (be it tomorrow or in August).

So now that you have the complete history of my life, my questions for all you fine people out there:

1) Should I go with a 12" iBook or 12" PowerBook? Since I'm a student, I'm not rolling in the money I'm leaning towards iBook, but I do have a good job this summer and I'm looking to use this laptop for the next three to four years in tandem with my iMac (which I'm keeping).

2) How much RAM should I get (I've got 512 in my iMac and I'm definitely feeling like I need a whole lot more)?
2b) Should I get the extra RAM factory installed or go with a 3rd Party?
2c) If a third party, where should I buy from? I'm looking for a nice happy medium between quality and price.

3)I have an AirPort Extreme Station set up at my parent's house and an Airport Express at my apartment, so an AirPort card is a must (good thing they're coming factory installed now). The real question is how useful is Bluetooth? I'm looking also to get a new cell phone and I'm wondering how much I truly will use Bluetooth.

4) What size Hard Drive? I don't plan on putting much music on it. (Since I'll always have my iPod Photo with me and I can stream directly from it) I'm leaning towards a 60 GB.

Wow, this got long quickly. I'm a long time reader, but a first time poster, so I know you guys and gals have infinite wisdom in these areas, I'd appreciate any help anyone has to offer!


macrumors member
May 6, 2005
ibook vs. powerbook is the age old question.
I'll say either one you can't go wrong.
As a fellow student, I personally would rather have a ibook
at my own specs than a stock p*book.

Definitally go third party for RAM!
All OEMs be it apple, dell, HP, whatever charge way to much for it.
Crucial has guranteed mac compatible, and has some stuff for
cheaper that many of the user reviews state as being apple compatible.
1gb is the way to go. (2x512 for powerbook i think, 1x1gb for the ibook)
The OS factory install uses ~ 10gb of space, so for me I know 30gb isn't going to be enough. 60gb is a middle ground, as it gets overly exspensive at that point.

Good luck, as we all anxiously await the update.


macrumors 68020
Apr 5, 2004
Huntsville, AL
1. I'd lean toward the Powerbook, but I tend to be more of a poweruser than most folks. If you want DVD-R, you have no choice. If you get the Powerbook, though, definitely get the Superdrive.

2. If 512 isn't enough, try 768. The next step is 1.25 GB which, IMO, is a bit expensive. RAM is an easy upgrade, though. The best option, methinks, is to get the Powerbook w/ default RAM then upgrade to max from Crucial. Last night, a 1GB PC2700 SODIMM was at ~$200.

3. If you've got the cash, get Bluetooth. I liken it to buying a PC in the mid- to late-90s w/out USB. No one used it at the time, but look at us now.

4. Get the biggest hard drive you can afford. This is what will limit the future life of the machine more than anything and, as you may've guess, is the hardest to upgrade w/out sending it in.

Here are my suggested configurations:

12" iBook
• 256MB DDR266 SDRAM (built-in)
• 80GB Ultra ATA drive
• Bluetooth Module
• Combo Drive
• 1.2 GHz PowerPC G4
• Subtotal $1,174.00

12" Powerbook
• 512MB DDR333 (256MB built-in + 256MB SO-DIMM)
• 100GB Ultra ATA drive @5400rpm
• 8x SuperDrive (DVD±RW/CD-RW)
• 1.5GHz PowerPC G4
• Subtotal $1,799.00

Add another $200 for Crucial RAM (1GB SODIMM), and you're set. To me, the Powerbook would definitely be worth the extra cash, but YMMV.

Brother Michael

macrumors 6502a
Apr 14, 2004

Unless you are really going to use the features of a Powerbook it is not worth it right now. There are whole new laptops on the horizon and you have a lot bigger money constraints right now, a computer shouldn't be one of them.

An iBook will last you long enough.



macrumors regular
Jan 24, 2005
JW008, can you get a loan through your school for a laptop/computer? I know most colleges do this for you, i think its called a technology loan??? i know i'll be applying for one this fall for law school...if accepted (i definitely will be) i'll buy a powerbook (12")...if not then i'd go for the's much cheaper and you'll be able to do everything you need to on it.


macrumors 6502
Original poster
Apr 29, 2005
Hahaha...I just thought y'all sounded better than "your all's" or your guys or some combination of some other grammatically incorrect word usage. Thanks for everyone's help. I'm on a full ride at college right now so I'm hoping to get out without any debt (well, at least before grad school) so taking out a loan isn't an option.

I think I'm gonna go with the iBook and get the RAM from Crucial. 1 GB was listed at $130 when I checked this afternoon. So, now I just have to wait with the rest of the masses for the updates. Let's hope for tomorrow.

scarlets knees

macrumors member
Feb 11, 2005
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
i've been through a similar process and i went for the 12"pb for a couple of reasons but mainly because once i'd spec'd up the ibook to what i wanted it wasn't far off the cost of the standard pb. I think (but others will confirm) that you'll probably get more at resale for your pb if thats important.


macrumors 65816
Mar 8, 2005
is a state of mind.
Bluetooth is a waste...

What is bluetooth used for most commonly?
-cell phone

On a laptop a wireless mouse is nice, but an added expense and then you have to drag it with you everywhere and make sure its charged. I just have a nice optical USB mouse and leave it at home (sometimes bring it with me).

BT keyboard with a laptop? Only if the laptop keyboard size makes your hands cramp.

BT with cell phone? It would be nice, but you can buy cell phones that iSync over USB. You probably won't sync often so why pay more for BT and more for a BT phone.

I have BT on my work paid for it...and I haven't used it yet...

In the end if you buy a laptop with BT then you need BT accessories and the total bill for all that is $100s.


macrumors 6502
Dec 21, 2004
get the iBook. great machine. Im sure the updated ones will be even better. Get the largest HDD u can get. Those garage band files can get large, plus its always good to have a lot of space. Also, get extra RAM, and it will run just like a PB. The 2-300 MHz difference is nothing. PB is just asthetically better, and has a few extra features.


macrumors 6502a
Jan 14, 2004
Personally, I'd say go PB if you plan on keeping this for a while (and not go running to the Intel PB in 9 months or so). If you think this is just to hold you over for a while, go iBook.