Switching from PC to PB?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips, Advice and Discussion (archive)' started by Furrybeagle, Oct 13, 2004.

  1. Furrybeagle macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2004
    Here's the story. I have a Dell Laptop (Inspiron 8200 for anyone who knows Dell), 1.6GHz Pentium 4-M, 512MB Ram, Radeon 9000 Mobility 64MB, and a Hitachi 60GB 7200 RPM HD. Personally I'm tired of breaking my back carrting this thing, its loosing some of its edge, and, of course, it uses Windows, which I'm definately tired of.

    So I was looking at the PowerBook 15" 1.5GHz listed on the Apple site, with the differences being 128MB RAM on the Grpahics Card.

    Though there are still a few things I'm unsure of before I make the switch. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I can extend my warranty (as in get Applecare) right before my base warranty is finished even if something happens to my Powerbook? (they fixed something under warranty on my dell once and then I couldn't extend the warrany after that)? The second thing is whether I can put a Superdrive into my apple if I decided I dont need that right now, and whether I can put a 7200 RPM drive from my PC (after format) into my Apple.

    The only other question I would have would be whether MacOS can change keyboard layouts. On my PC I occasionaly type in Spanish, and changing the keyboard layout makes my keyboard like one that would be used in a spanish speaking country, where you can insert accented keys by typing, for instance, a + the ' symbol.

    Also, would the Apple run as fast or faster than my current PC, in any games, photoshop/illustrator, and basic desktop and desktop app use? I don't particulary want to get a SLOWER machine.

    Otherwise, I am guessing that making the switch would be the right thing to do, since I mostly use my computer from lots of documents, and sometimes photoshop and sometimes games (mostly graphically intensive, games like Halo, The Sims 2, Knights of the Old Republic, Splinter Cell, Simcity are all games I would purchase).

    Wow, that was a lot. :p Any advice what-so-ever would be greatly appreciated! :)
  2. iBert macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2004
    I haven't checked on modifying the layout of the keyboard, but I think the OS will modify the keyboard if you change the language on the system. One good thing is that OS X comes with a bunch of different languages. Their is also a feature with the fonts, where you can add the letters you use most that are not on the keyboard. I think their should be a way of doing what you want. But I haven't checked it out. Shame on me, since half the day i'm switching between english and spanish. Sometimes I just keep speaking spanish were they don't understand me. If someone knows about this, please help us (or me). :D
  3. Furrybeagle thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2004
    That keyboard thing sounds good. And you can actually change the language of the OS itself? The only thing is Windows is typing in a different language. For me thats useless, but it's still fun doing things in languages that you cant understand!
  4. yoda13 macrumors 65816


    Sep 26, 2003
    I just got the computer that you are talking about, and while I can't answer all of your questions, KOTOR plays really well, but that is the only game that I have played since I got it. However, simcity should play well as well, as I played it on my previous 12" PB. Good luck, make the switch.
  5. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    This question right here is likely to start a drawn out argument. :D

    My experience has been that some apps seem to run faster (on my 1.25GHz PB), and some run noticably slower. It is probably more a function of how well the app's author writes for the platform than anything else. MS Office most definitely runs (or at least launches) SLOWER on OS X. Photoshop works well on either platform.

    But (again in my opinion) the OS itself works much more smoothly than Windows. Multitasking just works better. Installs (and uninstalls) are simpler. Many devices won't require any driver installation. Sleep works more smoothly. And so on...

    Don't know about games, personally. I would expect that game performance on OS X might be a bit disappointing; but that's just a guess.
  6. Furrybeagle thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2004
    I'm certain now that desktop apps will run nice and smooth. The games seem to be giving me mixed answers. Some people seem to be getting terrible performance on powerufl systems, while other people say that the games run pretty good.

    yoda13, what is KOTOR set to in graphics? I got it for my PC a while back and I couldnt even turn on things like shadows and the glow effect (like of the sun reflecting on metal). It performed terrible too. I'm guessing it didnt recognize my graphics card. Also had a similar problem with the first splinter cell. Thats what you get with so many hardware configurations, which is an advantage for macs, not 20 components mixed in with 20 vendors.

    Good to hear standby works better too. :D
  7. ZaniCWB macrumors member


    Mar 16, 2004
    About the keyboard...

    I type in portuguese everyday, and as you may know, there are a lot of accents... check Rainer Brockerhoff's site for the US International Keyboard layout.
  8. puckhead193 macrumors G3


    May 25, 2004
    I two *almost* have the same computer (aren't we cool :p ) I love my powerbook and recommand it to everyone. I would get rid of that paper-weight ASAP!
    I think its plenty powerful for what you want to do. I run FCE (final cut express) and its not slow at all....
  9. panda macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2004
    a few pieces

    1) on the keyboard question- you can choose almost any language you wish for the keyboard and switch them at the touch of a button. a litttle flag showing the country's language appears in the bar at the top of the page. cool and simple.

    2) vendors- totlly correct you are. the BEST thing about mac is that all the help you need is at one place. so hardare/software are seemlessly dealt with. the support is awesome.

    3) speed- can't compare your machines, but totally reccomend the pbook. it is brilliant. perhaps the next rev will have an even faster (7200rpm) hd as an option.

    can only support you on your choice.


  10. panda macrumors regular

    Mar 15, 2004
    a few (more) pieces

    forgot to mention.

    you may want to consider a spanish keyboard option when you buy. then you will have all you need accent-wise right there.

    i use danish and have all i need for english and danish. danish is querty, but i do not know about spanish, it may be azerty, like french. to be checked...

    querty refers to the first (left) five letters on the keboard. using a setup you are not used to can be confusing.

  11. Zaty macrumors 65816

    Mar 14, 2004
    With regard to the speed of the PB: A 1.5 GHz G4 is more powerful than a 1.6 GHz P4-M in raw CPU speed. However, the Dell probably has a faster bus than the PB (G4s only support bus speeds up to 167 MHz) so in overall performance, the Dell might be faster. OTH, the PB has a much more powerful graphics chip. I'd like to point out something that seems important to me: PBs aren't the most powerful portables available on the market but they're well designed and finished and above all, they run an OS that is more modern, more stable and more secure than Win XP.
  12. kiwi-in-uk macrumors 6502a

    Sep 22, 2004
    I still have a Toshiba Tecra (see my signature) with similar specs to your Dell, and switched in March this year to get away from Windows.

    I have found my 1.33 PB to be about the same speed as the Toshiba for day to day Office work (as you would expect - I can't type at warp speed!) with the exception that I can have many many more documents open on the PB without losing stability, as I would have done on the Toshiba. Especially when working with several Office documents concurrently with Illustrator.

    In summary, the 1.33 PB is faster with some things, slower with others, but easier to use and much much more stable - and (for me anyway) that negates all questions of speed.
  13. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    As for gaming, windows IS better.
    But the GPU in the powerbook (rad9700) is far superior than the
    rad9000 GPU in the inspirion.
    I think the powerbook would be a little better.

    I use different keybords layouts often (living in norway and we have a few special chars like æ ø å..), not a problem..

    For photoshop and most tasks you won't notice much speed difference (unless your inspiron was boggled down with adware, spyware, etc..)

    If you tend to use many apps at the same time, the mac wins, it has superior multitaking abilities compared to windows..
  14. Furrybeagle thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2004
    Sounds good then. Before I couldnt consider getting another PC, but the mac had me worried. One of the reasons I considered the Powerbook was because there was no PC with a similar design. For a graphics chip like in the Apple, you would have to get something heavier than my Inspiron. The PB is thin, made aluminum, lightup keyboard, widescreen, slotloading drive, w/o 20 million ports all over the place, and overall more elegant than any PC ill come across. Ever. And furthermore, the OS reigns supreme, as well as all the desktop apps that I will run. The only thing that still worries me is the game I like to play when I have free time. And I'd have to say that my favorite games are Simcity, The Sims, Splinter Cell, and Halo. I'm pretty sure the Mac will run them but if not I'm going to keep my PC for backup (and its always good to have your own PC around, rather use the real thing than Virtual PC when I'm just playing around with beta software or some other piece of random software).

    Thanks for your replies everyone! :D
  15. bdomz macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2004
    it's so tough to find a well built gaming notebook that's actually portable. Powerbooks definitely win in that department as far as the hardware goes.
  16. joshua_msu macrumors regular


    Aug 5, 2004
    chicago (formerly detroit)
    What about the PB is good for gaming again?
  17. Furrybeagle thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2004
    Atleast the graphics card isnt integrated like most of the competition out there. How much does the bus really slow down the system?
  18. CaptainHaddock macrumors 6502

    Jul 6, 2004
    Nagoya, Japan
    Just chiming in on the languages issue—

    1. Keyboard and input switching works far better on a Mac than on Windows. You'll have no problem using the little "flag menu" on the menubar to switch keyboards. The shortcut "Cmd-spacebar" lets you switch really quickly. I myself use Japanese quite frequently, and the Japanese input system is much better than Microsoft's version.

    2. The Mac is 100% Unicode so typing any language into any application should work fine. Unlike Windows where the kanji I typed in Photoshop always came out as question marks.

    3. The handy user switching feature lets you have several desktops running at once. I have one localized in Japanese and one in English, just for convenience.

    4. Even without switching keyboards, typing extended Latin characters is easy on a Mac. Option-E plus a vowel gives you an acute accent (áéíóú). Option-U gives you a diaresis, option-N a tilde, and so on. My helpful Matias Tactile Pro keyboard indicates these on their respective keys.
  19. iBert macrumors regular


    Jul 14, 2004
    Thanks so much for this piece of advice. finally I can type better when talking to all of my buddies back home. :cool: w00t!
  20. cwtnospam macrumors regular

    Sep 4, 2004
    Get the Mac

    I have a 450mhz G4 Cube and a Dual 2ghz G5. I recently won a Compaq Presario R3000 as a door prize. It is much closer to the 4 year old G4 as far as speed is concerned. In fact, the G5 runs Virtual PC w/Windoze XP Pro faster than the Compaq runs XP Home. I'm not talking small differences in test results here. I don't need tests, since it's easy to see the difference!

    That's the raw speed story. Now consider this: I've spent more time on the phone with tech support since I got the Compaq than in all the years I've owned Macs.

    Any Mac you get will be a big step up.
  21. bdomz macrumors member

    Sep 18, 2004
    well for one I'd say the graphics card in the 15" and 17" model. You can do better but I think the 15" Pbook is way more portable than Dells Inspiron XPS or whatever Alienware has to offer. Those are basically desktop replacements.
  22. papersushi macrumors regular

    Nov 14, 2003
    For people who has the ATI Radeon 128MB video card on PowerBook, make sure you do a software update and get the latest video driver. The original un-updated video driver that shipped with your computer will get you even worse performance than previous 1.25Ghz model PB 15''. Updated video driver will speed up the performance to the level it should be, especially in games, you will a hugde difference.
  23. Furrybeagle thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 13, 2004
    Update the drivers...that may be why so many people are getting different results. Thanks for that one!

    I just get the driver through software update (Apple Logo>Software Update)? On windows I use modded drivers from OmegaCorner since Dell hasn't updated them in a few years. :rolleyes: Therefore its totally different.

    That seems so convient...updates all in one place for everything.

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